Jeff Smith Portrait

Jeff Smith

Labour - Manchester, Withington

Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

(since May 2021)
Opposition Whip (Commons)
18th Sep 2015 - 14th May 2021
Environmental Audit Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015


Oral Question
Wednesday 20th October 2021
11:30
Topical Question No. 3
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Oral Question
Wednesday 20th October 2021
11:30
Oral Question No. 14
What steps he is taking to mobilise public and private climate finance ahead of COP26.
Department Event
Monday 25th October 2021
14:30
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Oral questions - Main Chamber
25 Oct 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Housing, Communities and Local Government (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 10th December 2021
09:30
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
10 Dec 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Medical Cannabis (Access) Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

I agree with the Minister on that. It has been a depressing week in Afghanistan, with primary school students returning …

Written Answers
Friday 23rd July 2021
Aviation: Climate Change
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to incorporate in the Government's forthcoming Aviation Plan the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Medical Cannabis (Access) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about access to cannabis for medical reasons; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 16th March 2020
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Medical Aid for Palestinians
Address of donor: 33a Islington Park Street, London N1 1QB
Estimate of the …
EDM signed
Monday 20th January 2020
Rail investment across the North and Midlands
That this House notes that strategic rail infrastructure is critical to the long-term success of the UK and all of …
Supported Legislation
Thursday 22nd October 2020
Marriage (Authorised Belief Organisations) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to amend the law on marriage to permit authorised belief organisations to solemnise marriages; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jeff Smith has voted in 286 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Jeff Smith Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

View all Jeff Smith's debates

Manchester, Withington 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 Manchester, Withington signature proportion
Petitions with most Manchester, Withington signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Jeff Smith

20th January 2020
Jeff Smith signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 20th January 2020

Rail investment across the North and Midlands

Tabled by: Lucy Powell (Labour (Co-op) - Manchester Central)
That this House notes that strategic rail infrastructure is critical to the long-term success of the UK and all of its parts; believes that after decades of under-investment in strategic rail infrastructure High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Engine Rail delivered in full represent a once in a …
13 signatures
(Most recent: 3 Feb 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 12
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
15th September 2015
Jeff Smith signed this EDM on Monday 12th October 2015

GAS SAFETY WEEK 2015

Tabled by: Margaret Ferrier (Independent - Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
That this House welcomes Gas Safety Week, which runs from 14 to 20 September 2015; recognises the importance that this awareness campaign plays each year in bringing attention to the fact that carbon monoxide is a silent killer that is odourless and colourless and can kill quickly with no warning; …
47 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Dec 2015)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 20
Labour: 7
Conservative: 2
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Non-affiliated: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
View All Jeff Smith's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jeff Smith, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Jeff Smith has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jeff Smith has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Jeff Smith


A Bill to make provision about access to cannabis for medical reasons; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 10th December 2021
Order Paper number: 1
(Certain to be Debated)

63 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
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses in Greater Manchester who have successfully registered as a certified installer to administer home improvements under the Green Homes Grant scheme.

The Green Homes Grant Scheme launched for applications on 30 September and as announced on 18 November will run until 31 March 2022.

Our installer data is at Local Authority rather than regional level, so we do not have the total number of installers who cover Greater Manchester. In each of the 10 Local Authorities within Greater Manchester, there are between 57 and 83 TrustMark registered installer businesses available.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Green Homes Grant scheme, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses that are eligible to register as a certified installer to administer home improvements under that scheme; and what number and proportion of those eligible businesses have so successfully registered as certified installers.

As of 16 November, there were 1,196 businesses that are TrustMark registered and certified to install measures under the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, with more registering every day. The majority of those businesses have now signed up to the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme. BEIS are working with TrustMark and MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) and PAS (Publicly Available Specification) certification bodies to support installers to get registered as quickly as possible.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Green Homes Grant scheme, how many (a) primary and (b) secondary home improvement measures have been completed since that scheme was launched.

As of 17 November 2020, 40,837 grant applications have been received.

A breakdown of the number of individual voucher applications made for primary and secondary measures are as follows:

  • Primary: 44,954;
  • Secondary: 14,221.

Vouchers become redeemable once scheduled works are completed.

BEIS will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to (a) provide support to Greater Manchester's 2038 carbon neutral target and (b) ensure that the regulatory framework supports net zero innovation and new technologies to help Distribution Network Operators meet increased consumer demand for low carbon energy sources.

The Local Energy Programme launched in 2017 is supporting Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the clean energy economy. BEIS has allocated £500k directly to Greater Manchester Combined Authority since 2017 to develop innovative business models?(for decarbonisation)?and public sector leadership (for climate change and zero carbon targets) in support of their 2038 target, which are then shared with other Local Authorities. We are currently working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority on innovative technologies and local energy market approaches to accelerate Manchester’s progress towards net-zero, and to make the city an international leader in the transition to clean energy systems

The regulatory price control for Distribution Network Operators is by law a matter for Ofgem, the independent energy regulator. Since the start of the last price control (RIIO ED1) in 2015, around £270m of innovation funding has been allocated to Distribution Network Operators, which is already supporting the move to net zero. In their Decarbonisation Action Plan (link to Plan here), Ofgem stated that they would be ‘reviewing the way our energy systems are managed to ensure they are fit for a net-zero future’. BEIS is working with Ofgem to ensure that Net Zero innovation and new technologies can assist network operators to meet increased consumer demand for low carbon energy sources.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of gambling advertising on children; and if he will take steps to ban the depiction of football shirts in publications which are marketed to children.

Gambling operators advertising in the UK must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). A wide range of provisions in these codes are designed to protect children. For example, gambling adverts must not be targeted at children or feature content which appeals particularly to them. Further detail about the codes and their scope can be found at: https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/advertising-codes.html. The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising requires that operators ensure their logos do not appear on commercial merchandise which is designed for children, which includes replica football shirts in children’s sizes.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8th December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. This closed on 31 March and received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing operators to advertise and engage in sponsorship arrangements, with a specific focus on impacts on children and young people, and we are considering the evidence carefully.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with publishers of children’s magazines on ending the depiction of football shirts with gambling advertising in their publications.

Gambling operators advertising in the UK must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). A wide range of provisions in these codes are designed to protect children. For example, gambling adverts must not be targeted at children or feature content which appeals particularly to them. Further detail about the codes and their scope can be found at: https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/advertising-codes.html. The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising requires that operators ensure their logos do not appear on commercial merchandise which is designed for children, which includes replica football shirts in children’s sizes.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8th December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. This closed on 31 March and received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing operators to advertise and engage in sponsorship arrangements, with a specific focus on impacts on children and young people, and we are considering the evidence carefully.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many businesses received funding through the first round but not the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

Of the almost 2800 individual organisations that received funding through the Culture Recovery Fund recovery grant funding in round 1, we estimate over 1300 applied for and received funding as part of the second round.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many (a) nightclubs, (b) live music venues, (c) festivals and (d) businesses that supply those entertainment businesses have received support from the Government under the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund.

The most up-to-date data available on the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund shows:

(a) 32 successful nightclub applicants

(b) 214 successful live music venue applicants

(c) 100 successful festivals applicants

(d) 230 supply chain applicants

A number of live music venues also offer club nights, but are only counted in the live music venue statistics. In addition, the data for successful supply chain applicants includes those working across the whole of the arts and creative sectors.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Advertising Standards Authority on rules on gambling advertising prior to the announcement of the Gambling Review; and if he will make a statement.

The government has committed to reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure that it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

As set out in the answer to Question 118541, ministers have met with a range of stakeholders ahead of the Gambling Act Review. Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the government’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, including on matters relating to gambling advertising. The ASA is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2020
Whether he plans to deliver a support package for the (a) music industry and (b) culture sector affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that these are incredibly challenging times for the music industry and broader culture sector. As well as supporting them through an unprecedented package of Government support for businesses and individuals, DCMS has made available a £160m Emergency Funding Package via Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding.

We are working hard with the sectors to consider the additional support that may be needed to support the long-term recovery of the sector.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of self-employed workers in the creative sector that are not eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support scheme.

No such estimates have been made. However, we appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many of DCMS’ sectors including the Creative Industries which is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

To ensure we are assisting the sectors as effectively as possible, regular ministerially-chaired roundtables are held with business representative organisations as well as trade associations from across the Creative Industries. In addition, officials are in regular contact with stakeholders from these sectors, and we continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading media and Creative Industries.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the support available for creative sector businesses that are not eligible for the (a) Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund and (b) Small Business Grant Fund.

No such estimates have been made. However, we appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many of DCMS’ sectors including the Creative Industries which is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

To ensure we are assisting the sectors as effectively as possible, regular ministerially-chaired roundtables are held with business representative organisations as well as trade associations from across the Creative Industries. In addition, officials are in regular contact with stakeholders from these sectors, and we continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading media and Creative Industries.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial support packages for (a) music, (b) arts and (c) other festivals as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many of DCMS’ sectors including the arts, music and other festivals, which is why the government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

DCMS is engaging with a range of departments to support the economic response, and ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are fully understood. DCMS will continue to work with these valuable sectors to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) workers and (b) businesses in the creative sector that are not eligible for any of the Government's covid-19- specific financial support packages.

No such estimates have been made. However, we appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many of DCMS’ sectors including the Creative Industries which is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

To ensure we are assisting the sectors as effectively as possible, regular ministerially-chaired roundtables are held with business representative organisations as well as trade associations from across the Creative Industries. In addition, officials are in regular contact with stakeholders from these sectors, and we continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading media and Creative Industries.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government support packages made available for charities, the tech sector and rugby league, whether the Government plans to provide additional sector-specific support packages during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including almost £300 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. Businesses and workers may benefit from the range of support measures including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme to support employers with 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month.

  • The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme which provides eligible freelance workers with up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months.

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme provide significant access to cash for eligible businesses in need.

  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is a fast-track finance scheme designed to support small businesses.

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support

In addition to the support packages highlighted, DCMS has also worked with its arms-length bodies on a range of measures to help our sectors:

  • Arts Council England is making £160 million of emergency funding available.

  • Sport England have launched an economic package of £210m to support the grassroots and community sport sector.

  • The National Lottery Heritage Fund announced a £50m Heritage Emergency Fund.

  • Historic England have announced a £2million programme of grants to support smaller, specialist organisations and projects.

  • Releasing emergency funding to help community radio stations continue to provide programming and outreach projects for the communities they serve. Relevant stations were invited to bid for emergency grants to help meet their core costs through a process administered by Ofcom.

The Government’s economic strategy will be closely coordinated with the public health strategy to ensure a safe return to economic activity. We will continue to monitor developments to understand the economic impacts of COVID-19, including on industries and sectors, and consider how the Government can best support their recovery.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will reopen the suspended consultation on Regulating independent educational institutions in order to close legal loopholes that enable (a) illegal and (b) unregistered schools to operate.

The Department intends to re-open the suspended consultation when stakeholders are less likely to be significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

As many stakeholders in the consultation were no longer able to operate due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department suspended the consultation before it was due to end. The decision to suspend the consultation was due to concern that not all stakeholders may have the opportunity to respond to the consultation as they would like, therefore undermining its value.

The consultation responses that have been received to date will be combined with responses received after the consultation re-opens and they will be fully reviewed after the consultation finally closes.

It is not yet appropriate, however, to set a date for re-opening the consultation as the situation in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to change.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2020 to Question 30111 on Metaldehyde, when the Government plans to make a fresh decision on whether the sale and use of metaldehyde products should continue to be authorised.

Pesticides are subject to strict regulation and can only be sold and used if they are authorised following an assessment of the scientific evidence on risks to people, wildlife and the environment. The Government is required to make a decision on whether the sale and use of metaldehyde products should continue to be authorised. This decision will be taken as soon as possible on the basis of the legal requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the proposal in Greater Manchester's Clean Air Plan that non-compliant vehicles are subject to a daily penalty payment, whether funding will be allocated by the Government to support (a) people and (a) businesses to purchase compliant vehicles.

The Government is committed to improving air quality in the UK and has provided £572 million to support the development and implementation of required measures by local authorities. This includes a Clean Air Fund that is aimed at mitigating the impact of local plans on individuals and businesses including sole traders.

We are mindful of the challenges of delivering a clean air plan across Greater Manchester and the need to support individuals and businesses that may be affected by the resulting charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ). We have provided at this stage a first tranche of £36 million towards implementing the CAZ and intend to provide further funding, both for implementation and for mitigating the impacts of the CAZ, from the Clean Air Fund, once we have a clearer picture of the scale of need based on our assessment of additional evidence being provided by Greater Manchester.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating funding in the forthcoming Budget to support the implementation of clean air zones.

The Government is committed to improving air quality. That is why £572 million is already available to support local authorities implement a range of clean air measures to deliver compliance with NO2 levels, including Clean Air Zones. I am considering what future support is needed to deliver Government priorities via a range of clean air measures. I will discuss Defra’s Budget proposals with the Chancellor in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2021
What recent steps she has taken to ensure continuity of trading relationships for UK businesses after the end of the transition period.

In under two years, HM Government has secured trade deals with 63 countries, which covered £217 billion of trade in 2019. Taken alongside our recent deal with the European Union, trade with countries worth £897 billion in 2019 is now covered. No country, anywhere in the world, at any point in history, has conducted trade negotiations concurrently on this scale nor with our ambition.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to incorporate in the Government's forthcoming Aviation Plan the Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommendations of December 2020 to (a) limit the growth in air passenger numbers to 25 per cent or less by 2050, in line with the CCC’s recommended Balanced Net Zero Pathway and (b) introduce a moratorium on airport expansions unless or until the aviation sector has developed low-carbon technologies that are compatible with achieving the Government's net zero emissions target.

The Government recognises the critical role that the aviation sector must play in delivering the UK’s net zero commitment. Last week, we published the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and the Jet Zero Consultation which set out our vision for the aviation sector to reach net zero by 2050.

Our consultation includes scenarios that achieve our net zero target with a similar level of residual aviation emissions in 2050 as within the CCC’s Balanced Pathway, and do so by focussing on new fuels and technology rather than seeking to limit demand for a crucial industry.

The Government is clear that the expansion of any airport must meet our climate change obligations. We are proposing to review our Jet Zero Strategy every five years to ensure the aviation sector is on track to achieve net zero by 2050.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Highways England air quality speed trials will recommence; and what criteria Highways England used to identify areas in which to introduce those trials.

Highways England was initially asked to look at 101 sections of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) based on the Government’s national air quality model, which had identified potential exceedances of the annual mean nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit values on those sections of the SRN.

Following completion of this work by Highways England, a number of links were confirmed as above the annual mean NO2 limit value. Investigations of possible mitigation measures for these links identified four sections of motorway where reducing the speed limit to 60mph could help reduce levels of NO2. Those sections were:

  • M6 junctions 6 to 7 Witton
  • M1 junctions 33 to 34 Rotherham
  • M602 junctions 1 to 3 Eccles
  • M5 junctions 1 to 2 Oldbury.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated reduced traffic flows, Highways England has temporarily removed the 60mph air quality speed limit trials that were already in place on the M6 and M1. Highways England will recommence the speed limit trials when traffic flows are above 85% of their pre-COVID lockdown levels.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to ban the use of internal combustion engine vehicles by a target date.

The government has no plans to ban internal combustion engine vehicles. On 18 November, as part of his Ten Point Plan, the Prime Minister announced that we will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all new cars and vans being fully zero emission from 2035.

This will not affect the second-hand car market.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to support investment in electric vehicle charging points in Greater Manchester.

Within the Greater Manchester area the government has provided funding of £14,390,042 to deliver electric buses and the associated charging infrastructure under the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, alongside £1,800,000 to Transport for Greater Manchester to deliver 30 rapid chargepoints dedicated for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles.

Last week, the government announced we are going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. This ambitious transition will be supported by an accompanying package of £2.8 billion, which includes £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure. Local authorities, businesses and motorists purchasing an eligible plug-in vehicle can apply for a grant to contribute towards the costs of the electric vehicle charging points. This is in addition to the £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, which leverages private sector funding to increase the number of chargepoints installed across the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to (a) encourage people to switch to electric cars, (b) make those cars more affordable and (c) increase their rate of sale.

The government is going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. This ambitious transition will be supported by an accompanying package of £2.8 billion. The government has committed up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, including developing gigafactories in the UK to produce the batteries needed at scale. The government will invest £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid charge points on motorways and major roads to dash any anxiety around long journeys, and installing more on-street charge points near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car. While we expect the cost of electric vehicles to come down, the government will provide £582 million to extend the plug-in car, van, taxi and motorcycle grants to 2022–23 to reduce their up-front cost. The government has also ensured that a favourable tax regime has been put in place that rewards the cleanest vehicles on our roads.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
What progress her Department is making on the publication of its review into access to benefits for people with a terminal illness, announced in July 2019.

The Department is working across Government on proposals, including potential legislative options, following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation, changing the 6-month wait, improving awareness and consistency.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on potential difficulties that people with mental health problems have in applying for benefits during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials of both Departments hold regular discussions relating to the ongoing covid-19 outbreak including its impact on people with health conditions.

My Department has provided mental health training for staff who have direct contact with claimants, including all Work Coaches, to equip them to identify mental wellbeing issues or vulnerabilities, and to take appropriate action to support individuals. Work Coaches will tailor support to the needs of the individual and work closely with local organisations that provide additional specialist support.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the average waiting time for an appeal to be resolved by internal review on claims for (a) universal credit, (b) personal independence payment and (c) employment support allowance.

Information on the average time to lapse an appeal is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people with a severe mental illness, including those who do not have a diagnosis of psychosis or bipolar disorder but whose illness causes a severe functional impairment, are correctly identified and invited for their covid-19 vaccination as part of JCVI Group 6.

People with severe mental and their carers should receive an invitation from their general practitioner (GP) for their COVID-19 vaccination appointment. If someone is unsure if they have a severe mental illness which falls within the official definition, they are encouraged to contact their GP or mental health team. GP teams are encouraged to prioritise people with mental illness, applying a flexible approach to defining severe mental illness. For example, this could include people who are severely unwell with an eating disorder or a diagnosis of personality disorder.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there is a cross-governmental group with a focus on health inequalities.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Munira Wilson MP) on 22 February 2021 to Questions 151866 and 151867.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2021
What plans he has to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983, published on 6 December 2018.

We remain committed to publishing our white paper which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and pave the way for reform of the Act.

We will publish our white paper very shortly.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the forthcoming Mental Health Act white paper, what the Government's timetable is for bringing forward legislative proposals.

The Government published its white paper, ‘Reforming the Mental Health Act’ on 13 January. At the same time, we launched a formal 14-week consultation, which will run until April 2021.

The white paper contains a full response to the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act and considers each of the Review’s recommendations in turn. The Government welcomed the Independent Review’s final report and accepts the vast majority of these recommendations.

We will publish a response to this consultation this year and, for those changes which require legislation, our ambition is to share a draft Mental Health Bill around this time next year for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the forthcoming Mental Health Act white paper, whether the Government plans to implement each recommendation set out in the 2018 report on the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983.

The Government published its white paper, ‘Reforming the Mental Health Act’ on 13 January. At the same time, we launched a formal 14-week consultation, which will run until April 2021.

The white paper contains a full response to the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act and considers each of the Review’s recommendations in turn. The Government welcomed the Independent Review’s final report and accepts the vast majority of these recommendations.

We will publish a response to this consultation this year and, for those changes which require legislation, our ambition is to share a draft Mental Health Bill around this time next year for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS England announcement, Rough sleepers in homeless hotspots to benefit from NHS mental health outreach, published on 14 October 2019, whether the roll-out of that initiative will go ahead as planned due to the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement still intend to roll-out mental health support for rough sleepers in at least 20 targeted areas with high levels of rough sleeping by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to co-ordinate the Government's support for people’s mental health and wellbeing in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We know that there is the potential for an increase in demand for mental health services. Ministers in the Department are engaging regularly with their counterparts across Whitehall on how best the Government can prevent and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing.

We are also working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and other key partners to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts and plan for how to support mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who are in contact with drug treatment services are tested for hepatitis C.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. This includes making sure people in this high-risk population are screened for hepatitis C virus and identified for treatment when they access these services.

Public Health England (PHE) provides a range of drug and alcohol treatment data to local authorities which monitors national and local activity in drug treatment settings and can inform local commissioning of services. This includes the number of people in drug treatment who have been tested for hepatitis C.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have an Elimination Programme Partnership with the Pharmaceutical Industry and work closely with Gilead Sciences, who have hepatitis C Testing projects with the six largest groups of National Health Service and independent sector treatment providers in England covering approximately 95% of the available addiction services. Their plan is that ‘everybody tests, and everybody is tested’; all staff can carry out tests and they target 100% of their population. Those in contact with drug treatment services in secure and detained settings are engaged through reception in a programme of ‘opt out’ blood borne virus testing covering hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus. Those already within the prison are targeted through a rolling programme of ‘whole population’ testing.

Local authorities are also responsible for commissioning needle and syringe programmes in their areas. The number of needle and syringe programmes in England is not recorded centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many needle and syringe distribution points there are in England.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. This includes making sure people in this high-risk population are screened for hepatitis C virus and identified for treatment when they access these services.

Public Health England (PHE) provides a range of drug and alcohol treatment data to local authorities which monitors national and local activity in drug treatment settings and can inform local commissioning of services. This includes the number of people in drug treatment who have been tested for hepatitis C.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have an Elimination Programme Partnership with the Pharmaceutical Industry and work closely with Gilead Sciences, who have hepatitis C Testing projects with the six largest groups of National Health Service and independent sector treatment providers in England covering approximately 95% of the available addiction services. Their plan is that ‘everybody tests, and everybody is tested’; all staff can carry out tests and they target 100% of their population. Those in contact with drug treatment services in secure and detained settings are engaged through reception in a programme of ‘opt out’ blood borne virus testing covering hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus. Those already within the prison are targeted through a rolling programme of ‘whole population’ testing.

Local authorities are also responsible for commissioning needle and syringe programmes in their areas. The number of needle and syringe programmes in England is not recorded centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Government drugs policy in reducing the rate of new hepatitis C infections.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. This includes making sure people in this high-risk population are screened for hepatitis C virus and identified for treatment when they access these services.

Public Health England (PHE) provides a range of drug and alcohol treatment data to local authorities which monitors national and local activity in drug treatment settings and can inform local commissioning of services. This includes the number of people in drug treatment who have been tested for hepatitis C.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have an Elimination Programme Partnership with the Pharmaceutical Industry and work closely with Gilead Sciences, who have hepatitis C Testing projects with the six largest groups of National Health Service and independent sector treatment providers in England covering approximately 95% of the available addiction services. Their plan is that ‘everybody tests, and everybody is tested’; all staff can carry out tests and they target 100% of their population. Those in contact with drug treatment services in secure and detained settings are engaged through reception in a programme of ‘opt out’ blood borne virus testing covering hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus. Those already within the prison are targeted through a rolling programme of ‘whole population’ testing.

Local authorities are also responsible for commissioning needle and syringe programmes in their areas. The number of needle and syringe programmes in England is not recorded centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Withington of 30 March 2021 on British citizens currently detained in Syria, reference JS41774.

We have no record of receiving this item of correspondence. My officials have contacted your office and have obtained a copy. We will work to expedite a response.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK citizens living in (a) The Netherlands and (b) other countries in Europe are able to continue holding UK bank accounts after the conclusion of transitional arrangements for the UK leaving the EU.

The UK authorities have taken the appropriate actions to mitigate risks of disruption to cross-border financial services at the end of the Transition Period (TP), including confirming that the Temporary Permissions Regime will apply from the end of the TP. This will allow EEA firms currently providing services in the UK via a financial services ‘passport’ to continue operating after the TP while they apply for full UK authorisation.

However, the issue of whether UK firms can service EEA-based retail customers remains a matter of local law and regulation in each country. It may also be impacted by how firms are set up and what steps they have taken to continue to service customers. We expect banks to act lawfully and in accordance with local regulators’ expectations.

We also expect that banks work to ensure good outcomes for their customers and provide timely communications to enable them to make appropriate decisions. UK banking providers are expected to contact impacted customers if they need to make any changes to their product or the way it is provided.

We encourage customers with questions or concerns to speak to their service provider. There is also further guidance for impacted customers on the Money Advice Service website, which can be found here: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/brexit-banking-insurance-finance

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to use revenue from the new digital services tax to fund independent research into the effect of social media on children and young people’s mental health.

The Government has committed to introducing the Digital Services Tax from April 2020. This is expected to raise around £1.5bn over four years. These funds will not be directly hypothecated to any particular spending area.

However, the Government recognises the impact that harmful online content and activity can have on users, and that there are growing concerns about the potential impact on users’ mental health and wellbeing. The Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, set out plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

12th Jul 2021
What the average length of time is for her Department to process asylum applications.

Calculating an average length of time does not take into account the numerous factors that contribute to the decision-making process. Nor does it consider our prioritisation of children and the most vulnerable.

We are working to improve the speed of decisions and reduce the number of outstanding claims; but there will always be complex cases, and it is right we take time to work through them carefully, not rush to meet an arbitrary deadline.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many door supervisor licences are being used for the purpose of (a) door supervision and (b) security guarding in the most recent period for which that data is available.

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

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many door supervisor licences are being used by people in (a) part-time and (b) full-time roles in the most recent period for which that data is available.

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

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many door supervisor licences are being used (a) by people in static security roles and (b) for the purpose of door supervision at licenced premises in the most recent period for which that data is available.

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

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Minister for Immigration plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Manchester Withington dated 24 September 2020 on an ongoing application for leave to remain in the UK, HO ref: J1086026.

A response to the Honourable Member was issued on 4th February.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Sep 2020
What recent progress her Department has made on reducing the time it takes to process passport applications.

The measures put in place to increase capacity for processing passport applications have successfully helped to reduce turnaround times.

This includes rolling out a new system which increases the ability to process applications from home, and which is now processing almost 60 per cent of UK digital applications.

On 23 September, the median processing time for passport applications received from the UK was 8 working days.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who has been invited to attend the Glasgow summit on tackling drugs misuse on 27 February 2020; what the criteria was for participants to receive an invitation to that summit; whether people are still able to apply to attend that summit; and whether that summit will accept input and evidence from expert organisations not currently listed as attending.

The Summit will be an opportunity for dialogue between partners from all parts of the UK on the challenges of, and potential solutions to tackling the harms of, drug misuse. There will be representation at the Summit from all parts of the UK, including contributions from Glasgow, from public health leads of all four nations, and from UK Government Ministers as well as Ministers from each of the devolved administrations.

The Summit will bring together different perspectives across healthcare, law enforcement, prevention and recovery. As part of this there will be discussion of the forthcoming findings of the independent Review of Drugs, hearing from Professor Dame Carol Black about the demand and supply landscape and the nature of drug misuse. Dame Carol’s work will make an important contribution to the evidence base that can be used take action to tackle drug misuse and the harms it causes.

The full list of invitees is being finalised, taking account of suggestions from the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as from a range of UK Government departments and others. Invitations that have so far been issued include those to the chief medical officers for each part of the UK and chief scientists in relevant departments and in the devolved administrations. Further invitations will be issued over the coming days. Attendance at the Summit is by invitation only and it is not possible to apply to be invited. There will not be scope to receive further evidence in addition to the evidence that will be discussed by attendees, as is usual for events of this nature.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 13th July 2021 to Question 29072 on Landlords: Licensing, which three local authorities currently have schemes under consideration.

Due to potential commercial and political sensitivities, we are unable to provide the names of councils with schemes under consideration.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which local authorities have requested approval from his Department for the (a) extension and (b) creation of a landlord licensing scheme and are yet to receive a decision.

The Department does not make a distinction between renewals and new schemes when processing selective licensing applications.

There are three schemes currently under consideration.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government funding for local authorities in England.

The Government has responded to the pressures councils are facing. The settlement provides access to an estimated 4.4 per cent increase in core spending power; the largest year on year increase in a decade, with a further £1.5 billion to fund adult and children’s social care.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to respond to the proposals for leasehold reform published by the Law Commission on 9 January 2020.

The Government is looking to standardise the enfranchisement process and asked the Law Commission to review current arrangements to make them easier, faster, fairer and cheaper. The Law Commission has now published its first report to Government, on the valuation aspects of enfranchisement. The report, which follows a consultation by the Law Commission, sets out a number of options relating to valuation, including purchasing a freehold and extending the lease of a house or flat. The Law Commission will report on the remaining aspects of enfranchisement later in the spring.??The Government will carefully consider the?proposals outlined in the Law Commission’s report and set out?its?preferred way forward in due course.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the additional covid-19 risks faced by humanist couples as a result of being required to hold both a humanist wedding in line with their beliefs and a marriage ceremony conferring legal recognition.

A Law Commission report due later this year is expected to present options for wholesale reform to the law governing marriage ceremonies, which the Government will consider carefully. Options being explored by the Law Commission include offering couples greater flexibility to form their own ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency. The Government will decide on provision for non-religious belief marriage on the basis of the Law Commission's recommendations.

Delivery of registration services falls to local authorities who continue to manage the demand for civil marriage within their respective geographical areas during recovery from the pandemic.

The Government has published guidance on gov.uk to assist couples in planning for their marriage or civil partnership formation in England, and for venues that host ceremonies and receptions to enable them to prepare for these events. The guidance sets out how this can be done in a manner that is safe and complies with legal requirements and social distancing guidelines. The Welsh Government has published similar guidance in respect of Wales.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of granting legal recognition of (a) outdoor civil marriages and (b) humanist marriages to help tackle the backlog in demand for officiants who can conduct legally recognised marriages.

A Law Commission report due later this year is expected to present options for wholesale reform to the law governing marriage ceremonies, which the Government will consider carefully. Options being explored by the Law Commission include offering couples greater flexibility to form their own ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency. The Government will decide on provision for non-religious belief marriage on the basis of the Law Commission's recommendations.

Delivery of registration services falls to local authorities who continue to manage the demand for civil marriage within their respective geographical areas during recovery from the pandemic.

The Government has published guidance on gov.uk to assist couples in planning for their marriage or civil partnership formation in England, and for venues that host ceremonies and receptions to enable them to prepare for these events. The guidance sets out how this can be done in a manner that is safe and complies with legal requirements and social distancing guidelines. The Welsh Government has published similar guidance in respect of Wales.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of granting interim, time-limited legal recognition to humanist marriages on the same basis as has been given for outdoor civil marriages.

A Law Commission report due later this year is expected to present options for wholesale reform to the law governing marriage ceremonies, which the Government will consider carefully. Options being explored by the Law Commission include offering couples greater flexibility to form their own ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency. The Government will decide on provision for non-religious belief marriage on the basis of the Law Commission's recommendations.

Delivery of registration services falls to local authorities who continue to manage the demand for civil marriage within their respective geographical areas during recovery from the pandemic.

The Government has published guidance on gov.uk to assist couples in planning for their marriage or civil partnership formation in England, and for venues that host ceremonies and receptions to enable them to prepare for these events. The guidance sets out how this can be done in a manner that is safe and complies with legal requirements and social distancing guidelines. The Welsh Government has published similar guidance in respect of Wales.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cases being withdrawn as a result of court delays and case backlogs.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the CPS and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) introduced an Interim Charging Protocol in April 2020. This enabled the prioritisation of the right cases to facilitate the effective working of police, CPS and courts during a time of crisis. The interim protocol sets out how cases should be managed by the police and the CPS by identifying three categories of cases:

A. Immediate – Custody and all Coronavirus related cases;

B. High Priority – Non custody bail cases;

C. Other cases – Released under investigation or no arrest required

In the courts we have taken decisive action to address the impact of the pandemic on how quickly cases can be heard. We spent over £250 million on recovery last financial year roll-out out new technology for remote hearings, make the court estate COVID-secure, and set up 60 new Nightingale courtrooms. This has enabled disposals to return to pre-pandemic levels in the Crown Court, which is over 2000 cases per week, and we completed over 7000 jury trials last year.

We will continue to address the outstanding caseload and reduce delays by increasing capacity in our physical estate, running Crown Courts to the fullest possible extent, using every judge and courtroom to maximise court sitting days.

We have increased funding for victim support services, with £151 million this year, including £27 million to increase the number of independent advisors for sexual violence and domestic abuse victims by over 40 per cent. Beyond significant increases in funding to victims’ services, the Government has taken a range of actions to ensure that victims and witnesses receive the support they need in the face of delays caused by the court backlogs.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Dec 2020
What assessment he has made of the preparedness of (a) businesses and (b) communities for the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It is essential that businesses and the wider public continue to take steps to prepare for the end of the transition period. We are working closely with businesses and communities to ensure that action is taken now.

As well as regular meetings of the Business Engagement Forum, led by my department, we are in constant contact with communities in Northern Ireland. Last month the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland chaired a roundtable with civic leaders from across Northern Ireland, facilitating a really valuable two-way dialogue on readiness. We will continue that dialogue to ensure that Northern Ireland is ready on 1 January 2021.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Mar 2021
What recent steps his Department has taken to support the Scottish hospitality sector.

We are continuing to support the Scottish hospitality sector through a combination of UK Government initiatives.

This includes the now extended VAT reduction for the sector and support for businesses, such as business loans, which includes the new Recovery Loan Scheme.

This is in addition to the extended furlough scheme and grants for the self-employed.

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
1st Jul 2020
What assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing additional packages of support for industries by sector in Scotland as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The UK Government package, as well as an additional £3.8 billion in funding for the Scottish Government through the Barnett Formula, has been significant.

The furlough and self-employed support schemes have saved more than three quarters of a million jobs in Scotland.

It is right that the furlough scheme has been extended until October, and now made available on a part-time basis. This will provide much-needed reassurance to businesses across Scotland. Scottish businesses have been very clear that what they really want is to get back to work.

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
22nd Apr 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on support for people in Wales whose employment has been adversely affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

I have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues on a range of topics, including employment support for people in Wales. The Government has announced unprecedented measures to support people in Wales and right across the UK through these difficult times.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)