Jane Stevenson Portrait

Jane Stevenson

Conservative - Wolverhampton North East

Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill
3rd Nov 2021 - 17th Nov 2021
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
2nd Mar 2020 - 16th Jan 2021


Oral Question
Monday 6th December 2021
14:30
Department for Education
Oral Question No. 13
What steps his Department is taking to support disadvantaged pupils during the 2022-23 academic year.
Save to Calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 7th December 2021
09:30
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Sport governance
7 Dec 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Gulfraz Riaz - Chair at National Asian Cricket Council
Basharat Hussain - Executive Chairperson at Quaid e Azam Premier Cricket League
At 11.00am: Oral evidence
Tracey Crouch MP - Chair, Independent Fan Led Review of Football Governance
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 9th December 2021
09:30
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Pre-appointment hearing for Chair of the Charity Commission
9 Dec 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Martin Thomas - Government's preferred candidate for Chair of the Charity Commission
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 15th December 2021
13:30
Animal (Penalty Notices) Bill - Debate
Subject: To consider the Bill
15 Dec 2021, 1:30 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 302 Conservative No votes vs 2 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 212 Noes - 306
Speeches
Wednesday 27th October 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

Q4. The Prime Minister will know that my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South West (Stuart Anderson) and I …

Written Answers
Monday 25th October 2021
Hospitals: Coronavirus
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ease covid-19 visiting restrictions …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Glue Traps (Offences) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make certain uses of glue traps an offence; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 14th September 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Until 19 March 2020, Wolverhampton City Councillor, City of Wolverhampton Council, Civic Centre, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH, for which I received …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jane Stevenson has voted in 327 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Jane Stevenson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Jane Stevenson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
View All Jane Stevenson Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(10 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(9 debate interactions)
Luke Evans (Conservative)
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(19 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(8 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Jane Stevenson's debates

Wolverhampton North East 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 Wolverhampton North East signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Many missing microchipped pets are never reunited as it’s optional to scan & check microchip registration. It’s time veterinary professionals, authorities and rescues checked pet & keeper match on the original database at a pets 1st consultation or yearly checkup. It’s their only chance to get home

A healthy young dog with RBU was euthanised. The person who requested euthanasia was not the registered keeper.

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.


Latest EDMs signed by Jane Stevenson

Jane Stevenson has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jane Stevenson, 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.


Jane Stevenson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jane Stevenson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Jane Stevenson


A Bill to make certain uses of glue traps an offence; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 19th November 2021

Jane Stevenson has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


99 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
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his policy is on the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions to contain covid-19 infections after Step 4 of the Government's lockdown easing plan.

On 22 February the Government published it's 'COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021' roadmap to recovery.

As part of this, the government has committed to four reviews (large events, COVID-Certification, international travel and social distancing) to consider different non-pharmaceutical interventions and how they might be utilised in the summer and beyond.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether travelling from England to Wales for the purposes of securing a property is allowed during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

The November restrictions currently in force in England are clear that you can only leave home where there is a reasonable excuse to do so. Whether such an exemption exists will depend on the circumstances of a specific situation, but it would not normally be reasonable to do so to visit a second property.

Further guidance on these restrictions is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#travel

These restrictions will cease to have effect from 2 December.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans his Department has to recognise the work of various professions in helping to combat covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Further to the answer given by my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during his oral statement on 28 April 2020, the Government will ensure recognition is both timely and appropriate and is reflective of the profound gratitude the nation feels towards everyone on the frontline.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the rise in the price of magnesium and supply issues on the aluminium extrusion industry in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

This is a global issue initiated by a reduction in Chinese magnesium production. The Government is monitoring the situation. At present there are no reported disruptions to the aluminium sector or supply chains.

As part of the work to develop a strategy on Critical Minerals, the Government will establish an Expert Committee on critical minerals. This committee will provide high quality, independent and well-considered advice to the Government on technology-critical minerals and metals priorities, including magnesium.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial impact assessment he has made of the effect on UK manufacturing companies of obtaining AS9100 certification.

The Government has not made a financial impact assessment of the effect on UK manufacturing companies of obtaining AS9100 certification. This is an industry standard rather than a regulatory requirement.

The UK has been at the forefront of aviation for more than 100 years. Our Aerospace Sector is a world leader in the design, manufacture and aftercare of some of the highest value products on aircraft – wings, engines and advanced systems. Aerospace companies in the UK work to the highest quality and standards which ensures the world leading standing of our Aerospace sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on reopening covid-secure hospitality venues once the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's priority groups one to four have been vaccinated.

As my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, we intend to publish our plan for taking the country out of lockdown in the last week of February. That plan will depend on the continued success of our vaccination programme, and on deaths falling at the pace we would expect as more people are inoculated.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much aluminised steel was produced in the UK in each of the last five years for which data is available; and if he will make a statement.

The data requested is not available from official statistics.

We have been working with companies across the steel sector to ensure that they can access the unprecedented package of support measures that the Government has made available during this challenging time.

The Government has also helped steel companies to reduce their costs through resource and energy efficiency, including through a package of compensation and exemptions from electricity costs, and has provided more than £560 million in support to the UK steel industry since 2013.

In?addition, we have established an Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF),?backed by up to?£315 million?of investment. The IETF will help businesses with high energy use, including steel companies, to cut their bills and transition the UK’s industry to a low carbon future.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will increase the financial support available for the hospitality sector in tier 3 covid-19 restriction areas.

We are providing hospitality businesses in Tier 3 areas with a wide package of support to help them through the current crisis. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, government-backed loans, Local Restrictions Support Grants and additional funding provided to Local Authorities to support businesses.

We have extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until March 2021, where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a Government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month.

Businesses can continue to access our loan schemes, now extended, defer VAT payments previously due in March, and benefit from business rates holidays, a moratorium on eviction for commercial tenants and the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. We have also made available grants of up to £3,000 for businesses required to close in the current period of national restrictions, and businesses required to remain closed in Tier 2 or Tier 3 will receive the same level of support.

Grants are also available from the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) scheme, which is a discretionary fund to support businesses which are not legally closed but severely impacted Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions, with funding of up to £2,100 per 28 days.

On 1 December, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ in tiers 2 and 3.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will class card shops as an essential retailer for the purposes of the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has published details of guidance that sets out the restrictions that certain businesses and venues in England will be required to follow from 5 November. It is for each business to assess whether they are a business required to close having considered the guidance and Regulations.

All shops can continue to offer home delivery and click and collect services to customers?during the national restrictions in place from 5 November.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will allow pubs to sell takeaway alcohol during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

During the new national restrictions in place from 5 November, pubs and bars are permitted to sell alcohol through delivery or via click and collect where remote ordering has been utilised.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the value of the aluminium sector to the UK economy.

Aluminium is widely used in many sectors of the economy, including transport (automotive and aviation), construction, manufacturing equipment, consumer durables and electronics, as well as food, beverage, and medical packaging. In 2018, the aluminium sector had an estimated turnover of £1.9 billion and contributed around £200 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy. It directly supports 4,100 jobs and many more indirectly. Aluminium is a lightweight material and infinitely recyclable, and so has significant potential to contribute to the UK’s net zero objectives.

The Government recognises that it is crucial for the aluminium sector to continue providing essential materials to support the economy and the Department is committed to ongoing engagement with the aluminium industry. Input from aluminium firms informed the Government’s guidelines to help manufacturing businesses to operate safely during the pandemic, and the industry has also been widely consulted on changes affecting the sector as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will provide financial support to pubs which experience financial losses as a consequence of the 10pm curfew.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Winter Economy Plan outlines further measures to help businesses, including the Job Support Scheme, extending the VAT cut until 31 March 2021, the New Payment Scheme to allow deferred VAT payments to be spread through the year, extending the application period for government-backed loans and introducing ‘Pay as You Grow’ repayment options.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to update guidance on marriages and civil partnerships to allow wedding receptions to be held after ceremonies during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We recognise the importance of weddings to people, both to couples wishing to get married and their friends and families, and the wider industry which enables weddings to take place.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has announced that wedding ceremonies of up to 30 people can resume from 4 July. The Government is continuing to engage with representatives from the industry to explore how wedding celebrations, including receptions, may be resumed in a Covid-secure way, once it is safe to do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to prevent redundancies in the aerospace sector.

The UK’s aerospace sector is benefiting from over £6 billion of support from the Government’s Covid-19 business support measures, including: the Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility; our sector specific support measures for research and development; our supply chain innovation and performance improvement programmes; and export finance support for aerospace, expected over the next 18 months.

In addition, we remain in active discussion with the industry, including at sector level through the Aerospace Growth Partnership.

We will continue to support the aerospace industry to get back on its feet to protect jobs across the whole of the UK.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he has made available for businesses facing closure as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses to get through this incredibly challenging period. This includes:

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme;
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments;
  • A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs;
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England;
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief;
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000;
  • A Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, with up to £617 million available to Local Authorities to support certain small businesses;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank;
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering facilities of up to £200 million through the British Business Bank;
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme to help the smallest businesses access loans of between £2000 and £50,000;
  • The Future Fund to provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors;
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans;
  • Extending the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme.

Many businesses have already benefitted from this support. As of 14 June, 1.1 million employers are utilising the Job Retention Scheme, over 900,000 businesses of all sizes have been able to access more than £38 billion of finance through our loan schemes, and more than £10 billion of Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants have been paid.

As well as this support, the Government is currently taking the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill through Parliament to make changes to insolvency and company law, to:

  • introduce new corporate restructuring tools to give companies the breathing space and rescue tools required to maximise their chance of survival; and
  • temporarily suspend parts of insolvency law to support directors in continuing to trade through the emergency without the threat of personal liability, and protects companies from aggressive creditor action.

Full details on the support available for businesses can be found on GOV.UK, or through contacting our business support line.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing pubs and restaurants to use additional outdoor spaces when re-opening during the covid-19 outbreak to ensure social distancing guidance is adhered to.

On 13 May, five ministerial-led taskforces were set up to develop plans for how closed sectors could reopen safely. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is responsible for the Pubs and Restaurants Taskforce, which brought together representatives from the industry.

The taskforce consulted with the sector to develop guidancethat will allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen at the earliest point it is considered safe to do so. The guidance, which will cover both indoor and outdoor workspaces, will be published in due course.

As is the case now, individual business owners will be responsible for ensuring their customers adhere to social distancing guidelines wherever possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on outdoor stadia returning to full capacity for spectators as covid-19 restrictions ease; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises the importance of spectators to competitive sport and remains committed to working towards their full return to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.

We published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the lockdown restrictions for England, and which explains how restrictions will be eased over time. It is now confirmed that Step 3 of the roadmap will go ahead as planned on Monday 17 May which will see fans return to stadia, albeit under capacity caps.

We further welcome the return of spectators at selected events as part of the science-led Events Research Programme (ERP). The ERP is currently running its first phase of April and May pilot events to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the roadmap. The pilots are running across a range of settings, venues, and activities, so that findings support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

As stated in the Roadmap, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact later this summer, no earlier than 21 June. This will be subject to the outcomes of the 4 government-led reviews, including the ERP.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to allow people to attend live sports events once covid-19 vaccination priority groups 1-4 have been vaccinated; and if he will make a statement.

The government remains committed to working towards the safe return of spectators to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.

The supply of vaccines and hitting vaccination targets for priority groups is the immediate priority for the Government. Transmission data is evaluated so the impact of vaccine rollout can be determined.

Government continues to proactively engage across the sector, to maintain a complete picture of the impact of Covid-19, and are working closely with DHSC and public health experts alongside sporting national governing bodies to determine the next steps in the readmission of fans into stadia and viably increasing spectator capacities without compromising public safety. We also remain in close contact with the Sports Technology Innovation Group (STIG), formed of sporting bodies and health experts, to assess the latest thinking and high-tech solutions that could enable further spectators to return.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criteria he has set for increasing the limit on the number of spectators allowed in outdoor sports stadia during the covid-19 outbreak.

The safety and security of players and spectators remains of paramount importance and we will continue to be led by wider public health guidance. The recently announced capacity limits have been agreed by the Government with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority and Public Health England as a maximum capacity for spectators, in light of the updated Covid Tiering system. Capacity limits will be kept under review in line with wider public health policy decisions.

A series of successful pilot events demonstrated the ability of the sector to follow covid secure guidance. We have updated our guidance to the sector, and the SGSA’s SG02 guidance sets out explicit guidance on how safe socially distanced capacities can be maintained.

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, if he will allow sports stadia in Tier 1 and Tier 2 local covid-19 alert level areas to reopen to spectators.

The Prime Minister announced on Saturday 31 October that new National Restrictions will be introduced across England from Thursday 5 November. These new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December. The restriction on spectators attending stadia will continue during this time.

The government recognises the valuable role of elite sport to the UK. That is why elite sports continue to be able to continue behind closed doors which will both enable vital broadcasting revenue to flow to the sector and whilst also bringing joy to millions of sports fans. The government is also working hard through the Sports Technology and Innovation Group and other initiative to enable the return of fans to stadia as soon as it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Premier League on fair access to viewing football matches during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has worked closely with the football authorities throughout the pandemic, this saw the Premier League and English Football League as some of the first elite competitions to return "behind closed doors". We also ensured that Project Restart was shared with everyone by getting Premier League football on the BBC for the first time ever.

We will continue to have regular discussions with the Premier League on a range of topics, including viewing access to their matches, and the return of fans when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will delegate the decision on when to allow spectators into sports stadia during the covid-19 outbreak to local directors of public health.

The Government continues to engage and consult with health officials as necessary during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Chief Scientific Officer (CSA) and local directors of public health

The safety and security of players and spectators remains of paramount importance.

We fully understand the decision not to reopen stadia on October 1 is frustrating for sports fans. But in the face of rising infections and further restrictions it would not have been possible. The decision was taken on advice from the CMO and CSA and takes into account travelling to and from games held in stadia, where there may be further social interaction and the risk of virus spread.

Work continues at pace to find solutions that will allow crowds safely back into stadia as soon as possible and will allow local authorities and stakeholders retain their regulatory and advisory roles that support the running of spectator events.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with local authorities on allowing supporters to return to football stadiums during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 22 September it was announced that all sports pilot events currently ongoing would be paused with immediate effect, due to the sharp upward trajectory of Covid-19 cases nationally. A?s set out in our Roadmap, sports events pilots, and the full return of fans to stadia would only ever take place when it was safe to do so.

The Government will continue to work closely with the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA), who liaise with local Safety Authority Groups, and a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that might allow spectators to return. This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this.

In any return to spectators, the relevant authorities and partners would retain their established regulatory and advisory roles at a local level.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the scientific advice behind the decision to delay the reopening of football stadiums to fans.

We fully understand that fans want to be back watching live sports, and we are continuing to work with the sector on solutions and innovations.

But as set out in our Roadmap, sports pilots and the full return of fans to stadia would only ever take place when it was safe to do so.

The sport pilot events demonstrated that many risks within these events can be mitigated with Covid secure guidance. However, confirmed Covid-19 cases are now on a sharply upward trajectory. On advice from the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser in light of this, a decision was taken that it was not the time to make further easements by reopening stadia to fans.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support is available for (a) charities and (b) religious organisations to help them respond to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. Religious activities are not eligible for this funding but religious organisations could be funded if their project benefits the wider community and does not include religious content. The funding is being allocated through the following ways:

£200 million is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund which is available to smaller and local VCSE organisations, including religious organisations that provide charitable services in response to the outbreak.

£360 million has been allocated by central government departments with £200 million of this directly supporting hospices.

To support the BBC’s 'Big Night In', the Government matched the generous donations of the public across the country with grants for £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust who is working in Partnership with the UK Community Foundations and a further £17 million split between Comic Relief and Children in Need to issue grants to grassroots, local and community organisations providing charitable services during the outbreak.

£85 million has been allocated to the ‘Community Match Challenge’ which is matching funds raised by philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations to further support organisations from across the country who are working with those who are most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This Fund closed for bids on 2nd August and the outcome will be announced shortly.

A further £4.8 million was allocated to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership - a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies - to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.

In addition to the £750million, a further £150m has been unlocked from dormant bank and building society accounts which are being directed to charities, social enterprises and individuals.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to allow the reopening of circuses and travelling shows as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has announced a £1.57 billion package to support the cultural and creative sectors as we take steps towards audiences returning to live performances.

We have also developed a five-stage roadmap which provides a clear pathway back for the sector. The next stage of the roadmap will be performances outdoors with social distancing.

DCMS is working closely with the sector and medical experts on our phased approach.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has plans to commemorate lives lost to covid-19.

Every single death from coronavirus will cause grief and heartache for families across the country, and the nation will rightly want to remember all those we have lost. There will be a formal national recognition for all Covid-19 victims at an appropriate time.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the community radio sector during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the United Kingdom, in terms of providing quality local news, information and entertainment.

We recognise the challenges that some community stations are facing due to Covid-19 and are currently holding discussions with Ofcom and the Community Media Association (CMA) on possible options to provide urgent support for those stations in greatest need.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend the use of covid-19 home testing kits to childminders.

The Department is continuing to work closely with colleagues across government and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector. This includes ongoing discussions about providing testing via the education testing programme, as well as encouraging local authorities to prioritise appropriate testing for private voluntary and independent nurseries and childminders via the Community Testing Programme wherever possible. This is now available to all local authorities.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to roll out lateral flow tests to childminders and early years settings.

The Department is continuing to work closely with other government departments and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector. This includes ongoing discussions about providing testing via the education testing programme as well as strongly encouraging local authorities to prioritise appropriate testing for early years staff via Community Testing programmes, which now covers all local authorities. Many local authorities’ Community Testing programmes are already underway for early years staff to access asymptomatic testing where appropriate.

The Department is rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools, schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools who will receive testing kits for staff from Monday 18th January. The asymptomatic testing programme will offer all primary school, schools-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device test kits for twice weekly testing. This will help to break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 in primary schools and nurseries by identifying asymptomatic positive cases. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with awarding bodies on easing coursework requirements for A Level students during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been working closely with Ofqual and the exam boards on the approach to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments in 2021, to ensure that exams go ahead next year and students receive the qualifications they deserve. In August, Ofqual published a number of subject-level changes to exam and assessment requirements for A levels next year, including for non-exam assessment, in order to free up teaching time and take account of public health considerations.

On 12 October, the Government confirmed that no further subject-level changes to exams and assessments will be made for GCSEs, AS and A levels.

In confirming these changes, we are giving teachers, school and college leaders and students clarity on what will be assessed in exams next summer.

Students taking A levels in the autumn exam series will not be assessed on the basis of any non-exam assessment, including coursework, with the exception of those taking art and design qualifications.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support is available to animal sanctuaries and rescue centres during the covid-19 outbreak.

I am very aware of the issues currently facing organisations in this sector with falls in income and pressure on staff. Defra is in regular contact with the main bodies representing the sector, including the Canine and Feline Sector Group, the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes and the equine welfare charities, to understand their position and offer advice. The Government has supported the sector, providing guidance which enables it to continue to operate within the current restrictions which is available here: www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/SiteAssets/SitePages/Home/CFSG%20Guidance%20for%20Pet%20Rescues.pdf.

Where income has fallen we have encouraged the sector to consider all the various financial support arrangements already announced by the Chancellor, and issued guidance for the charity sector which provides further information and advice on raising funds, available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector. Social enterprises such as community interest companies can benefit from all of the measures set out by the Chancellor to benefit small businesses. We are also exploring the possibility of assistance from the additional specific fund recently announced by the Chancellor to support charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of the (a) price and (b) volume of timber imported into the UK since the end of the transition period; and if she will make a statement.

The United Kingdom imported £3.2bn timber in 2020 (down from £3.4bn in 2019), over two-thirds of which (69%) was imported from the EU. In 2021, in the four months from January to April, the UK has imported £1.4bn of timber (70% from the EU).

By weight this was 6.1 Megatonnes of timber imports in 2020. So far in 2021 (January to April) 2.4 Megatonnes of timber have been imported.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the impact of introducing an anti-dumping surcharge for aluminium products on the UK's manufacturing sector.

The United Kingdom’s policy on trade remedies, under which anti-dumping is one measure, is to protect British producers from harm caused by unfair trading practices, such as dumping, subsidies, or unforeseen surges in imports.

The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), established on 1st June, is Britain’s independent arms-length body responsible for investigating unfair trading practices or unforeseen surges in imports, based on the evidence available.

If the TRA concludes that a measure should be imposed following an investigation, it will provide an impartial and evidence-based recommendation to the Secretary of State. When a recommendation is received, the Secretary of State may only accept or reject it and cannot amend the details of the TRA’s recommendation.

As part of our transition policy, we transitioned one anti-dumping measure on aluminium foil in small rolls from China, and one on certain aluminium road wheels from China. The TRA will conduct a review of the two measures in due course.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her policy is on the reintroduction of an anti-dumping surcharge on aluminium; and if she will make a statement.

The United Kingdom’s policy on trade remedies, under which anti-dumping is one measure, is to protect British producers from harm caused by unfair trading practices, such as dumping, subsidies, or unforeseen surges in imports.

The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), established on 1st June, is Britain’s independent arms-length body responsible for investigating unfair trading practices or unforeseen surges in imports, based on the evidence available.

If the TRA concludes that a measure should be imposed following an investigation, it will provide an impartial and evidence-based recommendation to the Secretary of State. When a recommendation is received, the Secretary of State may only accept or reject it and cannot amend the details of the TRA’s recommendation.

As part of our transition policy, we transitioned one anti-dumping measure on aluminium foil in small rolls from China, and one on certain aluminium road wheels from China. The TRA will conduct a review of the two measures in due course.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on removing tariff rate quotas on steel and aluminium products exported to the UK; and if she will make a statement.

The Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have engaged closely with the European Commission to secure tariff-free quota allocations for some British steel exports into the EU from 1st January 2021.

The United Kingdom has put in place some country-specific allocations within its overall tariff rate quotas for steel products subject to the steel safeguards also, to enable EU companies to trade tariff-free into the United Kingdom. These tariff-free allocations came into operation on 1st January 2021 too.

Aluminium products exported to the United Kingdom are not subject to safeguard measures.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will exempt aluminised steel from the UK steel import quotas that are due to come into effect on 1 January 2021.

The priority of HM Government is to make sure that British industry retains appropriate trade remedy protections at the end of the transition period.

We have committed to carrying across existing measures where there is a British producer interest, including steel safeguard measures; of the 26 steel product categories currently covered by EU safeguard measures, we have worked with industry to identify 19 product categories that are relevant to Britain. Some aluminised products are amongst these categories.

The Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (TRID) is currently conducting a transition review to consider whether it is appropriate to vary the United Kingdom's safeguard measures, extend them or revoke them. Interested parties can provide evidence to factor into TRID’s assessment.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the UK steel industry on the inclusion of aluminised steel in tariffs and quotas after the end of the transition period.

The priority of HM Government is to make sure that British industry retains appropriate trade remedy protections at the end of the transition period.

We have committed to carrying across existing measures where there is a British producer interest, including steel safeguard measures; of the 26 steel product categories currently covered by EU safeguard measures, we have worked with industry to identify 19 product categories that are relevant to Britain. Some include aluminised products are amongst these categories.

The Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (TRID) is currently conducting a transition review to consider whether it is appropriate to vary Britain’s safeguard measures, extend them or revoke them. Interested parties can provide evidence to factor into TRID’s assessment.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her policy is on the anti-dumping duty applied to aluminium extrusions after the end of the transition period.

HM Government’s priority is to provide continuity for industry wherever possible by ensuring British industry retains appropriate trade remedy protection after the transition period.

This is why HM Government has laid legislation to allow the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (TRID), to undertake new investigations into goods that the European Commission is already investigating. This will help us to protect businesses where the investigations do not conclude before the end of the transition period, such as aluminium extrusions. This minimises the possibility of a gap in protection for British businesses, where an ongoing Commission investigation has resulted in the application of provisional measures that then cease to apply in the United Kingdom after 31st December. British producers can contact TRID in confidence to discuss applying for an investigation.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her policy is on rules of origin for exports to the EU after the end of the transition period; and if she will make a statement.

Rules of Origin commitments exist in all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), and my Hon. Friend will understand that United Kingdom-EU discussions on Rules of Origin provisions after the end of the transition period are ongoing.

Nonetheless, as these discussions progress, we remain committed to working with businesses and traders to make sure that the United Kingdom-EU FTA reflects our interests and priorities as far as is possible, including modern Rules of Origin that are clear, simple and facilitate trade.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plan to remove the temporary permitted weight limit of 32 tonnes on volumetric concrete mixers; and if he will make a statement.

There is no temporary permitted weight limit of 32 tonnes for volumetric concrete mixers (VCMs). 32 tonnes is the standard weight limit applicable to 4-axle rigid HGVs.

Following consultation in 2017, the Government implemented a temporary arrangement whereby a limited number of VCMs would be permitted to temporarily operate at weights higher than the standard 32 tonnes for vehicles of their design, using Vehicle Special Orders (VSOs). This was in recognition that, historically, some in the sector had operated VCMs at laden weights in excess of the 32-tonne limit. This temporary arrangement was put in place to allow time for the industry to adjust to the normal permitted weight limits over a reasonable timescale. It was not enacted as a step towards increasing permitted vehicle weights more widely.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of regional airports on restoring flights to long-haul destinations; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises the continued challenges faced by the aviation industry as we look towards reopening international travel further.

Ministers and officials engage regularly with the aviation industry, including with regional airports, and remain committed to working collaboratively to reopen international travel in a safe and secure way.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has for the further electrification of railway lines; and if he will make a statement.

1110 miles of track in Great Britain have been electrified for passenger traffic from 2010 up to March 2020, compared to 63 miles between 1997 and 2010. Further electrification of the network will play an important role in our plans to decarbonise the railway, alongside the deployment of battery and hydrogen trains on some lines. The Department’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan will set out the government’s ambition for the scale and pace of rail decarbonisation between now and 2050.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with train manufacturers on meeting net-zero carbon emission targets through the use of green technologies.

Departmental ministers and officials meet with train manufacturers regularly and discuss decarbonisation and our net zero target.

As well as recent meetings with individual manufacturers, on 22 April I have supported the establishment of the Sustainable Rail Executive, and on 28 April I will be giving a speech at the Rail Industry Association Innovation Conference, where rail decarbonisation will be a key theme.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether driving (a) lessons and (b) tests can resume in Tier 3 areas from 2 December 2020.

Driving lessons resumed in all areas in England on 2 December 2020. Driving tests restarted in tier 1 and 2 areas in England on 2 December 2020, and in tier 3 areas on 3 December 2020 with additional mitigations. Theory tests restarted in all areas in England on 2 December 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the importance of the aerospace sector to the UK's transport infrastructure; and if he will make a statement.

Aviation has a complex supply chain, with airports and airlines being the central nodes, aerospace supplying and maintaining the sector’s aircraft and engines, and other sectors providing services that facilitate operations, such as baggage handling, air traffic management and insurance. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the aviation sector contributed at least £22 billion to the UK economy annually and supported around half a million jobs spread across the UK, of which a significant proportion was in the aerospace sector.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the level of covid-19 transmission on public transport; and if he will make a statement.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advice has provided evidence of an enhanced risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 for both transport workers and passengers. This advice has been published on the government website and is titled ‘Transmission and Control of SARS-CoV-2 on Public Transport’.

To further advance our understanding of the transmission risk, the Department has worked with SAGE to develop the Transport Risk Assessment for COVID Knowledge (TRACK) research project. The Department has also commissioned other research projects, including working with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on transmission risk in aviation.

As part of our Safer Transport Guidance we recommend that passengers reduce the risk of transmission by washing or sanitising their hands before and after using public transport, keeping 2m apart where possible and 1m if not, and wearing face coverings when travelling unless they are exempt. Transport operators also enforce this messaging with signs at transport hubs, and regular announcements at platforms and on public transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when Network Rail plans to publish its Traction Decarbonisation Network strategy.

The Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) Interim Programme Business Case was published by Network Rail in September 2020. No date has yet been agreed for further TDNS publications.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to make funding available for the development of new railway stations in Wolverhampton.

We announced the £500m Restoring Your Railway Fund in January 2020 to enable opportunities to reinstate railway services and add new railway stations to the railway network. The Restoring Your Railway Programme is about connecting people and communities. The Ideas Fund is for those schemes that are in an early stage of development and need to explore the options for solving a transport problem.

An idea that can improve a service and provide a solution to a transport problem that involves levelling up the economy is exactly the kind of proposal the Ideas Fund is interested in. For proposals that have moved past the early idea stage, there is also the New Station Fund and Advanced Proposals. For information about how to apply, please refer to this website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/re-opening-beeching-era-lines-and-stations/re-opening-beeching-era-lines-and-stations

Additionally, I am pleased to see that Phase 1 of the new Wolverhampton station has recently been completed, with a contribution of £13.5m from the Local Growth Fund to the overall Wolverhampton Interchange project, including for the tram extension to the station.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using powered two-wheelers as an alternative to public transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

In response to COVID-19, we are accelerating and expanding planned trials of rental e-scooters, allowing all areas that want to host trials to do so. We will introduce legislation in June to allow trials to begin.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support is available for private coach companies during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Last month the Chancellor announced £330 billion of guarantees, so businesses, such as coach operators, have access to the funds to pay essential bills. This includes the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of June.

The Department has also asked local transport authorities outside London to continue to pay coach operators for home-to-school transport at pre-coronavirus level during the outbreak.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to mitigate the effect of state pension age changes on women born in the 1950s; and if she will make a statement.

Since 1995, successive Governments have taken the same approach to this issue. The reforms have focused on maintaining the right balance between the sustainability of the State Pension, fairness between generations and affordability for the taxpayer who funds on-going State Pension.

The welfare system continues to provide a strong safety net for those who cannot work.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to increase the level of the basic state pension to the level of the new state pension; and if she will make a statement.

There are no such plans.

Direct comparisons between the old State Pension and the new State Pension systems are not appropriate. Although the systems are different, they both reflect the National Insurance contributions an individual has made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional support has been made available for claimants of (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment support allowance during the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chancellor announced an unprecedented series of measures to support businesses and their employees to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This includes over £6.5 billion of extra support through the welfare system.

We introduced a range of additional measures to support legacy claimants deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. From the 30th March 2020 we provided for claimants who have an award of old-style Jobseeker’s Allowance to be treated as available for work and actively seeking employment for a period of three months, for the purposes of their entitlement to the benefit.

We also removed the waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for claimants affected by Covid-19, so it will be payable from day one of the claim, subject to the claimant satisfying the normal conditions of entitlement. On Monday 20 April, we launched the New Style ESA online portal which allows applications to be completed online. We have been receiving claims successfully since then. For those claimants or appointees who still require a telephony service, this remains available.

This also included increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for private renters claiming Housing Benefit to the 30th percentile of local rents. As a result, claimants receiving Housing element or Housing Benefit claim will gain on average an additional £600 this year in increased housing support.

We regularly update the guidance and up-to-date information about the employment and benefits support available, including Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, New style Jobseeker's Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance, can be found here:

www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ease covid-19 visiting restrictions in NHS hospitals over the Christmas and New Year period.

We recognise the importance of being able to visit family, friends and loved ones in hospital, including over the Christmas and New Year period. Since the end of the national restrictions, hospital visiting is subject to local discretion by trusts and other National Health Service bodies, taking into account the local prevalence of COVID-19 and the health, safety and wellbeing of patients, communities and staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure all NHS trusts provide three full cycles of IVF for women under 40, as recommended by NICE guidelines.

The Government expects clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to commission fertility services in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guidelines, to ensure equitable access across England. We are aware that some individual CCGs set additional non-clinical criteria outside NICE’s fertility guidelines. We have undertaken an internal review of this issue and are currently considering options to address these variations.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on providing a 24-hour vaccination service; and if he will make a statement.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been piloting a 24 hours a day, seven days a week vaccination service since 20 January 2021. An evaluation of the King's Mill Hospital pilot in Nottinghamshire has shown positive feedback on the service. Data from the Birmingham site is awaited. NHS England will consider the findings from both pilots before deciding on next steps.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of face coverings on the level of transmission of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) completed a rapid review of the evidence related to face coverings in the community and COVID-19 and concluded that “the beneficial effects of wearing masks may be increased when combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as hand washing and social distancing.” A second review, published in January 2021, found evidence consistent with the findings of the first review, that the use of face coverings in the community helped reduce the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, PHE continue to advocate the same measures of wearing face coverings in specified community settings, alongside social distancing and good hand hygiene. We keep our face covering policy under review, guided by the advice of our scientific and medical experts.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to roll out covid-19 vaccines to people who are not registered with a GP.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have sought to ensure that vaccinations are accessible to those who are not registered with a general practitioner (GP). NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned the general practice COVID-19 vaccination service as an enhanced service (ES). The ES enables practices to vaccinate unregistered patients provided they are eligible for a vaccination. Individuals who are not registered with a GP practice will therefore be able to access the vaccine in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations.

National Health Service regional teams working with appropriate local systems will reach out to unregistered people to ensure they are offered the vaccine. In the immediate period we are asking partners including voluntary community, social enterprise, and inclusion health provider partners to support their clients and service users to register with a GP.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ease covid-19 restrictions in local authority areas as covid-19 vaccinations are rolled out.

We will keep the restrictions under review with a statutory review required every two weeks. We anticipate the current restrictions will be needed until at least mid-February.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to reopen the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham for patients with covid-19.

The NHS Nightingale hospital in Birmingham stands ready to provide support to local services and accept patients if needed based on local clinical advice.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will extend vaccination sites to hospitality and sports venues that are closed under covid-19 restrictions.

We are grateful for the offers from businesses up and down the country, including supermarkets and sporting arenas, to use their venues as vaccination centres. NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to identify partners and work with those whose facilities have been identified as suitable. NHS England and NHS Improvement are ensuring that all offers are appropriately considered, alongside local leaders, including from local authorities, to understand potential partnerships that build on the existing network.

We have many partnerships already in place. Seven large scale vaccination centres opened on 11 January, a further ten opened on 18 January and over 30 opened on 25 January. The centres offer an alternative to general practice and hospital services and can each deliver thousands of vaccinations every week. The initial sites were chosen from those ready to vaccinate large numbers of people quickly to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible.

Currently, in England, 96% of the population is within 10 miles of a vaccine service and by the end of January, everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination service. In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit. Regularly updated data on the locations of hospital hubs and local vaccination services is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/hospital-hubs-and-local-vaccination-services/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local authorities on the use of community buildings for covid-19 vaccinations clinics; and if he will make a statement.

We are grateful for the offers from businesses up and down the country, including supermarkets and sporting arenas, to use their venues as vaccination centres. NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to identify partners and work with those whose facilities have been identified as suitable. NHS England and NHS Improvement are ensuring that all offers are appropriately considered, alongside local leaders, including from local authorities, to understand potential partnerships that build on the existing network.

We have many partnerships already in place. Seven large scale vaccination centres opened on 11 January, a further ten opened on 18 January and over 30 opened on 25 January. The centres offer an alternative to general practice and hospital services and can each deliver thousands of vaccinations every week. The initial sites were chosen from those ready to vaccinate large numbers of people quickly to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible.

Currently, in England, 96% of the population is within 10 miles of a vaccine service and by the end of January, everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination service. In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit. Regularly updated data on the locations of hospital hubs and local vaccination services is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/hospital-hubs-and-local-vaccination-services/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to roll out mass covid-19 testing in (a) Wolverhampton and (b) Tier 3 areas.

On 12 December it was confirmed that Wolverhampton is amongst the first 67 local authorities to begin enhanced testing support via the Community Testing Programme.
On 10 January, we announced that regular testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19 will be made available across the country, with the eligibility of the community testing programme expanded to cover all 317 local authorities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local authorities on the use of civic buildings for the covid-19 vaccination rollout.

The identification of appropriate venues for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations has been led locally by the National Health Service, working with partners including local authorities and local resilience forums. In many cases, this does or will include local authority owned or operated facilities. The Department for Health and Social Care, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement are in regular contact with the Local Government Association and other relevant groups to ensure local authorities have the information they need to support the vaccine programme, as well as to feed back any issues or improvements that could be made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the rate of transmission is of covid-19 in hospitality settings.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tier allocations. The Department publishes a weekly watchlist giving epidemiological COVID-19 data for each lower tier local authority in England. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-cases-by-local-authority-epidemiological-data

Detailed data on hospital activity is available at the following link:

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

Our public dashboard on the progress of the virus across a range of metrics is updated every day at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk

The Contain framework sets out how national and local partners work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks, this includes through allocation of areas to the appropriate tier which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/containing-and-managing-local-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks/covid-19-contain-framework-a-guide-for-local-decision-makers

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently. We have also published supporting documents, to accompany the most recent regulations laid before Parliament. These are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1374/contents/made

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific basis is for closing hospitality venues in areas with Tier 3 restrictions for covid-19.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tier allocations. The Department publishes a weekly watchlist giving epidemiological COVID-19 data for each lower tier local authority in England. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-cases-by-local-authority-epidemiological-data

Detailed data on hospital activity is available at the following link:

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

Our public dashboard on the progress of the virus across a range of metrics is updated every day at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk

The Contain framework sets out how national and local partners work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks, this includes through allocation of areas to the appropriate tier which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/containing-and-managing-local-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks/covid-19-contain-framework-a-guide-for-local-decision-makers

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently. We have also published supporting documents, to accompany the most recent regulations laid before Parliament. These are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1374/contents/made

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on covid-19 testing for under 18s.

Children of any age can get a test. Those aged 12-17 years old can use the test themselves or have their parent or guardian perform the test. Children aged 11 years old and under must have the test performed by a parent or guardian.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific advice from SAGE on the potential need for a national covid-19 lockdown in January 2021.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. Data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on GOV.UK and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support is available to mothers who suffer baby loss; and if he will make a statement.

Support is available for parents who suffer baby loss through the National Bereavement Care Pathway. The pathway covers a range of circumstances of a baby loss including miscarriage, stillbirth, termination of pregnancy for medical reasons, neonatal death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set out the criteria for moving a local area from tier two covid-19 restrictions to tier one.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre closely monitors a range of data - case rates, hospital admissions, positivity and age distribution - to understand and track the spread of the virus across local areas. This data combined with local insight and professional judgement from local partners and leaders is used to make recommendations on the escalation and de-escalation of areas to Local COVID Alert Levels.

Recommendations for the allocation of areas to Local COVID Alert Levels are made at a weekly meeting of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care-chaired Local Action Committee, with the Chief Medical Officer and senior representatives from NHS Test and Trace, Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England, before decisions are finalised, where necessary, by the COVID-O Cabinet Sub-Committee and the Prime Minister.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to roll out rapid covid-19 saliva testing nationally.

Good progress is being made with utilising technologies to help improve our testing service. We announced £500 million in next generation tests, including saliva tests and rapid turnaround tests that can deliver results in just 20 minutes, which are being piloted in Hampshire, Southampton and Salford. We are continuing to trial new tests and future plans will depend on the outcomes of those trials.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the criteria he has set for removing additional covid-19 restrictions in (a) Wolverhampton and (b) England.

We work closely with local leaders and public health teams to inform decisions on local interventions, taking into account a range of factors, and all decisions are based on the latest data and advice from experts, including our epidemiologists and the Chief Medical Officer.

There is no single hard threshold. The thresholds are not fixed between the local COVID alert levels because they take into consideration a range of metrics and intelligence. This includes positivity rates, case rates through the age groups, and hospital pressures including COVID-19 admissions but also indirect impact, staffing levels and absences.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the covid-19 restrictions in Wolverhampton announced on 22 September 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is in constant and regular dialogue with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health about the situation across the different areas of England. This engagement and analysis by Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre ensure measures in all areas are being considered constantly. This allows timely local interventions to bring in stricter measures when needed, and also supports decisions about how and when areas will have restrictions loosened.

Wolverhampton has regulations to prevent household mixing in private homes and gardens because transmission was being driven by households meeting each other. We know that the virus is spread by people, particularly when they are in close proximity of each other, so these restrictions reduce that risk. From 14 October, the interventions in force in Wolverhampton will prohibit household mixing in any indoors venue but allow people to meet up in groups of no more than six people in outdoor venues including gardens.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to roll out covid-19 antibody tests for (a) health and social care staff (b) hospital patients, and (c) care home residents.

On 21 May the Government announced plans for a national roll-out of antibody testing in the National Health Service and care sector. Since the end of May, lab-based ELISA antibody tests have been available to all NHS staff that want one. For care staff, antibody testing will be rolled out in a phased way across regions in England. All NHS and care staff in England are being offered an antibody test, with patients and care residents eligible at their clinician’s request.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on the treatment of cobalamin deficiency during the covid-19 outbreak.

The British Committee for Standards in Haematology (BCSH), document, ‘Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Cobalamin and Folate disorders’ sets out best practice on the treatment of cobalamin (Vitamin B12) deficiency. The guidance sets out that the majority of patients affected can be successfully treated with a quarterly intramuscular injection of vitamin B12. The BCSH operates independently of Department and NHS England and produces evidence-based guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of haematological disease.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the BCSH has provided published a range of general and specific hematology guidance for clinicians. This includes new guidance on the management of both dietary and non-dietary B12 deficiency. Both sets of guidance can be found at the following links:

b-s-h.org.uk/guidelines/guidelines/diagnosis-of-b12-and-folate-deficiency/
b-s-h.org.uk/media/18259/bsh-guidance-b12-replacement-covid-1924042020finalversion2020-4-3.pdf

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using plasma therapy in the treatment of patients with covid-19.

There is emerging evidence from China of some effectiveness of using convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. The Department is aware that research protocols are being developed, and being considered, to assess the possibility of using convalescent plasma from United Kingdom donors to determine its efficacy for treating COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing free inhalers to health and social care workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has no plans to change the list of exemptions from National Health Service prescription charges. Arrangements are already in place to help people access inhalers and other medication they need.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on GP home visits during the covid-19 outbreak, and if he will make a statement.

Home visits are at the discretion of the local practitioner. However, the full utilisation of technology will be of benefit to patients and staff. Specific guidance on how general practitioners (GPs) delivering home visits should deal with cases or suspected cases of COVID-19 has been issued to GPs as part of the Standard Operating Procedure for General Practice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help Indian nationals who are ordinarily resident in the UK to return from India during the covid-19 outbreak.

Helping British travellers who need and want to return to the UK is one of the Government's highest priorities. Since the outbreak in Wuhan, we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open.

As of 19 May, we have bought back over 14,600 British travellers from India on 64 flights since 8 April. We do not have any further charter flights planned, though we continue to keep this under review. Our objective remains to bring home British travellers who want to return to the UK, as soon as possible. From the outset, our priority for the charter flight programme has been getting British travellers home. But after we launched the charter flight programme, it became clear that there are people with indefinite leave to remain (ILR) who normally reside in the UK, and want to get back, particularly in India and Pakistan. Where possible, we are working to help vulnerable UK residents with ILR provided that they have lived in the UK within the last year. This is beyond the scope of our standard consular assistance, which is usually just for UK nationals, but these are exceptional times.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the July 2020 stamp duty holiday on the housing market; and if he will make a statement.

The SDLT holiday was designed to create an immediate boost in housing transactions. In April 2020, during the peak of the first lockdown, transactions fell by more than 50% on the month before.

The number of property transactions has increased each month since then and, according to the latest data from HMRC, in November 2020 there were 13% more transactions than in November 2019.

Officials are monitoring the housing market closely.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to allow community development finance institutions to access funding from the Bank of England.

The Bank of England provides funding to a range of financial institutions through the Sterling Monetary Framework (SMF) to support its monetary policy and financial stability objectives.

Access to the SMF and its lending facilities is a matter for the Bank of England, which publishes clear eligibility criteria on its website. A broad range of counterparties have access to SMF lending facilities which provide funding against eligible collateral across various maturities.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to use debt securities to finance the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The package of measures that this government has delivered over the past months, in order to provide the critical support needed by individuals, families and businesses facing disruption due to COVID-19, has led to a significant increase in the Government’s financing requirement in the near term. As recently noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UK authorities’ aggressive policy response has been one of the best examples of coordinated action globally and has helped mitigate the damage, holding down unemployment and insolvencies.

As previously announced by the Chancellor, this additional financing will be fully funded via additional borrowing through the Government’s normal debt management operations. This includes through the increased sale of Government bonds (gilts) via the Debt Management Office (DMO). The majority of the Government's debt is held in gilts.

On 16 July 2020, HM Treasury most recently revised the Debt Management Office’s (DMO) financing remit for 2020-21, announcing that planned gilt sales will now total a minimum of £385bn in the period April to November (inclusive). The DMO is on target to raise this amount.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to include period pants as women's sanitary products for VAT purposes.

At the Budget on 11 March 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a zero rate of VAT will apply to Women’s Sanitary Products from 1 January 2021, at the end of the Transition Period. This will apply to those products which are currently subject to the reduced rate of 5 per cent, for example, tampons and pads, and to reusable menstrual products, such as keepers.

The relief specifically excludes articles of clothing, such as “period pants”. Such exclusions are designed to ensure that the relief is properly targeted, since difficulties in policing the scope of the relief create the potential for litigation, erosion of the tax base and a reduction in revenue. Under existing rules “period pants” may already qualify for the zero rate, when designed for children under the age of 14 if they meet certain maximum sizing limits.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the loss of revenue to the public purse from the UK hospitality sector as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has not made an estimate of revenue lost from the UK hospitality sector as a result of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

This sector is a vital source of employment across the country, and in addition to the government’s unprecedented Covid-support package, we have prioritised support for hospitality businesses over the last 6 months by introducing several targeted measures to support the sector. This includes:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
  • The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
  • The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, which subsidised 100 million meals through August
  • A temporary reduction in the VAT rate from 20% to 5% on most tourism and hospitality-related activities – extended until the end of March.

However, the Government recognises that the sector has been acutely disrupted by recent restrictions introduced by the Tier system. Through the Chancellor’s Winter Economic Plan, government will protect jobs and struggling businesses across the most impacted areas of the UK.

The Job Support Scheme will guarantee that most workers working a minimum of 20% of hours receive at least 73% of their usual wages, while workers whose employers have been closed by health restrictions will be guaranteed two thirds of their wages.

And hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas will be eligible to receive a grant of up to £2,100 and £3,000, respectively, according to the value of their premises. Sufficient funding will be allocated to Local Authorities to distribute.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he is providing to self-employed people who did not meet the eligibility requirements for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme in March 2020.

Those not eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) may still be eligible for other elements of the unprecedented financial support available. The Government has temporarily increased the Universal Credit standard allowance for 2020-21 by £20 per week and relaxed the Minimum Income Floor meaning that where self-employed claimants' earnings have significantly reduced, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings. They may also have access to Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants, with a new extended deadline of 30 November.

In addition to this, up to half a million businesses which deferred their VAT bills will also be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme. This gives them the option to spread their payments over the financial year 2021-2022. In addition, all 11 million UK self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from the recently enhanced Time to Pay ‘self-service’ facility to form a 12-month, interest-free payment arrangement for up to £30,000 of self-assessment debt.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to provide support to (a) local newspapers and (b) community magazines during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the important role that media organisations, including newspapers, play at a national and local level in ensuring the provision of trusted, high quality information.

On 30 April the Government announced that the Cabinet Office would spend up to £35m from April to June to place Covid-19 public health messages in local and national newspapers. This advertising partnership with UK media titles leverages the familiar voices of over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Cabinet Office is consistently tracking and reviewing spending on the campaign to ensure efficiency and that the appropriate communications strategy is implemented.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Government has also brought forward the introduction of the zero rate of VAT on e-publications to 1 May 2020, seven months ahead of schedule. This measure will help to reduce the cost of access to online publications.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to increase the support that community development financial institutions can offer to SMEs during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises the vital role that non-banks – including Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) – play in the provision of credit to SMEs. It is grateful for the way the sector has responded to the current crisis and remains committed to promoting competition and widening the funding options available to UK businesses.

The Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to SMEs across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Of the 80 lenders currently accredited by the British Business Bank to offer these loans, 15 are CDFIs. The Government welcomes CDFIs’ participation in CBILS, as well as their continued work to support SMEs beyond this loan scheme.

On broader support for CDFIs, Fair4All Finance, the independent body set up to distribute dormant assets funding to support financial inclusion, has set up a £5 million resilience fund to support credit unions and CDFIs in England. Fair4All Finance have also launched their Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme, designed to provide tailored support?to?sustainably scale?affordable credit.

On 20 May, the Government announced that £65 million of funding through the dormant assets scheme will be released immediately to Fair4All Finance, to increase access to fair, affordable and appropriate financial products and services for those struggling financially, particularly in light of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes an expanded Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme, which aims to improve the access and availability of affordable credit. Additional funding will be made available to the devolved administrations under normal processes through the dormant assets scheme, to be distributed as they see fit.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on visa charges for Commonwealth UK armed forces personnel applying for indefinite leave to remain.

The Government highly values the service of all members of the Armed Forces, including Commonwealth nationals and Gurkhas from Nepal. We recognise that settlement fees place a financial burden on Service personnel and their families wishing to settle in the UK after service. The Defence Secretary and the Home Secretary met in July to discuss this. We are continuing to work closely with the Home Office on this issue and the Ministry of Defence will be launching a public consultation in due course to consider how we can offer greater flexibility for these?individuals and their families in future.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will reverse the decision to prohibit public worship during the period of the new national covid-19 lockdown restrictions from 5 November 2020.

Restrictions were brought on 5 November to urgently limit the spread of Covid-19. This meant that we had to close places of worship for communal worship, along with other premises where people gather and interact.

These restrictions have not been introduced lightly. We recognise that religious practice is of fundamental importance to millions of people which is why we are enabling individual prayer in places of worship for those religions who practice in this way.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the amount of brownfield land in the Wolverhampton local authority area.

The National Planning Policy Framework defines brownfield as ‘previously developed land’. Our latest statistics, Land Use in England, 2018, show that 44.7 per cent of City of Wolverhampton Council’s area is brownfield land.

It is for each local authority to consider how best the land in its area should be used, and plan accordingly, and to identify and publish in its Brownfield Register those sites it finds suitable for housing-led redevelopment.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress he has made on implementing the provisions of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Act provides for the biggest reform of divorce law in fifty years and will reduce conflict between couples legally ending a marriage or civil partnership. At Commons Third Reading of the Bill the Lord Chancellor explained the need to allow time for careful implementation and that, at that early stage, the Government was working towards an indicative timetable of autumn 2021. This was an ambitious timetable.

Following Royal Assent on 25 June 2020, the Ministry of Justice has worked closely with the Family Procedure Rule Committee to identify the significant changes needed to Family Procedure Rules and supporting practice directions, and to devise some key new procedures. Those procedural changes are critical as they will shape amendments to family court forms, the online digital divorce service, and information on gov.uk. The Family Procedure Rule Committee has now consulted on draft rule amendments and is working to finalise these rules post consultation.

In parallel, officials have begun work to identify, design and build the necessary amendments to court forms and, importantly, amend the new online digital divorce service while the procedural rules themselves are being finalised. This work includes consideration of commitments made during the passage of the Act through parliament to improve the information and signposting for couples when they navigate the legal process of divorce, dissolution or separation.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring that the amended digital service allows for a smooth transition from the existing service which has reformed the way divorce is administered in the courts and improved the service received by divorcing couples at a traumatic point in their lives. Following detailed design work, it is now clear that these amendments, along with the full and rigorous testing of the new system ahead of implementation, will not conclude before the end of the year.

The Government recognises the need for clarity on when these important reforms will come into force. This will now be on the common commencement date of 6 April 2022. While this delay is unfortunate it is essential that we take the time to get this right. The new divorce process will work to reduce conflict, which is especially damaging for children, and will reflect work the Government are undertaking through the Reducing Parental Conflict programme. That programme will build the evidence on what works to reduce harmful levels of parental conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse, working with local areas to help them embed support in their local services for families. We will also use this opportunity to strengthen signposting to family mediation as a means to resolve arrangements for children and the division of assets on divorce.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to amend the definition of adultery to include same-sex relations.

Parliament considered this definition during passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. Adultery in this context has a longstanding definition and can, within the terms of the 2013 act, take place only between a man and a woman. A same sex extramarital affair can therefore not be cited in support of the legal fact of adultery for the purpose of a divorce petition under the existing law. People can and do, however, use the fact of behaviour in a divorce petition to cite same sex affairs or other kinds of infidelity that do not meet the legal definition of adultery.

Commencement of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will remove the requirement to evidence adultery or any other fact and replace this with a requirement to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. There will therefore no longer be a requirement to evidence matters of a personal nature that can introduce or worsen conflict to the detriment of any arrangements for the future, particularly about children.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)