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Written Question
Coronavirus: Screening
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what budget has been allocated for covid-19 testing in 2021-22; and how many self-testing kits are being used each day.

Answered by Maggie Throup

In 2021/22, £15 billion was allocated for test, trace and isolate activities. Of this, approximately £11.26 billion relates to testing, including polymerase chain reaction and lateral flow device testing and associated costs. The number of self-testing kits used each day is not held centrally as some tests are likely to be unregistered.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential increase in covid-19 cases of all variants in England over the next month.

Answered by Maggie Throup

The University of Warwick and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have undertaken modelling of the estimated levels of all variants in England in the next month. This predicts that cases of COVID-19 will decrease throughout January, to a level similar to that seen in November 2021.

Omicron is the dominant COVID-19 variant in the United Kingdom. For those cases which have the relevant genetic test, 93% are consistent with the Omicron variant. With no new variants currently circulated widely elsewhere in the world, the risk of a new variant becoming dominant in the next month is very low.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Screening
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to expand UK-based capacity to produce covid-19 testing kits.

Answered by Maggie Throup

In October 2020, the Government commissioned work to support the United Kingdom’s diagnostic industry, to secure a lateral flow antigen test and increase domestic production capacity. The UK Make programme delivered two clinically validated and regulatory approved UK lateral flow antigen tests​ and provided investment in capital equipment and facilities expansion at three UK manufacturing companies​. Over 100 million tests were produced for deployment by the UK Health Security Agency and production capacity of lateral flow antigen test increased by 3,500%. The first UK-made self-test lateral flow device is currently due to be deployed in January 2022. The UK Make programme has also increased capacity and resilience for current and future public health challenges​.


Written Question
Energy
14 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of (a) the implications for his policies of rising UK import dependence in energy and (b) the potential to expand domestic production.

Answered by Greg Hands

Great Britain benefits from highly diverse sources of energy. The Government plans to increase energy production from a variety of sources, including nuclear and hydrogen will ensure that dependency on foreign fossil fuels is decreased. Around half of Great Britain’s annual gas supply is already met by domestic production, and Great Britain’s electricity mix includes significant sources of domestic generation.

The Government is taking steps to support investment in new sources of electricity generation, including 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, a first of a kind power plant enabled with Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage technology, and new nuclear projects. The Net Zero Strategy also sets out the Government’s ambition to decrease Great Britain’s reliance on natural gas, such as by blending hydrogen into the gas grid.


Written Question
Oil: Storage
12 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on the required minimum level of oil stocks for national resilience.

Answered by Greg Hands

Emergency oil stocks are a critical tool to defend against the harmful impacts of major disruptions to global oil supply. The UK holds emergency stocks of oil, primarily to release in a co-ordinated fashion with other members to the international market in the event of such major supply disruption. As a member of the International Energy Agency the UK is obligated to hold a minimum of 90 days of net imports. This obligation is passed on to companies that supply more than 50 thousand tonnes of key fuels to the UK market in a twelve-month period.


Written Question
Liquefied Natural Gas: Carbon Dioxide
12 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much additional carbon dioxide is generated by importing and burning LNG compared to using more natural gas delivered by pipeline from UK fields.

Answered by Greg Hands

The Oil and Gas Association published analysis in May 2020, comparing the carbon intensity of United Kingdom Continental Shelf gas with imported liquified natural gas and pipelined gas:

https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/the-move-to-net-zero/net-zero-benchmarking-and-analysis/natural-gas-carbon-footprint-analysis/.

This analysis shows that gas extracted from the United Kingdom Continental Shelf has an average emission intensity of 22 kgCO2e/boe; whereas imported liquified natural gas has a significantly higher average intensity of 59 kgCO2e/boe. The process of liquefaction, combined with the emissions produced by the transportation and regasification of the liquified natural gas once in the United Kingdom, is responsible for the higher emissions intensity.


Written Question
Natural Gas: Storage
12 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on minimum levels of UK natural gas stocks.

Answered by Greg Hands

Storage plays an important role in providing system flexibility in responding to short-term changes in supply and demand. The purpose of storage is to top-up supply when demand is high. Storage is not intended as a gas supply source. Current gas storage levels for winter are higher than early January last year.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
11 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the difference in risk of serious illness from covid-19 is of having a booster vaccination for someone who has previously had two doses of the vaccine.

Answered by Maggie Throup

Early data suggests that vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation and severe illness after two doses is 72%, compared to 88% following a booster dose. Analysis will continue as the booster programme progresses, including monitoring the duration of protection of booster doses against a range of disease outcomes.


Written Question
Hospital Beds
11 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to increase hospital bed capacity in winter 2021-22 for all health pressures on hospitals.

Answered by Edward Argar

The National Health Service is working with local authorities and partners to release the maximum number of beds through ensuring that medically fit patients can be discharged home as soon as possible, seven days a week. The use of non-acute beds in the local health and care system is also being maximised, including in hospices, hotels, community beds and the independent sector. The NHS is also expanding the use of ‘virtual wards’ and ‘hospital at home’ models of care, allowing for patients to be safely cared for in their own homes and creating additional bed capacity in hospitals. NHS trusts are also reviewing plans to expand general and acute and critical care bed capacity in hospitals as needed, learning lessons from the pandemic to date.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
10 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will model the potential impact of the omicron covid-19 variant on NHS England hospital admissions based on South African levels of serious cases relative to total cases.

Answered by Maggie Throup

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has no plans to do so as demographics, co-morbidities, past-infection and immunisation statuses in the two countries differ. However, the UKHSA is currently estimating the severity of the Omicron variant related infections in England to understand the likely ongoing demand for healthcare. This is in its early stages as a reasonable period of observation is required to fully understand the evolution of the Omicron variant in sufficient numbers of people across all ages and immunity status over time.


Written Question
Hospital Beds
23 Dec 2021

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the trend in the level of bed capacity in NHS England over the last two years; and whether there has been an increase in bed capacity in that period in response to covid-19 and tackling backlogs.

Answered by Edward Argar

No formal assessment has been made of the trend in the level of bed capacity in the National Health Service (NHS) in England over the last two years. The number of beds in hospitals in the NHS in England is an operational matter for the NHS. NHS bed capacity is not fixed and can be flexed to meet changes in demand, including for COVID-19.

Over the last two years, during the pandemic, a number of measures have been put in place to support an increase in the number of available beds in the NHS, particularly to create capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. NHS England and NHS Improvement is undertaking the largest ever seasonal flu vaccination programme, alongside COVID-19 booster vaccinations, to reduce the level of hospital admissions and to free up additional hospital beds. The Government has also provided an additional £478 million to the NHS for this financial year to continue the enhanced hospital discharge programme, helping patients get home from hospital as soon as possible, and freeing up additional beds. This also applies to elective care, with a move towards more operations being done on an outpatient basis, removing the need for patients to stay overnight in hospital, freeing up beds as well as tackling backlogs.


Written Question
Hospital Beds
23 Dec 2021

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase bed numbers in NHS England hospitals over the next two years.

Answered by Edward Argar

No formal assessment has been made of the trend in the level of bed capacity in the National Health Service (NHS) in England over the last two years. The number of beds in hospitals in the NHS in England is an operational matter for the NHS. NHS bed capacity is not fixed and can be flexed to meet changes in demand, including for COVID-19.

Over the last two years, during the pandemic, a number of measures have been put in place to support an increase in the number of available beds in the NHS, particularly to create capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. NHS England and NHS Improvement is undertaking the largest ever seasonal flu vaccination programme, alongside COVID-19 booster vaccinations, to reduce the level of hospital admissions and to free up additional hospital beds. The Government has also provided an additional £478 million to the NHS for this financial year to continue the enhanced hospital discharge programme, helping patients get home from hospital as soon as possible, and freeing up additional beds. This also applies to elective care, with a move towards more operations being done on an outpatient basis, removing the need for patients to stay overnight in hospital, freeing up beds as well as tackling backlogs.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Drugs
23 Dec 2021

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will list the drugs the NHS can use to treat covid-19 patients.

Answered by Maggie Throup

The following therapeutics are available to patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and in the community setting:

- Dexamethasone;

- Tocilizumab;

- Ronapreve; and

- Sotrovimab.

The following antivirals are available to patients in both hospital and community settings:

- Remdesivir;

- Molnupiravir; and

- PF-07321332


Written Question
Economic Growth
21 Dec 2021

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to stimulate growth in the economy.

Answered by John Glen

In the spring, the government set out plans to build back better through significant investment in innovation, infrastructure and skills. Stimulating business investment is key for economic growth, and under the super deduction we announced at Spring Budget 2021, for every £1 a company invests in qualifying plant and machinery, its taxes are cut by up to 25p. We have also launched the UK Infrastructure Bank, which will partner with the private sector and local government to support infrastructure investment.

The recent Budget and SR took further steps to put the plan for growth into action. This includes:

  • Bringing the total committed to economic infrastructure since the publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy to over £130 billion.
  • Increasing public investment in R&D to £20 billion by 2024-25, supporting businesses throughout the UK to become more innovative and productive.
  • Investing in skills, including boosting opportunities for adults to upskill and retrain, delivering the government’s commitment to a National Skills Fund, investing in adult numeracy and increasing apprenticeship funding.

Written Question
Coronavirus: Hospital Beds
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of hospital beds that will be needed for cases of the Omicron variant of covid-19 in January based on the latest forecasts.

Answered by Maggie Throup

In the absence of any data on disease severity or the likely transmission rates in the community, it is not possible to make any reliable estimates of predicted future hospitalisation rates or the number of hospital beds required for cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. As data on transmission rates becomes clearer over time and the initial hospitalisations allow assessment of severity and care needs, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will be able to generate projections of predicted future hospitalisation rates. The UKHSA and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working together to collate this data as quickly as possible.