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Written Question
Armed Forces: Body Armour
Monday 25th July 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Ministry of Defence:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effectiveness, (b) health and safety and (c) comfort of the current standard of military body armour.

Answered by Jeremy Quin - Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)

VIRTUS is the current military body armour used by personnel across Defence.

Military body armour is designed to improve the wearer’s survivability by protecting them from a variety of blast and fragmentation threats; but it also must be balanced against the wider system requirements – specifically mobility and lethality. Combat effectiveness is measured by the overall interaction between protection, mobility, and firepower.

The current military body armour (VIRTUS) has been developed with DSTL and assessed against industry standards. It was developed to address previously identified capability gaps. It was subjected to field and lab trials testing which concluded that the VIRTUS system increased agility and overall performance..

Military body armour (VIRTUS) complies with current UK Health and Safety at Work legal requirements and meets all other legal and Ministry of Defence obligations.

The current in service body armour (VIRTUS) was consistently rated more favourably in respect of comfort than the other systems in the majority of questions during initial trials, and subjective evaluations relating to usability and functionality were predominately positive. Defence is constantly seeking to refine the capability, and has recently developed a wider variety of body armour accessories for those with smaller statures.


Written Question
Trade: USA
Thursday 21st July 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Department for International Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Department's policy is on Government engagement with the EU-US Trade and Technology Council.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt - Minister of State (Department for International Trade)

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council is a bilateral forum between EU and US. We are monitoring this forum and tracking developments. We continue to engage with both the EU and the US on these important issues.

At the recent UK-US Trade Dialogue in Aberdeen, we agreed to take forward further work on a number of priority areas, including digital trade.


Written Question
Police: Body Armour
Wednesday 20th July 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness and adequacy of the standard of police officer body armour from the perspective of (a) health and safety and (b) comfort.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

Home Office body armour standards take into consideration the relevant police operational requirements and threats to set the minimum performance levels for body armour.

These standards are internationally recognised and ensure that body armour is safe and fit for purpose.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
Tuesday 19th July 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Warley of 10 March on delays in extension of applications for Further Leave to Remain.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

A response was sent to the hon. Member on 6 July 2022.


Written Question
Electricity Generation
Tuesday 19th July 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the appropriate level of spare electrical generating capacity to ensure continuity of supply over the winter.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Government has already procured the capacity needed to allow the Electricity System Operator (ESO) to meet peak demand in a range of scenarios this winter. This included procuring the maximum capacity possible (almost 5GW) in the recent year-ahead Capacity Market auction.

The Government has taken further steps to reinforce our energy security by extending certain coal plants’ operations to provide additional generation if needed.

The Government works closely with the ESO to continually monitor electricity supply and demand. The ESO will publish its annual Winter Outlook in the autumn, which will provide a detailed assessment of the capacity available this winter.


Written Question
Electricity: Imports
Tuesday 19th July 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much electricity has been imported in each of the last five years; and what proportion of final demand those imports represented.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Data on the supply and consumption of electricity is available in Energy Trends table 5.2, with more detailed information on imports, exports and transfers available in table 5.6: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-section-5-energy-trends.


Written Question
Operose Health: Staff
Thursday 23rd June 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report by Panorama that Operose Health have used less qualified staff to consult with patients without supervision.

Answered by Maria Caulfield - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Physician associates (PAs) are not a substitute for a general practitioner. The use of PAs in primary care is detailed in the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service, which describes the role and the tasks a PA funded by the Additional Role Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) would be expected to undertake. It also references the expectation of the supervision of PAs. NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to review the ARRS by the end of 2023.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Long Covid
Tuesday 21st June 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of classifying long covid as a condition eligible for Personal Independence Payments.

Answered by Chloe Smith - Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is intended to act as a contribution towards the extra costs that arise from needs related to a long-term health condition or disability. It is assessed on the basis of functional needs not a diagnosis or condition. The needs arising from long Covid are assessed in the same way as for all other health conditions or disabilities.

From March 2021 we amended PIP statistical classifications to include the category “Coronavirus COVID-19”. Data on the PIP caseload by a range of factors, including main disabling condition, can be extracted from Stat-Xplore (Stat-Xplore - Log in (dwp.gov.uk)) . Information on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found at Getting Started (dwp.gov.uk).


Written Question
Motor Vehicles: Manufacturing Industries
Friday 17th June 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of people currently employed in manufacturing supply chains for (a) internal combustion engines and (b) zero-emission vehicle technologies in the UK; and what steps he is taking to help transition those people in internal combustion supply chains to zero-emission manufacturing roles.

Answered by Lee Rowley

In 2021, the automotive manufacturing sector accounted for 155,000 direct jobs and estimated to support an additional 346,000 indirect jobs elsewhere in the economy. ONS Employee Jobs data does not separately report employment by propulsion-type of car manufactured.

The Government continues to support the automotive workforce reskilling for electrification as part of the up to £1bn commitment to build EV supply chains.

The Government will continue to support the collaboration between universities and the automotive industry to deliver cutting edge R&D research. The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) supports R&D and capital investments across strategically important parts of the electric vehicle supply chain.


Written Question
Motor Vehicles: Hydrogen
Friday 17th June 2022

Asked by: John Spellar (Labour - Warley)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage investment into the manufacturing of hydrogen internal combustion engines in the UK.

Answered by Lee Rowley

It is likely that there will be a range of zero emission technologies adopted in the future. The UK is well-placed to be a leader in hydrogen and electric powered transportation.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is directed at late-stage R&D to develop important technologies in the transition to zero-emission transport. Hydrogen, including as a fuel for ICE applications, is an important contributor to reducing CO2 and other harmful emissions and is within the scope the APC. Information about open funding competitions can be found at: https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/search.