Jim Shannon Portrait

Jim Shannon

Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

(since July 2017)

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

(since May 2015)
39 APPG memberships (as of 21 Apr 2021)
Access to Medicines and Medical Devices, Alevis, Bahá'í Faith, Beer, Blood Cancer, Carbon Monoxide, Cerebral Palsy, Christianity in the Holy Land, Cleaning and Hygiene, Coastal Communities, Dairy, Diabetes, Disability, Eggs, Pigs and Poultry, Energy Studies, Equitable Life Policyholders, Eye Health and Visual Impairment, Farming, Health in all Policies, Healthy Homes and Buildings, Heart Valve Disease, Hong Kong, International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Malawi, Marine Energy, Mentoring, Muscular Dystrophy, Obesity, Pakistani Minorities, Pancreatic Cancer, Pigeon Racing, Pro-Life, Professional Sales, Respiratory Health, Shooting and Conservation, Terminal Illness, Veterans, Vulnerable Groups to Pandemics, Wood Panel Industry
39 Former APPG memberships
Adult Social Care, Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Air Passenger Duty Reform, Autism, Bangladesh, Brain Tumours, Cancer, Children who need Palliative Care, Children, Teenagers, and Young Adults with Cancer, Communities Engagement, Connaught Income Fund, Counter-Extremism, Cystic Fibrosis, Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, Endangered Species, Equitable Life, Fatherhood, Financial Crime and Scamming, Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, Gambling Related Harm, Infant Feeding and Inequalities, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Loneliness, Lyme Disease, Markets, Medical Cannabis under Prescription, Medicines and Medical Devices, Meningitis, Micronutrients and Health, Mutuals, Pakistan Minorities, Premature and Sick Babies, Religion or Belief, Rural Crime, Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention, Universal Credit, Unpaid Work Trials, Visitors' Economy, Yazidi People
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)
8th May 2015 - 8th Jun 2017
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport)
8th May 2015 - 8th Jun 2017
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
5th Dec 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Defence Sub-Committee
8th Sep 2015 - 5th Dec 2016
Defence Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 5th Dec 2016
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
3rd Apr 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)
12th May 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport)
12th May 2010 - 30th Mar 2015


Department Event
Tuesday 8th June 2021
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
8 Jun 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (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 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 8 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 0 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Covid-19 Update

I thank the Prime Minister for his statement, particularly for those who have lost family members; I am very conscious …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Coronavirus: Disease Control
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Christian Blind Mission Light up Lives Appeal
That this House notes the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Light up Lives appeal ending on 20th May; highlights that 3 …
Bills
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the installation of automated external defibrillators in public buildings, sporting facilities, schools, higher education and other …
Tweets
Monday 29th April 2019
12:54
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Paul Hollinger
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Deaf Awareness Week 2021
That this House celebrates Deaf Awareness Week, which ran from 4-9 May 2021; recognises that there are around 151,000 users …
Supported Legislation
Monday 6th July 2020
Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report annually on restrictions on access by UK nationals to Tibet …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jim Shannon has voted in 232 divisions, and 9 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 7 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
3 Feb 2021 - Exiting the European Union (Excise) - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 7 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 74 Noes - 353
13 Jan 2021 - Financial Services Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 265 Noes - 355
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
30 Sep 2020 - Town and Country Planning - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 208 Noes - 329
23 Sep 2020 - PUBLIC HEALTH - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 4 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 337 Noes - 6
21 Sep 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 257
16 Sep 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 208 Noes - 330
6 Jul 2020 - Domestic Abuse Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 200 Noes - 338
View All Jim Shannon 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(76 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(58 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State
(34 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(165 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(91 debate contributions)
Home Office
(78 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Jim Shannon's debates

Strangford 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

The Government should allow golf courses to remain open during the second lockdown, and any future restrictions. Shops and clubhouses can close, but courses should be allowed to remain open, with social distancing in place.

Urgent call for the government to close all nurseries and early years settings in light of the new lockdown to protect early years staff.

Consider keeping gyms open during lockdown because so many people have mental health and stress and they need something to do to take their mind off it closing all fitness facilities can affect us pretty badly.

We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.

We're also calling for government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.

The Coronavirus Act grants potentially dangerous powers including to detain some persons indefinitely, to take biological samples, and to give directions about dead bodies. Powers last up to 2 years with 6 monthly reviews, and lockdown powers could prevent protests against measures.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

The government should allow BTEC students to achieve teacher predicted grades rather than being forced into a system that is unethically downgrading thousands of students grades.

Please don’t send students back until we know we have had the priority groups vaccinated such as the elderly, the extremely clinically vulnerable, and those with underlying health conditions.

Cancel all standardise testing for year 11 and year 12 students in 2021. By replacing tests with smaller amounts of course work and teacher assessment, students would have a fair chance at achieving their target grades and it would relieve stress for teachers and students.

Schools can be a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus. Children are mingling at schools and returning to families who are potentially vulnerable, keeping rates high.

It's only been since schools opened that infection rates have been high in Kent, and keeping them open may keep it high.

The Home Secretary said what happened to victims of child sexual exploitation gangs was “one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.” Last year local authorities identified 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation. We want an independent public inquiry into Grooming Gangs.

The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the “public interest”.

We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.

Advice from the JCVI on the priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine does not include school/childcare workers. This petition calls for these workers, who cannot distance or use PPE, to be kept safe at work by being put on the vaccine priority list when such a list is adopted into government policy.

I want the Government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential Covid-19 vaccine. This includes restrictions on travel, social events, such as concerts or sports. No restrictions whatsoever.

Schools should move to online learning from 9 December so that all students and school staff have a chance to isolate for two weeks and then can safely meet older relatives.

The Government should cancel GCSEs and A Levels in 2021 due to the disruption of Covid-19. By the time students go back to normal learning, 6 months will have passed since schools were closed to most pupils. This has already had a huge impact on the studying of so many.

Close down schools and colleges due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. We are seeing cases of students and teachers catching the virus since schools have reopened.

The threat of covid19 is real. Children can’t be expected to maintain sufficient social distancing to keep this virus from spreading. They are social creatures. Allowing them back to school could cause a new spike in cases. They could bring it back home, even if they are a-symptomatic.

Matthew was taken to, ‘a place of safety’, and died 7 days later.
24 others died by the same means, dating back to the year 2000. An indicator that little was done to address the growing problems.
Something went terribly wrong with the NHS Mental Health Services provided to my son.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.

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

Illegal immigrants are entering the UK in many different ways, including small boats from France which are not stopped by either French or British forces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Jim Shannon

12th May 2021
Jim Shannon signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 12th May 2021

Christian Blind Mission Light up Lives Appeal

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House notes the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Light up Lives appeal ending on 20th May; highlights that 3 out of 4 blind people globally do not need to lose their sight if given treatment; congratulates CBM on the wonderful work that they do to enable people in the …
1 signatures
(Most recent: 12 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
12th May 2021
Jim Shannon signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 12th May 2021

Giving every child the best start in life

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House notes the work of WAVE Trust and its 70/30 campaign to reduce levels of child abuse, neglect and domestic abuse by 70 per cent by 2030; further notes that over two-thirds of this House have endorsed that campaign, including a majority from all parties; recognises the role …
3 signatures
(Most recent: 12 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Jim Shannon's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jim Shannon, 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.


Jim Shannon has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jim Shannon has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Jim Shannon


A Bill to require the installation of automated external defibrillators in public buildings, sporting facilities, schools, higher education and other education and skills facilities, and facilities that provide care to vulnerable people; and to make associated provision about training and signage.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the provision of audio announcements on public buses; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 3rd December 2014

850 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
42 Other Department Questions
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the average length of term agreed on farm business tenancies let by the Church Commissioners, other than in cases where a tenancy is replacing a previous tenancy let under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, was in each of the last five years to 2020.

In the last five years, ending with 2020, the average length of the term granted for new farm business tenancies over 50 acres across the Commissioners’ rural portfolio was:

2016

4.1

20174.9
20183.6
20193.5
20202.3

Such averages do not reflect the size of the holdings which were let during this period or the circumstances and rationale for each new farm letting.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the average level of compensation paid for tenants’ improvements following the expiry of farm tenancies let by the Church Commissioners was in each of the last five years, ending with 2020.

Compensation payments made by the Commissioners to their tenants are of a commercially sensitive nature.
The Church Commissioners discuss land and environmental improvement works with their agricultural tenants on an ongoing basis with a view to supporting enhancements to holdings. End of tenancy payments are made as appropriate to the scale and value of such improvement made.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, other than in cases where a tenancy is replacing a previous tenancy let under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 how many tenancies have been let (a) for an initial fixed term of five years or less (b) for an initial fixed term of five years or more in each of the last five years, ending with 2020.

The Church Commissioners’ and their managing agents review the term of each new farm letting and all tenancy renewals on a case by case basis. In the period 2016 to 2020, the number of holdings let by the Church Commissioners on a Farm Business Tenancy (on an area of more than 50 acres) for a term under five years is 64, with a further 30 new tenancies offered for a term of 5 years or more. Each holding is assessed at the time of letting, and other factors considered when determining term length.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what forums are available for the church to engage with its farm tenants on ideas for farm business development and environmental management of holdings.

The Church Commissioners’ rural portfolio is managed, day to day, by specialist rural agents who regularly engage with farm tenants, including farm visits, inspections and other forms of correspondence. During these discussions, the agents consider the tenants’ farm businesses and, where relevant, the environmental practices on each holding. Our tenants are encouraged to approach our agents at their own discretion to discuss new ideas and strategies which they may seek to implement on the Commissioners’ farms.

The Church Commissioners’ asset managers and managing agents frequently meet (in person when allowed and virtually), at which point any strategic changes to farm businesses and environmental practices are discussed and considered with a view to wider strategic decision making and the objectives of the Commissioners. In addition, the Commissioners’ asset management team typically carries out annual visits to estates and meets with tenants creating the opportunity to discuss any landlord and tenant matters directly.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church takes to engage with the farm tenants on its agricultural estate as part of its policies on ethical investment; and if he will make a statement.

The Church Commissioners’ rural portfolio is managed day to day by specialist rural agents. The agents hold regular meetings with the Commissioners’ farm tenants. The managing agents are aware of the Commissioners’ ethical investment policies and, as and when appropriate, they engage with the Commissioners’ tenants and asset managers regarding any ethical or other concerns.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions ahead of COP26.

The General Synod of the Church of England, at its meeting in February 2020, committed the Church of England to reach carbon net zero' by 2030. This year the Church of England's National Institutions have reviewed their Energy Footprint Tool, which enables parishes and cathedrals to monitor their carbon usage. The tool was launched in 2020, and it has been used by over 5,000 churches so far. More information can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/one-year-church-moves-forward-carbon-reduction-target

The Church of England Pensions Board is a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). This week the investor group has launched the 'Net Zero Investment Framework' following a period of industry-wide consultation. The framework will enable investors to maximise their contribution to the decarbonisation of the global economy and tackle climate change. More information can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/church-england-pensions-board-commits-global-net-zero-investment-framework

The Church Commissioners are committed to reaching a net-zero portfolio in 2050, and the Church of England's National Investing Bodies joined the UN Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance in 2020. More detail about the alliance can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/church-england-national-investing-bodies-join-un-convened-net

The Church Commissioners have instituted further climate-related investment restrictions to capture companies with significant greenhouse gas emissions but are not taking their responsibilities seriously to assist with the transition to a net-zero emissions economy. The Commissioners are also setting our first interim emissions reduction target as members of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, working with our public equities managers to achieve it.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to encourage (a) regenerative agriculture, (b) more treeplanting and (c) good stewardship of hedgerows across its rural estates.

The majority of the Church Commissioners rural estate is tenanted via secure long term agreements. Agreements that were drawn up after 1995 often include a combination of clauses which encourage regenerative agriculture and good stewardship of our landholdings, prohibit the removal of topsoil and the spraying and removal of hedgerows, require watercourses to be kept clear and ensure hedges are maintained.

The Church Commissioners are currently undertaking a natural capital assessment of our assets, and through this, the Commissioners hope to identify land across our estates that might be suitable for tree planting.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church has taken to provide support for the teaching of children at home during the covid-19 lockdown.

Church of England schools remained open during the pandemic for key worker children and also, where possible, for those who are unable to study at home. All teachers and staff in Church schools who are providing teaching and care at this difficult time deserve our deep gratitude.

Church schools moved rapidly to provide online lessons and resources, looking after children of key workers and overseeing the distribution of free school meal vouchers and technology to make online education possible. The Church is also delighted to have partnered with the Oak National Academy to provide assemblies and weekly collective worship for parents who are home-schooling.

Many parishes and cathedrals, such as Wakefield Cathedral, donated laptops and equipment to vulnerable children, which enabled these young people to continue to engage in education from home during the pandemic.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to provide affordable, sustainable and beautiful housing on land it owns.

The Church Commissioners have welcomed the report of the Archbishops' Housing Commission. The report 'Coming Home', about housing provision in the UK, calls for a national plan to tackle the housing crisis, it can be read here: https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/priorities/coming-home

The Church Commissioners are producing a framework for the integration of material environmental, social and governance in the management of their Strategic Land, a summary of which can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Strategic%20Land%20ESG%20Integration%20%28ID%20217419%29.pdf

More information about some of the recent property developments on land owned by the Church Commissioners can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Strategic%20Land%20Case%20Studies%20%28ID%20217418%29.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what representations the church is making in countries where people are being persecuted for their faith or belief.

The Church of England has regular meetings with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office about countries where people are persecuted for their faith or belief so that Her Majesty’s Government can raise these vital issues with the Governments of the countries concerned.

The Church also engages with our heads of mission, civil society groups, and where possible, with the foreign Governments in question.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment he has made of whether the online broadcasting of services during the covid-19 outbreak has increased the number of people participating in worship.

The Church of England has seen a significant increase in public engagement with its online resources over the pandemic.
The National Church Institutions have produced a weekly online Sunday Service in video form since Mothering Sunday 2020, as well as the Daily Hope telephone line, podcasts and apps. The Sunday services have had more than 3.7 million views on Facebook and YouTube. A further 20,000 local online services and events have been listed on www.AChurchNearYou.com over the last year.

2020 saw an increase of almost 50% in downloads of Church of England apps for prayer and worship, with the apps used around 8 million times during this period. The National Institutions have continued to create resources for the major festivals, accessible on its website and social media. The current campaign #LiveLent is designed to take people on a journey of preparation ahead of Easter Day. This follows on from the #ComfortAndJoy resources, which reached millions during Advent and Christmas.

Most cathedrals and a majority of parishes offer a variety of online services and events: weekly services, morning and evening prayer, children and youth projects and social activities. These have helped grow worshipping communities nationally and internationally. Recent evidence has also shown that attendance at traditional Book of Common Prayer services has grown dramatically. More available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/stories-and-features/book-common-prayer-services-see-huge-numbers-tuning-seeking Digital services have also improved accessibility for those with disabilities.

Digital services are likely to continue for the time being and these will be different in each parish as clergy respond to local needs and circumstances. Training has been provided throughout the pandemic to thousands of clergy and laypeople to improve skills and familiarise themselves with the variety of platforms available.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the church is making in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions across all its activities.

The National Church Institutions are currently assessing the carbon footprint of all church buildings through an Energy Footprint Tool. This enables parishes to input data from energy bills to create an energy rating. The tool suggests a plan for reducing the footprint of each building


You can read more about the project here: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/policy-and-thinking/our-views/environment-and-climate-change/about-our-environment/energy-footprint-tool

Over 5,000 church buildings have currently received feedback from the Energy Footprint Tool, and we hope many more will engage in the project this year when the scheme reopens. More information about the project one year on can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/one-year-church-moves-forward-carbon-reduction-target

Across the Church Commissioners Agricultural property portfolio, the Commissioners are encouraging our tenants to farm sustainably and join environmental stewardship schemes to plant trees and hedgerows wherever possible. In addition, we are undertaking a natural capital assessment, which will provide a baseline and trajectory of progress towards achieving lower carbon outputs.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church Commissioners are taking to make sure their investments support a net zero carbon economy.

The Church Commissioners have committed to reaching a net-zero portfolio in 2050 and the Church of England's National Investing Bodies joined the UN Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance in 2020. More detail about the alliance can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/church-england-national-investing-bodies-join-un-convened-net

The Church Commissioners have instituted further climate-related investment restrictions to capture companies that have significant greenhouse gas emissions but are not taking seriously their responsibilities to assist with the transition to a net-zero emissions economy. We are also setting our first interim emissions reduction target as members of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, working with our public equities managers to achieve it.

The Church Commissioners are committed to the decarbonisation of the real economy, through engagement with policymakers and companies. The vision is for a net-zero carbon emissions global economy by 2050.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what role hospital chaplains are playing in supporting (a) patients and (b) the NHS during the covid-19 pandemic.

NHS chaplains have given their all in response to the unprecedented need for pastoral and spiritual support during the pandemic, with patients, in liaison with families unable to visit their loved ones, and with NHS staff under stress. Chaplains are an essential component in the care for the whole person that is central to the NHS’s vocation.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has also been supporting patients at St Thomas’s Hospital, London as part of the chaplaincy team there and is regularly making time to speak to patients and support families and staff.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church has had with the Government on the Taylor review on the sustainable upkeep of places of worship.

The Church of England is responsible for around 16,000 church buildings in England, including 42 cathedrals, around three-quarters of which are listed (and more than half Grade I or Grade II*). The Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops' Council is in regular contact with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and is in ongoing conversations with Government about how to ensure the sustainability of these important national assets in the long term.

The staff of the Church Buildings Division also have regular meetings with government officials and Historic England, looking at the most effective way to support churches. This has necessarily changed through the COVID19 crisis and current work is drawing on the government-funded Taylor pilot projects in order to establish the best form of partnership to support recovery.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the church is providing to schools to help children's education during the covid-19 lockdown.

Church of England schools remain open for key worker children and also where possible for those who are unable to study at home. All teachers and staff in Church schools who are providing teaching and care at this difficult time deserve our deep gratitude. Church schools moved rapidly to provide online lessons and resources, looking after children of key workers and overseeing the distribution of free school meal vouchers and technology to make online education possible. The Church is also delighted to have partnered with the Oak National Academy to provide assemblies and weekly collective worship for parents who are home-schooling.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what types of support the church has provided to people in need during the covid-19 lockdown.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to the many clergy and volunteers across the country who throughout the pandemic have kept running the approximately 36,000 community projects run or supported by local parish networks. These projects provide a range of services to the community, including food banks, debt advice services and other crisis facilities to ensure that those in greatest need still have access to support. Clergy have also supported vulnerable families, the bereaved and homeless throughout this time to find the help they need.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to support families during covid-19 lockdown.

The three lockdown periods of the last 12 months have seen considerable innovations by clergy and youth workers across the Church.

The Education Office of Church House Westminster has partnered with the Government's online Oak Academy to provide educational resources and materials for parents to use in home-schooling. Clergy have also been developing new resources, including virtual prayer services, school assemblies, study groups, fellowship meetings and craft workshops. That is in addition to online church services, bereavement counselling, marriage preparation and marriage support services.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking prevent the persecution of believers of all faiths.

The Church speaks up on behalf of all those who are unable to exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief.

The Church of England is part of an international consortium that has just received £5.6 million from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to equip parliamentarians and religious leaders in eight countries in Africa and Asia to meet these challenges. As part of the new project, the Church of England and other consortium members will be helping parliamentarians and religious leaders with technical assistance and other expertise they need to propose solutions to such terrible human rights abuses in their own countries


The Church of England is continuing to engage with the International Panel for Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion and Belief. More information about that work is available here: https://www.ippforb.com/

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what additional support has been provided to (a) clergy and (b) churches to help people attend church (i) in person or (ii) online during lockdown.

Since the first lockdown, the Church Commissioners’ Cathedrals Sustainability Fund has enabled many cathedrals to improve their digital output, including live streaming of services.

There were nearly 36 million viewings of the Church’s Christmas “Comfort and Joy” series. For those who prefer the telephone, the Daily Hope worship line has received 350,000 free calls.

The National Church Institutions have now offered digital training to over 7,000 people, equipping them with practical skills in streaming services on a variety of different platforms. The national Sunday Service has been watched on 2.5 million individual devices, and many parishes and cathedrals are now live streaming regular daily services to their local communities.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church of England has made of the effectiveness of its communication strategy during the covid-19 outbreak.

The most recent assessment of the effectiveness of the Church of England’s Communications strategy during the covid-19 outbreak was prepared for the General Synod in June 2020. The full document can be read here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/GS%20Misc%201249%20Covid-19%20Response.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to meet the needs of parishioners during the covid-19 outbreak.

At parish, diocesan and national level, the Church of England has been producing resources and delivering support to meet the spiritual and practical needs of those in its parishes throughout the covid-19 outbreak. This has included live and pre-recorded services, both local and national, pastoral support, children and youth work, bereavement care, support for foodbanks and other local charitable activities too numerous to list here, often assisted with resources provided centrally or at a diocesan level. The Daily Hope phoneline has also offered hope and prayerful support to those who are without access to online resources. Church schools have also been involved in supporting pupils and families with home learning during lockdown, as well as continuing to host children of key workers and vulnerable children on site. There is a dedicated coronavirus section of the Church of England website which provides further information: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches , and examples of the work that churches have undertaken during the outbreak can also be seen here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/stories-and-features

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to support children to return to school as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

During the period of lockdown Church of England schools remained open to the children of key workers and to vulnerable children, with teachers working extremely hard to provide support for children at school and those who remained at home.

Church of England schools continue to follow national guidelines on opening and teaching during the current stage of the pandemic.

Parishes have supported local schools and teachers during this difficult time, with examples including donations of equipment for pupils, and parish rooms and halls being made available for use as extra classrooms in cases where social distancing has required it.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church of England has made of the extent of the global persecution of Christians during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Church of England is in regular communication with the Government and the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief on the issue of persecution of Christians worldwide.

The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating the challenges facing Christians who have experienced persecution in some parts of the world as well as Christians and other faith groups in contexts of civil war. The leaders of the Anglican Communion are in close contact with each other to support in practical and prayerful ways.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to support mental health during the covid-19 pandemic.

A central part of the Church's mission is to provide grief counselling and prayer in times of need, as well as assistance to those under pressure through provision of food and other help to the vulnerable and shielding. Healthcare chaplains continue to work alongside community and acute mental health services.

Parishes have been supporting vulnerable individuals to remain in contact with family, friends and their community, digitally and where possible by direct face to face contact. The reopening of church buildings for prayer, worship, weddings, baptisms and funerals has also provided mental and spiritual succour to clergy, laity and community.

The Church remains particularly concerned for children and young people who are young carers or living in homes where domestic abuse and violence is present. The Church continues to remain open as a first point of contact for vulnerable people and to support local charities and refuges.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what representations he has received on the continuation of Sunday services at St Margaret's, Westminster.

I have received correspondence from some of the congregation of St Margaret's and have met with the Dean and Rector along with Mr Speaker to better understand the reasons for the changes that the Abbey wish to initiate at St Margaret's.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how the Church is using its investment portfolio to encourage (a) ethical business practices and (b) a reduction in dependency on fossil fuels.

The engagement of the Church of England National Investing Bodies ('NIBs'), including the Church Commissioners, is guided by the commitments made by the National Investing bodies in a July 2018 General Synod debate on climate change and investment.

The NIBs reaffirmed their commitment to engage urgently and robustly with companies rated poorly by the Transition Pathway Initiative and, beginning in 2020, to start to disinvest from the ones that are not taking their responsibilities seriously to assist with the transition to a low carbon economy. More information about the Transition Pathway can be found here: https://www.transitionpathwayinitiative.org/tpi/overview

The NIBs have committed to disinvestment by 2023 from fossil fuel companies that they have assessed as not being prepared to align with the goal of the Paris Agreement to restrict the global average temperature rise to well below 2ºC. This assessment will be made drawing on TPI data.

In 2020 the National Investing Bodies joined the UN net-zero asset owner alliance. More information about their engagement can be found at the link: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/church-england-national-investing-bodies-join-un-convened-net-zero-asset

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the Church of England is making on reopening (a) churches and (b) cathedrals for (i) worship, (ii) weddings and (Iii) other ceremonies.

Worship, weddings, christenings and funerals in COVID-secure church buildings where appropriate social distancing can be achieved, remain permitted and are unaffected by the most recent Government announcement. The Church of England's most up to date guidance on COVID can be seen here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the Church of England is making on its plans to establish 2,700 churches over the next ten years.

In July 2020 the Church of England announced a Funding package worth £24 million to increase its presence in urban and deprived areas. More information can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/church-england-awards-ps24-million-grants-spread-christian-faith-towns-and

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the Church of England has been made on increasing the number of ordinands.

550 people began training for ordained ministry in the Church of England last year and 570 deacons were ordained in 2019 to a curacy parish.

The number of stipendiaries, or paid clergy, remained stable at 7,700, between 2018 and 2019, following a period of decline. There were 7,830 Readers or licensed lay ministers compared to just under 10,000 in 2010. Readers and licensed lay ministers are not ordained but can lead worship and preach in churches, among other roles.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to support marriage (a) for couples on low incomes (b) more widely.

Couples who live within a parish or have a qualifying connection to it are able to marry in their parish church according to the rites of the Church of England. Marriage in a church remains a relatively inexpensive option, but an incumbent has the authority to waive some of the fees to help couples who may have particualr financial difficulties or who are on low incomes.

Many parishes attend wedding fayres and work with local businesses, such as florists and events planners, to increase awareness of the options available to couples to be married in their local church.

In response to the Law Commission's announcement of a consultation on reform of wedding law, a Church of England spokesperson said: "Our research shows that being married in a place that has meaning is still important to couples and their families. The moments of waiting to walk down the aisle, standing at the steps, exchanging timeless vows that can only be said in a church, and turning to walk out of the church as a newly married couple, are cherished."

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England plans to take to tackle the theft of lead from churches.

Thefts of metal and monumental stone from churches initially fell folliowing the introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, but have begun to rise again. The Church of England submitted evidence to the Government's review of the Act and recommended legislation be updated to reflect new forms of thefts, the organised nature of the crime and smelting techniques. We await progress on that and in the meantime are working closely with the APPG for Metal Theft, Historic England and the Police, to support parishes that are impacted by this form of serious organised crime.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the Church of England is providing to the church in South Sudan following the shootings of 32 people and the death of the Dean at the cathedral of Saint Luke's in South Sudan.

The deaths of the Dean and members of the congregation of St Luke's Cathedral South Sudan are both tragic and appalling.

In response to the recent attack the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa has called on "all peace-loving institutions to raise their voice and call for peace negotiations in South Sudan and dialogue to address the inter-communal violence."

The Church of England and the Vatican have been working together closely on initiatives to bring peace to South Sudan. The Church of England will continue to support reconciliation efforts and work with its international partners to end the protracted tribal conflict.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the Church of England is providing to the church and people of Lebanon to recover and rebuild following the explosion in the port of Beirut.

Anglican institutions in Beirut were affected by the explosion. All Saints Episcopal Church and the Near Eastern School of Theology were severely damaged, being only a mile from the port. St Luke's school for disabled children thankfully escaped the blast, and the children were away because of the COVID-19 virus.

The Diocese of Jerusalem oversees the Anglican community in Lebanon, and the Church of England is supporting Archbishop Suheil Dawani's appeal to the Anglican Communion for support to repair damaged buildings and affected lives.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
22nd Jul 2020
What assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We continue to monitor and understand the impact of the pandemic on people who are disabled or have a health condition by using both existing and new data sources.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the Church of England is receiving from (a) local authorities and (b central government to help reduce their carbon footprint.

The National Church Institutions of the Church of England are not receiving support from central government or local authorities to help reduce their carbon footprint. While there may be instances of local parishes being given one-off small grants, records of these are not held centrally.

The Church of England's General Synod met in February 2020 to discuss reducing the carbon footprint of the Church. The Synod voted to call upon all parts of the Church of England to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. More information about the vote at the Synod can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/general-synod-sets-2030-net-zero-carbon-target

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent discussions the Church of England has had with (a) officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and (b) the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Freedom of Religion and Belief on the volume of attacks on the Christian communities throughout the world.

The Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Archbishop’s Council is in regular contact with the Freedom of Religion or Belief Team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has engaged on this issue with relevant embassy staff when travelling overseas. They have also had a series of meetings with the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Freedom of Religion or Belief since his appointment. Senior Church leaders have also had meetings with the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy in recent weeks.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to inform and educate its clergy on (a) scientific advances and (b) new technologies.

The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Division has partnered with the Universities of Durham and York to address gaps in understanding between science and religion. Equipping Christian Leaders in an Age of Science has been running for four years and has just been awarded £3.4m by the Templeton Religion Trust for its next phases. The team has organised 11 conferences enabling bishops and senior church leaders to engage with the latest developments in topics ranging from neuroscience to cosmology.

The Church of England is also a partner in the Centre for Doctoral Training in AI Ethics at the University of Bath, along with numerous other industry partners, gaining understanding which will be shared within the Church. The Bishop of Oxford is a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on AI and is a board member of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. The Church also made a submission to the recently-published consultation by the Committee for Standards in Public Life on the impact of AI on public life.

All this work on new technologies will feed into the Equipping Christian Leaders in an Age of Science project and the wider engagement of the Church on public affairs. In March 2020 three new pieces of research will begin. These are designed to deepen understanding of science and to resource and expand the reach of Church engagement. This research will take place at Durham University, York University and within the Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Archbishops' Council.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to strengthen and marriage and family life.

At parish level clergy and parishioners often work with couples to prepare them ahead of their wedding for life together, support them afterwards, and through voluntary activities offer groups and facilities for families and children, which help sustain community.

Marriage preparation work will often include church-led marriage enrichment workshops and other courses and support for couples at every stage of their marriage. Through the Life Events programme the Church is working with clergy and other church leaders to enhance the depth of engagement with couples through wedding planning.

The Church, including through the Bishops in the House of Lords, continues to highlight and address the social and economic issues that place strain on married relationships, including the Bishop of St Albans’s work on the impact of gambling and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community. The Church of England also made a submission to the Government’s consultation on no-fault divorce and the Lords Spiritual have engaged with the legislation in Parliament.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions her Department has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the fiscal support available for employers who incur costs by making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.

The Government is committed to protecting people with disabilities in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 places obligations on employers in relation to disabled employees, including a duty to provide reasonable adjustments. However, the legislation recognises the need to strike a balance between the needs of disabled people and the interests of service providers. What is ‘reasonable’ will vary from one situation to another. This is because factors like the practicability of making the adjustment, the cost of the adjustment and the resources available to a business, will vary from one situation to another.

The government runs Access to Work, a demand-led discretionary grant scheme that offers up to £59,200 funding per year for in-work support for people whose disability or health condition affects the way they do their job. The scheme is designed to offer support above the level of employers’ statutory obligations under the Equality Act 2010, as well as providing advice to employers on in work support available for their employees which could include reasonable adjustments.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the hon. Member representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to provide support to (a) Kurdish Christians and (b) other persecuted Christian groups.

(a) The Church of England is working closely to support Christan development and aid agencies to meet the humanitarian need of those who are displaced from the conflict in Syria.

The Church is continuing to encourage the Department for International Development and the wider international community to bolster the capacity of local civil society groups operating in the region. These groups, many of them faith-based, will be on the frontline of the humanitarian response in the months and years to come.

(b) The Church of England welcomes the decision by the Government to accept and implement the recommendations of the Truro Report to strengthen Foreign and Commonwealth Office support for persecuted Christians. Church of England officials are providing advice and support to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as it takes forward the implementation of these recommendations. The Church welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment made in his Christmas message to stand in solidarity with Christians everywhere and to defend their right to practice their faith.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to teach an understanding of the law among young people.

I chair a Public Legal Education Committee, and regularly engage with stakeholders and other government departments to explore how we can increase public understanding of the law.

I work closely with my Ministerial colleagues to improve provision of Public Legal Education, and I recently met with The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Education, to discuss how to ensure young people have a strong understanding of the law.

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to (a) tackle the rise in reported male domestic abuse and (b) improve rates of prosecution for male domestic abuse.

The CPS takes cases of domestic abuse extremely seriously and is determined to provide all victims, irrespective of gender, with the greatest possible protection from offending and reoffending.

The CPS provides comprehensive guidance and training on domestic abuse to prosecutors. This includes specific guidance on how to deal with cases involving male victims. The CPS has also led the implementation of a national Domestic Abuse Best Practice Framework in magistrates’ courts across England and Wales. The framework aims to ensure consistent good practice by all criminal justice agencies that deal with cases of domestic abuse.

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have died due to an overdose of paracetamol in each of the last five years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the birth rate was in each month since January 2020 to date.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to support veterans charities which cannot cover their costs and are unable to undertake normal fundraising during the covid-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 Impact Fund has provided nearly £6m in grants to over 100 Armed Forces charities across the United Kingdom, including a number who are based, or operate, in Northern Ireland to support them through the immediate effects of the pandemic. These charities have ranged from smaller local charities to larger, household names. Many charities have also utilised the Government’s employment and other financial support schemes to help sustain them through the pandemic. In addition the Government has continued to provide £10m to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, some of which has also been made available to help charities respond to the direct impacts of COVID-19. Ministers have continued to hold discussions with the Armed Forces charity sector throughout this period and continue to monitor the financial impact on the sector closely.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Government Minister has responsibility for rural social isolation.

The UK Government’s work on loneliness is coordinated by DCMS and led by Baroness Barron. Lord Gardiner, as Rural Affairs Minister, works closely with her to make sure the needs of those living in isolated rural communities are properly considered and taken into account.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have died as a result of chickenpox in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland in each of last five years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking with trade unions to protect workers employed by large businesses against unfair treatment while working from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ban the practice of recruitment agencies asking for incentives to recommend contractors to an umbrella company.

Commercial and loyalty incentive schemes may be a legitimate business-to-business interaction, between the employment agency and an umbrella company. They are therefore outside the scope of the agency regulations enforced by the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate, which regulate the relationship between the agency and work-seeker.

The Government will continue to work with the recruitment sector to seek compliance with existing regulations. Government will also continue to ensure current regulations remain fit for purpose, drawing on the expertise of trade bodies and businesses in the sector. Proposed regulatory changes would be announced in the usual way.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will reconsider his decision to end the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme.

Following a review, the Green Homes Grant Vouchers scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021. The voucher scheme will not reopen.

We will refocus efforts and funding on alternative approaches which will maximise delivery of home retrofits for consumers who are most in need.

The Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with £300 million of new funding.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the construction industry as a result of reported shortages of tiles and timber since the end of the transition period.

The Government is aware that some products including tiles and timber are in short supply nationally. At present, global supply of these products is not keeping pace with demand, and undersupply in 2020 reduced existing stocks.

In light of this, and in view of more local disruptions in the supply of these and other products, the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force has established a Product Availability Working Group, comprised of product manufacturers, builders’ merchants and suppliers, contractors of all sizes, and housebuilders. The Task Force continues to monitor the supply and demand of products, and identify those in short supply.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help support car sales during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to offer a comprehensive support package for businesses including loan schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all of which have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

In order to further support businesses, we have announced one-off grants worth up to £9,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and cash grants of up to £1,500 per 2-week closure period, for businesses which are closed during the national restrictions.

Automotive retailers are able to continue to offer click-and-collect and delivery services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support shops that closed as a result of lockdown and have not yet been able to reopen.

In order to support businesses across the UK,?we?have extended the?Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of March 2021,?extended?the existing loan schemes?and Future Fund?to the end of January 2021, with an ability to top-up bounce back loans, and?increased?the support available to the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Royal Mail on ensuring the continuation of letter deliveries on Saturdays.

Ministers have regular discussions with stakeholders on a number of issues.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011. This requires Royal Mail to deliver letters 6 days a week as part of the universal postal service. It also sets out a clear and transparent process for how longer-term changes to service standards would be considered. Any changes would need to be made through secondary legislation and agreed by Parliament.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the pay gap between (a) young and (b) older people who are doing the same job.

For younger workers, the priority in those first years is to secure work and gain experience, and this has always been reflected in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate structure. Distinguishing between younger and older workers is not new: there have been age-related rates in the NMW structure since its introduction in 1999.

Last year, the Government announced inflation-beating increases to the NMW rates for younger workers and apprentices of between 4.6% and 6.5%. The Government has also announced The Kickstart Scheme, a £2bn fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.

In order to improve fairness for younger workers, the Government has pledged to lower the National Living Wage (NLW) age of eligibility to 23 by 2021 and 21 by 2024.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has plans to enter into a partnership with the EU on its plan to negotiate an advanced purchase agreement of covid-19 vaccines.

We are committed to collaboration with the EU and other international partners to ensure a coronavirus vaccine is made available to all as soon as possible.

However, on 10 July 2020, the UK wrote to the European Commission to confirm its decision not to enter into partnership with the EU on its plan to negotiate an advanced purchase agreement on covid-19 vaccines. This decision was made because the EU scheme would not allow the UK to have a say in the vaccines procured, the price, the quantity and the delivery schedule. The UK would also not be allowed to continue pursuing independent discussions with pharmaceutical companies, which is key to ensuring the British public have swift access to any vaccine. This decision was published via an Explanatory Memorandum to Parliament.

That is not to say that we do not want to work closely with the EU on other initiatives outside of this framework, where we continue to engage with the Commission.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support and incentivise businesses to improve their levels of environmental responsibility.

We have an ambitious range of policies in place to help business and industry to improve energy efficiency, decarbonise and reduce costs.

Our Climate Change Agreement Scheme allows energy intensive participants to pay significantly reduced main rates of the Climate Change Levy in exchange for delivery of energy efficiency or carbon reduction targets.

The Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is a mandatory energy assessment scheme which requires large businesses to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.

Our Industrial Energy Transformation Fund – a £315 million fund - supports industry to improve energy efficiency, cut energy bills and shift to lower carbon energy and processes.

The Government has also committed £170 million in its Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge towards deploying technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen networks in industrial clusters, supporting our Mission to establish the world’s first net zero cluster by 2040.

Finally, we have introduced a new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) framework in April 2019 to simplify reporting requirements on energy use and emissions while increasing corporate transparency – further incentivising energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department issues to businesses to promote paid keep in touch days for parents on maternity leave.

We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work. We will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years, including measures to ensure that women returning from maternity leave receive additional protection from redundancy.

Pregnant women and new mothers can work up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KiT) days without bringing their Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance to an end.

KiT days can only be used if both the employer and employee agree to this. Employers cannot require their employees to use their KiT days to work, and similarly employees cannot insist on working a KiT day. Guidance on KiT days for employers and employees is published on gov.uk.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, representing Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Government is taking to support the take up of keep in touch days during maternity leave.

We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work. We will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years, including measures to ensure that women returning from maternity leave receive additional protection from redundancy.

Pregnant women and new mothers can work up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KiT) days without bringing their Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance to an end.

KiT days can only be used if both the employer and employee agree to this. Employers cannot require their employees to use their KiT days to work, and similarly employees cannot insist on working a KiT day. Guidance on KiT days for employers and employees is published on gov.uk.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will maintain the UK's levels of (a) maternity leave and (b) other employment rights in the event that the EU changes its policies on those rights.

The Government has committed to protect workers’ rights after the UK has left the EU. We will continue to enhance them in the best way for the UK, and have announced in the Queen’s Speech that we will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years.

In accordance with the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, in future if the EU changes its law in relation to workers’ rights, the UK will not be obliged to align. Instead the UK Parliament (in respect of Great Britain) and the Northern Ireland Assembly will be responsible for deciding on future changes to workers’ rights in the UK.

In relation to maternity leave specifically, the UK offers pregnant women and new mothers up to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave, which is already significantly more generous than the EU minimum of 14 weeks. Policies to support working families will be key to achieving our goal of making the UK the best place in the world to work.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with US company Neuroflex, who are creating a virtual reality headset to determine pitch-side whether rugby players have suffered a brain injury; and if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make use of that technology mandatory at matches to support faster diagnosis of brain injury.

My Department has had no such discussions with Neuroflex.

The safety, wellbeing and welfare of everyone taking part in sport is absolutely paramount. National Governing Bodies are responsible for the regulation of their sports and for ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to protect participants from harm, including serious injuries. With that in mind, we expect sports to do all they can to protect their players as a fundamental part of their duty of care.

To that end, the Secretary of State and I hosted two roundtables on concussion in sport recently to understand the issues from the perspectives of players and to push the sports on what more they can be doing. The Government remains committed to working with sports to build on the positive work that is already taking place, including the use of technology.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with stakeholders on (a) providing a free TV licence for people aged over 75 and (b) decriminalising licence evasion for people aged over 75.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with a range of stakeholders, including the BBC. All DCMS ministerial meetings are disclosed on gov.uk, and the most recent can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dcms-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-1-july-to-30-september-2020.

The government remains deeply disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. However, the Digital Economy Act 2017 provides that the future of the over-75s concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not the government. The BBC is also responsible for the collection and enforcement of the TV licence fee.

The government has said that the BBC must look at how it uses its substantial licence fee income to support older people. As part of the 2022 licence fee settlement negotiations, the Secretary of State has asked the BBC to set out any further plans it has to support those in vulnerable groups, including the elderly.

The government also remains concerned that a criminal sanction for TV licence evasion is increasingly disproportionate and unfair in a modern public service broadcasting system, and will keep the issue under active consideration while more work is done to understand the impact of alternative enforcement schemes.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the total gross gambling yield that licensed remote (online) operators receive from customers based in Northern Ireland for the period November 2014 to September 2019.

Gambling activity is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland, regulated under the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (NI) Order 1985. The UK government and the Gambling Commission therefore do not collect official data on the gross gambling yield derived from customers in Northern Ireland.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with the BBC on the reason for the increase in the TV licence fee; and whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that pensioners are not subject to such increases.

The Government has honoured the commitment made to the BBC during the last licence fee funding settlement negotiations in 2015 to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. The BBC’s Royal Charter (cl 43.1) required the Secretary of State to make a settlement agreement which covered the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2022.

The CPI increase was agreed as part of the wider settlement during which the BBC accepted responsibility for the Over 75s TV Licence Fee concession from June 2020. The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

The Secretary of State will make future decisions about the level of the licence fee following discussions with the BBC on the next settlement, which the Charter states must cover the period from 1st April 2022 for at least the next 5 years.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government response to the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee Report on Immersive and Addictive Technologies, published on 8 June 2020, what plans he has to introduce legislative proposals to require companies to use a proportionate range of tools including age assurance, and age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing age-inappropriate content.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. We have now published our Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper, which sets out how a proposed legal duty of care on online companies will work in practice and gives them new responsibilities towards their users. We are working at pace to have legislation ready next year.

Services which are likely to be accessed by children will be required to provide additional protections for children using them. Companies will be required to assess the risk their service poses for children, put in place proportionate measures to protect children, and monitor these for effectiveness. Under our proposals, we expect companies to use age assurance or age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing services which pose the highest risk of harm to children, such as online pornography. Companies will also need to provide age-appropriate protections from harmful content and activity for children using their service.

We would encourage companies to take steps ahead of the legislation to protect children from harmful and age inappropriate content online. We are working closely with stakeholders across industry to establish the right conditions for the market to deliver age assurance and age verification technical solutions ahead of the legislative requirements coming into force.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the BBC Trust on (a) a pay freeze for BBC top tier earners and (b) steps taken by the BBC to tackle the gender pay gap.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government, and the amount it pays its top management and talent is a matter for the BBC.

The BBC Trust was abolished and replaced by the BBC Board at the start of the current Charter.

The government believes that publicly-funded bodies should apply the highest standards, ensure pay restraint and value for money, and be as open and transparent as possible. That is reflected in the requirement for the BBC to publish salary details of all BBC staff paid over £150,000, which we introduced from the beginning of this Charter.

The government welcomes the new Director General’s commitment to a ‘leaner organisation’, and is pleased to see that the BBC has reduced its gender pay gap this year, so that it is now significantly lower than the national average. The government is committed to eliminating the gender pay gap and I am proud that the UK is one of the first countries in the world to introduce mandatory gender pay gap reporting.

We note the recent recommendations of the EHRC and encourage the BBC to take action to quickly resolve any outstanding issues regarding equal pay. As a public service broadcaster funded by the licence fee, the BBC has a responsibility to set an example for others and lead the way in promoting equality in the workplace.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the growth of the digital economy.

The digital sector contributed £149bn to the UK economy in 2018, accounting for 7.7% of UK GVA. It supports 1.2 million jobs and around 194,000 businesses of which almost all are SMEs. Last year venture capital investment in the UK’s tech sector leapt by 44%, with record growth in many of the key sub-sectors including cyber security and AI.

The Department is taking great strides to support this growth. This year alone we have introduced the UK Gigabit Programme and the Shared Rural Network programme to develop the country’s broadband infrastructure; introduced a Digital Markets Taskforce, an Online Harms White Paper response and a Digital Identity Call for Evidence to ensure people remain safe online; and ran an entirely digital London Tech Week to show our support for the sector. This event was a resounding success, with initial figures suggesting 2,500 unique viewers attended each day, with 24,000 registering for the entire event.

We also deliver support through Tech Nation and our Digital Trade Network. Tech Nation is the main vehicle used by DCMS to support scale-ups. They deliver a programme of initiatives to support the UK tech sector, specifically startups and scale-ups, notably ‘Upscale’, a programme for scale-ups, aimed at accelerating growth. It comprises workshops, socials, & meetups. Alumni include Monzo, depop and Mixcloud.

The Digital Trade Network (DTN) is a joint DCMS/DIT initiative, announced at London Tech Week 2020. This £8m programme supports UK tech businesses to internationalise in Asia Pacific, attract capital and talent to the UK and enhance UK digital economy collaborations internationally.

Finally, the government will publish a new Digital Strategy this year to drive growth in the digital sector and wider economy, and ensure we maximise the benefits of a digital-led economic recovery. It will set out a path to harnessing new appetite for digital transformation, accelerating growth, and building a more inclusive, competitive and innovative digital economy for the future.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had recent discussions with TV Licensing on payment methods for elderly people who (a) do not bank online, (b) do not have a current account and (c) are uncomfortable returning forms in the post with their account particulars because of the risk of identity theft.

The government has said the BBC must look urgently at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people, and must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision on the over 75s concession.

The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee. The BBC, through its licensing arm TV Licensing, offers customers a range of options for paying for their TV Licence. This includes instalment options and different mechanisms such as Direct Debit, bank transfer and Paypoint.

For those who had previously received a free over 75s TV licence but will have to pay from 1 August, the BBC is also introducing the 75+ Plan: a new TV licence payment plan which enables people to pay in equal weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments, if they don’t want to pay the licence fee all in one go. Those over 75 who register for the 75+ plan can pay over the counter with cash or a debit card at any PayPoint location, or over the phone or online with a credit or debit card. They can also set up a Direct Debit for monthly payments. The BBC has also set up specialist telephone contact centres to help people affected by the change to the over 75s concession.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many TV licences have been issued in each of the four regions of the UK in each of the last three years.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport does not hold this information. Administration of the TV licence, including issuing licences to all parts of the UK, is a matter for the BBC as an independent body.

The BBC’s licensing arm, TV Licensing, says on its website that it does not collect information on specific licence fee revenue by location as ‘it has no reason for doing this’. However, the BBC Group Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 provide an estimate of the income from each nation of the UK from TV licence revenues for 2019 and 2020.

The report can be found on the BBC website here: https://www.bbc.com/aboutthebbc/reports/annualreport

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of social media platforms on protecting vulnerable people with anxiety caused by online bullying when using social media platforms.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings with social media platforms on a range of issues, including online bullying and protecting vulnerable people. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, w hat steps the Government is taking to support the heritage sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government is working closely with the heritage sector to ensure there is a continuous and clear dialogue. We are proactively seeking feedback from the sector on emerging issues which is helping to inform the Government's ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support liquidity in the charity and NGO sectors during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS recognises that, like those in the private sector, charities are under significant strain as a result of Covid-19. The measures already announced by the Government will support many charities to manage the financial challenges presented by the current emergency.

We are proactively engaging across the sector, to maintain a complete picture of the impact of coronavirus, and working to identify how government can help support the sector through this time of financial instability. Further information will be released on gov.uk as and when it is available.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding from the public purse is available for volunteer groups to pay for (a) equipment and (b) heating and electricity in churches.

Government supports community use of listed churches through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme which refunds VAT paid on facilities to aid greater use of the building. This includes electrical and heating works, along with kitchens and toilets. The scheme is presently funded up to £42million per annum.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is also able to support the repair and modernisation of building services and facilities in historic places of worship. Those interested in accessing the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund can contact representatives of the Fund in their local area for guidance on how to apply.

In addition, The Taylor Review, funded to £1.8 million, is piloting new approaches to sustainability and greater community use of listed places of worship.

Government funding for open calls for direct grants to volunteer groups are also published on www.gov.uk.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the roll out of broadband in Northern Ireland.

The current Secretary of state has not yet met with the Northern Ireland Executive to discuss broadband in Northern Ireland. Officials in Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of DCMS, are in regular contact with the Northern Irish project delivery body and have a dedicated Project Director based in Belfast. I went to Northern Ireland in September for meetings with officials from the Northern Ireland Civil Service regarding broadband rollout.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure major sporting events are not sponsored by online gambling companies.

Gambling sponsorship of major events, and sport in general, must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has made clear that sporting bodies and event organisers must consider their responsibilities to fans and the wider community when entering commercial arrangements. Some major event organisers will have rules about only accepting sponsors that align with the events values or in some cases choose not to target the gambling sector at all for sponsorship.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with social media companies on tackling online bullying.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with social media companies on a range of issues, including online bullying. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Executive Board on including shooting sports in Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in 2022.

My department has had regular conversations with the Commonwealth Games Federation regarding shooting sports and their inclusion in Birmingham 2022 from the commencement of the bid process in 2017. In August 2019, the Minister for Sport requested the Commonwealth Games Federation explore the possibility of delivering a separate Commonwealth championship event in 2022, separate from the Birmingham 2022 Games programme.

My department was pleased to see the announcement by the Commonwealth Games Federation on 24 February of a separate shooting and archery championship event to be held in Chandigarh in January 2022. This will give shooters and archers from around the Commonwealth the opportunity to compete at the highest level.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Department plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019.

We intend to respond to the Online Harms White Paper consultation shortly.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring that vulnerable children are protected online.

Protecting children online is at the heart of our online harms agenda and wider government priorities. The joint DCMS-Home Office Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, outlined the government’s plans to make the UK the safest place in the world to go online. We will introduce a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues, on a range of issues, including the protection of vulnerable children online.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on the provision of education on preventing violence against women and girls.

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the proportion of pupils for whom English is not their first language at home.

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to page 38 of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, published in March 2021, what plans he has to extend the school day to help white working-class boys and those from disadvantaged ethnic minority backgrounds achieve their full potential.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was launched to conduct a detailed, data-led examination of inequality across the entire population, and to set out a positive agenda for change. It is now right that we consider their recommendations on education in detail and assess the implications for future government policy. The Department remains committed to providing world-class education, training and care for everyone, whatever their background, and taking the action needed to address disparities.

In February 2021, we appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to advise how to help pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament. The Commissioner will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach which will examine a range of options, including time in education, to help education settings use evidence-based interventions to support their pupils to make up lost education.  We shall share further details on this in due course.

As an immediate step, we have invested a further £700 million to support education recovery measures, bringing total investment in catch up to £1.7 billion. This includes tutoring, summer schools in 2021 and additional support for schools, and includes significant funding aimed at addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that any successor policy to the European Social Fund programme takes into account the interdependency between community education and further/higher education.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is the domestic successor to the EU’s Structural Fund programme. It will maximise the benefits of leaving the EU through quicker delivery of funding, better targeting, better alignment with domestic priorities and by reducing EU bureaucracy.

The Department for Education is working closely with other government departments including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions on the development of the UKSPF. As set out in the Heads of Terms published in the Spending Review 2020, a portion of the fund will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes that are tailored to local need. This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific cohorts of people who face labour market barriers.

The government will publish a UK wide investment framework later in 2021 and confirm the quantum funding amount at the next Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to embed the importance of community education in the successor policy to the European Social Fund programme.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is the domestic successor to the EU’s Structural Fund programme. It will maximise the benefits of leaving the EU through quicker delivery of funding, better targeting, better alignment with domestic priorities and by reducing EU bureaucracy.

The Department for Education is working closely with other government departments including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions on the development of the UKSPF. As set out in the Heads of Terms published in the Spending Review 2020, a portion of the fund will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes that are tailored to local need. This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific cohorts of people who face labour market barriers.

The government will publish a UK wide investment framework later in 2021 and confirm the quantum funding amount at the next Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that successor funding to the European Social Fund enables women to access formal education.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is the domestic successor to the EU Structural Fund programme. It will maximise the benefits of leaving the EU through quicker delivery of funding, better targeting, better alignment with domestic priorities and by cutting burdensome EU bureaucracy.

The department is working closely with other government departments including the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions on the development of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. As set out in the heads of terms published at Spending Review 2020, a portion of the fund will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes that are tailored to local need. This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific cohorts of people who face labour market barriers.

The government will set out further details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in a UK-wide investment framework published in the spring.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce anxiety in children; and what discussions he has had with (a) the NSPCC and other children's charities on that matter.

The Department for Education works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and its agencies, including Public Health England (PHE), on action to promote good mental health and wellbeing. On 8 September, PHE launched a mental wellbeing campaign for children and young people. It expands PHE’s Better Health-Every Mind Matters website with content specifically for children and young people and their parents and carers.

We know that the COVID-19 outbreak is having a particular impact on children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health. DHSC have published a mental health and wellbeing support plan, setting out a wide range of actions that the government is supporting across the NHS and wider services to support mental health and wellbeing recovery, including for children and young people. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-mentally-well-winter-plan-2020-to-2021/staying-mentally-well-this-winter.

The plan highlights the importance of the action that we have taken to ensure that pupils are able to return to school. It also sets out a range of actions that have been taken by the department to support schools, and specific groups of children and young people. This includes the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme, providing schools and colleges with the knowledge and access to resources to support children and young people, teachers and parents.

The department engages regularly with key children’s charities and has valued the insight and challenge from charities in shaping our response to supporting children through the COVID-19 outbreak. Our focus has been to ensure that, together, we support as many children as possible. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak we have met monthly with the NSPCC, and several other key children’s charities, to understand key issues facing the system, the challenges facing vulnerable young people, and to ensure a coherent response to providing support.

Additionally, to inform our work to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, and I held a roundtable in July, attended by stakeholders from NHS mental health services, local government, and the voluntary and community sector, including Childline. This was conducted to explore ways of mitigating the mental health impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children and young people and strengthen partnership working between schools, mental health services, and local organisations.

To increase support further in the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with DHSC and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that deaf children are able to be taught in environments which require the wearing of facemasks.

The government continues to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term future of our children and young people and early years settings, schools, colleges and universities remain open.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes children and young people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment, or disability and people who are speaking, or providing assistance, to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate. These exemptions apply in education settings and may be particularly relevant to children and young people with hearing impairments.

We have published guidance on face coverings in education settings, which was updated on 5 November 2020. It includes that face coverings could have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should currently be avoided. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage secondary pupils to study a foreign language.

In England, languages are included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) at Key Stage 4. Since September 2019, Ofsted’s new inspection framework has placed a renewed focus on all pupils benefiting from a broad, balanced, and ambitious curriculum. Since the introduction of the EBacc performance measure in 2010, the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state-funded schools in a modern foreign language (MFL) has increased from 40% in 2010 to 47% in 2019.

The Department’s £2.41 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot, run by the National Centre of Excellence in Languages Pedagogy, commenced in December 2018 with a mission to improve language curriculum design and pedagogy. The Centre has developed an open database which includes schemes of work and resources. It also runs a pilot network of 18 specialist teachers in nine lead schools, each working with four local hub schools, as well as with a wider network of a further 90 schools. The aim of this collaborative network of MFL teachers and schools is to raise standards of language teaching through the sharing of resources and good practice. In May 2020, the programme was extended to December 2021, receiving an additional £1.45 million funding.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) progress and (b) effectiveness of the scheme to provide laptops and other devices to vulnerable and disadvantaged children during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the summer term, as part of over £160 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, the Department delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children who would not otherwise have access. The programme is thought to have been the biggest and fastest deployment of laptops in the UK - at its peak, 27,000 laptops were delivered through a fleet of couriers in a single day.

The laptops and tablets were an injection of support to help local authorities and academy trusts to provide access to education and social care during the COVID-19 restriction period. Data on how many devices were delivered to local authorities and academy trusts can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

The Department is now supplementing this support by making 250,000 additional laptops and tablets available in the event that face to face schooling is disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions and children become reliant on remote education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he taking to help children with (a) anxiety and (b) mental health issues as a result of the lockdown restrictions due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Access to mental health and wellbeing support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak and the department has taken action to ensure schools and colleges are equipped to support children and young people.

We have in particular prioritised children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Getting children and young people back into school and college is itself key to their wellbeing. We have worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

Staff in schools and colleges need to be equipped to understand that some of their pupils may be experiencing feelings such as anxiety, stress or low mood as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, that these are normal responses to an abnormal situation and how to respond. This is a central part of our guidance both on remote education and on the return to school. We supported this with a range of training and materials, including webinars, which have been accessed by thousands of education staff and accelerating training on how to teach about mental health as part of the new relationships, sex and health curriculum, so that all pupils can benefit from this long-term requirement.

To continue this support we are investing £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, which will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19. The programme is funding expert advisers in every area of England to train and support schools and colleges during the autumn and spring terms. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

In further education, the department has provided £5.4 million of competitive grant funding through the College Collaboration Fund and five of the projects funded support student and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

Schools and colleges are not mental health professionals, and it is important that more specialist support is available for children and their families. All NHS mental health trusts have ensured that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

We have also provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities, including charities such as Young Minds, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

In the long term, we remain committed to our major joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England. This includes introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in place to (a) contact, (b) encourage parents who have not sent their children back to school to do so and (c) provide home school support for children whose health precludes them from school re-entry.

Whilst over 7 million pupils are back in the classroom, we recognise that some parents will still have concerns. In such cases we recommend schools discuss with parents their concerns, and provide reassurance of the measures in place to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school.

In the guidance for full opening, we asked schools and local authorities to communicate clear and consistent expectations around attendance to families, and to use the additional catch up funding settings will receive. In addition, schools should make full use of existing pastoral and support services, attendance staff, and pupil premium funding to put measures in place for those families who will need additional support to return to school. Relevant guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#attendance.

Schools and local authorities have also been asked to work closely with other professionals, as appropriate, to support pupils’ return to school, including continuing to notify a child’s social worker, if they have one, of non-attendance.

As is usually the case, schools should follow up whenever a pupil is absent to ascertain the reason and ensure any appropriate safeguarding action is taken. Schools have a duty to inform the local authority of any pupil of compulsory school age who has had a continuous period of unauthorised absence of ten school days or more.

On the 1 October, the Department announced a package of remote education support designed to help schools and colleges build on and deliver their existing plans in the event that individual or groups of pupils are unable to attend school because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Schools can access a new central support hub, where resources and information on remote education will be housed. This support has been co-designed with schools and includes a range of school-led webinars and resources intended to share good practice. We are also investing £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges.

This adds to existing support including the resources available from Oak National Academy. The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy, both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20 and the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons for reception up to year 11. It provides lessons across a broad range of subjects and includes specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21.

The support package can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Department is committed to the continuation of high-quality education for all pupils during this difficult time. We also want to make clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children who are unable to attend school due to the COVID-19 outbreak in line with guidance and the law. We have, therefore, published a Direction which provides an express legal duty on schools to provide remote education in these circumstances. The purpose of this direction is to provide greater certainty for all involved in the education sector, including parents, teachers and schools themselves.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in place to ensure that the assessment of children who may require special needs support is not additionally delayed as a result of new covid-19 social distancing and other restrictions.

We understand the need for effective and timely assessment of children who require special needs support. The department’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Improvement and Intervention Unit, alongside NHS England, will be engaging with all local areas to discuss progress on recovery from the disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, and the return to school for children with SEND. This will include representatives from local authorities, health and the parent carer forum for the area, and will be led by the department’s professional SEND advisers, Department for Education case leads and an NHS England SEND adviser.

One section focuses on statutory processes, education, health and care (EHC) plans and annual reviews. SEND advisers will probe local areas on the timeliness and quality of plans, any barriers to progress, such as capacity to reduce EHC plan backlogs, and actions proposed by local areas to address weaknesses identified. The local authority engagement will also aim to ascertain if the areas have improvement needs that can be addressed by the department’s funded delivery support programme.

We are increasing high needs funding for local authorities by £780 million this year and a further £730 million next year, which means high needs budgets will have grown by nearly a quarter in just 2 years. In addition, local authorities have been allocated a further £3.7 billion to help their communities through the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is un-ringfenced, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 service pressures in their local area, including support to children’s services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that foreign students are quarantined upon entry to the UK; and who is responsible for overseeing that process.

We have worked closely with Universities UK and other sector representatives to ensure that international higher education students are welcomed to the UK and that their fellow students’ health and wellbeing is being catered for. Those students travelling from countries not on our exemption list will need to self-isolate for 14 days. We expect these students to be supported by their chosen university as soon as they arrive in the country, if not before.

While it is for individuals to abide by all regulations, universities have a duty to ensure their students are safe and well looked after during the 14-day self-isolation period. The government has produced guidance on isolation for residential educational settings, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings.

Universities UK have also produced bespoke guidance for universities on how to prepare for and care for students who are required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK. This guidance sets out the principles to consider in ensuring students are fully and properly supported throughout this period. We would encourage them to have regard for this guidance when planning for the arrival of international students who need to isolate. The guidance is available here:
https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2020/self-isolation-guidance.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps with the Department for Work and Pensions to (a) support and (b) retrain young people who have lost their jobs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Education (DfE) recognise the substantial risk that some young people who would usually enter the labour market this year will find themselves unemployed instead.

On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a plan to support jobs. Measures announced as part of the plan are being delivered by both the Department for Work and Pensions and DfE, who are working closely together to ensure a co-ordinated approach.

These measures form a plan to support jobs focusing on skills and young people. This includes a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 claiming Universal Credit. Funding available for 6 month job placements will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week.

£1.6 billion is also being invested to scale up employment support schemes and training. This includes nearly £900 million to double the number of work coaches to 27,000 and over £500 million in a package of support to ensure young people have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment.

This support includes a new payment of £2,000 that employers are now able to claim for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those 25 and over. Employers can start claiming for payments from 1 September. £111 million will also be provided to triple the scale of traineeships, with 3 times more funding available to providers in 2020/21 to support 30,000 new places. We have also introduced payments of £1,000 per trainee for employers who offer new or additional work placements for up to 10 trainees.

In addition, we are providing £101 million to give 18 and 19-year-old school and college leavers the opportunity to study high value level 2 and 3 courses when there are no employment opportunities available to them. We will also be making £32 million available over 2 years to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service and £17 million available to triple the number of sector based work academy programme placements in 2020/21. This is enough funding to support an extra 40,000 job seekers with additional training opportunities and the chance of a job.

Starting this Parliament, we are also providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations), for the National Skills Fund to help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future. The fund aims to boost productivity and ensure more people and places can share in the rewards that improved productivity can bring.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) school leaders on ensuring that hot food can be served in schools from September 2020.

Both Cabinet colleagues and school leaders are aware of our plan for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. All school kitchens are expected to be open and deliver healthy and nutritious meals that meet the School Food Standards. Further guidance for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools continue wrap around care with breakfast clubs.

As of 4 July, all providers offering wraparound care, holiday clubs and out-of-school activities for children have been able to open for both indoor and outdoor provision with safety measures in place. We have published guidance for providers of these activities on the measures they should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We recognise that breakfast clubs and wraparound care will give pupils opportunities to re-engage with their peers and with school, ensure children have a healthy breakfast and are ready to focus on their lessons, provide enrichment activities, and support working parents.

Therefore, as outlined in the guidance for full opening of schools published by the department, schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. We recognise that schools may need to respond flexibly and build this up over time. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

However, schools should carefully consider how they can make such provision work alongside their wider protective measures, including keeping children within their year groups or bubbles where possible. If it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day then schools should use small, consistent groups. Schools can consult the guidance produced for summer holiday childcare, as much of this will be useful in planning extra-curricular provision.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools meet the practical cookery requirements in the national curriculum.

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broad curriculum that helps provide young people with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society.

Cooking and nutrition is a discrete strand of the design and technology programme of study within the National Curriculum which was introduced in 2014. It is compulsory in state-maintained schools for Key Stages 1-3 (ages 5 to 14), and can be used as an exemplar for free schools and academies. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and good nutrition. It recognises that cooking is an important life skill that will help children to feed themselves and others healthy and affordable food. By the end of Key Stage 3, pupils should be able to cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes and be competent in a range of cooking techniques.

A new food preparation and nutrition GCSE was also introduced in September 2016. It requires pupils to understand and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating when preparing and cooking food. The first exams in this new qualification were taken in summer 2018.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to increase the proportion of children being taught to cook at key stage 3; and if he will make a statement.

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broad curriculum that helps provide young people with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society.

Cooking and nutrition is a discrete strand of the design and technology programme of study within the National Curriculum which was introduced in 2014. It is compulsory in state-maintained schools for Key Stages 1-3 (ages 5 to 14), and can be used as an exemplar for free schools and academies. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and good nutrition. It recognises that cooking is an important life skill that will help children to feed themselves and others healthy and affordable food. By the end of Key Stage 3, pupils should be able to cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes and be competent in a range of cooking techniques.

A new food preparation and nutrition GCSE was also introduced in September 2016. It requires pupils to understand and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating when preparing and cooking food. The first exams in this new qualification were taken in summer 2018.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to make the standards for school food mandatory in all state-funded schools.

The School Food Standards, as set out in ‘The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014’, provide the legislative framework to ensure schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that children get the energy and nutrition they need across the school day.

Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements.

The government made a commitment to update the standards in the Childhood Obesity Action Plan, and in 2019 we commissioned Public Health England to provide expert nutritional advice and develop proposed updates to the standards, incorporating feedback from an advisory group consisting of suppliers, schools, charities, nutritionists and other stakeholder organisations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to amend regulations to make the application of school food standards mandatory in all state-funded schools.

The School Food Standards, as set out in ‘The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014’, provide the legislative framework to ensure schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that children get the energy and nutrition they need across the school day.

Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements.

The government made a commitment to update the standards in the Childhood Obesity Action Plan, and in 2019 we commissioned Public Health England to provide expert nutritional advice and develop proposed updates to the standards, incorporating feedback from an advisory group consisting of suppliers, schools, charities, nutritionists and other stakeholder organisations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of (a) trends in the level of demand for children’s services and (b) the adequacy of funding allocated to children’s services in each year since 2010.

We monitor the number of looked-after children, the number of children with child protection plans and the number of children in need on an ongoing basis.

Data since 2013 at a local authority level is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-interactive-tool-lait.

Data on children in need and service use since 2010 at a national level is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need

and https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-looked-after-children.

The most common factors recorded in children’s social care assessments are domestic abuse and mental health. These have consistently been the top 2 factors for the years during which we have collected this data and have risen in line with trends in demand.

Over the 5-year period from 2015 to 2020, councils will have had access to more than £200 billion. Within that, we have seen councils prioritise spending on the most vulnerable children, with spending on child protection increasing from £2.2 billion in 2015-16 to £2.4 billion in 2018-19. To help support local authorities to meet rising demand, the government is providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adult and children's social care in every year of this Parliament. This is on top of the continuation of the £410 million social care grant in 2020-21.

The government remains committed to reforming local government finance, including the review of relative needs and resources. This review aims to develop a robust, up-to-date approach to distributing funding, and we are expecting to implement it in 2021-22 in line with the outcome of a new multi-year Spending Review.

Also, as set out in the manifesto, the government is committed to undertaking a review of the care system that covers the key issues facing vulnerable children and young people.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on improving access to mental health assessments for children in care.

The Department for Education jointly commissioned with the Department for Health and Social Care an Expert Working Group to look at how the mental health needs of looked-after children, previously looked-after children and care leavers could be better met.

In November 2017, the group made a set of recommendations, including on improving assessment of the mental health needs of looked-after children.

We are taking forward a number of these recommendations through our £1 million mental health assessment pilot programme, which is testing improved approaches to the mental health and wellbeing element of the health assessment on entry to care.

We have appointed SQW Limited to carry out an evaluation of the pilot and fieldwork is currently underway. This will help inform our assessment of the changes needed to the mental health assessments of looked-after children.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage people to study foreign languages.

The Department has introduced the English Baccalaureate performance measure, which includes languages and has seen the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state-funded schools in a modern foreign language (MFL) increase from 40% in 2010 to 47% in 2019. The reformed national curriculum now makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a foreign language in Key Stage 2.

The Department is investing in a range of programmes to increase uptake of languages at GCSE. Our £4.8 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot commenced in December 2018, managed by the newly appointed MFL Centre for Excellence and run through nine school-led hubs, to improve uptake and attainment in languages at Key Stages 3 and 4. We have also launched a pilot project in MFL undergraduate mentoring for secondary school pupils to drive up participation in the subject, specifically targeting areas of high disadvantage to extend access to languages for all pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle tobacco waste litter.

We believe that the tobacco industry must take responsibility for the litter created by their products. Our most recent composition survey found cigarette butts represent 66% of all littered items, and preliminary research has shown an estimated cost to UK local authorities and other duty bodies of £40 million per year for the collection and disposal of littered cigarette butts, rising to £46 million when including those disposed of in public bins.

Last year, I met with tobacco industry representatives and asked them to consider what more they could to address smoking related litter and whether a voluntary producer responsibility scheme could be developed for tobacco waste products.

Having considered further evidence, the Government has now decided that a regulatory approach may now be required to ensure that the industry takes sufficient financial responsibility for the litter created by its products and to prevent them from undermining public health policy.

We plan to commission new research into regulatory options this year, including consideration of extended producer responsibility principles.

The Environment Bill will allow us to legislate for extended producer responsibility schemes, which could be applied to tobacco products. Cigarette and tobacco product packaging is already covered by the proposed packaging producer responsibility scheme, which is currently undergoing a second phase of consultation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fishing enforcement vessels are staffed and recorded in UK waters.

Fisheries control and enforcement is a devolved matter. Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters.

In England, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) regularly reviews levels of enforcement capacity and the best options for delivering this based on its assessment of risk and available intelligence. At present, the MMO staffs two commercial enforcement vessels, along with additional fisheries enforcement provision by the Royal Navy. There is an established commercial framework in place, through which the MMO can procure additional surveillance assets at short notice if required.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle illegal fishing in UK waters.

On 1 January 2021 the UK became an independent coastal state and retained the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Regulation (IUU) in UK Law. This means that imports of most fish and fishery products into the UK will need to be accompanied by a catch certificate and other relevant IUU documentation. As an independent coastal state, the UK has full responsibility over how it ensures compliance with fisheries regulations within its waters. We are committed to ensuring an effective and robust enforcement system. Control and enforcement is a devolved matter. Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters. In England, the Government has put in place a significant increase in the number of personnel and surveillance assets dedicated to fisheries protection, including offshore patrol vessels for at-sea surveillance, and planes for aerial surveillance. This strong presence will deter against fisheries infringements, while also enabling our agencies to take robust action where they may occur.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to put in place stricter guidelines to ensure that the UK meets its Clean Air Target.

Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action for England to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Our Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas. We have also put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

Air quality is a devolved matter and each of the Devolved Administrations have their own policy programmes in place.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ban the sale of fur in the UK.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and since 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are restrictions on some skin and fur products which may never be legally imported into the UK. These include fur and products from cats and dogs, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts.

The Government is considering any further steps it could take in relation to fur.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many instances of hunting dogs hypoglycemia have been recorded in the UK in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not available. There is no requirement for hunting dogs hypoglycemia to be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department provides to gamekeepers on the trapping and pest control of stoats.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government considers traps to be a practical and effective management tool which, if used in accordance with best practice, can be both targeted and humane.

Natural England has produced guidance on the humane trapping of stoats, which is available on the Gov.uk website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/badgers-beavers-otters-and-pine-martens-how-to-trap-humanely.

Further information on the conditions and circumstances under which licenced trapping of stoats can occur – in relation to survey, research, or conservation work; or to prevent damage to livestock - and how the traps should be used can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/stoat-licences.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to manage the risk posed by sika deer to red deer.

Deer management is a devolved matter and this answer therefore relates to England only.

The Government recognises that sika deer present a threat to native red deer, largely because of the potential for hybridisation. Sika deer occur in localised areas within the North and the South of England with smaller isolated wild populations elsewhere. Studies have shown there has been minimal large-scale hybridisation among populations in the South of England but there is greater evidence of this occurring in the North.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to release Sika deer or its hybrid or allow it to escape into the wild. The responsibility for deer management lies with individual landowners. Where deer are causing damage or pose a health and safety risk, landowners are recommended to participate in local management groups, or to set one up where a group does not already exist. These groups bring together those with interests in a local area, for example residents, land managers, and conservation groups. Where necessary, action can involve a managed cull to reduce population densities. On the Public Forest Estate deer are managed by Forestry England for example to prevent their range from increasing.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve the quality of water in rivers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stockport on 1 October 2020, PQ UIN 94575.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-23/94575]

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support his Department is providing to apple growers in response to reductions in demand from pubs and restaurants for their produce as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Apple growers can access an unprecedented package of financial support options available, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

On 24 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced updated terms to the financial support package, including extended loan application deadlines to 30 November, longer loan repayment times and further extensions to the grant scheme for the self-employed.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what strategy his Department has in place to ensure that the Government's tree planting targets are met.

This Government stood on a manifesto commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. This is in line with Committee on Climate Change recommendations, and we are working with the devolved administrations to achieve this target.

We will set out plans to increase planting in England through a new England Tree Strategy, which we have recently consulted on. We will deploy the £640M Nature for Climate Fund, agreed in the March 2020 Budget, to do so. The Prime Minister recently reiterated our commitment to tree planting when he set out the first steps in the strategy to rebuild Britain, building back better, greener and faster.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease in the UK.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is not a notifiable disease in the UK. There are no risks to public health. The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and occasionally the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) are the species affected in the UK.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency has a small scale surveillance programme in place to monitor the disease in wild rabbits.

For domestic rabbits there is a vaccine available which is an effective means of protection, provided it is administered before the virus causes infection. We recommend that any concerned pet owners seek advice from a vet.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage family farming in the UK.

Agriculture is devolved, so this response will largely refer to policy in England. Now we have left the EU each UK administration has the flexibility to develop agricultural policy suited to its own unique circumstances. For those policy areas where legislation is not required, we are working with the devolved administrations to find approaches that work for the whole of the UK. We are also working closely with the devolved administrations on an administrative framework to coordinate agricultural support.

Under the new system in England, we will move away from subsidies based on how much land the farmer has. Instead, the Agriculture Bill will enable us to create an ambitious new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, based on the principle of “public money for public goods”, which will allow us to reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment. The Bill also provides powers for improved animal welfare, while making sure that farmers can still produce high quality food in a sustainable way.

Public goods benefit more than just the recipient and cannot be rewarded by the market alone. They include things like clean and plentiful water, clean air, thriving plants and wildlife, reduction in and protection from environmental hazards, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, and beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment.

By paying for things the public value, we can also improve animal welfare and reduce the use of antibiotics in our food chain. Targeted financial assistance for innovations such as precision farming can help farmers to reduce costs and improve their yields, while enhancing the environment.

Defra is providing £1 million grant funding this year for nine projects to provide resilience support to farmers and land managers in England to help them prepare for the Agricultural Transition period that will take place from 2021-27. One of these projects is working to improve the resilience of more than 120 small family farms in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The impact and value for money of each of the approaches will be evaluated to assess whether a scale-up of the interventions would be effective and provide good value for taxpayers’ money.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the public (a) right of way and (b) right to roam on farmers and landowners.

The effect of the public accessing the countryside over recent months has been monitored continuously through engagement with a range of stakeholder groups. Stakeholder feedback has informed government guidance and key messages on accessing the countryside in a safe and respectable manner.

We have published guidance to promote safe access to green spaces: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help shooting organisations meet the growing demand for game meat in the UK.

Game rearing businesses play an important role within our rural economy. While there are no specific schemes to support shooting organisations, I am pleased that there is a growing demand for game meat.

Our new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme will be based on the principle of ‘public money for public goods’. It will allow us to provide funding to those who manage land to deliver environmental public goods. This will include shooting estates or other game managers who manage their land in a way that delivers these public goods. Detailed eligibility criteria will be established for ELM as the scheme is developed, working with stakeholders.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require that laundry filters are put in all new washing machines to prevent microplastic waste from making its way to seas and oceans.

The Government currently has no plans to require manufacturers to install microplastic filters on new washing machines but is working with industry to encourage improved environmental outcomes and reduce water pollution. We will continue to assess new and emerging evidence and?consider the need for legislation in the future if industry approaches are not successful.

With our world leading microbeads ban in place, we are exploring how other microplastic sources enter our marine environment. In 2018 we pledged £200,000 for scientists at the University of Plymouth to explore how microplastic particles enter our waterways and oceans. The findings of their research include that particles released from vehicle tyres could be a significant and previously largely unrecorded source of microplastics in the marine environment (GOV.UK press release). The Government has also launched the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance to help address marine plastic pollution across the Commonwealth.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that the (a) planning and (b) regulatory frameworks support agri-food producers that want to increase the level of their exports.

The food sector is the UK's largest manufacturing industry, and a major contributor to the UK economy. UK food and drink exports play an important part of the success of the sector, and in 2019, UK food and drink exports were worth £23.7 billion - up 4.9% from 2018.

The Government highlights the importance of our agriculture and food production in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF requires local planning authorities to take into account all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is shown to be necessary, planning authorities should seek to use poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality. They should also consider the needs of the food production industry, and any barriers to investment that can be resolved by planning.

The NPPF states that, to promote a strong rural economy, local and neighbourhood plans should promote the development and diversification of agricultural and other land-based rural businesses. Moreover, local planning authorities are asked to encourage the reuse of brownfield land, provided that it is not of high environmental value. This is to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside, and to maintain the strong protections in place for Green Belt and other designated countryside.

Further longstanding support for farmers is provided by the rights to carry out various types of agricultural development, as set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

Further demonstrating my department’s collaboration across Government, on 22 June 2020, we announced a ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry. These are designed to help support businesses that have been impacted by Coronavirus. These new strategic interventions were the product of joined up engagement between the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Defra.

The package offers immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas. The measures support producers and manufacturers throughout the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with input from trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks. They include the announcement of the first Defra Agri-Food Counsellor serving the United Arab Emirates and wider Gulf Region, who will aid in addressing regulatory barriers to export for our agri-food producers.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to encourage tree planting throughout the UK to help carbon offsetting; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a subsidy for the provision of saplings to landowners to encourage tree planting.

Trees have a crucial role in the pathway to net zero, so the Government has committed to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. As forestry is a devolved matter, we will work with the devolved administrations to achieve this.

In England, we have launched a consultation on a new England Tree Strategy, setting out proposals to plant more trees for the climate and nature. The Strategy will support delivery of the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund, increasing tree planting in England throughout this parliament.

This will build on our existing grants, such as Countryside Stewardship and the Woodland Carbon Fund, which already support landowners to buy, plant and maintain saplings, capturing carbon for years to come.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage tree planting.

The Government is committed to significantly increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025, working with the Devolved Administrations to do so.

To drive up tree planting rates in England we announced a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund and have opened a consultation on an England Tree Strategy. We welcome input from the sector and wider public to that consultation, which will help to inform and shape the strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to introduce a pet passport for travel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain after the end of the transition period.

We intend to publish further guidance on pet travel, and in respect of arrangements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in due course.

We are working with the European Commission to ensure pet travel between the UK and EU continues smoothly after January 2021. During the Transition Period the current rules on pet travel between the UK and EU continue to apply, meaning travellers may continue to use their existing pet passports.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take to promote the safety and high standards of British food to (a) the public and (b) retailers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are lucky in the UK that we have the climate, the landscape, and entrepreneurial farmers and food producers that equip us to produce world-class food, and our farmers and growers are doing a fantastic job of feeding the nation during this challenging time.

Half of the food that the UK population consumes is home-grown and UK food is renowned for its quality, as well as its high standards of food safety, traceability, animal welfare and sustainability. We will always champion our farmers and producers; supporting them to grow more of our great British food, and to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public.

Supermarkets are already taking steps to promote and source British products. To support the work of the entire food chain, we are engaging with different initiatives that highlight the qualities of British food products, such as meat, dairy, and vegetables, as well as fish caught in UK waters. We are also working closely with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) as they develop consumer-facing marketing campaigns for the meat and dairy sectors. We will continue to engage with and support similar initiatives that highlight the qualities of British meat, dairy, seafood and fruit and vegetable products.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban human consumption of meat from cats.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country. We are confident that the current position in this country sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of cats will never be acceptable.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent tomato brown rugose fruit virus spreading to the UK.

Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a virus which infects tomato and pepper crops. It was first described infecting tomato crops in Israel in 2014, but subsequently it has spread to other tomato growing regions around the world. ToBRFV is readily spread from plants to plants by handling of plants and tools used in crop management and is also seed transmissible. The virus has also been shown to be transmitted by bumblebees during pollination. The ToBRFV virus is harmless to humans and animals but can cause serious damage to crops.

In November 2019 EU emergency legislation was introduced to prevent the spread of ToBRFV, which applies in the UK during the transition period. The UK was instrumental in ensuring that the introduction of this legislation was prioritised and based on the most up to date technical evidence. This legislation requires that plants, including seed, of tomatoes and peppers being imported or moved meets prescribed requirements to confirm they are free from the virus.

In the UK there has been an extensive programme of testing of tomato and pepper seed which had been moved into the UK prior to the introduction of the EU legislation. Where infected stocks have been identified these have been destroyed. Surveillance of growing crops will be carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency throughout this growing season and plans to manage outbreaks are in place should infected crops be identified.

Defra and Fera Science Ltd are working closely with the industry to raise awareness of ToBRFV and to encourage good practice in the industry to minimise the risk. Industry initiatives are supporting these official activities, including research funded by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimate the Church of England has made of the number of church-based youth clubs; and what assessment he has made of effect of those clubs on the wellbeing of the young people that use them.

The Church of England employs 2,670 children and youth workers in its parishes, and there are 80,000 volunteers across the church who are engaged in projects supporting children and young people. Projects can range from holiday clubs, messy church, sports ministry and creative play.

The Church of England commissioned a research project assessing how best to approach building confidence, engagement and belonging, creating a supportive and inclusive environment in 2016 which has formed the basis of its approach. The report can be read here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/Rooted%20in%20the%20Church%20Summary%20Report.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with devolved Administrations on ensuring consistency of sentencing for animal abuse offences.

Sentencing is a matter for the courts, which are independent from the Government. When deciding what sentence to impose the courts take into account the circumstances of the offence and any mitigating and aggravating factors, in line with the sentencing guidelines which are published by the independent Sentencing Council for England and Wales. The guidelines are intended to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing. Sentencing is a devolved matter in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In line with the manifesto commitment to introduce tougher sentences for animal cruelty, the Government remains fully committed to increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. The necessary legislation will be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The Welsh Government has agreed this increase should apply in Wales. The Scottish Government has proposed a similar increase for its equivalent offence in Scotland. Northern Ireland already has a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for animal cruelty offences.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) recent discussions she has had with farming unions on and (b) funding she plans to allocate to help in reducing carbon emissions after the UK leaves the EU.

This Government is committed to meeting net zero by 2050, and in 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to have legislated for a net zero target to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050.

Since the General Election, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has spoken with farming unions, amongst other groups to listen to their priorities for the year ahead. Engagement has included meetings with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), along with wider farming groups at the Oxford Farming Conference and Oxford Real Farming Conference. Discussions covered the importance of our British farmers being the climate and nature leaders that the world is looking for and how The Secretary of State will raise the profile of agriculture across Government at the new Cabinet Committee for Climate Change.

The Secretary of State also mentioned that the UK will pioneer approaches that will show other governments what can be achieved if we rethink how we work with the land and produce our food to create a virtuous circle between agriculture, climate change, biodiversity, and investment.

Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are important goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and important objectives of Environmental Land Management (ELM). ELM could support this through providing funding for land management activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.

We have also provided £50 million funding for Woodland Creation Carbon Guarantee grants that will boost our carbon offset market and provide long-term payments for land managers planting trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she is taking steps with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to offer incentives to businesses to encourage greater uptake of workplace recycling.

In 2019, the Government consulted on measures to require businesses, public bodies and other organisations to segregate recyclable waste streams including plastic, metal, paper, glass and food waste so that these could be collected and recycled. The Government also consulted on measures to reduce the costs of putting in place recycling collections especially for smaller firms. The response to this consultation was published in July 2019 and showed strong support for businesses to recycle. The forthcoming Environment Bill is expected to introduce duties for businesses to separate waste to be recycled in England. The Government will work with businesses to implement these changes and to increase recycling including investigating measures to reduce costs.

In addition, the Government has launched a £1 million fund to promote recycling of non-household municipal waste (or business waste) in England. This fund will provide capital infrastructure to support collection and recycling of non-household municipal waste (or business waste) in England. The aim is to encourage organisations that collect or facilitate collection of this waste to provide new or improved recycling services. There is an additional aim of providing new infrastructure and better access to services targeting / benefitting small to medium enterprises. The grant scheme is managed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme. The scheme has now closed and applications for funding are being considered.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps the Government has taken to help ensure the effective delivery of aid to refugee camps in (a) Yemen, (b) Syria and (c) South Sudan.

In Yemen through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), DFID has supported 224 teachers' salaries for refugee and IDP affected areas from July 2020 to February 2021. This funding covers gaps where existing teachers' salaries have stopped or are under threat. UK aid has provided £10.8 million to UNHCR to assist refugees and IDPs in Yemen since 2017. This includes over 5,000 refugee children supported with child protection activities, and counselling to over 3,000 survivors of gender-based violence.

In South Sudan the UK funds several programmes that help support refugees. The UK-Unilever water and sanitation partnership, UNHCR and Save the Children help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in refugee populations and host communities across the country. DFID-funded education programmes in South Sudan ensure IDP and refugee children have access to quality education despite the multiple barriers they face. The UK works with the UN, NGOs and the Red Cross to ensure that life-saving supplies get to the most vulnerable communities. COVID-19 containment measures have made this more difficult, so DFID works closely with the Government and others to ensure that the movement of humanitarian supplies and personnel are impacted as little as possible.

In Syria. Most of the humanitarian need is among internally displaced persons, now totalling 6.1million. DFID continues to support Palestinian refugees in Syria through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Syria programme, to which the UK has contributed £36m since 2017. UNRWA is the only agency mandated to provide services to this population and often the only organisation with the access, permission, and mandate required to assist Palestinian refugees.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, is she will take steps to help ensure that the UK continues to focus on combating poverty by ensuring that aid reaches the (a) most vulnerable and (b) those who are more vulnerable because of their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable including those who are more vulnerable because of their faith.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

The situation of vulnerable communities is taken into account when assessing those most in need of protection and assistance. This includes when a community is being targeted or is otherwise vulnerable because of their faith. We actively consult civil society, including faith-based organisations, to understand how best to support vulnerable groups.

Vulnerable religious groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taken to ensure that religious identity is a criterion for the allocation of Official Development Assistance.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

DFID is committed to working with all its partners, including faith-based organisations, to ensure that the most vulnerable people and groups are prioritised for humanitarian assistance, in line with international humanitarian principles. This includes religious and ethnic groups who are at risk of discrimination and persecution. We work closely with our partners to ensure they are rigorously assessing vulnerability and needs (including those linked with religious identity), ahead of allocating assistance, as well as conducting robust monitoring to ensure that aid is reaching those most in need.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to support NGOs that have experienced a significant decline in private funding as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

We are working flexibly with existing civil society partners to respond to the pandemic, maintain delivery of essential programmes and manage the impacts on organisations and staff.

DFID is offering support to all suppliers, including civil society, in line with the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants. This allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants. UK-based Non-Government Organisations are also eligible for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with her (a) South African and (b) Eswatini counterpart on securing (i) affordable electricity for the nation of Eswatini and (ii) enabling children in Eswatini to access computers and the internet for learning.

We are in regular contact with the governments of Eswatini and South Africa and the South African power generator, Eskom, on ways to promote renewable energy generation both to improve energy security and reduce costs. We are also working directly with the Southern African Power Pool to support regional policy planning and decision making that accelerates large-scale renewable energy deployment in southern Africa.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office plans to make the Sustainable Development Goals a priority for that Office.

The UK remains committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and to the underpinning pledge to Leave No One Behind as we strive to achieve them. As the Prime Minister said in his statement to the UN Financing for Development High-Level Event on 28 May, following COVID-19 there is every need for us to work together to advance shared international objectives - including the SDGs.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to ensure that (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities undertaking the distribution of aid in developing countries do not face discrimination as a result of their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that those responsible for the distribution of aid in developing countries, including Christian and other religious minorities, do not face discrimination as a result of their faith. DFID works closely with the FCO to call for rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid workers to those in need and vice versa. We also strongly advocate for compliance with International Humanitarian Law and with the Humanitarian Principles, both of which serve to protect aid workers and those they seek to assist.

International Humanitarian Law states that parties to a conflict must allow humanitarian relief for civilians in need, which is impartial in character and conducted without any adverse distinction. They must not withhold consent to relief operations arbitrarily. Parties to a conflict must not discriminate against aid agencies and/or their personnel delivering aid of this nature because of their faith. DFID conducts thorough due diligence assessments of its partners to ensure that they have the ability to work in fragile and conflict afflicted states and to implement appropriate safety and security protocols.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government plans to maintain the same board representatives on (a) Gavi, (b) CEPI, (c) UNITAID, (d) the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and (e) other multilateral organisations after her Department's merger with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

As we create the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the government is clear that the UK will remain a champion of the international system. COVID-19 has demonstrated that a strong, well-functioning multilateral system is in the UK’s interests, and this merger will bring together our overseas efforts on aid and diplomacy so we can maximise our influence across the world.

There are no current plans to change our level of representation in multilateral organisations. Our multilateral relationships and priorities will be considered as part of the Integrated Review, which will set an ambitious vision for the future of the UK as an active, internationalist, problem-solving and burden-sharing nation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to help ensure that UK aid reaches (a) vulnerable religious minorities and (b) other vulnerable groups of people.

The UK Government works to ensure that all aid reaches the most vulnerable, including those from religious communities and other vulnerable groups, such as disabled people and women and girls.

The UK is committed to delivering its humanitarian aid during the COVID-19 pandemic according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance. This includes vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups, who are assessed by our partners when determining those most in need of protection and assistance.

Vulnerable groups will experience COVID-19 outbreaks differently. COVID-19 is likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes to tackle COVID-19.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable with faith leaders and the chief executives of faith-based development organisations. The meeting covered how faith groups are contributing to the response to COVID-19; where those interventions have been most effective; the challenges for faith groups, and, how DFID could work more effectively with faith groups.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that religious identity as an indicator of vulnerability in certain communities is taken into account when allocating UK aid.

DFID is committed to working with all its partners, including faith-based organisations, to ensure that the most vulnerable people and groups are prioritised for humanitarian assistance, in line with international humanitarian principles. This includes religious and ethnic groups who are at risk of discrimination and persecution.

We work closely with our partners to ensure they are rigorously assessing vulnerability and needs (including those linked with religious identity) ahead of allocating assistance as well as conducting robust monitoring to ensure that aid is reaching those most in need.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that Christians and other religious minorities do not face discrimination at the frontlines of aid distribution as a result of their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that recipients of UK Aid, including Christian and other minority religious communities, are not discriminated against because of their faith. The UK is committed to delivering its humanitarian aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. This includes minority religious communities, who are assessed by our partners when determining those most in need of protection and assistance.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience COVID-19 outbreaks differently. COVID-19 is likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes to tackle COVID-19.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations to discuss how minority faith communities were facing specific challenges during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to help tackle the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, Northern  Syria.

We are gravely concerned about escalating Syrian Regime and Russian military action and its humanitarian impact in Idlib. As of 6 February, the UN reports that 586,000 people have been displaced since 1 December 2019, and many more are at risk of imminent further displacement.

This financial year DFID has already allocated £103 million to organisations delivering aid cross border from Turkey primarily into North West Syria, including Idlib. This has helped to provide hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people with food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare including psychosocial support.

Given the rapidly deteriorating conditions in North West Syria, we have put options in place to increase our funding further to address the pressing needs of those displaced by the conflict. We have provided funding to response partners including the UN to preposition essential supplies to support innocent families and civilians displaced by conflict and we are supporting all our partners to respond to this humanitarian crisis.

I visited Turkey on 5-6 February and discussed the crisis in North West Syria with UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs, as well as with Turkish authorities. DFID partners on the ground are working tirelessly to provide aid to those affected by the military offensive.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has held discussions with Procter and Gamble on increasing trade with China.

The Department for International Trade has not held discussions with Procter and Gamble on the subject of increasing trade with China.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps she has taken to improve trade with African countries.

On 1 January 2021 the United Kingdom introduced its own Generalised Scheme of Preferences that provides duty-free, quota-free access to the United Kingdom’s market for more than thirty African countries and tariff reductions for other eligible African countries. This year we will launch improvements to the scheme, which will offer the lowest income countries improved terms when trading with the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom has also secured eight Free Trade Agreements with African regions and countries including the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique; Eastern and other Southern African states; Cote d’Ivoire; Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia.

The Department has launched an online investment platform for African projects and the Africa Investment Group, which brings together investors and representatives of the United Kingdom’s Government, to drive collectively more investment flows into Africa.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will ensure future trade deals with (a) New Zealand and (b) Australia include protections on women's rights.

Trade is a powerful force for opening up opportunities. The Department for International Trade is seeking to work with our trading partners to increase women’s ability to fully access the benefits of these agreements.

The inclusion of Women’s Economic Empowerment provisions in trade agreements features in the Government’s manifesto as part of our broader agenda for ‘free and fair trade’ as well as in our public negotiation objectives for the Australia and New Zealand agreements, published on 17th June. We have discussed these objectives with Australia and New Zealand in our negotiating rounds to date.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that freedom of religion or belief and other human rights concerns are being taken into consideration during bilateral trade negotiations between the UK and other Governments.

HM Government has a strong history of promoting our values globally, and our strong economic relationships with trading partners allow us to have open discussions on a range of difficult issues, including rights and responsibilities. As such, we will continue to champion the freedom of religion.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the outcomes of the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 were in respect to the consolidation of trading partnerships.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit brought together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa.

At the Summit, we announced the Trade Connect programme, which will help developing countries, benefit from the UK’s post-Brexit preferential trade arrangements by providing £20 million over 5 years to assist businesses to export more.

Through the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, the UK intends to put in place a trade preference scheme that maintains the preferential market access we currently offer to 35 African developing countries trading under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).

We are also rolling over the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Association Agreements (AAs). We have signed trade agreements with eleven African countries and are seeking to conclude agreements with a further seven countries.

We will work with African partners to deepen and widen our existing trade agreements and make the UK’s preference scheme work better for them.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive.

We are excited to resume work with our counterparts in the Northern Ireland Executive. Despite the short time since its restoration, my Rt. Hon Friend the Minister of State for Trade Policy (Conor Burns), has proactively engaged with the Hon Member the Minister for the Economy of Northern Ireland (Dianne Dodds MEP). Minister Dodds participated in the Ministerial Forum for Trade discussion on 23 January 2020, along with Ministers from Scotland and Wales. This forum brings Ministers together from the Department for International Trade and the devolved administrations to discuss trade policy.

20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans he has to use the historical connection between Northern Ireland and the US for (a) tourism and (b) trade benefits.

The USA is one of Northern Ireland’s largest non-EU trading partners and tourism markets, and the UK Government works closely with Invest Northern Ireland to support exporters and to promote Northern Ireland as a great place to visit, invest and do business.

Trade is just one way in which we can strengthen that deep and historic relationship as the UK leaves the EU. HMG has committed to a substantial programme of engagement on the UK’s future trade policy with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, to ensure that it reflects the needs and ambitions of the whole of the UK.

20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps his Department is taking to protect whiskey distillers in Northern Ireland from the imposition of tariffs after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK government recognises the vital role of the whiskey industry in Northern Ireland and are mindful of the potential impact of any current and future tariffs. In response to the current US tariffs on Irish Single Malt Whiskey, the UK government is working closely with the EU and US to support a negotiated settlement to the Airbus and Boeing disputes.

The UK government is committed to the long-term promotion of UK business interests on the international stage. We have had extensive engagement with the US administration on the issue of tariffs and continue to work closely with the EU, US and other WTO Members, to ensure our collective prosperity after the UK has left the EU.

20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans the Government has to support ceramic producers to increase exports after the UK leaves the EU.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) will support the ceramics sector as we develop the UK’s future trade policy, helping companies to maximise opportunities within markets around the world.

Ceramic companies can utilise DIT products and services to grow their businesses further. Support ranges from DIT missions and webinars, personalised advice from a local International Trade Adviser, and an online tool to find optimum online marketplaces for showcasing products internationally. Companies can also apply for grants to visit overseas trade shows.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the requirement from 6 April 2021 for truck drivers to take a covid-19 test when they enter the UK, what steps will be taken in the event of a positive result.

The Department for Transport has been providing COVID testing for hauliers at its network of Information and Advice Sites since January 2021 following the introduction of French government requirement for hauliers to have a negative test result before crossing the border. Since then, over 435,000 hauliers have been tested with a positivity rate of 0.2%.

A weekly summary of testing volumes and the positivity rates can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/haulier-coronavirus-testing.

The introduction of new testing requirements for hauliers in England on 6th April 2021 (requiring all hauliers operating in England for 48 hours or longer to be tested) is designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in England. Supressing imported cases of COVID-19 will mitigate the risks that Variants of Concern are introduced that may have greater transmissibility or potentially lesser susceptibility to vaccines. This is increasing important as domestic infection prevalence decreases and domestic restrictions are relaxed.

If a haulier tests positive for COVID-19, an additional PCR test is provided to the driver free of charge. If that is positive, they are instructed to self-isolate for ten days in accordance with the Government’s self-isolation regulations. Depending on where the haulier is based, self-isolation can take place at a property of the haulier’s choosing in the UK or in a Government-provided hotel at no cost to the haulier. Anyone travelling or living with the haulier is also required to self-isolate.  After the ten days and providing they are free of COVID-19 symptoms, the haulier receives proof to show they have completed the isolation period and are then free to continue their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with British Airways on greenhouse gas emissions; and what steps he is taking to promote more fuel efficient aircraft.

The Government is working with the aviation and aerospace sectors on a range of measures to support the decarbonisation of aviation.

The Government is investing £1.95bn in aerospace R&D between 2013 to 2026 through the ATI programme. In addition, we have recently launched the ‘Green Fuels, Green Skies’ competition, which will provide £15m to support the early development of first-of-a-kind production plants, with the aim of producing sustainable aviation fuel at scale in the UK.

British Airways are a member of the Jet Zero Council, the Plenary of which met again on 16 March 2021. The Jet Zero Council was established to take decisive action on our commitments to achieve net zero aviation with the aim of delivering zero-emission transatlantic flight within a generation.

In the coming months, we will be consulting on our strategy on net zero aviation, setting out the steps we will take to achieve our net zero commitment.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made representations to HS2 Ltd to support measures to encourage HS2 Ltd's contractors to use 100 per cent renewable diesel to improve air quality on and near those constructions sites.

Air quality requirements for HS2 are set during the parliamentary stages of the Bills for each phase of the railway. These reflect any relevant legal requirements or wider strategic governmental goals, and build on the air quality impact assessments and conclusions reported in the relevant Environmental Statements.

Measures to mitigate air quality effects on Phase One of HS2 are set out in Chapter 7 of the Code of Construction Practice, and in Information Paper E31 (air quality). These measures include emission standards and targets for all Heavy Goods Vehicles and Light Duty Vehicles used in construction, plus best practice measures to control construction site dust.

Within that framework, actual decisions on fuel purchases for construction sites and vehicles, are taken by contractors rather than HS2 Ltd. HS2 Ltd is, however, running an innovation project to test a range of biofuels. The findings of this project will help establish the benefits provided by such fuels, and in due course be used to inform contractors’ decisions.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of (a) respiratory problems and (b) deaths that may be caused by the air pollution created by the use of fossil diesel in the construction of HS2.

The Environmental Statements produced for each phase of HS2 include an assessment of any significant air quality effects associated with building the railway.

No health problems are anticipated as a result of emissions from the use of fossil diesel in the construction of HS2. As stated at para 4.7 of HS2 Phase One Information Paper E31 (air quality):

“Where an effect on air quality [in the relevant Environmental Statement] is described as significant at a particular location, this is with respect to the air quality legislation, and does not denote a significant effect on human health. Much larger changes in air quality than are predicted as a consequence of the scheme would be needed to cause significant impacts on health at the level of an individual person.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/672406/E31_-_Air_Quality_v1.5.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government's Clean Air Strategy applies to HS2 Ltd; and what recent representations he has made to HS2 Ltd on its air quality responsibilities.

Air quality requirements for HS2 are set during the parliamentary stages of the Bills for each phase of the railway. These reflect any relevant legal requirements or wider strategic governmental goals - such as the Clean Air Strategy - and build on the air quality impact assessments and conclusions reported in the relevant Environmental Statements.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps (a) he and (b) HS2 Ltd is taking to ensure that measurements are taken of the air particulate matter and emissions footprint of HS2 Ltd’s contractors along the route of the Phase One part of that project.

HS2 air quality requirements form part of the HS2 project’s overall Environmental Minimum Requirements. HS2 Ltd monitor and assure their contractors’ performance with respect to air quality impacts, and provide monthly compliance dashboards to relevant local authorities. High level management information, including any breaches, is also supplied to the Department on a monthly basis. HS2 Ltd also publishes an annual air quality report, which is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/monitoring-the-environmental-effects-of-hs2.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) obligations and (b) targets relating to air particulate matter and emissions (i) HS2 Ltd and (ii) HS2 Ltd's contractors have under the Government’s Clean Air Strategy.

Air quality requirements for HS2 are set during the parliamentary stages of the Bills for each phase of the railway. These reflect any relevant legal requirements or wider strategic governmental goals, and build on the air quality impact assessments and conclusions reported in the relevant Environmental Statements.

Measures to mitigate air quality effects on Phase One of HS2 are set out in Chapter 7 of the Code of Construction Practice, and in Information Paper E31 (air quality). These measures include emission standards and targets for all Heavy Goods Vehicles and Light Duty Vehicles used in construction, plus best practice measures to control construction site dust. HS2 Ltd’s Air Quality Strategy, monthly monitoring reports and annual air quality reports can be found online at www.gov.uk/government/collections/monitoring-the-environmental-effects-of-hs2.

HS2 Ltd is also leading on a wide range of innovations to trial and roll out a range of low and zero emission plant and machinery on sites. Further information can be found in the published case studies online at www.hs2.org.uk/building-hs2/hs2-environment-facts/hs2-and-air-quality/.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what environmental impact assessment his Department has made of the (a) fuel choices of HS2 Ltd for it's construction sites and (b) use by HS2 Ltd of fossil-based diesel for it's heavy plant and transport.

The HS2 Environmental Statements contain reasonable worst-case assessments of the air quality and carbon impacts of the scheme, using assumptions about emissions that reflect the standards adopted by the project. Controls are in place to ensure that any significant effects reported in the Environmental Statements are not exceeded. Within that framework, actual decisions on fuel purchases for construction sites and vehicles, are taken by contractors rather than HS2 Ltd. HS2 Ltd is, however, running an innovation project to test a range of biofuels. The findings of this project will help establish the benefits provided by such fuels, and in due course be used to inform contractors’ decisions.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions (a) he and (b) HS2 Ltd has had with HS2 Ltd's contractors on their awareness of HS2 Ltd’s environmental obligations on site air quality and pollution.

HS2 environmental requirements, including with respect to air quality, are embedded into HS2 contractors through their contractual requirements and the project’s Environmental Minimum Requirements. Integrated project teams for delivering Phase One of the railway ensure close working between client and contractor. HS2 contractors are required to be highly aware of, and compliant with, their air quality requirements and have in many cases bettered the project’s rigorous standards through their own environmental leadership.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what is steps he is taking to protect cyclists from risk of injury as a result of potholes.

On the local road network, local highway authorities have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area. It is important that local highway authorities consider the needs of all road users, especially vulnerable groups such as cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, when planning their highway maintenance.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland responsibility for maintaining the highway rests with the respective devolved administration.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure motorway speed cameras are operational.

On the Strategic Road Network (SRN) in England, Highways England follows several steps to ensure motorway speed cameras are operational. This includes a rolling programme of routine maintenance, camera calibration, focusing supplier contracts on the prevention and rapid correction of faults, as well as monitoring faults to understand trends and root causes to proactively reduce their frequency. Highways England works closely with the Police toward the shared objective of increased compliance with speed limits. The provision and maintenance of motorway speed cameras in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the Devolved Administrations.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with car manufacturers on the fuel economy of hybrid cars.

I meet regularly with a range of organisations and individuals on the subject of transport decarbonisation. The Government recognises that hybrid cars and vans, both non-plug in and plug in, are an important technology in reducing emissions from road transport. While the environmental benefits of these vehicles depend on their use, they are amongst the cleanest vehicles on the market today and will contribute to our interim carbon reduction targets in the coming years. We are clear that the technologies on sale, and the market share of those technologies, must be compatible with achieving our 2050 net zero climate change target and long-term air quality goals.

The Government is taking a technology neutral approach to meeting our ambitions, but we are not outcome neutral. The end goal must be zero emissions from the tailpipe.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to (a) provide long term funding support to and (b) extend the powers of city region transport authorities after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed up to £27.3 million per week to support the bus sector in England, through the Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) Restart scheme. This funding - some of which is allocated to Local Transport Authorities, for tendered services - has no pre-agreed end date. The Government will work with bus operators and local authorities to review when it is appropriate to end the funding. We are also providing up to £67.8 million of funding for light rail services in Manchester, Tyne and Wear, Sheffield, West Midlands, Nottingham and Blackpool for the period from 27 October to the end of the 20/21 financial year.

The Government is also investing in city regions for the longer term. As announced at Budget and confirmed in the Spending Review, the Government is investing £4.2 billion in the transport networks of eight city regions across England from 22/23. This funding will be delivered through multi-year, consolidated transport settlements agreed with central government and based on plans put forward by city regions. The Government is currently engaging with the eligible city regions to understand their ambitions for this fund.

The Government wants to devolve and decentralise to give more power to local communities, providing an opportunity for all places to level up. That is why we intend to bring forward the Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper in due course. This will cover how the UK Government will partner with places across the UK to build a sustainable economic recovery and set out our plans for future devolution arrangements.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial support for bus services directly to local transport authorities rather than bus operators.

Local transport authorities do receive some Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) funding for tendered services. However, to ensure consistency with Bus Services Operators Grant (BSOG), the majority of CBSSG funding is paid directly to operators. The Government needs to be confident that the public transport system can restart swiftly as required. We do not believe that now is the right time to change our funding models.

We are also keen to avoid a situation where different funding models are operating in different parts of the country, which would cause additional challenges for cross-border services or operators whose businesses span multiple urban areas.

The allocation of CBSSG funding reflects the structure of the bus market and ensures that both Local Transport Authorities and operators have the funding they need to support up to 100% of pre-pandemic service levels, where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Local transport funding decisions are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Urban Transport Group and (b) city region transport authorities on funding support during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government officials and Ministers are in regular conversation with members of the Urban Transport Group and local transport authorities to understand the challenges faced by city region transport authorities in England in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. This engagement informs a range of Departmental policies, including the development and administration of Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) funding and Light Rail support funding. Local transport funding decisions are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with transport associations on regulating the size of so-called mega lorries.

There have been no meetings between the Secretary of State or junior ministers with transport associations specifically about larger lorries. Ministers have had many meetings with transport association representatives about policy issues in other contexts (for example responding or recovering from COVID-19 and EU transition). In some cases, the issue of permissible lorry dimensions has been discussed, including in relation to two proposals being consulted about related to longer semi-trailers and the maximum weights for certain intermodal journeys.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage lorry drivers on long journeys to take frequent rest breaks to improve safety on public roads.

The UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe. Lorry drivers must take rest breaks further to statutory drivers’ hours and other rules. Enforcement of these rules is an important priority, including for DVSA, to reduce the risk of drivers being involved in fatigue-related accidents.

The Government has also taken actions to help the supply of parking spaces for lorries. For example, in 2018 it revised the National Planning Policy Framework to strengthen policy on overnight lorry parking.

The Department has completed the first stage of a review of lorry parking policy and interventions, including stakeholder involvement. Work is ongoing to develop further measures in line with the review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the supply of electric cars in the UK.

The government is going further and faster than ever 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. These ambitions will be supported by an accompanying package of £2.8 billion.

The government has committed up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, including developing gigafactories in the UK to produce the batteries needed at scale. The government has committed the first £500m of this investment through the Automotive Transformation Fund to put the UK at the forefront of the design, development, and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles.

The government will invest £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid charge points on motorways and major roads to dash any anxiety around long journeys, and installing more on-street charge points near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

While we expect the cost of electric vehicles to come down, the government will provide £582 million to extend the plug-in car, van, taxi and motorcycle grants to 2022–23 to reduce their up-front cost. The government has also put in place a favourable tax regime that rewards the cleanest vehicles on our roads.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that electric scooters have a maximum speed of 20mph.

The Department is running trials of rental e-scooters to assess their safety and the impacts they have on the road. The regulations amend the existing legislation to treat e-scooters in trials largely like cycles and e-bikes. The e-scooters will be limited to 15.5 mph (the same as e-bikes). Privately-owned e-scooters remain illegal during trials regardless of their maximum speed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of (a) the numbers of people applying for a driving licence and (b) how many people have (i) passed and (ii) failed for each of the last five years.

Driver licensing and testing are devolved in Northern Ireland and are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Agency, part of the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure. The information provided is for licences issued and tests taken in Great Britain only.

The number of applications received by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for a provisional GB driving licence for the last five years is:

Year

Number of first applications for a provisional driving licence received

2015

1,138,274

2016

1,111,904

2017

1,120,611

2018

1,032,193

2019

1,067,265

The number of GB car driving tests passed and failed in the last five years is:

Year

Tests passed

Tests failed

2015/2016

723,303

487,153

2016/2017

815,005

539,647

2017/2018

795,732

533,101

2018/2019

761,749

508,634

2019/2020

734,432

495,775

These figures relate to the number of tests taken. Individual drivers may sit more than one driving test.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to prevent road death among people over 60.

Older Road Users are one of the Department for Transport’s four priority groups for road safety as outlined in our 2019 Road Safety Statement. Action focuses on support and advice for older people, and a programme of research including a review of the recommendations from the Older Drivers Task Force.

The Department continues to fund and support a number of organisations to help older people to continue to drive safely, to deliver advice and support to older drivers and to develop an Approved Driving Instructor training course that is specific to the needs of older drivers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to support carbon-free air travel.

The recently formed Jet Zero Council will focus on developing UK capability to deliver net zero emission commercial flight. This includes considering how to develop and industrialise clean aviation and aerospace technologies, establish UK production facilities for sustainable aviation fuels and develop a coordinated approach to the policy and regulatory framework needed to deliver net zero aviation by 2050.

The Government has a range of additional programmes to support research and technology on electric flight. These include the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme (£1.95 billion public funding commitment, 2013 to 2026) and the Future Flight Challenge (£125 million public funding).

The Government has also supported the establishment of an Innovation Hub within the Civil Aviation Authority which supports the regulator to engage with innovative companies - such as those developing electric flight - to bring products to market safely.

Recent changes to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation make renewable aviation fuels eligible for reward. The Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition makes £20 million of capital funding available to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels to be used in aeroplanes and lorries

We are planning to consult shortly to update the Government’s position on aviation and climate change. It is critical that aviation plays its part in delivering the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his strategy is on preventing e-scooters from adversely affecting pedestrians on footpaths.

In May the Government announced that trials of rental e-scooters would be brought forward to support local areas in the green restart of local travel and to build evidence about this new form of transport to inform longer term policy. In trial areas, rental e-scooters will not be allowed to be ridden on pavements as it is a long-established principle that vehicles are not permitted on the pavement, with the exception of mobility scooters. All e-scooter operators provide training – both via apps and in person – to instruct users of the rules and the potential consequences if caught committing an offence, which include fines of up to £300, up to 6 points being put on the user’s licence, as well as confiscation of the vehicle. Operators are also using geofencing technology where necessary to create ‘no ride zones’.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what regulations are in place to prevent e-scooters from causing an obstruction to pedestrians; and whether anti-social behaviour regulations can be applied to the misuse of e-scooters.

In May the Government announced that trials of rental e-scooters would be brought forward to support local areas in the green restart of local travel and to build evidence about this new form of transport to inform longer term policy. In trial areas, rental e-scooters will not be allowed to be ridden on pavements as it is a long established principle that vehicles are not permitted on the pavement, with the exception of mobility scooters. E-scooters continue to fall within the statutory definition of a motor vehicle. As such, users must have a driver licence, for example, and the police have powers to enforce the full range of motoring offences, such as dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police also have powers to fine users up to £600 and to place up to 6 points on a licence if, for example, a user is riding an e-scooter carelessly, and can confiscate the vehicle if the user is committing an offence. It would be a matter for the local police to determine whether anti-social behaviour offences were also applicable to any particular incident.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to help people who have outstanding claims for refunds for holidays and flights that were cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses are experiencing and the frustration consumers are feeling with regards to refunds for cancelled holidays and flights. The department has been clear that airlines should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner.

The Civil Aviation Authority undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, but balancing the support businesses need during this unprecedented situation.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on the location of speed cameras.

The Department’s circular ‘Using speed and red-light cameras for traffic enforcement: deployment, visibility and signing’ (DfT Circular 01/2007) was published 31 January 2007 to provide guidance and best practice advice on the deployment of speed and red-light cameras after 1 April 2007.

This advice was re-issued to all councils in 2015 and remains extant.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing late night driving restrictions for people aged under 21.

We are assessing the merits of safer driving measures for new and novice drivers, including guardian agreements for night time driving, as part of the Department’s £2 million Driver 2020 research project. This work aims to make young drivers safer, more confident and more skilful in their first year of driving through non-legislative, technical or educational measures with potential to lower their risk of collisions.? The project will complete in early 2022 due to being paused for coronavirus and will inform future thinking on young drivers’ policy.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to upgrade smaller train stations to ensure that all stations are accessible to people with disabilities.

We have made a further £350m available through the Access for All programme, which has been allocated to projects until 2024. In addition, if the industry installs, replaces or renews station infrastructure this will need to comply with current accessibility standards.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on equitable investment in major infrastructure projects.

DfT Ministers regularly discuss matters of mutual concern with their counterparts in the Devolved Administrations, including investment in transport infrastructure.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to promote walk to school days.

In England, the Department for Transport is making £225 million available to local authorities this financial year for urgent measures to make it easier for people to walk and cycle for all short journeys, including to school. This in addition to providing £1m for the Walk to School outreach programme delivered by Living Streets. The Department for Education has produced guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings. This guidance sets out that schools should ‘ensure parents and young people are aware of recommendations on transport to and from education or childcare settings’ and encourage parents and children and young people ‘to walk or cycle to their education setting where possible’. Any funding on top of the Department for Transport’s current budgets will have Barnett Consequentials applied in the usual way for Northern Ireland.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to protect public transport workers from covid-19.

The Department is working closely with the wider transport sector, including operators and trade unions, on the implementation of the Safer Transport guidance that aims to help organisations, agencies and others (such as self-employed transport providers) understand how to provide safe workplaces and services. The guidance sets out how employers can advise staff and passengers on maintaining good hand hygiene and on ways to keep their distance from other people as much as possible, including, for example, through using screens or staggering departures and arrival times. It also outlines that staff should wear a face covering when they are unable to maintain social distancing in passenger facing roles, while recognising that there will be exceptional circumstances when a staff member cannot wear a face covering, or when their task makes it sensible (based on a risk assessment) for them not to wear a face covering.

The Secretary of State for Transport is also committed to ensuring that every transport worker who requires testing has access. The Department is engaging closely with stakeholders and DHSC to ensure that a robust testing process is in place for transport workers, whilst recognising that priority needs to be given to patient care, front-line healthcare staff and social care workers. Everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with COVID-19 symptoms can get tested. Antigen testing, or testing for current infection, is currently available through home delivery kits, regional test sites, satellite sites and mobile testing centres throughout the country.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with his Northern Irish counterpart on introduction of Urby buses with wifi and tables; and what assessment has he made of the potential merits of those buses in attracting younger people to use public transport.

The Secretary of State spoke with Nichola Mallon MLA on February 27 and both parties agreed to work constructively together on many of the cross-cutting issues in transport.

The Department will continue to engage with counterparts from the devolved administrations, including Northern Ireland, around the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, which includes buses. Previous engagement has included a programme of Roundtables and bilateral working.

The Government is continuously assessing ways to improve public transport across the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating additional ringfenced funding to support rural bus routes.

The Government recognises the importance that public transport has for the sustainability and independence of communities, which is why we are providing a £20 million Rural Mobility Fund to support demand responsive services in rural and suburban areas and a further £30 million of funding to improve current services and restore lost services affected by COVID-19.

This is on top of the annual £43 million Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) directly paid to local authorities so that they can subsidise socially necessary bus services and the Rural Services Delivery Grant which in 2019/2020 provided £81 million.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he had with representatives from (a) airlines and (b) airports before the introduction of the covid-19 quarantine restrictions.

The Secretary of State for Transport and I have held regular meetings with the aviation sector where self-isolation has been discussed.

Department for Transport officials?have also?engaged with the aviation sector on this issue?and will continue to do so.?This includes working with?senior?representatives?from the aviation industry as?part of the Aviation Restart and Recovery Expert Steering Group. This group serves as the working group for the International Aviation Taskforce – one of five sectoral taskforces announced by the Government on 13 May to support the development of guidelines for safely reopening?businesses.

Officials have also held regular implementation meetings with the aviation sector prior to the introduction of self-isolation measures.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on quarantine for people entering the UK of the COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol published by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on 20 May 2020.

A number of EU Member States have border restrictions currently in place, including requirements for quarantine and self-isolation. EASA published operational guidance for the aviation sector on 20 May. It aims to support airports and airlines to put in place health measures to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 during air travel for passengers and staff as far as possible, such as through enhanced hygiene practices and social distancing in airports where possible. However, it recognises that the risk of transmission cannot be fully eliminated. The UK published its own aviation health guidance on 11 June.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the effect of the covid-19 quarantine on the aviation industry.

The decision to introduce these regulations, which form part of the wider border measures package, was taken in close consultation across a number of departments. The Secretary of State for Transport has held extensive discussions with Cabinet colleagues.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has made to the Home Secretary on the effect of covid-19 quarantine measures on the aviation industry.

Ministers have held extensive discussions about the effect of self-isolation measures on the aviation industry with the Home Secretary. This has included discussion of the exemption of key transport workers from the measures.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of covid-19 quarantine measures on (a) airline companies and (b) airports.

The Department for Transport has ensured the economic impact assessment, led by the Treasury, reflects the impacts the measures will have on the transport sector and the wider economy, and ensured specific and targeted exemptions to mitigate the impact.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken with the Home Secretary to consult businesses on the exemptions list for covid-19 quarantine measures.

The Department has worked collectively with the Home Office to ensure consultation with stakeholders, including discussions with senior industry figures across the travel sector. This has allowed the Department to understand the impact on their businesses and operations.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on mitigating the financial effect of covid-19 quarantine measures on the aviation industry.

The Government continues to support businesses through one of the most generous economic packages provided anywhere in the world.? If businesses find themselves in severe and urgent financial difficulties, even following these unprecedented support measures, then we remain open to discussion about bespoke financial support, but only as a last resort. Any intervention would need to be on terms to protect the interests of taxpayers.

The Department for Transport worked with the Treasury on its economic impact assessment to help it reflect the impacts the measures will have on the transport sector and the wider economy.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring adequate consultations with representatives from (a) airlines, (b) ferry companies, (c) Eurostar, (d) ports and (e) airports on the implementation of quarantine measures during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has worked in close collaboration with the Home Office to ensure adequate consultation with representatives of airlines, ferry companies, Eurostar, ports and airports regarding the implementation of quarantine measures during the Covid-19 outbreak. This has included identifying applicable exemptions from the self-isolation requirements.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to bring forward further legislative proposals to help tackle child poverty.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of guidance to people in receipt of a pension on avoiding poverty in retirement.

Pension Wise and The Pensions Advisory Service provide free, impartial guidance to help inform individuals of their pension options. Supporting individuals to make considered decisions regarding their pension savings and income in retirement is of the utmost importance.

Pension Wise evaluates its service annually. In 2019/20, Pension Wise appointment customers were extremely satisfied with the service with 94% being very or fairly satisfied with their overall experience in 2019/20. Nine in ten appointment customers (91%) agree that Pension Wise helped them to consider their pension access options more thoroughly. A similar proportion (89%) felt they learned something new from using the service. These findings suggest that Pension Wise can help customers make better-informed decisions when accessing their pension pots, which is the key aim of the service.

The Government is committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. For current pensioners, this includes the contribution of the Triple Lock, the new State Pension and Pension Credit. As a result of the Triple Lock, the full yearly basic State Pension is now over £1,900 a year higher than in 2010, in cash terms. From this April, it will be £2,050 higher. In 2018/19 there were 100,000 fewer pensioners in absolute low income poverty than in 2009/10.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to employment support, disability benefits, financial support; food, medicines, as well as accessible communications and updated guidance.

We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit works with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19.

The Government will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the government is taking to support disabled people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to employment support, disability benefits, financial support; food, medicines, as well as accessible communications and updated guidance.

We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit works with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19.

The Government will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of waiting times for work capability assessment referral.

Statistics on Work Capability Assessments for Universal Credit are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Whilst the initial statistics will not have median clearance times, these will be developed for publication in due course. There are no plans to provide these statistics by medical condition.

Statistics on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessment (WCA) outcomes are published quarterly. The latest figures covering the median end-to-end clearance time, which includes ‘claim registration to WCA referral’ by month of clearance up to March 2020, can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

UC claimants are generally referred for a work capability assessment at day 29 of their health-related claim. If the claimant has certain conditions (e.g. pregnant and risk to self or child) or are undergoing certain treatments (e.g. chemotherapy) they will be referred for a WCA earlier.

Once referred claimants are issued a capability for work questionnaire (UC50). Claimants have 4 weeks to complete and return this along with any supporting evidence to the Health Assessment Advisory Service (HAAS).

Once received at HAAS, the information is reviewed by a Healthcare Professional (HCP). The HCP will determine if there is enough information to enable the case to be cleared on scrutiny. This may include contacting other professionals who support the claimant, such as their GP or Consultant, for supporting evidence. If the HCP is unable to clear by paper scrutiny a face-to-face assessment is scheduled.

Due to Coronavirus restrictions claimants may experience a longer wait for their assessment, and may be asked to attend a telephone assessment while face-to-face assessments remain suspended. If, following an assessment, we decide that the claimant is entitled to extra benefit, we will pay any arrears owed.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of publishing condition specific processing times for work capability assessments referrals from universal credit.

Statistics on Work Capability Assessments for Universal Credit are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Whilst the initial statistics will not have median clearance times, these will be developed for publication in due course. There are no plans to provide these statistics by medical condition.

Statistics on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessment (WCA) outcomes are published quarterly. The latest figures covering the median end-to-end clearance time, which includes ‘claim registration to WCA referral’ by month of clearance up to March 2020, can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

UC claimants are generally referred for a work capability assessment at day 29 of their health-related claim. If the claimant has certain conditions (e.g. pregnant and risk to self or child) or are undergoing certain treatments (e.g. chemotherapy) they will be referred for a WCA earlier.

Once referred claimants are issued a capability for work questionnaire (UC50). Claimants have 4 weeks to complete and return this along with any supporting evidence to the Health Assessment Advisory Service (HAAS).

Once received at HAAS, the information is reviewed by a Healthcare Professional (HCP). The HCP will determine if there is enough information to enable the case to be cleared on scrutiny. This may include contacting other professionals who support the claimant, such as their GP or Consultant, for supporting evidence. If the HCP is unable to clear by paper scrutiny a face-to-face assessment is scheduled.

Due to Coronavirus restrictions claimants may experience a longer wait for their assessment, and may be asked to attend a telephone assessment while face-to-face assessments remain suspended. If, following an assessment, we decide that the claimant is entitled to extra benefit, we will pay any arrears owed.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Health and Safety Executive will remain the competent authority for inspection and enforcement of biocide regulations after the transition period.

The competent authority role in relation to biocides approvals and authorisations formally rests with the Secretary of State and Ministers in the Devolved Administrations where appropriate. These functions are delegated by agreement to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and these arrangements will continue to apply for Great Britain after the transition period.

HSE Northern Ireland (HSENI) will be the competent authority for Northern Ireland. HSE’s and HSENI’s role in inspection and enforcement will remain unchanged.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
What plans she has to review the equity of state pension ages for women.

We committed in legislation to undertake a review of State Pension age every six years, which means that the statutory deadline for the publication of the next Government review is 2023.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that the State Pension system protects current pensioners, is affordable, sustainable and fair to future tax payers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to monitoring the effectiveness of its systems in managing increased demand during the covid-19 outbreak; and what data her Department holds on (a) processing times and (b) payment timeliness across all benefits during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has a robust and effective performance management regime, tracking performance across all social security benefits using a range of metrics. When COVID-19 struck in mid-March, we accelerated our normal reporting from monthly or weekly, to be able to track the daily profiles of incoming work and telephone calls and support a focus on managing significantly increased demand on key benefits.

We do hold data on benefit processing times, and publish an annual view in the Annual Report and Accounts, which is published here: Annual Report and Accounts. We also publish data on key benefits such as Universal Credit payment timeliness, which is published here: Universal Credit 2013-2020 and on PIP processing times which is published here:

PIP Statistics.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking through the benefits system to support vulnerable claimants with cancer during the covid-19 outbreak.

  • The Department is committed to ensuring people affected by cancer are supported in a sensitive, fair and appropriate way.

  • In Employment and Support Allowance a light touch evidence gathering process exists, to help determine eligibility. Claimants should not delay making a claim because of difficulties in providing supporting medical information. We will continue to process claims and work with customers to gather the best supporting evidence available.

  • We’ve suspended award reviews and DLA to PIP reassessment activity and extended existing awards to ensure they don’t go out of payment. We have also suspended all routine award reviews and re-assessments of disability additions in Universal Credit.

  • Supporting people who are terminally ill remains an absolute priority for the Department and we will continue to fast track terminally ill claimants to higher rates of award.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her department has taken to help ensure that decision making on new claims for disability benefits continues during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s immediate focus has been supporting people impacted by COVID-19 by putting claims into payment as quickly as possible and being flexible in our response to the challenges claimants are facing while keeping them safe.

I should emphasis that for all disability benefits, people should not delay making a claim because of difficulties in providing supporting medical information. We will continue to process claims and work with claimants to gather the best supporting evidence available.

We are continuing to refer people making new claims for disability benefits to health assessments. Where it is not possible to complete an assessment based on the paper evidence, a telephony assessment will be arranged where possible and appropriate.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on granting early access to the state pension for women reaching state pension age in 2020-21 in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Unlike a personal or workplace pension, which is payable at the scheme's normal pension age and that can potentially be drawn earlier on grounds of ill health, it has always been the case that nobody can claim their State Pension before they reach their State Pension age.

The welfare system continues to provide a safety-net for those experiencing hardship, including that caused by unemployment, disability, and coping with caring responsibilities, which affect those unable to work and therefore most in need in the run up to their State Pension age.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the outcomes were of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent visits to the (a) Democratic Republic of the Congo and (b) South Sudan.

A) The Archbishop of Canterbury visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo in November 2019 when he spent four days travelling to see Ebola treatment centres and meet doctors, patients and survivors. The Archbishop's Office has been working with aid agencies to promote resources and best practice for clergy who are working in areas of outbreak. On 4th February 2020 the Archbishop released a statement of concern following a new wave of violence leading to the death of 70 civilians in Deni. Among those killed was the Reverend Yese Ngulongo and others within the local Christian community. The Archbishop called on local and international leaders to pursue a comprehensive strategy to bring lasting peace and reconciliation to the country.

B) The Archbishop and His Holiness Pope Francis remain committed to finding a peaceful way forward in South Sudan, and the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches have been jointly at the forefront of efforts to bring peace to the country. The Church is encouraged that some progress appears to be being made and the ceasefire is holding. However concerns remain that the South Sudanese Principals have not yet been able to find ways to resolve outstanding pre-transitional issues. While this situation continues it will be very difficult for His Holiness and the Archbishop to visit the country, which they have committed to doing together. Conversations are ongoing at an international level to encourage those in Government to use their power to find solutions that would enable all South Sudanese peoples to return home.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the outcomes were of the recent Anglican Primates meeting in Jordan.

The Anglican Primates Meeting took place in Jordan in January 2020. The Primates of the Anglican Communion are Archbishops, Presiding Bishops, Moderators and chief pastors of the 40 provinces. Their Churches are autonomous yet inter-dependent in their relationships with each other.

The 33 Primates who attended the meeting discussed preparations for the Lambeth Conference 2020 and also approved the formation of the new province of Alexandria, which covers Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. They also discussed the proposal for the creation of the new province of the Church of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The full communique can be read here: https://aco.org/media/355576/primates-meeting-2020-communique.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to provide financial support to women born in the 1950's who are subject to the changes to the state pension age.

Changes to State Pension age were made over a series of Acts by successive governments from 1995 onwards; including the Coalition 2010-2015, Labour 1997-2010 and the Conservatives 1995-1997, following public consultations and extensive debates in both Houses of Parliament. Through the welfare system, the Government is committed to providing financial support for people at every stage of their life, including when they near or reach retirement.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the correlation between covid-19 infection and an increase in antibodies after contracting that virus.

For the vast majority of people, COVID-19 induces a robust antibody response to natural infection within three weeks, which persists through to around three to six months. People with recent COVID-19 infection experience greater antibody levels following one dose of vaccine than those without recent infection. Work is ongoing to determine whether antibodies generated against currently prevalent COVID-19 variants will also protect against new variants. The correlate of protection for COVID-19 is not known yet, but evidence to date suggests that the levels of antibody strongly correlate with protection against future infections.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of using smart bandages for treating wounds.

The National Wound Care Strategy Programme (NWCSP) has been commissioned by NHS England to improve the prevention and care of pressure ulcers, lower limb ulcers and surgical wounds. Its mission is to implement a consistently high standard of wound care across England, reducing unnecessary variation, improving safety and by optimising patient experience and outcomes.

To date, we are unaware of any robust research evidence to support the use of ‘smart bandages’ as a standard clinically and cost-effective therapeutic intervention but will continue to seek evidence about such potentially beneficial innovations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timeframe is for timescale for the allocation of increased payments to victims of the contaminated blood scandal.

We anticipate that increases to payments will be made by the end of the calendar year.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the prescription of antipsychotic drugs.

General practitioners or other responsible clinicians should work with their patient and decide on the course of treatment, with the provision of the most clinically appropriate care for the individual always being the primary consideration.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the UK is prepared for future pandemics.

The 2011 ‘UK Influenza Preparedness Strategy’ contains objectives for coordinating a national response to an influenza pandemic, which has been assessed as and remains the greatest natural hazard risk on the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies. We continually review these plans will be incorporating lessons learned from COVID-19 to ensure our preparedness plans remain robust. The Government also established the UK Health Security Agency in April 2021 to protect the country from future health threats.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether certain variants of covid-19 are less susceptible to vaccines.

All currently deployed COVID-19 vaccines in the United Kingdom are effective against the prevalent strains in the country.

Public Health England has published early estimates of vaccine effectiveness which includes the United Kingdom variant of concern VOC202012/01 and has shown no substantial change in vaccine effectiveness against this variant, which is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the UK. If other emerging variants do reduce vaccine efficacy, it would still be anticipated that the vaccines currently in deployment would continue to provide protection to some extent.

The Government are already taking several steps to understand the efficacy of the current UK vaccine portfolio against new and emerging virus variants. This includes a partnership with CureVac to develop a variation of an existing vaccine tailored to the most appropriate variant target.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have suffered from hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of being infected with covid-19.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what research is being undertaken on personalised medicine to detect genes that make people more vulnerable to strokes and heart attacks.

The Centre for Cardiovascular Genetics group at University College London has focused on genes coding for key proteins that are involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in the control of thrombosis and haemostasis. The Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic research at the University of Reading is investigating mechanisms responsible for the influence of common gene on the cardiovascular phenotype


The University of Cambridge has recently completed the first major study into genetics of lacunar stroke. This type of stroke affects the small blood vessels in the brain and causes 25% of strokes and is the major cause of vascular dementia. The United Kingdom is carrying out a number of projects to look at other genes causing familial stroke including the National Health Service funded 100,000 Genomes project.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of the recent study by the University of Rochester that caffeine consumed during pregnancy can alter the structure of an unborn baby's brain; and whether his Department has plans to undertake further research on the effects of caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) keeps under review the evolving body of credible scientific evidence on the safety of food including caffeine and advises the Government if any action is needed.

The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is an independent scientific committee that provides advice to the Food Standards Agency on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals. Current Government advice on caffeine consumption during pregnancy is based on the COT evaluation of the evidence. The COT is currently undergoing a review of various chemicals in relation to maternal health during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. Caffeine will be reviewed as part of this work.

Therefore, the FSA does not consider that any action in relation to the safety of caffeine is needed at the present time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to prioritise elite level athletes for early covid-19 vaccinations in light of the progress of the vaccination programme.

If elite level athletes are captured in phase one or two of the programme due to age or clinical need, then they will be vaccinated accordingly. However, we are not currently planning to prioritise elite level athletes for COVID-19 vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) HS2 Ltd on (i) ensuring acceptable air quality levels on that project and (ii) respiratory health support for affected communities and site workers.

While there have been no specific discussions, HS2 Ltd has a rigorous occupational health process setting requirements and promoting innovations, to further reduce emissions from construction machinery and vehicles and the impact on communities and reducing workforce exposure.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of skin swab testing for early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), as the independent body with responsibility for developing evidence-based guidance for the health and care system, has not made an assessment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of obesity on the intensity of covid-19 (a) symptoms and (b) mortality rate.

Public Health England published a report reviewing the evidence relating to COVID-19 and its association with obesity in July 2020. The review found an increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 in people living with obesity or morbid obesity. The evidence suggests that excess weight is associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation, advanced levels of treatment and death from COVID-19. The risks increase progressively with increasing body mass index above the healthy weight range. The report is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excess-weight-and-covid-19-insights-from-new-evidence

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of vaccinating secondary pupils against covid-19; and whether tests on children aged over 11 have been undertaken on the safety of the covid-19 vaccine for that age group.

At present, there is very limited data on vaccination in adolescents with no data on vaccination in younger children. The Joint Commission on Vaccination and Immunisation advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination as part of phase one. The Green Book also sets out that children under 16 years of age, even if they are clinically extremely vulnerable, are at low risk of serious morbidity and mortality and given the absence of safety and efficacy data on the vaccine, are not recommended for vaccination. Vaccine trials including on those under 18 years old are the responsibility of vaccine developers. We are aware of a number of planned COVID-19 vaccine trials in children and will monitor the results closely.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on ensuring nurses are offered a pay rise of at least 2 per cent.

The Department for Health and Social Care and HM Treasury work closely throughout the Pay Review Body process.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome in each of the last three years.

The data is not collected in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with dysphagia in each of the last three years.

The data is not collected in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the decision to reject the use of the drug Abiraterone to tackle prostate cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for providing evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service in England on whether medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE published technology appraisal guidance in 2016 that recommends abiraterone for some patients with prostate cancer and is currently appraising abiraterone for the treatment of newly diagnosed high risk metastatic hormone-naive prostate cancer. NICE issued draft guidance for consultation for this appraisal in January 2021, which states that NICE is unable to recommend abiraterone as an effective use of NHS resources.


NICE will carefully consider the comments received in response to its latest draft guidance in developing its final recommendations. As NICE is an independent body it would not be appropriate for Ministers to intervene in the development of its recommendations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that GPs are able to identify (a) asthma and (b) ME patients for the covid-19 vaccine through their medical records.

To assist general practitioners (GPs) identify patients eligible for a vaccine in each priority cohort, NHS Digital has aligned specifications for the identification of patients via their medical records with GP system suppliers. Asthma sufferers will be identified through this system and invited to make an appointment when the vaccination programme has reached their respective priority cohort.

To date, chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) has not been identified as either a condition that makes an individual clinically extremely vulnerable or as a condition that would place an individual at increased clinical risk from COVID-19. GPs will therefore not specifically be identifying CFS/ME patients for COVID-19 vaccines via their medical records. It is more likely that patients with CFS/ME will be offered COVID-19 vaccines because they are eligible through other means such as their age, or they have other underlying health issues that would put them at increased clinical risk.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have transitioned in each of the last three years.

This information is not available in the format requested. Transitioning is individual to each patient and no end point is defined.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to create more (a) training and (b) employment opportunities for student nurses.

In September 2020, we made a new funding package of at least £5,000 available to all eligible pre-registration nursing students at an English University. The next iteration of the NHS People Plan will set out the needs of the National Health Service making sure we put the right measures in place to support and grow the workforce. An additional £15 million has also been made available through Health Education England to increase clinical placements in the NHS to support this growth.

We are also seeking to widen participation by ensuring that there are opportunities available for those who are unable to learn through a full-time degree. The Nursing Associate role and the Nurse Degree Apprenticeship in England provide work-based training routes into the registered nursing profession.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of covid-19 patients that have required dialysis in a clinical setting since March 2020.

The United Kingdom Renal Registry collects data on the number of patients in a dialysis facility who have COVID-19. This data has been collected in two time periods. From 1 April to 31 August 2020, 2,339 of in-centre haemodialysis patients had a diagnosis of COVID-19 in England. From 1 September 2020 to 3 March 2021, the figure was 3,566.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on the rollout of a covid-19 mental health recovery strategy for children and young people.

During November 2020, we published our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19, which set out the support available for individuals, including children and young people. The Government will publish an action plan setting out further measures to respond to and mitigate the impacts on mental health of COVID-19 across the population, including children and young people, in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of extent of the backlog in referrals for pulmonary rehabilitation services; and what his Department's timescale is for tackling that backlog.

As pulmonary rehabilitation data is not routinely collected, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with the newly established Respiratory Clinical Networks to understand the backlog that services face and to develop plans for how they can support systems to restore services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of a person's weight on the level of risk for Alzheimer's disease.

Around a third of dementia cases are thought to be attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors. To reduce the risk of dementia the Government recommends eating a healthy diet as depicted in the Eatwell Guide; maintaining a healthy weight; exercising regularly; not drinking too much alcohol; stopping smoking; and keeping blood pressure at a healthy level.

The Challenge on Dementia 2020 commitments included action on risk reduction and messaging has been incorporated in the National Health Service Health Check for all eligible adults in England aged 40-74 years old to increase dementia awareness and motivate people in midlife to make positive changes to reduce the risks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of missed diagnoses of (a) asthma, (b) COPD, (c) interstitial lung disease and (d) other respiratory diseases since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

No such estimate has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the risk of exposure to covid-19 for patients who receive (a) dialysis in a clinical setting and (b) home-based dialysis.

No specific assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the frequency of dialysis treatment on patients who are receiving (a) dialysis in a clinical setting and (b) home-based dialysis.

No specific assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effectiveness of vaccine passports.

The Government is currently reviewing whether COVID-19 status certification could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. This will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-19 secure mitigations. The Government will also consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of this approach and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. It will draw on external advice to develop recommendations that take into account any social and economic impacts and implications for disproportionately impacted groups and individuals’ privacy and security.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of people of hospital being treated for (a) covid-19 and (b) other reasons in each region of the UK in each of the last 12 months.

Data on the percentage of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and for other reasons is attached. Data is only available for England from August 2020 – January 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to publish the Government’s vaccine strategy.

The publication of England’s national vaccine strategy has been delayed as a result of our ongoing focus on responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has been kept under review and we are now in the process of refreshing the strategy to reflect changes brought by the pandemic, as well as the inclusion of new developments from the COVID-19 vaccine and the extended National Health Service flu programme. This work is ongoing and the vaccine strategy will be published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of NHS provision of home bowel testing kits to people who are over 50 during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have no plans to make such an assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to monitor the effectiveness of existing covid-19 vaccines against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Public Health England has published early estimates of vaccine effectiveness which includes the United Kingdom variant of concern VOC202012/01, which is available at the following link:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.01.21252652v1

The 2021 Budget provided an extra £1.65 billion for the COVID-19 vaccination programme. This included £28 million to increase the UK’s capacity for vaccine testing, support for clinical trials and improve the ability to rapidly acquire samples of new variants of COVID-19 and £22 million for a world-leading study to test the effectiveness of combinations of different vaccines. This will also fund the world’s first study assessing the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to improve the response against current and future variants of COVID-19. A further £5 million investment in clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing has been allocated to create a ‘library’ of vaccines that will work against COVID-19 variants for possible rapid response deployment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to monitor the effectiveness of different covid-19 vaccines in different age groups.

Public Health England (PHE) is monitoring vaccine effectiveness in all eligible groups.

PHE has published an assessment on vaccine effectiveness in adults aged 70 years and older and in healthcare workers, which is available at the following link:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.01.21252652v1

As the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues in younger age groups, vaccine effectiveness estimates in these age groups will be published.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of non-invasive prenatal testing on levels of abortions of babies with Down's syndrome.

The national evaluative roll out for non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) as a contingent screening test as part of the NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme is yet to be implemented. Therefore, no recent assessment has been made of the effect of NIPT on levels of abortions of babies with Down’s syndrome.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies of the University of London's recent study finding that eating at least two portions of fish a week was associated with a fifty percent reduction in the risk that a child would develop asthma between the ages of 11 and 14 if they carried a certain version of the FADS gene.

Public Health England has not made a formal assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to recent MS register survey data indicating that three quarters of people said they would benefit from more advice that the covid-19 vaccine is safe, whether he has had discussions with relevant professionals on the safety of that vaccine for people with multiple sclerosis.

The Government is advised on the safety and efficacy of vaccines for the population as a whole and for those with a range of conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), by independent scientists, including those from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Commission on Human Medicines Expert Advisory Group.

The Department and its partners also work closely with stakeholders from the scientific community and provide regular updates to all our stakeholders on the COVID-19 vaccine programme, to support them with their own communications about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. The Department chairs a regular meeting with United Kingdom patient support charities to discuss COVID-19 vaccine programme, which has previously been attended by Nick Moberly, Chief Executive of the MS Society. The agenda for these meetings has includes vaccine efficacy and safety for the range of patient groups represented.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women have had IVF treatment in each of the last three years; and in how many of those cases was the treatment successful.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have advised that the last three years that full data is available, including outcomes of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, are 2016-2018. The following table shows the number of patients having IVF treatment and the number of successful cycles.

Year of Treatment

Patient Count

Cycles

Live Births

2016

51,219

68,064

19,122

2017

52,157

69,733

19,978

2018

51,165

69,137

19.604

Source: HFEA

Note:

The data is as shown on the HFEA’s register on 12 December 2020. This is a live database, so these figures reflect the data on this day and are likely to change over time.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support the Health and Care Service in Northern Ireland during the covid-19 outbreak.

The United Kingdom Government is working closely with the Northern Ireland Executive and the other devolved administrations to support their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Engagement at Ministerial level between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive has occurred weekly over the course of the pandemic. Significant collaboration and engagement at official level has also taken place across key areas, including deployment of the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, testing programme, non-pharmaceutical interventions and supply of personal protective equipment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to make niraparib available through the NHS for treatment of ovarian cancer.

In July 2018, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidance on niraparib. NICE recommended niraparib for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) as an option for treating relapsed, platinum-sensitive high-grade serious epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer, that has responded to the most recent course of platinum-based chemotherapy in adults who have had two or more courses of platinum-based chemotherapy. Niraparib is now available to National Health Service patients through the CDF in line with this guidance.

In addition, NICE issued final draft guidance in January 2021 that recommends niraparib for use within the CDF for the maintenance treatment of advanced ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer after response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Niraparib is funded through the CDF for eligible patients in line with NICE’s final draft recommendations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for continuing to commission healthcare services from the private sector to increase capacity during the covid-19 outbreak.

The previous national contracts with independent hospitals expired at the end of December 2020 and were replaced by new national contracts to cover January, February and March 2021. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue to work to secure all appropriate inpatient capacity and other resource across England.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) women and (b) men who have died by suicide since March 2020; and what the breakdown is by age group of those people.

No such estimate has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many young people were diagnosed with an eating disorder between March and December 2020.

The information is not held in the format requested. The access and waiting time standard for children and young people with eating disorders is measured from when an individual starts treatment, rather than by diagnosis.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has commissioned research on the effect of consuming nuts on protecting against dementia.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition published a position statement on diet, cognitive impairment and dementias in 2018. The statement concluded that there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions on the association between diet, including the effect of eating nuts, on cognitive impairment or dementia. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-statement-on-diet-cognitive-impairment-and-dementia

The statement broadly supports existing advice to eat a healthy diet as depicted in the Eatwell Guide. However, the report indicates that, overall, there is not currently enough evidence to support a relationship between diet and the prevention of dementia.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have undergone gastric bypass surgery to treat type 2 diabetes.

The information is not available in the format requested.

It is not possible to determine from collected data whether the gastric bypass surgical procedures were undertaken in order to treat type 2 diabetes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there have been customs declaration problems with the flow of medical devices imported into Northern Ireland via Great Britain since 1 January 2021.

While there have been isolated and limited instances of interruption to a small number of supplies caused by new customs processes, the borders are working well and medicines have not seen widespread disruption. We continue to work closely with the Border and Protocol Delivery Group, Department for Transport and others across Government to monitor the flow across the borders.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has received recent representations on the effectiveness of the prolonged use of anti-depressants prescribed for long-term back pain.

A search of the Department’s Ministerial correspondence database has identified no specific representations received recently on this topic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the (a) Royal College of Nursing and (b) other bodies on the effect of coffee on the risk of prostate cancer.

We have had no specific discussions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to introduce vaccine passports for people who have been vaccinated against covid-19.

The Government announced on 22 February that it will review whether COVID-19 status certification could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. This will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk, and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-19 secure mitigations.

The Government will also consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of this approach and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. It will draw on external advice to develop recommendations that take into account any social and economic impacts, and implications for disproportionately impacted groups and individuals’ privacy and security.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had experts on the use of covid-19 blood plasma to help treat people with covid-19.

Convalescent plasma was trialled as a treatment for COVID-19 in hospitalised patients in the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP trial platforms in the United Kingdom. The interim analysis from both trials on 7 January 2021 revealed no benefit of convalescent plasma for patients with severe disease including patients requiring mechanical ventilation and organ support.

The RECOVERY trial closed recruitment on 15 January and reported no overall mortality benefit for other hospitalised patients. However, both trials are continuing to analyse the data, as it is possible that convalescent plasma could provide clinical benefit for specific sub-groups of patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Royal College of Nursing on early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease through identification of vulnerable brain cells.

The Department has had no such recent discussions.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that people using vapes don't start using cigarettes.

The Government is clear that e-cigarettes should only be used by smokers to support their route to quitting smoking.

In the current Tobacco Control Plan for England, the Government commissioned Public Health England to publish annual updates on the evidence on e-cigarettes, including on their patterns of use. Their latest report, published in March 2020, found no evidence that vaping among adults leads them to start smoking and little evidence that increases in vaping among young people leads to increases in smoking. The report is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaping-in-england-evidence-update-march-2020

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in each of the last three years.

The number of people in England diagnosed with pancreatic cancer was 8,688 in 2016, 8,980 in 2017 and 8,885 in 2018, which is the most recent data available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of people treated by the NHS for a hip fracture who live alone in each of the last three years.

This data is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) Royal College of Nursing and (b) other relevant bodies on the use of artificial intelligence technology to identify tumours and speed up the treatment of cancer.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has an important role to play in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We supported the AI in Health and Care Award, which is part of the NHS AI Lab and run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research. This resulted in a collaboration with a number of partners, including the Royal Colleges, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Public Health England, medical research charities and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the selection and identification of AI technologies for use in the treatment of cancer. Cancer solutions are one of the priority clinical areas for the second round of the AI in Health and Care Award, with winners to be announced in May 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will publish regular statistics on the number and proportion of care home residents that have received both the first and second dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

Statistics on vaccinations for adult care home residents are now published and are available at the following link:

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of where frontline charity staff that provide fact to face support for people affected by dementia will be categorised on the covid-19 vaccine priority list.

Front line health and social care staff including those providing support to those affected by dementia are in priority group 2. Whether an individual health or social care worker provides support on behalf of a charity, the National Health Service, social care or is employed by the private sector is not taken into account when prioritisation is considered. Carers, paid or unpaid, are being vaccinated alongside priority group 6. This include those caring for those affected by dementia. Outside these two categories those providing support for people with dementia would only be prioritised for vaccination in Phase 1 of the programme if they met the criteria for one of the priority groups on the basis of their own risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19. This might be either on grounds of age or clinical risk.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's care home visitor key worker scheme, whether visitors are planned to receive the same (a) access to testing and (b) PPE as care home staff.

In December 2020, we rolled-out testing and personal protective equipment to care homes nationwide for use by visitors to enable more meaningful, indoor visits. Close-contact visits facilitated by testing are currently not advised during this period of national lockdown. We will review the guidance when the period of national lockdown ends and look to open up more opportunities for visiting when it is safe to do so.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect clinically (a) vulnerable and (b) extremely vulnerable groups over the coming months.

Those considered clinically vulnerable should follow the rules and guidance that are in place for everyone during the current national lockdown. It is particularly important that they follow social distancing advice to reduce their chances of catching the virus. The guidance to clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable people is regularly reviewed and the Government will not hesitate to make changes if necessary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage take-up of the covid-19 vaccine among the clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

The Government wrote to all clinically extremely vulnerable individuals on 7 January, providing information about the COVID-19 vaccination process and notifying these individuals that they are receiving priority access to vaccination against COVID-19 before the general population and in line with the priority ordering set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. The letter also explained that the National Health Service would be in contact with more information on when and how they would be invited to get the vaccine, and has also been made available in a wide variety of accessible formats on GOV.UK.

To counter any hesitancy regarding the vaccines, the Rapid Response Unit in the Cabinet Office has produced social media content on their safety and efficacy.

To improve our understanding of vaccine hesitancy, the Cabinet Office is working with over 90 healthcare provider networks, faith groups, influencers and experts from a range of communities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Answer of 24 November 2020 to Question 114179, if his Department will publish the findings of the Medicines Safety Improvement Board’s review of progress against the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group on reducing medication-related harm, conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety.

A report on the progress made in response to the recommendations of the short life working group was considered by the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December 2020 in the context of the development of the National Patient Safety Strategy.

The Medicines Safety Improvement Programme’s website is being updated and will reflect the direction of travel for the programme and incorporate progress that has been made to date.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to treat gambling addiction as a public health matter; and what steps he plans to take with Cabinet colleagues to help tackle the effects of gambling addiction on society.

The Department commissioned Public Health England to undertake the first ever comprehensive evidence review on the public health harms relating to gambling in England. This will inform the Department’s future approach to treating gambling related harms. This will be published later this year.

The Department also treats gambling health harms as a health and care issue, including through provision of National Health Service treatment and advice and supporting the development of research and the evidence base. The NHS Long Term Plan made a commitment to expand the geographical coverage of NHS services for people with serious gambling problems.v

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the second dose of the covid-19 vaccines is not delayed.

The Government has secured early access to 457 million vaccines doses through agreements with eight separate vaccine developers to ensure that the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines is not delayed. We remain in constant contact with vaccine manufacturers and work hard that the supply to the United Kingdom is not disrupted.

The Government is making excellent progress in its vaccination programme and is on track to have offered all adults their first dose by the end of July and a second dose no more than 12 weeks after their first.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to work with pharmacies to deliver the covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Since 14 January 2021, community pharmacies in England started to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service, with more pharmacies joining over the coming weeks. These sites have been designated by NHS England and NHS Improvement after an application process. They fill the gaps left where there is no Primary Care Network (PCN) or where the PCN offer is not enough, taking into consideration accessibility, especially in more deprived areas.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and community pharmacy representative bodies will be working together to establish how community pharmacies’ role could be expanded further in the vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine is not delayed.

The National Health Service has now offered the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in the top four priority cohorts by its 15 February target, a day ahead of schedule.

On 20 February we set new targets for the acceleration of the programme to offer all adults over 50 years old a first dose by mid-April and the rest of the adult population by the end of July. We are on track to meet those targets.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of treatment provisions for people diagnosed with advanced-stage of (a) mycosis fungoides and (b) Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma.

No recent assessment has been made.

Cancer Alliances have pathways in place to support diagnosis as part of their skin cancer pathways. NHS England and NHS Improvement have contributed to the development of the United Kingdom Rare Disease Framework, which was published on 9 January and will work with other stakeholders in England to develop an action plan to implement the Framework.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what number and proportion of NHS hospitals provide face-to-face palliative care seven days a week.

According to the second round of the National Audit of Care at the End of Life 2019/2020, which was conducted in 2019, 99% of participating hospitals reported that they had access to a specialist palliative care service. More than a third of participating hospitals or 36% reported this to include a face-to-face specialist palliative care service available eight hours a day, seven days a week and 86% of participating hospitals reported having access to specialist palliative care service by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS clinical commissioning group areas provide (a) admissions seven days a week to specialist palliative care beds and (b) specialist palliative care services seven days a week in patients' homes.

This data is not held centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to enable equitable access to treatment and care for people living with mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

T-cell lymphomas are recognised as a rare form of cancer that require pan regional arrangements for referral and treatment. Cancer Alliances have pathways in place to support diagnosis as part of their skin cancer pathways.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases: 2020 update to the Implementation Plan for England, published on 26 February 2020, what progress his Department has made on providing the best quality of evidence based care and treatment for people living with Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is continuing to work with providers of specialised services to deliver best-quality evidence-based care and treatment for patient living with rare cancers and has continued to work through the objectives set out in the United Kingdom Strategy for Rare Diseases.

NHS England has contributed to the development of the UK Rare Disease Framework, which was published on 9 January and will work with other stakeholders in England to develop an action plan to implement the Framework.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of those affected by rare disease and continues to implement the commitments made in the United Kingdom Strategy for Rare Diseases which expired at the end of 2020. Recent developments include progress with Rare Diseases Collaborative Networks and work to strengthen partnerships for the National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Disease Registration Service. Details on NHS England progress can be viewed in their November 2020 Implementation Plan Progress Report.

The new UK Rare Diseases Framework was published on 9 January, which provides the high-level direction for rare diseases and replaces the previous strategy. The Department, alongside NHS England, continues to consider the impact of COVID-19 on patients with rare diseases.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the increase in the number of children and young people being admitted to hospital with eating disorders during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our aim is to deliver swift access to treatment for 95% of children and young people with a suspected eating disorder within one week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases by April 2021. NHS England has announced the roll out of the first episode rapid early intervention for eating disorders model in 18 sites across the country for young people aged between 16 and 25 years old with eating disorders. This model advocates treatment within two to four weeks and aims to contact patients within 48 hours of referral.

Children and young people’s community eating disorder teams have remained open throughout the pandemic. During the pandemic all teams shifted to digital working including delivering assessments and therapy via online delivery tools when clinically appropriate while maintaining face to face appointments for urgent cases.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies on consent regarding the transportation and use of human fetal tissue and gametes of the (a) Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, the Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, (b) Quality and Safety of Organs Intended for Transplantation (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 and (c) Blood Safety and Quality (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

The Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amend the Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) Regulations 2007 and regulate the quality and safety of activities concerning human tissues and cells intended for use in human application. These regulations apply to pregnancy remains to the extent they are used for human application. The Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 do not make any changes to the consent requirements in this area. There will be some changes to the coding requirements, but there remains an underlying requirement to ensure traceability. Traceability of relevant material remains a key factor under the Human Tissue Act 2004, and any establishment working with human tissue under the purposes outlined in the legislation will need to be able to evidence this.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and regulate the quality and safety of activities concerning gametes and embryos. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 have not changed the safety and quality standards regarding transportation of human gametes under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended).

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies on human fetal tissue and gametes intended for human application of the Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

The Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amend the Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) Regulations 2007 and regulate the quality and safety of activities concerning human tissues and cells intended for use in human application. These regulations apply to pregnancy remains to the extent they are used for human application. The Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 do not make any changes to the consent requirements in this area. There will be some changes to the coding requirements, but there remains an underlying requirement to ensure traceability. Traceability of relevant material remains a key factor under the Human Tissue Act 2004, and any establishment working with human tissue under the purposes outlined in the legislation will need to be able to evidence this.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and regulate the quality and safety of activities concerning gametes and embryos. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 have not changed the safety and quality standards regarding transportation of human gametes under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended).

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies on fetal tissue tracing of The Human Tissue Act 2004.

The Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amend the Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) Regulations 2007 and regulate the quality and safety of activities concerning human tissues and cells intended for use in human application. These regulations apply to pregnancy remains to the extent they are used for human application. The Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 do not make any changes to the consent requirements in this area. There will be some changes to the coding requirements, but there remains an underlying requirement to ensure traceability. Traceability of relevant material remains a key factor under the Human Tissue Act 2004, and any establishment working with human tissue under the purposes outlined in the legislation will need to be able to evidence this.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and regulate the quality and safety of activities concerning gametes and embryos. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 have not changed the safety and quality standards regarding transportation of human gametes under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended).

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has held with NICE on its plans for further engagement with stakeholders after the NICE Methods Review consultation closes on 18 December 2020.

Departmental Ministers and officials regularly discuss a range of matters with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

NICE’s first public consultation on the case for change to its methods ran from 6 November to 18 December 2020. There will be a second public consultation in spring 2021 on the case for change to its processes and a final public consultation on the draft programme manual in summer 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve early diagnosis of (a) mycosis fungoides and (b) Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

T-cell lymphomas are recognised as a rare form of cancer that require pan regional arrangements for referral and treatment. Cancer Alliances have pathways in place to support diagnosis as part of their skin cancer pathways.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on regional variation in the provision of weight loss surgery for obese people; and if he will instruct Clinical Commissioning Groups to work with independent providers to improve provision of that service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not hold data on the provision of weight loss surgery. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning complex obesity services for adults, which include all bariatric surgical procedures and the associated care.

There has been no central assessment or discussions with CCGs on the provision of bariatric services for obese people in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of instructing Clinical Commissioning Groups to improve provision of bariatric services for obese people in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not hold data on the provision of weight loss surgery. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning complex obesity services for adults, which include all bariatric surgical procedures and the associated care.

There has been no central assessment or discussions with CCGs on the provision of bariatric services for obese people in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with Clinical Commissioning Groups on the accessibility of bariatric surgery during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not hold data on the provision of weight loss surgery. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning complex obesity services for adults, which include all bariatric surgical procedures and the associated care.

There has been no central assessment or discussions with CCGs on the provision of bariatric services for obese people in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ we are delivering a range of measures on weight management, including expanding weight management services to help more people get the support they need and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm. Further details about these measures will be available shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the traceability of human embryos, gametes and aborted fetal tissue imported into or exported from the UK.

The Human Tissue Act 2004 makes no distinction between pregnancy remains and other tissue from a living person. Tissue for use in human application or for research is regulated by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA). HTA-licensed establishments maintain inventories of the material they hold and, by meeting expected standards on coding and records, are able to demonstrate full traceability for the human material for which they are responsible, from receipt to final disposal/disposition. Since 2018, the HTA has collected information from its licenced establishments on the import of fetal material intended for use in human application.

All imported human embryos and gametes and all those transported across UK borders are registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as required by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, and recently updated under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Further requirements, including traceability requirements, can be found in the General Directions issued by the HFEA and in the HFEA Code of Practice.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to monitor the import into or export from the UK of human fetal tissue.

The Human Tissue Act 2004 makes no distinction between pregnancy remains and other tissue from a living person. Tissue for use in human application or for research is regulated by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA). HTA-licensed establishments maintain inventories of the material they hold and, by meeting expected standards on coding and records, are able to demonstrate full traceability for the human material for which they are responsible, from receipt to final disposal/disposition. Since 2018, the HTA has collected information from its licenced establishments on the import of fetal material intended for use in human application.

All imported human embryos and gametes and all those transported across UK borders are registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as required by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, and recently updated under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Further requirements, including traceability requirements, can be found in the General Directions issued by the HFEA and in the HFEA Code of Practice.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the transportation of human (a) gametes, (b) embryos and (c) tissue from aborted fetuses across UK borders in the last five years.

The Human Tissue Act 2004 makes no distinction between pregnancy remains and other tissue from a living person. Tissue for use in human application or for research is regulated by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA). HTA-licensed establishments maintain inventories of the material they hold and, by meeting expected standards on coding and records, are able to demonstrate full traceability for the human material for which they are responsible, from receipt to final disposal/disposition. Since 2018, the HTA has collected information from its licenced establishments on the import of fetal material intended for use in human application.

All imported human embryos and gametes and all those transported across UK borders are registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as required by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, and recently updated under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Further requirements, including traceability requirements, can be found in the General Directions issued by the HFEA and in the HFEA Code of Practice.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Quality and Safety of Organs Intended for Transplantation (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 applies to aborted fetal tissue.

The Quality and Safety of Organs Intended for Transplantation (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 cover the quality and safety of activities relating to organs intended for donation and transplantation and do not cover pregnancy remains.

The Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amend the Human Tissue (Quality and Safety for Human Application) Regulations 2007 and regulate the quality and safety of activities concerning human tissues and cells, intended for use in human application. These regulations apply to pregnancy remains to the extent they are used for human application.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia in each of the last five years.

This data is not held in the format requested. Data on finished admission episodes is a count of activity and not of individual patients as an individual may have more than one admission in any given period. In addition, this does not count people diagnosed with the condition who were not admitted to hospital.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of how much additional funding the NHS will need in 2021 to respond to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been clear from the outset that the National Health Service will get whatever funding it needs to respond to the pandemic.

In 2020-21, the Government has made £51.9 billion available for the health and adult social care system’s response to COVID-19. The Spending Review 2020 settlement provides further support for the health and care system’s response to COVID-19,?totalling £17.3 billion. In addition, the Spending Review provided an additional £3 billion for the NHS next year, on top of the long-term settlement, to support the NHS recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

The Government stands ready to continue its pragmatic approach in 2021-22, for example by providing further funding to make vaccines widely available and to cover operationally necessary costs incurred by the NHS through its continued response to COVID-19.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with bradycardia in the UK in each of the last last three years, by (a) age and (b) gender.

The information is not available in the requested format.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce delays in cancer treatment.

To ensure essential and urgent treatment for all cancers have continued throughout the response to the pandemic, COVID-protected surgical hubs have been established for cancer surgery across the country to keep often vulnerable cancer patients safe. This particularly protects cancer patients from immunocompromised infection. All 21 Cancer Alliances across England now have arrangements in place for cancer hubs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken through the NICE health technology evaluation methods review to assess the effect of the (a) reference (b) non-reference discount rate on gene therapies.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is therefore responsible for its own methods and processes. The discount rates applied by NICE in its health technology assessments are specified in its methods guides. NICE will carry out three public consultations as part of its methods review. The most recent consultation being 6 November to 18 December on the case for change to its methods.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure timely access to gene therapies for eligible patients.

The Government supports the National Health Service in research, development and adoption readiness of Advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), including gene therapies, through the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre network, which is hosted by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and set up through funding from the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence appraises new drugs including ATMPS such as gene therapies. The Department has also invested over £9 million in NHS Blood and Transplants’ Clinical Biotechnology Centre which manufactures recombinant proteins and gene therapy products for use in clinical trials enabling access for patients to the latest therapies.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government taking to ensure that (a) NICE and (b) NHS England processes are (i) evaluated and (ii) adapted to assess the (A) cost-effectiveness and (B) accessibility of one-time gene therapies.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) appraises new innovative drugs including gene therapies and other advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). NICE has recommended the majority of ATMPs it has assessed to date. NICE is currently reviewing its methods and processes for technology appraisals and highly specialised technologies and this review considers ATMPs and other emerging technologies.

The National Health Service is well prepared for the adoption of ATMPs which are recommended by NICE. NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Accelerated Access Collaborative and direct commissioning teams work with a range of stakeholders to undertake detailed horizon scanning of new health technologies to ensure the relevant clinical and implementation preparations can be made in the event that treatments are recommended by NICE.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for gene therapies to reduce the treatment burden on hospital capacity.

No formal assessment has been made of the potential for gene therapies to reduce the treatment burden on hospital capacity. NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Accelerated Access Collaborative and direct commissioning teams work with a range of stakeholders to undertake horizon scanning of new health technologies to ensure the preparations can be made if treatments are recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. Hospital capacity is one of several elements that are considered by the National Health Service when implementing technologies that may have an impact on existing care pathways.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people who have tinnitus in the UK.

The Department has not made an estimate.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people had back pain in the UK, by (a) age and (b) gender, in each of the last three years.

This information is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that statins are introduced and prescribed to people aged over 75 years old to prevent heart-attacks and strokes.

There are no age restrictions for use of statins for either primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as heart disease and stroke in United Kingdom guidance.

Current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance recommends statins for those of 85 years or older for primary prevention of CVD. This age is highlighted because a CVD assessment can only calculate specific CVD risk up to the age of 84 years old and the guidance seeks to ensure patients of 85 years or older are not excluded from statin treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) the Royal College of Nursing and (b) other bodies on the potential effect of vitamins in protecting against covid-19.

Vitamin C is under evaluation as a treatment for COVID-19 in the REMAP-CAP clinical trial. Patients in this trial are hospitalised with proven COVID-19 and have been admitted to intensive care for non-invasive or invasive ventilatory support or for cardiovascular support.

Vitamin D is not currently included in any ongoing clinical trials in the United Kingdom. However, there are ongoing research studies to assess its use in reducing risk of COVID-19 in those who are vitamin D deficient, its use as a prognostic marker in COVID-19 and data on vitamin use is being captured in a COVID-19 registry. There are guidelines use of vitamins, specifically vitamin D use as a nutritional supplement. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have issued specific guidance and evidence summary relating to vitamin D.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the National Institute for Health Research has approved only £6 million for brain tumour research this year; and if he will take steps to (a) increase funding in that area to ensure that adequate research is undertaken and (b) lower the threshold for funding approval to increase the body of research-based evidence.

The level of funding committed to date is more than £6 million. This figure is for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) programmes and academy spend only. It does not include NIHR infrastructure spend, which we are confident will be significantly more.

Similar to other Government research funders, the NIHR only funds high quality research. This maximises the likelihood of positive patient impact and gives the highest chance of success. Without this there would be not only a risk to patient safety but also a risk of wasted investment.

Applications to the NIHR are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, scientific quality, and value for money.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy that (a) the elderly and (b) pregnant women will receive the covid-19 vaccine first.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be initially rolled out to these priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old, and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be prioritised amongst the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

The JCVI favours a precautionary approach and does not currently advise COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP practices have adopted electronic repeat dispensing; and what steps he is taking to increase uptake of electronic repeat dispensing.

At the end of October 2020, 6,539 practices - almost every practice in England - have enabled the functionality to allow them to order prescriptions online.

In October 2019 regulation 60A (electronic repeat dispensing services) was introduced to the GP Contract. This requires a prescriber to issue an electronic repeatable prescription, where this is clinically appropriate for the patient and the patient has agreed to be issued with such a prescription.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has had discussions with Breast Cancer Now on their findings, published 6 November 2020, that an increase in the protein HIF-1 can cause breast cancer spread; and what assessment he has had made of the implications for his policies of those findings.

The Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement are aware of the Breast Cancer Now HIF-1a research.

As acknowledged by Breast Cancer Now, further research in this area is required to understand how HIF-1a impacts the spread of breast cancer cells before it can be assessed whether HIF-1a could be a potential drug target.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when plans he has to make the cyanoacrylate glue treatment for varicose veins available on the NHS.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning the treatment of varicose veins.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has developed guidelines on varicose vein treatment generally and on the use of cyanoacrylate glue specifically. Within this framework they are supportive of the use of cyanoacrylate glue occlusion. Organisations commissioning and delivering services are expected to take the recommendations contained within NICE clinical guidelines into account when planning and delivering services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people in the UK suffer from cystic fibrosis, by (a) age and (b) gender.

This data is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people in the UK suffer from Tourette's, by (a) age and (b) gender.

This data is not collected in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Royal College of Nursing and (b) other bodies on the higher risk of dementia in people over 50.

The Department has had no recent discussions with the Royal College of Nursing on the higher risk of dementia in people over 50. We regularly work with a wide range of organisations, including dementia charities, to promote dementia risk reduction and healthy ageing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support is being provided to people who have suffered lung damage as a result of contracting covid-19.

Breathlessness is one of the main symptoms of post-COVID-19 syndrome. In October, NHS England announced that more than 40 clinics will be set up in England to offer a specialist response to the issues faced by patients experiencing post-COVID-19 syndrome.

Respiratory Networks are already involved in the response to COVID-19 and these networks may be used to assist with help being offered at the new post-COVID-19 clinics.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of people who have hay fever in the last five years.

This data is not held.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis/ CFS by (a) age and (b) gender in each of the last five years.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle severe mental health issues in children exacerbated by the covid-19 outbreak and isolation due to the lockdown restrictions.

The National Health Service has worked hard to keep mental health services going during the first peak, using technology where needed but also face to face appointments where appropriate.

On 23 November, we brought forward our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19, to set out the support available for individuals in the context of a second wave, and the winter months. It sets out the steps we have taken to strengthen the support available for people who are struggling, including for children and young people with severe mental illness. This includes the announcement that the NHS will receive around an additional £500 million next year to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need and invest in the NHS workforce.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have experienced a brain haemorrhage in each of the last five years.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure the adequacy of supplies of personal protective equipment in the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak.

‘Personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy: stabilise and build resilience’, published on 28 September sets out how the Government has moved beyond the emergency COVID-19 response by stabilising the supply for PPE and building resilience in the supply chain. It also includes details about how Government is preparing for and managing the ongoing response to the pandemic alongside the usual seasonal pressures. The strategy is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-strategy-stabilise-and-build-resilience

We are confident we have secured enough supply for this winter period and that we have the processes and logistics in place to distribute PPE to where it is needed. We have around 32 billion PPE items on order and this month we will have a four-month stockpile of all COVID-19 critical PPE in place, with a tremendous contribution from United Kingdom manufacturers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of people who have been diagnosed with covid-19 who have developed long covid since March 2020.

‘Long COVID-19’, which is thought to affect more than 60,000 people in the United Kingdom, can cause continuing fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness and pain. NHS England has commissioned the National Institute for Health Research to undertake further research into ‘long COVID-19’ and will work with 10,000 patients to better understand it and to refine appropriate treatment. Information on the findings will be published in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) women, (b) men aged (i) under 30 and (ii) over 30 who have had chronic stomach indigestion in each of the last three years.

This data is not held.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the financial sustainability of the NHS.

The NHS Long Term Plan was backed by significant Government investment that would see funding rise to circa £33.9 billion per year by 2023-24. This gave the National Health Service the certainty they needed to deliver on the objectives of that plan, which included a financial regime that would see all organisations in the NHS return to financial balance by 2023/24. We had seen good progress in the first year of that plan, with around 50% fewer deficits reported in NHS trusts and foundation trusts in 2019-20.

Into 2020/21, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been clear from the outset that the NHS will get whatever it needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to COVID-19 has included suspension of the usual financial framework and replaced with a temporary regime that reduced burdens on the NHS allowing for focus on the COVID-19 response. The approach has been supported by significant funding packages that include:

- £31.9 billion for healthcare as set out in the summer Economic Update;

- a further circa £16.4 billion announced in September including a £3 billion package to support increased winter capacity initiatives; and

- a further £2.7 billion for NHS systems through the rest of the financial year.

Planning has started on creating a 2021/22 financial regime that builds on 2020/21, with any funding in addition to the Long Term Plan settlement subject to the current Spending Review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will take steps to (a) increase the Government funding available and (b) lower the threshold for approval for funding allocated through the National Institute for Health Research for brain tumour research projects.

In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million over the five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Similar to other Government research funders, the NIHR only funds high quality research. This maximises the likelihood of positive patient impact and gives the highest chance of success. Without this there would be not only a risk to patient safety but also a risk of wasted investment.

Applications to the NIHR are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, scientific quality, and value for money.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of levels of (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment of lung cancer during periods of covid-19 lockdown.

NHS England continues to encourage people to access services, especially cancer services, through the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign.

Specialist cancer hubs have been set up to provide COVID-19 secure treatment and diagnostic environments.

In October, the National Health Service issued £150 million in capital funding to regions for investment in diagnostic equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scanners.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people aged 15-25 have had a hip or knee replacement as a result of (a) obesity and (b) brittle-bones in each of the last five years.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that students who are self-isolating as a result of covid-19 have access to counselling for anxiety and mental health problems.

We are doing our utmost to ensure that our mental health services are there for everyone who needs them during the pandemic. The National Health Service has worked hard to keep mental health services going during the first peak, using technology where needed but also face to face appointments where appropriate. Talking therapies will continue to be available remotely so people can access help safely from home and the NHS will work to ensure the option of face-to-face support is provided to people with serious mental health illnesses across all ages where it is clinically safe to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of senior doctors working in the NHS.

NHS Digital statistics, as at July 2020, showed that, in England, there were almost 40% more full time equivalent consultants and almost 12% more specialty and associate specialist doctors employed in National Health Service trusts and clinical commissioning groups since 2010.

The Government has delivered on a manifesto commitment to fix the taper issue in doctors’ pensions, in response to evidence of senior clinicians turning down additional work for fear of high tax bills. The tapered annual allowance thresholds have increased by £90,000 from 6 April 2020, which removes up to 96% of general practitioners and 98% of consultants from the scope of the taper based on their NHS income. The incentive to take on additional work is now restored.

We are also taking action to increase the retention of doctors and support them to progress into long careers. For example, the Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives programme, led by Health Education England, is delivering a range of initiatives to improve the quality of life of doctors in training.

NHS workforce matters in Northern Ireland are a matter for the Devolved Administration.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) Royal College of Nursing and (b) other bodies on the potential merits of cold-water swimming in reducing dementia.

The Department has had no discussions with the Royal College of Nursing or other bodies on the potential merits of cold-water swimming in reducing dementia.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to recruit additional carer staff to care homes and care services.

In order to attract more people to the sector we ran a national recruitment campaign across broadcast, digital and social media highlighting the vital work care workers do. We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to promote adult social care careers to jobseekers, including those who may have lost their jobs during the pandemic from other sectors that have been hard hit, such as tourism, hospitality and retail. Additionally, to support providers to recruit, we have launched an online recruitment tool, Join Social Care, to simplify and fast track the recruitment process, and are offering free and rapid induction training via Skills for Care for new and existing staff and volunteers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the last five years.

The following table shows the number of people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer between 2014 and 2018 in England.

Year

Diagnoses

2018

7,829

2017

7,601

2016

7,611

2015

7,665

2014

7,358

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cancer-registration-statistics-england-2018-final-release

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the adequacy of staff numbers in the mammography workforce in the latest period for which that data is available.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with eye cancer in the last three years.

In the years 2016-2018, which represents the most recent three years for which data is available, the number of people in England diagnosed with eye cancer was 726 in 2016, 726 in 2017 and 721 in 2018.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it his Department's policy that (a) Down's syndrome, (b) cleft lip, and (c) cleft palate are disabilities that would meet the grounds for abortion under Ground E of the statutory grounds for abortion.

Under the Abortion Act 1967, a pregnancy may be lawfully terminated by a registered medical practitioner in approved premises, if two medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the abortion is justified under one or more of grounds A to G. Ground E refers to cases where “there is substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”. There is no official definition of seriously handicapped.

In 1990, when the grounds for abortion were amended, Parliament agreed that doctors were best placed to make these decisions with the woman and her family. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists issued guidance to doctors ‘Termination of Pregnancy for Fetal Abnormality in England, Scotland and Wales’ in May 2010 to assist doctors and other health professionals.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to meet the aims of the WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge to halve severe avoidable medication-related harms by 2022 compared to 2017 levels.

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched its third Global Patient Safety Challenge ‘Medication Without Harm’, in 2017, with the aim of reducing the global burden of severe and avoidable medication-related harm by 50% over five years.

In response to this challenge, the Department established a Short Life Working Group (SLWG) to advise on a programme to improve safety in the use of medication, including the best way to measure progress. Their report, published in February 2018, made recommendations for a programme of work to tackle medication error and improve medicine safety.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether, through the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill 2019-21, his Department plans to amend the definitions of (a) medicines, (b) medical devices and (c) biocides, as set out in Article 1 of Directive 2001/83/EC through the European Medicines Agency framework.

There are currently no plans to amend the definitions of medicines and medical devices through the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill. The Bill does not enable amendments to be made to the definition of ‘medicinal product’ in the Human Medicines Regulation 2012.The Bill does provide the powers to amend the definition in the Medical Devices Regulation 2002 for ‘medical device’, should a future need arise, for example to reflect innovative technologies not yet captured in the definition. Biocides are outside the scope of the Bill and are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will instruct NHS Improvement to require the Centre for Perioperative Care to consider preventative guidelines on surgical fires as part of the National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures (NatSSIPs) Redevelopment workstream.

The national patient safety team at NHS England and NHS Improvement have been involved with the Expert Working Group on the prevention of surgical fires, chaired by the Chief Executive of the Association for Perioperative Practitioners, to consider the prevention of surgical fires and will continue to support the development of guidance to prevent these types of incidents from occurring.

The Centre for Perioperative Care have taken on the responsibility for ensuring that the National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures continue to be fit for purpose. NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue to support their progress on this.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many medication errors have occurred in the NHS in each of the last three years; and what steps his Department is taking to prevent those errors.

The number of medication related incidents reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) as occurring in England in the last three years is shown in the following table. A patient safety incident is defined as any incident which could have, or did, harm a patient receiving National Health Service-funded care and is not synonymous with error. Incidents reported do not represent the actual number of incidents which may have occurred.

Reported incident type

April 2017 - March 2018

April 2018 - March 2019

April 2019 - March 2020

Total

Medication

204,162

216,177

222,514

642,853

Note:

The medication category represents approximately 10% of reported incidents per year. Incidents reported under other categories such as medical device incidents may also partly relate to medication – for example when medication is given via a medical device. This data is publicly available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/patient-safety/national-patient-safety-incident-reports/

The Medicines Safety Improvement Board continues to work to deliver the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group (SLWG), which advised on how to improve safety in the use of medicines. A review of the progress against the recommendations of the SLWG is being conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety and is expected to report to the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on implementing the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group on reducing medication-related harms; and if he will reconvene the group to identify a five-year future plan.

The Medicines Safety Improvement Board continues to work to deliver the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group (SLWG) which advised on how to improve safety in the use of medicines.

A review of the progress against the recommendations of the SLWG is being conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety and is expected to report to the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December.

The Department has no plans to reconvene the SLWG on reducing medication-related harms. Medication harm is included in the 10-year National Health Service National Patient Safety Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to classify surgical fires in operating theatres as a Never Event.

There are no plans to classify surgical fires in operating theatres as Never Events.

Never Events are defined as Serious Incidents that are wholly preventable because guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers.

Strong systemic protective barriers are defined as barriers that must be successful, reliable and comprehensive safeguards or remedies. There is currently no national guidance or safety recommendations that provides such safeguards to prevent surgical fires in operating theatres. These types of incidents cannot therefore be defined as a Never Event.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department’s five-year strategy is for tackling medication errors and medication-related harms in the NHS.

Medication errors and medication-related harms in the National Health Service are included in the 10-year NHS Patient Safety Strategy, which was published in July 2019.

Within this Strategy, the Medicines Safety Improvement Board is working to reduce medication errors and harms in the NHS, focusing on high risk drugs, situations and vulnerable patients. Work already underway includes the accelerated rollout of electronic prescribing in hospitals, monitoring higher risk prescribing practice linked to hospital admissions, and deploying more clinical pharmacists into primary care and care homes.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients with (a) Crohn’s disease and (b) ulcerative colitis in each (a) nation and (b) region of the UK.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the annual per patient cost is to the NHS of inflammatory bowel disease.

This data is not held.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have been diagnosed with (a) Crohn’s disease and (b) ulcerative colitis in (i) the East Midlands, (ii) the West Midlands, (iii) London, (iv) the North East, (v) the North West, (vi) the South East, (vii) the South West and (viii) Yorkshire and the Humber.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average time taken is for a patient to be diagnosed with (a) Crohn’s disease and (b) ulcerative colitis in (i) the East Midlands, (ii) the West Midlands, (iii) London, (iv) the North East, (v) the North West, (vi) the South East, (vii) the South West and (viii) Yorkshire and the Humber.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many inflammatory bowel disease patients have relapsed within a year of being diagnosed in (a) East Midlands, (b) West Midlands, (c) London, (d) North East, (e) North West, (f) South East, (g) South West and (h) Yorkshire and the Humber.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the annual per patient cost to the NHS of patients with inflammatory bowel disease who have relapsed.

This data is not held.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the annual per patient cost to the NHS of inflammatory bowel disease.

This data is not held.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients in (a) the East Midlands, (b) the West Midlands, (c) London, (d) the North East, (e) the North West, (f) the South East, (g) the South West and (h) Yorkshire and the Humber have been diagnosed with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis in the 12 months.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information (a) NHS England and (b) his Department holds on the average time for a patient with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis to be diagnosed in (a) the East Midlands, (b) the West Midlands, (c) London, (d) the North East, (e) the North West, (f) the South East, (g) the South West, and (h) Yorkshire and the Humber in the last 12 months.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people receiving treatment for (a) Crohn’s or (b) ulcerative colitis in each nation of the UK.

The data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the saliva hpv test for throat cancer will be available on the NHS.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, who developed the Cytosponge test, are currently putting the test through an economic evaluation and hope that it will be rolled out within general practitioner practices within three to five years.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have lost their eyesight in the last five years in the UK.

This data is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will instruct NHS Improvement to guide the Centre for Perioperative Care in considering preventative guidelines on surgical fires as part of the National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures Redevelopment workstream.

The national patient safety team at NHS England and NHS Improvement have been involved with the Expert Working Group to consider the prevention of surgical fires and will continue to support the development of guidance to prevent these types of incidents from occurring.

The Centre for Perioperative Care have taken on the responsibility for ensuring that the National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures continue to be fit for purpose. NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue to support their progress on this.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) the Royal College of Nursing and (b) other medical professional bodies on helping to tackle levels of weight-gain during the covid-19 lockdown.

My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has regular discussions with the Royal College of Nursing and other medical professional bodies on improving the health and wellbeing of the nation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department’s has a five-year strategy for tackling medication errors and medication-related harms in NHS England.

The National Health Service approach to improving patient safety overall is set out in the ten-year NHS Patient Safety Strategy, which covers a range of initiatives that will have an impact on patient safety, including medication safety.

Additional steps taken specific to medication safety include supporting the adoption of electronic systems for prescribing and medicines administration in NHS hospitals which reduce the risk of medication errors in hospital and commissioning a report to support safety improvement in overprescribing/problematic polypharmacy.

In response to the World Health Organization Global Patient Safety Challenge, the Medicines Safety Improvement Programme was established. In 2017, the Department established a Short Life Working Group to advise on a programme to improve safety in use of medication, including the best way to measure progress. A review of progress against their recommendation is being conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety and is expected to report to the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the Government's progress in meeting the aims of the WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge to halve severe avoidable medication-related harms by 2022 compared to 2017 levels.

The National Health Service approach to improving patient safety overall is set out in the ten-year NHS Patient Safety Strategy, which covers a range of initiatives that will have an impact on patient safety, including medication safety.

Additional steps taken specific to medication safety include supporting the adoption of electronic systems for prescribing and medicines administration in NHS hospitals which reduce the risk of medication errors in hospital and commissioning a report to support safety improvement in overprescribing/problematic polypharmacy.

In response to the World Health Organization Global Patient Safety Challenge, the Medicines Safety Improvement Programme was established. In 2017, the Department established a Short Life Working Group to advise on a programme to improve safety in use of medication, including the best way to measure progress. A review of progress against their recommendation is being conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety and is expected to report to the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people aged 15 to 25 years old have had heart disease in the UK in the last five years.

The numbers of people age 15-25 who have had heart disease in the United Kingdom, either currently or within the last five years, is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women have accessed the Northern Ireland abortion scheme for terminations in Great Britain; and what the cost to the public purse has been of that scheme since 31 March 2020.

The number of women who have had terminations in England and Wales from January to June 2020 and who are resident in Northern Ireland is 323. Of these, nearly all will have been funded through the United Kingdom Government funded Northern Ireland abortion scheme.

The cost of supporting women travelling from Northern Ireland to England to access abortion services in 2020/21 is not yet known and will not be available until after the end of the financial year.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to classify surgical fires in operating theatres as never events.

There are no plans to classify surgical fires in operating theatres as Never Events.

Never Events are defined as serious incidents that are wholly preventable because guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers.

Strong systemic protective barriers are defined as barriers that must be successful, reliable and comprehensive safeguards or remedies – such as a connector that stops a medicine being given by the wrong route or a window restrictor which prevents a window being opened wide enough for a patient to get through.

There is currently no national guidance or safety recommendations that provides such safeguards to prevent surgical fires in operating theatres. These types of incidents cannot therefore be defined as a Never Event.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to track outcomes for people who suffer adverse drug reactions resulting from medication errors.

Outcomes for people who are involved in medication patient safety incidents can be reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS). These reports are used to support improvements in patient safety by enabling the National Health Service to understand and learn from such incidents.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) accepts reports to its Yellow Card scheme where a patient has been harmed as a result of a medication error. When completing a Yellow Card, reporters are specifically asked to select an outcome for each side-effect being reported. Further information, such as outcome, can be requested from reporters if necessary.

Data from the NRLS is shared by NHS England and NHS Improvement with the MHRA for analysis on a weekly basis. Should any important safety issues be identified, regulatory action would be taken, including working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure appropriate dissemination of actions to prevent these harms occurring in the future.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with kidney cancer in each of the last five years.

The number of people in England diagnosed with kidney cancer in the years 2014 - 2018, which represents the most recent five years available, are shown in the following table. Data for 2019 and 2020 are not yet available.

Year

Number of people diagnosed

2014

9,505

2015

9,362

2016

9,575

2017

9,483

2018

9,438

Notes:

  1. For this response kidney cancer is defined by ICD-10 code C64.
  2. Source: Cancer registration statistics: England 2018 final release, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cancer-registration-statistics-england-2018-final-release

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to track outcomes for people who suffer adverse drug reactions caused by medication errors in the NHS.

There were 223,106 medication incidents reported to the National Reporting and Learning System as occurring between 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019 in England.

The Medication Safety Improvement Programme which is considering all aspects of medication use and developing new metrics to improve safety; and the Medication Safety Officer Network and Medical Safety Officer Forum, which facilitate communications to enable learning from medication errors, are aimed at improving medication safety. In addition, outcomes for people who suffer adverse drug reactions are tracked by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority’s yellow card scheme, which collects and monitors information on safety concerns involving medicines, to feed into ongoing safety evaluation of medicines.

Outcomes for people who are involved in medication patient safety incidents can be reported to the National Reporting and Learning System. These reports are used to support improvements in patient safety by enabling the National Health Service to understand and learn from such incidents.

The Medicines Safety Improvement Board continues to work to deliver the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group (SLWG), which advised on how to improve safety in the use of medicines. A review of the progress against the recommendations of the SLWG is being conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety and is expected to report to the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of medication errors in the NHS in the last year; and what steps his Department is taking to prevent those errors.

There were 223,106 medication incidents reported to the National Reporting and Learning System as occurring between 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019 in England.

The Medication Safety Improvement Programme which is considering all aspects of medication use and developing new metrics to improve safety; and the Medication Safety Officer Network and Medical Safety Officer Forum, which facilitate communications to enable learning from medication errors, are aimed at improving medication safety. In addition, outcomes for people who suffer adverse drug reactions are tracked by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority’s yellow card scheme, which collects and monitors information on safety concerns involving medicines, to feed into ongoing safety evaluation of medicines.

Outcomes for people who are involved in medication patient safety incidents can be reported to the National Reporting and Learning System. These reports are used to support improvements in patient safety by enabling the National Health Service to understand and learn from such incidents.

The Medicines Safety Improvement Board continues to work to deliver the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group (SLWG), which advised on how to improve safety in the use of medicines. A review of the progress against the recommendations of the SLWG is being conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety and is expected to report to the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress he has made on the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group on reducing medication-related harms; and if he will reconvene that group to identify a five year plan.

There were 223,106 medication incidents reported to the National Reporting and Learning System as occurring between 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019 in England.

The Medication Safety Improvement Programme which is considering all aspects of medication use and developing new metrics to improve safety; and the Medication Safety Officer Network and Medical Safety Officer Forum, which facilitate communications to enable learning from medication errors, are aimed at improving medication safety. In addition, outcomes for people who suffer adverse drug reactions are tracked by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority’s yellow card scheme, which collects and monitors information on safety concerns involving medicines, to feed into ongoing safety evaluation of medicines.

Outcomes for people who are involved in medication patient safety incidents can be reported to the National Reporting and Learning System. These reports are used to support improvements in patient safety by enabling the National Health Service to understand and learn from such incidents.

The Medicines Safety Improvement Board continues to work to deliver the recommendations of the Short Life Working Group (SLWG), which advised on how to improve safety in the use of medicines. A review of the progress against the recommendations of the SLWG is being conducted on behalf of the National Director of Patient Safety and is expected to report to the Medicines Safety Improvement Board in December.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children have been diagnosed with arthritis in each of the last five years.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that overseas applications for jobs in social care are processed without delay.

The Government introduced the Health and Care Visa on 4 August 2020, giving eligible overseas recruits quicker and cheaper access to a visa. Applicants for this visa are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge, pay 50% of visa fees and are guaranteed a decision within three weeks of biometric enrolment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)