Hywel Williams Portrait

Hywel Williams

Plaid Cymru - Arfon

First elected: 7th June 2001

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Trade)

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

(since May 2001)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Defence)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Development)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Chief Whip

(since July 2020)

Powers of Attorney Bill
22nd Feb 2023 - 1st Mar 2023
Health and Care Bill
7th Sep 2021 - 2nd Nov 2021
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
20th May 2020 - 15th Oct 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
12th May 2021 - 24th Jun 2021
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Brexit)
1st Jun 2017 - 21st Jul 2020
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
12th Dec 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Exiting the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Development)
10th May 2004 - 1st Jun 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Europe)
8th May 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Defence)
8th May 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
8th May 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader
12th Oct 2015 - 1st Jun 2017
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
1st Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Panel of Chairs
24th May 2005 - 17th Sep 2015
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health)
10th May 2001 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education)
10th Jun 2005 - 30th Mar 2015
Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art
18th Nov 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Science, Innovation and Technology Committee
27th Feb 2012 - 20th Oct 2014
Science and Technology Committee
27th Feb 2012 - 20th Oct 2014
Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
27th Feb 2012 - 20th Oct 2014
Welsh Affairs Committee
6th Jan 2014 - 10th Mar 2014
Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
18th Jun 2010 - 18th Mar 2013
Welsh Affairs Committee
26th Jan 2004 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
10th May 2005 - 10th May 2006
Draft Mental Health Bill (Joint Committee)
20th Jul 2004 - 11th Jul 2005


Department Event
Monday 26th February 2024
Cabinet Office
Addresses to the Crown - Main Chamber
Consideration of a Humble Address following the return of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland
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Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
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Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
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Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
28 Feb 2024, noon

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Department Event
Thursday 29th February 2024
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
29 Feb 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Wednesday 6th March 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
6 Mar 2024, noon

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Department Event
Tuesday 12th March 2024
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Wednesday 13th March 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
13 Mar 2024, noon

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Department Event
Monday 18th March 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
18 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Wednesday 20th March 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
20 Mar 2024, noon

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Department Event
Monday 25th March 2024
14:30
Ministry of Defence
Oral questions - Main Chamber
25 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Defence (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Wednesday 17th April 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
17 Apr 2024, noon

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Department Event
Wednesday 24th April 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
24 Apr 2024, noon

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Department Event
Thursday 25th April 2024
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
25 Apr 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 30th April 2024
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
30 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Wednesday 1st May 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
1 May 2024, noon

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Department Event
Wednesday 8th May 2024
12:00
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister's Question Time - Main Chamber
8 May 2024, noon

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Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 3 Plaid Cymru Aye votes vs 0 Plaid Cymru No votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Cavity Wall Insulation: Government Support
I am grateful to the hon. Member for that point; she makes the case succinctly. My area and other areas …
Written Answers
Monday 19th February 2024
Dental Services: Wales
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much Barnett Consequential funding the Welsh Government will …
Early Day Motions
Monday 19th February 2024
Cwmni Da
That this House celebrates the success of Cwmni Da, named among the best places to work in the UK by …
Bills
Tuesday 10th November 2020
Jet Skis (Licensing) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to establish a system of licensing for drivers of jet skis; to create the offence of driving a …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
1. Employment and earnings
4 December 2023, received £1,200 from ITV Entertainment, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford M17 1FZ, for two appearances on Christmas University …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Detention of Frenchie Mae Cumpio
That this House demands the immediate release of Filipino community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who has been in detention since …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 15th November 2022
Tax Reform Commission Bill 2022-23
A Bill to establish a commission to assess the differential impact of the tax system in the UK on different …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Hywel Williams has voted in 704 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

10 Jan 2022 - Charter for Budget Responsibility and Welfare Cap - View Vote Context
Hywel Williams voted No - against a party majority - in line with the party majority and against the House
One of 2 Plaid Cymru No votes vs 1 Plaid Cymru Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 309 Noes - 206
View All Hywel Williams Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(22 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
(15 debate interactions)
Victoria Atkins (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(37 debate contributions)
Home Office
(35 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(34 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(34 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Media Bill 2023-24
(4,516 words contributed)
Health and Care Act 2022
(4,380 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Hywel Williams's debates

Arfon 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 Arfon signature proportion
Petitions with most Arfon signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Ensure any ban fully includes trans people and all forms of conversion therapy.

Endometriosis and PCOS are two gynaecological conditions which both affect 10% of women worldwide, but both are, in terms of research and funding, incredibly under prioritised. This petition is calling for more funding, to enable for new, extensive and thorough research into female health issues.

I would like the Government to:
• make running conversion therapy in the UK a criminal offence
• forcing people to attend said conversion therapies a criminal offence
• sending people abroad in order to try to convert them a criminal offence
• protect individuals from conversion therapy


Latest EDMs signed by Hywel Williams

20th February 2024
Hywel Williams signed this EDM on Wednesday 21st February 2024

Detention of Frenchie Mae Cumpio

Tabled by: Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
That this House demands the immediate release of Filipino community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who has been in detention since her arrest along with four human rights defenders since 7 February 2020 in Tacloban City; believes that the evidential basis for her arrest was fabricated, and that she is innocent …
9 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
19th February 2024
Hywel Williams signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 20th February 2024

International Mother Languages Day 2024

Tabled by: Apsana Begum (Labour - Poplar and Limehouse)
That this House pays tribute to International Mother Language Day 2024, which was the initiative of Bangladesh and was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference; notes that it has been observed on 21 February throughout the world since 2000 and commemorates the Bangladeshi university students martyred for the Bangla …
11 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Hywel Williams's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Hywel Williams, 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.


Hywel Williams has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Hywel Williams has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Hywel Williams


A Bill to establish a system of licensing for drivers of jet skis; to create the offence of driving a jet ski without a licence; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 10th November 2020
(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 report annually on the representativeness in respect of relevant postcode districts of weather stations designated for the purpose of calculating cold weather payments and to conduct a study of alternative methods of calculating cold weather in each postcode district; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

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

561 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
5 Other Department Questions
17th Apr 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Restoration and Renewal Client Board, what the estimated cost is of delivering Parliament’s restoration and renewal programme.

The Delivery Authority and Parliament's R&R Client Team have been working to the mandate set out in the resolutions of both Houses in July 2022 and the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019.

In line with the mandate set by the Houses, the Delivery Authority is currently developing a wide range of options for the restoration and renewal work. These options will be considered by the R&R Programme Board and the R&R Client Board in the coming months.

Both Houses will be asked to approve a way forward later this year and will receive high-level cost and schedule information to inform this decision.

17th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of re-establishing the Leveson Part Two inquiry.

In 2017, the Government ran a consultation on whether to continue with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. Having taken into account all of the views and evidence, we announced in 2018 that we would not be taking forward Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry.

The Leveson Inquiry and subsequent police investigations were comprehensive with more than 300 people giving evidence to the Inquiry and over 40 people convicted during the three major investigations. Reopening the Inquiry would cost millions and we believe it is no longer appropriate, proportionate, or in the public interest to do so. There have been extensive reforms to policing practices, as well as significant changes to press self-regulation.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of whether the Independent Press Standards Organisation has met the recommendations set out in the independent report entitled Leveson Inquiry: Report into the culture, practices and ethics of the press, published on 29 November 2012.

The Government is committed to independent self-regulation of the press, and does not intervene in or oversee the work of the press regulators. Sir Joseph Pilling’s 2016 review found IPSO has made some important achievements in demonstrating it is an independent and effective regulator, and it has made further progress since then.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Independent Press Standards Organisation in investigating allegations of illegality and wrongdoing.

The Government is committed to independent self-regulation of the press, and does not intervene in or oversee the work of the press regulators. Sir Joseph Pilling’s 2016 review found IPSO has made some important achievements in demonstrating it is an independent and effective regulator, and it has made further progress since then.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
12th May 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost to the House administration has been in (a) preparing and conducting the State Opening of Parliament and (b) providing officials with ceremonial garments for the State Opening of Parliament in each of the last five years.

The main costs incurred for State Opening relate to maintenance works to support areas such as broadcasting and digital, as well as the installation works for the Royal Gallery, Robing Room, House of Lords Chamber and other areas. Costs are incurred for labour, both directly employed and specialist contractors, as well as transportation for items held in storage off site and the works required to the security barriers around St Stephens entrance.

Costs are split between the House of Commons, who pay 60%, and the House of Lords, who pay 40%. The table shows the House of Commons share for the last five years. Data for May 2022 is not yet available. In 2018 and 2020 there was no State Opening, while there were two in 2019.

£, House of Commons share

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Staff salaries

25,216

0

33,516

0

18,740

Other staff costs

224

0

0

0

309

Direct works

125,545

4,374

320,090

-594

107,628

Other

10,341

11,050

0

10,622

10,710

Total (House of Commons)

161,326

15,424

353,606

10,028

137,387


Other minor identifiable costs for the House of Commons not related to maintenance for State Opening in 2022 are shown in the table below.

Security pass provision (Commons share of 70%): £2,500

British Sign Language provision and audio description: £1,400


Ceremonial dress is purchased for roles in the House of Commons when needed during the year or when postholders change. Data on ceremonial uniform costs cannot be separated from other uniform spending.

Chamber related teams, including Clerks, the Speaker and their office, the Serjeant and their team of doorkeepers, require uniform supplies throughout the year. Total uniform expenditure for these functions over the last five years is shown below. Most of this spend relates to uniform for day to day use during the normal business of the House as well as supporting events and work outside the Chamber.

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22

Uniform expenditure (Clerks, Speaker team, Serjeant team)

£17,824

£13,403

£25,607

£25,197

£23,285

This answer does not represent the full cost of State Opening, or costs directly incurred by the House of Lords. Costs will also have been incurred by other bodies, which may include Westminster City Council, the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Household.

26th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the expected cost to businesses in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland of requirements for (i) Export Health Certificates for EU imports into Great Britain, (ii) Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on most remaining SPS goods at Border Control Posts and (iii) Safety and Security declaration requirements on EU imports into Great Britain.

In April the Government published a draft version of the Border Target Operating Model, in collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, that will introduce a new world-class border system from October 2023. It will implement vital border controls that will protect the UK from security and biosecurity threats, while preventing delays at the border through a reduction in the need for physical checks and by ensuring that checks take place away from ports where this is needed to allow traffic to flow freely. To limit the burden on businesses, our new proposed risk-based global model will use data and technology to simplify and streamline import trade processes.

Many low-risk animals and plant products will not require any certificates or physical checks, which will make them significantly easier to import than under the previously proposed model or the EU model. By minimising costs and preventing delays at the border, we estimate it could save UK importers around £400m each year compared to the previously proposed model as stated in the Borders Target Operating Model. Through the Single Trade Window, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other businesses will only need to submit their data once and in one place - simplifying their experience when interacting with the Government and significantly reducing the administrative burden.

We are now in a period of engagement with businesses across the UK so we can hear their views on our draft proposals and work with them to explore the costs of implementing the new model. We do not have detailed data on the location of businesses which import SPS products, but expect that the costs of both the SPS and S&S regulatory requirements will be proportional to the distribution of imports across the countries of Great Britain.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many peerages have been conferred in each of the last five years.

The number of peerages conferred in each of the last five years are:

  • 2019 - 23 peers;

  • 2020 - 58 peers;

  • 2021 - 4 peers;

  • 2022 - 33 peers;

  • 2023 - 1 peerage. [1]

It is a long-standing convention that the main political parties may nominate individuals to the House of Lords. Individuals are nominated in recognition of their contribution to society and their public and political service, and peers are appointed to further contribute to public service in Parliament.

[1] On 9 March 2023 His Majesty The King conferred the Dukedom of Edinburgh upon The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Forfar, on the occasion of His Royal Highness's 59th birthday.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on their request that (a) concurrent-plus and (b) commencement powers in the Procurement Bill be amended.

We have worked closely with Welsh ministers: the Minister of State and the Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet Office most recently met the Minister for Finance and Local Government for the Welsh Government in December and my officials are working very closely to discuss the Procurement Bill.

There is regular engagement through the Common Framework for Public Procurement, which was established post-Brexit and is used to discuss emerging themes in policy and legislation relating to procurement.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will take steps to ensure that training produced by his Department to support businesses with the delivery of the Procurement Bill will recognise that there will be differences in the procurement regimes operating in England and Wales.

The Procurement Bill will introduce a world leading procurement regime, and fundamentally improve the way public sector organisations buy goods and services.

The Cabinet Office will be providing a comprehensive funded learning and development (L&D) programme to support everyone operating within the new regime to understand what is changing. Recognising that there will be some differences between the procurement regimes operating in England and Wales, Cabinet Office officials will continue to work closely with Welsh Government officials to ensure the content of the L&D materials reflects this appropriately. To enable the programme to be relevant and meaningful to all audiences, fact sheets and supporting resources will be provided to highlight relevant sector and geographical variations.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans there are for civilian defence in the event of a nuclear attack.

Nuclear rhetoric from Russia is unhelpful. It is designed to deter and distract from its barbaric invasion of Ukraine. The Government continues to call on Russia to de-escalate, starting by ceasing its assault on Ukraine and withdrawing its forces.

The UK has well developed contingency plans to respond to a wide range of eventualities. The plans and supporting arrangements have been developed, refined and tested over many years. The UK’s plans are risk-based and built on the principle of generic capabilities which are able to respond to a wide range of events, augmented by specific, niche capabilities, where needed and warranted by the risk. The scale of these capabilities is driven by classified planning assumptions derived from the UK’s National Security Risk Assessment. A public facing version is published in the form of the National Risk Register.

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

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

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of Warrington Inland Border Facility’s capacity to undertake sanitary and phytosanitary checks in the event that a Border Control Post at Parc Cybi is not operational by January 2022.

There has been engagement with Welsh Government counterparts - as well as weekly engagement at official level - about the inland border sites in North Wales. Provision of Border Control Posts for SPS checks is a devolved matter. However, Defra, HMRC, Wales Office, and Welsh Government are working constructively to define an appropriate control regime for customs and biosecurity checks to be in place and operational at the sites in Parc Cybi from 1 January.

The Warrington Inland Border Facility has been operational since January 2021 and has the capacity to handle more than 700 goods vehicle movements per day for customs checks. Together with other inland border facilities, such as Birmingham and Sevington, there is more than adequate capacity to accommodate any shortfall capacity at Welsh ports and inland sites in January 2022, should this be needed.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions has he had with the Welsh Government regarding the establishment of a Border Control Post at Parc Cybi.

There has been engagement with Welsh Government counterparts - as well as weekly engagement at official level - about the inland border sites in North Wales. Provision of Border Control Posts for SPS checks is a devolved matter. However, Defra, HMRC, Wales Office, and Welsh Government are working constructively to define an appropriate control regime for customs and biosecurity checks to be in place and operational at the sites in Parc Cybi from 1 January.

The Warrington Inland Border Facility has been operational since January 2021 and has the capacity to handle more than 700 goods vehicle movements per day for customs checks. Together with other inland border facilities, such as Birmingham and Sevington, there is more than adequate capacity to accommodate any shortfall capacity at Welsh ports and inland sites in January 2022, should this be needed.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much each Department has spent on Union Flags in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) England in each year since 2018.

The information requested is not held centrally.

11th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 138883 on: UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, if he will publish an update on the formation of a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly with the European Parliament as outlined in Article INST.5 of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

We welcome dialogue between Parliament and the European Parliament. At the first meeting of the Partnership Council last week, both we and the EU encouraged continuing work on the establishment of the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, and noted its importance.

Work is ongoing between members of this House and the Other Place. We look forward to their proposals so that we can support the early establishment of the Assembly.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of SMEs in Wales that have been unable to export goods to the EU since 1 January 2021.

Further to my answer to PQ 160771 on 11 March 2021, the Government does not hold information on the number of businesses, if any, who have been unable to export goods to the EU since 1 January 2021. However, as the Office for National Statistics trade statistics to February, released this week, have shown, goods exports to the EU are now getting close to their average 2020 monthly levels once again. We continue to offer a wide range of support to businesses exporting to the EU. This includes the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which provides access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to encourage hauliers to transport goods from SMEs in the UK to consumers in the EU.

The Government has regular dialogue with representatives of the haulage sector and general business representative organisations through the Brexit Business Taskforce.

The Government is offering various avenues of support to hauliers, including over 20 helplines to provide advice to specific sectors. We have also published a Haulier Handbook - translated into 13 different languages - to provide information and advice to hauliers on how they can get ready for changes at the GB-EU border. This is in addition to the 46 Information and Advice sites across the UK.

The Government continues to provide support for businesses, as outlined in the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on Thursday 11 February in which he announced the launch of the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which has been met with support from SMEs and provides them with access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to reduce export (a) costs and (b) delays for hauliers transporting small quantities of goods directly from SMEs in the UK to consumers in the EU.

The Government has regular dialogue with representatives of the haulage sector and general business representative organisations through the Brexit Business Taskforce.

The Government is offering various avenues of support to hauliers, including over 20 helplines to provide advice to specific sectors. We have also published a Haulier Handbook - translated into 13 different languages - to provide information and advice to hauliers on how they can get ready for changes at the GB-EU border. This is in addition to the 46 Information and Advice sites across the UK.

The Government continues to provide support for businesses, as outlined in the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on Thursday 11 February in which he announced the launch of the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which has been met with support from SMEs and provides them with access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the current export arrangements between the UK and the EU on the ability of hauliers to transport small quantities of goods directly from SMEs in the UK to consumers in the EU.

The Government has regular dialogue with representatives of the haulage sector and general business representative organisations through the Brexit Business Taskforce.

The Government is offering various avenues of support to hauliers, including over 20 helplines to provide advice to specific sectors. We have also published a Haulier Handbook - translated into 13 different languages - to provide information and advice to hauliers on how they can get ready for changes at the GB-EU border. This is in addition to the 46 Information and Advice sites across the UK.

The Government continues to provide support for businesses, as outlined in the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on Thursday 11 February in which he announced the launch of the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which has been met with support from SMEs and provides them with access to grants and practical support.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what dates the UK and Welsh Governments held discussions on procurement of supplies and services relating to the covid-19 pandemic since 1 March 2020.

The UK government has been committed to working closely with the devolved administrations and there have been regular discussions throughout the Covid response, including in relation to the procurement of supplies and services.

We have procured vaccines for the whole of the UK, and provided testing capacity to all of the Devolved Administrations, including operating testing sites across the UK. Mutual aid and cooperation across and between all four nations has been a key part of ensuring PPE gets to where it is needed.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment his Department has made of the Government’s compliance with the applicant blind principle of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 120952 on 30 November 2020.

In a three month period between July and September 2020, departments received around 8,000 freedom of information requests and responded to almost 90% of them within 20 working days or with a permitted extension. This reflects the Government’s commitment to fulfill its freedom of information obligations despite the pressures of responding to COVID-19.

The FOI statistics for October to November 2020, and the annual statistics for 2020, will be published in April 2021, at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to improve the Government’s response rate to Freedom of Information requests.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 120952 on 30 November 2020.

In a three month period between July and September 2020, departments received around 8,000 freedom of information requests and responded to almost 90% of them within 20 working days or with a permitted extension. This reflects the Government’s commitment to fulfill its freedom of information obligations despite the pressures of responding to COVID-19.

The FOI statistics for October to November 2020, and the annual statistics for 2020, will be published in April 2021, at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the census.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have kept ministers up-to-date on their Census preparations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ONS have recently published an update on how everyone can be safely counted in Census 2021.

For more information please see:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/statementsandletters/census2021andcoronavirus.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including representatives of the (a) Senedd Cymru, (b) Scottish Parliament and (c) Northern Ireland Assembly in the membership of a potential Parliamentary Partnership Assembly with the European Parliament.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement states that the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom may, if they so choose, establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly consisting of Members of the European Parliament and of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The exact membership of this Assembly would be for the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom to determine. The UK Government is committed to continue working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure that our relationship with the EU works in the interests of citizens and businesses across the whole of the UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to develop a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly with the European Parliament as outlined in Article INST.5 of the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement states that the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom may, if they so choose, establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly consisting of Members of the European Parliament and of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The exact membership of this Assembly would be for the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom to determine. The UK Government is committed to continue working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure that our relationship with the EU works in the interests of citizens and businesses across the whole of the UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government is making on the publication of the Dunlop Review on the UK Government's Union capability.

Lord Dunlop’s review will be published in due course, alongside a full response from the Government.

Ministers and officials are in discussion regularly with the Welsh Government on a range of topics so we can work together to the benefit of all citizens of the United Kingdom.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the Dunlop Review on the UK Government's Union capability.

Lord Dunlop’s review will be published in due course, alongside a full response from the Government.

Ministers and officials are in discussion regularly with the Welsh Government on a range of topics so we can work together to the benefit of all citizens of the United Kingdom.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution's statement on 13 January, what is the definition of a high bar for a potential delay to the May 2021 elections.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021. Many of these elections have already been delayed by a year. Voters have a right to be heard and to decide who governs them.

Such a policy intention should rightly be reviewed in light of the changing public health situation and we are taking steps to assure ourselves that polls can be delivered. The Government is continuing to work closely with the electoral sector, public health bodies and political parties to identify and resolve challenges in the successful delivery of the polls this May. Indeed, proper preparedness is the very thing that opposition parties have called for – and this is precisely what we are undertaking.

As I stated to the House, I will ensure Hon. Members are kept updated once we have completed this work.

17th Dec 2020
If he will bring forward proposals to amend Schedule 2, Part 1 of The Census (England) Regulations 2020 to include Welsh as an option to census questions on (a) main language and (b) language proficiency.

The Census questions to be used in England and Wales follow recommendations from the Office for National Statistics, based on an extensive three-year programme of consultation and research which included consideration of Welsh language skills questions. With Census Day around three months away, preparations are now well underway and it is not possible to change any questions at this late stage.

The UK government supports the ambition of the Welsh government to have one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and Census 2021 will provide valuable information on progress towards this objective.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to achieve the delivery of new port infrastructure projects for (a) Hull, (b) Immingham and (c) Plymouth by 1 July 2021.

The Government is working closely with ports to ensure they have the required infrastructure ready for the end of the transition period. Details of the recipients of the Port Infrastructure Fund will be announced in due course.

I refer the hon. Member to the published Border Operating Model, available on gov.uk and the statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September.

For January 2021, HMRC is putting in place temporary arrangements to support Common Transit Convention movements through Holyhead. For July 2021, there needs to be a multi-functional site dealing with transit, customs and SPS checks to serve Holyhead. Details will be announced in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has conducted an assessment of the readiness of UK ports and their associated infrastructure in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal.

The Government is working closely with ports to ensure they have the required infrastructure ready for the end of the transition period. Details of the recipients of the Port Infrastructure Fund will be announced in due course.

I refer the hon. Member to the published Border Operating Model, available on gov.uk and the statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September.

For January 2021, HMRC is putting in place temporary arrangements to support Common Transit Convention movements through Holyhead. For July 2021, there needs to be a multi-functional site dealing with transit, customs and SPS checks to serve Holyhead. Details will be announced in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the Port of Holyhead’s state of readiness for the UK’s changed trading status in (a) January and (b) July 2021.

The Government is working closely with ports to ensure they have the required infrastructure ready for the end of the transition period. Details of the recipients of the Port Infrastructure Fund will be announced in due course.

I refer the hon. Member to the published Border Operating Model, available on gov.uk and the statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September.

For January 2021, HMRC is putting in place temporary arrangements to support Common Transit Convention movements through Holyhead. For July 2021, there needs to be a multi-functional site dealing with transit, customs and SPS checks to serve Holyhead. Details will be announced in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to his oral contribution of 23 September 2020, Official Report, column 969, how much funding the Government has allocated to that facility near Holyhead; and what his timetable is for the implementation of those plans.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what internal tests his Department has conducted of the Smart Freight system; and what the outcome of those tests were.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of the Smart Freight system.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the success of the Smart Freight system.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has contingency plans to minimise disruption at UK borders in the event that the Smart Freight system fails to work effectively.

Further to the comments of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September 2020, the 'Check an HGV is ready to cross the border' service is being developed in accordance with the rigorous standards applied to the development of any digital Government service. This includes consultation and engagement with users as well as internal testing. The service has passed successfully into the “beta” phase and is now being subjected to operational testing with users, including businesses. It is on schedule to be ready for December 2020.

On 12 July, the Government announced a funding package in 20/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period.

A breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the policy paper entitled, The Border Operating Model Border, published on 13 July 2020, whether Smart Freight Service would be required for vehicles travelling from Welsh ports to (a) the Republic of Ireland and (b) via the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland.

The use of the Smart Freight Service will be recommended but not compulsory in respect of the movement of goods between Welsh ports and the Republic of Ireland, and will not apply to the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government has invited businesses, including businesses in Wales, to participate in user testing for the Smart Freight Service, and continues to engage with the Welsh Government regarding preparations for the end of the Transition Period.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the policy paper entitled, The Border Operating Model Border, published on 13 July 2020, whether the use of the Smart Freight System will apply in Wales; and what consultation it has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) businesses in Wales on the Smart Freight System.

The use of the Smart Freight Service will be recommended but not compulsory in respect of the movement of goods between Welsh ports and the Republic of Ireland, and will not apply to the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government has invited businesses, including businesses in Wales, to participate in user testing for the Smart Freight Service, and continues to engage with the Welsh Government regarding preparations for the end of the Transition Period.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment the Government has made of the preparedness of the ports of (a) Holyhead, (b) Milford Haven, (c) Cardiff, (d) Newport, (e) Port Talbot, (f) Fishguard and (g) Swansea to adapt to changes to customs rules and physical checks requirements following the end of the transition period.

