Jamie Stone Portrait

Jamie Stone

Liberal Democrat - Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

First elected: 8th June 2017

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

(since September 2020)

Child Support (Enforcement) Bill
22nd Feb 2023 - 1st Mar 2023
Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill
26th Oct 2022 - 2nd Nov 2022
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence)
12th Oct 2017 - 10th Jul 2022
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)
7th Feb 2019 - 6th Jan 2020
Scottish Affairs Committee
21st Oct 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)
16th Jun 2017 - 12th Oct 2017


Oral Question
Wednesday 6th March 2024
11:30
Scotland Office
Oral Question No. 11
Whether he has had recent discussions with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on waiting times for cross-border NHS provision.
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Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd March 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Health and Social Care (Recruitment and Retention of Staff in Rural Areas) Bill: Second Reading
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Department Event
Thursday 18th April 2024
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
18 Apr 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
The advent of the Cromarty Firth green freeport is most welcome. What discussions has the Prime Minister had with the …
Written Answers
Thursday 29th February 2024
Gambling: Video Games
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to evaluate the …
Early Day Motions
Monday 11th December 2023
In memory of Margaret Payne
That this House commemorates the life and achievements of Margaret Payne; acknowledges the huge contribution of £434,562 to the NHS, …
Bills
Monday 11th December 2023
Health and Social Care (Recruitment and Retention of Staff in Rural Areas) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the recruitment and retention of health and …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 14th March 2022
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: British Phonographic Industry
Address of donor: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JA
Amount of donation …
EDM signed
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Conduct of the hon. Member for Ashfield
That this House censures the hon. Member for Ashfield for his comments on 23 February 2024 regarding the Mayor of …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Broadcasting (Listed Sporting Events) (Scotland) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to expand the list of sporting events that must be made available for broadcast by free-to-air television channels …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Jamie Stone has voted in 668 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

12 Jul 2022 - Online Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Jamie Stone voted No - against a party majority - in line with the party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 11 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 220 Noes - 285
View All Jamie Stone 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
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
(23 debate interactions)
Jeremy Quin (Conservative)
(17 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(75 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(43 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Media Bill 2023-24
(2,811 words contributed)
Online Safety Act 2023
(2,588 words contributed)
Armed Forces Act 2021
(1,935 words contributed)
Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021
(1,522 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Jamie Stone's debates

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross 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 Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross signature proportion
Petitions with most Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.


Latest EDMs signed by Jamie Stone

26th February 2024
Jamie Stone signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 27th February 2024

Conduct of the hon. Member for Ashfield

Tabled by: Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat - Edinburgh West)
That this House censures the hon. Member for Ashfield for his comments on 23 February 2024 regarding the Mayor of London, which were Islamophobic, damaging, divisive and risk bringing the House collectively into disrepute; and calls on the hon. Member for Ashfield to come to the House and apologise for …
21 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alliance: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Green Party: 1
26th February 2024
Jamie Stone signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 27th February 2024

Islamophobia

Tabled by: Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat - Edinburgh West)
That this House condemns the recent rise in Islamophobic and antisemitic incidents across the UK; regrets that leading charity TellMAMA recorded more than 2,000 anti-Muslim hate cases since Hamas’s terror attacks on 7 October 2023; notes with concern that this represents a 335% increase on the same period last year; …
17 signatures
(Most recent: 1 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 7
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Labour: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Jamie Stone's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jamie Stone, 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.


Jamie Stone has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jamie Stone has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Jamie Stone


A Bill to regulate charges for, and the advertising of, goods delivery services; to make provision about transport infrastructure in remote areas to promote the use of goods delivery services; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the recruitment and retention of health and social care staff in rural areas; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 22nd March 2024
Order Paper number: 15
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to require expenditure on mental health services and on health services for veterans and members of the armed forces to be identified separately in National Health Service expenditure plans and outturns; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 25th February 2020

20 Bills co-sponsored by Jamie Stone

Broadcasting (Listed Sporting Events) (Scotland) Bill 2023-24
Sponsor - Kenny MacAskill (Alba)

Carers and Care Workers Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Helen Morgan (LD)

Fire and Building Safety (Public Inquiry) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Daisy Cooper (LD)

Sewage Discharges Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Tim Farron (LD)

Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Patricia Gibson (SNP)

Transport (Disabled Passenger Charter) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Charlotte Nichols (Lab)

School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Layla Moran (LD)

Environment (Regulation) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Tim Farron (LD)

Conveyancing Standards Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Marco Longhi (Con)

Football (Regulation) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Helen Grant (Con)

Covid-19 Financial Assistance (Gaps in Support) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Tracy Brabin (LAB)

Internet Access Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Darren Jones (Lab)

Driving Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Gerald Jones (Lab)

Immigration (Health and Social Care Staff) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Christine Jardine (LD)

Gender-based Pricing (Prohibition) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Christine Jardine (LD)

House of Peers Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Christine Jardine (LD)

Armed Forces Covenant (Duty of Public Authorities) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Gavin Robinson (DUP)

Banking and Post Office Services (Rural Areas and Small Communities) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Luke Graham (Con)

Access to Banking Services Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Ben Lake (PC)

Food Advertising (Protection of Children from Targeting) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Kirstene Hair (Con)


249 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
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the Government Communications Service Propriety Guidance.
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what support the Government plans to provide to branches of the British Legion facing financial difficulties as a result of increases in energy costs.

The Government works closely with the Royal British Legion, which makes an enormous contribution to the lives of veterans and their families. While there are no plans to provide funding to branches of the Royal British Legion in relation to energy costs, all charities pay VAT at a reduced rate (5%) and are excluded from the Climate Change Levy for qualifying energy use.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, on what date he has held discussions with the First Minister of Scotland; and if he will publish the minutes of discussions between his Office and First Minister's Office from 24 March to 6 July 2020.

I last spoke to the First Minister of Scotland on 26 June. My Rt Hon Friends the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have had multiple discussions with the First Minister about Covid-19 and other matters.

16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of increases in domestic excise duty on Scotch whisky on discussions to reduce tariffs and excise duty on that whisky in international markets.

This Government is supporting Scotch Whisky. We have provided a series of cuts and freezes to alcohol duties in the past decade. The most recent alcohol duty freeze from Autumn Budget 2021, including the extension to 1 August 2023, represented a total tax cut of £2.7 billion over the next four years.

The Government is seeking improvement in market access, through negotiating ambitious Free Trade Agreements, including our recent accession to the CPTPP, and with other trade partners. We are also seeking to reduce non-tariff barriers through conversations with various other partners globally.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department's funding schemes providing support with the cost of energy.

The Government delivered over £40 billion in support last winter to households and businesses, covering half of a households’ energy bill, between October 2022 and June 2023.

This provided an average of £1,500 to households to support their energy bill costs.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including measures in the contracts for difference scheme that allow developers to prioritise projects within geographical areas that have high levels of fuel poverty.

In the UK's wholesale electricity market, power generated from Contracts for Difference (CfD) projects is delivered to the National Grid and so is not allocated to specific geographical areas.

The Government has recently published a Call for Evidence on introducing non-price factors into the CfD scheme. Non-price factors being considered include investments in assisted areas.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps the Government is taking to secure manufacturing investment in the renewable energy industry to help ensure that the UK remains a competitive market for clean energy investment.

Through the Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme, the Government has made funding available to support major port and manufacturing infrastructure. The Government has also announced a £160 million investment scheme to support floating offshore wind port and infrastructure development.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether the Government has plans to provide funding to whiskey distilleries in the Highlands to assist the transition from fossil fuels to green energy, such as biogas and hydrogen.

The Green Gas Support Scheme provides tariff-based support for biomethane produced via anaerobic digestion injected into the gas grid in Great Britain. The scheme requires that at least 50% of all biomethane (by energy content) produced must use waste or residue feedstocks, which may include residues from the whiskey distilling process.

Achieving the Government's legally binding net zero targets will require a range of technologies. Low carbon hydrogen will be critical to helping vital British industries transition away from expensive oil and gas, as well as providing greener energy for power, transport, and potentially home heating.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of households his Department estimates are reliant on heating oil; and if he will provide those data for households (a) by region in England, (b) in Scotland and (c) in Wales.

Analysis of the English Housing Survey (2018/19), Scottish House Condition Survey (2019) and Welsh Housing Conditions Survey (17/18) suggests that around 3%, 5% and 10% of households in England, Scotland and Wales respectively are estimated to have oil as their main form of heating.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the building of small modular reactors in Scotland.

The Government has noted the growing local and regional interest in a number of sites for further nuclear development.  The Government welcomes conversations with stakeholders who are considering if their assets are potentially suitable for the deployment of nuclear facilities. I discussed the Scottish Government’s lack of support for new civil nuclear power in my call with Michael Matheson on 13 January.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has in place to ensure that people who are not in receipt of the Government's £200 energy bill loan will be exempt from repayment levies in future years.

As announced by my Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 February, the £200 assistance for energy bills will be provided through all energy bills from October 2022. This will be recouped through all energy bills from April 2023. The details for this process are currently being established.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of tightening the definition of what counts as a new fossil fuel extraction project for the purposes of ensuring the effectiveness of the Government's climate compatibility checkpoint.

The UK is the only major economy to have published a blueprint to transition it’s oil and gas sector to the green economy. The Government's landmark North Sea Transition Deal could support up to 40,000 high-quality direct and indirect supply chain jobs and sets a world-leading example for other countries who need to decarbonise their economies.

The Government’s recent review into the future of offshore oil and gas licensing concluded that a formal climate compatibility checkpoint, building on current practice, should be established. This will help ensure that any future licences are only awarded following an assessment of their compatibility with the Government’s broad climate change ambitions, including the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050.

BEIS will consult on the design of the checkpoint in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of adopting as Government policy the recommendations of Electrical Safety First's campaign on (a) improving the regulation of electrical goods on online marketplaces and (b) bringing the regulation of those goods on online marketplaces into line with the regulation of those goods on the physical high street.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe products can be sold in the UK.

Existing laws require that all consumer products, including electrical goods sold online, must be safe before they can be placed on the UK market. The national product safety regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), and Local Authority Trading Standards have powers to take action against manufacturers, importers or distributors who sell unsafe consumer products through online marketplaces.

The OPSS also actively identifies products available online that pose a serious risk, ensuring that non-compliant products being sold by third-party sellers are removed from sale. Between February and April 2021, OPSS interventions led to the withdrawal and recall of more than 5,000 unsafe products previously listed and available in the UK via online marketplaces.

The OPSS is currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework, including in relation to e-commerce, to ensure it remains fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow. Through the review, officials are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure we have the broadest possible evidence base to inform future policy. This includes Electrical Safety First who participated in recent roundtable discussions on the review.

The Government issued a public Call for Evidence to support the review which closed on 17 June. Officials are currently reviewing the evidence received and we will publish a response in due course.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is able to take in response to reports of eligible employees being refused furlough by their employers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been designed to be a comprehensive, flexible and generous support for jobs and incomes. The guidance clearly sets out who is eligible for the scheme, and the Government encourages all businesses experiencing a reduction in business demand due to COVID make use of the scheme to protect jobs. Whether to place employees on the CJRS remains a business decision to be made by employers. When employers make decisions about which staff to furlough, equality and discrimination laws apply in the usual way.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure compliance with the guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees eligible for that scheme who have been refused furlough by their employer.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been designed to be a comprehensive, flexible and generous support for jobs and incomes. The guidance clearly sets out who is eligible for the scheme, and the Government encourages all businesses experiencing a reduction in business demand due to COVID make use of the scheme to protect jobs. Whether to place employees on the CJRS remains a business decision to be made by employers.

Should businesses opt against placing employees on the CJRS, it should be noted that employees retain all their usual employment rights

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that employers are not neglecting their duty of care and their responsibility to article 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998 when deciding which of their employees receive furlough during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a comprehensive, flexible and generous package of support for businesses. Any use of the scheme is a business decision to be made by employers.

Should businesses make use of the CJRS – or indeed choose not to use it – employees retain all their usual employment rights, including protection against discrimination of any form. All employers must honour all their legal obligations, and the Government will continue to use normal channels to ensure laws such as the Human Rights Act 1998 are respected.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is being consulted as part of the Intellectual Property Office’s consultation into the UK’s future copyright exhaustion regime.

The Intellectual Property Office is an executive agency of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and is working closely with its parent department and other government departments with an interest in this area, to ensure they can feed into the process to develop the UK’s future exhaustion regime.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made representations to the Intellectual Property Office on the importance of a national copyright exhaustion regime to UK (a) authors and (b) publishers.

The Government is currently considering the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. The Government will be consulting on this matter in early 2021 and encourages authors and publishers to feed into this process.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of an international copyright exhaustion framework on the ability of UK rightsholders to enforce those rights.

The Government is currently considering the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. The Government will be consulting on the potential impact of different exhaustion of rights regimes in early 2021 and how they may affect IP rights holders.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential role of a national copyright exhaustion framework in underpinning the UK’s (a) publishing industry and (b) other creative exports.

The Government is currently considering the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. The Government is also considering the role of different exhaustion regimes and the potential impact on different sectors such as the UK’s publishing industry.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the £160 million allocated to developing offshore wind he plans to spend on the coasts of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; and whether he plans to tackle fuel poverty in the far north of Scotland with that funding.

One hundred and sixty million pounds will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure in the offshore wind sector. This will enable the sector to support jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and wider supply chains, manufacturing the next-generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

No locations are confirmed at this stage. We are inviting landowners or developers of potential large-scale coastal manufacturing hubs to contact the department, by responding the request for information published on 6th October 2020 on the Gov.uk website by 30th October.

The purpose of the new funding is to enable development of supply chains.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the plans of the (a) French Government (b) German Government and (c) US Administration to support their domestic aerospace industries; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing support for the aerospace industry in Sutherland.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 16 June 2020 to Question 58050. We continually assess the impact on global aerospace supply chains of other countries. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a host of measures to help businesses through this period, including those in the aerospace sector, with £330 billion worth of Government support for businesses across the UK. The Government will continue to support all those affected by the crisis, in all parts of the UK.

We also co-fund aerospace research and development through the £3.9 billion Aerospace Technology Institute, as well as the £300 million Future Flight programme.

In addition, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has supported 8 million people, emergency loan schemes have awarded billions of pounds of support, and we have a world-leading export credit body that is expecting to support £3.5 billion of aviation exports over the next 18 months.

We will continue to support the UK aerospace industry to get back on its feet, and back into a position of growth, protecting high paid jobs across the length and breadth of the UK.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether accredited observer organisations will have access to the Blue Zone at COP26.

The engagement of observer organisations will be of fundamental value to COP26.

IGOs and NGOs are firstly required to register for observer status via the UNFCCC’s online registration system. Once observer status has been obtained, organisations can then register delegates to attend UNFCCC conferences and meetings. Accredited delegates will have access to the Blue Zone at COP26.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of plans in (a) France, (b) Germany and (c) the US to support their domestic aerospace industries.

We continually assess the impact on global aerospace supply chains of other countries.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a host of measures to help businesses through this period, including those in the aerospace sector, with £330 billion worth of Government-backed and guaranteed loans made available to support businesses across the UK. The Government will continue to support all those affected by the crisis.

We also co-fund aerospace research and development through the £3.9 billion Aerospace Technology Institute, as well as the £300 million Future Flight programme. In addition, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has supported 8 million people, various loan schemes have awarded billions of pounds of support, and we have a world-leading export credit body that is expecting to support £3.5 billion of aviation exports over the next 18 months. We continue to work closely with the UK’s aerospace sector to understand what more can be done.

3rd Mar 2020
What progress he is making on the national space strategy; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a national space innovation fund.

We have united departments across government to develop a UK Space Strategy, which will help the UK lead the way in this fast-growing sector and create thousands of jobs across the country. Our Space Strategy will support cutting-edge space science and technologies and foster world-leading British innovation.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to evaluate the (a) implementation and (b) effectiveness efficacy of industry-led measures on loot boxes.

Following the Government response to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games, the Government has welcomed new industry-led guidance and its potential, if fully implemented, to meet our objectives to improve protections for players.

The Government has agreed a 12-month implementation period for the new guidance on loot boxes and has asked the industry, coordinated by Ukie, to report back to DCMS on the extent to which it has been implemented and on steps taken in areas identified for further work.

We are working closely with industry and academics to ensure robust data is available to support evaluation of these measures, supported by the Video Games Research Framework which was developed and published by DCMS.

We will provide a further update in due course, following the 12-month implementation period and informed by independent academic scrutiny of the implementation and efficacy of these measures.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies on gambling regulation of (a) Omaze and (b) other companies that engage in lottery-style giveaways outside of the scope of existing regulation.

The Gambling White Paper, published in April 2023, set out the Government's intention to explore the potential for regulating types of large prize draws, which resemble society lotteries, but are not regulated as gambling products. Because these products are not regulated there is currently limited information about the sector. As stated in the response to PQ 152, the department has also commissioned independent researchers to gather evidence about the size and nature of the prize draw sector, including its role in charity funding, risks and player protection and understanding. The research consists of an AI-powered web scrape, together with industry surveys and operator engagement. The research will conclude shortly and will inform a consultation on potential regulation in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of the potential impact of Meta's reduction to the Community News Project on local journalism.

