Jamie Stone Portrait

Jamie Stone

Liberal Democrat - Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence)

(since October 2017)

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

(since September 2020)
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


Department Event
Monday 13th December 2021
16:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
First Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
13 Dec 2021, 4:30 p.m.
The draft Network and Information Systems (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
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Department Event
Thursday 6th January 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
6 Jan 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 10th January 2022
14:30
Ministry of Defence
Oral questions - Main Chamber
10 Jan 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Defence (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 10th February 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
10 Feb 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 21st February 2022
14:30
Ministry of Defence
Oral questions - Main Chamber
21 Feb 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Defence (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Wednesday 8th December 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 234 Noes - 293
Speeches
Monday 6th December 2021
Armed Forces Bill

Would the Minister care to comment on something that the hon. Member for Wrexham (Sarah Atherton), who chairs the sub- …

Written Answers
Wednesday 8th December 2021
Live Events Reinsurance Scheme: Theatre
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 16th November 2021
Glenmorangie Company awarded with Solar Impulse Guides
That this House congratulates The Glenmorangie Company on being presented with Solar Impulse Guides last week by the Solar Impulse …
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Goods Delivery Services Bill 2021-22
A Bill to regulate charges for, and the advertising of, goods delivery services; to make provision about transport infrastructure in …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 2nd March 2020
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd
Address of donor: Electron Building, Fermi Avenue, Didcot OX11 0QR
Estimate of the …
EDM signed
Friday 3rd December 2021
Animals in Scientific Research and transition to new approach methodologies
That this House regrets 2.88 million animal experiments were carried out in Great Britain in 2020; notes there can be …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools on allowing pupil access to toilets …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jamie Stone has voted in 293 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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)
Secretary of State for Defence
(14 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(14 debate interactions)
Jeremy Quin (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(43 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(24 debate contributions)
View All Department 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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Latest EDMs signed by Jamie Stone

19th November 2021
Jamie Stone signed this EDM on Friday 3rd December 2021

Animals in Scientific Research and transition to new approach methodologies

Tabled by: Martyn Day (Scottish National Party - Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
That this House regrets 2.88 million animal experiments were carried out in Great Britain in 2020; notes there can be better options than using animals in scientific research; further notes the Animal Free Research UK report Modernising Medical Research recommendation to establish a role focussed on replacing animals with human …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 17
Labour: 7
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
30th November 2021
Jamie Stone signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 1st December 2021

New Zealand Free Trade Agreement

Tabled by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)
That this House notes the recent free trade agreement with New Zealand; expresses strong concern that imports from New Zealand will undercut the environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards of British beef, lamb and dairy farmers; acknowledges the Department for International Trade’s assessment that the estimated impact on GDP …
16 signatures
(Most recent: 6 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 10
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Labour: 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

2 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.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 21st June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 18th March 2022

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.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 25th February 2020

177 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
2 Other Department Questions
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
Minister for Equalities
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.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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 maintaining a duty of care when deciding which of their employees to put on furlough during the covid-19 outbreak.

In relation to mental health and preventing work-related stress, we would encourage employers to talk to their employees to identify issues that may impact on their wellbeing and to jointly agree steps to mitigate them.

Employers have a duty of care when considering how decisions can impact on their employees’ health and wellbeing. Although placing employees on the CJRS remains a business decision, the Government has enabled employers to furlough staff in certain situations, such as the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

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)).

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)).

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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to work with the Scottish Government to encourage an increase in bus services in the Highlands as part of a UK wide environmental strategy ahead of COP26.

Responsibility for bus services is a devolved matter. The Department engages with the devolved administrations, including Scotland, on issues such as bus services.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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 for Transport)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

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.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
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.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has commissioned research on the potential effect on the mental wellbeing of universal credit claimants of removing the work conditionality and sanctions regime.

We have not commissioned research on the potential mental wellbeing of universal credit claimants of removing the conditionality and sanctions regime. We engage with all of our claimants at a personal and individual level and are committed to tailoring support for specific individual needs, including agreeing realistic and structured steps to encourage claimants into or towards the labour market. These requirements are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain appropriate for every claimant. Sanctions are only ever applied where someone fails to comply with these requirements without a good reason.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
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, 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

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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote mental health services and counselling in increase the take-up of such services.

We continue to expand access to talking and psychological therapies through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. IAPT services are promoted through Every Mind Matters, an online platform which contains resources to help people look after their wellbeing and mental health and local services can be located through NHS.UK.

Data from 2019/20 shows that there were 1.69 million referrals to talking therapies in England and 1.17 million people started a course of treatment within this year. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to ensuring that a total of 1.9 million adults will be able to access IAPT services by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
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.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
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.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
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.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
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.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
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.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to create a Government-backed insurance scheme to prevent the cancellation of festivals, live music and 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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Chancellor of the Exchequer
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
Chancellor of the Exchequer
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of Commonwealth service leavers who are eligible to apply for Leave to Remain have applied for Leave to Remain.

The Home Office does not hold data on the number of Commonwealth service leavers who are eligible to apply for Leave to Remain or the number of applications received from Commonwealth service leavers.

Commonwealth service leavers can apply for an immigration status on a variety of routes. To capture numbers would require a manual trawl of data and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

Applications from Commonwealth service leavers are grouped together with other categories in our published statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2021/how-many-people-continue-their-stay-in-the-uk-or-apply-to-stay-permanently

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
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
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home 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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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 of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
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 of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

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.

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.

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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
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.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish his Department's criteria for putting the Highlands local authority in tier 3 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.

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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
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.

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
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