Further to the answer by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Cabinet Office's Border and Protocol Delivery Group is working with Government departments and with Welsh Government officials and with ports in Wales on their requirements for the end of the Transition Period.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
13th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40518 on Coronavirus: Wales, when his Department plans to publish disaggregated data on Government expenditure as at May 2020 on the placing of advertisements in (a) national Welsh media, (b) local and regional Welsh media and (c) Welsh language media since the start of the covid-19 public information campaign.

This is a national campaign, taking place on multiple channels in all four nations of the UK. We will publish expenditure on the whole campaign on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

6th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will ensure that the future agreement between the UK and EU contains a clause confirming the parties’ legal commitment to the provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The UK is committed to tackling climate change and as COP26 President will work with all partners to deliver the Paris Agreement. As set out in the document outlining our approach to negotiations, the agreement we reach with the EU should reaffirm both parties’ commitments to the Paris Agreement and recognise both sides’ right to decide their own regulation to meet our respective climate goals.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is responsible for co-ordinating the covid-19 public information campaign in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) Northern Ireland.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign across all four nations of the UK to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19.

This is a cross-government campaign involving multiple departments. It is being coordinated centrally by the Cabinet Office who are working closely with the Devolved Administrations, including with the Welsh Government to ensure campaign materials are translated for use in Wales.

The Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Government has spent on placing advertisements in (a) national Welsh media, (b) local and regional Welsh media and (c) Welsh language media since the start of the covid-19 public information campaign.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign across all four nations of the UK to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19.

This is a cross-government campaign involving multiple departments. It is being coordinated centrally by the Cabinet Office who are working closely with the Devolved Administrations, including with the Welsh Government to ensure campaign materials are translated for use in Wales.

The Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to ensure that the ethnic groups (a) Welsh Asian and (b) Welsh Black, Caribbean or African are identified under specific sub-headings on the form in the forthcoming Census Order.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was laid in Parliament on 2 March. It sets the date of the Census and the topics on which census questions are to be asked.

Once made, the Order will be followed by Census Regulations for England and for Wales. The Regulations for England will be laid before Parliament. The Regulations for Wales are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and will be laid before the National Assembly for Wales. The Regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers will contain the final wording of the questions on Welsh language skills and ethnic group to be asked in the Wales census.

As part of the Census Data Collection and Transformation Programme, the ONS is exploring how to produce census-type statistics more frequently than the decennial census, using other sources of data. The ONS will make a recommendation to the Government in 2023 on the future of the census.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to include a question on Welsh language proficiency in the 2021 Census; and what discussions he has had with the (a) Scottish Government and (b) Northern Ireland Executive on the inclusion of that question in censuses in those nations.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was laid in Parliament on 2 March. It sets the date of the Census and the topics on which census questions are to be asked.

Once made, the Order will be followed by Census Regulations for England and for Wales. The Regulations for England will be laid before Parliament. The Regulations for Wales are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and will be laid before the National Assembly for Wales. The Regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers will contain the final wording of the questions on Welsh language skills and ethnic group to be asked in the Wales census.

As part of the Census Data Collection and Transformation Programme, the ONS is exploring how to produce census-type statistics more frequently than the decennial census, using other sources of data. The ONS will make a recommendation to the Government in 2023 on the future of the census.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with representatives of the (a) UK Statistics Authority and (b) Office for National Statistics on the future of the Census after 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was laid in Parliament on 2 March. It sets the date of the Census and the topics on which census questions are to be asked.

Once made, the Order will be followed by Census Regulations for England and for Wales. The Regulations for England will be laid before Parliament. The Regulations for Wales are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and will be laid before the National Assembly for Wales. The Regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers will contain the final wording of the questions on Welsh language skills and ethnic group to be asked in the Wales census.

As part of the Census Data Collection and Transformation Programme, the ONS is exploring how to produce census-type statistics more frequently than the decennial census, using other sources of data. The ONS will make a recommendation to the Government in 2023 on the future of the census.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2020 to Question 5387, if he will publish the top 10 export destinations for Welsh financial services.

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

18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of trends in the level of export costs to the EU for small businesses on the economy of (a) Wales and (b) Arfon constituency.

Our export strategy sets out a 12-point plan, which is helping businesses in Arfon and across Wales expand their export opportunities. Welsh businesses can access a wide range of free support services, including a network of sector specialists and overseas trade advisers, our Export Academy, the Export Support Service, and UK Export Finance.

My department has also recently announced that we will be appointing new International Trade Advisors (ITAs) in Wales, boosting our support for Welsh SME exporters. This expansion should see a further 400-600 companies across Wales receiving tailored support to seek new export opportunities.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to help ensure that parcel delivery companies (a) adopt and (b) adhere to her Department's Statement of principles for parcel deliveries, published in July 2014.

While the principles in this guidance still stand, through the Consumer Protection Partnership, we have undertaken further work to ensure retailers provide information about delivery options upfront in the purchasing process to ensure consumers can make informed decisions.

In its 2022 review of postal regulation Ofcom, the independent regulator of the postal sector, committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ performance, keeping under review the need for additional regulation to protect consumers.

Current guidance for parcel operators and retailers on their obligations is available from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Business Companion website and through the dedicated deliverylaw.uk website.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to reduce exporting costs for small business that export to the EU.

My department are better equipped than ever to support UK businesses to export. We offer a wide range of free support services, including a network of domestic and overseas trade advisers, sector specialists, Export Support Service, Export Academy, and International Markets network.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) also continues to focus on supporting SMEs. In 2022-23, 84% of the companies supported directly with a UKEF product were small and medium-sized enterprises.

But we are doing more – maximising uptake of new Free Trade Agreements by SMEs, using data to better target our services and working across Government to reduce barriers to exporting and simplify border processes.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent estimate she has made of the number of small businesses that have (a) relocated and (b) part-relocated their operations to the EU due to export costs in (i) Wales, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland.

We do not have the information you are asking for, however, what we can say is that 94% of all businesses that responded to the ONS business survey in the 2 weeks to the 3rd September were not planning to open any new branches or subsidiaries in the EU in the next 12 months.

We understand that SMEs have had to adapt to the new post-Brexit environment, and that’s why we are ensuring they have what they need to do so, including comprehensive guidance on GOV.UK, and support from UK Export Finance (UKEF) and the Export Support Service (ESS).

Now we have left the single market, we can turn our focus to the rest of the world, where in the 12 months to June 2023 trade is up 38% in current prices compared to pre-pandemic (2018) levels.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the UK's withdrawal from the EU (a) single market and (b) customs union on costs for small businesses that export to the EU.

We do not have the information you are asking for, however, what we can say is that 94% of all businesses that responded to the ONS business survey in the 2 weeks to the 3rd September were not planning to open any new branches or subsidiaries in the EU in the next 12 months.

We understand that SMEs have had to adapt to the new post-Brexit environment, and that’s why we are ensuring they have what they need to do so, including comprehensive guidance on GOV.UK, and support from UK Export Finance (UKEF) and the Export Support Service (ESS).

Now we have left the single market, we can turn our focus to the rest of the world, where in the 12 months to June 2023 trade is up 38% in current prices compared to pre-pandemic (2018) levels.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when his Department plans to respond to the consultations on phasing out new and replacement fossil fuel heating systems for off gas grid properties launched in October 2021 by the then Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; and what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Welsh Government on those consultations.

The Government is carefully considering the feedback received and will publish its responses to the consultations on phasing out fossil fuel heating systems for off gas grid homes, businesses and public buildings in due course. The consultations apply to England only as this is a devolved matter. However, Government officials have engaged with their counterparts in the Welsh Government when designing the policy.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has taken recent steps to decouple the cost of renewable energy from gas prices; and whether his Department plans to publish a consultation on (a) the split markets model, (b) the green power pool and (c) other options for splitting the gas and renewables markets.

Through the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) programme, the Government is considering a range of options to shield consumers from the impacts of potential future commodity price spikes and ensure they benefit from lower cost renewables.

The first REMA consultation included the ‘split market’ and ‘green power pool’ models. As detailed in the summary of responses, these options remain under consideration. The intention is to publish a second consultation in Autumn 2023.

The CfD scheme already insulates consumers against electricity price spikes. Over time this will significantly reduce dependence on gas-fired generation, lowering exposure to gas prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing from the criteria for the Warm Homes Discount the requirement for the claimant’s property to have a high energy cost score based on its characteristics.

The Government has reformed the Warm Home Discount scheme in England and Wales from 2022/23 to focus the support to households at greater risk of fuel poverty and to provide most rebates automatically. Fuel poverty is a combination of low incomes and high energy costs, so the scheme is targeted at those on means-tested benefits whose homes we have estimated to be relatively expensive to heat.

Removing the high energy cost eligibility criteria would decrease the proportion of recipients in fuel poverty and increase the cost of the scheme significantly.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate he has made of the number of people who receive qualifying benefits who are now no longer eligible for the Warm Homes Discount following the decision to include high energy costs in the payment eligibility criteria.

The Government published impact assessments when consulting and publishing the Government’s response, which compared the option for reforming the scheme to continuing the previous scheme.

As households previously applied through their suppliers, who set their own application processes and eligibility criteria and selected successful applicants each year, the government has not been able to assess how many households previously eligible are no longer eligible.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment has he made of the (a) timeliness and (b) accuracy of the communications that people received informing them of their eligibility for the Warm Homes Discount following the decision to include high energy costs in the payment eligibility criteria.

Between 7 November 2022 and 16 January 2023, around 3.8 million letters were sent to customers in England and Wales who were potentially eligible for the Warm Home Discount rebate. Over 96% of those letters were mailed by 9 December 2022, and the remainder by 16 January 2023.

These letters explained the scheme and what actions, if any, customers needed to take. There were 6 letter types for different customer circumstances.

The evaluation of the reformed Warm Home Discount scheme is expected to commence in Summer, with a view to monitoring the results and informing the future of the scheme.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how much funding has been allocated to Arfon constituency to facilitate the (a) rollout of fibre to the premises broadband and (b) provision of infrastructure.

Almost 97% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a superfast connection (>= 30Mbps), more than enough for the vast majority of requirements such as high-definition streaming and video calling on multiple devices. Currently, 49% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a full-fibre connection. Households can request a full-fibre connection from suppliers, but we do not hold the data regarding the number of premises that have requested full-fibre connections.

In March 2021, the government launched Project Gigabit, its £5 billion mission to deliver gigabit-capable (>1000Mbps) broadband to UK premises that are not included in suppliers' commercial plans.

We conduct extensive market reviews to identify the premises that do not currently have gigabit-capable infrastructure, or are not included in suppliers’ commercial plans. This enables us to identify the premises that are eligible for public subsidy and design the areas for Project Gigabit interventions.

We are on track to launch our first procurement covering large parts of Wales this summer, and this is likely to include some premises in the Arfon constituency.

On top of our Project Gigabit procurements, the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru programme is expected to complete this month, and in total the programme has provided over 100,000 premises in Wales with access to gigabit-capable infrastructure.

For the small number of very hard to reach premises which are unlikely to be connected to gigabit-capable infrastructure through Project Gigabit or suppliers’ commercial plans, the government is exploring all possible options for providing improved broadband connectivity.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what her Department's expected timescales are for the rollout of fibre broadband to all premises in Arfon.

Almost 97% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a superfast connection (>= 30Mbps), more than enough for the vast majority of requirements such as high-definition streaming and video calling on multiple devices. Currently, 49% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a full-fibre connection. Households can request a full-fibre connection from suppliers, but we do not hold the data regarding the number of premises that have requested full-fibre connections.

In March 2021, the government launched Project Gigabit, its £5 billion mission to deliver gigabit-capable (>1000Mbps) broadband to UK premises that are not included in suppliers' commercial plans.

We conduct extensive market reviews to identify the premises that do not currently have gigabit-capable infrastructure, or are not included in suppliers’ commercial plans. This enables us to identify the premises that are eligible for public subsidy and design the areas for Project Gigabit interventions.

We are on track to launch our first procurement covering large parts of Wales this summer, and this is likely to include some premises in the Arfon constituency.

On top of our Project Gigabit procurements, the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru programme is expected to complete this month, and in total the programme has provided over 100,000 premises in Wales with access to gigabit-capable infrastructure.

For the small number of very hard to reach premises which are unlikely to be connected to gigabit-capable infrastructure through Project Gigabit or suppliers’ commercial plans, the government is exploring all possible options for providing improved broadband connectivity.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to ensure that households that have been informed by commercial providers that they are not part of their fibre broadband rollout schemes will be connected to fibre broadband.

Almost 97% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a superfast connection (>= 30Mbps), more than enough for the vast majority of requirements such as high-definition streaming and video calling on multiple devices. Currently, 49% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a full-fibre connection. Households can request a full-fibre connection from suppliers, but we do not hold the data regarding the number of premises that have requested full-fibre connections.

In March 2021, the government launched Project Gigabit, its £5 billion mission to deliver gigabit-capable (>1000Mbps) broadband to UK premises that are not included in suppliers' commercial plans.

We conduct extensive market reviews to identify the premises that do not currently have gigabit-capable infrastructure, or are not included in suppliers’ commercial plans. This enables us to identify the premises that are eligible for public subsidy and design the areas for Project Gigabit interventions.

We are on track to launch our first procurement covering large parts of Wales this summer, and this is likely to include some premises in the Arfon constituency.

On top of our Project Gigabit procurements, the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru programme is expected to complete this month, and in total the programme has provided over 100,000 premises in Wales with access to gigabit-capable infrastructure.

For the small number of very hard to reach premises which are unlikely to be connected to gigabit-capable infrastructure through Project Gigabit or suppliers’ commercial plans, the government is exploring all possible options for providing improved broadband connectivity.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many and what proportion of households in Arfon constituency that have requested fibre to the premises broadband do not currently have it.

Almost 97% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a superfast connection (>= 30Mbps), more than enough for the vast majority of requirements such as high-definition streaming and video calling on multiple devices. Currently, 49% of premises in the Arfon constituency are able to access a full-fibre connection. Households can request a full-fibre connection from suppliers, but we do not hold the data regarding the number of premises that have requested full-fibre connections.

In March 2021, the government launched Project Gigabit, its £5 billion mission to deliver gigabit-capable (>1000Mbps) broadband to UK premises that are not included in suppliers' commercial plans.

We conduct extensive market reviews to identify the premises that do not currently have gigabit-capable infrastructure, or are not included in suppliers’ commercial plans. This enables us to identify the premises that are eligible for public subsidy and design the areas for Project Gigabit interventions.

We are on track to launch our first procurement covering large parts of Wales this summer, and this is likely to include some premises in the Arfon constituency.

On top of our Project Gigabit procurements, the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru programme is expected to complete this month, and in total the programme has provided over 100,000 premises in Wales with access to gigabit-capable infrastructure.

For the small number of very hard to reach premises which are unlikely to be connected to gigabit-capable infrastructure through Project Gigabit or suppliers’ commercial plans, the government is exploring all possible options for providing improved broadband connectivity.

22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent progress has been made on negotiations on Intellectual Property Office staff pay.

Formal pay negotiations with Intellectual Property Office Trades Unions concluded in December 2022. The 2022/23 pay award for IPO staff was implemented in January 2023.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the potential impact of the Energy Charter Treaty on climate targets; and if he will publish a criteria for how the Energy Charter Treaty could be updated in order to be compatible with international climate goals.

The UK Government has kept all the Devolved Administrations informed of modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty and its impacts. At the Energy Charter Conference on 22 November, the decision to adopt the modernised Treaty was postponed and the UK is closely monitoring the positions taken by other Contracting Parties.

In the event that the modernised ECT is adopted, the Government will lay an Explanatory Memorandum in Parliament which will include an assessment of how climate provisions have been strengthened to ensure compatibility between the ECT and modern international agreements, including the Paris Agreement.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has taken steps to decouple the cost of renewable energy from gas prices, including through Contracts for Difference.

Contracts for Difference are the main support mechanism for new low-carbon generation in Great Britain. They guarantee a fixed ‘strike price’ for renewable generators on the scheme, which decouples their costs from gas prices as their revenue is not impacted by wholesale market changes.

The Review of Electricity Market Arrangements is considering how the broader role of gas as a price setter for renewable energy could be reduced. This includes examining reforms that accelerate low-carbon deployment, so that gas sets the price of electricity for shorter periods, as well as wholesale market reform options that ensure lowest overall costs.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) support and (b) advice the Government provides to small businesses facing higher costs when importing from the EU as a result of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Government has provided extensive support to help businesses including guidance products, webinars, and ‘how to’ videos. Through the SME Brexit Support Fund and the Intermediaries Grant, the Government made over £100m available to help businesses adapt to new rules.

The Government has produced a useful step-by-step guide to help businesses understand the process for importing goods into the UK. The Government also created a customs intermediary register on GOV.UK to help businesses to find intermediary assistance appropriate to their needs. The Customs & International Trade helpline and webchat facility is also available to help businesses with customs queries.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 15 November 2022 to Question 83544 on Parental Leave, and with reference to the oral contribution of the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the debate on Employment Law: Devolution to Scotland on 6 September 2022, Official Report, column 51WH, on what basis the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State stated that take-up of Shared Parental Leave is exceeding 8 per cent of the 285,000 eligible fathers.

The 2013 Impact Assessment for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) estimated that take-up would be between 2-8 per cent. Current take-up rates of SPL are based on HMRC data, this data estimates that rates fall within the middle of this range and have been gradually increasing.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 7 November 2022 to Question 77313 on Parental Leave, and with reference to Table 7 of the 2013 Impact Assessment, why the employee fathers with a self-employed partner are not included in the number of new fathers eligible for Shared Parental Leave.

The 2013 Impact Assessment for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) estimated that take-up would be between 2-8 per cent based on Labour Force Survey analysis that 285,000 fathers/partners would be eligible, comprised of 267,000 employees and a further 17,000 self-employed fathers/partners. The reply to Question 77313 focused on employees only.

The SPL evaluation will also include an up-to-date estimate of eligibility and take-up.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2022 to Question 63131 on Conditions of Employment: Parents, when the research took place for the (a) Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey, (b) qualitative study of parents who have taken Shared Parental Leave and (c) other surveys of employers and parents.

The 2013 Impact Assessment for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) estimated that take-up would be between 2-8 per cent based on Labour Force Survey analysis that 267,000 employee fathers/partners would be eligible.

HMRC data on the number of individuals in receipt of Shared Parental Pay provides a broad indication of SPL take-up. The SPL evaluation will also include an up-to-date estimate of eligibility and take-up based on survey data. The evaluation will be published in due course.

The fieldwork for the Maternity and Paternity Rights survey took place between Mar-Nov 2019, between Aug 2019 and Feb 2020 for the qualitative study of parents and between Sep 2018 and Feb 2019 for the Management and Wellbeing Practices Survey.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2022 to Question 63130 on Parental Leave, what metrics his Department used as (a) the numerator and (b) the denominator to determine whether the level of use of the Shared Parental Leave scheme by parents is within the 2 per cent to 8 per cent range.

The 2013 Impact Assessment for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) estimated that take-up would be between 2-8 per cent based on Labour Force Survey analysis that 267,000 employee fathers/partners would be eligible.

HMRC data on the number of individuals in receipt of Shared Parental Pay provides a broad indication of SPL take-up. The SPL evaluation will also include an up-to-date estimate of eligibility and take-up based on survey data. The evaluation will be published in due course.

The fieldwork for the Maternity and Paternity Rights survey took place between Mar-Nov 2019, between Aug 2019 and Feb 2020 for the qualitative study of parents and between Sep 2018 and Feb 2019 for the Management and Wellbeing Practices Survey.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the tariff levels for the Feed-in-Tariff scheme for exporters and generators.

The Feed In Tariff (FIT) scheme aimed to deliver returns of approximately 5-8% for investors in small scale low-carbon generation. The methodology used to set the tariffs considered the technology costs and electricity generation expectations. The tariff rates are adjusted annually, in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to maintain that rate of return during the period of support under the scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of the Smart Export Guarantee in incentivising small-scale renewable energy generation, in comparison with the Feed-In-Tariff scheme.

The recently published Ofgem Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) annual report highlighted a significant increase in the number of installations registering for a SEG tariff (34,020 installations compared to 4,593 from Year 1). The market continues to offer a range of SEG tariffs offering different rates for exported electricity, with some rates comparable to those which were provided in the latter stages of the Feed In Tariff (FIT) scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the debate on Employment Law: Devolution to Scotland on 6 September 2022, Official Report, column 51WH, whether his Department has set targets for the use of the shared parental leave scheme by parents.

In the original Impact Assessment before SPL was introduced, we estimated take-up to be in the range of 2% to 8%. We have not updated these estimates. The evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Pay scheme, which we will publish in due course, will include an up-to-date estimate of take-up.

14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 9 February 2021 to Question 146754 on Conditions of Employment: Parents, when he plans to publish the 2019 Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey.

As part of the evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Pay scheme we have undertaken large, representative, surveys of employers and parents and a qualitative study of parents who have taken SPL.

The reports and data from all of the research we have commissioned – including the Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey – will be published in due course, alongside the evaluation report itself.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of setting standards for the (a) brightness and (b) colour temperature of lighting; if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of such standards on light pollution; and whether he has had recent discussions with (i) manufacturers, (ii) distributors and (iii) installers of lighting on their role in reducing light pollution.

The reduction of light pollution is not a matter for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of whether the updated Energy Charter Treaty, as agreed by the Energy Charter Conference on 24 June, is compatible with international climate goals; what steps he is taking to encourage other states to sign up to the fossil fuel carve out agreed by the EU and UK when the new treaty is signed in November; and if he will take steps to further amend the timeline for the fossil fuel carve out in order to speed up the withdrawal of (a) protection for all new fossil-fuel investments and (b) all existing fossil fuel investments.

The modernised Treaty recognises the urgent need to address climate change and align with the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. It also removes the Treaty’s protection for new fossil fuel investments in the UK. The Government welcomes the flexible approach in the modernised Treaty, which allows individual Parties to phase out investment protections for fossil fuels in their own territories in line with respective decarbonisation plans. The Government does not plan to seek to amend the timeline for the fossil fuel carve out, which aligns with the UK’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the Energy Charter Treaty’s compatibility with international climate goals.

The Energy Charter Treaty already calls on Contracting Parties to minimise the environmental impacts of energy operations.

Contracting Parties to the Energy Charter Treaty are negotiating the modernisation of the Treaty to ensure it is aligned with common climate objectives. The Government supports the process to modernise the Treaty in a way that advances the global energy transition, including the right for Member States to regulate in order to reach emissions reduction targets and ensure a stronger focus on climate security.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the impact on (a) electronic waste by 2050 and (b) consumer costs of standardising phone charging cables to USB-C type.

The Government is aware of the EU’s proposal for a single charging solution for certain electronic devices. While there are no current plans to introduce similar requirements in domestic law, we will monitor developments in this area.

10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment has he made of the adequacy of financial support available to people facing increased costs of heating oil.

The supply of heating oil is subject to UK competition law and consumer protection through a regulatory scheme under the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). If residents are off the gas grid, but on a default tariff for their electricity supply, they will still be protected by the Energy Price Cap which continues to protect 15 million households.

In the longer term, improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings is vital to keeping household energy costs down and reducing carbon emissions, which is why the Government is driving £6 billion into making homes more energy efficient over the next ten years.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a failure-to-prevent legal mechanism to help prevent corporate (a) human rights abuses and (b) environmental damage; and if he will make a statement.

The UK has a strong record on human rights and environmental awareness and protection, much of which results from our framework of legislation. The UK already requires companies to undertake due diligence on sustainability matters under existing legislation on corporate transparency. UK listed companies are required to report on relevant environmental, social and governance aspects in their annual reports. Large businesses are also required to publish supply chain transparency statements on steps they have taken to ensure that no modern slavery or human trafficking is taking place in their business or through their supply chains. Both reporting requirements compel disclosure of a company’s due diligence arrangements where these are in place.

In certain circumstances, companies can already be held liable for breaches of duties of care to others where harm is suffered as a foreseeable consequence of the breach.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many place names in the Ordnance Survey's National Geographic Database have been changed from Welsh into English in each year since 2010.

Ordnance Survey does not record the language of the names in the National Geographic Database; instead, it uses the ‘accepted’ name in the database, provided by the authoritative body responsible for the place, often the Local Authority. Should information about a place name change from English to Welsh or Welsh to English be received from an authoritative body such as a Local Authority, then that ‘accepted’ name change will be updated automatically in the National Geographic Database.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of (a) spelling and (b) location of Welsh place names in the Ordnance Survey data.

Place names in Ordnance Survey data are sourced through updates received from authoritative bodies such as Local Authorities, or through ‘on the ground’ capture. To ensure that Ordnance Survey (OS) maps provide an accurate representation of the names in use in Wales in both their positioning and spelling, all data maintenance at Ordnance Survey is subjected to quality control as per ISO 19158 Geographic Information: Quality Assurance of data supply (2012) . This quality control methodology is itself scrutinised as part of a quality assurance process that is entirely separate from production.

In the case of potential naming errors being identified we would complete our investigations through consultation with acknowledged authorities such as Local Authorities or National Parks. Reporting errors can be made through the Ordnance Survey website: https://ordnancesurvey.co.uk/contact-us.

4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether energy customers will have the ability to opt out of the energy bill discount scheme.

The intention of the energy bill rebate scheme is that it is universal, and consumers will not need to apply for the discount. Details of the scheme will be subject to a public consultation in the spring.

More information on what the government is doing to protect consumers can be found online here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1052305/Energy_Intervention_factsheet.pdf

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many properties owners who received cavity wall insulation submitted complaints on the service they received in (a) Wales (b) England (c) Scotland (d) Northern Ireland in each year since 2018.

The Department does not collect data on complaints about the service households received when having cavity wall insulation installed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many properties in (a) Wales (b) England (c) Scotland (d) Northern Ireland, have received cavity wall insulation in each year since 2018.

Between January 2018 and September 2021, 205,464 CWI measures were installed across Great Britain under ECO and the Green Homes Grant scheme (England only). Table 1 displays the annual CWI installation data for Great Britain and Table 2 displays the regional break down of total ECO measures delivered within the same time period. We are unable to provide measure-specific data by region and there is no available data for Northern Ireland.

Table 1:

2018

2019

2020

2021*

Total

79,926

40,821

39,550

45,167

205,464

Table 2:

Total GB

Wales

England

Scotland

1,072,350

50,631

900,149

121,570

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the number of properties in (a) Wales (b) England (c) Scotland (d) Northern Ireland which are eligible for cavity wall insulation.

The table below sets out the number of properties which had cavity walls and the proportion of those properties which had cavity wall insulation as at December 2020.

Nation

Approximate Properties with Cavity Walls

Estimate of Percentage of those Properties with Cavity Wall Insulation

Great Britain

20.4 million

70%

England

17.5 million

69%

Wales

0.9 million

75%

Scotland

2.0 million

80%

This data can be found at Tables 8.7a-d in the following: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/household-energy-efficiency-statistics-detailed-report-2020.

We do not hold data for Northern Ireland.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to protect homeowners when the companies who issue guarantees for cavity wall insulations going into administration.

The ECO scheme requires installers of cavity wall insulation to provide a warranty to householders when measures are fitted. The Government endorsed quality framework which was launched in October 2018 and overseen by Trustmark ensures an improved and comprehensive consumer protection process, including having sufficient guarantees in place to provide redress for households.

In cases where an installer is either no longer trading or has not addressed all relevant concerns, householders should contact the guarantee provider. A full list of the appropriate guarantee providers available can be found at: https://www.trustmark.org.uk/homeowners/benefits/financial-protection.

BEIS officials are exploring what mechanisms are currently in place across each of the guarantee providers to protect consumers in case of insolvency.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward (a) a review of the cavity wall insulation industry and (b) proposals for reforming the system to better protect homeowners.

The Government has no plans to commission a review of the Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) industry or reforming the current system of consumer protection.

The Government has implemented the key recommendations of the independent Each Home Counts Review of consumer advice, protection, standards and enforcement for energy efficiency and renewable energy. This has included the launch of TrustMark as the government endorsed quality mark and the introduction of improved design and installation standards for domestic retrofit (PAS2035:2019 and PAS2030:2019).

All cavity wall insulation installed under the Energy Company Obligation, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant and Local Authority Delivery has to be completed by TrustMark registered businesses, adhering to the latest standards.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons contribution based employment and support allowance is not included in the eligibility criteria for the Warm Homes Discount.

It is the responsibility of each participating energy supplier to administer their Warm Home Discount Broader Group rebates and pay the rebates to their eligible customers. Whilst there are minimum standard criteria set out in the Regulations that energy suppliers must include, suppliers can set their own criteria for Broader Group rebates. Each energy supplier’s additional Broader Group criteria must be targeted towards consumers in fuel poverty or at risk of fuel poverty and must be approved by Ofgem each scheme year.

Typically, the Broader Group eligibility criteria focus on receipt of means-tested benefits alongside indicators of vulnerability, such as a disability premium or parental responsibility for a child under the age of 5. Some energy suppliers do consider contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance as part of their eligibility criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason his Department excludes contribution-based employment and support allowance as a qualifying benefit for the Warm Home Discount.

It is the responsibility of each participating energy supplier to administer their Warm Home Discount Broader Group rebates and pay the rebates to their eligible customers. Whilst there are minimum standard criteria set out in the Regulations that energy suppliers must include, suppliers can set their own criteria for Broader Group rebates. Each energy supplier’s additional Broader Group criteria must be targeted towards consumers in fuel poverty or at risk of fuel poverty and must be approved by Ofgem each scheme year.

Typically, the Broader Group eligibility criteria focus on receipt of means-tested benefits alongside indicators of vulnerability, such as a disability premium or parental responsibility for a child under the age of 5. Some energy suppliers do consider contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance as part of their eligibility criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of protections offered by the (a) Consumer Contract (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and (b) Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Practices Regulations 2008 in supporting protecting consumers from subscription traps.

The Government is committed to tackling subscription traps and preventing consumers from being exploited.

The existing law requires that a trader informs consumers of the price and length of a subscription, before a contract is entered in to. Failure to provide this information is a breach of contract and can be challenged by consumers.

The Government is working with regulators and other key partners within the consumer protection framework to ensure that the current legal framework is robust in prohibiting harmful business practices to consumer contracts.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has has made of the potential merits of entering into reciprocal arrangements with individual EU member states to (a) waive or (b) reduce the costs of short-stay visa and work permits for temporary seasonal tourism workers.

The end of freedom of movement between the UK and the EU will inevitably have some consequences for cross-border business travel, and we are engaging regularly with businesses to help them understand the new requirements for travel to the EU. We respect the right of individual Member States to determine their own immigration policies. Here in the UK, we have adopted a global immigration system that treats EU and non-EU citizens equally.

Tourism personnel are included in the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), removing the requirement for a work permit for up to 90 in 180 days. In addition, travel agencies, tour operators’ services and tourist guides are included in the scope of TCA commitments for contractual service suppliers and independent (self-employed) professionals.

Commitments in the TCA provide certainty and clarity for those who travel to another country temporarily to do business. The TCA guarantees market access to key economic sectors, and ease some burdens on business travellers, such as: removing the need for work permits for some short-term trips and reducing the number of economic needs tests a country could impose to block access to exporters. They also ensure that the UK and EU Member States have a minimum standard for how business travellers and service providers should be treated when working abroad through non-discrimination clauses.

We have published guidance on GOV.UK to help those intending to travel to the EU, EEA and Switzerland for work or other business purposes. The Government will continue to enhance this guidance and to engage with our embassies to better understand the requirements in Member States, on behalf of UK businesses.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Royal Mail on covid-19 protective measures for workers in delivery offices.

Safety of workers is a priority for the Government. It is essential that postal workers are, and feel, safe in their working environment.

Postal operators should put appropriate measures in place to follow the latest public health guidance and legal obligations set out under health and safety legislation to protect their staff at work. Postal workers should continue to follow the advice of their employer and work with them to ensure sensible workplace adjustments are in place.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to (a) protect and (b) enhance the resilience of postal services in rural areas from covid-19-related disruption.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, postal operators have continued to provide a valuable service to this country, including in rural communities.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011 and ensures a six-day a week, one price goes anywhere, service for the delivery and collection of letters (and five days a week for parcels) throughout the United Kingdom. Royal Mail, a private company, has well-established contingency plans to mitigate disruption to universal postal services, overseen by Ofcom, the UK’s designated independent regulator of postal services.

The Government’s objective in relation to postal services continues to be to secure a sustainable universal service for users throughout the UK, including those in remote and rural areas.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December to Question 122583, whether the current Product Safety Framework adequately protects the health of those who use menstrual products.

The UK has one of the most robust product safety systems in the world and only safe products, including safe menstrual products, may be placed on the market. The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).

These regulations are within scope of the review of the Product Safety Framework which is being carried out by the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

This work will ensure that the UK product safety framework continues to be fit for purpose and adequately protects consumers so that our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December to Question 122583, what discussions he has had with the Office for Product Safety and Standards as part of the review of the Product Safety Framework on the adequacy of protections in place for those who use menstrual products.

The UK has one of the most robust product safety systems in the world and only safe products, including safe menstrual products, may be placed on the market. The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).

These regulations are within scope of the review of the Product Safety Framework which is being carried out by the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

This work will ensure that the UK product safety framework continues to be fit for purpose and adequately protects consumers so that our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring menstrual products to include labels detailing the ingredients in the product.

The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR), which require a product to be safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use when placed on the market.

Under the GPSR, manufacturers are not required to list ingredients for their product. But the law is clear that any sanitary products placed on the UK market must be safe for use.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards is currently conducting a review of the Product Safety Framework and Officials will consider relevant international developments to ensure our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with (a) officials within his Department, (b) Cabinet colleagues and (c) other stakeholders, on the Senate Bill S2387 passed by the New York State Senate which relates to menstrual product labelling and which mandates the disclosure of ingredients used to make menstrual products on the packages or boxes that they are sold in.

The safety of sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR), which require a product to be safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use when placed on the market.

Under the GPSR, manufacturers are not required to list ingredients for their product. But the law is clear that any sanitary products placed on the UK market must be safe for use.


The Office for Product Safety and Standards is currently conducting a review of the Product Safety Framework and Officials will consider relevant international developments to ensure our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons sports therapists' premises in England are required to close during the second national covid-19 lockdown while physiotherapists', chiropractors', osteopaths', sports rehabilitators' and podiatrists' premises are permitted to stay open during that lockdown.

Massage therapists qualified to levels 1-3 are considered personal care service providers which are required to close under the national restrictions for England, but they can continue to sell retail goods online or via click-and-collect.

Massage therapists qualified to level 4-6 are classified as clinical practitioners. Further information regarding them can be sought from the Department for Health and Social Care.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the announcement of £160 million for new large scale port and manufacturing infrastructure to support increases in offshore wind capacity.

The Department and I have regular and ongoing dialogue with the Welsh Government on a wide range of matters, including our recent announcements regarding offshore wind.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish details on how the £160 million for new large scale port and manufacturing infrastructure to support increases in offshore wind capacity will be allocated.

Details on how the funding will be allocated are yet to be confirmed. The Department is considering the responses from the Request for Information, and depending on the level of interest, we expect that any funding will be awarded following a formal competitive process. Any final award decisions will be subject to in-depth appraisal, due diligence, and scrutiny.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for (a) people who have worked in excess of 20 years and (b) workers more widely of revising the level of support offered under statutory redundancy in light of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises this is a challenging time both for employers and employees and that is why we introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Job Retention Bonus, to protect jobs and avoid redundancies. We hope that employers will use these schemes follow this lead and do everything they can to avoid making redundancies.

Where redundancies are unavoidable it is important that employees receive the payments they are entitled to. Employees with the necessary qualifying period will have access, as a minimum, to Statutory Redundancy Pay based on their age and length of employment.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that businesses do not use funds received though the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for redundancy payments.

Employees who are dismissed due to redundancy and who satisfy certain qualifying conditions are statutorily entitled to a lump sum from their employer, based on their age, length of service and contractual weekly earnings, subject to a statutory upper limit.

As per the latest updates to the guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, grants cannot be used to cover redundancy payments.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses making staff redundancies while using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of restricting employers from making redundancies while Government support is available.

The Department does not hold statistics on the number of business making staff redundant while using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, we are monitoring the broader picture on unemployment closely, with official data showing the number of payroll employees in April fell by 612,000 (2.1%) compared with March 2020.

The legal position in relation to redundancy and dismissal remains the same whether or not an employee has been furloughed. Any redundancy process should be fair and reasonable with appropriate equalities considerations. Employees with the necessary qualifying service who believe that they have been unfairly selected for redundancy, or that the redundancy was unfair in some other way, may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's announcement on 24 April 2020 that employees whose period of family-related leave begins on or after 25 April 2020 will be entitled to full pay, what assessment he has made of the level of financial support required by employees whose period of family-related leave began before that date.

The Government laid regulations last week to ensure that where a worker has been furloughed under the CJRS and is receiving lower earnings as a result, this does not affect his or her eligibility for statutory family-related pay.

For Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay, eligible parents receive 90% of normal earnings for the first 6 weeks, followed by up to 33 weeks at the statutory flat rate (£151.20 per week). The new regulations also ensure that the amount of statutory maternity or adoption pay that new mothers and adopters receive over the first 6 weeks is calculated based on their normal earnings, not their furloughed pay.

Individuals who have been furloughed and whose period of family-related pay or Maternity Allowance begins on or after 25th April 2020 will be in scope of the change. Individuals whose period of family-related pay began before 25th April 2020 may see their entitlement affected. However, we anticipate that this will be a small number of people due to the fact that, for most people starting family-related pay before 25 April, the earnings assessment period will have taken place before the furlough scheme was initiated.

In a situation where employers decide to ‘top-up’ statutory pay for their employees on a contractual basis, they are able to claim this money through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish a break down of expenditure by Creative Wales on each commissioned event taking place in Wales including (a) GALWAD, (b) About Us, (c) Green Space, Dark Skies, (d) StoryTrails and (e) Dreamachine, as part of the Unboxed festival.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is delivered at arm’s length from the government by a subsidiary of the Organising Committee of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, alongside a strategic delivery body appointed by each of the devolved administrations. Creative Wales, the delivery body acting on behalf of the Welsh Government, is responsible for commissioning GALWAD, Wales’s lead UNBOXED project.

As well as GALWAD, four more UNBOXED projects will present work in Wales: About Us, Green Space Dark Skies, StoryTrails and Dreamachine. These have been funded by the UK Government. Creative Wales is providing general advice and support to those projects in Wales. The individual commission values for the projects funded by HM Government have not been published at this time, but will be released in due course. The first UNBOXED project, About Us, visited Caernarfon earlier this month, where it was seen by around 16,000 people.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the value for money of her Department's spending on Unboxed festival.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is an ambitious programme of ten major multi-site and digital creative projects designed to bring people together, inspire people of all ages, and invest in the creative talent of the future. With free large-scale events, installations and online experiences available to audiences across the UK, UNBOXED demonstrates our commitment to increase access to culture and major events for communities across the UK.

The first UNBOXED project, About Us, visited Caernarfon earlier this month, where it was seen by around 16,000 people, and included local people singing in the accompanying choir.

UNBOXED will be assessed through an independent evaluation setting out social, cultural, and economic impacts of the programme. A final report is due in early 2023.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of re-establishing the Leveson Part Two inquiry.

The Government has made clear that it does not intend to proceed with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. This decision was reached following a public consultation and having taken into account all of the views and evidence submitted. Reopening the inquiry is no longer appropriate, proportionate, or in the public interest. This position was reiterated in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the merits of facilitating the mutual recognition of qualifications for temporary seasonal tourism workers between the UK and EU member states.

The Government continues to engage with stakeholders in the tourism sector to hear their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

The Withdrawal Agreement protects UK nationals who live or are a frontier worker in an EU Member State at the end of the Transition Period. Those who have had a professional qualification recognised under the EU legislation listed in the Withdrawal Agreement will keep the right to practise the profession in the Member State in which they live or work. This includes many professions in scope of the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive such as engineering and accounting.

As of 1 January 2021, UK-qualified professionals who wish to supply services in the EU should seek recognition for their qualifications using the national rules in EU Member States. Professionals should check the European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database to find out if their profession is regulated in the state in which they are seeking to work. They should then contact the single point of contact for that country to find out how to get their professional qualification recognised. Alternatively, they can seek advice from the UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK NARIC) to find out which regulatory or professional body they should contact.

The UK-EU TCA provides a framework under which the UK and the EU may agree Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) on the recognition of professional qualification covering the UK and all 27 EU Member States. Once an arrangement is adopted under the TCA, UK professionals will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition for their professional qualifications within EU Member States.

Arrangements are implemented on a profession-by-profession basis and depend upon reciprocal cooperation from both the UK and EU Member States. The framework enables UK and EU professional bodies or authorities to make recommendations on MRAs to the Partnership Council.  Once an arrangement has been adopted, a professional qualified in the UK (e.g. an engineer) will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition of their qualifications within an EU Member State.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his press notice entitled £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions, published on 5 July 2020, how much of the £1.57 billion after the deduction of Barnett funding consequentials will be spent on cultural, arts and heritage institutions in Wales.

The £1.57 billion culture recovery package - the biggest ever one-off cash-injection in UK culture - is new money and under the Barnett formula the Welsh Government received £59 million.

It is up to the Welsh Government to decide how this funding is spent but we hope they will use it to support arts, heritage and culture in Wales, as we are doing in England.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much has been spent from the public purse on preparations for the Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to be held in 2022.

DCMS has spent £891,365 on preparations for the Festival 2022 (to December 2019). This includes work on the Festival scope and strategic objectives, discussions with other government departments and the home nations on the Festival plan, and DCMS staff costs.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the cost effectiveness of proposed spending on the Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

DCMS has asked the Organising Committee for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, under the leadership of its Chief Creative Officer, to develop a proposal for the Festival by the spring. Once the Festival proposal has been agreed, we will assess the cost-effectiveness of the Festival through the HM Treasury business case process.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what (a) artists and (b) acts have been confirmed to perform in the Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

DCMS has recently asked the Organising Committee for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, under the leadership of its Chief Creative Officer, to develop the Festival programme. Details will be shared as this work develops.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding she has allocated to (a) rolling out 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of two-year-olds from April 2024 and (b) extending 15 hours of free childcare to all children from the age of nine months from September 2024; and how much the devolved nations will each receive in Barnett Formula consequential funding.

In the Spring Budget 2023, the Chancellor announced a transformative set of childcare reforms aimed at increasing labour market participation. This included the largest ever investment in childcare, including expansions of early years entitlements and wraparound childcare.

The department expects to provide over £4.1 billion by the 2027/28 financial year to fund the new entitlements (on top of increases also announced for the existing entitlements): £1.7 billion in 2024/25, £3.3 billion in 2025/26, £4.1 billion in 2026/27 and £4.1 billion in 2027/28. These figures are for England only.

At the Spring Budget, the government provided the devolved administrations with additional funding through the Barnett consequentials in the usual way. Details of the quantum of this funding are not held by the department.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress she has made on (a) rolling out 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of two-year-olds from April 2024 and (b) extending 15 hours of free childcare to all children from the age of nine months from September 2024.

Since the Spring Budget 2023, the department has made good progress with preparations to roll out 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of two-year-olds from April 2024, and to extend the 15 hours of free childcare to all children from the age of nine months from September 2024. The department’s progress includes:

  • Provided £204 million of additional funding in the 2023/24 financial year and will provide £288 million in 2024/25, in addition to the £4.1 billion that the government expects to provide by 2027/28 to facilitate the expansion of the new entitlements.
  • Consulted on the new national funding formula that will be used to distribute funding for the entitlements for children aged 2 and under, and the local rules local authorities should follow when passing on this funding to providers. The department will shortly be publishing a response to the consultation and confirming final 2024/25 financial year hourly funding rates for local authorities.
  • Consulted on amending the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework to support reform of the childcare market and published government’s consultation response. The consultation response confirmed that the Department is introducing a number of changes that will provide more flexibility and remove burdens for early years providers, while maintaining quality and safety standards.
  • Brought into law the change of staff: child ratios from 1:4 to 1:5 for two-year-olds in England.
  • Developed a range of new workforce initiatives including a new, national, multi-channel broadcast recruitment campaign, planned for the beginning of 2024, to boost interest in the sector and signup to early years and childcare apprenticeships.
  • Announced that the childminder start-up grants scheme, which will provide financial support to new childminders entering the sector on or after 15 March 2023, will open for applications by Thursday 30 November 2023.
  • Tabled amendments to primary legislation (via the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill) to allow childminders to work with more people and spend more time on non-domestic premises.
  • Updated the Childcare Choices website so that parents can see exactly what additional childcare support they will be entitled to, using the updated website’s eligibility checker, based on the age of their child and earnings. The website now also gives parents the opportunity to sign up for regular updates letting them know when they should take action to make sure they are getting the support they are entitled to.  More information is available at: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.
  • Provided a further £12 million to local authorities this financial year to support them to effectively roll out the new offer and announced £100 million in capital funding for local authorities to support the delivery of the expansion of the 30-hours early years entitlement and of wraparound provision in maintained primary schools.
  • Substantial and ongoing engagement with local authorities and the sector to support their preparations for providing more places.

Further information on the rollout can be accessed at: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/07/07/free-childcare-how-we-tackling-the-cost-of-childcare/.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of whether the National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices is adequate, in the context of increases in inflation; what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on the adequacy of rates of pay for apprentices; and if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of increasing the National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices to 80 per cent of the National Minimum Wage on (a) take up, (b) completion rates and (c) outcomes of apprenticeships.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The government is committed to ensuring that apprentice pay supports the attraction and retention of talented individuals into apprenticeships.

The department recognises that apprentices may be experiencing financial pressures because of rises in the cost of living. In November 2022, the department accepted, in full, the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase the Apprentice National Minimum Wage by 9.7% to £5.28 from April 2023. This increase will help to counter the impact and the department continues to provide financial support to encourage more apprenticeship opportunities for young people.

Many employers choose to pay their apprentices more than the national minimum wage rates, recognising the value that apprentices bring to their workplace. Our data shows that average hourly pay for apprentices’ ranges between £8.23 for Level 2 and £14.02 for level 6.

The independent Low Pay Commission is responsible for advising government on annual changes to minimum pay rates. Its recommendations follow a period of extensive research and consultation with employers, sector representative bodies and government stakeholders. The consultation began on 23 March and closes on 9 June 2023. As with all other relevant stakeholders, the devolved administrations are welcome to contribute evidence.

The Commission has committed to keeping the Apprentice Rate under close review and will continue to assess whether a separate rate for apprentices is still justified. The full report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1129930/Low_Pay_Commission_Report_2022.pdf.

Furthermore, the department makes £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they take on apprentices aged 16-18, which can be used to support costs such as wages, uniforms or travel, and we are increasing our care leavers’ bursary from £1,000 to £3,000.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what is the estimated total cost to the public purse of publishing and distributing a commemorative book to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in Wales.

The published value of the contract, which is being funded by the department, is £12 million to develop, print and distribute sufficient books for all children in primary state funded education across the UK. Costs have not been broken down on a country by country basis. We are producing a near double-length bilingual book for Wales which will cost the UK government more to produce than single language versions.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of his Department’s advice on overnight stays on outdoor activity centres in (a) England and (b) Wales.

The Department has published guidance for providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5, setting out the safety measures that must be in place to ensure they can operate over the summer holiday: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

This follows confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that from Saturday 4 July these providers can operate, with safety measures in place.

The guidance advises that children and young people can take part in outdoor activities in small, consistent groups of no more than 15 with at least one staff member. Out-of-school provision should not, however, offer overnight or residential provision for the time-being. This is consistent with the latest government guidance on meeting people from outside your household, (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july) which advises that you should not stay overnight away from your home with members of more than 2 households.

Outdoor activity providers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 can find out what financial support is available for their business here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder. They may be eligible for tax relief, loans or cash grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for example depending on their circumstances.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what level of cooperation the Government will seek to negotiate with the EU on (a) Erasmus, (b) Creative Europe and (c) Horizon Europe after the UK leaves the EU.

This government values the strong collaborative partnerships that we have across Europe in many areas including science, research and innovation, education, culture and media. We want to continue to support these opportunities.

We will continue to collaborate with the EU on these areas and we have been clear that where it is in the UK’s interests we will seek to participate in some specific EU Programmes. The Political Declaration agreed with the EU in October 2019 demonstrates a shared intent between UK and EU leaders to agree a framework that supports collaboration in science and innovation.

The shape and content of EU Programmes post-2020, including Horizon Europe, Creative Europe and Erasmus+, are currently being negotiated in the EU Institutions and have not yet been finalised. These EU Programmes must be adopted by the EU before any potential formal negotiations on association could begin.

The UK government is preparing for every eventuality and considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international exchange and collaboration, including potential domestic alternatives.

23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on ensuring that healthy foods are more accessible and affordable.

Defra Ministers have regular discussions with Devolved Administration Ministers on a range of issues including at meetings of the Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (IMG EFRA). Food supply and sustainability was discussed at the last IMG EFRA meeting which was held on 6 March.

I recognise this is a challenging time for consumers and we are taking a large number of steps to support people with the cost of living, including targeted support of £26 billion announced by the Chancellor.

Defra works closely with retailers and producers to explore measures they can take to ensure the availability of healthy, affordable food.

A healthy diet is a key component of good health and the Government advises people to follow the Eatwell Guide. Encouraging more people to follow the Eatwell Guide will have a substantial benefit on health as well as the environment.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the adequacy of current regulations for online marketplaces at ensuring the safety of decapod crustaceans sold online.

Legislation protects all animals from being transported in a way likely to cause injury or suffering. Invertebrates are protected from injury or unnecessary suffering during transportation by a general duty of care provision in Article 4 of The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 (WATEO) and equivalent national legislation in Scotland and Wales. WATEO requires that animals are transported in receptacles or means of transport under conditions (in particular with regard to space, ventilation, temperature and security) and with such supply of liquid and oxygen, as are appropriate for the species concerned. No further assessment has been made.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will have discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on banning the sale of decapod crustaceans online where they are sent to consumers via postal or courier while alive.

No discussions have taken place with the Welsh Government.

The Government is considering carefully the implications of recognising in law the sentience of decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs and is working constructively with industry and stakeholders on these issues.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Environment Agency and (b) Health and Safety Executive on the regulatory options management analysis (RMOA) into per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Work is underway across HM Government to help us assess levels of PFAS occurring in the environment, their sources and potential risks to inform future policy and regulatory approaches. In the UK REACH Work Programme for 2021-22, Defra asked the EA and HSE to examine the risks posed by PFAS and develop a ‘Regulatory Management Options Analysis’ (RMOA). The RMOA will be published in due course and will make recommendations for risk management measures. Defra and the Devolved Administrations will carefully consider its recommendations to inform future PFAS policy, building on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to tackle chemicals of concern.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of prohibiting all non-essential use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on (a) human health, (b) water quality, (c) animal health and (d) biodiversity.