The Government is disappointed to see that Meta is closing its Community News Project. We are working to support journalism and local newsrooms to ensure the sustainability of this vital industry, and our new digital markets regime will help rebalance the relationship between the most powerful platforms and those who rely on them – including press publishers.

Additionally, our support for the sector has included the delivery of the £2 million Future News Fund; the zero rating of VAT on e-newspapers; the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and the BBC also supports the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme.

4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to compile a list of public buildings affected by construction with reinforced autoclave aerated concrete (RAAC).

Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out.

Government published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September and committed to providing further updates.

4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has taken recent steps to determine the prevalence of reinforced autoclave aerated concrete (RAAC) in leisure centres.

Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out.

Government published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September and committed to providing further updates.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to increase funding for (a) community groups and (b) sports clubs.

Community groups and grassroots sport play an important role in local areas, and supporting them is a priority for the Government.

Last year, Sport England received almost £350 million from the Government and National Lottery to fund grassroots sports projects so that everyone is able to access quality sport and physical activity opportunities, and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that exercise provides.

We are investing £300 million to develop thousands of state-of-the-art multi-use sports facilities across the UK. The Government has also committed £30 million a year for three years to school sport facilities in England, and over £20 million with the Lawn Tennis Association to renovate park tennis courts across England, Scotland and Wales.

At the Spring Budget, we also announced a £63 million package to address the cost pressures facing some public swimming pool providers, and provide investment in energy efficiency measures to make facilities sustainable in the long-term. These interventions will help ensure that people across the UK are able to get active.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is taking a number of steps to support community groups. This includes support from the National Lottery Community Fund for a range of community projects, including £615m awarded in the last financial year. In addition, and among other measures, the Government announced a package of over £100m at the Spring Budget to support charities and community organisations in England with cost of living pressures.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of the effectiveness of smaller TV channels in catering to (a) faith groups, (b) specific ethnic groups, (c) minority groups and (d) local audiences.

The Government recognises the importance of a diverse broadcasting landscape for communities around the country, with hundreds of channels, large and small, catering to a wide range of audiences.

The Government is committed to supporting a broadcasting sector that delivers for all audiences. On a local level, the BBC, local TV providers and commercial and community radio stations all play a crucial role in disseminating accurate news and local information, strengthening pride of place, reflecting the unique interests of the audiences that they serve, connecting communities, and helping to address social issues like loneliness and mental health.

The Government also believes that it is important that the broadcasting industry – both on- and off-screen – is representative of the country in which we live. In this context, the Government recognises the editorial and operational independence of the broadcasting sector and understands the value of smaller channels and content that caters to specific audiences.

The BBC also plays an important role in delivering this, and in the UK’s wider public service broadcasting ecosystem, with a mission to serve all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has asked Ofcom to have regard to its statutory duty to maintain a plurality of television channels as part of its proposed revisions to the rules governing the quantity and scheduling of television advertising on public service channels.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer I gave on 13 June 2023 to Questions 188295, 188296 and 188297.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will conduct an impact assessment into the effect of the proposed changes to Ofcom’s rules governing the quantity and scheduling of television advertising on public service channels.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer I gave on 13 June 2023 to Questions 188295, 188296 and 188297.

25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of theatre touring on the Government's levelling up agenda.

Touring plays an important role in sharing diverse and high-quality productions with audiences across the UK, and the Government has invested in theatres across the country to enrich our cultural offering.

As announced at the most recent Budget, theatres will be able to benefit from the Government's extension of the higher rates of theatre and orchestra tax relief for a further two years. The rate of higher relief will be 45% for non-touring productions and 50% for touring productions until 31 March 2025. This extension will boost investment in our cultural sectors, as well as supporting many productions to tour.

Our arm’s-length body, Arts Council England, supports touring and encourages National Portfolio Organisations it funds to tour productions across the country. For 2023/24 the Arts Council has recently confirmed a flexible allocation of £12 million for touring within its overall National Lottery Project Grants programme. As an example of previous support, the National Theatre’s Theatre Nation Partnerships received a £1.2 million grant to support touring in a number of areas with low levels of cultural engagement, including Levelling Up for Culture Places. Between November 2021 and February 2023, there were 75 awards from this budget totalling over £8.5 million to support touring across the country.

Arts Council England works with organisations on plans for touring, and is due to launch refreshed guidance in October 2023 which will outline how it has improved its Touring Fund to support relevant organisations.

25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to support touring theatre (a) companies and (b) productions.

Touring plays an important role in sharing diverse and high-quality productions with audiences across the UK, and the Government has invested in theatres across the country to enrich our cultural offering.

As announced at the most recent Budget, theatres will be able to benefit from the Government's extension of the higher rates of theatre and orchestra tax relief for a further two years. The rate of higher relief will be 45% for non-touring productions and 50% for touring productions until 31 March 2025. This extension will boost investment in our cultural sectors, as well as supporting many productions to tour.

Our arm’s-length body, Arts Council England, supports touring and encourages National Portfolio Organisations it funds to tour productions across the country. For 2023/24 the Arts Council has recently confirmed a flexible allocation of £12 million for touring within its overall National Lottery Project Grants programme. As an example of previous support, the National Theatre’s Theatre Nation Partnerships received a £1.2 million grant to support touring in a number of areas with low levels of cultural engagement, including Levelling Up for Culture Places. Between November 2021 and February 2023, there were 75 awards from this budget totalling over £8.5 million to support touring across the country.

Arts Council England works with organisations on plans for touring, and is due to launch refreshed guidance in October 2023 which will outline how it has improved its Touring Fund to support relevant organisations.

25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to increase the availability of capital investment to theatres.

Yes - there are a number of public funds which support investment in theatres and in the wider performing arts and cultural sectors. This includes £546 million which was awarded in January 2023 to 31 cultural and heritage projects as part of the second round of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, £76 million of capital investment through the Government’s Cultural Development Fund, and the Capital Investment Programme run by Arts Council England. In addition, Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme is open to theatres where project costs are less than £100,000, and can be used to cover capital costs.

31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether (a) her Department and (b) bodies directed by her Department have responsibility for ensuring that (i) walls, (ii) advertising hoardings and (iii) other fixed objects around the perimeter of sports pitches are safe for professional sportspeople.

The safety, wellbeing and welfare of everyone taking part in sport is absolutely paramount.

Sports pitch perimeter safety is primarily the responsibility of the relevant national governing body of the sport, and the relevant competition/event organisers of the fixture.

It is for individual clubs to carry out risk assessments and put in place mitigations that will improve player safety.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much from the public purse her Department spent on its proposals to privatise Channel 4.

As set out in the Department’s answer of 14 November 2022 to Question 80659, in the 2021-22 financial year DCMS’s costs for policy development related to Channel 4, including staff activity, external research and advice, public consultation and stakeholder engagement, were approximately £600,000. For the 2022-2023 financial year to November, these activities are estimated to have costs of £1.4 million.

This work has supported the development of the sustainability package recently announced by DCMS which will help address the challenges that Channel 4 is facing to its long-term success and sustainability.

It is right that when planning for the sale of an asset the government pursued appropriate specialist advice. Now that the decision has been taken not to proceed with a sale, all contracts with specialist external advisors have been terminated.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an estimate of (a) the number of care homes and supported living accommodation sites which have shared facilities but have no common and exclusive boundary, and (b) the number of pensioners who by reason of residence in such locations are unable to claim a concessionary TV licence.

Some residents in sheltered or residential care accommodation may be eligible for the Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) television licence fee concession. If eligible, residents are required to pay a reduced rate of £7.50 for a TV licence.

While licence fee concessions are set in legislation, it is the BBC, not the government, that administers these schemes. The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee and all of its concessions, including maintaining existing ARC concessionary licences and making decisions on requests for new ARC concessionary licences.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport does not hold the information requested. More information on this concession, including eligibility information and details on how to apply, can be found on the TV Licensing website.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Cairncross Review, what steps her Department is taking to support local journalism.

The Government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as vital pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

However, as the independent Cairncross Review into the future of journalism identified, society is increasingly moving online and local news publishers are facing significant challenges in transitioning to sustainable digital business models.

The Government supported the majority of Cairncross recommendations and has taken them forward through a range of fiscal and regulatory interventions. This has included through the extension of business rates relief for local newspapers in England for an additional five years; the investment of £2 million in the Future News Fund; the zero-rating of VAT on e-newspapers; the 2021 publication of an Online Media Literacy Strategy; and our work through the Mid Term Review of the BBC Charter, exploring how the BBC seeks to act as a complement, rather than a substitute for, local commercial news outlets. The Government was also pleased to see the BBC conduct a thorough review of the Local Democracy Reporting Service in 2020, as recommended by the Cairncross Review. As set out in our response to the Review, we would support any efforts by the BBC to grow the scheme.

Most importantly, we are introducing a new, pro-competition regime for digital markets. The regime, which aims to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely. This will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the press.

Longer term and beyond Cairncross, we continue to consider all possible options in the interests of promoting and sustaining the sector.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) supporting the English Heritage Scheme to expand the Blue Plaque scheme outside of London and (b) including expansion of that scheme in the Government's levelling up agenda.

I have not made an assessment of the potential merits of expanding the Blue Plaque scheme outside of London, as part of the levelling up agenda or otherwise. English Heritage Trust, which runs the scheme, offers free advice and guidance to anyone across the country seeking to put up a commemorative plaque.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had recent discussions with English Heritage on the potential merits of expanding the blue plaque scheme outside of London.

I have held no recent discussions with English Heritage Trust on the merits of expanding the Blue Plaque scheme outside of London. The charity freely offers advice and guidance to anyone across the country seeking to put up a commemorative plaque.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to raise awareness of social tariffs on broadband packages for consumers in receipt of benefits.

Raising awareness of social tariffs amongst eligible households is a key priority for DCMS.

We are working closely with other departments including the Department for Education, and the Department for Work and Pensions, to share information on the availability of social tariffs with libraries, local authorities, schools and regional job centres. We have also engaged a number of charities to circulate social tariff messaging to help reach those who may qualify for support.

On 27 June, the Secretary of State secured a set of public commitments from the UK’s major mobile and broadband providers to support families through the rise in the cost of living, which includes increasing efforts to promote their social tariff offers. To support the sector, the government is developing eligibility checking software which will allow a more efficient application process. We expect this work to conclude over the summer.

11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate her Department has made of levels of (a) lottery duty and (b) returns to good causes (i) in 2022-23 and (ii) in each of the next three financial years.

​​National Lottery ticket sales return 12% to the Exchequer as lottery duty. The Gambling Commission provides DCMS and the Lottery Distributing Bodies with good cause forecasts on a six-monthly basis to assist them with their grant planning. The forecast is presented as a range, with low, high and central scenarios. The modelling approach is regularly refined to ensure the forecasts remain as accurate as possible. The most recent forecast extends to 2023-24. We do not publish this information given commercial sensitivities.

Actual good cause returns are broadly consistent with these forecasts and are published in the National Lottery Distribution Fund Annual Report and Accounts and can be found on the GOV.UK.

The fourth National Lottery Licence is due to commence on 1 February 2024. 12% in Lottery Duty will continue to be paid on each National Lottery ticket. However, the method for calculating good cause returns will change. The design of the new Licence is such that as National Lottery sales grow, so do the benefits to good causes.

19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which projects have received funds from Project Gigabit.

To date, Project Gigabit funding has been contracted for the following projects:

  • Superfast Extension Programme: Scottish Government R100, Northern Ireland Project Stratum, and Connecting Cheshire Superfast Broadband Phase 3.

  • Gigahubs Programme: Department for Education, National Health Service (Scotland), Highlands Council, Welsh Government, Oxfordshire County Council, Dorset Council, Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Full Fibre Northern Ireland.

In addition, almost 1,500 projects have received funding through the Project Gigabit voucher scheme.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of the £5 billion Project Gigabit funds have been spent as of 19 May 2022.

UK coverage of gigabit broadband has boomed from 6 per cent to more than 68 per cent in the last three years. The Department has upgraded 600,000 hard-to-reach premises to gigabit and we remain on track to hit our target of 85 per cent gigabit coverage by 2025.

To date, we have spent over £61 million to provide reliable, lightning-fast connections to hard-to-reach premises across the UK via Project Gigabit. A further £35 million is already contracted to be spent and over £500 million of funding is now out to procurement.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of adding the Flow Country to prospective list held by the Government for consideration for inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.

I am pleased to confirm the Flow Country was added to the UK’s Tentative List in 2012. This is the list of prospective sites to go forward for the World Heritage Committee’s consideration for inscribing new sites on the World Heritage List.

We expect the Committee to make a decision on whether to add the Flow Country to the World Heritage List at their meeting in 2024. In the meantime, the Flow Country will remain on the UK’s Tentative List through the current review exercise to select new prospective sites.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing subsidies for low income households to support access to broadband.

The Department continues to work alongside Ofcom to review the affordability of telecoms services.

Support currently exists in the market for low-income households to access broadband services. There are a range of fixed broadband social tariff products available to over 5 million low-income households in receipt of Universal Credit, and other means-tested benefits. These tariffs are available to eligible households in 99% of the country. We will monitor the effectiveness of these products in supporting low-income households' access to broadband.

The Government currently has no plans to expand subsidies for low-income households accessing broadband beyond DWP’s existing partnership with TalkTalk to provide job-seekers a free 6 month broadband connection.

In relation to reducing VAT on social tariff products, it is never guaranteed that any reduction in tax on a service would be passed on by the businesses to the consumer, and this request should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum. We also recognise that any cut would need to be balanced elsewhere, either through increased taxes, more borrowing or reductions in Government spending.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of reducing or removing VAT on social tariffs to support low income families to be able to afford broadband.

The Department continues to work alongside Ofcom to review the affordability of telecoms services.

Support currently exists in the market for low-income households to access broadband services. There are a range of fixed broadband social tariff products available to over 5 million low-income households in receipt of Universal Credit, and other means-tested benefits. These tariffs are available to eligible households in 99% of the country. We will monitor the effectiveness of these products in supporting low-income households' access to broadband.

The Government currently has no plans to expand subsidies for low-income households accessing broadband beyond DWP’s existing partnership with TalkTalk to provide job-seekers a free 6 month broadband connection.

In relation to reducing VAT on social tariff products, it is never guaranteed that any reduction in tax on a service would be passed on by the businesses to the consumer, and this request should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum. We also recognise that any cut would need to be balanced elsewhere, either through increased taxes, more borrowing or reductions in Government spending.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the total value was of the cover provided to theatre events insured under the UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme.

As set out in its response of 8 December, the Government is unable to share commercially sensitive data related to the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of theatre events that have been successfully insured under the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme.

The Government recognises the important contribution the theatre sector makes to the UK’s culture and economy and the significant challenges the sector has faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme provides live events across the country with the confidence to plan for future events, and as such will support the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery.

We are unable to share commercially sensitive data about the events that have purchased eligible policies.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when her Department plans to publish the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill.

My department’s response to the consultation on the potential reform of the Electronic Communications Code was published on 24 November 2021.

The proposed reforms set out in the response were brought forward in the Product Security and Telecommunication Infrastructure Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons on 24 November 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will commit to publishing her Department’s response to the consultation on potential reform of the Electronic Communications Code by the end of 2021.

My department’s response to the consultation on the potential reform of the Electronic Communications Code was published on 24 November 2021.

The proposed reforms set out in the response were brought forward in the Product Security and Telecommunication Infrastructure Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons on 24 November 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of telegraph poles situated on private land in Scotland were installed after 2017.

The Department does not have access to the number of telegraph poles or ducts situated on private land across the UK, as this is a matter for each individual operator.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) telegraph poles and (b) ducts situated on private land in (i) England and (ii) Scotland.

The Department does not have access to the number of telegraph poles or ducts situated on private land across the UK, as this is a matter for each individual operator.

The Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) programme, led by DCMS, is exploring the challenges of using publicly owned infrastructure assets to support roll out of advanced wireless networks, reducing the demand for additional telegraph poles and other new structures. The Digital Asset Management workstream within this programme, is looking to help local authorities improve knowledge of existing public sector assets, for use by mobile network operators.

In addition, the Geospatial Commission is developing the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to drive efficiencies in infrastructure delivery across the UK and help improve worker safety, which may capture some of this data in the future.

The Electronic Communications Code (the Code) is the statutory framework for the installation of digital infrastructure, which applies equally to both public and private land. The full list of operators that have powers under the Code to install, maintain and upgrade digital infrastructure can be found on Ofcom’s website.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of whether the rollout of full fibre infrastructure is (a) faster, (b) less disruptive and (c) cheaper when using existing duct and pole infrastructure.

The government believes that reusing existing infrastructure, including but not limited to existing ducts and poles, can significantly reduce the time, cost and environmental impact of rolling out new broadband networks. Civil works, in particular installing new ducts and poles (or passive infrastructure), comprise the majority of costs of deploying gigabit broadband networks. In its Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021, Ofcom estimated that the reuse of Openreach’s duct and pole network cut the costs of deployment by around half.

Since 2019, Ofcom has mandated open access to Openreach’s ducts and poles, making it easier and quicker to deploy digital infrastructure networks. Furthermore, the government has consulted on making changes to the Access to Infrastructure regulations which support deployment using non-telecoms infrastructure.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will make an assessment of the impact of privatising Channel 4 on the availability of distinctive British content.

The government has recently consulted on whether an alternative ownership model for Channel 4 (but one where it retains a public service remit) may be better for the broadcaster, and better for the country.

We want Channel 4 to continue to be a public service broadcaster, and we want it to continue to contribute socially, economically and culturally to life across the UK. But there is a wealth of evidence - including Ofcom’s recent report - on the future challenges facing our traditional linear TV broadcasters. Channel 4 is uniquely constrained in its ability to meet these challenges while it remains under public ownership - particularly because its access to capital and ability to pursue strategic partnership opportunities is limited.

Channel 4’s remit, and its wider social and cultural contributions to life in the UK, are issues we have consulted on. The consultation opened on 6 July, running for 10 weeks, before closing on 14 September. We are currently analysing responses to inform our policy-making decisions. Once we have answered the questions set out in the consultation, we will know what specific impacts to assess and will therefore be in a position to carry out an impact assessment.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what (a) method, (b) calculations and (c) evidential basis his Department used to agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer a five per cent premium for the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme; and what assessment was made of the potential merits of similar models that have a zero per cent premium.

DCMS has worked closely with representatives from both the events and insurance industries over recent months to develop the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme. Details of the scheme - announced on 5 August with supplementary information released on 6 September - were designed to both provide the necessary confidence and reassurance to allow event organisers to plan and invest in live events over the coming year, whilst managing exposure and suitably protecting the taxpayer.

Where possible we sought to work in partnership with insurers and align with market practice. Through engaging with the sector throughout the design of the scheme we have been able to create a scheme which will play a vital role in helping the live events industry to rebuild with confidence. Numerous organisations - including UK Music and Live Nation - recognised the important contribution the scheme will make in enabling activity to go ahead when it was launched last month.

8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of the events industry his Department estimates will avail itself of the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme.

DCMS has worked closely with representatives from both the events and insurance industries over recent months to develop the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme. Details of the scheme - announced on 5 August with supplementary information released on 6 September - were designed to both provide the necessary confidence and reassurance to allow event organisers to plan and invest in live events over the coming year, whilst managing exposure and suitably protecting the taxpayer.

Where possible we sought to work in partnership with insurers and align with market practice. Through engaging with the sector throughout the design of the scheme we have been able to create a scheme which will play a vital role in helping the live events industry to rebuild with confidence. Numerous organisations - including UK Music and Live Nation - recognised the important contribution the scheme will make in enabling activity to go ahead when it was launched last month.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to promote the Scottish Highlands as a film location for movies and television.

My department continues to work closely with its Arm’s Length Body, the British Film Institute (BFI), to ensure it meets the full range of its responsibilities, including to support the film sector nationwide. In its ongoing support for Scottish production, the Government has worked with the BFI to ensure a wide range of funding and initiatives are available to support Scottish production and the development of talent.

Examples of support that have been given to the Scottish film industry include the BFI Film Fund, the BFI NETWORK and the BFI Film Audience Network, which use National Lottery Funding for development, production, distribution and promotion, supporting Scottish films, Scottish audiences and emerging Scottish filmmakers. The BFI Film Fund has funded a number of Scottish projects including The Origin, which was shot in the Scottish Highlands in October 2020.

The British Film Commission (BFC), a national body predominantly funded by DCMS, also supports and promotes UK-wide film and high-end television production, including in Scotland. It works in close partnership with Screen Scotland, the national screen agency for Scotland funded by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. Scotland is featured as part of all BFC marketing campaigns and assets, including show reels, websites and brochures, that are designed to facilitate film making and promote British locations, and the BFC facilitates regular business development meetings with international film and television clients. These meetings include representatives from all UK nations, including Scotland.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19 the Government has worked closely with the UK Nations to ensure Covid-secure production guidance supports safe production for film and high-end television in Scotland and across the UK. Screen Scotland has been part of the Screen Sector Taskforce, coordinated by the BFI, which helped to develop the guidance and has also looked at the impact of Covid and recovery measures for the sector, in collaboration with DCMS. In addition, the UK-wide £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme is getting nationwide TV and film productions that have been halted or delayed by a lack of insurance back up and running, by giving productions the confidence they need that they will be supported if losses are incurred due to Covid-19.

VisitBritain also uses high profile filming locations as part of its international tourism marketing activity. For example, in the past it has run campaigns promoting Glen Coe, as featured in James Bond’s Skyfall.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will facilitate a roundtable discussion with sports broadcasters and football fan associations to discuss the European Super League proposals.

The Government has been vocal in its opposition to these proposals, which are not in the interests of the game, and I was glad to see the withdrawal of all English teams from the project.

This is the right result for football fans, clubs and communities across the country.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish specific details of locations to be used for the Shared Rural Network rollout; and what the timescale is for the deployment of that programme.

The Shared Rural Network programme will be delivered in two parts. The first phase will see the four Mobile Network Operators collectively invest over £530 million in a shared network of new and existing phone masts. This will help tackle partial not spots - areas where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all operators. The second will see the government invest over £500 million to go even further to significantly reduce total not-spots - those hard-to-reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator.

The mobile operators have already commenced work on the first element of the programme which is funded by the industry and includes the 124 Scottish sites mentioned in your Parliamentary Question, and are on track to eliminate the majority of those partial not-spots by mid-2024.

Now that funding has been released for the total not-spot element of the programme, the government and the operators remain confident that combined coverage will be delivered to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025, with areas around the UK starting to see improvements to 4G coverage long before completion.

The exact site deployment plans will be managed by the operators themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. Therefore, I am unable to provide any details on the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts that may be delivered as a result of the programme. However, I have personally encouraged operators to be transparent about their plans.

The programme is working closely with all three Devolved Administrations to ensure that infrastructure is shared wherever possible.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish details of the proposed site locations for the 124 mobile masts that will be erected under the Shared Rural Network Programme; what the timeframe is for confirming those site locations, and what support the Infralink programme will provide to securing those locations.

The Shared Rural Network programme will be delivered in two parts. The first phase will see the four Mobile Network Operators collectively invest over £530 million in a shared network of new and existing phone masts. This will help tackle partial not spots - areas where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all operators. The second will see the government invest over £500 million to go even further to significantly reduce total not-spots - those hard-to-reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator.

The mobile operators have already commenced work on the first element of the programme which is funded by the industry and includes the 124 Scottish sites mentioned in your Parliamentary Question, and are on track to eliminate the majority of those partial not-spots by mid-2024.

Now that funding has been released for the total not-spot element of the programme, the government and the operators remain confident that combined coverage will be delivered to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025, with areas around the UK starting to see improvements to 4G coverage long before completion.

The exact site deployment plans will be managed by the operators themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. Therefore, I am unable to provide any details on the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts that may be delivered as a result of the programme. However, I have personally encouraged operators to be transparent about their plans.

The programme is working closely with all three Devolved Administrations to ensure that infrastructure is shared wherever possible.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to announce which further areas of the UK will be prioritised to benefit from Project Gigabit.

Information on our approach to bringing forward projects under Project Gigabit can be found in our publication of 19 March 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-5bn-project-gigabit. We will publish a further update on the proposed sequence of projects in June 2021 and will provide an updated procurement pipeline every three months from then on with further detail on the dates and expected contract values for these procurements. Potential procurements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be added into the pipeline as they become confirmed.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme will be extended or replaced at end of March 2021.

The government’s Project Gigabit announcement of 19 March 2021 confirmed that up to £210m will be made available for gigabit vouchers and up to £110m to support connections to public sector hubs from April 2021. This builds on the previous successful delivery under the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Ofcom's announcement, Ramping up the rollout of full-fibre broadband, published on 18 March 2021, how he plans to allocate the £1.5 billion put aside for investment in rural fibre coverage by 2025.

The government has set out its approach to ensuring delivery of fibre broadband in its publication of 19 March 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-5bn-project-gigabit. Further information on the proposed sequence of projects and funding allocations will be published in June 2021 and subsequent updates will be provided at three monthly intervals. The government has also confirmed that up to £210 million will be provided for broadband vouchers to help those with slow speeds and up to £110 million to provide connections to up to 7,000 rural GP surgeries, libraries and schools.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with organisations responsible for running festivals this year on insurance issues.

We are committed to continue working with the festival sector to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery. We are aware of the concerns which have been raised by the festival sector about the challenge of securing indemnity cover for live events. My officials have been working closely with festival industry stakeholders to understand the challenges and to keep the situation under review. I also chair the Events and Entertainment Working Group where I discuss these issues directly with the festival industry.

Protecting public health is of vital importance to myself and the government. We are exploring all barriers to reopening, which include potential challenges around indemnity cover. Understandably, the bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high, especially given the considerable extension to the furlough scheme and local business support.

Given the high costs involved in setting up a scheme we also need to make sure it is the most effective and appropriate use of funds at a time when we are looking at how best to support the sector in facing the wider challenges around recovery and renewal. As such, HM Treasury does not believe that now is the right time for an insurance intervention.

At the Budget the Chancellor will set out the next phase in our economic support package to reflect the steps set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to easing restrictions published last month, tailoring support for individuals and businesses to reflect the changing public health restrictions.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support World Book Day 2021.

DCMS will be marking World Book Day across social media channels. We are highlighting positive stories of the benefits of reading, and showcasing the work of the Reading Agency, which is working with public libraries across England to tackle loneliness and promote wellbeing and mental health, supported by £3.5m from DCMS.

Although libraries are closed for browsing, over two thirds of local authorities are offering click and collect services. Libraries Connected and The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians have joined forces to support World Book Day and to encourage libraries to participate. The majority of library services will engage via social media, and four Library Services (Doncaster, Blackpool, Nottingham and Middlesbrough) are participating in targeted programmes in partnership with World Book Day and the National Literacy Trust focused on the Literacy Hubs to engage more children in reading.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of reading habits among (a) adults and (b) children during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS has not undertaken an assessment of adults’ or children’s reading habits during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are aware the publishing industry has reported that, while sales of fiction and digital formats rose over the first six months of 2020, total book sales across the industry fell by 11% in that period.

The Government recognises the importance of English skills both in work and everyday life. Whilst we do not track the reading habits of adults, the Government does provide full funding for learners who do not have a level 2 qualification in English who need to improve their literacy skills.

The Government is also committed to continuing to raise literacy standards – ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by Covid-19, a Reading Together Day was held on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading.

Understanding the impact of the Covid-19 disruption on students is a priority for the Government, and the Department for Education has commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to provide a baseline assessment of catch up needs for pupils in schools in England and monitor progress over the course of the year. The Department for Education will publish interim findings prior to the final research report being published in October 2021.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live events industry.

We are aware of the concerns which have been raised about securing insurance for live events.

Understandably, the bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high. Given the high costs involved in setting up a scheme we need to make sure it is the most effective use of funds at a time when we are looking at how best to support the sector.

The evidence of market failure must clearly demonstrate that such a scheme is the only barrier to staging events. At the moment, progress with the vaccine rollout and beating the virus is crucial in determining a timetable for staging events.

We are working closely with the sector to determine the appropriate and most effective response within the public health context.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward legislation to update the prominence regime for public service broadcasters.

We recognise the need to ensure that high quality public service content is made easily accessible to UK audiences. That is why the government asked Ofcom to undertake a review of this area through the Digital Economy Act 2017.

Ofcom published their Prominence recommendations to government in July 2019 and since then we have engaged with Ofcom and industry to fully understand the impact of Ofcom’s proposals. This work is ongoing and the government remains committed to act on Ofcom’s recommendations and to taking forward legislation as the legislative timetable allows.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criterion must be met for his Department to accept market failure in DCMS sectors.

When appraising proposals for policies, programmes, and projects, DCMS relies on central government guidance on appraisal and evaluation, from the Treasury’s Green Book.

The Green Book is based upon the ideas of welfare economics and concerns the optimisation of social welfare. Much of its subject matter therefore concerns estimation of public, that is social, welfare values. These are values that economic markets are either unable to fully capture, or are unable to register at all. The various forms of shortfall in market welfare optimisation are characterised as “market failures.”

There is no single form of criterion to accept or address market failure. This will depend on the type of market failure, the evidence around its existence or severity, and the results of the Social Cost Benefit Analysis for potential interventions.

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the revenue lost to the live performance industry as a result of covid-19 restrictions since March 2020.

I refer the honourable member to the Secretary of State’s answer to Written Question 135862 on 14th January.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he is making with the devolved Administrations to ensure that football fans can safely attend football matches as soon as possible.

On 23rd November, the Government announced that spectators in England will be able to attend stadia and sports venues in tiers 1 and 2, in limited numbers, from 2 December.

We will continue to work closely with a whole range of sporting bodies, including the football authorities, to understand the latest thinking that might allow further spectators to return. This includes inviting the new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this.

The Government liaises regularly with the Devolved Administrations, however, as sport is a devolved matter, it is for them to decide on the return of spectators in their respective nations.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross constituency will be included in the UK and Scottish Government Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Eligibility for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS), including where the Scottish Government provides additional funding, is assessed at an individual premises level. Premises in Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross are eligible for gigabit vouchers. Eligibility can be checked at: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/.

In addition, where premises are not eligible for the GBVS, the Scottish Government’s Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme may provide support to help deliver a permanent broadband connection to properties where there is no roll-out of superfast broadband planned.Information on the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, including eligibility, can be found at: https://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/how-can-i-get-it/voucher-scheme/.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps with the British Events Industry Coalition and other representative organisations on a code of conduct to help certify private events as covid-19 secure.

We continue to engage with a broad range of stakeholders - including via the Business Visits and Events Partnership, the Events & Entertainment Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel - to monitor the situation across the events sector. We encourage events representatives to continue sharing information with relevant sector bodies.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop Covid-19 Secure guidance for a range of events. Furthermore, the events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

We will continue to work with the events industries to assess how we can best support their safe reopening.

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be an extensive package of financial support in place, with the Job Retention Scheme extended until March 2021.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on creating a framework for the events industry to safeguard (a) customers and (b) people working in the events industry affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the events and exhibition industry, as well as other sectors, have been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

My Department regularly engages with events stakeholders to assess the issues being faced and to develop means of offering support, including on the issue of insurance provision. The Government is also in continual dialogue with the insurance sector on its response to COVID-19.

We encourage businesses and suppliers to explore the Government’s support package, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Job Retention Scheme.

We worked closely with stakeholders to develop Covid-19 Secure guidance for a range of events. Furthermore, the events pilots we carried out in September will help to ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has for (a) discussions and (b) other engagement with (i) the British Events Industry Coalition and (ii)other private events industry representatives.

We continue to engage with a broad range of stakeholders - including via the Business Visits and Events Partnership, the Events & Entertainment Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel - to monitor the situation across the events sector. We encourage events representatives to continue sharing information with relevant sector bodies.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop Covid-19 Secure guidance for a range of events. Furthermore, the events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

We will continue to work with the events industries to assess how we can best support their safe reopening.

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be an extensive package of financial support in place, with the Job Retention Scheme extended until March 2021.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people over 75 who are registered blind and qualify for the 50 per cent discount of the television licence.

The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee and all of its concessions. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport therefore does not hold information on the number of people who claim, or are eligible for, the blind (severely sight impaired) TV licence concession.

Local authorities hold the register of those who are registered blind or severely sight impaired, and NHS Digital published a report in 2017 on the numbers of people registered. This report can be found here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people-england-2016-17.

The Government is deeply disappointed in the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75s licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. The BBC must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision and must look at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people over 75 who claim the 50 per cent discount of the television licence.

The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee and all of its concessions. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport therefore does not hold information on the number of people who claim, or are eligible for, the blind (severely sight impaired) TV licence concession.

Local authorities hold the register of those who are registered blind or severely sight impaired, and NHS Digital published a report in 2017 on the numbers of people registered. This report can be found here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people-england-2016-17.

The Government is deeply disappointed in the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75s licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. The BBC must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision and must look at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on what date the Minister for Tourism, held discussions with his counterpart in the Scottish Government on specialized support for the tourism Industry; and if he will publish the minutes of discussions between the Government ministers and the Scottish Government on support for the tourism industry between 24 March and 18 June 2020.

The Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage holds regular discussions with his three counterparts in the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive. The dates on which such meetings have taken place since the start of the Coronavirus crisis are: 25th March, 8th April, 21st April, 7th May, 27th May, and 9th June.

There are no plans at present to publish the minutes of these discussions.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Feb 2020
What steps he is taking to monitor the progress of the rollout of superfast broadband to rural areas.

Great progress has been made in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency. Six years ago, just 4% of premises had access to superfast broadband; that figure is now 78%.

This Government has also provided Highlands Council with £4.2m to deliver full fibre networks to public sector sites in Inverness, Fort William, Wick and Thurso.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how the Ofsted inspection regime for the Army Foundation College differs from that used in civilian colleges of further education for the same age group.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

1st Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to help make up for teaching time lost as a result of the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

The Government is committed to helping children and young people make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is why we have invested £1.7 billion to give early years, schools and colleges support to help pupils get back on track, including additional funding for tutoring, early language support and summer schools.

We have appointed Sir Kevan Collins as an Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on our recovery plan and academic and non-academic factors in supporting attainment will form a part of this work.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support reading for pleasure among children during the national covid-19 lockdown that has been in place since January 2021.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. The Department is aware that reading for pleasure brings a range of benefits, including reading attainment, writing ability, text comprehension and grammar, breadth of vocabulary, and pleasure in reading in later life.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch, the Government has provided a further £17 million in funding for this improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided targeted support to several thousands of schools across England, and in the 2020-21 academic year, is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.

To provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision, the Department has made £4.84 million available to Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Oak National Academy’s video lessons include coverage of literacy, reading for pleasure and English as appropriate from Early Years Foundation Stage up to Key Stage 4.

To support schools in making up for lost classroom time, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package, including a universal catch-up premium worth £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional measures required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. This can include support in reading through systematic synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure initiatives.

The catch-up package includes a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The programme comprises three elements: a tuition programme for five to 16 year olds, with tuition partners and academic mentors specialising in English available to schools; a 16 to 19 tuition fund, including support for small group tuition in English, and a targeted early language support programme for Reception aged children to support early literacy.

The Department is regularly conducting evidence reviews to understand the effect of COVID-19 on reading comprehension, as well as other subjects. As expected, published studies show that primary pupils faced considerable loss in overall reading comprehension, as well as other subjects, based on studies that assessed pupils in the autumn 2020 term, although there are some methodological limitations, which mean that the exact estimates are uncertain.

The Department has not yet published data on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on reading for pleasure. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department held a Reading Together Day on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading. As part of this, we published 10 top tips to help parents support their children to read and this information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-top-tips-to-encourage-children-to-read.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve (a) reading for pleasure and (b) literacy levels among children.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. The Department is aware that reading for pleasure brings a range of benefits, including reading attainment, writing ability, text comprehension and grammar, breadth of vocabulary, and pleasure in reading in later life.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch, the Government has provided a further £17 million in funding for this improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided targeted support to several thousands of schools across England, and in the 2020-21 academic year, is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.

To provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision, the Department has made £4.84 million available to Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Oak National Academy’s video lessons include coverage of literacy, reading for pleasure and English as appropriate from Early Years Foundation Stage up to Key Stage 4.

To support schools in making up for lost classroom time, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package, including a universal catch-up premium worth £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional measures required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. This can include support in reading through systematic synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure initiatives.

The catch-up package includes a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The programme comprises three elements: a tuition programme for five to 16 year olds, with tuition partners and academic mentors specialising in English available to schools; a 16 to 19 tuition fund, including support for small group tuition in English, and a targeted early language support programme for Reception aged children to support early literacy.

The Department is regularly conducting evidence reviews to understand the effect of COVID-19 on reading comprehension, as well as other subjects. As expected, published studies show that primary pupils faced considerable loss in overall reading comprehension, as well as other subjects, based on studies that assessed pupils in the autumn 2020 term, although there are some methodological limitations, which mean that the exact estimates are uncertain.

The Department has not yet published data on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on reading for pleasure. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department held a Reading Together Day on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading. As part of this, we published 10 top tips to help parents support their children to read and this information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-top-tips-to-encourage-children-to-read.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of covid-19 on children’s (a) reading for pleasure and (b) literacy levels.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. The Department is aware that reading for pleasure brings a range of benefits, including reading attainment, writing ability, text comprehension and grammar, breadth of vocabulary, and pleasure in reading in later life.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch, the Government has provided a further £17 million in funding for this improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided targeted support to several thousands of schools across England, and in the 2020-21 academic year, is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.

To provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision, the Department has made £4.84 million available to Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Oak National Academy’s video lessons include coverage of literacy, reading for pleasure and English as appropriate from Early Years Foundation Stage up to Key Stage 4.

To support schools in making up for lost classroom time, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package, including a universal catch-up premium worth £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional measures required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. This can include support in reading through systematic synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure initiatives.

The catch-up package includes a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The programme comprises three elements: a tuition programme for five to 16 year olds, with tuition partners and academic mentors specialising in English available to schools; a 16 to 19 tuition fund, including support for small group tuition in English, and a targeted early language support programme for Reception aged children to support early literacy.

The Department is regularly conducting evidence reviews to understand the effect of COVID-19 on reading comprehension, as well as other subjects. As expected, published studies show that primary pupils faced considerable loss in overall reading comprehension, as well as other subjects, based on studies that assessed pupils in the autumn 2020 term, although there are some methodological limitations, which mean that the exact estimates are uncertain.

The Department has not yet published data on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on reading for pleasure. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department held a Reading Together Day on 16 July 2020 to celebrate the benefits of reading. As part of this, we published 10 top tips to help parents support their children to read and this information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-top-tips-to-encourage-children-to-read.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary and secondary school teachers have contracted covid-19 in the workplace.

The Department does not hold data on how many deaths there have been due to COVID-19 in the teaching profession, nor information on how many teachers have contracted COVID-19 in the workplace.

Current scientific evidence is that children are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and there is also no current evidence that staff are at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils is always our priority. The Government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our registered nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January the Department published guidance “Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak”, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department will continue to keep its plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will publish statistics on the number of teachers who have died of covid-19.

The Department does not hold data on how many deaths there have been due to COVID-19 in the teaching profession, nor information on how many teachers have contracted COVID-19 in the workplace.

Current scientific evidence is that children are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and there is also no current evidence that staff are at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils is always our priority. The Government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our registered nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January the Department published guidance “Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak”, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department will continue to keep its plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the data his Department holds on the rates of (a) sick leave and (b) absence of (i) primary and (ii) secondary school teachers from the workplace for the periods from (A) 1 September 2018 to 4 January 2019, (B) 1 September 2019 to 4 January 2020 and (C) 1 September 2020 to 4 January 2021.

The information requested is not available in the format requested.

For the 2018/19 academic year, the Department collects information on teacher sickness absence from all state funded schools via the School Workforce Census, held in November each year since 2010. Each census collects data for absence from the previous academic year. The latest data available cover the academic year September 2018 to August 2019.

Information on the number and rates of teacher sickness absence are published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

The table below shows teacher sickness absence data during the 2018/19 academic year in state funded schools in England:

Teacher sickness absence data[1][2]

2018/19

Average number of Days - all teachers

4.1

Average number of days taken

7.5

Percentage taking absence

54.0

Total Number of Days lost

2,133,253

Total teachers taking absence

284,146

For the 2019/20 academic year, to reduce burdens on schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the return of absence data for the 2019/20 academic year was not required in the ongoing 2020 School Workforce Census. Schools will not be asked to submit 2020 census absence data retrospectively in future censuses.

For the 2020/21 academic year, the Department intends to publish detailed school workforce absence data?from 19 January 2021. This data will be included as part of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-?19) outbreak’.? The data shall be drawn from the educational setting status form, which was set up to help the government monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on schools, nurseries and colleges, focus support more effectively and keep children safe.

The Department plans to return to collecting information on teacher sickness absence in the 2020/21 academic year from all state funded schools via the School Workforce Census, held in November 2021. This data shall be released, as per the usual timings, in the summer of 2022.

[1] The total teachers taking sickness absence and total days taken are estimates based on the schools that were able to make a full absence return. They are only available for England as a whole and not by region, local authority or school. For further details please see the methodology document.

[2] Before using this data, please check the methodology section for important information such as definitions, limitations and caveats. This is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/891b274b-8080-433d-897f-5e39f2082379.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether (a) primary and (b) secondary schools provide his Department with regular updates on covid-19 cases within their education facility.

Primary and secondary schools are required to supply daily COVID-19 attendance data to the Department for both pupils and staff. This information is collected on electronic forms and submitted to the Department through an online portal.

Schools provide the numbers of pupils unable to attend face to face education or undertake remote learning according to the categories below:

  • Suspected cases of COVID-19
  • Confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Pupils who have been asked to remain at home due to potential contact with a case of COVID-19 within their setting
  • Pupils who have been asked to remain at home due to potential contact with a case of COVID-19 outside of their setting, including self isolation.

5th May 2020
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of children’s access to (a) laptops, (b) a reliable internet connection and (c) other remote learning equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

We want to do everything we can to support schools and families to continue children’s education while they are at home. We have committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including providing laptops, tablets and internet access for those who need it most.

On Friday 24 April, the Department wrote to local authorities, trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools and children’s social care outlining the process for requesting devices.

19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to support rural farmers.

We are backing British farmers with £3.7bn of investment per year, including £620m per year for Scotland. This is ringfenced UK Government funding for farming to support profitable and sustainable food production and environmental and animal welfare outcomes.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what data his Department has collected on the (a) quantity, (b) type and (c) harmful effects of plastic pollution in the UK’s marine environments.

The UK collects data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters including on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methodologies agreed through the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/

We fund and conduct research to improve our understanding of the impacts of plastic pollution in the marine environment. This includes an evidence review published in February 2020 which covers the impacts of marine plastic pollution, including microplastics, on marine life. This can be accessed at:

http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=20339&FromSearch=Y&Publisher=1&SearchText=ME5436&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to tackle the (a) trafficking and (b) exploitation of adolescent girls in humanitarian crises.

DFID is at the heart of the UK’s international efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 by taking immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as on other relevant SDGs covering human trafficking of women and girls and exploitation of children.

In DFID’s Strategic Vision on Gender Equality, we set out our ambition to do more to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls during emergencies, when the challenges and needs are particularly acute. Ending this violence is essential in making the world a fairer, more prosperous and safer place – something that is absolutely in our national interest. That’s why we have increased our resources and expanded our programmes to tackle violence against women and girls in more than 30 countries.

Since 2017 the Government has more than doubled UK aid spending to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking – committing just over £200 million to date.  This includes work to prevent the trafficking of adolescent girls. Examples of our current work to protect vulnerable children in protracted crises include:

- a £10 million Children on the Move Programme (in partnership with UNICEF) over the period 2017-2020 to protect up to 400,000 children at risk of violence and slavery in the Horn of Africa; and

- a £12 million UK Aid Connect Programme over the period 2018-2022 to address child labour in fragile and conflict affected states in Africa (such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)).

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much his Department has spent from the public purse to help prevent (a) trafficking and (b) exploitation of adolescent girls in humanitarian crises.

DFID is at the heart of the UK’s international efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 by taking immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as on other relevant SDGs covering human trafficking of women and girls and exploitation of children.

In DFID’s Strategic Vision on Gender Equality, we set out our ambition to do more to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls during emergencies, when the challenges and needs are particularly acute. Ending this violence is essential in making the world a fairer, more prosperous and safer place – something that is absolutely in our national interest. That’s why we have increased our resources and expanded our programmes to tackle violence against women and girls in more than 30 countries.

Since 2017 the Government has more than doubled UK aid spending to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking – committing just over £200 million to date.  This includes work to prevent the trafficking of adolescent girls. Examples of our current work to protect vulnerable children in protracted crises include:

- a £10 million Children on the Move Programme (in partnership with UNICEF) over the period 2017-2020 to protect up to 400,000 children at risk of violence and slavery in the Horn of Africa; and

- a £12 million UK Aid Connect Programme over the period 2018-2022 to address child labour in fragile and conflict affected states in Africa (such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)).

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had on food safety and standards with her US counterpart during the UK-US trade negotiations.

As part of negotiations with the United States, the Secretary of State remains in regular contact with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

From 5-15 May the UK and U.S. conducted the first round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The second UK-US Free Trade Agreement negotiating round began on 15 June and will take place over two weeks.

The UK is clear that it will not compromise on its high standards of food safety and animal welfare. Our position was restated by the Secretary of State for International Trade and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a letter to MPs on 6 June 2020.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve rail connections between England and the north of Scotland.

Cross Border Connectivity is a priority for the Department, the Department is committed to ensuring that passengers are able to travel by rail between England and Scotland.

Investment in timetable improvements and new infrastructure will enable faster and more frequent services on the East Coast Mainline improving rail connections between England and Scotland. Officials from the Department are in contact with their counterparts at Transport Scotland.

LNER provide a daily train service each way – the Highland Chieftain – between Inverness and London King’s Cross serving Aviemore, Perth, Sterling, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and Peterborough.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the provision of incentive schemes that encourage businesses to shift from road to rail freight.

The Government is determined to encourage a move from road to rail for transporting goods. For example, initiatives currently include setting a long-term rail freight growth target and the Department’s Mode Shift Revenue Support (MSRS) scheme, which assists rail freight operating companies with the costs associated with running freight on rail instead of road, where rail transport is more expensive. A review of the MSRS scheme, which runs until 31 March 2025, will commence soon.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of weighting plug-in vehicle grants towards rural postcodes.

Government grants have been available since 2010 to incentivise more people to make the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) – so far nearly £1.5 billion has been invested, supporting the purchase of over 410,000 vehicles. The grants are offered at the point of sale across the UK on all eligible vehicles and are factored into the advertised price. We have not made an assessment of the merits of weighting plug-in vehicle grants towards rural areas. Doing this could increase the complexity of the scheme and increase the risk of fraud.

Government has recently committed an additional £620m to support the transition to electric vehicles in addition to the £582m committed for the Plug in Vehicle Grant schemes at Spending Review 2020. This additional funding will be focused on supporting the rollout of charging infrastructure and targeted plug-in vehicle grants. The Government also offers generous tax incentives including favourable company car tax rates for EVs. These rates have been a strong driver of sales and are confirmed until FY24/25. Local areas can also put in their own measures to encourage EV ownership, such as reduced rates for residential parking permits.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many blood sample tests requested by DVLA as part of a fitness to drive medical were required to be retaken due to a previous blood test being a (a) haemolysed sample, (b) clotted sample and (c) insufficient sample in each of the last five years.

The number of blood tests requested by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as part of a medical fitness to drive investigation in the last five years is shown in the table below:

Year

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2020/21

Total requests

35,524

36,792

36,125

43,332

34,216

Information on the number of blood tests that needed to be retaken or the reason why is not readily available. Retrieving this information would require the interrogation of each individual case to identify the reason for which the blood test needed to be re-taken.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many blood samples were requested by DVLA as part of a fitness to drive medical in each of the last five years.

The number of blood tests requested by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as part of a medical fitness to drive investigation in the last five years is shown in the table below:

Year

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Total requests

35,524

36,792

35,040

36,125

43,332

34,216

Information on the number of blood tests that needed to be retaken or the reason why is not readily available. Retrieving this information would require the interrogation of each individual case to identify the reason for which the blood test needed to be re-taken.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) encourage and (b) support the use of electric vehicles among lower wage earners resident in rural and semi-rural settings.

The Government has announced £2.8 billion to support industry and drivers to make the switch to zero emission vehicles. Reforms to our home and workplace charging schemes will focus support on those that need it most, including those living in flats, rental and leasehold accommodation, SMEs and charities. We will publish an electric vehicle Infrastructure Strategy in 2021 to set out the vision and action plan for charging infrastructure rollout needed to achieve the 2030/35 phase out successfully, this will consider and address both urban and rural charging needs. Electric vehicles can also be cheaper to run: It costs from as little as 1p/mile to run a new electric vehicle, compared to around 10p per mile for new diesel/petrol vehicles. This will be valuable for rural drivers who travel longer distances than average. Electric vehicle drivers also benefit from a favourable tax regime that rewards cleaner vehicles. As manufacturers produce more electric vehicles, we expect their cost to come down over the coming years and for more vehicles to become available on the second hand market.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that electric vehicle infrastructure is accessible for disabled people.

The Government understands the importance of car ownership to many people with disabilities, with research indicating that nearly three in five disabled people use a private car three or more times per week. We recently conducted a call for evidence on accessibility in our consumer experience at public chargepoints consultation.

The consultation gathered evidence for any interventions needed for consumers using the public charging infrastructure. This closed on 10 April and we are intending to publish the government response to this consultation in the autumn and lay legislation relating to open data, payment methods and reliability, later this year.

The responses provided for the call to evidence on accessibility are being reviewed. We are working closely with Motability to develop clear accessibility standards for public EV chargepoints to ensure that consumers can find the right chargepoints for their needs, for electric vehicle drivers with visible and non-visible disabilities. Drivers who lease a vehicle through the Motability Scheme are able to apply the OZEV Plug-in Car Grant of up to £2,500, or Plug-in Van Grant of up to £3,000, to an eligible vehicle and also apply for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) which provides a grant of up to £350 towards the purchase and installation of a home chargepoint.

The Government will continue to monitor market developments to determine whether any significant gaps in charging infrastructure provision emerge in the medium term and whether there may be a case for direct central government support in areas of market failure, which may include accessibility.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much and what proportion of the plug-in vehicle grant has been allocated to Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross.

The Department holds data on plug-in vehicle grants but this database does not provide the geographic breakdown required.

Up to the end of September 2020, an estimated £0.2m was provided to new plug-in car grant eligible models that were registered for the first time to an address in Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross, which was 0.03% of the estimated total for the UK.

Note that the plug-in car grant provides a discount on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles through a grant the government gives to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers when consumers purchase an eligible vehicle model – the grant is therefore allocated based on consumer demand rather than through any geographic formula.

Grants for vehicles other than cars have been excluded here because we do not have an equivalent estimation method readily available.

The financial value has been estimated from car registration data by applying the amount of available grant for eligible models at the time of registration. This estimate does not mean that every car registered received the grant nor that other cars did not receive the grant before the end of September 2020 but had not registered the car yet.

3rd Dec 2020
What assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring long-distance road transport companies using heavy vehicles to contribute towards the maintenance of rural roads.

The Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Levy, paid by vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes for the use of any UK road since 2014, raised £204.4 million in 2019/20. The Levy is suspended for 12 months to 1 August 2021.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending MOTs during the covid-10 outbreak.

As announced on 25 March 2020, the Government is introducing a six-month exemption for all light vehicles due for an MOT test from 30 March 2020 onwards to allow people to carry on travel to work where essential, or shop for necessities. The assessment is that this a proportionate step in the light of the public health challenges related to COVID-19 compared to the potential effects of not testing. It remains important for vehicles in use to be roadworthy at all times.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the statutory minimum number of seats for disabled people required on public bus transport.

The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) require vehicles subject to them to incorporate at least four priority seats for disabled passengers, as well as a designated wheelchair space. Such facilities are now provided on 98% of buses across Great Britain, and are helping to make journeys easier for millions of people.

However, we know that the needs of disabled people and the nature of public transport evolves over time. The previous Government committed in its Inclusive Transport Strategy to review the efficacy of PSVAR. Its timing is driven by the need to reflect on the effectiveness of the Regulations in facilitating access to coaches, the last of which only became subject to the Regulations on the 1st January 2020, and to be informed by a planned cross-modal review of the reference wheelchair standard, which is yet to begin. Amongst other issues it will consider the extent to which existing requirements on the provision of priority seating and wheelchair spaces are sufficient to meet current and future demand.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit claimants on a non-monthly earning cycle missed out on each of the first and second Cost of Living Payment instalments due to receiving a nil Universal Credit award as a result of higher earnings than usual during the qualifying assessment period.

It is not possible to identify how many households did not receive the Cost of Living payment because of the way their wages were paid during the qualifying month.

A claimant may not be eligible to receive a Cost of Living payment if they have an increase earnings during the qualifying period. We are unable to distinguish whether this fluctuation is temporary or permanent. This fluctuation could be the result of a household receiving additional earnings due to being paid more frequently or another reason.

During the first qualifying period, with an assessment period end date between 26/4/2022 and 25/5/2022 inclusive, there were 464,000 Universal Credit households where earnings reduced their Universal Credit award to £0 for the qualifying period. This was equivalent to 551,000 Universal Credit claimants.

Figures for the second Cost of Living payment are not available as these payments have not yet been made.

In collaboration with Local Authorities we have a well-established system of hardship payments, including the Discretionary Housing Payments, available as a safeguard for if claimants demonstrate they cannot meet their immediate and most essential needs due to the rise in the cost of living. For those who require additional support we have provided an extension to the Household Support Fund backed by £421m, running from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. The devolved administrations will receive £79 million through the Barnett formula as usual.

Notes:

1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 1,000.

2. Great Britain level figures have been provided.

3. Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

4. Numbers are not comparable with Official Statistics Household series as a household may receive a nil award for reasons other than earnings.

5. The methodology and data source used is different to those used to derive the Official Statistics Household series.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to raise awareness of social tariffs on broadband packages for consumers in receipt of benefits.

DWP works with DCMS and Ofcom to encourage broadband providers to extend eligibility of broadband social tariffs to low-income households. Because of this, some broadband providers have made social tariffs available to Universal Credit claimants and other claimants receiving means tested benefits. DWP will work with Ofcom to raise claimant awareness of these tariffs with via our national Jobcentre Plus Work Coach network and wider stakeholders.

19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to share data with broadband providers on consumers in receipt of benefits for the purposes of increasing the efficiency and speed of the vetting process for applications for social tariffs.

DWP currently have a verification system in place with BT to confirm benefit eligibility, allowing claimants to access the BT Basics social tariff.

DWP is developing a new API service which will enable more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to confirm eligibility for broadband social tariffs.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to review the universal credit policy that means single parents under the age of 25 claim universal credit at a lower rate than those aged 25 or over.

The rates for claimants under 25 years reflect the fact that they are more likely to live in someone else's household and have lower living costs and lower earnings expectations. It also reinforces the stronger work incentives that Universal Credit creates for this age group.

Universal Credit offers excellent employment support for this age group, including the Department’s £2bn Kickstart scheme which is already creating thousands of high-quality jobs for young people.

For claimants who live independently, Universal Credit already includes separate elements to provide support for housing costs, children and childcare costs and support for disabled people and carers.

25th Jan 2021
What recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of removing the £20 uplift to universal credit on recipients in each (a) region and (b) population demographic.

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 pandemic, 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.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on the review of the benefits system for people nearing the end of their life.

On 11 July the Secretary of State announced an in depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions.

The Department understands how important it is to support those nearing the end of their life and is taking this work forward as a priority. We have made progress on all areas of this work, and will be engaging with clinicians and claimants over the coming months.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to (a) expedite access to benefits by terminally ill people and (b) ensure the sensitive handling of that process for those people.

The Department already has legislation in place to support people with a terminal illness access benefits. There are special rules for people who are terminally ill and claiming benefits. Claims are dealt with sensitively, without a face-to-face assessment, and are fast-tracked through the system.

On 11 July the Secretary of State announced an in depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions. The Department is taking this work forward as a priority and is seeking input from a range of stakeholders, including clinicians and those who have first-hand experience of the special rules, as well as others supporting people applying for benefit.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to reduce the five-week wait for universal credit.

No one has to wait five weeks for their first payment. New claim advances are available to support those in financial need until their first payment is made.

Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months. We have announced that from October 2021, the repayment period for these advances will be extended further, to 16 months.

Our Work Coaches gauge claimants’ financial needs from their first interview. As part of this, every claimant is offered an advance payment on application. Proposed repayments of the advance are explained, and all claimants are advised to request a level of advance which is manageable both now and when considering the repayments required.

Work Coaches can also refer claimants to more specialist support for personal budgeting and money guidance if required.

The Department has delivered a number of improvements to support claimants during their first assessment period, such as removing waiting days and paying those claimants moving from Housing Benefit onto Universal Credit a two week ‘transitional housing payment’. We are also introducing a two-week run on for eligible claimants of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance from July 2020.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many former disability living allowance claimants living in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency receive (a) a reduced mobility element or (b) a zero mobility element as a result of moving to personal independence payment.

The latest available data on the outcomes of reassessments of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants to personal independence payment (PIP) at initial decision can be found on Stat-Xplore here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

The ‘DLA to PIP reassessment’ data table includes a breakdown of a claimant’s DLA Mobility component entitlement and their PIP Mobility award at initial decision, broken down by geographical area (local authority and parliamentary constituency), for clearances made from the introduction of PIP in April 2013 to October 2019.

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the fuel claim allowances for NHS patients travelling from rural areas to medical appointments in the context of rising fuel costs.

No assessment has been made. In England, the level of fuel costs which can be claimed by patients under the Healthcare Travel Costs scheme is determined locally by National Health Service organisations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the rollout of vaccinations for people aged over 80.

The National Health Service met its target of offering the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in the top four priority cohorts, including those aged 70 years and over, on 14 February 2021.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people aged 70 years and over have received covid-19 vaccinations in the Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross constituency.

The information is not held in the format requested as data for Scotland is published by local authority rather than constituency. Public Health Scotland’s data for the vaccine programme is available at the following link:

https://public.tableau.com/profile/phs.covid.19#!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of developing an online and anonymous resource to enable people experiencing mental illness to find information on accessing appropriate services and support.

There are a number of existing resources that people can access online and anonymously for information on accessing appropriate mental health services and support. These include GOV.UK, the National Health Service website and Every Mind Matters.

In addition, many mental health charities offer online and anonymous advice on how to find support for mental health issues.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to affordable (a) meditation, (b) mindfulness classes, (c) yoga, (d) pilates and (e) hitt workouts to improve people's mental health.

The Government is absolutely committed to supporting everyone’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the winter period and beyond, and to ensuring that the right support is in place. The National Health Service has launched a major campaign as part of its ‘Help Us Help You’ campaign to encourage people who may be struggling with common mental health illnesses to come forward for help.

The NHS is also taking a holistic approach to supporting people’s health and wellbeing by expanding its social prescribing services. Social prescribing enables general practitioners to refer people to link workers who can work with them to access community groups and agencies for practical, emotional and social support. For example, the recently announced ukactive scheme will make free gym and leisure sessions available to the public via social prescribing services. National rollout will start from 1 April 2021.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to make specialised counselling and therapy services freely available on the NHS.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme provides specialist counselling and therapy services that are widely available for free from the National Health Service. We are committed to expanding access to IAPT services. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to ensuring that an additional 380,000 adults will be able to access IAPT services by 2023/24.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to fund nationwide roll-out of medical drone technologies.

The NHS Long Term Plan is bringing new technologies into the National Health Service to improve patient care and save lives, and we continue to support testing of innovations such as convenient, faster technology to help frontline staff to give people world-leading treatment. This includes supporting NHS staff through the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative, to develop their own innovative ideas, for example exploring the potential use of autonomous drone delivery systems within healthcare.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using medical drone technologies to deliver personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of our national effort to ensure critical personal protective equipment (PPE) is delivered to the frontline, we rolled out a PPE portal in collaboration with eBay, Clipper and Royal Mail through which primary and social care providers could access emergency PPE. The PPE Portal’s customers currently include general practitioner practices, optometrists, dentists, pharmacies, children’s social care homes and secure homes, children’s residential special schools, resident social care providers and domiciliary care providers. Over 191 million items of PPE have been delivered through the Portal.

Our PPE Strategy (published 28 September) commits us to start transitioning to a future model next year that is both resilient (able to respond to any demand surges related to COVID-19 or another pandemic threat) and proportionate. Key considerations for the model beyond March 2021 include addressing how best to distribute PPE.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the Government has purchased £5 million worth of hydroxychloroquine before clinical trials have proved the effectiveness of that drug against covid-19.

The Department has procured supplies of hydroxychloroquine to support nationally prioritised United Kingdom clinical trials. In addition, the Department has been securing additional supplies of a number of medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, which would ensure sufficient stocks are available to be rapidly deployed for National Health Service patients should clinical trial evidence show it to be safe and effective to do so. The Department continues to review supply requirements as further clinical evidence becomes available.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of prohibiting gay and bisexual men from donating their plasma to a trial to provide treatment for covid-19.

No individual is excluded from giving blood, platelets or plasma based on sexual orientation. However, all men must wait three months after having sexual contact with another man before donating. This is based on expert advice from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs.

The three-month deferral period is to reduce the risk of any very recently acquired infections not being detected on screening and further tests. For that reason, the current donor selection guidelines remain in place for the convalescent plasma donation programme.

The Equality Act 2010 states that blood services do not contravene anti-discrimination legislation by excluding people from donating blood as long as this exclusion or deferral is based on a reasonable and reliable assessment of risk to the public.

We recognise that people want to be considered as individuals as much as possible. Separately to the convalescent plasma trial, NHS Blood and Transplant are already working collaboratively with LGBT+ groups on blood donation, through the FAIR (For Assessment of Individualised Risk) steering group. The FAIR group is using an evidence-based approach to explore if a more individualised blood donation risk assessment can be safely and practically introduced, while ensuring the safe supply of blood to patients.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the cost of medical treatment provided by the NHS to foreign nationals was repaid by those nationals in each of the last five years.

The Department does not hold the requested information.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what risk assessment was undertaken before awarding the cloud contract for GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 to Amazon.

The national security community does not routinely avow details of the technology partnerships it enters into.  Avowing details around national security technology can have potential security implications as would be the case in this scenario. However, any procurement process can be fully scrutinised through the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what arrangements were included in the contract held between his Department and the security firm GardaWorld for the payment of contracted staff once the British Embassy in Afghanistan was demobilised.

FCDO are currently working with Gardaworld to manage the dynamic situation in Afghanistan through contract variations and serving the appropriate notice period as outlined within contract. This will include reimbursement for services received up to the date of termination or variation with reasonable liabilities met that are not covered by relevant liability(i.e. insurance) provisions and may arise as a consequence of such termination or variation to contract.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what was the length of the contract held between his Department and the security firm GardaWorld; whether that contract contained a break clause in the event of an Embassy closing; and how much that contract was worth.

The details of this contract can be found on a public government website called 'Contract Finder' where all government contracts are published. The Afghan security contract is listed there: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/e357f108-8202-4739-975b-8679dc828da4?origin=SearchResults&p=1. The annual cost is a division of the public domain figure by the length of contract.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the Government’s involvement in training Colombian police forces; and if he will publish the minutes of those discussions.

We are not aware of such a meeting. The UK is committed to continuing its programming in support of peace, stability and security in Colombia to help implement the peace agreement and build a more peaceful and prosperous society.

The UK's CSSF-funded Colombia Peace and Stabilisation Programme launched the multiyear £2.1 million Police Innovations for Stabilisation in Colombia (SCIP) project in 2020. It is supporting the transformation of the Colombian National Police. The intervention aims to contribute to the modernisation of the police service by scaling up and improving police practices with a preventive approach, focusing on i) community-based police prevention; ii) transformation of large-scale social conflicts from a rights-based approach; and iii) gender mainstreaming. The project is being implemented through the International Organisation of Migration, which will design and deliver activities alongside the Colombian National Police at national and field level, with strategic support and advice from Police Scotland.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has made to work with his international counterparts to promote civil liberties and encourage the right to protest in Colombia.

UK Ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government, and in multilateral fora. We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and that the right to peaceful assembly and association must be guaranteed. We will continue to work closely with the UN Verification Mission and the UN Office of the High Representative for Human Rights in Colombia, as well as the wider international community, in support of their efforts to reduce tensions and promote dialogue.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will commit to allocating long-term funding to the BBC World Service to enable that broadcaster to further extend its reach.

The FCDO strongly values the work of the BBC World Service in promoting our values globally through its independent and impartial broadcasting. It is an integral part of our soft power.

We have provided the World Service with over £378m over 5 years (2016-21) through the World2020 programme, in order to fund enhancements to existing language services and 12 new language services. The World Service now reaches a record breaking 351m people weekly, an over 40% increase since the programme began in 2016, demonstrating the impact of FCDO investment. Future funding for the World Service is being considered alongside other FCDO spending priorities at SR20 and will be announced in due course.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the contribution of the BBC World Service to extending UK soft power.

The FCDO strongly values the work of the BBC World Service in promoting our values globally through its independent and impartial broadcasting. It is an integral part of our soft power.

We have provided the World Service with over £378m over 5 years (2016-21) through the World2020 programme, in order to fund enhancements to existing language services and 12 new language services. The World Service now reaches a record breaking 351m people weekly, an over 40% increase since the programme began in 2016, demonstrating the impact of FCDO investment. Future funding for the World Service is being considered alongside other FCDO spending priorities at SR20 and will be announced in due course.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to announce his decision on the allocation of additional funding for the BBC World Service for the financial year 2021-22.

The FCDO strongly values the work of the BBC World Service in promoting our values globally through its independent and impartial broadcasting. It is an integral part of our soft power.

We have provided the World Service with over £378m over 5 years (2016-21) through the World2020 programme, in order to fund enhancements to existing language services and 12 new language services. The World Service now reaches a record breaking 351m people weekly, an over 40% increase since the programme began in 2016, demonstrating the impact of FCDO investment. Future funding for the World Service is being considered alongside other FCDO spending priorities at SR20 and will be announced in due course.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress he has made on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The Government is engaging widely on the Integrated Review, including with Parliament, the Devolved Administrations, international allies, think tanks and academics, and representatives of civil society. The Government has also completed a public Call for Evidence to help inform the Integrated Review and received a diverse range of over 450 submissions. The Integrated Review remains closely aligned with the Spending Review, to ensure that ambition, capabilities and budgets can be closely coordinated.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to publish the report from the Intelligence and Security Committee on Russia.

​In line with his responsibilities in the Justice and Security Act 2013, the Prime Minister carefully considered and approved the report, and is content that its publication would not prejudice the functions of those bodies that safeguard our national security.

We acknowledge the public's interest in the publication of the report; however the report itself is the property of the independent Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). As such it is not for the Government to publish it; it is for the ISC to lay it before Parliament. Once a new Committee has been established, it will be up to them to choose when they wish to publish it. The process to establish a new Committee has already begun.

25th May 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of extending Theatre Tax Relief on the Government's levelling up policies.

The Government recognises the value of the UK’s world-leading creative industries. That is why at Spring Budget 2023, the Government went further to support theatres through the creative industry tax reliefs.

To continue to offset ongoing pressures and boost investment in our cultural sectors, the Government has announced a 2-year extension to the current 45 per cent (for non-touring productions) and 50 per cent (for touring productions) rates of theatre tax relief (TTR). These rates will now taper to 30 per cent/35 per cent on 1 April 2025 and return to 20 per cent/25 per cent on 1 April 2026. Theatre tax relief is available to qualifying productions in all regions and nations in the UK.

The Government published a tax information and impact note at Spring Budget 2023, which sets out details of the policy impacts of the extension of the 45 per cent/50 per cent rates of TTR.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
25th May 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending Theatre Tax Relief after 2025.

The Government recognises the value of the UK’s world leading creative industries and arts sectors.

At Spring Budget 2023, the Government went further to support theatres through the creative industry tax reliefs.

To continue to offset ongoing pressures and boost investment in our cultural sectors, the Government announced a 2-year extension to the current 45 per cent (for non-touring productions) and 50 per cent (for touring productions) rates of theatre tax relief.

These rates will now taper to 30 per cent/35 per cent on 1April 2025 and return to 20 per cent/25 per cent on 1 April 2026.

The Government keeps the tax system under continuous review. Any changes to tax reliefs will be communicated through the normal fiscal event process.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had discussions with the (a) Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and (b) Gambling Commission on the implications of the fourth National Lottery licence on levels of (a) Lottery Duty and (b) returns to good causes.

The Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition was an independent process run by the Gambling Commission. The Treasury engaged with senior officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Gambling Commission regarding the Competition as it progressed. HMRC monitor receipts from specific betting and gaming duties, including Lottery Duty.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Committee on Climate Change's report entitled The Sixth Carbon Budget: The UK’s path to Net Zero, published in December 2020, whether he has plans to publish a roadmap for increasing low-carbon investment from £10 billion per year to £50 billion per year by 2030 prior to COP26 in line with the recommendations in that report.

The Government takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan demonstrates this commitment to tackling greenhouse gas emissions. It sets out £12 billion of new government investment in green industries.

In addition to this £12 billion, the ambitious policies and significant new public investment will mobilise private sector investment. Providing the co-funding, regulatory certainty and robust green finance frameworks included in the plan is expected to attract up to £42 billion of low-carbon private investment across energy, buildings, transport, innovation and the natural environment by 2030.

Further detail on the plan for decarbonising and increasing low-carbon investment will be set out in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
9th Mar 2021
If he will introduce a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live events industry.

On 22 February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector informed by the findings of the scientific programme in the Spring.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of whether the time taken to create a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live events industry will lead to the cancellation of live events in summer 2021.

On 22nd February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector, informed by the findings of the scientific programme in the Spring.

We will continue to engage closely with insurers and the events sector to understand the barriers faced by the sector as we recover from the pandemic. Any changes would be communicated to the sector with suitable notice.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the live events industry receives ample notice of the implementation of any Government-backed insurance scheme during the covid-19 outbreak due to long lead times inherent in the production of large live events.

On 22nd February, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, including an ambition to lift restrictions on large events in Step 4, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

Officials are considering the most appropriate way to support the events sector, informed by the findings of the scientific programme in the Spring.

We will continue to engage closely with insurers and the events sector to understand the barriers faced by the sector as we recover from the pandemic. Any changes would be communicated to the sector with suitable notice.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that people who have been refused furlough by their employer during the covid-19 outbreak have been issued with a P45.

It is for an employer to decide whether to offer furlough to their employees; employers are under no obligation to participate in the scheme.

Under the Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003, employers must issue a P45 when an employee stops working for them.

If HMRC were made aware that a P45 had not been provided, HMRC may attempt to contact the employer. Consideration could also be given as to whether HMRC’s Employer Compliance staff should intervene to obtain the P45.

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue is received by the Exchequer from underwriting the insurance of Pool Re.

HM Treasury received £270m in 2019 and £224m in 2020 from Pool Reinsurance Company Limited. This is compensation for taxpayers for the continued provision of the guarantee.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money in furlough grant funding has been repaid by organisations to HMRC.

As of 3 November 2020, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grants to the value of £382 million have been recorded as returned. This figure consists of £198 million in payments being repaid and £184 million in adjustments to existing claims.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with TUI on that company's position on furlough for its permanent part year employees.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

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

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

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

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether people who were on a permanent part-year contract from 1 May to 31 October 2020 and did not receive a P45 at the end of that period are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during winter 2020-21.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 November 2020, employers can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as the employer has made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. Employees can be on any type of employment contract. This includes full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether employers who submitted an annual Full Payment Submission between 6 April 2019 up to 11:59 pm 23 September 2020 are eligible for the Job Support Scheme; and for what reason the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme does not allow employers to claim from 6 April 2019.

On 31 October 2020 the Prime Minister announced that the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was being extended, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

On 29 May 2020 the Government announced that employers would be able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough employees flexibly from 1 July 2020. In order to enable the introduction of flexible furloughing, it was necessary to close the old scheme. As part of the 29 May announcement, the Government made clear that employers would have until 31 July 2020 to submit claims which covered periods running up to 30 June 2020.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations he has received from residents in (a) Wick and (b) other towns in cases where a bank branch has been proposed for closure at the same time as the proposed closure of the last post office in that area; and if he will make a statement.

Though I understand the disappointment felt in a community when a bank branch closes, these are ultimately commercial decisions in which the government does not seek to intervene.

We know that the retail financial landscape is changing, as more consumers and businesses opt for the convenience, security, and speed of digital payments and digital banking. Banking service providers need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy.

However, the government also firmly believes that the impact of branch closures should be understood, considered, and mitigated where possible so that all customers, wherever they live, continue to have access to over-the-counter banking services if they wish to use them. That is why the government supports the industry’s Access to Banking Standard which helps customers to understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help.

Alternative options include the Post Office, which allows 95% of business and 99% of personal banking customers to carry out their everyday banking at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK. Over 90% of the national population live within one mile of their nearest post office branch, and over 99% within three miles. Almost 99% of the rural population also lives within 3 miles of their nearest post office branch. While there is no programme of post office closures, some unexpected closures can occur, often for reasons beyond the control of the Post Office. When this happens, the Post Office works hard to find alternative service providers so that services can be restored.

In September 2020, the FCA published guidance setting out their expectation of firms when they are deciding whether and how to reduce their physical branches or the number of free to use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of a planned closure on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs, and other relevant branch services and consider possible alternative access arrangements. This will ensure the implementation of closure decisions is done in a way that treats customers fairly.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of companies that were not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as a result of filing their annual PAYE report after the 19 March 2020.

It is not possible to provide an answer in the time available.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions (a) he and (b) his Ministers have had with Fergus Ewing MSP, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, on arranging a 12-month financial support package for the tourism industry in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and what the outcomes of those discussions were.

Treasury Ministers and officials are in frequent discussion with the devolved administrations and meet with a wide range of stakeholders across sectors in all parts of the UK as part of ongoing policy development and implementation.

The UK Government will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations and is also working with employers, delivery partners and industry groups to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on sectors like tourism. The Treasury will continue to monitor the impact of government support with regard to public services, businesses, individuals, and sectors.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Payment Systems Regulator on a minimum service guarantee for cash; and with reference to the March 2020 Budget whether he has a timeframe for bringing forward legislative proposals on protecting access to cash.

The Government recognises that cash remains extremely important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK. The Government remains closely engaged with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash access and acceptance resulting from COVID-19. This includes working closely with industry to ensure access to cash.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash in the longer-term. The Government is engaging with regulators – the Payment Systems Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England – and stakeholders across industry while designing legislation, to ensure the needs of cash users continue to be met. Further details on timing for legislation will be set out in due course.

Regarding face-to-face banking, the Government has been working closely with the financial regulators to ensure that banks, building societies, the Post Office and credit unions continue to maintain branch access for essential services while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff. The vast majority of branches are open, though many are open for reduced hours.

Banks, building societies and credit unions are keeping their websites up to date and we would encourage customers, wherever possible, to use online services for their banking. If customers are not able to use online forms of banking, they may choose to use telephone banking rather than using a branch. The Government advises any customer who has questions or concerns about their banking to contact their provider.

Bank customers can also use the Post Office for essential banking services as an alternative to their branch and can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. Furthermore, several retail banks have in place solutions for vulnerable customers who may be self-isolating, including making payments through a trusted person.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support people who require access to (a) offline and (b) face-to-face banking during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that cash remains extremely important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK. The Government remains closely engaged with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash access and acceptance resulting from COVID-19. This includes working closely with industry to ensure access to cash.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash in the longer-term. The Government is engaging with regulators – the Payment Systems Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England – and stakeholders across industry while designing legislation, to ensure the needs of cash users continue to be met. Further details on timing for legislation will be set out in due course.

Regarding face-to-face banking, the Government has been working closely with the financial regulators to ensure that banks, building societies, the Post Office and credit unions continue to maintain branch access for essential services while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff. The vast majority of branches are open, though many are open for reduced hours.

Banks, building societies and credit unions are keeping their websites up to date and we would encourage customers, wherever possible, to use online services for their banking. If customers are not able to use online forms of banking, they may choose to use telephone banking rather than using a branch. The Government advises any customer who has questions or concerns about their banking to contact their provider.

Bank customers can also use the Post Office for essential banking services as an alternative to their branch and can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. Furthermore, several retail banks have in place solutions for vulnerable customers who may be self-isolating, including making payments through a trusted person.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will meet with representatives of the high street banking sector to discuss access to cash in rural areas following Clydesdale Bank's decision to reverse planned branch closures.

The Government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, particularly in rural areas.

In the context of COVID-19, banks, building societies, the Post Office and credit unions are working closely with the Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to maintain branch access for essential services while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff. Individual decisions on firms’ branch networks remain commercial decisions for the firms.

The Government is also working closely with the cash industry and regulators to ensure that the cash system continues to serve the needs of customers. Customers can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. The Financial Conduct Authority is working with regulated firms to ensure that they are providing clear information about alternative payment methods.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the effect on access to cash in rural areas of bank branch closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, particularly in rural areas.

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government has been working closely with industry and regulators to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, including access to cash, while balancing the needs of their customers with the safety and welfare of staff.

Customers can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries. However, we would encourage customers, wherever possible, to use online services for their banking and to find the latest information. Bank customers can also use the Post Office for essential banking services as an alternative to a bank branch.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to exempt businesses from paying (a) national insurance, (b) VAT, (c) corporation tax and (d) business rates over the next three months.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses and individuals affected by Covid-19, and remains committed to doing whatever it takes to support the economy as necessary.

UK VAT registered businesses, including charities, can defer VAT payments due with their VAT returns between now and the end of June. No UK VAT registered business will have to make a VAT payment alongside their VAT return to HMRC in that period. They will have until the end of the financial year to repay.

The Government will also give all eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months. The Government also extended the support available to individuals and businesses, including a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans, which make available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31st of July 2020 will be deferred until the 31st of January 2021.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers (including charities) can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 a month, providing they keep the worker employed. They will receive the grant from HMRC, covering the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available for those unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with government advice; this is on top of the Prime Minister’s announcement that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals. Support will be available through Universal Credit and Contributory Employment and Support Allowance for those not eligible for SSP.

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all taxpayers, including charities, who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. Taxpayers can contact HMRC’s dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice on 0800 0159 559.

The Chancellor will continue to review and make further announcements as events unfold if required.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to implement a Highlands specific Region and Growth Deal to work alongside the Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal.

The UKG committed £53.1m to an Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal in March 2016 which covers the Highlands area. This is part of the £1.4bn the UK Government has announced for the funding of ten City and Growth Deals in Scotland. More recently, the Government has committed to provide 100% coverage of City and Growth Deals for Scotland.

The Scottish Government is accountable for City and Growth Deals funding in the usual way and in line with the fiscal framework. Audits will be undertaken by Audit Scotland and the National Audit Office in the usual way. Detailed accountability and working arrangements are currently being agreed between the UK Government and Scotland Government via a Memorandum of Understanding which will be published in due course.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to Audit Scotland's report on Scotland's City Region and Growth Deals, published 16 January 2020, what steps his Department is taking to ensure (a) effective auditing of Scottish City Region Deals and (b) funding from the Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal benefits the whole region.

The UKG committed £53.1m to an Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal in March 2016 which covers the Highlands area. This is part of the £1.4bn the UK Government has announced for the funding of ten City and Growth Deals in Scotland. More recently, the Government has committed to provide 100% coverage of City and Growth Deals for Scotland.

The Scottish Government is accountable for City and Growth Deals funding in the usual way and in line with the fiscal framework. Audits will be undertaken by Audit Scotland and the National Audit Office in the usual way. Detailed accountability and working arrangements are currently being agreed between the UK Government and Scotland Government via a Memorandum of Understanding which will be published in due course.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department is planning an awareness campaign, on changes to UK-EU travel requirements associated with the EU’s (a) Entry/Exit System and (b) European Travel Information and Authorisation System.

The Government is engaging both the European Commission and French Government through officials holding routine technical meetings to understand and influence the implementation plans of the new systems. This includes working with port owners and operators to understand and support their plans to mitigate EES and ETIAS impacts at the border.

A cross-government communication group consisting of Home Office, Department for Transport, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Cabinet Office teams has been established and is developing a communication strategy for both the travelling public and trade stakeholder groups.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he plans to seek bilateral Youth Mobility Scheme agreements with EU countries.

The UK remain open to negotiating new Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) arrangements with other countries and territories, including EU Member States. However, as each YMS is subject to a bilateral, reciprocal arrangement, which also provides benefit to UK nationals, with the details agreed between the relevant parties, we are unable to disclose the status of negotiations as they occur.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he has taken with his (a) French and (b) other EU counterparts to prepare for implementation of the EU Entry/Exit System.

The Government is engaging both the European Commission and French Government through officials holding routine technical meetings to understand and influence the implementation plans of the new systems. This includes working with port owners and operators to understand and support their plans to mitigate EES and ETIAS impacts at the border.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she made an assessment of the impact of the Government Communications Service Propriety Guidance on the list of organisations invited to accompany her on the visit to Rwanda in March 2023.

Due consideration of the GCS guidelines is undertaken in Home Office communications.

All news organisations were kept informed of the progress of the visit regardless of whether they attended or not.

9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information she holds on Iranian intelligence operatives attempting assassinations in (a) mainland Europe and (b) Britain and Gibraltar in the last five years.

We do not routinely comment on intelligence matters or specific threats.

The safety and security of our citizens is the Government’s top priority and we will continue to use all tools at our disposal to protect the UK and our interests from any Iran-linked threats.

The UK is committed to working with the international community to ensure Iran abides by international laws and norms and is held to account for its destabilising activity.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure the right to peaceful protest during the covid-19 lockdown.

The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy and the Government is absolutely committed to maintaining freedom of expression.

However, we are currently in a national lockdown as we continue to fight this deadly pandemic. We have a duty to reduce transmission and prevent more lives being lost which is why currently, outdoor gatherings of more than two are not permitted unless an exemption applies.

Government will keep the rules under review and amend as necessary to ensure they remain relevant and proportionate in line with easing the lockdown restrictions, and as we enter the next stages of the Roadmap.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in increasing transparency of the future cobalt supply chain.

In 2020, the UK Government funded NGO PACT to conduct a series of workshops to review the prevalence of modern slavery in mines, and international commercial awareness of these issues. In FY 20/21, the UK has continued to fund programmes, including through PACT, to raise awareness of the risks of, and solutions to, modern slavery in supply chains for a range of minerals.

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires certain businesses in all sectors, including the mining and electronics sectors, with a turnover of £36m or more to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

The prevalence of modern slavery and complexity of global supply chains means that it is highly unlikely that any sector or company is immune from the risks of modern slavery. The Government therefore encourages businesses to take a targeted approach to preventing modern slavery based on where their risks are most salient and severe, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights. The annual reporting requirement contained in section 54 is also designed to encourage companies to demonstrate year on year progress in their actions to mitigate their modern slavery risks.

To increase transparency and accelerate progress to tackle modern slavery, the Government recently announced an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof section 54, including a requirement for organisations to report against specific topics, such as due diligence, the introduction of financial penalties for organisations which fail to meet their statutory obligation to publish a statement, and the creation of a Government modern slavery statement registry to make all statements available in one place.

The new Government modern slavery registry, which is due to launch early this year, will provide increased visibility of the action organisations are taking to prevent modern slavery and will empower investors, consumers and civil society to scrutinise how organisations are developing and improving their response over time.

These measures, including requiring organisations to publish their statement on the Government modern slavery registry, require primary legislation and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to establish English Language and Life in the UK test centres in Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross constituency.

There are no current plans to open either an English language test centre or a Life in the UK test centre in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

A life in the UK test centre is planned to open in Inverness by 31 March 2021.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect on the financial and mental well-being of visa applicants of extensive travel to (a) complete the English Language and Life in the UK tests and (b) submit a visa application in person.

UKVI work hard to ensure that front-end immigration services are accessible to customers.

UKVI works closely with commercial partners both oversees and in the UK, to ensure that there is a sufficient geographical spread of English language and Life in the UK (UK only) testing and biometric enrolment locations to minimise the amount of travel required by customers by analysing where concentrations of demand are. Our footprints in respect to both services are kept under review and further locations opened where sufficient demand supports.

In addition, our commercial partners offer a range of optional added-value services which provide customers additional choice in how they access biometric enrolment services overseas or in the UK such as mobile enrolment at a location at their convenience.

Individuals applying in the UK who have higher needs, may be vulnerable, or whose circumstances may be complex are directed to the Home Office run Support Centres (SSC) where they receive support with their application.

SSC customers who are unable to pay the application fee may submit a fee waiver request. Customers who have been granted a fee waiver and who fit certain criteria may be eligible to apply for travel assistance to attend their closest SSC.

Within the UK, customers who cannot travel to enrol biometrics due to ill heath are directed to contact either UKVI (if routed to SSCs) or Sopra Steria Limited (if routed to the UKVCAS service which they run on behalf of UKVI) once they have completed their application and before booking an appointment. Information on how to do this is provided at the end of the online application form on Gov.uk.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to (a) ensure that Osime Brown is not deported from the UK and (b) is not detained pending a final decision on deportation; and what assessment she has made of the support he requires for his diagnosed health conditions pending this decision.

We only ever return those who we and, where applicable, the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK.

Mr Brown was not detained but released on Immigration Bail at the end of his custodial sentence.

It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take in relation to EU citizens who have not been granted the right to remain in the UK by the end of June 2021.

We have been clear that, where someone has reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Meanwhile, we will continue to provide support to those who require assistance in applying to the scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme is a free and easy process for EU citizens resident in the UK to obtain the immigration status they need to continue living in this country. There have already been over 2.8 million applications, with plenty of time until the deadline on 30 June 2021.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many EEA nationals that applied for permanent residence (a) applied for and (b) were granted British Citizenship.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that EEA nationals with permanent residence apply for (a) settled status or (b) British citizenship before 30 June 2021.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of EEA nationals that applied for permanent residence (a) applied for and (b) were granted settled status.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many EEA (a) nationals and (b) family members have permanent residence in the UK.

The latest published information on decisions on applications for permanent residence documents by EEA nationals and their family members can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020.

Specifically, table ee_02_q ‘Issue and refusal of residence documentation (excluding EU Settlement Scheme) to EEA nationals and their family members, by country of nationality’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#european-economic-area-eea.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received and decided can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme monthly statistics’ available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020.

The total number of EUSS applications received up to 31 May 2020 was more than 3.6 million (3,612,400).

The latest published information on applications and decisions in respect of British citizenship can be found in the Home Office’s quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics’ publication, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Specifically, datasets Cit_D01 – Applications for British citizenship, by application type and nationality and Cit_D02 – Grants of British citizenship, by application type, nationality, sex and age available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#citizenship.

In order to ensure resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office delivered a £4 million marketing campaign last year to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity was undertaken earlier this year. Alongside this, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stakeholder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an assessment the potential impact on British Army personnel of possible exposure to dangerous levels of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987.

An initial check of Army historical records has given no indication that Army personnel routinely trained at Camp Lejeune.

If any UK Armed Forces veteran believes there is evidence that they were affected by this issue they can apply for War Pension Scheme Compensation via the GOV.UK website.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he expects day-to-day departmental spending to fall in real terms by the end of the 2022-23 Parliament.

The Department received a revised settlement of RDEL following the Spending Review 21 last autumn, which noted the cost pressures on the Department as a result of changes in the economic forecast.

The department has measures in place to limit the impacts including the forward purchase of foreign exchange, firm price contracts and purchase of long-lead items. The potential effects of the current levels of inflation on our pay and programmes remain under continuous review.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his Command Paper, Defence in a competitive age, published in March 2021, whether it remains his policy to reduce the armed forces to 72,500 by 2025.

There are currently no plans to reverse the decision to reduce the number of regular Army personnel to 73,000 by 2025.

The Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper made clear that we must focus on Defence capability rather than troop numbers in response to changing threats and priorities. The British Army will be more integrated and active, with a whole force of over 100,000 regulars and reservists, to address the current and future threats from across the globe.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, on how many occasions a call out relating to a fault in armed forces accommodation resulted in a wait of more than one month for the repair to be completed in each of the last three years.

We are reviewing information sources. I will write to the hon. Gentleman in due course and place a copy of my response in the Library of the House.

20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the EU's Action Plan on Military Mobility.

As a non-EU country, the UK is not subject to the EU’s Action Plan on Military Mobility but works closely with European partners on military mobility issues through NATO and the Northern Group. Moving military personnel and assets across Europe quickly and efficiently remains important, and the UK supports broader efforts that are coherent with NATO’s and the Northern Group’s.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the deployable strength of the Army (a) as of 12 May 2022 and (b) in each of the last five years.

Not all members of the Army are employed in deployable posts – those in staff roles or in training establishments, for example, would be included in the headline strength of the Army but would not be counted as deployable. Similarly, Reservists would not be included in the headline strength of the Army but many will be deployable if mobilised.

The “deployable” strength of the Army is perhaps best captured by the strength of the Field Army, which is summarised as follows:

Date

Deployable strength within FD Army

May 2022

45,178

May 2021

46,480

May 2020

42,291

May 2019

42,739

May 2018

42,391

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) longest, (b) shortest and (c) average period of time taken was to make repairs to an armed forces accommodation property after a call out in the last period for which figures are available.

The longest, shortest and average period of time taken to make repairs to a Service Family Accommodation between November 2021 and March 2022 are shown below:

Longest 234 days (in respect to repairing a damaged fence)

Shortest 21 minutes

Average 15.9 days

The Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) Accommodation contracts came into effect on 1 April 2022. In developing the new FDIS Accommodation contracts DIO collaborated closely with key stakeholders, including the Single Services and the Families Federations, to ensure that Service families’ needs are fully considered and an improved ‘lived experience’ is provided.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many armoured vehicles of each type are (a) in the service with the Army and (b) fit for purpose as of 12 May 2022.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 March 2022 to Question 132161 to the Rt hon. Member for Wentworth and Dearne (Mr Healey).

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the percentage shortfalls are for each pinch point trade in the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force (i) as of 12 May 2022 and (ii) in each of the last five years.

In 2015 Ministers agreed that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) would no longer release detailed information on Pinch Points into the public domain as it could be of advantage to potential adversaries and thereby impact national security. MOD provides broad information on skills gaps as part of the Annual Report and Accounts each year, the latest edition of which can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ministry-of-defence-annual-report-and-accounts-2020-to-2021

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the document MOD surplus inventory for sale, published online, to whom and where his Department sells the surplus equipment; and what happens to the income from those sales.

The Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) has a range of supply options for what is a wide variety of surplus equipment not all of which represents military capability, routes are principally Government to Government sales as well as wider to UK industry. In addition, DESA coordinates several specialist contractors (selected through open competition) for the sale of defence equipment to the public and industry, both in the UK and overseas.

All revenue is returned directly back to each of the Front Line Commands.

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much it costs his Department on an annual basis to pay for and maintain empty properties owned by his Department; how much and what proportion of that amount is spent on renting those properties; and what the total annual cost is of his Department's residential property portfolio.

The cost of holding and maintaining empty Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties managed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the UK in Financial Year 2021-22 was £37.9 million; of this, £33.8 million is attributed to rental costs.

The total cost of the MOD’s UK residential property portfolio for Financial Year 2021-22 was £429 million.

The MOD has an active management programme to continue to reduce the number of empty properties it holds. The SFA void rate has reduced from 23% in 2018 to c18% on 1 May 2022. Currently, in the UK, 1,100 vacant houses are earmarked for disposal and 2,600 are being kept vacant currently for modernisation and improvements. 25,000 moves were managed across the UK Defence Estate during the year 2021-22.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the estimated cost is of stationing a Type 32 frigate in the Indo-Pacific.

The Type 32 programme is in pre-concept phase, therefore the costs associated with stationing a frigate at different locations - including the Indo-Pacific - will be built up as the programme matures.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Government has taken to respond to the recommendations that it accepted made by the Second Report of the Defence Committee, Protecting those who protect us: Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life, published 25 July 2021.

Defence is grateful to all the women who contributed to the Defence Committee's Report; we have listened carefully and are implementing bold changes in response. The Secretary of State for Defence personally tested the Ministry of Defence's response with the Defence Service Women's Networks to ensure the important issues highlighted by the Report were comprehensively addressed and that no opportunity was missed to bring about meaningful and enduring change.

The Chiefs of Staff are fully committed to making the Armed Forces inclusive and respectful working environments. This is essential for operational effectiveness. They are personally leading programmes to root out remaining unacceptable behaviour in their organisations.

As a direct result of this inquiry, Defence has committed to:

  • A six-month sprint to accelerate new Women's Health policies

  • A six-month sprint to improve Servicewomen's uniform and equipment

  • Strengthen rules on sexual offences and exploitation

  • A more independent Service Complaints process

  • Career penalties for "cover ups"

  • A new Defence Serious Crime Unit and improved victim care and support

  • Learn from international Defence organisations

  • Action to help women achieve promotions

  • Regular dialogue with Service Women and Gender Networks

  • Improve Servicewomen's training experience

    We remain committed to implementing the combined recommendations of the Defence Committee inquiry, the Wigston Review and the Gray Review in full. Cultural change takes time and we accept this will be an enduring programme of work to which senior leaders across Defence are committed.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department spends on its online social media feeds.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) maintains social media profiles with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. A complete list of these channels are available via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence/about/social-media-use

These feeds are not a chargeable service and so are free for the MOD to access and update.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the impact of the reduction in day-to-day spending on the future viability of (a) Clive Barracks and (b) Nesscliffe Training Area.

In line with the announcement by Secretary of State for Defence on 25 November 2021, I can confirm that, following detailed assessment, the disposal of Clive Barracks will be delayed by four years from 2025 to 2029. Officials will continue to engage with the local authority to release the site for meaningful future use. All sites identified for disposal are maintained to ensure they support military capability and remain safe and legally compliant.

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to stop using Nesscliffe Training Area. In fact, this year has seen investment through the construction of three new carbon efficient accommodation blocks on the site.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has for the future of Nesscliffe Training Area.

In line with the announcement by Secretary of State for Defence on 25 November 2021, I can confirm that, following detailed assessment, the disposal of Clive Barracks will be delayed by four years from 2025 to 2029. Officials will continue to engage with the local authority to release the site for meaningful future use. All sites identified for disposal are maintained to ensure they support military capability and remain safe and legally compliant.

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to stop using Nesscliffe Training Area. In fact, this year has seen investment through the construction of three new carbon efficient accommodation blocks on the site.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has for the future of Clive Barracks.

In line with the announcement by Secretary of State for Defence on 25 November 2021, I can confirm that, following detailed assessment, the disposal of Clive Barracks will be delayed by four years from 2025 to 2029. Officials will continue to engage with the local authority to release the site for meaningful future use. All sites identified for disposal are maintained to ensure they support military capability and remain safe and legally compliant.

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to stop using Nesscliffe Training Area. In fact, this year has seen investment through the construction of three new carbon efficient accommodation blocks on the site.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has for the future of RAF Shawbury.

RAF Shawbury will continue to be an essential part of the RAF's training delivery establishments.

19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what risk assessment was undertaken before awarding the cloud contract for GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 to Amazon.

These are not contracts awarded by the Ministry of Defence and I refer the Hon. Gentleman to the relevant Departments.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of service personnel undertake the Annual Mental Fitness Brief each year.

From 11 October 2021, the Annual Mental Fitness Brief has been mandated for all Armed Forces Personnel. The brief covers health and wellbeing, stress management, how to transform stress into mental resilience and where personnel can seek appropriate help.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many armed forces personnel who received assessments due to the impact of being involved with in the trial of Ajax tanks were assessed as requiring treatment; and what treatments were considered necessary.

I refer the hon. Member to HCWS260, the Written Statement I laid in this House on Monday 6 September, and also the oral statement I made on Wednesday 9 September, which provided a comprehensive update on the Armoured Cavalry (Ajax) programme. The assessments are ongoing and I will provide an update to the House in due course.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what protections for biodiversity are in place on land owned by the Ministry of Defence.

The Ministry of Defence is committed to protecting and enhancing the biodiversity on the Defence Estate and delivering on its statutory obligations and Government policy commitments.

Each project, plan or programme that may impact biodiversity is subject to a sustainability appraisal process which identifies, assesses and manages potential biodiversity issues, constraints and opportunities.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to offset emissions produced by the Ministry of Defence's land use.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to supporting the Government's commitment to Net Zero Green House Gas Emissions by 2050. Over the last 10 years we have already reduced emissions across our UK estate by 50%.

We acknowledge we need to go further and in March this year, MOD launched the Defence Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach, which sets out the ambition, principles and the methods needed for UK Defence to meet the challenge of climate change, enhance our sustainably activities and lower our emissions.

MOD is initially prioritising energy efficiency and decarbonisation initiatives to lower our carbon footprint across our estate. A natural capital register and modelling tools are being developed for the Defence estate which includes an assessment of the available carbon sequestration opportunities.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to help ensure that his Department will meet the 2050 net zero target using the same criteria as other Government departments.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to supporting the Government's commitment to Net Zero Green House Gas Emissions by 2050. Over the last 10 years we have already reduced emissions across our UK estate by 50%.

We acknowledge we need to go further and in March this year, MOD launched the Defence Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach, which sets out the ambition, principles and the methods needed for UK Defence to meet the challenge of climate change, enhance our sustainably activities and lower our emissions.

MOD is initially prioritising energy efficiency and decarbonisation initiatives to lower our carbon footprint across our estate. A natural capital register and modelling tools are being developed for the Defence estate which includes an assessment of the available carbon sequestration opportunities.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what policies his Department has to ensure the protection of biodiversity during the sale of land by the Ministry of Defence.

In recognition of Government policies in support of sustainability and biodiversity on the Ministry of Defence estate, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) applies the same supporting principles to the sale of its land assets.

DIO will investigate the biodiversity value of a site in disposal and engage with Local Authorities and other agencies to agree protection measures and potential gains. This is in accordance with National and Local Planning policies.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many units of Alford Technologies’ Vulcan UXO clearance system his Department has purchased in each of the last ten years.

The numbers of Vulcan Unexploded Ordnance clearance systems purchased in each of the last ten calendar years from Alford Technologies Limited are provided in the following table:

Year

Quantity of Systems purchased

2011

110

2012

80

2013

108

2014

38

2015

66

2016

0

2017

76

2018

104

2019

0

2020

32

Total

614

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many underwater munitions disposals his Department has performed in the waters surrounding the UK in each of the last ten years; and what proportion of those disposals involved (a) high order detonations and (b) low order deflagrations.

The Royal Navy’s Area Diving Groups, part of the Fleet Diving Squadron, are responsible for the disposal of underwater ordnance along the UK coastline, up to 12 nautical miles offshore. In the last ten years they have conducted the following numbers of underwater demolitions involving High Order detonation of munitions at sea. No Low Order detonations were conducted.

Year

Operational tasks

2020

4

2019

7

2018

13

2017

18

2016

18

2015

8

2014

5

2013

20

2012

9

2011

5

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many and what proportion of Commonwealth nationals serving in the armed forces have served in the armed forces for four or more years.

The table below provides the number and proportion of Commonwealth nationals in the trained and trade trained Regular Armed Forces as at 1 January 2021, who have served four or more years. Nepal is not a member of the Commonwealth so the data does not include Nepalese citizens including Gurkhas.

Table 1: The strength of UK trained and trade trained1 Regulars2 with a Commonwealth3 Nationality4,5 having served for 4 or more years6, as at 1 Jan 2021.

Total number of Commonwealth Service Personnel

Number of Trained and Trade Trained Regular Commonwealth personnel who have served 4 or more years

Which represents as a proportion of all Trained and Trade Trained Regular Commonwealth Personnel 7

All Services

5,080

2,200

43%

Royal Navy/Royal Marines

860

350

41%

Army

4070

1,770

44%

RAF

140

70

50%

Caveats/Notes:

1. The table above includes Army personnel that are defined as Trade Trained and RAF and Royal Navy personnel that are defined as Trained. Within the Army from 1 October 2016, UK regular forces and Gurkha personnel who have completed both their Phase 1 (basic service training) and Phase 2 training (trade training), are considered trade trained personnel. Within the Royal Navy and RAF ‘Trained’ personnel have completed both Phase 1 and Phase 2 training.

2.UK Regulars comprise Full time Service personnel, including Nursing Services, but excluding Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) personnel, Gurkhas, mobilised Reservists, Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS), Locally Engaged Personnel (LEP), Non Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS), High Readiness Reserve (HRR) and Expeditionary Forces Institute (EFI) personnel.

3.The Commonwealth grouping includes all personnel with a nationality, as recorded on JPA at the time of publication, that is reported in the British Nationality Act 1981, SCHEDULE 3 (Countries Whose Citizens are Commonwealth Citizens), further information of which is available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/61/schedule/3. On the 12th November 2015, under the British Nationality (The Gambia) Order 2015, the Gambia was omitted from the Commonwealth. Figures relating to personnel with a nationality, as recorded on JPA, of Gambian are still included in the Irish and Commonwealth grouping. For further information see: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1771/contents/made

4.As nationality is a non-mandatory field, nationality is as currently recorded and not necessarily the same as at birth or when recruited. Therefore, Commonwealth personnel who have changed nationality (for example naturalised to a British Citizen) may or may not have updated their JPA record.

5. The question has requested Commonwealth personnel only. This will differ from the Biannual Diversity Statistics, which provides a combined nationality breakdown of Commonwealth and Irish.

6.Length of service (LoS) was calculated using entry date. There are known problems with the entry date information extracted from JPA. If personnel have transferred from one service to another service, have served under an alternative assignment type (e.g. Reserve Forces), are re-entrants or have transferred from Other Ranks to Officers, their entry date may correspond to any of these events. The resulting LoS may reflect their current period of service, include previous service, or it may be the time that has elapsed since they first joined the armed forces, irrespective of any break in service. It will invariably include time spent on untrained strength.

7. These figures may not capture the full cohort of Commonwealth personnel who joined the UK Regular Forces, as a number of personnel may have changed from a Commonwealth nationality to a British nationality.

8. Figures in this table have been rounded to the nearest 10, though numbers ending in a “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent the systematic bias caused by always rounding numbers upwards.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he made of the potential merits of waiving the cost of fees for Leave to Remain for Commonwealth service leavers and their families.

The Secretary of State greatly values the commitment and dedication of all those serving in our armed forces, including those from the Commonwealth and Nepal. He understands the financial impact visa fees have on Non-UK Service Personnel wishing to remain in the UK after their service and that is why he and the Home Secretary launched a public consultation on this issue on 26 May 2021. The consultation is seeking views on a policy proposal for waiving settlement costs for non-UK service personnel. The consultation will run for six weeks and will close on 7 July 2021.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the British Army is taking in response to the proposal made in the 2019 Junior Entry Review to create new terms of service aligning the minimum commitment lengths of recruits aged under 18 with those of recruits who join over the age of 18.

Following the publication of the Integrated Review, the Army is taking time to refine and test its designs, capabilities and structures. As the Army moves towards workforce balance, the implementation of bespoke Terms of Service for U18 entrants may be considered within the context of wider analysis on engagements and length of service.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure that army recruits enlisted under the age of 18 do not have to serve for a longer minimum period than recruits enlisted as adults.

Army recruits enlisted before their 18th birthday have Discharge As Of Right (DAOR) conferred upon them by The Armed Forces Terms of Service Regs 2007. This enables them to leave the Army before the age of 18.

At 18, they are able to make an informed choice to serve for four years in the same manner as any other joiner who is 18 or over.

Under The Armed Forces Terms of Service Regulations 2007 (as amended), a soldier has the right to terminate their Regular service either four years from their date of enlistment, or four years from the point at which they turn 18, whichever is later.

This means that soldiers who enlist before the age of 18 may serve longer than their counterparts who join as adults, should they choose not to exercise their right to apply for discharge prior to reaching 18.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the affordability of his Department's commitment to buy 48 F-35b Lightning jet fighters by the end of 2025.

I refer the hon. Member to the Answer given in the House of Lords on 23 September 2020 by my right hon. Friend Baroness Goldie to Lord Campbell of Pittenweem to Question HL8176.

The UK's F-35B aircraft are procured using a 'Block Buy' approach through the US-led Joint Programme Office. The UK has ordered 35 aircraft to date, and procurement of the next 13 has already commenced, these will be delivered through the 'Block Buy 2' Programme (also referred to as Lot 15-17). This will take the UK to 48 F-35B aircraft. Further decisions on procurement beyond the 48 aircraft will follow the ongoing Integrated Review.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to roll-out the deployment of military fighter pilots to fly drones to deliver (a) PPE and (b) covid-19 test results to support the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Defence currently has no plans for the deployment or use of UK Armed Forces pilots for the purposes of flying drones to support the NHS.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the National Audit Office's report entitled Carrier Strike - Preparing for deployment, published in June 2020.

The NAO report, Carrier Strike - Preparing for Deployment, highlighted progress made and the Department remains on track to achieve a successful Carrier Strike Deployment in 2021.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) personal injury claims and (b) claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 were brought against his Department in each of the last five years; what proportion of those claims related to overseas operations; and how many of those claims were brought (i) less than three years, (ii) between three or six years or (iii) six or more years after the date of loss.

The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. To locate, retrieve and extract the information requested would involve wide-ranging searches of a number of databases and liaison with the Government Legal Department.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) civil and (b) criminal claims of abuse during interrogation in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 were subsequently made against the UK.

Since 2003, Her Majesty's Government has received around 1,000 damages claims and approximately 1,400 judicial review claims in connection with operations in Iraq. The claims received focus predominately on alleged unlawful detention but many incorporate allegations of mistreatment at the hands of British military personnel. In addition, the Iraq Historic Allegations Team received over 3,400 allegations of criminal conduct - most incorporating allegations of mistreatment - by UK Armed Forces in Iraq.

We are unable to say with certainty how many of these allegations of ill-treatment specifically related to interrogation, as this would require cross-referencing with individual files.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of reported complaints of racist incidents in the Armed Forces between (a) 2015 - 2016, (b) 2016 - 2017, (c) 2017 - 2018, (d) 2018 - 2019, and (e) 2019 - to 17 June 2020.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) recognises that unacceptable behaviour, including racism, still occurs. MOD and the UK Armed Forces are committed to taking action to eradicate it and have a zero-tolerance approach. Defence, like many other organisations, does not yet represent society and it is essential that it does. We recognise that the pace of change needs to quicken; that is why we are renewing our levels of ambition at the highest levels in Defence as we work to fulfil the key objective in our 2018-2030 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to eliminate discrimination and improve diversity throughout Defence. We continue to implement all the recommendations made by Air Chief Marshal Wigston in his 2019 review into inappropriate behaviour.

All allegations of illegal or unacceptable behaviour are taken extremely seriously and investigated thoroughly; Service personnel have a number of routes to raise the issue, either with the police, within the Chain of Command or with Diversity and Inclusion Advisers. MOD is working to prevent unacceptable behaviour from occurring in the first place and has also designed an Active Bystander training so that personnel have the skills to challenge unacceptable behaviour effectively when it does occur.

The requested information is not available in the format requested and an answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Allegations of racism are captured through various mechanisms, including internal and external disciplinary proceedings, the Service Complaints system, informal complaints and the Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey. Defence is working to improve its data capture of all unacceptable behaviour across the department.

The Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces (SCOAF)'s annual report does not provide a full picture for ascertaining levels of racism in the Armed Forces. The Ombudsman's report deals with issues of overrepresentation by BAME complainants, but these complaints do not only concern racial discrimination. However, information from the single Services' annual statistical returns on Service Complaints to the SCOAF indicates that in 2019, five per cent of all bullying, harassment or discrimination Service Complaints concerned racial discrimination.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of repainting RAF Voyager.

The total forecast cost for completing the repaint of the RAF Voyager VIP aircraft (including related costs) is approximately £900,000. The project will be carried out by Marshall Aerospace Defence Group (MADG) in Cambridge.

The decision to repaint the VIP Voyager - and approval of a design that best projected Global Britain - was taken on a cross-Government basis, to be funded by the Ministry of Defence.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether it is Government policy that the (a) prohibition of torture is absolute and (b) obligation to prosecute torture is absolute.

The Government is committed to its obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). There is an absolute prohibition of torture under international law. The UNCAT requires each State Party to ensure that all acts of torture are listed as offences under its criminal law, however the prosecution of any crime is never automatic. The statutory presumption in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill does not act as a pardon, amnesty or statute of limitations. Prosecutors will continue to have discretion on whether to prosecute for criminal offences, including torture, taking into account factors such as sufficiency of evidence and public interest.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the circumstances are in which a prosecutor is able to exercise their discretion not to prosecute an offence of torture.

Prosecutors will continue to have discretion on whether to prosecute for criminal offences, including torture, on the basis of their assessment of the sufficiency of evidence and whether a prosecution would be in the public interest. The statutory presumption in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill is compliant with the UN Convention Against Torture, as it is a rebuttable presumption which leaves a prosecutor with discretion to prosecute where they consider it appropriate to do so. It does not act as a pardon, amnesty or statute of limitations.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the criteria are for deeming a claim for damages in respect of the alleged conduct of British forces in overseas operations to be meritorious; and whether claims deemed to be ummeritorious are excluded from settlement.

When a claim is received it is investigated and considered on the basis of whether the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation and where there is such a liability, compensation is paid. This applies whatever the alleged circumstances leading to the claim.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the UK's status as a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT), what his policy is on the prohibition against the limitation of criminal and civil proceedings in respect of torture, as set out in General Comment No 3 2012 UNCAT.

The limitation longstops in the Overseas Operations Bill do not compromise our compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture as individuals are able to bring claims for six years after the alleged torture (or within six years of being diagnosed with a psychological illness as a result of the alleged torture). The statutory presumption in the Bill is compliant with the UN Convention Against Torture as it is a rebuttable presumption which leaves a prosecutor with discretion to prosecute where they consider it appropriate to do so. It is not a statute of limitation or an immunity.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the evidence base is for the decision to issue the armed services with insect repellent containing Citriodiol as part of the enhanced force health protection measures during the covid-19 pandemic.

I will write to the hon. Member in response to his letter to the Defence Secretary on the same subject, and place a copy in Library of the House.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2015.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2016.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2017.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2018.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times and at what cost to the public purse military aircraft were used for non-military purposes by companies with Government contracts in 2019.

We are only aware of military aircraft being used for the purposes of executing defence tasks.

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to page 13 of his Department's publication entitled British energy security strategy, published on 7 April 2022, what her planned timeline is to publish the proposed review into the practical planning barriers that households can face when installing energy efficiency measures.

The review into the practical barriers that households can face when installing energy efficiency measures has been completed and we will publish a report on the outcome in due course.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the British energy security strategy, published on 7 April 2022, for what reason his Department's review of the practical planning barriers that households can face when installing energy efficiency measures has not yet been completed.

The review into the practical barriers that households can face when installing energy efficiency measures has been completed and we will publish a report on the outcome in due course.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has had recent discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of devolution arrangements on the strength of the Union.

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

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent steps he has taken to progress the review of the planning barriers that households face when installing energy efficiency measures, due at the end of 2022.

We will announce the outcome of the review in due course.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of proposed boundary changes, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen the representation of the historic English counties.

Historic counties are an important part of our history and traditions helping to instil community pride and strengthening long lasting ties that have bound our communities together.

Whilst the boundary changes we are proposing, which relate to establishing unitary councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire, and Somerset, have no direct impact on historic counties, we are very alive to their significance, and so, for example, in Cumbria we are proposing that the two new unitary councils should be called the Cumberland Council and the Westmorland and Furness Council, reflecting their links with the historic past.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the process is for local authorities to appeal the tier that they have been allocated for the Levelling Up Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets. It is open to all local areas and will be allocated competitively


As set out in the prospectus published at Budget, the index used for the Levelling Up Fund places areas into category one, two or three based on the local area’s need for economic recovery and growth, improved transport connectivity, and regeneration.

We have published further details of the methodology used to calculate the index of
places on GOV.UK.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the treatment of autistic people in the criminal justice system.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is committed to meeting the needs of all vulnerable people who come into contact with the criminal justice system, including those with neurodivergent conditions such as autism. We understand the importance of working closely with partners across government to support this cohort.

That is why the Ministry of Justice have commissioned HMI Prisons and Probation, with support from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, to conduct an Independent Call for Evidence (CfE) on neurodiversity in the criminal justice system. The scope of the CfE includes requiring the police to provide a more holistic picture of a neurodivergent individual’s contact with the CJS. The review was launched on 18th December 2020, with findings planned to be published in Summer 2021.

The findings of this CfE will inform a national neurodiversity training toolkit for frontline staff in the Criminal Justice System that was announced in our Sentencing White Paper and we will work closely with the Home Office on next steps to support the needs of neurodivergent individuals that enter the CJS.

Furthermore, the Department of Health and Social Care are currently leading a refresh of the cross-government Autism Strategy, and the MoJ contribution to the strategy includes work to improve data capture on autism, and to increase – through training and awareness – the ability of prison and probation staff to better understand and support individuals with autism.

The MoJ is also working with officials across government, including the Home Office, as part of the Cabinet Office-led National Strategy for Disabled People. This represents an opportunity to develop cross-government wide policies to support people with disabilities, including autism.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has to provide funding for social policies to (a) reduce crime and (b) improve rehabilitation of offenders.

In the year ending September 2019, 80% of offenders receiving a caution or conviction had at least one previous caution or conviction. Therefore, if we want to reduce crime then we must tackle reoffending.

The drivers of reoffending are complex, which the Criminal Justice System cannot address alone. That is why we are taking a renewed cross-government approach to tackle the drivers of reoffending across both custody and community.

We have already invested in a number of initiatives to enhance rehabilitation and reduce crime. Our £6 million accommodation pilot scheme in Leeds, Pentonville and Bristol operating since August 2019, has enrolled 323 individuals. In July we announced the Prison Leavers Project confirming £20 million of funding, aiming to support local leadership, identify innovative new ways to address reoffending and improve the social inclusion of those leaving prison.

We have also increased the probation budget by 17% this year to over £1.1 billion and will ensure the probation service continues to have the resources it needs to protect the public and reduce reoffending. Under the probation reform programme, the private and voluntary sector can still bid for a range of contracts for rehabilitation and resettlement support through the Dynamic Framework. We anticipate eventually spending over £100 million a year on these services.

Last year, we announced a £2.5 billion programme to reform the prison estate and provide 10,000 additional prison places. We will deliver four new prisons that boost rehabilitation and cut reoffending, providing improved security and additional training facilities to help offenders find employment on release. This forms a major part of our plans to transform the prison estate and create environments where offenders can be more effectively rehabilitated and turn their backs on crime.

An experimental statistical report showed that among those who committed an offence in the two years prior to engaging with treatment, 44% did not go on to reoffend in the two years following treatment (MoJ, PHE, 2017). Therefore, we support delivery of NHS England’s care after custody service, RECONNECT, for prison leavers with vulnerabilities, who would otherwise struggle to engage with community health services.

It is our ambition to go further and build on work that is already underway, focusing on improving accommodation, employment and substance misuse treatment outcomes for individuals that come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department makes of the effect of proposed social policies on the reduction of crime.

In the year ending September 2019, 80% of offenders receiving a caution or conviction had at least one previous caution or conviction. Therefore, if we want to reduce crime then we must tackle reoffending.

The drivers of reoffending are complex, which the Criminal Justice System cannot address alone. That is why we are taking a renewed cross-government approach to tackle the drivers of reoffending across both custody and community.

We have already invested in a number of initiatives to enhance rehabilitation and reduce crime. Our £6 million accommodation pilot scheme in Leeds, Pentonville and Bristol operating since August 2019, has enrolled 323 individuals. In July we announced the Prison Leavers Project confirming £20 million of funding, aiming to support local leadership, identify innovative new ways to address reoffending and improve the social inclusion of those leaving prison.

We have also increased the probation budget by 17% this year to over £1.1 billion and will ensure the probation service continues to have the resources it needs to protect the public and reduce reoffending. Under the probation reform programme, the private and voluntary sector can still bid for a range of contracts for rehabilitation and resettlement support through the Dynamic Framework. We anticipate eventually spending over £100 million a year on these services.

Last year, we announced a £2.5 billion programme to reform the prison estate and provide 10,000 additional prison places. We will deliver four new prisons that boost rehabilitation and cut reoffending, providing improved security and additional training facilities to help offenders find employment on release. This forms a major part of our plans to transform the prison estate and create environments where offenders can be more effectively rehabilitated and turn their backs on crime.

An experimental statistical report showed that among those who committed an offence in the two years prior to engaging with treatment, 44% did not go on to reoffend in the two years following treatment (MoJ, PHE, 2017). Therefore, we support delivery of NHS England’s care after custody service, RECONNECT, for prison leavers with vulnerabilities, who would otherwise struggle to engage with community health services.

It is our ambition to go further and build on work that is already underway, focusing on improving accommodation, employment and substance misuse treatment outcomes for individuals that come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support the whisky industry.

I am in regular contact with Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues of importance to Scotland’s whisky industry.

Scotland’s whisky industry continues to go from strength to strength at home and abroad, and Scotch whisky is the UK’s premier food and drink export. I want Scottish producers to take full advantage of the new trade deals the UK Government is striking around the world.

In this vein, earlier this month I visited Vietnam, a key growth market for Scotch whisky, where along with representatives from the Scotch Whisky Association, I hosted a whisky reception for key business leaders in Hanoi.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Sep 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the implementation of the Government's new Hydrogen Strategy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy works closely with the Scottish Government and other devolved administrations on the implementation of the Hydrogen Strategy, and will continue to do so.

10th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to ensure the adequacy of telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas of Scotland.

The Scottish economy continues to gain hugely from the UK Government’s ambitious investments in data connectivity.

I want to see every area of Scotland, including the constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, be able to take full advantage of the digital technology available.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of effect of the UK Internal Market Bill on teaching standards in Scotland in the event that the provisions of that Bill demand that the General Teaching Council for Scotland give full registration to teachers irrespective of their qualification status.

Teaching standards across the UK are very important to the Government and under the provisions of the UK Internal Market Bill, relevant authorities in each of the devolved administrations will still be able to set standards and control who can teach in them as they do now. The Bill provides that if a relevant authority decides that recognising teaching qualifications from other parts of the UK automatically is not appropriate, it can put in place an alternative recognition process in accordance with clause 24 to check qualifications and experience.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland