Jeff Smith Portrait

Jeff Smith

Labour - Manchester, Withington

Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

(since December 2021)
Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Sep 2021 - 4th Dec 2021
Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th May 2021 - 19th Sep 2021
Opposition Whip (Commons)
18th Sep 2015 - 14th May 2021
Environmental Audit Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015


Oral Question
Tuesday 5th July 2022
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Topical Question No. 10
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Save to Calendar
Department Event
Thursday 7th July 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 22nd September 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Sep 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 151 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 191 Noes - 271
Speeches
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Derby County Football Club
It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Hollobone. I congratulate the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire …
Written Answers
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Huntington's Disease: Mental Health Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to engage with …
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 28th February 2022
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: BPI (British Recorded Music Industry)
Address of donor: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 …
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 444 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.

Sparring Partners
Nigel Huddleston (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(24 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(15 debate interactions)
Seema Malhotra (Labour (Co-op))
Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(14 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
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 most Manchester, Withington signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

I would like the UK Government to make it law that nightclubs must search guests on arrival to prevent harmful weapons and other items entering the establishment. This could be a pat down search or metal detector, but must involve measures being put in place to ensure the safety of the public.

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 - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022

94 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
4 Other Department Questions
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the £1.5 billion fund announced in March 2021 to support businesses that were not able to benefit from business rates relief during the covid-19 outbreak, when he plans to publish indicative criteria as to which businesses are eligible to receive assistance via that fund.

The £1.5 billion fund will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19 and are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates


My Department will publish guidance to help local authorities set up their local schemes once the legislation relating to COVID-19 Material Change of Circumstances provisions has passed. This will include the eligibility criteria for the scheme and individual local authority allocations. Decisions on the award of relief will ultimately be for local authorities, having regard to the guidance.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the £1.5 billion fund announced in March 2021 to support businesses that were not able to benefit from business rates relief during the covid-19 outbreak, whether he plans to give local authorities information on the amounts that they are likely to receive for the purposes of assisting with their financial planning.

The £1.5 billion fund will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19 and are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates


My Department will publish guidance to help local authorities set up their local schemes once the legislation relating to COVID-19 Material Change of Circumstances provisions has passed. This will include the eligibility criteria for the scheme and individual local authority allocations. Decisions on the award of relief will ultimately be for local authorities, having regard to the guidance.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with local government leaders on the safety of elected representatives when carrying out their democratic duties.

The Secretary of State recently attended a Local Government Forum where this issue was raised.

To protect elected members' safety, the Government is reviewing proposals to remove the requirement to publish home addresses on registers of interests and has already changed the law to remove the requirement for people standing as local councillors to have their home addresses published on ballot papers.

The LGA provides comprehensive guidance and advice for councillors on personal safety on their website and is considering developing a further training offer and bespoke advice.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Oct 2021
What steps he is taking to mobilise public and private climate finance ahead of COP26.

We have been working tirelessly to encourage donor nations, and multilateral development banks, to increase their commitments to meet the $100bn goal, which is within touching distance. We are also working closely with the private sector to promote and support initiatives which mobilise private finance towards climate action.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of further extending the deadline for completed applications to the Renewable Heat Initiative beyond 31 March 2022 in the context of supply chain issues delaying installation of heat pumps.

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has already been extended once and will now close on 31 March 2022. The legislation closing the RHI is now in force and there are no plans to repeal it. Heat pump installations that are not completed in time to apply to the RHI should be eligible for the grant scheme that is replacing the RHI, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, provided they meet the relevant eligibility criteria, and are commissioned on or after 1 April 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to close the gap between the 30,000 heat pumps a year currently being installed and the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation of installing 900,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.

In the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government set out a range of policies that will enable the heat pump market to grow to 600,000 installations per year by 2028. This level of deployment will keep the UK on track to meet its net zero ambitions, without pre-empting decisions to be taken by the middle of the decade on the future of the gas grid and the role of hydrogen.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to respond to the re-consultation on adding women's sporting events to the listed events regime, which ended on 16 February 2022.

I am absolutely committed to supporting women's sport at every opportunity including raising its visibility in the media.

Earlier this year I wrote to sport rights holders and broadcasters about adding further women’s sports events to the listed events regime. I will be announcing the outcome of this re-consultation shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the context of sanctions imposed by the Government on Roman Abramovich, whether the Big Stamford Bridge Sleep Out 2022 can go ahead.

We have been clear that we would speak with Chelsea to understand what is needed to allow upcoming games to be played to minimise the impact on the Leagues, other competitions, the wider football pyramid and fans. These conversations are ongoing. The continuance of activities at Stamford Bridge not covered by the licence would be for the stadium management to confirm.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will amend the terms of the special license granted to Chelsea Football Club to allow match ticket sales to supporters.

We have been clear that we would speak with Chelsea to understand what is needed to allow upcoming games to be played to minimise the impact on the Leagues, other competitions, the wider football pyramid and fans. These conversations are ongoing. The continuance of activities at Stamford Bridge not covered by the licence would be for the stadium management to confirm.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how the Government will engage civil society organisations as part of the implementation of the Levelling Up White Paper.

The Government recognises the vital role that civil society plays in levelling up. Charities, social enterprises and volunteers are already working up and down the country, delivering real impact in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the UK.

The Levelling Up White Paper sets the government’s plans to level up communities, including a new Strategy for Community Spaces and Relationships jointly led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC). As part of this work, we are committed to listening to civil society organisations and engaging with the most disconnected communities. Officials in DCMS and DLUHC are increasing their engagement with civil society and community stakeholders to understand the best way to achieve this.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact of bank branch closures on small and medium sized charities.

We regularly engage with sector representatives to understand challenges and opportunities facing the sector, as does the Fundraising Regulator and the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission also works with relevant partners, including government, the banking sector, and the charity sector to discuss a range of banking issues faced by charities.

To date, DCMS has not received representations about the immediate risk to the sector of branch closures. However, we are aware of the longer term pressures that a move towards a cashless society will create for some in the sector. The government is keen to engage on this issue with the sector and regulators.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) theatres, (b) live music venues, (c) concert halls and (d) arenas on the average capacity that they require to make a profit as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

As part of our continued engagement with our sectors, myself and my officials have spoken to many organisations in the arts and culture sectors directly, as well as with our arms-length bodies and sector representatives.

Through this engagement we know that the capacity needed to make a profit varies not just between the sub-sectors, but also between individual organisations and on an even more granular level, depending on what those organisations programme. These considerations, as well as costs relating to staffing, fixed costs, maintenance, production costs, and loans, also impact upon the size of a possible finance gap an organisation may have when considering when and whether to reopen.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening. We have released guidance to support the performing arts sector resume activity in line with the roadmap announced by the Secretary of State for Culture last month.

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.

10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which of the post-16 level 2 and below qualifications are in scope for removal for the consultation which launched on 2 March 2022, by title and level.

The consultation focuses on the groups of post-16 level 2, level 1, and entry level qualifications we propose should be funded in future, rather than individual qualifications. Subject to the consultation, where qualifications do not meet future criteria for these qualification groups, we propose that they have funding approval removed. No decisions have been made about individual qualifications or what is in scope for removal, as we are still consulting and we have not yet developed the specific criteria that will be used to make that assessment.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
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.

10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timescale is for (a) the review of the case for implementing Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 in England and (b) the implementation of recommendations from that review.

The review is currently underway and will report in 2022.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to legalise side road zebra crossings.

The Department is aware of research carried out by Transport for Greater Manchester into the idea of simplified zebra crossings and their request for these to be legalised. The Department awaits the publication of the research report and its findings, and will consider these carefully before making any decisions on changing legislation.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to provide additional support for travel costs of civil servants identified for consolidation at her Department's office at Manchester Chorlton Graeme House.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 405 colleagues located in Manchester Chorlton Graeme House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Manchester Anchorage Salford Quays or Stockport Millennium House, based on where their role will be based. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

· Income Deprivation

· Employment Deprivation

· Education, Skills and Training Deprivation

· Health Deprivation and Disability

· Crime

· Barriers to Housing and Services

· Living Environment Deprivation

On current plans, the Department expects to exit Manchester Chorlton Graeme House by September 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department expects to close her Department's office at Manchester Chorlton Graeme House.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 405 colleagues located in Manchester Chorlton Graeme House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Manchester Anchorage Salford Quays or Stockport Millennium House, based on where their role will be based. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

· Income Deprivation

· Employment Deprivation

· Education, Skills and Training Deprivation

· Health Deprivation and Disability

· Crime

· Barriers to Housing and Services

· Living Environment Deprivation

On current plans, the Department expects to exit Manchester Chorlton Graeme House by September 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the (a) equality impact assessment and (b) socio-economic impact assessment on the closure of her Department's office at Manchester Chorlton Graeme House.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 405 colleagues located in Manchester Chorlton Graeme House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Manchester Anchorage Salford Quays or Stockport Millennium House, based on where their role will be based. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

· Income Deprivation

· Employment Deprivation

· Education, Skills and Training Deprivation

· Health Deprivation and Disability

· Crime

· Barriers to Housing and Services

· Living Environment Deprivation

On current plans, the Department expects to exit Manchester Chorlton Graeme House by September 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of whether the closure of her Department's office at Manchester Chorlton Graeme House will result in compulsory redundancies.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 405 colleagues located in Manchester Chorlton Graeme House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Manchester Anchorage Salford Quays or Stockport Millennium House, based on where their role will be based. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

· Income Deprivation

· Employment Deprivation

· Education, Skills and Training Deprivation

· Health Deprivation and Disability

· Crime

· Barriers to Housing and Services

· Living Environment Deprivation

On current plans, the Department expects to exit Manchester Chorlton Graeme House by September 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the number of jobs that will be affected by the closure of her Department's office at Manchester Chorlton Graeme House.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 405 colleagues located in Manchester Chorlton Graeme House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Manchester Anchorage Salford Quays or Stockport Millennium House, based on where their role will be based. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

· Income Deprivation

· Employment Deprivation

· Education, Skills and Training Deprivation

· Health Deprivation and Disability

· Crime

· Barriers to Housing and Services

· Living Environment Deprivation

On current plans, the Department expects to exit Manchester Chorlton Graeme House by September 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential impact on hybrid working by staff of the consolidation of her Department's office at Manchester Chorlton Graeme House.

The adoption of hybrid working practices has been carefully and fully considered. The introduction of hybrid working arrangements by the Department for back of house functions means that staff will only need to work on average 40% of their working week in the new location. DWP aims to utilise its hybrid working policy to help facilitate more inclusive workplaces, which are capable of adapting to the needs of the employees and the Department.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people in Manchester Withington constituency who have been affected by the underpayment of benefits following the transition from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19th January to question number 104377.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to engage with people who have Huntington's disease as part of the consultation for the 10 Year Mental Health Plan.

We have launched a public call for evidence to support the development of a new, 10-year, cross-Government plan for mental health and wellbeing in England. We encourage those with lived experience to respond to the call for evidence, including those with Huntington’s disease. The call for evidence is open until 7 July 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that people who have Huntington's disease can access mental health services.

Patients with Huntington's Disease have access to a range of mental health support, through general practitioners, local mental health services, specialised neurology services and clinical geneticists and genetic counsellors through the clinical genomic service.

The clinical genomic service specification is currently being reviewed, which includes strengthening access to mental health support services. The revised specification will be subject to public consultation before final approval. NHS England’s neuroscience transformation programme is developing optimal pathways for neurology services, which include common principles regarding access to appropriate timely mental health support.

In addition, the neuropsychiatry service specification is in development, which will outline the multi-disciplinary approach to caring for patients with complex neurological conditions who require specialised assessment and mental health support.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will clarify guidance on the ability for a prescription for medical cannabis given by a specialist to subsequently be taken over by a GP under a shared care arrangement.

The law requires that unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs) be supplied under either the prescription or direction of a clinician on the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Specialist Register. As with all areas of clinical practice, the GMC’s guidance states that all doctors must recognise and work within the limits of their competence. This is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline ‘Cannabis-based medicinal products’, which states that after the initial prescription, subsequent prescriptions of CBPMs may be issued by another prescriber as part of a shared care agreement under the direction of an initiating specialist prescriber, if:

- shared care is appropriate and in the person’s best interest;

- the person's clinical condition is stable; and

- the other prescriber is confident to make a fully informed prescribing decision about cannabis-based medicinal products.

If a general practitioner (GP) accepts ongoing shared care responsibilities and continues prescribing once a patient has been initiated and stabilised on CBPMs, they must be confident to accept the associated legal and professional responsibilities associated with doing so, which are increased in the case of an unlicensed product. This includes accountability for the quality of the product prescribed. Treatments initiated privately would not usually be prescribed by a GP under shared care unless the requested treatment is approved under existing National Health Service policies or there are exceptional circumstances. This remains the case even if that privately funded treatment has been shown to have clinical benefit for the individual patient. This applies to all treatments.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to invest funding allocated under the Dementia Moonshot to infrastructure for dementia clinical research.

There are no specific plans to allocate funding to infrastructure for dementia clinical research. However, we will announce our strategy for dementia research in due course. Plans for delivering a dementia moonshot are subject to the forthcoming Spending Review settlements.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
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
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to coordinate with Cabinet colleagues a cross-Government approach to reducing health inequalities as part of its response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We remain committed to levelling up health outcomes so everyone can enjoy a long, healthy life whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their social circumstances.

The Minister for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is already leading work across Government to tackle the disparities highlighted by Public Health England in June. This includes reviewing the effectiveness and impact of current actions, actions to modify existing policy and policy in development to address these disparities. Over the last six months, Ministers have commissioned urgent work across Departments to ensure the response to COVID-19 is fully cognisant of and mitigating, the risk to those groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and its accompanying restrictions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the IPCC's report entitled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and whether she plans to take steps to work to reduce the debt owed by countries in the Global South to enable those countries to free up resources to better adapt to climate change.

The UK agrees with the IPCC that global action to adapt to the changing climate has been insufficient. We recognise how urgent and important it is to ensure countries most vulnerable to climate change are able to respond to the risks they face.

We are providing £11 billion of international climate finance over five years, with an extra £1 billion in 2024-2025 if the economy grows as forecast. Recent UK commitments on adaptation include significant support to developing countries, with £274 million to help countries across Asia and the Pacific to build resilience, £143.5 million to support African countries to adapt and almost £50 million to help Small Island Developing States.

The UK has put action on climate change and debt at the top of its international agenda with our COP26 Presidency in 2021/22. We have increased the level of quality climate financing, which means offering financing to countries on terms that are suitable to their economic situation and consistent with their path to a more sustainable debt situation. This includes the provision of grants for countries at highest risk of debt distress.

We are working to ensure that countries get effective and timely debt treatments that put them on a more fiscally sustainable path and allow them to channel future funds to productive investments that are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, including climate change adaptation. In November 2020, the UK, along with the G20 and Paris Club, agreed the Common Framework to help deliver a long-term sustainable approach for supporting lower income countries to tackle their debt vulnerabilities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for his policies of the IPCC's report entitled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and whether she plans to provide additional funding to secure the operationalisation of the Santiago Network at COP27 in the context of that report's findings.

The UN IPCC's Working Group II report on the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change provides a stark assessment on the impacts of climate change. Findings show that impacts are worse than previously predicted and current efforts to adapt are insufficient.

The UK is committed to supporting countries' efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change, including through our International Climate Finance (ICF), which will total at least £11.6 billion between 2021-2026. As COP26 President, the UK will work with the incoming Egyptian Presidency for COP27 and others to progress the actions set out in the COP26 Decision text. This includes the Glasgow Dialogue which will discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. We are also supporting the process to operationalise the Santiago Network. Decisions on UK funding for the Santiago Network will be taken as this work progresses. Between 2016 and 2019, the UK spent £2 billion of ICF on adaptation and investments in areas needed to address loss and damage.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what funding the UK (a) has provided and (b) plans to provide to support more resilient crops through the Santiago Network.

The UK is committed to supporting efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change, including through our International Climate Finance (ICF), which will total at least £11.6 billion between 2021-2026. As COP26 President, the UK will work with the incoming Egyptian Presidency for COP27 and others to progress the actions set out in the COP26 Decision text. This includes the Glasgow Dialogue which will discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. We are also supporting the process to operationalise the Santiago Network. Decisions on UK funding for the Santiago Network will be taken as this work progresses.

Negotiations continue on the Santiago Network's organizational structure. The focus of the Santiago Network's support will be developed and agreed once the Network is operational. Current FCDO Agriculture Research programmes continue to support climate resilient crops and food systems. These includes our major joint research initiatives with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supporting work at the Crop Science Centre in Cambridge to sustainably increase yields for small-holder farmers in Africa, and Edinburgh-based research on livestock health.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Minister for Europe)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to help reduce the amount of Gift Aid that is unclaimed each year.

The Government is committed to proving support to the charitable sector worth over £5 billion per year. Gift Aid - a key part of this - is one of the most generous tax reliefs available – worth £1.4 billion per year to charities and £500 million to their donors (through higher rate relief).

In March 2018 HM Revenue and Customs published research on charitable giving and Gift Aid and the key findings were that, for the 12-month period up to January 2016, £560m of Gift Aid was not claimed where it could have been and £180m of Gift Aid was incorrectly claimed. However, as neither charities nor their donors are required to tell the Government about donations on which Gift Aid is eligible but not claimed, there is no administrative data to publish. Therefore, the 2018 figures have not been updated.

HM Revenue and Customs works closely with the charity sector to help ensure donors are aware of Gift Aid and are able to make informed decisions about whether or not they qualify for the relief but ultimately it is a choice for the donor. The Government is always open to new ideas to improve eligible Gift Aid take-up and to ensure that Gift Aid is fit for the future.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish updated statistics for the amount of Gift Aid that is unclaimed each year.

The Government is committed to proving support to the charitable sector worth over £5 billion per year. Gift Aid - a key part of this - is one of the most generous tax reliefs available – worth £1.4 billion per year to charities and £500 million to their donors (through higher rate relief).

In March 2018 HM Revenue and Customs published research on charitable giving and Gift Aid and the key findings were that, for the 12-month period up to January 2016, £560m of Gift Aid was not claimed where it could have been and £180m of Gift Aid was incorrectly claimed. However, as neither charities nor their donors are required to tell the Government about donations on which Gift Aid is eligible but not claimed, there is no administrative data to publish. Therefore, the 2018 figures have not been updated.

HM Revenue and Customs works closely with the charity sector to help ensure donors are aware of Gift Aid and are able to make informed decisions about whether or not they qualify for the relief but ultimately it is a choice for the donor. The Government is always open to new ideas to improve eligible Gift Aid take-up and to ensure that Gift Aid is fit for the future.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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)