Work is underway across HM Government to help us assess levels of PFAS occurring in the environment, their sources and potential risks to inform future policy and regulatory approaches. In the UK REACH Work Programme for 2021-22, Defra asked the EA and HSE to examine the risks posed by PFAS and develop a ‘Regulatory Management Options Analysis’ (RMOA). The RMOA will be published in due course and will make recommendations for risk management measures. Defra and the Devolved Administrations will carefully consider its recommendations to inform future PFAS policy, building on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to tackle chemicals of concern.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits and feasibility of extending the length of validity of Animal Health Certificates.

For the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme, Great Britain and the Crown Dependencies are considered a Part 2 listed third country which requires an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for travel to the EU. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

The model AHC is set down in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 577/2013 and it states that the certificate is valid for 10 days from the date of issue until the date of entry into the EU, and that it is valid for onward travel within the EU for a period of four months subject to certain conditions. Great Britain cannot unilaterally choose to amend the conditions specified on this certificate.

Our advice for pet owners and users of assistance dogs travelling is that they should continue to contact their vet at least one month in advance to ensure their pet has the correct vaccinations and paperwork to travel abroad.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to implement the provisions of the Ivory Act 2018.

Earlier this year we ran a consultation on the implementation of the Ivory Act 2018 and on 14 September we published a summary of responses confirming our plans for implementation.

More recently we ran a consultation on additional enforcement requirements to the Ivory Act 2018 and published the government response on 6 December. There are no more consultations required ahead of us introducing secondary legislation to implement the Act, and establish enforcement provisions to bring the ban into force. We plan to implement the Ivory Act this winter and for the ban to come into force in Spring 2022.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed flat rate deposit under the Deposit Return Scheme on the drinks and container materials markets; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a variable rate of deposit under the Deposit Return Scheme.

We have recently closed our second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses with a view to publishing a government response later this year. We will be appointing a Deposit Management Organisation to run the DRS scheme. The recent consultation explored the potential for both a flat rate and variable rate deposit to be used in the scheme, and stated that the intention would be for the Deposit Management Organisation to have the power to set the deposit level within parameters set out in legislation by Government. This would include the ability to set either a flat rate or variable rate deposit. The government response to the consultation will include details on the agreed approach to setting a deposit level in the DRS.

I am acutely aware of the concerns that stakeholders have raised regarding the possible market distortions that could occur depending on the type and level of deposit set, and we will be keeping these concerns in mind when finalising the approach to setting and amending the deposit level.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) the competitiveness on the UK internal market of goods originating in Wales and (b) consumer choice in Wales of Government authorisation for use of a product containing a neonicotinoid to treat sugar beet seed in England.

The application for emergency authorisation of the neonicotinoid product Cruiser SB was made in respect of use in England only as there is no significant commercial sugar beet production elsewhere in the UK. It is not anticipated that the decision will have any impact on the competitiveness of goods from different parts of the UK or on consumer choice. Defra has not had any discussions with the Welsh Government on internal market effects of the decision.

Officials of the Welsh Government have been sighted on the Cruiser SB application and the decision. They have not flagged to Defra any issues about internal market implications of this application.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has had discussions with the Welsh Government on the effect on the internal market in Wales of the UK Government decision to grant authorisation for use of a product containing a neonicotinoid to treat sugar beet seed in England.

The application for emergency authorisation of the neonicotinoid product Cruiser SB was made in respect of use in England only as there is no significant commercial sugar beet production elsewhere in the UK. It is not anticipated that the decision will have any impact on the competitiveness of goods from different parts of the UK or on consumer choice. Defra has not had any discussions with the Welsh Government on internal market effects of the decision.

Officials of the Welsh Government have been sighted on the Cruiser SB application and the decision. They have not flagged to Defra any issues about internal market implications of this application.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing an independent body to protect racehorse welfare.

More must be done to improve racehorse safety and welfare. Officials have been in regular dialogue with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), British racing's governing and regulatory body, about the safety and welfare of racehorses, and to understand what the industry is doing to reduce the number of fatalities. The Government welcomed the creation of the racing industry's Horse Welfare Board, which was formed in March 2019 and includes members from across the racing industry, veterinarians and animal health and welfare experts.

The Board is committed to doing all it can to make the sport safer and we have welcomed the publication of the Board's five-year horse welfare strategy "A life well lived". The strategy contains 20 recommendations for the industry aimed at ensuring the best possible safety and quality of life for racehorses.

Whilst the Government does not consider it would be appropriate at this stage to appoint an independent body for racehorse welfare, my officials remain in regular contact with the industry and the Horse Welfare Board. We will be monitoring closely how the industry responds to the Board's recommendations so that the welfare needs of racehorses are met both during and after their racing lives.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) agricultural trades unions and (b) his counterparts in the Welsh Government on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on agricultural exports.

The Government fully supports Welsh farmers and recognises the importance of Welsh agricultural businesses to the UK economy.

We are actively monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 and related control measures with significant input from industry stakeholders.

The Chancellor has announced an initial £330 billion will be made available to support UK businesses. He also set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

We acknowledge concerns about the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak and its effect on agricultural exports and are working closely with key stakeholders from across the agri-food sector to help mitigate its impact. The National Farmers’ Union and the Devolved Administrations form part of Defra’s Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group (FCELG). This forum has and will continue to meet regularly to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the food and farming sectors across the UK, and what actions are needed to support the sector.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the level of food products imported from countries at risk of climate change.

No assessment has been made of the level of food products that are at risk of climate change and imported from other countries. Climate change occurs on a global scale, and the International Panel on Climate Change has stated that warming greater than the global average is being experienced in many land regions.

The UK imports approximately £50 billion of agri-food products per year. Of this, £35 billion of agri-food imports were from the EU27 in 2018. Defra has also published experimental statistics which estimate imported greenhouse gas emissions compared with emissions from domestic production, but this is not broken down by country or import type.

The Government is clear that more trade should not come at the expense of the environment. We will maintain and enhance our already high environmental standards whilst negotiating future trade agreements.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the (a) value and (b) proportion of market share was of imports of (i) beef, (ii) sheep meat, (iii) pork, (iv) dairy and (v) poultry products in each nation of the UK over the last three years.

Data at the level of detail requested is not available.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs regional trade statistics, UK imports by region over the last three years (2016 to 2018) were as follows:

Meat and meat preparations:

UK region

Import value (16-18)

Share of imports

England

£16bn

81%

Wales

£378m

1.9%

Scotland

£532m

2.7%

Northern Ireland

£1.5bn

7.5%

Unallocated regional trade

£1.4bn

7.0%

Dairy and eggs:

UK region

Import value (16-18)

Share of imports

England

£7.2bn

77%

Wales

£172m

1.8%

Scotland

£281m

3.0%

Northern Ireland

£511m

5.4%

Unallocated regional trade

£1.2bn

13%

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) tonnage and (b) value of (i) beef, (ii) sheep meat, (iii) pork, (iv) dairy and (v) poultry products have been imported in the last three years, by country of source.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs overseas trade statistics, UK imports in the last three years were as follows:

Beef & veal and beef products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

340,000

360,000

360,000

Value

£1.2bn

£1.3bn

£1.4bn

The Irish Republic was the top import market for beef and veal, with 700,000 tonnes worth £2.6 billion over the three years. Second was Brazil with 80,000 tonnes worth £274 million. Third was the Netherlands with 60,000 tonnes worth £262 million.

Sheep meat:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

90,000

80,000

78,000

Value

£345m

£369m

£373m

New Zealand was the top import market for sheep meat, with 170,000 tonnes worth £790 million over the three years. Second was Australia with 32,000 tonnes worth £140 million. Third was the Irish Republic with 23,000 tonnes worth £78 million.

Pork, bacon & ham:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

680,000

690,000

670,000

Value

£1.3bn

£1.5bn

£1.4bn

Denmark was the top import market for pork, bacon and ham, with 690,000 tonnes worth £1.3 billion over the three years. Second was the Netherlands with 450,000 tonnes worth £890 million. Third was Germany with 360,000 tonnes worth £754 million.

Dairy products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

1,400,000

1,500,000

1,600,000

Value

£2.6bn

£3.0bn

£3.3bn

The Irish Republic was the top import market for dairy products, with 1,300,000 tonnes worth £2.2 billion over the three years. Second was France with 840,000 tonnes worth £1.5 billion. Third was Germany with 700,000 tonnes worth £1.1 billion.

Poultry meat and poultry products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

860,000

850,000

860,000

Value

£2.0bn

£2.2bn

£2.4bn

The Netherlands was the top import market for poultry meat and poultry products, with 700,000 tonnes worth £1.9 billion over the three years. Second was Thailand with 440,000 tonnes worth £1.3 billion. Third was Poland with 380,000 tonnes worth £929 million.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much and what proportion of exports of (a) beef, (b) sheep meat, (c) pork, (d) dairy and (e) poultry products were attributable to each devolved nation of the UK in each of the last three years.

Data at the level of detail requested is not available.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs regional trade statistics, UK exports by region over the last three years (2016 to 2018) were as follows:

Meat and meat preparations:

UK region

export value (16-18)

Share of exports

England

£3.3bn

63%

Wales

£310m

5.9%

Scotland

£310m

5.9%

Northern Ireland

£970m

18%

Unallocated regional trade

£342m

6.5%

Dairy and eggs:

UK region

export value (16-18)

Share of exports

England

£2.4bn

48%

Wales

£319m

6.4%

Scotland

£141m

2.8%

Northern Ireland

£1.4bn

28%

Unallocated regional trade

£706m

14%

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the (a) tonnage and (b) value was of exports of (i) beef, (ii) sheep meat, (iii) pork, (iv) dairy and (v) poultry products to each destination country in each of the last three years.

According to Defra analysis of HM Revenue & Customs overseas trade statistics, UK exports in the last three years were as follows:

Beef & veal and beef products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

120,000

110,000

120,000

Value

£393m

£440m

£474m

The Irish Republic was the top export market for beef and veal, with 120,000 tonnes worth £426 million over the three years. Second was the Netherlands with 80,000 tonnes worth £273 million. Third was France with 28,000 tonnes worth £150 million.

Sheep meat:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

78,000

90,000

83,000

Value

£327m

£385m

£367m

France was the top export market for sheep meat, with 120,000 tonnes worth £509 million over the three years. Second was Germany with 40,000 tonnes worth £174 million. Third was Belgium with 22,000 tonnes worth 124 million.

Pork, bacon & ham:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

220,000

240,000

240,000

Value

£293m

£347m

£354m

The Irish Republic was the top export market for pork, bacon and ham, with 140,000 tonnes worth £363 million over the three years. Second was China with 120,000 tonnes worth £130 million. Third was Germany with 100,000 tonnes worth £108 million.

Dairy products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

1,100,000

1,400,000

1,400,000

Value

£1.3bn

£1.7bn

£1.8bn

The Irish Republic was the top export market for dairy products, with 2,700,000 tonnes worth £1.6 billion over the three years. Second was the Netherlands with 310,000 tonnes worth £506 million. Third was France with 150,000 tonnes worth £407 million.

Poultry meat and poultry products:

2016

2017

2018

Tonnes

340,000

400,000

430,000

Value

£358m

£404m

£438m

The Irish Republic was the top export market for poultry meat and poultry products by value, with 160,000 tonnes worth £428 million over the three years. The Netherlands was the top export market by volume, with 320,000 tonnes worth £121 million over the three years. France was the third largest export market with 100,000 tonnes worth £107 million.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what discussions he has had with the representatives of the Welsh Government on (a) Wales and (b) the UK participation in (i) Erasmus, (ii) Creative Europe and (iii) Horizon Europe after the UK leaves the EU.

The Secretary of State most recently had a bilateral meeting with Jeremy Miles AM on 9 January 2020 to discuss a number of topics. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU negotiations also took place on 9 January 2020 which was attended by Lord Callanan, Minister of State.

If it is in the UK’s interests we will seek to participate in some EU programmes, such as those related to science, research and innovation, as a third country. The Political Declaration provides for this possibility, and the terms of participation would be a matter for upcoming negotiations.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on taking a sector-by-sector agreements approach to negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

We recognise the importance of working closely with colleagues in the devolved administrations on preparations for negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and the significant interests of the devolved administrations and responsibilities for implementation in a number of areas.

The Secretary of State most recently met with Jeremy Miles AM on 9 January 2020. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU negotiations also took place on 9 January 2020 which was attended by Lord Callanan, Minister of State, and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what financial support his Department is offering to support humanitarian assistance to migrants along the Greek-Turkish border.

The UK has a strong relationship with Greece on migration that was enhanced on 22 April 2020 in a joint migration action plan. We continue to offer support to the Greek Government to alleviate pressure and deliver sustainable improvements in the Greek migration system. We support vital search and rescue operations in the Aegean and have provided funding for emergency winter supplies for migrants in the Greek islands.

The UK has a similarly strong relationship with the Turkish government. We continue to contribute to the €6 billion Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which supports Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey. Through the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) we work to strengthen Turkey’s national migration institutions and their migration policies. We do not have specific humanitarian programmes focused on the Greek-Turkish border.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance was spent on tackling female genital mutilation in each financial year since 2015.

The UK leads the world in our support to the Africa-led movement to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In 2018, we announced a further £50 million UK aid package – the biggest single donor investment worldwide to date – to tackle this issue across the most-affected countries in Africa.

The table below sets out how much DFID spent on specific programmes to end FGM in the years 2015-18. Estimates for 2019 spending will be available in autumn 2020.

DFID also supports efforts to end FGM through wider programmes and multi-donor funds which address sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, including FGM. It is not possible to disaggregate the FGM-specific spend in these programmes, so the table does not reflect the entirety of DFID spend in this area.

in £

2015

2016

2017

2018

FGM programme specific ODA Spend

£8.1 m

£10.0m

£9.4m

£5.2m

FGM spend as % of DFID ODA

0.083%

0.102%

0.093%

0.048%

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what oversight his Department plans to provide for partnerships between the City of London and African partners with reference to UK aid.

As one of the world’s largest capital markets and a global centre of financial expertise, the UK has a central role to play in channelling private capital to developing economies. We want to ensure that the City of London is a leading financial centre for the developing world, supporting economic growth, job creation and an exit from aid.

That is why at the UK-Africa Investment Summit we announced almost £400 million in UK aid support for initiatives that will improve financial systems and regulations of 45 developing nations in Africa, make it easier for global investors to invest in Africa at scale, and help African governments and companies to raise international capital in their own currencies.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with the Welsh Government on supporting Welsh businesses at Hannover Messe 2022.

I have not had any discussions with the Welsh Government regarding supporting Welsh businesses at Hannover Messe.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that protecting (a) the environment and (b) the human rights of indigenous communities are embedded in future trade and investment agreements.

HM Government is committed to upholding rights and responsibilities around the world, which guide our international policy, including our approach to trade.

We are protecting the environment through our recently signed trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, which go beyond precedent. They preserve our right to regulate to meet net zero, affirm our shared commitment to the Paris Agreement and seek to cooperate on a range of environmental issues.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what guidance her Department is providing to UK businesses on sponsorship of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) does not get involved with sponsorship discussions as this is a commercial matter for companies that may wish to choose to sponsor or become an official partner or supplier of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. DIT, along with the British Embassy in Beijing, offers trade advice and support to UK companies seeking to pursue export opportunities, including those which might arise from the organisation of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve the balance of payments between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The Department for International Trade actively seeks out business opportunities in Ireland for firms across the United Kingdom to help increase market share. The Government continuously identifies supply lines in Ireland that match UK expertise in key sectors like Offshore Wind, Construction and Infrastructure, Life Sciences and Maritime/Aviation Services. The Government works closely with existing and new exporters, provides market access support and helps companies win contracts, which in turn generates new revenue for the United Kingdom.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2021 to Question 17695 on Investment and Trade: Wales, what her Department’s allocated budget is for the (a) establishment and (b) running of the proposed trade and investment hub in Scotland.

The budget allocated to the Department for International Trade (DIT) Scotland hub for the current financial year is £714,394 to cover staff pay for the initial team. We expect costs to increase as our delivery progresses under the Places for Growth programme, which will see DIT grow its presence in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and Darlington. The budget allocated for running the DIT Scotland hub in future years will be determined after the upcoming spending review has concluded.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Departments allocated budget is for the (a) establishment, and (b) running of the proposed trade and investment hub in Wales.

The budget allocated to the Department for International Trade (DIT) Wales hub for the current financial year is £419k, to cover staff pay for the initial team. We expect costs to increase as our delivery progresses under the Places for Growth programme, which will see the DIT grow its presence in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and Darlington. The budget allocated for running the DIT Wales hub in future years will be determined after the upcoming spending review has concluded.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she had with the Welsh Government prior to the announcement of a Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) works closely with the devolved administrations on our full trade agenda. This includes regular ministerial engagement through the Ministerial Forum for Trade, which takes place at least 3 times a year and which met most recently on March 18th.

DIT also runs a substantial programme of senior official-level engagement which includes Welsh Government colleagues, for example through our Senior Officials Group and Executive Forum.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many meetings she has had with the Welsh Government on the (a) Welsh Government’s trade strategy and (b) promotion of Welsh exports in 2020.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) works closely with the devolved administrations on our full trade agenda. This includes regular ministerial engagement through the Ministerial Forum for Trade, which takes place at least 3 times a year and which met most recently on March 18th.

DIT also runs a substantial programme of senior official-level engagement which includes Welsh Government colleagues, for example through our Senior Officials Group and Executive Forum.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department conducted an impact assessment on the establishment of a Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff.

No impact assessment was conducted on the establishment of a Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff. Government-led research included in a Board of Trade report published in March showed exports support 6.5m jobs across the UK, 74% of which are outside London. The research estimates jobs directly and indirectly supported by exports pay around 7% higher than the national median, with Office for National Statistics estimating that goods-exporting businesses are also 21% more productive. Exports and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will be central to this Government’s mission to ‘level up’ the UK economy. Given this context, the Trade and Investment Hubs in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and Darlington will be established as part of the Department for International Trade’s refreshed strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK.
Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to support the Welsh Government’s trade responsibilities established through the 2013 Devolution Memorandum of Understanding.

The 2013 MoU states that HMG has lead responsibility for the provision of support and assistance to new and existing exporters and outward investors both at home and overseas, and for promoting the UK to foreign investors. The Welsh Government is responsible for devising and implementing additional programmes to meet the particular needs of companies in Wales and for promoting Wales to foreign investors.

We are dedicated to providing the best possible trade and investment support for all nations of the United Kingdom. Last month, we announced a new Trade and Investment Hub in Cardiff as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK, including benefits from future free trade agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand and CPTPP. My colleague, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, holds regular bilateral meetings with his Welsh counterpart as well as the quarterly Ministerial Forum for Trade.

In 2020 more than 56,000 jobs were created throughout the UK through foreign investment, including 2,736 new jobs in Wales. Our free trade agreements will significantly benefit exporters in Wales. For example, indicative estimates show that an ambitious UK-US FTA could boost the economy in Wales by £154m.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with HMRC to simplify the application of VAT charges on imported goods.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade work closely together to ensure the interests of traders are taken into account in developing HM Government’s policies on Value Added Tax (VAT) and helping businesses understand the policies.

Following the end of the transition period, businesses can account for import VAT on goods from European Union (EU) and non-EU countries through their periodic VAT returns, helping with their cash flow. Changes to other VAT rules on the import of goods have been made to address non-compliance and ensure UK high street businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from overseas businesses bringing in VAT-free imports.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will (a) make an assessment of the potential effect on the price of food in the UK of a new trade agreement and (b) lay that assessment before Parliament before signing an agreement.

The potential benefits of our new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) include better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for people across the United Kingdom.

HM Government has published scoping assessments for FTAs with the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. We will publish impact assessments following the outcome of negotiations too, which will include an assessment of the potential benefits for British consumers.

The Hon. Gentleman will recall that an impact assessment for the United Kingdom-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has already been published.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the risk of litigation for developing countries through the Investor-state dispute settlement mechanism as a result of those countries' covid-19 response.

The United Kingdom has investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 trading partners. HM Government recognises the importance of strengthening international investment in response to COVID-19, and the continuing important role played by both investment protection and ISDS provisions in safeguarding British investors overseas – including pensioners across the country through their pension funds, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

We are clear that HM Government and our treaty partners retain the right to regulate in the public interest, including for public health purposes, that is already recognised under international law. There has never been a successful ISDS claim against the United Kingdom, nor has the threat of potential claims affected our legislation.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Department's policy is on the use of the Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism.

The United Kingdom has already negotiated investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 trading partners. The precise details of any future Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) are a matter for formal negotiations, and we would not seek to pre-empt these discussions.

HM Government recognises the important role that investment protections with ISDS can play in protecting British investors abroad – including pensioners across the country through their pension funds, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Where ISDS is included in future agreements, we will seek to ensure fair outcomes of claims and high ethical standards for arbitrators, with increased transparency and efficiency of proceedings.

The conduct of ISDS cases is a matter for the parties involved in the dispute and the arbitral tribunal responsible for the proceedings under the relevant international investment agreement. HM Government is not a party to any such proceedings.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to help suspend Investor-State dispute settlement cases against Governments in countries that are affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

The United Kingdom has already negotiated investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 trading partners. The precise details of any future Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) are a matter for formal negotiations, and we would not seek to pre-empt these discussions.

HM Government recognises the important role that investment protections with ISDS can play in protecting British investors abroad – including pensioners across the country through their pension funds, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Where ISDS is included in future agreements, we will seek to ensure fair outcomes of claims and high ethical standards for arbitrators, with increased transparency and efficiency of proceedings.

The conduct of ISDS cases is a matter for the parties involved in the dispute and the arbitral tribunal responsible for the proceedings under the relevant international investment agreement. HM Government is not a party to any such proceedings.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on restricting future international trade deals to countries that operate a market economy.

HM Government continues to engage regularly with all relevant counterparts as we carry out our ambitious programme of negotiating free trade deals, including negotiating our future relationship with the EU.

As we do so, we will continue to make decisions based on the United Kingdom’s national interest.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which countries are deemed by her Department as operating under non-market economy conditions.

In line with WTO rules, the United Kingdom’s trade remedies framework allows the application of non-market economy treatment for countries:

a) That are not members of the WTO;

b) That are members of the WTO, but where the terms of their membership contain specific provisions regarding the determination of the normal value; or

c) Where there is a complete or substantially complete monopoly of its trade, and where all or substantially all domestic prices are fixed by the government.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what video conferencing system her Department will be using to conduct trade negotiations.

For security reasons I am unable to comment on the solution being used to conduct negotiations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the export potential for green hydrogen produced in the UK.

The Department for International Trade is engaging with UK suppliers from the hydrogen industry, sector specific research centres and trade associations to understand UK capability across low carbon hydrogen technologies, including green hydrogen production. The Department is also working with UK suppliers, foreign Governments and procuring authorities to identify potential export markets and opportunities.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the export potential for green compressed natural gas.

No assessment has been undertaken by the Department for International Trade of the export potential for green compressed natural gas.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on the future role of that Government’s trade offices.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) engages extensively with the Devolved Administrations on all trade policy issues and the formulation of trade negotiation positions. I have regular contact with my Welsh Government counterpart, and in January I hosted the inaugural meeting of the Ministerial Forum for Trade, which will play an important role in ensuring that the voices of all the nations of the UK are considered as negotiations progress. DIT also runs a substantial programme of official level engagement, including our Senior Officials Group and regular policy engagement, to ensure DA views are inputted at all levels and all stages of the process.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on trade negotiations with Algeria.

We have been in dialogue with all our trading partners around the world to ensure continuity of our current trading arrangements at the end of the Transition Period. Discussions with Algeria are ongoing, and I have personally visited Algeria to drive this agenda forward. These discussions will continue throughout the Transition Period.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made an assessment of the carbon footprint of each economic sector in its trade strategy.

The Department for International Trade is considering how to factor climate change and environmental impacts into the Government’s trade strategy, in order to drive the transition to a more sustainable global economy, whilst delivering economic benefits for the UK.

The Government is committed to tackling climate change at home and overseas. That is why we were the first major economy to legislate for net zero emission by 2050 and we will be targeting ambitious action to deliver on the promise of the 2015 Paris Agreement during our presidency of COP26 this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of encouraging the use of electrically assisted pedal cycles in he final stages of deliveries on the Government’s ability to meet its climate targets.

Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles are an important part of the Government’s ambition for active travel, including in relation to the support of last mile deliveries.

The Department has previously provided grant funding for organisations and local authorities to purchase e-cargo cycles. A report on the impact of this funding will be published in due course.

9th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the maximum power output for electrically assisted pedal cycles used as (a) cargo bikes and (b) adaptive disability bikes while maintaining existing speed limits.

The Department is aware that there may be benefits in increasing the continuous rated motor power for Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) particularly for e-cargo bikes and bikes adapted for people with disabilities. Any amendments would need to take account of how changes could affect the safety of the rider and other road users, including pedestrians.

The Department most recently reviewed the case for amending the current power restrictions as part of the Future of Transport Regulatory Review Call for Evidence published in 2020. The summary of the Call for Evidence is available online, at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-transport-regulatory-review-call-for-evidence-on-micromobility-vehicles-flexible-bus-services-and-mobility-as-a-service. The matter was also considered as part of a call for evidence on last mile deliveries in 2018. The Government’s response to this consultation is available online, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-last-mile-a-call-for-evidence.

The Department will continue to keep the policy under review.

9th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983, what assessment he has made of the impact of the requirement that the electric motors of such cycles must have a maximum power output of 250 watts on the ability of (a) cargo bikes and (b) adaptive disability bikes to operate safely and effectively on (i) hilly and (ii) other terrain.

The Department is aware that there may be benefits in increasing the continuous rated motor power for Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) particularly for e-cargo bikes and bikes adapted for people with disabilities. Any amendments would need to take account of how changes could affect the safety of the rider and other road users, including pedestrians.

The Department most recently reviewed the case for amending the current power restrictions as part of the Future of Transport Regulatory Review Call for Evidence published in 2020. The summary of the Call for Evidence is available online, at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-transport-regulatory-review-call-for-evidence-on-micromobility-vehicles-flexible-bus-services-and-mobility-as-a-service. The matter was also considered as part of a call for evidence on last mile deliveries in 2018. The Government’s response to this consultation is available online, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-last-mile-a-call-for-evidence.

The Department will continue to keep the policy under review.

20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average waiting time for practical car driving tests is in North Wales.

Number of driving examiners in Wales

Number of driving examiners able to conduct tests in Welsh

2022

98

8

2021

90

13

2020

88

13

2019

89

13

2018

95

No historic data held

We have recently recruited 403 driving examiners, of which 25 are in Welsh test centres.

Waiting times in Wales for car practical driving tests have reduced from 18.3 weeks as of 21 June 2021 to 12.5 weeks as of 16 January 2023.

On 13 January 2023, the DVSA launched its latest campaign to recruit another 183 DE posts.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of the 436 additional driving instructors announced have been recruited; how many have been recruited in North Wales as of 19 January 2023; and of those recruited in North Wales how many are able to conduct tests in Welsh

Number of driving examiners in Wales

Number of driving examiners able to conduct tests in Welsh

2022

98

8

2021

90

13

2020

88

13

2019

89

13

2018

95

No historic data held

We have recently recruited 403 driving examiners, of which 25 are in Welsh test centres.

Waiting times in Wales for car practical driving tests have reduced from 18.3 weeks as of 21 June 2021 to 12.5 weeks as of 16 January 2023.

On 13 January 2023, the DVSA launched its latest campaign to recruit another 183 DE posts.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Railways high level output specification 2022 and Railways statement of funds available 2022 published on 1 December 2022, how much of the funding for Network Rail expenditure he plans to allocate to Wales.

The Secretary of State's High-level Output Specification and Statement of Funds Available for Control Period 7 were published in December 2022. These documents set Network Rail’s high-level operations, maintenance and renewals objectives and funding envelope in England and Wales. Enhancements are excluded as these are planned and funded separately. The precise allocation of funding between Network Rail's different regions, including Wales, is decided by Network Rail's business planning process and is subject to the determinations of the independent regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the impact of the reduction in Avanti West Coast's service since summer 2022 on the economy of North Wales.

No assessment has been made of the specific impact but the Department recognises the importance of a high performing railway in contributing to growth and local economies. Avanti West Coast temporarily reduced its overall timetable to ensure a more stable and reliable service for passengers. It has now restored services to North Wales with five direct services between London and Holyhead per day, more than before the August timetable step-down. Crucially, this uplift in services is not dependent on driver rest day working.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of the 436 additional driving instructors announced have been recruited; and how many have been recruited in (a) Wales and (b) North Wales as of 25 November 2022.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as it can, including recruiting more than 300 driving examiners across Great Britain. The first recovery recruitment campaign was launched on 10 February 2021. Since then, 383 driving examiners have entered testing, of which 24 were in Welsh test centres.

On 20 September 2022, the DVSA launched its latest campaign to recruit another 134 driving examiner posts.

Since the commencement of the recovery recruitment campaigns, waiting times in Wales for car practical driving tests have reduced from 18.3 weeks as of 21 June 2021 to 5.8 weeks as of 31 October 2022, with a year to date average waiting time of 6.7 weeks.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment has he made of the impact of the requirement for doctors issuing Seafarer medical certificates to be approved by the Maritime Coastguard Agency on the ability of seafarers to obtain those certificates.

The impact of requiring doctors to be approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has not been assessed as this is necessary to comply with the relevant international Conventions.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending the seafarer medical certificate regulations in order to reduce (a) complications, (b) delays and (c) additional expense for seafarers obtaining medical certificates.

The seafarer medical certificate infrastructure and procedure is under continuous assessment by the medical administration team at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for compliance with the relevant international Conventions, to ensure sound clinical decision making and for provision of a quality service.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department reviewed the regulations governing seafarer medical certificates.

The regulations are kept under continuous review, but in particular, implementing the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations, 2010, provided the opportunity for a review of the process to ensure compliance with the international Conventions. Further amendments were made in 2018. A statutory post-implementation review is currently underway, due for publication in due course.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the levels of freight traffic passing through the ports of (a) Holyhead, (b) Pembroke dock and (c) Fishguard in (i) 2019 and (ii) 2022.

Ports and Port policy in Wales (with the exception of the port of Milford Haven) are devolved and are handled by the Welsh Assembly.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a system of licensing for drivers of jet skis.

The riding of personal watercraft for pleasure is, in the majority of cases, conducted both sensibly and safely. Serious incidents involving these craft are rare. However, the Department recognises that, through their actions, a minority of users can endanger other water users and wildlife.

Local and harbour authorities already have significant powers to respond to instances of dangerous or anti-social behaviour in the waters they manage. To provide additional support, the Department has recently consulted on draft legislation to implement additional enforcement measures to enable those who do misuse personal watercraft to be prosecuted. The Department believes this is a proportionate and effective response to the issue.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on the effect of Marine Guidance Note 628 on the Welsh fishing fleet.

Marine Guidance Note 628 came into effect on 20 July 2020, when SEAFISH Industry Authority ceased to undertake the survey of new build fishing vessels. An internal assessment was conducted on the impact of the changes on all fishing vessels being built in the United Kingdom or for The UK Ship Register, which will have included those built for use in Wales. To ensure a smooth transition, no changes to the technical requirements of the standards were made until a formal review has taken place.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his timeframe is for bringing forward legislative proposals to bring personal watercraft within the safe use and conduct provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

We are continuing to develop the necessary proposals to bring personal watercraft within the safe use and conduct provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. A public consultation seeking comments on the draft legislation will be published once this process has been completed.

Local and harbour authorities already have significant powers to introduce measures to deal with any issues in the waters they manage through byelaws and harbour directions.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussion he has had with her Welsh counterpart on improving the competitiveness of Holyhead port for EU transit traffic relative to European mainland ports.

The Port of Holyhead, and utilisation of the ‘land bridge’, remains a competitive option for freight traffic to and from Ireland and the European mainland and is a preference for many freight operations. The land bridge route has significant advantages for hauliers over maritime routes and I am confident that Welsh ports will continue to thrive as we build on the opportunities provided by being an independent trading nation.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment has he made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the availability of heavy goods vehicle drivers in the UK.

Prior to the pandemic, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) conducted over 70,000 LGV tests in a normal year with more than 40,000 drivers passing their LGV test each year over the last four years. The shutdown of vocational driver training and testing during the pandemic resulted in the loss of about 30,000 test slots.

Testing has now restarted, and DVSA is making available 3,000 slots per week for vocational tests. This is double the number of LGV tests normally conducted each week before the pandemic.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment has he made of the effect of migration provisions in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the ability of UK road transport businesses to hire drivers.

The economic impacts of the measures necessary to tackle Covid-19 have changed the UK labour market with many UK-based workers needing to find new employment opportunities.

Therefore, our focus is on supporting the industry to address the driver shortage by training more UK-based drivers. This is being facilitated through apprenticeships and support for jobseekers to access driver training, including support to renew their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

The Department has provided grant funding for the non-profit initiative Road to Logistics to train military service leavers, ex-offenders and the long term unemployed, and to Think Logistics/Career Ready to change perceptions of the industry among young people.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the amount of funding that would be allocated to the Welsh rail system in the event that funding was allocated in proportion to (a) the number of passenger journeys, (b) the length of the rail network and (c) on a per capita basis.

DfT has not made such an assessment. While these factors such as total track miles and passenger miles impact the cost base of the railway, overall the railway is not funded on this basis. Railway decisions are made on a range of operational and engineering needs as well as economic, commercial, social and environmental considerations. This is in addition to considering the impact of wider transport investments taken as a whole.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been invested in the rail network in Wales in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

During this financial year (2021/2022), the third year of the current Network Rail Control Period (which runs from 2019 to 2024), planned spend on renewals in Wales is £226 million.

The past expenditure on renewals in Wales by year during this Control Period was £223 million in 2020/2021 and £185 million in 2019/2020.

While figures for expenditure on enhancements as a separate line item are not easily available given the nature of Network Rail funding and the different sources of funding for projects that are termed as ‘enhancements’, there was from FY18/19 to FY20/21 an estimated £143m invested in enhancements in Wales, predominantly in FY20/21.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the Barnett consequential payment to the Welsh Government in the event that responsibility for rail in Wales was devolved in the same manner as in Scotland.

There are currently no plans for further devolution of the railway in Wales beyond the Core Valley lines which were devolved in March 2020. The Welsh and English railways are highly integrated. In the absence of a specific devolution proposal, it is difficult to make any meaningful assessment of a Barnett consequential.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the British Transport Police Authority on ensuring effective enforcement of covid-19 restrictions.

As the responsible Minister, I have discussed the enforcement of covid-19 restrictions and other operational issues with both the British Transport Police Authority and the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police Force, who is responsible for the delivery of operational policing. In addition, officials have regular discussions with the British Transport Police regarding its work to support Covid-19 regulations and Government guidance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of blacklisting sellers of unroadworthy vehicles with improperly issued MOT certificates.

The Department for Transport has not made a recent assessment in this regard. However it is already an offence to sell a vehicle that is in an unroadworthy condition under section 75 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of vehicles not fit for the roads that have been improperly issued a MOT certificate in each of the last five years.

The Department for Transport does not make an annual assessment on this basis. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) takes action against garages if they are found to be issuing certificates to unroadworthy vehicles, including stopping them from testing altogether. In 2020 the DVSA stopped 443 garages and testers from testing.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department made of the potential merits of extending the current appeal periods for improperly issued MOT certificates of (a) three months for corrosion-related problems or (b) 28 days for other defects for buyers of unworthy road vehicles.

The Department for Transport has not made a recent assessment of extending the appeals periods for improperly issued MOT certificates. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) consider that 28 days for mechanical defects and 3 months for corrosion are still fit for purpose.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential (a) long-term and (b) short-term freight traffic flows through the port of (i) Holyhead and (ii) Liverpool after the end of the transition period.

DfT has considered the impact of additional border requirements for goods travelling to the EU following the end of the transition period. In the case of both Liverpool and Holyhead detailed modelling has been undertaken considering the potential impact of these additional checks. The modelling considered a Reasonable Worst Case Scenario (RWCS). Even under the RWCS, disruption is expected to be relatively limited at these locations with any queues clearing within the day and as such there is not expected to be a marked knock on impact on the volume of goods travelling through those ports. This impact is also expected to reduce as traders become used to the new border requirements over time. Nevertheless these queues could lead to short term localised traffic disruption. DfT has shared the results of its modelling with the Welsh Government and relevant Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) so that these estimates can be considered in the development of their traffic management plans.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2020 to Question 82606, what progress he has made on those enforcement measures; when he plans to publish those measures; whether he plans to ensure that those measures cover England and Wales; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is continuing to develop draft legislation which will provide powers for enforcement authorities to ensure that anyone who wilfully or neglectfully causes an accident when using a personal water craft can be prosecuted. A consultation on the draft legislation, which would be applicable to the whole of the United Kingdom, will be published shortly.

Local and harbour authorities already have significant powers to introduce measures deal with any issues in the waters they manage through byelaws and harbour directions.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his timescale is for the completion of the Union Connectivity Review; whether that review will make an assessment of the potential merits of air connectivity between (a)(i) Ynys Mon and (ii) Gwynedd and London and (b)(i) Ynys Mon and (ii) Gwynedd and Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

The Union Connectivity Review interim report will be published in January 2021, with final recommendations in Summer 2021. The Review will cover transport connectivity between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland via road, rail and air and across the Irish Sea. This will be an independent review chaired by Sir Peter Hendy who will determine which air corridors should be assessed.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the eligibility criteria for future funding packages to protect ferry freight routes; what assessment he has made of the potential merits of basing that eligibility on (a) projections of profitability, (b) financial losses and (c) planned redundancies.

As well as safeguarding vital lifeline services to the Isle of Wright and the Isles of Scilly, we announced a package for critical Roll On, Roll Off (RoRo) freight routes between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe, on 24 April. We will shortly publish information about which of the eligible 31 routes will receive funding.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the criteria was for the allocation of funding to protect routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; when he plans to publish details of further support for (a) routes between Wales and the Republic of Ireland and (b) other ferry routes; and if he will publish details of the financial commitments made under the joint statement between the UK, France and Ireland, published on 24 April 2020.

The Government has announced potential support for routes that ensure the flow of critical goods into and within the UK.

Discussions are ongoing with operators on eligible routes to determine whether those routes are no-longer economically viable. We will keep the scheme under review and we are working closely with the Devolved Administrations.

There are no financial commitments as part of the Joint Statement with France and Ireland.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to help reduce disruption to British ports as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has a programme of ongoing engagement with ports associations and individual ports, to ensure that there is as little interruption as possible to the flow of goods in and out of the UK. The security and safety of seafarers and port workers continues to be protected.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the new spending on re-opening historic railway lines announced on 28 January will (a) apply to England only and (b) result in Barnett consequentials for the devolved administrations.

The UK Government’s announcement is for £500m funding to support railway re-openings within the territory for which it has funding responsibility (England and Wales). It has no immediate implications for DfT’s spending limits, and therefore none for funding of railways in the Devolved Administrations.

The final profile and exact funding arrangements for the reversing Beeching Fund have not yet been agreed. Final decisions on funding will be made at the Spending Review in the usual way.

Her Majesty’s Government is clear about the benefit of pan UK connections. For example, elsewhere in the United Kingdom the Government is supporting the examination of the potential reopening of the Edinburgh- Carlisle ‘Waverley line’ as part of the Borders Growth Deal.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of index linking pension payments of failed pension schemes under the (a) Financial Assistance Scheme and (b) Pension Protection Fund.

While all pensions legislation is kept under review as a matter of course, there are currently no plans to amend (a) the Financial Assistance Scheme rules on indexation or (b) the Pension Protection Fund rules on indexation. These are complex matters and require careful consideration before any changes are made.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the real-terms change as a result of inflation in the value of pension payments that were not index linked for Allied Steel and Wire pensioners under the FAS since 2007.

The information required to carry out such an assessment is not readily available and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs. The Department has therefore made no such assessment and does not intend to do so, at this time.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of using alternative methods of determining eligibility for cold weather payments.

The Department continually monitors Cold Weather Payment policies and procedures to identify opportunities to improve the scheme's effectiveness. This includes working with the Met Office, who review the scheme each year to assess whether the linkages between postcode areas and weather stations remain the best available.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of offering secured e-mail as a communications option for his Department's customers upon request.

DWP utilises technology which allows encryption with most providers of personal email services, such as Gmail or Outlook, helping this stay secure. As such, email communication with customers is currently permitted in certain circumstances, for example, where the customer has a reasonable adjustment in place.

The Department is keen to utilise the benefits provided by email communication and is currently exploring the possibilities of expanding its use of email to communicate with customers.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Back to Work plan, published on 16 November 2023, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on whether measures to restrict the eligibility to free prescriptions of benefit claimants who are subject to sanctions will apply to claimants in Wales.

We are not restricting eligibility to free prescriptions of benefit claimants who are subject to sanctions. Claimants may still be entitled to access those passported benefits through other means.

At Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that we will be closing claims for people who refuse to engage in employment support following a sanction decision and in receipt of a nil award for a period of 6 months or longer. As always, if entitlement to passported benefits is reliant solely on a Universal Credit claim to establish eligibility, that will cease if the claim is closed.

DWP has a well-established relationship with the Welsh Government, ensuring that we work together on devolved and reserved areas effectively. Universal Credit is reserved, and as such once the proposal is in legislation it will apply in England, Scotland and Wales.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims for Disability Living Allowance for children were made in Arfon constituency in each of the last three years for which data is available.

We have grouped the response to the above two parliamentary questions.

The information is not available. However, quarterly statistics for the number of children receiving Disability Living Allowance, by length of claim and by Westminster Parliamentary Constituency to February 2023, are published on Stat-Xplore.

Users can log in or access Stat-Xplore as a guest user and, if needed, can access guidance on how to extract the information required.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many unsuccessful claims for Disability Living Allowance for children were (a) appealed and (b) successful following an appeal in Arfon constituency in each of the last three years for which data is available.

Figures for Disability Living Allowance appeals for claimants in the Arfon parliamentary constituency completed in each of the last 3 years are too small to be disclosed. The table below provides figures for the full 3 year period.

Year

Appeals completed

Appeals lapsed

Appeals overturned at tribunal

July 2020 – June 2023

5

-

5

Notes:

  • All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 5. ‘-‘ represents nil or negligible.
  • Appeals data taken from the DWP administrative data. This may differ from that held by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service for various reasons such as delays in data recording and other methodological differences in collating and preparing statistics.
  • Appeals data up to 30 June 2023 in line with latest published statistics on appeals.
  • The Parliamentary Constituency geography relates to the origin of the claim (i.e. derived from claimant’s postcode) rather than the location of where a tribunal is held.
  • These figures are produced using administrative data. They are not quality assured to Official Statistics standards and may be subject to revision.
  • A lapsed appeal is where DWP changed the decision in the customer’s favour after an appeal was lodged, but before it was heard at a tribunal hearing.
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what was the average time taken for Disability Living Allowance for children claims to be concluded, including appeals processes, in the last 12 months.

The information requested on end-to-end journey times for Disability Living Allowance for children is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when his Department last reviewed the adequacy of rates for Disability Living Allowance for children.

The Secretary of State will shortly be conducting his annual review of benefit levels and will report in due course.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the impact of the removal of the spare bedroom subsidy on levels of spending on (a) housing benefit and (b) discretionary housing payments in Wales in each year since April 2013.

The Department has not made an assessment of the full impact of the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy on levels of spending on Housing Benefit (HB). We estimate that the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS) policy, between May 2013 and February 2023, has seen deductions from Housing Benefit (HB) expenditure in Wales of £190 million. This is broken down for each financial year below:

Financial Year

Total RSRS deductions for HB in Wales

2013/14*

£21m

2014/15

£22m

2015/16

£22m

2016/17

£22m

2017/18

£22m

2018/19

£21m

2019/20

£18m

2020/21

£16m

2021/22

£14m

2022/23*

£12m

*These years do not include the full 12 months. 2013/14 excludes April 2013 as there is no data for this month. 2022/23 excludes March 2023 as this data is not yet available.

This estimate is based on those households with the RSRS deduction applied. For a full impact assessment, the behavioural impact of the policy would need to be considered, for example where households with a spare bedroom have moved to a right-sized property.

As asked for the total RSRS deductions are for Housing Benefit only, and do not include deductions for those in receipt of the Universal Credit Housing Element (UCHE). Over the time period shown there has been migration of cases from HB to UCHE, and the majority of new claims for housing support for those of working age will be for UCHE since its introduction.

The impact of the RSRS on Discretionary Housing Payment spending has not been fully assessed. DHP funding has historically been distributed using four funding streams based on DWPs best measures of housing need, these are Local expenditure on Housing Benefit (HB)/Universal Credit Housing Element (UCHE), Local Housing Allowance (LHA) shortfalls, RSRS deductions and Benefit Cap deductions. Although the funding is distributed using this broad methodology, local authorities spend according to their own criteria. As part of annual returns LAs include a breakdown of their expenditure by measure including RSRS, though DHP stats include this breakdown only at national level.

The overall RSRS expenditure reported to DWP by Welsh Local Authorities between April 2013 and March 2022 has been over £30 million. This is broken down for each financial year below:

Financial Year

RSRS Expenditure in DHP by Local Authorities in Wales

Percentage of LA’s information is available for

2013-14

£3,116,498

73%

2014-15

£4,427,275

86%

2015-16

£3,045,024

77%

2016-17

£3,360,025

82%

2017-18

£3,062,745

77%

2018-19

£3,204,905

86%

2019-20

£2,821,180

82%

2020-21

£3,702,173

91%

2021-22

£4,247,069

100%

* Monitoring returns were not provided by all local authorities; for those that did, not all could provide the detailed breakdown

This table shows the expenditure of Welsh LAs on DHPS in respect to RSRS, not what DWP provide to Welsh LAs as a contribution of funding DHPs. DHP statistics are available online:

Discretionary Housing Payments statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a review of the under-occupancy penalty.

There are no plans to review the Removal of the Spare Room policy.

The policy applies to claims for housing support where the claimant is living in the social rented sector in a property that is deemed too large for their needs. The policy aims to strengthen work incentives and seeks to encourage greater mobility within the social rented sector.

There are easements to the policy which allow for the provision of an additional bedroom in certain circumstances, such as to support the needs of disabled people. Pensioners in receipt of Housing Benefit are exempt from the policy.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available for those who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.6 billion in funding to local authorities for DHPs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when each cost of living payment will be made in the 2023-24 financial year.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and is taking action to help through the Cost of Living Payments and through a wider package of support.

We will be delivering the means-tested cost of living payment of up to £900 in three separate payments. The first payment of £301 will be made from spring 2023, the second payment of £300 from autumn 2023 and the third payment of £299 from spring 2024. People on qualifying disability benefits will receive a Payment of £150 during Summer 2023 and pensioner households will receive a £300 Pension Cost of Living Payment alongside their winter fuel payment in winter 2023.

Qualifying dates for the means-tested and disability Cost of Living Payments are being set out in secondary legislation and payment dates for the vast majority of people will be announced on our dedicated page on gov.uk once the relevant regulations have been made. We have an extensive communications plan in place, including a media and digital campaign, that sets out everything customers need to know about Cost of Living Payments.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) England who are only eligible for the Shared Accommodation Local Housing Allowance rate reside in one-bedroom homes.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an estimate of the average difference between the rent being paid by individuals in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the LHA rate in each local authority in Wales in the most recent period for which data is available.

As of August 2022, the average monthly difference between the contractual rent for individuals in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the LHA rate in each Welsh local authority is as below, figures are rounded to the nearest £1:

Local Authority

Average Difference between rent and LHA rate

Blaenau Gwent

£87

Bridgend

£61

Caerphilly

£82

Cardiff

£9

Carmarthenshire

£67

Ceredigion

£54

Conwy

£78

Denbighshire

£70

Flintshire

£55

Gwynedd

£72

Isle of Anglesey

£54

Merthyr Tydfil

£66

Monmouthshire

£98

Neath Port Talbot

£74

Newport

£61

Pembrokeshire

£77

Powys

£86

Rhondda Cynon Taf

£68

Swansea

£30

Torfaen

£62

Vale of Glamorgan

£84

Wrexham

£48

Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) cases have been excluded due to data quality issues. Average difference figures include both households where the rent paid by individuals is lower than the LHA and households where the rent paid by individuals is higher than the LHA. Positive values relate to where monthly rent is higher than the monthly LHA rate on average in a local authority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants living in Wales were moved into the Intensive Work Search regime following the most recent increase in the Administrative Earnings Threshold.

The information is not yet available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the 30 new job centres added to the Additional Jobcentre Support pilot are in Wales.

The pilot rollout started on 27th February (Written statements - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament (opens in a new tab).

None of the 30 Jobcentres are in Wales.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of social security benefit rates.

The Government has brought forward legislation to raise State Pensions and benefits by 10.1% which the House of Commons passed on 6 February.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many instances of benefit overpayment that were not attributable to a fault made by the claimant in each year since 2018.

Information on the levels of official error in the benefit system is captured in the annual Fraud and Error in the Benefit System publication, which reports that the rate of official error within the department has remained steady at 0.4% since 2018, except for 2021-2022 where the rate dropped to 0.3%.

Year

Official Error Rate

Value of Error

2021-2022

0.3%

£700m

2020-2021

0.4%

£800m

2019-2020

0.4%

£800m

2018-2019

0.4%

£700m

Fraud and error in the benefit system: financial year 2021 to 2022 estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many instances of benefit overpayment that were not attributable to a fault made by the claimant were (a) requested to be waived by claimants and (b) waived by his Department in each year since 2018.

The Department for Work and Pensions only started to categorise waiver requests in 2020/21. Information from 2020/21 onwards can be found in the table below.

Waivers requested relating to Official Error

O/E Waived

20/21

12

3

21/22

97

5

22/23 (to date)

104

25

Section 105 of The Welfare Reform Act 2012 states that any overpayment of Universal Credit, new style JSA or ESA, in excess of entitlement, is recoverable. The department therefore seeks to recover benefit overpayments accordingly, but remains committed to doing so without causing undue financial hardship.

Any claimants struggling with the proposed rate of deductions are encouraged to contact DWP Debt Management to discuss a temporary reduction in their rate of repayment.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total value was of all deductions from Universal Credit payments in Wales in 2022.

The information requested will be available in late 2023.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value of the average monthly deduction was from Universal Credit payments in Wales in 2022.

The information requested will be available in late 2023.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the decision not to uprate Local Housing Allowance in line with September 2022 CPI inflation on the proportion of homes available to rent in Wales in respect of which the requested rent would be fully covered by LHA rates in the next twelve months.

No recent assessment has been made.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates determine the maximum housing support available to claimants in the private rented sector. They are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

We recognise that rents are increasing but the challenging fiscal environment means that difficult decisions were necessary to ensure support is targeted effectively. The Chancellor announced at Autumn Statement a package of targeted support worth £26 billion.

To protect the most vulnerable, working age and disability benefits will be increased in line with inflation for 2023-24, increasing expenditure by £11 billion in 23/24. In addition, to ensure that households will see an increase in their benefits following uprating – the benefit cap will also be increased in line with CPI (10.1%) in April 2023.

For those who require extra support, the government is extending the Household Support Fund providing an additional £1 billion of funding, including Barnett impact, to enable the extension of the Household Support Fund in England in the next financial year. In England this will be through an extension to the Household Support Fund backed by £842 million, running from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. It will be for the devolved administrations to decide how to allocate their additional Barnett funding (£158m).

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the impact of the decision to uprate the earnings limit of Carer's Allowance below the September 2022 rate of the consumer price index on carers' incomes.

The weekly Carer’s Allowance earnings limit will be increased from £132 to £139 net from April 2023. This increase of 5.5% is in line with growth in Average Weekly Earnings for the year to May-July 2022 as published by the Office for National Statistics. The rate of Carer’s Allowance will increase by 10.1% in line with the increase in the Consumer Prices Index in the year to September 2022, as will the relevant rates of Universal Credit for carers.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants aged under 25 have had their sanction overturned as a result of a mandatory reconsideration, both as a total number and as a proportion of all mandatory reconsiderations for this age group, in the most recent month for which data is available.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants aged under-25 have received an affordability assessment before a sanction has been issued, both as a total number and as a proportion of all sanctions issued to this age group, in the most recent month for which data is available.

The requested information is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of raising the state pension in line with inflation before the annual uprating due in April 2023.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is required by law to undertake an annual review of State Pensions and benefits. The outcome of that review will be announced later this year, and the new rates of state pensions will enter into force from 10 April 2023.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the level of real terms value of the state pension following the increase in the cost-of-living.

The Government has acted to protect pensioners against the current cost of living situation with a range of support. The value of the State Pension should not be considered in isolation.

Since 2010, the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension has risen by over £2,300, in cash terms. That's £720 more than if it had been uprated by prices, and £570 more than if it had been uprated by earnings. The Government has committed to implementing the Triple Lock in the usual way for the remainder of the Parliament.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time is between a claim being submitted for the Access to Work programme and claimants being contacted by her Department for an assessment of their claim in (a) Wales, (b) England, and (c) Scotland.

The current average time between claim submission and first contact is 47.3 days. This is the average of total claims and as we do not hold the information broken down by (a) Wales, (b) England, and (c) Scotland.

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to begin issuing migration notices to claimants living in Wales following the resumption of the managed migration process on the 9 May 2022.

The Department is currently focused on the Discovery Phase of managed migration. During this phase we will work with small numbers of existing benefit claimants from different places across the country to focus on identifying what is needed to prompt and help someone to make a claim to Universal Credit.

The first 500 notices were successfully issued in Bolton and Medway and we will now be expanding to new areas from the end of July, beginning in Cornwall.

We are committed to ensuring that Universal Credit is rolled out smoothly by the end of 2024.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department conducted a public sector equality duty assessment on its decision to discontinue uprating Local Housing Allowance in line with the 30th percentile of market rates.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) determines the maximum financial support available for renters in the private rented sector.

The Secretary of State has complied with her duties under the Equality Act 2010 in respect of her decisions on the LHA. Copies of the equality analysis for the decisions on LHA rates for 2021-22 and 2022-23 were placed in the House of Commons Library on 26 April 2022.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many calls were made to the Child Maintenance Service telephone line in each of the last three years.

Calls made to the Child Maintenance Group over the last three years:

  • In the reporting year April 2019 to March 2020 there were 3,464,411 calls offered to CMG lines and 2,750,564 calls answered.

  • In the reporting year April 2020 to March 2021 there were 1,494,693 calls offered to CMG lines and 1,098,457 calls answered.

  • In the reporting year April 2021 to March 2022 there were 1,853,671 calls offered to CMG lines and 1,403,895 calls answered.

Calls Offered. - The total volume of calls entering a queue to await answer.

Calls Answered - The total volume of calls successfully connected to agents from the queue.

Source: Operational MI System (OPMIS) / Historical Management Information (HMI).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit claims were subject to deductions in each parliamentary constituency; what the (a) average size of sums and (b) total sum deducted was in each constituency; what proportion of each of those sums was deducted to repay advance payments; and how many children were living in households that were subject to deductions in each constituency in the most recent month for which data is available.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. We seek to balance recovery of debt against not causing hardship for claimants and their families. Processes are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship, to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment or a temporary suspension, depending on their financial circumstances.

Since April 2021, we have reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties

Advances are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They ensure nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period. This is not a debt.

The requested analysis of Universal Credit claims with a deduction in February 2022 by Parliamentary Constituency in Great Britain (GB) is provided in the separate spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 July 2022 to Question 27621 on Social Security Benefits: Injuries and Death, if she will publish that information by nation of the UK in which these occurred.

Please see the attached information as requested.

July 2020 to June 2021

July 2021 to June 2022

Eng

Scot

Wales

Eng

Scot

Wales

IPR Started – Death*

52

≤5

≤5

35

≤5

≤5

IPR Started - Serious Harm**

18

≤5

≤5

15

≤5

≤5

IPR Completed – Death*

33

≤5

≤5

39

≤5

≤5

IPR Completed - Serious Harm**

11

≤5

≤5

15

≤5

≤5

* Death includes the categories death, alleged suicide and confirmed suicide.

** Serious Harm includes the categories self-harm, serious harm, attempted suicide and ‘other’.

NB: Prior to July 2020 IPR data on the nation of occurrence was not captured. We do not hold information for Northern Ireland.

≤5 signifies figures less than or equal to 5.

9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on (a) the Basic Income Pilot for Care Leavers in Wales and (b) plans for further universal basic income trials in Wales.

As part of our regular engagement, my officials are in discussions with their Welsh Government counterparts on the upcoming Basic Income Pilot for Care Leavers in Wales. Further universal basic income trials in Wales are a matter for Welsh Government.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the number of children in each nation of the United Kingdom that would be lifted out of child poverty if Universal Credit was increased by (a) £20, (b) £30 and (c) £40 per week.

No assessment has been made.

This Government is committed to reducing child poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty.  Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children. The latest available data on in-work poverty shows that in 2019/20, children in households where all adults were in work were around six times less likely to be in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than children in a household where nobody works.

The government is providing over £15bn in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package is in addition to the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year. This means that millions of low-income households will get £1,200 of one-off support in total this year to help with the cost of living, with all domestic electricity customers receiving at least £400.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many local authorities in Wales have requested a review of their Broad Rental Market Area boundaries in each of the last five years; and how many of those were successful.

We do not hold this information.

Rent Officers Wales has responsibility for setting broad rental market area boundaries in Wales.

Broad rental market areas are determined in accordance with requirements laid down in legislation. Each area must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping.

Local authorities may request a review of any broad rental market area that impacts on its administrative area by submitting a written request, including relevant reasons, to Rent Officers Wales.

Where rent officers decide that a boundary should be moved, they must carry out a review, consulting with affected local authorities among others, and submit a recommendation to the Secretary of State for agreement. No broad rental market area reviews have been submitted by Rent Officers Wales in the last five years.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of not increasing Local Housing Allowance in line with rents on levels of homelessness in Wales.

The causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and often complex, they interact dynamically making it very difficult to isolate the relative importance of individual factors. The UK Government has invested heavily in supporting low-income households with their housing costs with £29 billion spent on housing support alone last year, and our housing support offer remains higher than it was before the pandemic.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent in the private sector with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase. LHA rates are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the impact of changes to Local Housing Allowance on the amount spent in (a) Gwynedd and (b) Wales on Discretionary Housing Payments.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent privately with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels in 2021/22 and 2022/23 so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) continue to be an important element of an extensive cross-Government housing support package with almost £1.5 billion of DHP funding provided to local authorities since 2011.

The UK Government has invested heavily in supporting low-income households with their housing costs with £29 billion spent on housing support alone last year, and our housing support offer remains higher than it was before the pandemic.

We are also investing more than £2 billion of funding to tackle and prevent homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the reduction in Discretionary Housing Payments funding on households in Wales.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent privately with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels in 2021/22 and 2022/23 so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) continue to be an important element of an extensive cross-Government housing support package with almost £1.5 billion of DHP funding provided to local authorities since 2011.

The UK Government has invested heavily in supporting low-income households with their housing costs with £29 billion spent on housing support alone last year, and our housing support offer remains higher than it was before the pandemic.

We are also investing more than £2 billion of funding to tackle and prevent homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to undertake an assessment of the accuracy of the mechanism and metrics used to calculate (a) the rate at which Local Housing Allowance is set and allocated in Wales and (b) broad rental market area boundaries in Wales.

No recent assessment has been made.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates determine the maximum housing support available to claimants in the private rented sector. They are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

The Secretary of State will review the rates annually in the usual way.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

LHA rates vary by geographical regions called broad rental market areas. The boundaries of the broad rental market areas in Wales are determined and kept under review by Rent Officers Wales. If they decide that a boundary should change, they can submit a review to the Secretary of State for consideration.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she mas made of the potential merits of increasing the Local Housing Allowance in line with the increase in the cost of rents.

No recent assessment has been made.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates determine the maximum housing support available to claimants in the private rented sector. They are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

The Secretary of State will review the rates annually in the usual way.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

LHA rates vary by geographical regions called broad rental market areas. The boundaries of the broad rental market areas in Wales are determined and kept under review by Rent Officers Wales. If they decide that a boundary should change, they can submit a review to the Secretary of State for consideration.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) England who are only eligible for the Shared Accommodation Local Housing Allowance rate reside in one-bedroom homes.

As of November 2021, the information requested is available for people in receipt of Housing Benefit, as follows:

Number of people entitled to SAR living in a 1-bedroom property

Wales

571

Scotland

525

England

12,322

The information requested is not readily available for people in receipt of Universal Credit Housing Element.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the average difference between the rent being paid by individuals in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the LHA rate in each local authority in Wales in the most recent period for which data is available.

As of November 2021, the average monthly difference between the rent being paid by individuals in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the LHA rate in each Welsh local authority is as below:

Local Authority

Average monthly difference between rent and LHA rate

Blaenau Gwent

£75

Bridgend

£59

Caerphilly

£69

Cardiff

£12

Carmarthenshire

£58

Ceredigion

£50

Conwy

£74

Denbighshire

£67

Flintshire

£48

Gwynedd

£70

Isle of Anglesey

£49

Merthyr Tydfil

£65

Monmouthshire

£91

Neath Port Talbot

£68

Newport

£49

Pembrokeshire

£75

Powys

£81

Rhondda Cynon Taf

£64

Swansea

£30

Torfaen

£59

Vale of Glamorgan

£78

Wrexham

£45

Average difference figures include both households where the rent paid by individuals is lower than the LHA and households where the rent paid by individuals is higher than the LHA. Positive values relate to where monthly rent is higher than the monthly LHA rate on average in a local authority.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent on housing payments to individuals in receipt of Universal Credit in Wales in each of the last five years.

The information requested on Universal Credit Housing Element (UCHE) expenditure in Wales is not readily available and to provide it would incur a disproportionate cost.

UCHE expenditure is available at the GB level for 2019/20 and 2020/21, on rows 8 and 60 of the housing benefits sheet of the benefit expenditure and caseload tables for Autumn Budget 2021:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2021

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of increased costs of heating oil on levels of poverty in (a) Arfon constituency, (b) Wales, (c) England, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland.

No specific assessment has been made with regards to heating oil.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support to ease cost of living pressures, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on the incomes of households in receipt of universal credit.

The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation in the year to September. All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support with the cost of living, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on levels of child poverty in Arfon constituency.

No such assessment has been made. The Government is up-rating benefits in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the six years, 2014/15 to 2019/20, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

This Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment – particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will make an assessment of the cumulative impact on the living standards of households in receipt of universal credit of (a) not up-rating benefits in line with inflation, (b) the removal of the temporary £20 uplift to universal credit and (c) rising living costs.

No assessment of the cumulative impact of these measures has been made.

The Government is uprating Universal Credit in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support to ease cost of living pressures, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

Since 2010, the Government has regularly published cumulative analysis of the impacts of its tax, welfare and public spending policies on households. The most recent assessment was published at Budget 2021. It showed that, in 2021/22, the poorest 60% of households will receive more in public spending than they contribute in tax. And households in the lowest income decile will receive more than £4 in public spending for every £1 they pay in tax on average.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department most recently assessed the potential merits of extending to Wales the devolution of powers on social security afforded to Scotland.

Social security is a reserved matter in Wales. The UK Government has no plans to re-visit the devolution settlement confirmed in the Wales Act 2017.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the (a) number of people who have been overpaid and (b) the amount that has been overpaid, in error by her Department in Wales in each year since 2012.

We do not hold the requested information broken down by individual country or region.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Direct Earnings Attachments her Department has issued for debts that have been outstanding for two years or longer in Wales in each year since 2012.

We do not hold the requested information broken down by individual country or region.

DWP’s primary method of debt recovery is by deduction from any on-going benefit that might be in payment. There are limits on the amount we can deduct, as prescribed by legislation. In Universal Credit the maximum we can deduct, formerly 40% of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance, was reduced from 30% to 25% in April 2021.

Where recovery from ongoing benefit entitlement is not possible, DWP will seek to agree a voluntary repayment plan with the debtor, taking into account the amount they can reasonably afford to repay each month.

Where a person fails to agree a voluntary repayment plan, we can apply a Direct Earnings Attachment which allows deductions to be taken directly from a person’s earnings. A Direct Earnings Attachment will reflect the customer’s overall outstanding balance due, rather than any individual debt. Some recovery may already have been made by other methods prior to a Direct Earnings Attachment being issued.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who experiences financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate of these deductions, a lower amount can be negotiated.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the average length of time between the incurring of debts by claimants through overpayment of benefits as a result of errors made by her Department and the issuing of a Direct Earning Attachment by her Department to recover those debts.

We do not hold the requested information broken down by individual country or region.

DWP’s primary method of debt recovery is by deduction from any on-going benefit that might be in payment. There are limits on the amount we can deduct, as prescribed by legislation. In Universal Credit the maximum we can deduct, formerly 40% of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance, was reduced from 30% to 25% in April 2021.

Where recovery from ongoing benefit entitlement is not possible, DWP will seek to agree a voluntary repayment plan with the debtor, taking into account the amount they can reasonably afford to repay each month.

Where a person fails to agree a voluntary repayment plan, we can apply a Direct Earnings Attachment which allows deductions to be taken directly from a person’s earnings. A Direct Earnings Attachment will reflect the customer’s overall outstanding balance due, rather than any individual debt. Some recovery may already have been made by other methods prior to a Direct Earnings Attachment being issued.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who experiences financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate of these deductions, a lower amount can be negotiated.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of removing the six week wait for new universal credit payments on (a) current and (b) future levels of poverty in (i) Wales, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland.

There are no plans to change the assessment period and payment structure of Universal Credit.

When claimants are paid Universal Credit is determined by the date of entitlement. The first payment is usually made around five weeks after the claim is made. The first calendar month is the initial assessment period. At the end of that period, entitlement for that month is calculated and paid 7 days later. Payments thereafter are made monthly in arrears.

The Universal Credit assessment period and payment structure are fundamental parts of its design. Universal Credit reflects payment patterns in the world of work, where the majority of people are paid monthly. Ensuring similarities between paid employment and receiving benefits eliminates an important barrier which could prevent claimants from adjusting to paid employment.

It is not possible to award a Universal Credit payment as soon as a claim is made as the assessment period must run its course before the award of Universal Credit can be calculated. It is not possible to accurately determine what a claimant’s entitlement will be in the month ahead. This process ensures claimants are paid their correct entitlement and prevents significant overpayments from occurring.

If new claimants need support before their first payment is made, all new claimants can request an advance of their entitlement to support them.

New Claims Advances are available urgently if a claimant needs support during their first assessment period and budgeting support is available for anyone who needs extra help. Advances of up to 100% of potential Universal Credit entitlement are available urgently if a claimant needs support. With an advance, claimants receive an additional Universal Credit payment, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of removing the benefit cap on (a) current and (b) future levels of poverty in (i) Wales, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland.

No assessment has been made of the potential impact of removing the benefit cap on the current and future levels of poverty in each nation.

The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible. This aligns with our long-term focus of continuing to support parents into, and to progress in, work. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent gross earnings of around £24,000, or around £28,000 in London.

The Government continues to monitor and publish trends in poverty across the UK. National Statistics on the number and percentage of people in poverty are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. This can be found at:

Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020 - GOV.UK

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates to meet future housing costs in (a) Wales, (b) England, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland.

The Department has not made a recent estimate on the adequacy of local housing allowance rates to meet future housing costs in (a) Wales, (b) England, (c) Scotland. For d) social security is transferred to Northern Ireland.

In April 2020, we boosted investment in Local Housing Allowance rates by nearly £1 billion. We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22 and they will remain at those levels for 2022/23, meaning everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. Since 2011, we have provided almost £1.5 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of removing the two-child policy limit on (a) current and (b) future levels of poverty in (i) Wales, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland.

No assessment has been carried out. However, latest figures from April 2021 indicate that over 50% of those households with three or more children who are in receipt of Universal Credit, are not affected by the two-child policy. Statistics relating to this policy are published annually, most recently on the 15 July 2021, and are available on GOV.UK.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2020, of all families with dependent children, 85% had a maximum of two in their family. The government therefore feels it is proportionate to provide support through Universal Credit for a maximum of two children. A benefits structure adjusting automatically to family size is unsustainable.

This policy also ensures fairness by asking families on benefits to make the same financial decisions as families supporting themselves solely through work. We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups.

On 9 July 2021, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the judicial review of the two-child policy. The court found the two-child policy lawful and not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) people have been supported and (b) businesses established through the New Enterprise Allowance in I(i) Wales, (ii) Scotland, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) England since 2014.

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is available across Great Britain only. NEA data for England, Scotland and Wales is published on Gov.uk (link attached) New Enterprise Allowance: April 2011 to December 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) .

The Data tables: New Enterprise Allowance official statistics: April 2011 to December 2020 give the total number of participants broken down by month and also the individuals and businesses started on NEA broken down by regions.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people have made benefit claims in Welsh in each year since 2015.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have received an underpayment of their benefits in Wales each year since 2015.

Details of fraud and error within the benefit system, including underpayments, are published on the Gov.UK website which can be accessed via the link below.

Fraud and error in the benefit system: financial year 2020 to 2021 estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

These estimates relate to the levels of fraud and error in the benefit system in Great Britain. They are underpinned by reviews of benefit claimants in England, Wales and Scotland. We are unable to break down the statistics by region as the sample sizes are too small.

The main cause of underpayments is claimant error. To help prevent underpayments, we work hard to make it easy for claimants to tell us about changes in their circumstances and where possible, we look to update claims automatically. In Universal Credit changes can be reported electronically through the online journal.

Data is increasingly allowing the Department to check entitlement and correct any over or underpayment at the earliest opportunity. The automated use of Real Time Information means that for Universal Credit, PAYE earnings are captured automatically before any payment is.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of raising Local Housing Allowance rates in Wales on an annual basis to improve access to housing for people claiming Housing Benefit or the housing element of universal credit.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local rents. This investment of nearly £1 billion provided 1.5 million claimants with an average of £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received.

We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22. For example, the two-bedroom LHA rate in the North West Wales Broad Rental Market Area increased by over £50 a month.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments funding. We have allocated a further £140 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2021/22 in England and Wales.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates in Wales.

No such assessment has been made.

In April 2020 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local rents. This investment of nearly £1 billion provided 1.5 million claimants with an average of £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received.

We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22. For example, the two-bedroom LHA rate in the North West Wales Broad Rental Market Area increased by over £50 a month.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments funding. We have allocated a further £140 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2021/22 in England and Wales.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of levels compliance of digital universal credit systems with operation requirements set out in social security regulations.

The Department, like other government departments, is obliged to comply with legal, security and regulatory requirements, including published minimum government security standards. This is regularly reviewed for Universal Credit, and the system complies with all relevant standards.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact that the re-introduction of conditionality requirements has had on the mental health of benefit claimants.

The Departmental guidance is continually reviewed and updated to ensure it reflects the changes to public health guidelines and easements due to Covid-19.

We believe it is important to ensure claimants have the support they need to move closer to and into employment if and when they are able. As such, for claimants who are expected to look for work, any work-related requirements are set in discussion with them and will always be tailored to their individual capability and circumstances, making them realistic and achievable.

We ensure that our more vulnerable claimants are further protected by exempting those with more serious medical conditions including mental health conditions and disabilities from any form of conditionality.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of ending the £20 universal credit uplift on levels of poverty in Wales.

No such assessment has been made.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of the impact of removing the £20 uplift on child poverty. This is particularly the case at the moment given the uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery, and how this will be distributed across the population.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. Our ambitious Plan for Jobs is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country and includes new schemes such as the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, the £2.9bn Restart Scheme and our Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme.”

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the rate of Local Housing Allowance on levels of rent arrears in Wales.

No assessment has been made.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of the reduction of discretionary housing payment funding on levels of rent arrears in Wales.

We consider the allocation of Discretionary Housing Payments to individual local authorities each year and monitor evolving demand and trends.

For 2020-21 the Government provided an additional £40 million to help tackle affordability pressures in the private rented sector taking the total allocation for local authorities in England and Wales up from £140m to £180 million.

This year in recognition of the significant investment in April 2020 of nearly £1billion in Local Housing Allowance, Discretionary Housing Payments funding to help support vulnerable people with housing costs is set at £140m for local authorities in England and Wales. In addition to the central government contribution, English and Welsh local authorities are able to top up Discretionary Housing Payment funding up to a maximum of two and a half times this figure using their own funds.

The investment in LHA rates provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise receive. We have maintained LHA rates at the same cash level for 2021/22, rather than reverting back to previous rates.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she made of the number of people in (a) Arfon (b) Wales who will no longer receive payments through Post Office Card Accounts.

We do not hold information on Post Office card account customers in specific geographical areas.

The Department is committed to supporting customers to access their benefit and pension payments as we transform our Payment Exception Services. When the Post Office card account contract ends nobody will be left without a means to access to their benefits or pension. A Payment Exception Service will continue to be in place for those who are unable to provide a standard account.

The Department has put in place a dedicated experienced team, the Financial Inclusion Customer Contact Centre, to support all Post Office Card Account customers to update their payment details to a standard account. The team can answer questions about the payment change and signpost customers to impartial financial advice if they need help to identify a suitable alternative account.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the High Court's ruling in January 2021, what steps her Department is taking to amend or remove the proof of payment mechanism for assessing and paying the childcare costs element of universal credit.

The Department has been granted permission to appeal. It is therefore not appropriate to comment at this time. It should be noted there are no changes to the current processes and the legislation remains the same.

The policy of reimbursing actual childcare costs paid has, as intended, resulted in a significantly lower level of fraud and error than in the legacy system, which was based on projected costs.

Eligible claimants can claim up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month compared to 70% in legacy benefits.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of improving the clarity of information in the Child Maintenance Service's written communications to service users.

The Department and the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) regularly review the Services offered to customers, including written communications. In 2018 we identified the top ten letters sent by CMS and worked with partners to simplify them; this included, removal of duplication and simplifying the language where appropriate, whilst moving key messages up front so they could be easily identified and understood by customers.

We have also implemented several improvement suggestions from Independent Case Examiners, including clarification of the complaints process and communication with employers

We have reduced the volume of letters being sent to customers, focusing instead on fewer, clearly worded letters that can be used across the board.

In addition, the DWP External Communications team continually review letters to ensure they meet the agreed communications standard which comprises: using plain English, no jargon, no Latin words and no contractions. Whilst making sure the message is clear, helpful, respectful and positive.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Child Maintenance Service takes to monitor the efficacy of its communication practices with service users.

We are committed to ensuring our communications with claimants are clear, accurate and understandable. Using customer insight, we continuously improve our letters and take into account all the feedback we receive, analysing complaints and customer calls to further understand and focus out improvement activity, including customer testing of the messages within our letters.

The Department Customer Charter provides the standard against which all aspects of service delivery are measured. Measurement against these standards is conducted via customer surveys are carried out regularly with customers across all contact channels and customers are asked specifically about our communication practices under the ‘easy access’ and ‘keeping you informed’ elements of the Charter. Customer satisfaction levels and feedback recorded against these measures are utilised to continually improve our services.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints the Child Maintenance Service has received relating to problems with unclear communications to service users since 2019.

In the year with the most recent data (2019/2020), the Department recorded a total of 1,374 complaints to the Child Maintenance Service about unclear communications.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the comparative effects of the two-child limit on (a) universal credit and (b) child tax credit support on different ethnic groups in (a) Wales and (b) the rest of the UK since 2017.

The Government has committed to annual statistics releases related to the operation of the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children. Statistics related to the period up to April 2020 were published in July 2020 and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2020. Statistics related to the period up to April 2021 will be published in the summer.

The government’s published Impact Assessment noted that ethnic minority households may be more likely to be impacted by the policy. This is because they are, on average, more likely to be in receipt of CTC and UC, and on average have larger families. However, the government does not collect sufficiently robust data on the ethnic background or religious beliefs of benefit claimants to enable a fuller assessment of the impact of the policy on particular ethnic or religious groups. The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional children in Wales have been affected by the two-child limit on universal and child tax credit since March 2020.

The Government has committed to annual statistics releases related to the operation of the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children. Statistics related to the period up to April 2020 were published in July 2020 and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2020. Statistics related to the period up to April 2021 will be published in the summer.

The government’s published Impact Assessment noted that ethnic minority households may be more likely to be impacted by the policy. This is because they are, on average, more likely to be in receipt of CTC and UC, and on average have larger families. However, the government does not collect sufficiently robust data on the ethnic background or religious beliefs of benefit claimants to enable a fuller assessment of the impact of the policy on particular ethnic or religious groups. The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the comparative effects of the two child limit on (a) universal credit and (b) child tax credit support between (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) England and (d) Northern Ireland since 2017.

The Government has committed to annual statistics releases related to the operation of the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children. Statistics related to the period up to April 2020 were published in July 2020 and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2020. Statistics related to the period up to April 2021 will be published in the summer.

The government’s published Impact Assessment noted that ethnic minority households may be more likely to be impacted by the policy. This is because they are, on average, more likely to be in receipt of CTC and UC, and on average have larger families. However, the government does not collect sufficiently robust data on the ethnic background or religious beliefs of benefit claimants to enable a fuller assessment of the impact of the policy on particular ethnic or religious groups. The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the uplift to the disability living allowance for 2021-22 so that it is above the rate of inflation.

DLA was most recently uprated by 1.7 per cent from 6 April 2020 and will see a further increase of 0.5% from 12 April 2021, in line with CPI.

The disability benefits are not means–tested and are non-contributory and thus paid regardless of any income or savings. They are also tax-free and worth up to £151.40 a week. DLA can be paid in addition to other financial support that those with a health condition or disability may be eligible for, such as Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. DLA also passports families to a range of additional support, including Carer’s Allowance, additional amounts and premiums paid within the income-related benefits, such as child disability additions paid within UC, the Blue Badge scheme, or financial help with NHS costs.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of implementing a £20 a week supplement to people receiving the Carers Allowance in Wales.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave on the 24th February 2021 to questions number 155395.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the Child Maintenance Service formula is calculated using the gross income of recipients; and what assessment she has made of the potential merits of using the net income of recipients to make that calculation.

The former Child Support Agency (CSA) was consistently criticised for the complexity of its calculation process and the formation of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) in 2012 sought to address this by moving from an assessment on a net income basis to a gross income basis.

CMS assessments are based initially on gross income information received directly from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Taking information directly from HMRC allows us to capture a wide range of income types received by paying parents. Basing the assessment on gross income data has enabled the Child Maintenance Service to significantly speed up the set-up of new cases which can be key to securing regular payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the APPG on Poverty's £20 uplift report published on 1 February 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the (a) removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit and working tax credit; (b) decision not to extend the £20 uplift to legacy and related benefits and (c) suspension of the benefit cap.

No assessment has been made.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

There are no plans to extend the temporary £20 uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they think they will be better off and should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits.

No assessment has been made with regards to suspending the benefit cap. There are currently no plans to change the Benefit Cap.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of a delay for payment of (a) employment and support allowance and (b) limited capability for work-related activity component of universal credit has been since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Claimants do not have to wait for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) before they can be paid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC). They receive an assessment rate of ESA or a Standard Allowance of UC while their claim is being assessed.

For both ESA and UC, claimants will remain on the assessment rate or Standard Allowance award until the evidence needed to make a recommendation has been gathered (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

Statistics on WCAs for ESA by month of claim start to March 2020 for initial assessment outcomes, including those still in progress, assessment outcome by month of decision to June 2020, and clearance times for initial claims by month of clearance to June 2020, are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-january-2021

Statistics on WCAs for UC are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Whilst the initial statistics will not have median clearance times, these will be developed for publication in due course.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have had their payment of (a) employment and support allowance and (b) limited capability for work-related activity component of universal credit delayed since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Claimants do not have to wait for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) before they can be paid Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC). They receive an assessment rate of ESA or a Standard Allowance of UC while their claim is being assessed.

For both ESA and UC, claimants will remain on the assessment rate or Standard Allowance award until the evidence needed to make a recommendation has been gathered (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

Statistics on WCAs for ESA by month of claim start to March 2020 for initial assessment outcomes, including those still in progress, assessment outcome by month of decision to June 2020, and clearance times for initial claims by month of clearance to June 2020, are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-january-2021

Statistics on WCAs for UC are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Whilst the initial statistics will not have median clearance times, these will be developed for publication in due course.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that all those entitled to a UK state pension receive the full rate of that pension regardless of their country of residence.

The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to those who meet the qualifying conditions. Entitlement to the UK State Pension is based on a person’s National Insurance record without regard to nationality. The annual index-linked increases are paid to UK State Pension recipients where there is a legal requirement to do so. For example, where UK State Pension recipients are living in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish her Department's review of the benefits system for terminally ill people.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; the desire to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of terminally ill people who have experienced delays in receiving benefit payments when claiming under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness in (a) Wales and (b) the UK over the last five years.

No estimate has been made for the number of people who have experienced a delay in receiving benefit payment. The only available information on clearance times is for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as there are published statistics, but the information is not readily available for other benefits and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI) provide those with a limited life expectancy, simple and fast access to benefits. The SRTI allow claimants who are unlikely to live longer than 6-months to claim under a fast-tracked process without the requirement for waiting periods or a face-to-face assessment.

In October 2020, the end to end PIP median clearance time for SRTI claims was 5 working days. Data on median PIP clearance times for SRTI claims in Great Britain is published and covers each stage of the customer journey for the period covering April 2013 – October 2020 (the latest available data). This can be found in table 2B in the following published statistical tables:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/944014/tables-pip-statistics-to-october-2020.xlsx

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether eligible claimants of (a) employment and support allowance and (b) the Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity component of universal credit are potentially being required to attend face-to-face assessments to process a claim despite the suspension of such assessments for sickness and disability benefits since March 2020.

The department’s key priorities are the health and safety of our claimants and our staff and that claimants receive the support they are entitled to as soon as possible. As a result, all face to face assessments for health and disability benefits have remained suspended since March 2020. During the pandemic we have continued to assess claimants based on paper evidence where we can, using this route as often as we are able to. We have introduced telephone assessments and are working hard to increase the number of these assessments so that we can make the right decision for as many claimants as possible, while keeping them safe. We are currently in the early stages of testing Work Capability Assessment (WCA) video assessments.

Telephone assessments will not be appropriate for all claimants. We are aware that some claimants, particularly those with certain health conditions or disabilities, will have difficulty being assessed over the telephone. We are currently developing ways in which we can safely assess these claimants. For both Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC), claimants will remain on their current award until we gather the evidence needed to make a recommendation or are able to conduct a face to face assessment, (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

The suspension of face to face assessments is regularly reviewed in line with the latest public health guidance and will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so. The department remains committed to increasing the number of claimants able to participate in a non-face to face assessment by moving towards a wider range of channels. We are closely monitoring all new assessment processes and are working with our supplier to ensure claimants are assessed as quickly as possible.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the use of only non face-to-face forms of assessments for (a) employment and support allowance and (b) the Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity component of universal credit are viable methods for all eligible claimants to have their claims processed given the suspension of face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits since March 2020.

The department’s key priorities are the health and safety of our claimants and our staff and that claimants receive the support they are entitled to as soon as possible. As a result, all face to face assessments for health and disability benefits have remained suspended since March 2020. During the pandemic we have continued to assess claimants based on paper evidence where we can, using this route as often as we are able to. We have introduced telephone assessments and are working hard to increase the number of these assessments so that we can make the right decision for as many claimants as possible, while keeping them safe. We are currently in the early stages of testing Work Capability Assessment (WCA) video assessments.

Telephone assessments will not be appropriate for all claimants. We are aware that some claimants, particularly those with certain health conditions or disabilities, will have difficulty being assessed over the telephone. We are currently developing ways in which we can safely assess these claimants. For both Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC), claimants will remain on their current award until we gather the evidence needed to make a recommendation or are able to conduct a face to face assessment, (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

The suspension of face to face assessments is regularly reviewed in line with the latest public health guidance and will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so. The department remains committed to increasing the number of claimants able to participate in a non-face to face assessment by moving towards a wider range of channels. We are closely monitoring all new assessment processes and are working with our supplier to ensure claimants are assessed as quickly as possible.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many eligible claimants since March 2020 have had their (a) employment and support allowance or (b) limited capability for work-related activity component of universal credit payments delayed due to being required to attend face-to-face assessments to process their claim.

Claimants do not have to wait for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) before they can be awarded Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or awarded Universal Credit (UC) on the grounds of having a health condition or disability, as they receive an assessment rate for ESA or Standard Allowance of UC while their claim is being assessed. Depending on the outcome of the WCA, some claimants may then be entitled to an additional amount.

For both ESA and UC, claimants will remain on their current award until we gather the evidence needed to make a recommendation or are able to conduct a face to face assessment (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Any additional amounts the claimant may qualify for after their assessment will be backdated to ensure no long-term loss.

25th Jan 2021
What assessment she has made of the adequacy of benefit rates for disabled people on legacy benefits.

We will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimates her Department has made of the number of people who have had welfare payments stopped due to being in receipt of the Welsh Government’s special payment scheme for social care staff.

For DWP purposes the payments made under the Welsh Government’s special payments scheme for social care staff are treated as earnings and are included in welfare benefit calculations. The impact on an individual claimant will depend on their household circumstances and the amount and type of welfare payments they are receiving. For income related benefits their award is calculated on the basis of the set benefit rate against money coming in to ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants against the money they have available. This means that as earnings increase the welfare payment reduces or stops. This is a long-standing principle of means-tested benefits.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what (a) discussions and (b) coordination have taken place between her Department and the Welsh Government to ensure that those in receipt of the special payment for social care staff in Wales are made aware that it is classified as income and included in welfare benefit calculations.

There is a well-established working relationship between The Department and Welsh Government at official level, ensuring that DWP policy and guidance is considered. Any further assurances would be a matter for Welsh Government.

Discussions with ourselves and HMRC took place following the Welsh Governments’ decision on 1st May 2020 to provide these one off payments to those in the Social Care workforce in recognition of the essential care they provide to our most vulnerable citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic. The discussions confirmed how these payments would be treated under current tax rules and therefore their treatment within the calculation of any means tested benefits those care workers in receipt of the payment were also claiming.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of EU citizens in the UK who have been unable to begin work due to employers refusing to employ workers without a national insurance number.

The department does not hold information on the number of EU nationals being turned down for work as a result of not having a National Insurance Number (NINo).

An individual can apply for a job or take up employment without a NINo. EU Nationals can evidence their Right to Work in the UK by providing their National Passport or Identity Card to any prospective employer.

All employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees, however these checks do not include the provision of a NINo.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made on introducing a digital solution to the process of issuing national insurance numbers which will provide (a) alternative identity verification solutions and (b) reduce the need for a face-to-face identity checks.

The department aims to reduce the reliance on a single Identity Verification Service by Quarter 2 in 2021. Part of this work is to introduce a new flexible reusable online service which will meet the needs of a wider range of customers that is not possible using a single solution. DWP will conduct the work to identify an online solution for those customers who have not been processed through the Home Office visa application process, to apply for National Insurance Numbers in the next Financial Year.

We are currently testing alternative identity verification solutions for some customer groups. This process will expand our ability to service a greater number of applicants whose identity has already been verified by another UK Government Department, primarily the Home Office, enabling us to offer an alternative to the need for face to face document examination. This will reduce the number of applicants that will be required to attend a face to face appointment following their digital application through the Apply for a NINO service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the timescale of rolling out digital provision for issuing national insurance numbers to (a) Wales and (b) the rest of the UK.

The digital system ‘Apply for a NINo’ is for citizens to make an on-line application for a National Insurance number. The limited trial started in mid-October 2020 and is scheduled to run until January 2021. Once we receive confirmation that the service meets Government Digital Standards, we will then be able to extend the service to all applicants. The timescales for extending this service in Wales and UK is the same.

When applying for a National Insurance number, all applicants are required to have their identity verified. This verification is completed through attendance at a face to face interview with DWP unless we are able to confirm another Government Department has already done this.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to inform employers that national insurance numbers are not used as (a) proof of identity and (b) right to work in the UK.

The National Insurance Number (NINo) is an administrative reference number used by employers to record National Insurance contributions for their employees. Employees are advised when they receive their NINo that it is not proof of identity but that they must share it with their employer.

Possession of a National Insurance number does not demonstrate that an individual has a right to work in the UK, this is determined by Home Office legislation. A list of acceptable documents that enables an individual to demonstrate they have the right work is set out in the Employers Guide to Right to Work Checks.

https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will retain the minimum income floor for self-employed universal credit claimants while covid-19 related public health measures are in place in Wales.

The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit that was due to expire on the 12th November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the temporary suspension of the minimum income floor for self-employed universal credit claimants; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of permanently removing that floor.

The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit that was due to expire on the 12th November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason she did not extend the £20 uplift in universal credit to legacy benefits; and whether she plans to extend that uplift to those legacy benefits.

The Government introduced measures earlier this year that could be quickly and effectively put in place to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic, including the £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates as a temporary measure for the 20/21 tax year. There are no plans to extend this to legacy benefits.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing her Department's spare room subsidy policy as part of the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no current plans to amend the removal of the spare room subsidy policy in response to covid-19. The policy already allows for the provision of an additional bedroom in certain circumstances, such as to support the needs of disabled people as well as exempting households in receipt of pension age Housing Benefit.

If a claimant’s ability to mitigate any shortfall between their housing support and rent has changed, Discretionary Housing Payments can be considered by their local authority. We announced last year an additional £40 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2020/21 in England and Wales.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants for (a) universal credit, (b) pension credit, (c) income-based jobseeker's allowance, (d) income-related employment and support allowance, (e) housing benefit and (f) income support have had their payments reduced due to reaching the savings threshold since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the appropriateness of the savings thresholds for (a) universal credit, (b) pension credit, (c) income-based jobseekers allowance, (d) income-related employment and support allowance, (e) housing benefit and (f) income support.

The capital limits are kept under continual review. However, they can be increased only when priorities and resources allow. The Government does not intend to increase the threshold at this time.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) EU nationals and (b) EU nationals with proof of Settled Status have had their claims for universal credit refused since March 2019; and what steps she is taking to ensure Settled Status is accepted as proof of residence by her staff.

Eligibility for Universal Credit depends on a person’s immigration status in the UK. DWP operates a Habitual Residence Test in order to assess whether individuals have a legal right to reside for the purpose of accessing benefits and are factually habitually resident.

Since 1st March 2019 to January 2020 there have been 27,600 UC Full Service claims closed due to failing the HRT from EEA nationals. Nearly 200,000 EEA nationals were successful in gaining access to Universal Credit during this period, showing the vast majority were accepted. It is normal on UC for some claims to be closed prior to first payment, this can be due to a number of reasons including claimants withdrawing their claim and some claims not being eligible.

The Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) allows EEA citizens to apply for settled status (typically on the basis of five years’ residence in the UK) and confirm their right to reside in the UK. The Habitual Residence Test recognises leave granted under the EU Settlement Scheme. EEA citizens with settled status who demonstrate habitual residence in the UK will pass the Habitual Residence Test (HRT) and be eligible to access tax-payer funded benefits, such as Universal Credit (UC).

The Department does not hold information on the number of EU nationals with settled status who have been refused UC.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of amending the eligibility criteria for backdating universal credit payments to include people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

As Universal Credit claims can be made online or, where needed, by calling the Universal Credit helpline, most claims will not require backdating. However, backdating, up to a maximum of one month, is available where the circumstances are such that someone could not reasonably have been expected to claim earlier including due to illness, disability or an official computer system failure.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who requested a mandatory reconsideration of their universal credit claim before the covid-19 outbreak are awaiting the outcome; what the average wait is for universal credit mandatory reconsiderations; and what steps she is taking to ensure that people are supported while waiting for the outcome of those reconsiderations.

5% of the Mandatory Reconsiderations recorded prior to the CV19 outbreak are awaiting a decision.

Where a decision has been made, the average time to reach a decision is 26 calendar days.

Benefit claimants may also be eligible for assistance from their local Council through Local Welfare Support schemes. Councils will be able to use funding from the new £500 million Hardship Fund to provide further discretionary support to vulnerable people through other support arrangements such as Local Welfare Schemes.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the opening times of the universal credit helpline have changed; and if she will ensure that the (a) UK Government and (b) universal credit websites are updated with the new information.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have received unprecedented levels of claims for Universal Credit. This was accompanied by a significant increase in call volumes which was impacting our ability to support customers, particularly those making new claims.

To enable our people to pay customers their benefit, we implemented a temporary pause to the handling of general queries through the telephony service at the beginning and end of the day. The purpose of this change was to allow case managers to focus on progressing claims during these times.

New claim appointments and new claims by phone remained open as usual.

At the moment, people making new claims for Universal Credit do not in fact need to call the Department as part of the process and we have communicated that widely. Once they have completed their online application we will call them if we need to check any of the information they have given us.

The Universal Credit helpline returned to our normal operating hours from 11 May (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday).

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many EU citizens holding (a) settled status and (b) pre-settled status in Wales have had their applications for universal credit refused in each month in 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to increase carer's allowance to reflect the (a) additional care that carers may be providing and (b) financial difficulties they may face as a result of loss of income during the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP has now introduced two important temporary measures to help unpaid carers through the current emergency:

  • unpaid carers will be able to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets coronavirus or if either have to isolate because of it. (Under normal rules there are restrictions on breaks in care, but these have been lifted.); and
  • providing “emotional support” (rather than just more traditional forms of care) to a disabled person will also now count towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

The rate of Carer’s Allowance was also increased in early April as part of the annual uprating process. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers. The standard allowance in Universal Credit has been temporarily increased for the 20/21 tax year by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week) on top of the planned annual uprating. This additional increase means claimants will be up to £1040 better off. Carers receiving Universal Credit will benefit from this.

Income replacement benefits help people and households on lower incomes, and can include a carer premium, currently £37.50 a week. An equivalent additional amount applies in Pension Credit. Universal Credit also includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period. These amounts recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring and mean that lower-income carers can receive more money than others who receive these benefits.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average cost to her Department is to process (a) paper and (b) oral hearings for mandatory reconsiderations for employment and support allowance.

The average cost to the Department to process a mandatory reconsideration for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the last full financial year was £70. This is a combined figure for Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and Non-Work Capability Assessment cases.

All mandatory reconsiderations are ‘paper based’, although we may speak to the customer to get more information.

The costs provided are taken from the DWP’s Activity Based Models1 at an Operating Costs level which includes direct costs relating to staff undertaking the activities (staff, and local non-staff costs only). They do not include higher level support costs such as management and corporate overheads relating to administration activities.

1Please note that data supplied from the Departmental Activity Based Models is derived from unpublished management information which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standards. It should therefore be treated with caution and as an indication and not as a definitive cost. The Departmental Activity Based models are a snapshot of how many people were identified as undertaking specified activities as assigned by line managers. The data is frequently revised and changes to the definitions affect comparisons over time.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sanctions were made against claimants of employment and support allowance in Wales in each of the last 12 months; how many of those people sanctioned asked for a mandatory reconsideration; and how many decisions on those sanctions for which such a reconsideration was requested were upheld.

The statistics are published in the Employment and Support Allowance Sanctions (Number of Decisions) dataset which can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in (a) slate quarrying and (b) slate mining in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in coal mining in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in the textile industries in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many awards of compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 were paid to workers employed in the pottery industries in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of those cases related to diffuse mesothelioma.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to ensure that new universal credit claimants with children are made aware of the two child limit.

The Department publishes information for claimants on Universal Credit’s support for a maximum of two children on GOV.UK and this can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-and-families-with-more-than-2-children-information-for-claimants

Further advice can be provided to claimants through the freephone Universal Credit helpline and Jobcentres.

Providing support for a maximum of two children, or qualifying young persons in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, ensures fairness between claimants and those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work.

We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups. On migration to Universal Credit, families’ existing entitlement will be protected.

30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's policy is on receiving letters in the Welsh language; and what her Department's deadline is for replying to letters written in the (a) Welsh and (b) English language.

DWP welcomes letters in Welsh. When someone writes to us in Welsh, we will issue a reply in Welsh (if a reply is appropriate).

The target time for replying to letters written in Welsh is the same as the target for letters written in English.

Complaints – 15 working days

MPs writing to Ministers – 20 working days

Correspondence relating to policies – within 4 weeks

Where it is not possible to issue a substantial reply in this time, a written acknowledgement and explanation will be sent in whichever language the correspondence has been received (Welsh or English).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to make prospective parents aware of the two child limit on tax credits and universal credit in the last 12 months.

Information about this policy is available on GOV.UK and Jobcentre staff are able to advise on how the policy operates. The Government continues to look to identify effective ways of making prospective parents aware of the policy.

Claimants were alerted to this policy when it was announced by the Government as part of the Summer Budget 2015. HMRC, who currently have the majority of claims from those with more than two children, also provide information about this change in leaflets which are sent to all claimants renewing their Child Tax Credit claim.

DWP and HMRC also produce annual joint reports with statistics relating to the implementation of the policy. The most recent of these was published 31 July 2019 and can be found online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2019

30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answers of 18 January to Questions 7121 and 7122, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the gaps in the data relating to the two-child limit policy.

The Department has published an Impact Assessment of the two-child policy based on survey data which was of suitable quality to assess the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the rights of children.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the adequacy of the (a) services provided by and (b) number of Capita PIP assessment centres in (i) each local authority in Wales and (ii) each parliamentary constituency in Wales.

We set our assessment providers challenging targets, we monitor performance closely and manage contracts robustly. As part of the specification for the PIP assessment service assessment providers must provide sufficient suitable accommodation for face-to-face consultations. The department has set clear requirements in terms of geography/travel, security and claimant experience in relation to the sites used for PIP consultations. No claimant will be asked to travel more than 90 minutes to an assessment centre. Claimants can also make a request for a home assessment.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the two-child limit on child poverty in (a) each Welsh local authority and (b) each Welsh parliamentary constituency.

National Statistics on the percentage of children in low income households are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication and the latest year for which information is available is 2017/18. As the two-child limit policy was introduced in April 2017 there is insufficient data to assess any impacts of the policy on low income. Also estimates for the percentage of children in low income households are not available at local authority or parliamentary constituency level in this publication because the survey sample sizes are too small to support the production of robust estimates at this geography. For these two reasons it is not possible to evaluate the impacts of specific policies on poverty for these areas.

Data relating to the operation of the policy in Wales can be found in the latest annual statistics release which was published on 31 July 2019 and covers the period up to 2 April 2019. This data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-tax-credit-and-universal-credit-claimants-statistics-related-to-the-policy-to-provide-support-for-a-maximum-of-2-children-april-2019

We have committed to further annual releases.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to undertake an impact assessment of the two-child limit on faith groups in Wales.

The Government’s view is that providing support for a maximum of two children or qualifying young persons in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits, ensures fairness between claimants on the one hand and, on the other, those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work.

We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups. On migration to Universal Credit, families’ existing entitlement will be protected.

The Department has published an Impact Assessment which noted ethnic minority households may be more affected by the policy. This is because on average, they are more likely to have larger families and be in receipt of Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit. However, the Department does not collect sufficiently robust data on our claimants’ ethnic or religious backgrounds to facilitate a more detailed assessment of the policy’s impact on specific ethnic or religious groups.

The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the rights of children.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the two-child limit on BAME communities.

The Government’s view is that providing support for a maximum of two children or qualifying young persons in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits, ensures fairness between claimants on the one hand and, on the other, those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work.

We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups. On migration to Universal Credit, families’ existing entitlement will be protected.

The Department has published an Impact Assessment which noted ethnic minority households may be more affected by the policy. This is because on average, they are more likely to have larger families and be in receipt of Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit. However, the Department does not collect sufficiently robust data on our claimants’ ethnic or religious backgrounds to facilitate a more detailed assessment of the policy’s impact on specific ethnic or religious groups.

The Government has assessed the impact of the policy from an equality and human rights perspective, meeting our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the rights of children.

7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much Barnett Consequential funding the Welsh Government will receive from spending announced in the NHS Dental Recovery Plan for England.

This is a fully funded £200 million plan, and the National Health Service spending totals will be set at the budget, in the usual way. As with all England-only health funding, anything related to this plan will be subject to Barnett Consequential funding in the usual manner within the block grant.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on its long-term strategy to prevent and reduce obesity in Wales, including on (a) improving and enhancing front of pack nutrition labelling on pre-packed products and (b) creating conditions which incentivise advertising companies to promote healthier alternatives and products which support positive choices.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with the Devolved Governments on measures to improve health and wellbeing across the United Kingdom. These include discussions on domestic strategies and the delivery of UK-wide policies to reduce obesity, including food labelling and supporting consumers to make healthier choices.

17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the UK's 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance; and what progress his Department has made on reducing the impact of resistance on animals.

The United Kingdom’s 20 year vision to contain and control antimicrobial resistance (antimicrobial resistance) by 2040, and the first in a series of five year national action plans (NAPs), both published in 2019, were co-developed with the devolved administrations, including the Welsh Government. The vision and NAP take a ‘One Health’ and whole of Government approach. The Welsh Government leads on one of the eight programmes within the NAP and sits on the UK wide delivery board, which provides oversight of delivery. Ministers last met to discuss progress in tackling the threat of antimicrobial resistance at a Ministerial round-table in May 2022. Working closely with the devolved administrations, Government has begun the process of developing the next AMR NAP, 2024-2029, which will be designed to maintain progress towards delivery of the 20 year vision.

The UK’s annual report on Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance, Sales and Surveillance (UK-VARSS 2021) showed that, in 2021, the UK recorded the lowest antibiotic use in food producing animals to date and that, since 2014, sales of veterinary antibiotics have reduced by 55% and sales of antibiotics critical in human health decreased for the seventh consecutive year, falling by 83%. Reflecting this, the UK has measured overall decreasing trends of resistance in healthy poultry and pigs since AMR monitoring began in 2014.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Health Disparities White Paper will commit to cross-government action on the social determinants on health.

The health disparities white paper will review the factors which affect people’s health and how health inequalities can be addressed. The specific policy content of the white paper will be confirmed in due course. In addition, the Health Promotion Taskforce has been established to co-ordinate cross-Government efforts to improve the nation’s health.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Health Promotion Taskforce will publish its progress on plans to tackle health inequalities.

The Health Promotion Taskforce is a Cabinet Committee. It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions in Cabinet and its Committees is not shared publicly. Any actions agreed by the Taskforce will be announced in due course.

26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to fund research into mitochondria cells and the effect upon them in relation to sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; and if he will make a statement.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). However, it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. We will continue to work with stakeholders to consider how best to support continued research into ME/CFS.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what demand forecasts for covid-19 quarantine accommodation for people from red-list countries his Department has conducted for the period until October 2021.

We have thousands of hotel rooms available to meet any further demand from ‘red list’ country arrivals and we have ongoing agreements with a number of hotels moving into the summer. We closely monitor the data and increase capacity if required.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the process is by which contracts are awarded for quarantine accommodation for arrivals from red-list countries.

We have contracted with Corporate Travel Management (CTM) as the Department’s travel services delivery partner. CTM are responsible for identifying and contracting with the individual hotels to support the Managed Quarantine Service (MQS). CTM liaise with the main hotel chains to source any properties in the area that meet our specification and are willing to become MQS hotels. A site visit is conducted to ensure the hotel meets the requirements including sufficient space for exercise away from the public and for coaches to relay guests to and from the hotel. The transit time by coach from the airport is also considered.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what quality assurance assessment procedure he has in place to ensure hygienic and comfort standards in covid-19 quarantine accommodation for arrivals from red-list countries.

All hotels complete a formal induction and inspection before they become available as a managed quarantine facility. Hotels have clear standard operating procedures in place, including spot checks and instructions on cleanliness, fresh linen and towels left outside of the room door every third day and provision of suitable disposable cleaning products and equipment to so guests can clean their rooms. There are provisions for guests to have personal clothes cleaned. Local liaison officers on site can deal with any issues that arise and respond to customer feedback.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what avenues of appeal applicants who have been denied permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are able to take if they can demonstrate inconsistencies between the findings at different stages of the review process.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the employment criteria for Dispute Advisers within the NHS Business Service Authority.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many complaints his Department has received on the suitability of the review process for the award of (a) permanent injury benefit and (b) any other benefits under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme, since 2002.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Decisions on applications to the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme are based on the rules of the scheme and informed by medical evidence. Where an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision made, the NHS Business Services Authority operates a two stage Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995. If the IDR process has been exhausted and the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they may approach the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate their complaint.

No statistics have been produced on how many and what proportion of rejected applications for permanent injury benefit under the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme have been successfully appealed in each year since 2002. For the NHS Business Services Authority to interrogate all individual member records, as would be necessary to obtain this data, would incur disproportionate cost


To obtain the information requested on the number of complaints received since 2002 would incur disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when (a) UK visa holders and (b) other temporary UK residents who are clinically vulnerable and unable to travel out of the UK due to the risk of contracting covid-19 will be eligible to receive the covid-19 vaccine from UK health authorities.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is free to everyone living in the United Kingdom and all overseas visitors to England, regardless of their nationality. While National Health Service numbers form an important part of the administrative process, they are not a pre-condition for being offered a vaccine. For those not registered with a general practitioner, NHS regional and local health and social care systems will contact those individuals to ensure they are offered the vaccine.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Royal Mail on the delivery of NHS vaccination invitation letters.

Minsters have had discussions with Royal Mail to emphasise the importance of vaccination letters reaching people as quickly as possible.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies on the use of medical cannabis of the study published in the Journal of Obstetrics Gynaecology Canada on 1 March 2020 entitled Cannabis see, a self-management strategy among Australian women with endometriosis: results from a national online survey.

The Department has made no such assessment.

It is widely recognised that further research is needed on the quality, safety, and efficacy of cannabis-based medicines. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a clinical guideline on cannabis-based medicinal products in November 2019. NICE maintains surveillance of new evidence that may affect its published guidance and would consult on proposed changes with a wide range of stakeholders if required.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what measures has his Department taken, in cooperation with the Welsh Government, to ensure that the covid-19 testing application system is available in Welsh; and what proportion of service users are able to access the service through the medium of Welsh.

Our Welsh sites operate with bilingual guidance which is handed out to patients in their test kits. We also aim to ensure that ingress and egress signage on the sites is bilingual, and that bilingual staff where available are on hand in our local testing sites or regional testing sites to assist patients with any queries about testing.

We have also worked with the Welsh Government to deliver the National Health Service COVID-19 contact tracing app with Welsh language support from launch. This presents citizens with another means of accessing a test through the medium of Welsh.

Helen Whately
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 potential for increases in post-viral complications, symptoms and ME as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England has advised that they have made no assessment on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the potential for increases in post-viral complications, symptoms and myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on public health of the lack of access to public toilets during the covid-19 lockdown.

Public Health England has made no assessment of the effect on public health of the lack of access to public toilets during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Local authorities are responsible for maintaining public toilet facilities.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much and what proportion of his Department's budget has been spent on tackling female genital mutilation in the UK in each financial year since 2015.

The Department funded the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Prevention Programme between 2014 and 2018. The spend is shown in the following table:

Financial Year

Amount

Proportion of Department’s budget

2015-16

£900,014

0.0008%

2016-17

£607,808

0.0005%

2017-18

£494,265

0.0004%

2018-19

£349,050

0.0003%

NHS England and local National Health Service bodies also fund healthcare services for women and girls who have undergone FGM, alongside Departmental funding for national FGM prevention work.

Note:

The above figures are based on the Department's financial records. The proportion of Department’s budget spent on FGM is shown as a percentage of the Department’s total revenue spend.

-

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

FGM spend (£ million)

0.9

0.6

0.5

0.3

Department Group spend (£ million)

113,700.0

117,000.0

120,700.0

125,300.0

FGM spend as % of Department Group spend

0.0008%

0.0005%

0.0004%

0.0003%

Spend for 2019-20 is not yet available as accounts have yet to be audited.

13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the inclusion of a separate operative paragraph on the persecution of Baha’is in any potential resolution on human rights in Iran that is tabled at the 78th session of UN General Assembly; and if he will make a statement.

We are committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all and we have repeatedly expressed concern at Iran's ongoing discrimination against Baha'i leaders and members of the Baha'i faith. The UK highlighted Iran's treatment of Baha'is at the United Nations Third Committee in November and co-sponsored the UN General Assembly Resolution on Iran Human Rights, which calls on Iran to protect members of religious minorities including the Baha'i, and we will continue to support language on this issue. We will continue to work closely with international partners at the UN and in other fora to hold Iran to account for its dire human rights record.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his international counterparts on whether Pakistan has adequately complied with international human rights law when trying civilians before military courts.

The UK Government has raised the use of the Pakistan Army Act to try civilians with the Government of Pakistan, urging them to ensure they act in line with international human rights law, including the right to a fair trial. We will continue to seek opportunities to reinforce these messages.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2023 to Question 170553 on UK Internal Trade: Northern Ireland, when his Department plans to publish further guidance on arrangements for those using the transit procedure to move goods from Wales to Northern Ireland through the Republic of Ireland using the green lane.

We have delivered a new Green Lane which means that goods staying in the UK will be freed of unnecessary paperwork, checks and duties when they move into Northern Ireland. The Green Lane is open to all UK businesses where they import or sell goods that are not ultimately destined for the EU market. This will include goods travelling from Wales to Northern Ireland through the Republic of Ireland using the transit procedure, as the processes otherwise applied for goods imported into the Republic of Ireland are a matter for the Irish Government.

The Government has recently published further detail on the operation of the green lane and the full set of easements that will apply from 30 September 2024 [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-windsor-framework-goods-movements-general]. As set out in that update, we will continue to provide further information, ensuring businesses have adequate time to prepare for the new arrangements.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his international counterparts on taking steps to ensure that people affected by blockages along the Lachin corridor are able to access (a) food, (b) medicine and (c) energy.

The UK Government has been vocal about the importance of re-opening the Lachin Corridor and publicly highlighted humanitarian concerns, including through multilateral fora such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the UN Security Council and we regularly engage with the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments, including on humanitarian issues. I [Minister Docherty] discussed the situation in Lachin during my visit to Azerbaijan in February and with Prime Minister Pashinyan on my visit to Armenia in May. The UK has a strong record of supporting humanitarian responses in this region and FCDO officials are in close contact with humanitarian agencies about the situation on the ground. Additionally the START FUND, a humanitarian response fund to whom the UK is a significant donor, allocated £350,000 to the region to support those effected by the closure of the Lachin Corridor.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Somaliland; and what humanitarian support his Department has provided to support people affected by violence in Somaliland.

Since 2022, the human rights situation in Somaliland has deteriorated, in particular the curtailing of media freedoms and the use of disproportionate force in response to protests. We see the promotion of respect for human rights across Somalia, including Somaliland, as essential to peace and stability. We regularly engage with the Somaliland authorities to urge them to uphold their human rights commitments. The UK has been pressing for an urgent end to the fighting in Las Anod. We are providing a range of humanitarian support to those affected by violence, including the UK-supported Start Fund delivering through Oxfam to support households displaced from Las Anod.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the number of countries who have not imposed sanctions on Russia on the UK's sanctions regime; and whether he has had recent discussions with his counterparts in countries that have not imposed sanctions on Russia on that issue.

Sanctions are imposing significant costs on the Russian economy. Its budget is in deficit and is expected to remain so until 2025. Russia's imports of sanctioned goods are down by almost 50 percent and have declined from both sanctioning countries and countries who have not imposed sanctions on Russia.

The UK also continues to engage the international community on sanctions, explaining the measures we have introduced, building support for our approach countering Russian disinformation. As set out in the G7 statement published on 24 February we will work with our G7 partners to take action against third country actors materially supporting Russia's illegal war.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Windsor Framework, published on 27 February 2023, CP 806, whether the green lanes will apply to goods travelling from Wales to Northern Ireland through the Republic of Ireland.

We have delivered a new Green Lane which means that goods staying in the UK will be freed of unnecessary paperwork, checks and duties when they move into Northern Ireland. The Green Lane is open to all UK businesses where they import or sell goods that are not ultimately destined for the EU market. This includes goods travelling from Wales to Northern Ireland through the Republic of Ireland using the transit procedure, as the processes otherwise applied for goods imported into the Republic of Ireland are a matter for the Irish Government.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to he Windsor Framework, published on 27 February 2023, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Framework on time-sensitive exports coming from Northern Ireland, including ready meals, via Holyhead to the south east of England.

The Windsor Framework guarantees unfettered access for Northern Ireland's businesses to the UK market on a permanent basis. This removes any proposed requirement to provide export declarations, or equivalent information, for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of (a) food, (b) medicine and (c) energy supply in Nagorno Karabakh; and what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on recent developments and ensuring freedom and security of movement along the Lachin corridor.

The UK Government has made clear that the closure of the Lachin corridor risks severe humanitarian consequences, particularly during winter. I [Leo Docherty] spoke to Armenian Foreign Minister Mirzoyan on 18 January where we agreed on the importance of the immediate re-opening of the Lachin Corridor and the need to ensure gas and electricity supplies into Nagorno-Karabakh are not switched off. UK officials, including our Ambassador in Baku, have engaged extensively with Azerbaijani counterparts. On 18 January officials spoke to the ICRC regarding the humanitarian situation, including the dwindling food and medical supplies, and will remain in contact in the coming weeks to share their assessment of the impact of the closure.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of potential impact of (a) 2022 supply constraints and (b) fertiliser costs on global food security in 2023; and what steps he is taking to improve global food security.

FCDO is monitoring food security. Global food production will be constrained, including by high fertiliser prices. Whilst there will be no absolute risk to food availability, we expect hotspots of reduced availability and increased levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. The challenge will be possibly unprecedented numbers of people not able to afford or access the food that they need to survive and live a healthy and productive life.

FCDO is addressing underlying causes; promoting robust food systems in low-income countries; saving lives in famine risk areas; and ensuring an effective international response, including through a focus on the most vulnerable.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential long-term impacts of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on global food security; and what steps is he taking to mitigate these impacts.

Russia's invasion is destroying Ukraine's farms and infrastructure. Reductions in food on global markets caused price spikes in 2022. Instability will continue into 2023. The most vulnerable globally will suffer the worst impacts, such as increased malnutrition which can be deadly, and for survivors has lifelong implications.

We have supported the Black Sea Grain Initiative, under which over 17 million tonnes of grain have been exported from Ukraine. We also provided £10 million for equipment to move grain by rail. Elsewhere, we are working with international partners to support the vulnerable, including contributing £4.2 million to the Nutrition Match Fund.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of his Department’s policy to freeze non-essential aid spending until 31 October 2022 on (a) tackling food poverty, (b) water sanitation and (c) education for girls.

The FCDO is closely monitoring the risks and impacts of pausing some ODA spend.

The FCDO tackles food insecurity and supports food systems through interventions in low-income countries and is prioritising spending that will prevent people falling into humanitarian need when food production drops or food price increase.

Improved access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is key to the UK's approach to ending the preventable deaths of mothers, children, infants and for pandemic preparedness and response. The UK is prioritising spend on hand hygiene as part of our approach to tackling Covid-19; strengthening the climate resilience of WASH services; and reinforcing accountability for the delivery of WASH services.

Girls' education remains a development priority. In FCDO, we are prioritising spend to ensure continued access to primary education for girls, especially the most marginalised and those caught up in crisis situations.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Bahraini counterpart on the case of Hasan Mushaima; and will he make representations to the Bahraini Government on ending his imprisonment.

Officials and ministers have regular discussions with senior Bahraini counterparts on human rights, including most recently at UNGA where Lord Ahmad met with the Bahraini Foreign Minister. We continue to follow and discuss the case of Hasan Mushaima and others, as necessary, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the independent oversight bodies.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has conducted an impact assessment of the impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on (a) Holyhead, (b) Fishguard and (c) Pembroke Dock.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the TCA. The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. The Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government where it has an interest in TCA implementation.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has conducted an impact assessment of the cost of increased UK-EU trade barriers to the Welsh economy.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

Given the tight Parliamentary timetable the Government faced in December 2020, we were unable to produce and publish an impact assessment of the TCA before passing the EU (Future Relationship) Act 2020.

The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. We are also making use of the freedoms we now enjoy as a result of leaving the EU, including amending our subsidy control regime to help all public authorities, including the Welsh Government, attract investment into the United Kingdom.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions the Devolved Administrations on conducting periodic impact assessments of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the TCA. The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. The Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government where it has an interest in TCA implementation.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has conducted an impact assessment of the impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the Welsh labour market.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a comprehensive free trade deal which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU. It also secures market access across a broad range of key service sectors and establishes close cooperation in areas like transport, digital, and fighting crime.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the TCA. The Government is taking action to support businesses across the UK to trade effectively with Europe, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service. The Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government where it has an interest in TCA implementation.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to provide UK citizens with expert volunteer humanitarian assistance in (a) Ukraine, (b) Poland, (c) Slovakia, (d) Romania and (e) Hungary.

As of 8 March, 2 million people are known to have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries, according to UNHCR [link: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine]. These numbers will continue to rise. The UK government has so far pledged £395 million of aid, which includes £220 million of humanitarian assistance, some of which will go to countries neighbouring Ukraine. Our humanitarian support will help partners stand up their responses to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to immediate assistance. HMG will also match-fund the public's first £25m of donations to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, our largest ever aid-match contribution.

In addition to the humanitarian assistance already mentioned, the UK has deployed humanitarian experts to Poland, Moldova and Romania to provide logistics, advice and analysis of the refugee situation, and a medical assessment team to Romania and Moldova to assess options for rapidly deploying UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT) capabilities.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with the UK permanent representative to the UN on the feasibility of initiating global governance arrangements limiting the use of anti-satellite weaponry including (a) direct ascent anti-satellite missiles, (b) co-orbital anti-satellite weaponry and (c) ground or space-based directed energy weapons.

The United Kingdom is playing a leading role on both space security and space sustainability. We work through UK Missions in New York, Geneva and Vienna. The United Kingdom is leading discussions on responsible space behaviours, particularly at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) but also at the Conference on Disarmament and UN Disarmament Commission, that aim to reduce the risks of miscalculation and escalation leading to conflict. In 2020 at UNGA the UK ran a resolution calling for a report by the UN Secretary-General on "Reducing Space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour" and submitted our views to https://www.un.org/disarmament/topics/outerspace-sg-report-outer-space-2021/ in April 2021, including on counterspace weapons. In December 2021 UNGA adopted the UK-led follow-on resolution to set up an Open Ended Working Group.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with her Qatari counterpart on the evacuation of eligible personnel from Afghanistan in light of recent evacuation steps taken by the US.

We remain grateful to our Qatari Government partners for their generous support in providing a safe route for British Nationals and their eligible Afghan dependants to leave Afghanistan. We are working closely with the Government of Qatar on the possible resumption of flights, currently blocked by the Taliban. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister responsible for South Asia and I [Minister Cleverly] have both had productive recent discussions with the Qataris to that end.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether UK diplomatic staff posted in countries on the UK red travel list are exempted from quarantine requirements on return to the UK.

Crown Servants posted in countries on the UK red list are required to quarantine in a government approved hotel on return to the UK unless the relevant department of the UK government has certified that they are: (i) travelling to the UK for essential government work or returning from such work outside the UK; (ii) returning from conducting essential state business outside of the UK; or (iii) returning to the UK where this is necessary to facilitate the functioning of a diplomatic mission or consular post of Her Majesty or of a military/other official posting on behalf of Her Majesty. Each case is considered individually and a clear justification must be provided with reference to the exemption criteria.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her Polish counterpart on legislation which will enable the Polish Government to limit access to the border zone for journalists and NGOs; and if she will make representations to the Polish Government on the importance of ensuring that aid agencies are able to reach people in need.

The Foreign Secretary spoke with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on 16 November to express the UK's solidarity with Poland regarding the use of desperate migrants by the Lukashenko regime as pawns to undermine regional security. As President, the UK led a G7 statement on 18 November condemning the Belarusian regime for its orchestration of irregular migration and called for immediate and unhindered access for international organisations to provide humanitarian assistance. We have made clear to the Belarusian authorities bilaterally, including through their Ambassador to the UK, that this harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop. The UK will continue supporting humanitarian partners through political advocacy and contributions to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with her Israeli counterpart on the proposed construction of a settlement on the site of Qalandia airport.

Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the physical viability of the two-state solution. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. We understand the Israeli authorities shelved their latest proposals for development at Qalandia airport on 25 November.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the tensions at the Poland-Belarus border, what recent discussions she has had with her EU counterpart on (a) the treatment of asylum seekers and (b) ensuring that aid agencies are able to reach people in need.

As the Foreign Secretary wrote on 14 November, the situation at the Polish border marks the latest step by the Lukashenko regime to undermine regional security. He is using desperate migrants as pawns in his bid to create instability and to cling on to power regardless of the human cost. We have made clear to the Belarusian authorities, including through their Ambassador to the UK, that this harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop.

The UK is supporting its humanitarian partners to help alleviate the suffering of migrants at the border, including through our contributions to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, organised by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and through our political advocacy. As President of the G7, the UK led on a 18 November Foreign Ministers statement, which called on the Belarusian regime to provide international organisations with immediate and unhindered access to deliver humanitarian assistance. We were also pleased to send a small team of personnel to Poland to assess what engineering support might be needed to ease pressure at the border. The Foreign Secretary discussed the situation with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on 17 November and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi on 19 November.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she or other representatives from her Department plan to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

As the Government has previously made clear, no decisions have yet been made about Government attendance at the Beijing Olympics in 2022.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the prosecution of Palestinian children by Israeli military courts.

We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including the treatment of Palestinian children. Officials from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv last raised the issue of Palestinian children in detention on 19 March with the Israeli Ministry of Defence.

We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the legality under international law of Israeli efforts to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

The UK regularly raises forced evictions of Palestinians from property with the Government of Israel. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, evictions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

I publicised on the 8 May outlining our concern over tensions in Jerusalem linked to the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. The current threat to communities in Sheikh Jarrah is allayed for now. We continue to urge Israel to cease such actions. UK Officials at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv continue to raise the issue regularly with the Israeli Authorities.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) his Israeli counterparts, (b) Gazan authorities and (c) the Palestinian Authority to de-escalate and end the recent violence in that region.

The Foreign Secretary delivered a message of de-escalation in his calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 11 and 16 May, and to Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh on 12 May. I spoke to the Israeli Ambassador and Palestinian Head of Mission in London to urge them to de-escalate and restore calm. We have also engaged Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and the UN to support their efforts to mediate. UK embassies throughout the Middle East are engaging regional partners, and we remain in close contact with the US administration and European allies. Our priority now must be an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and an end to the killing of civilians.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Chinese Government on human rights abuses in state-run re-education camps in Tibet.

We continue to express our concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet both directly with the Chinese authorities and at the UN. We have consistently urged China to respect all fundamental rights in line with both its own constitution and the international frameworks to which it is a party. On 22 February, the Foreign Secretary delivered a ministerial statement at the Human Rights Council where he expressed our deep concerns about the situation in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to secure the release of Jagtar Singh Johal.

Under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations we cannot interfere in the judicial systems of other sovereign states. However, where we have concerns that a British National has not been treated in line with internationally recognized standards, we can raise these concerns with the local authorities. We regularly raise our concerns in Mr Johal's case directly with the Government of India, including his allegations of torture, his right to a fair trial, and concerns about delays to legal proceedings against him. The Foreign Secretary raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on 15 December 2020. The Secretary of State for International Trade raised the case with the Indian Minister for Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on 5 February. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, last raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian High Commissioner on 28 January 2021, and with the Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, on 3 November 2020.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the US administration on sanctions of Chinese officials culpable for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. We regularly discuss these concerns and related questions of policy with the US. The UK plays a leading role in holding China to account for its human rights violations in the region, working closely with international partners, including the US.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to introduce sanctions against Chen Quanguo.

The Government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced robust, targeted measures to help ensure that British organisations, whether public or private sector, are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang. We also continue to play a leading role in holding China to account for its human rights violations in the region, working closely with international partners, including at the UN.

The FCDO are carefully considering further designations under the Global Human Rights regime, introduced in July 2020. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review. It is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated in the future, as to do so could reduce their impact.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of imposing sanctions against Egyptian security officials charged by Italian prosecutors with involvement in the murder of Giulio Regeni.

We have the deepest sympathy for Giulio Regeni's family and their quest for justice for his appalling murder. As Mr Regeni was an Italian citizen, the Italian Government is taking the lead role on his case. We have followed the investigation into his death and continue to work closely with the Italian Government. We last discussed this at an official level with the Italian authorities on 23 November. We have also raised with the Egyptian authorities at a senior level the need for full co-operation with Italy, so that Mr Regeni's killers can be brought to justice. We will continue to follow the Italian judicial process.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he will take to support Italian prosecutors in prosecuting members of Egypt’s National Security Agency for the murder of Giulio Regeni.

We have the deepest sympathy for Giulio Regeni's family and their quest for justice for his appalling murder. As Mr Regeni was an Italian citizen, the Italian Government is taking the lead role on his case. We have followed the investigation into his death and continue to work closely with the Italian Government. We last discussed this at an official level with the Italian authorities on 23 November. We have also raised with the Egyptian authorities at a senior level the need for full co-operation with Italy, so that Mr Regeni's killers can be brought to justice. We will continue to follow the Italian judicial process.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support UK academics’ freedom and security overseas.

The UK is committed to supporting and promoting academic freedom. In October Universities UK published guidelines which provide advice to senior leaders at UK higher education providers on how best to protect their people, assets and reputation, including when travelling overseas.

The UK fully supports freedom of expression as both a human right in and of itself and as an essential element for the enjoyment of the full range of other human rights. Freedom of expression is required to allow innovation to thrive and ideas to develop; it leads to more secure and prosperous societies. In July 2019, the UK co-sponsored a joint statement alongside Canada and the Netherlands at the UN Human Rights Council, reiterating our commitment to defending the right to freedom of opinion and expression. In his statement to the Human Rights Council on 9 April, our Ambassador to the UN in Geneva stressed the importance of ensuring the actions of governments and international agencies are scrutinised, within the context of the international human rights framework.

Should a British national require consular assistance overseas we make every effort to contact vulnerable customers within 24 hours of being notified of their situation.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what proportion of the aid budget has been allocated to ensure the provision of (a) water, (b) sanitation and (c) hygiene in developing countries in the 2020-2021 financial year.

The proportion of the UK aid budget allocated to water, sanitation and hygiene in the current calendar year will be known with the release of the Statistics for International Development publication in late 2021. Current figures show that in 2019 the UK Government spent £176 million?of bilateral official development assistance on water, sanitation and hygiene. This was 1.7% of total bilateral ODA last year. The 2021 annual report will confirm whether the share of ODA that was spent on water, sanitation and hygiene continued in the current year.

The UK Government can also confirm that the overall target of reaching at least 60 million people with improved water or sanitation by December 2020 has been met.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is supporting the government of Italy's investigation into Giulio Regeni's murder.

We have the deepest sympathy for Giulio Regeni's family and their quest for justice for his appalling murder. As Mr Regeni was an Italian citizen, the Italian Government is taking the lead role on his case. We continue to follow the investigation into his death and to work closely with the Italian Government. We last discussed this at an official level with the Italian authorities on 23 November. We have also raised with the Egyptian authorities at a senior level the need for a transparent and impartial investigation, in full co-operation with Italy, so that Mr Regeni's killers can be brought to justice.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has he with the Polisario Front or through third party interlocutors on the recent escalation in conflict in the Western Saharan region.

The UK regularly discusses Western Sahara issues with the parties including the Polisario Front. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the United Nations on the recent escalation in conflict in the Western Saharan region.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and have regular discussions with the UN, both in New York and in the region. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process. We strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts to appoint a Personal Envoy as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary