Karin Smyth Written Questions

225 Questions to Government Departments tabled by Karin Smyth


Date Title Questioner
21 Sep 2020, 1:52 p.m. Self-employment Income Support Scheme Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what criteria are used to decide whether to allow an appeal for a Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant application; how many SEISS applications have been allowed an appeal; and how many of those applications subsequently had their decisions reversed since that scheme was introduced.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The review process for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is a non-statutory process put in place by HMRC to provide additional protection to customers. There is no legal right of appeal against decisions made in relation to the SEISS, and there is also no legal provision for ‘reasonable excuse’ within the legal framework for SEISS.

HMRC have limited discretion in operating the SEISS and any exercise of this discretion must be rational and justifiable on the grounds of good management and administration. This discretion can only be used in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances could include situations where HMRC have made an error which has affected an individual’s eligibility for, or amount of, a SEISS grant.

HMRC publish statistical information through structured Management Information and statistical releases on GOV.UK. They are currently working through the analysis they are able to provide based on the data available. HMRC will give an update in due course on the types of data available and timing for publication.

3 Aug 2020, 1:05 p.m. Apprentices: Taxation Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2020 to Question 64954 on Nurses: Coronavirus, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadline of the apprenticeship levy so that NHS trusts do not lose unused funds as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We currently have no plans to extend the expiry period for employers’ levy funds. From the point at which funds enter an employer’s account, they already have 24 months in which to spend the funds, and these funds only begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis 24 months after they enter an employer’s account. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to help support apprenticeship starts in their supply chain or to meet local skills needs. We remain committed to improving the operation of the apprenticeship levy, and while we recognise the current challenges facing employers, we currently consider that this period is sufficient to give employers time to develop their apprenticeship programmes and encourage them to create new apprenticeship opportunities.

Employers’ levy funds are not the same as the department's ring-fenced apprenticeship budget. Any unspent funds are not lost but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers.

To help employers, including NHS trusts, offer new apprenticeships, they will be able to claim £1,500 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021- rising to £2,000 if they hire a new apprentice under the age of 25. In addition, we have increased the number of reservations that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices. Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The new payment means it’s a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

31 Jul 2020, 3:51 p.m. Apprentices: Taxation Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the of unspent levy funds.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

The government is committed to improving the working of the apprenticeship system and the apprenticeship levy. Ministers and officials meet regularly with HM Treasury to discuss all matters relating to apprenticeships, including how to best support employers to develop apprenticeship programmes and spend their available funds. We also continue to work closely with businesses and to listen to their views about the operation of the levy and the apprenticeships program more broadly, taking into account the impact of COVID-19.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices. To encourage employers of all sizes to take on apprentices, and to support large employers to spend their levy funds, we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

Employers’ levy funds are not the same as the department’s ring-fenced apprenticeship budget, which is set to fund apprenticeships in England only. This budget is used to fund training for new apprenticeship starts in levy and non-levy paying employers and to cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already in training. It is also used to cover the cost of end-point assessment and any additional payments made to employers and providers. We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts, however they are able to. This means that levy payers’ unspent funds are not lost but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers and additional payments. We have also increased the number of reservations that SMEs can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices.

30 Jul 2020, 5:06 p.m. Apprentices: Disadvantaged Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding of the Social Mobility Commission’s Report on Apprenticeships and Social Mobility, published 24 June 2020, that disadvantage gaps exist at every stage of the apprenticeship journey; and what steps he is taking to reduce those gaps.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

As the Social Mobility Commission found, apprenticeships help boost employment and reduce the gap in earnings between people from disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds. I met recently with the Social Mobility Commission to discuss the report, the importance of quality in the apprenticeship system, and our commitment to working closely with the Commission in future.

We are committed to levelling up opportunity across the country, and think apprenticeships will be key to the recovery, especially in providing high-quality employment opportunities for young people. We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Employers can choose how best to spend this payment to support their apprentices; this could include supporting with uniform and travel costs. The new payment is on top of the additional payments we make to cover costs associated with apprentices who may need extra support, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We are also investing £111 million to triple the number of traineeships to support those further from the labour market into employment and training. Details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury.

We have worked with some of the country’s most influential employers through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice at each stage of the apprenticeship journey – from outreach and recruitment, to supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds achieve their apprenticeship and progress. Our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge programme supports schools across England to provide disadvantaged students with information on apprenticeships.

We continue to listen to employers, providers and apprentices, to see how we can build on our reforms so that they continue to support people from all backgrounds and the economy more broadly.

30 Jul 2020, 4:54 p.m. Apprentices: Finance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of new apprenticeships that will be taken up by (a) SMEs and (b) large employers benefiting from the £2,000 incentive announced in the summer economic update on 8 July 2020.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover post COVID-19. Apprenticeships also present excellent opportunities to young people seeking to start and build careers.

The number of new apprenticeships that will be taken up by employers benefiting from the incentive payments announced in the summer economic update on 8 July 2020 will depend on a wide range of factors that will impact on the recruitment decisions of those employers in difficult economic circumstances.

The new incentive payments are there to encourage employers to take on new apprenticeship recruits. They are designed to help as many employers as possible in responding to the pressures of the first six months of the economic recovery, in enabling flexibility to create the apprenticeship opportunities which will benefit their business.

27 Jul 2020, 5:19 p.m. GCSE: English Language and Mathematics Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question 64956, what estimate his Department has made of how much per pupil the £35 million funding equates to for pupils without a GCSE in (a) maths and (b) English at grade 4 or above.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

From academic year 2020/21, we are providing an additional £35 million to providers of 16-19 education for students on substantial Level 3 programmes who have not yet attained a GCSE grade 9 to 4 (or equivalent) in maths and/or English. For students on two year programmes, providers will receive additional funding at a rate of £750 for each subject in which a student does not hold a GCSE pass grade. For students on one year programmes, the provider is funded at a rate of £375 per student per subject.

27 Jul 2020, 4:56 p.m. Universal Credit: Self-employment Income Support Scheme Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2020 to Question 63380, whether her Department collects information on which universal credit claimants have received a payment under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme; and what estimate her Department has made of the cost of publishing that information.

Answer (Mims Davies)

HMRC owns this information on Self Employed Income Support Scheme. DWP has made no estimate of the cost of undertaking or publishing any analysis of the scheme and its links with Universal Credit.

27 Jul 2020, 3:37 p.m. Children: Day Care Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the Women’s Budget Group report, A Care-Led Recovery from Coronavirus, published on 30 June 2020, what steps he plans to take to increase investment in the (a) child and (b) social care sectors to create more jobs in each of those sectors.

Answer (Vicky Ford)

We are planning to spend more than £3.6 billion on early education entitlements in 2020-21. During the COVID-19 outbreak, government has continued to pay early years entitlements funding to councils in the usual way. The childcare sector has also been able to access a wider package of government support in the form of a business rates holiday, business interruption loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We will also establish a new £1 billion fund from 2021 to create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places for school-age children.

Councils have been given access to an additional £1.5 billion for adults and children’s social care in 2020-21 on top of maintaining £2.5 billion of existing social care grants. This will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.

We recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak is imposing significant pressures on the social care sector. We have now made £3.7 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in social care.

There will be a spending review in the autumn, where government will agree their overall priorities for the coming years and will take the opportunity to examine the overall funding.

24 Jul 2020, 2:54 p.m. Air Pollution: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2020 to Question 64952 on Air Pollution: Coronavirus, what further studies he has (a) commissioned or (b) plans to commission on the association between covid-19 and air pollution; and if he will make it his policy to publish those studies.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) report provides an early snapshot of evidence (pre-April 30 2020) and is an important component of Defra's response to COVID-19 and strategic leadership to improving air quality in the UK. A detailed follow-up by AQEG in the form of a more traditional review of the peer reviewed evidence will follow when more is known on the impact of the pandemic on air quality.

Defra continues to have extensive discussions with DHSC and the research community, on the relationship between air quality and health. We are committed to improving our understanding of the possible links between air quality and COVID-19, to inform policy development and will publish any studies at an appropriate time.

I welcome the EFRA Committee Inquiry into Air Quality, and we will be submitting further information about work on the links between air pollution and Covid-19 in our response to the call for evidence.

24 Jul 2020, 1:44 p.m. Firearms: Licensing Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February 2020 to Question 12350, when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Policing and Crime Act: proposals to implement legislation to define antique firearms, which closed in December 2017.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

We are carefully considering the consultation responses we received and are engaging further with interested parties on this technical issue. We will publish our conclusions as soon as possible and at the same time we will lay regulations before Parliament to define which firearms can safely be regarded as antique.

24 Jul 2020, 1:43 p.m. Firearms: Licensing Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February 2020 to Question 12349, when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Statutory guidance to police on firearms licensing, which closed in September 2019.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Government is continuing to consider the 11,000 responses which were received in reply to the public consultation on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police on firearms licensing which closed on 17 September last year.

The Government intends to publish its response to the consultation and the statutory guidance in due course.

24 Jul 2020, 1:42 p.m. Firearms: Safety Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress she has made on a public consultation on firearms safety.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

A public consultation on firearms safety issues will be published later this year. It will seek views on security arrangements for high muzzle-energy rifles and will cover other firearms safety issues that were raised during the passage through Parliament of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

23 Jul 2020, 4:09 p.m. Flexible Working Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2020 to Question 64958 on Females: Coronavirus, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the cultural shift in flexible working for all during the covid-19 outbreak is embedded in future workforce practices.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is clear about the benefits of flexible working for employers and their employees.

Since Covid-19 measures were introduced many more people have been working from home with many businesses rapidly adapting to remote working, using new technology and finding new ways of working. As we move beyond the current situation we are keen to do more to promote flexible working in all its forms.

All employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer have the right to request Flexible Working. In our manifesto we committed to take this further and we will be looking at this in light of COVID.

22 Jul 2020, 5:57 p.m. Adult Education: Finance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on estimating the potential resource requirement for retraining people who are no longer employed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will include investment in the adult skills budget in the next spending review.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The Chancellor has had various discussions with Cabinet colleagues on education and skills, including retraining.

Decisions on departmental budgets beyond 2020-21 will be made at the Comprehensive Spending Review.

22 Jul 2020, 4:23 p.m. Crime: Airguns Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Attorney General, what estimate she has made of the number of young people under the age of 18 charged with air weapons offences.

Answer (Michael Ellis)

The CPS does not maintain a central record of the age of defendants charged with offences relating to air weapons. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

22 Jul 2020, 9:11 a.m. Individual Savings Accounts Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on amending the terms of the Lifetime ISA.

Answer (John Glen)

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed.

The government keeps all aspects of savings and tax policy under review as part of the process of policy development and delivery. The government has recently amended the terms of the Lifetime ISA to support savers during the COVID-19 pandemic. On 1 May 2020 the government announced that the Lifetime ISA withdrawal charge will be reduced temporarily to 20% from 25% for any unauthorised withdrawal made between 6 March 2020 and 5 April 2021 recouping the government bonus and any interest or growth that may have accrued on that bonus, but with no further charge.

21 Jul 2020, 4:38 p.m. Further Education:Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 15 July 2020 to Question 64242 on Covid-19 Education Catch-up Fund, what assessment he has made of the effect of lost teaching time on the educational attainment of young people in Further Education as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We are aware that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruption to people of all ages in education, in particular lost teaching time.

Colleges and providers swiftly moved more learning online to allow students to continue with studies remotely.

We want to get all further education learners back into education settings as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and teachers.

Many further education providers are already open for some learners who are 16 to 19 and adults, subject to the required safety measures being met. From Autumn 2020, all learners will return to a full high-quality education programme delivered by their college or post-16 learning provider.

We announced on 20 July that we will be providing a one-off, ring-fenced grant of up to £96 million for colleges, sixth forms and all 16 to 19 providers, to provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16 to 19 year old students whose studies have been disrupted.

21 Jul 2020, 4:38 p.m. Adult Education: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the provision of adult skills.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We are aware that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruption to people of all ages in education, in particular lost teaching time.

Colleges and providers swiftly moved more learning online to allow students to continue with studies remotely.

We want to get all further education learners back into education settings as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and teachers.

Many further education providers are already open for some learners who are 16 to 19 and adults, subject to the required safety measures being met. From Autumn 2020, all learners will return to a full high-quality education programme delivered by their college or post-16 learning provider.

We announced on 20 July that we will be providing a one-off, ring-fenced grant of up to £96 million for colleges, sixth forms and all 16 to 19 providers, to provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16 to 19 year old students whose studies have been disrupted.

21 Jul 2020, 4:19 p.m. Airguns: Regulation Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February to Question 12342 on Airguns: Regulation, for what reason her Department has not published its response to the air weapons review that closed in February 2018.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

We intend to publish our conclusions relating to the outcome of the review of air weapons regulations alongside a consultation on firearms safety issues, to which we committed during the passage of the Offensive Weapons Act. Preparations for that consultation are currently ongoing and it will be published later this year

21 Jul 2020, 3:09 p.m. Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Maternity Leave Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 64246 on Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Maternity Leave, whether self-employed women who took maternity leave during the last three years will be entitled to the same amount under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme as they would had they not taken maternity leave during that period.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government has amended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) eligibility conditions to support newly self-employed parents. This is an amendment to bring these individuals into eligibility for the scheme.

The grant for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is calculated using an average of the self-employed individual’s trading profits and has been designed to even out fluctuations in earnings which self-employed people may experience for any number of reasons.

8 Jul 2020, 10:29 a.m. Sports: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on facilitating the safe re-opening of (a) gymnastics and (b) trampolining centres in England as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so. The government has announced that indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities would remain closed but since 4 July other indoor facilities, including some indoor games, recreation and certain entertainment venues have reopened.

The Secretary of State has established a task force to work with the sport and leisure sector to help them become COVID-secure and re-open as soon as possible. As with all aspects of the government’s response to COVID-19, we will be guided by public health considerations to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

6 Jul 2020, 11:55 a.m. Basic Skills and Mathematics: Education Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating funding to (a) maths and (b) skills teaching for the provision of education to young people for whom a lack of a qualification in those subjects presents a barrier to social mobility.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We recognise the importance of achieving a Level 2 qualification in maths to improving social mobility. We have taken a range of actions to ensure young people secure the maths skills they need for employment, further education, and everyday life.

We require students who leave key stage 4 without a GCSE grade 4 or above in maths and English to continue to study the subject and be given the opportunity to achieve a GCSE grade 4 or above during their 16 to 19 study programme. However, we recognise that for students with prior attainment of a GCSE grade 2 or below, a Functional Skills Level 2 may be more appropriate. We have recently reformed Functional Skills qualifications to improve their rigour and relevance to employers.

For both T-Levels and apprenticeships, we fund providers to support learners to achieve up to an approved level 2 qualification in maths and English qualification where they do not already hold a suitable equivalent qualification.

We are providing an additional £35 million to 16 to 19 providers to support students on Level 3 courses who do not yet have a GCSE maths and English grade 9 to 4 or equivalent, so they can re-sit their exams in these critical subjects.

Since 2018, we have been investing in a network of post-16 schools and colleges to be Centres for Excellence in Maths to improve the quality of maths teaching in post-16 institutions. There are 21 centres across the country – with at least one in every region of England – which are designing new and improved teaching resources, building teachers’ skills, and spreading best practice across the country through their wider networks with the aim of improving the outcomes of the lowest attaining maths students.

3 Jul 2020, 3 p.m. Child Maintenance Service: Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training has been given to staff who have been redeployed from the Child Maintenance Service to help process the increase in claims for universal credit resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Mims Davies)

The Department responded at pace to the increase in customers and the upsurge of UC claims during the COVID-19 outbreak, c10,000 DWP staff were trained and redeployed to business critical roles to support Universal Credit (UC) case management.

Those staff redeployed to UC received training to enable them to support DWP to pay claimants on time and in full. The learning has been updated to incorporate COVID-19 processes which have been streamlined for UC and shows staff how to:

  • Carry out their role by managing their caseload
  • hand off work for complex cases and payments, and
  • communicate with claimants via journals and outbound telephone calls

We have moved to virtual delivery of training and to cope with increased capacity have on-boarded additional temporary Learning Delivery Officers. To meet longer term learning delivery requirements, we are building our cadre of Learning Delivery Officers with a blend of permanent and temporary recruitment.

Alongside virtual delivery, we are enhancing the support given to colleagues both pre and post training, to ensure staff have a quality learning experience.

3 Jul 2020, 2:53 p.m. Apprentices Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations his Department has met with to discuss the Government’s forthcoming apprenticeship guarantee.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow following the COVID-19 outbreak. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses who want to take on an apprentice this year.

Ministers and officials continue to work closely with business representative organisations including the Confederation of Business Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, Make UK, the Institute of Directors and British Chambers of Commerce. Ministers and officials are also working closely with other governmental departments including HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on economic recovery and the role of apprenticeships and other skills programmes.

In my role as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, I have held many conversations with employers and training providers, in addition to recently hosting two cross-sectoral employer roundtables. These roundtables were used to gain insight into their experiences of the impact of COVID-19 and the government’s response, and to share their ideas as to how apprenticeships can drive economic recovery and continue to be an accessible, high-quality route to employment and skills. Employers in attendance covered a diverse spectrum of the economy, including retail, manufacturing, construction, digital, creative arts and the public sector. I was also pleased to recently meet a broad range of members of the Federation of Industry Sector Skills & Standards to consider key skills shortages in different sectors and how COVID-19 has impacted these.


3 Jul 2020, 1:08 p.m. Apprentices: Taxation Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to review the apprenticeships levy; and what progress he has made on that review.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

The government is committed to improving the working of the apprenticeship levy. We are continuing to engage closely with businesses and to listen to their views about the operation of the levy and the apprenticeships programme more broadly, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have already introduced the flexibility for levy-payers to transfer up to 25% of their funds, enabling them to support apprenticeship starts in their supply chains or to meet local skills needs. In response to the outbreak, we have introduced a range of flexibilities to enable apprentices and employers to continue with their apprenticeships and start new ones wherever possible. This includes encouraging the remote delivery of training and allowing changes to end point assessment.

We are also bringing non-levy paying employers onto the apprenticeship service during 2020-21 to give smaller employers more control over the apprenticeships they choose and the training providers they use.

3 Jul 2020, 11:25 a.m. Air Pollution: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his Department's policies of research that links dirty air and increased infections of covid-19; and what additional steps he is taking to keep air pollution levels low.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

The Government is taking a proactive approach to understand the possible links between air quality and COVID-19. That is why, with our Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG), we ran a rapid Call for Evidence to ensure we can more fully understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on air pollutant emissions, concentrations and human exposure. This report was published on 1 July. On the specific issue of COVID-19 and the link to air pollution, it is a particularly challenging and uncertain area. We note that there is emerging evidence suggesting an association, but many of the emerging papers are, as yet, generally not peer-reviewed and are of variable quality. Currently, there is no clear evidence to suggest that air pollution has a direct link to the spread or severity of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

Improving air quality remains a top priority for the Government and, especially during these unprecedented times, we will continue to take robust and comprehensive action to improve air quality in the UK and minimise public health impacts.

2 Jul 2020, 6:07 p.m. Apprentices Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the merits of providing apprenticeships programmes that are more affordable to the NHS and the opportunities this might offer local economies.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

Nursing apprenticeships offer a high-quality work-based route, in addition to the established higher education route, into the profession. There is now a complete apprentice pathway from entry-level through to postgraduate-level. We are working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Health Education England to try to maximise the potential of this route to deliver trained nurses and nursing associates to the NHS.

Apprenticeships are able to help meet the long-term skills needs of a changing NHS and to widen access to the professions. There are currently 65 standards available for delivery from levels 2 to 7 in the health and science route. There are over 550 standards available overall, many of which can be used in the healthcare sector.

We are committed to minimising disruption to nurses’ training while supporting the NHS to deal with the challenges of COVID-19. Nursing apprentices who have completed their programme and passed through the apprenticeship gateway will be regarded to have met the end-point assessment requirements and achieved their apprenticeship.

We work closely with Health Education England, who have established a dedicated team of relationship managers to provide bespoke support to trusts. We continue to engage regularly with NHS stakeholders, including Health Education England and NHS Employers, to make sure that the NHS is fully supported to recruit the apprentices that it needs to deliver high-quality care in all areas, including emergency services, nursing, and care. I was pleased to speak recently to apprentices at the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who shared with me their inspiring stories of how apprenticeships have allowed the Yorkshire Ambulance Service to do its vital work in supporting the NHS.

2 Jul 2020, 5:31 p.m. Females: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the UN Report The Impact of Covid 19 on Women; and what steps she is taking to in response to that report's findings that the covid-19 outbreak has had a greater negative economic impact on women, has led to an increase in unpaid care work, and has led to a rise in gender-based violence.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

This Government is working tirelessly to support people impacted by COVID-19, including women.

The UN Report has highlighted some key issues that women are facing globally as a result of this pandemic. To respond to these challenges, we have taken unprecedented steps to support lives and livelihoods, including increasing the generosity of Universal Credit, introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and made changes to ensure people do not miss out on parental leave, childcare support or carer’s allowance. We have also been clear that those with caring responsibilities (including childcare) can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will continue until October. We have also engaged extensively with a wide variety of key stakeholders to inform our work in this area, including the Fawcett Society, Equally Ours, a network of UK equal opportunities organisations, the UK Civil Society Women's Alliance, and small women’s organisations. The cultural shift in flexible working for all that we’ve seen in recent months can and must be part of how we build back better after the crisis.

Gendered violence of any kind is unacceptable, which is why we announced an extra £76 million to support the most vulnerable – including survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. This is in addition to the £2 million made available by the Home Office to help bolster domestic abuse helplines and online services, to ensure that support continues to be available for victims. Despite lockdown regulations, we made clear that anyone at risk of domestic abuse could still leave their home and go somewhere they feel safe. The Home Office is running an awareness campaign - #YouAreNotAlone - to signpost victims to the support services available.

2 Jul 2020, 12:09 p.m. NHS: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the wellbeing of NHS trainees during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The health and wellbeing of National Health Service trainees is very important to the Government. We commissioned NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive package of emotional, psychological and practical support.

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the support package on 8 April 2020. The support package is available to all NHS trainees and it includes a helpline and text service for counselling and support, a dedicated bereavement helpline, and a range of well-being apps. All the support available can be accessed via the following link:

people.nhs.uk/help

Medical trainees will continue to have access to the support of their clinical and educational supervisors, their schools and Performance Support and Wellbeing Units. Health Education England has introduced the ‘Wellness Check in’ to ensure learners know how to seek help.

2 Jul 2020, 12:06 p.m. NHS: Apprentices Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of backfilling costs in the NHS on the NHS' ability to provide affordable apprenticeships programmes for (a) nursing and (b) other careers in healthcare.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The Department for Education operate the apprenticeship levy to support employers across all sectors to undertake training as apprentices. Apprenticeships funding can be used to cover the eligible costs of training and assessment for the apprentice, but it currently does not allow costs of backfill to be met – this falls to National Health Service employers employing apprentices.

We recognise that the nursing apprenticeship requires a high percentage of apprentice time spent in off the job training. Apprenticeships are real jobs with training and employers cover employment costs as they would with any employee, including wages while training.

Apprenticeships continue to play a vital role in delivering the high-quality skills employers need and that will support our economic recovery post COVID-19.

2 Jul 2020, 12:03 p.m. Apprentices and Education: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

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 education and apprenticeships in the NHS.

Answer (Helen Whately)

Health Education England (HEE) has continued to prioritise education and training during the COVID-19 outbreak. Regulatory bodies representing health and social care professions have issued statements on how training and education is being managed during this outbreak. HEE and NHS Improvement are working with professional bodies to ensure staff training continues during COVID-19, such as moving studies online.

1 Jul 2020, 4:49 p.m. Driving Tests: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how may emergency driving tests were undertaken by essential workers during the suspension of regular tests as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

Between the period 23 March 2020 and 19 June 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency conducted 5,967 emergency tests for critical workers:

Test category

Tests conducted

Motorcycle tests

124

Vocational tests

584

Car tests

5259

5967

1 Jul 2020, 4:19 p.m. Apprentices Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of level 2 and level 3 apprenticeships.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

Employers are at the heart of our reforms to apprenticeships, designing high-quality standards that deliver the skills that they need, and determining which apprenticeships they offer and when. Of the 554 standards now available, 316 are available at Levels 2 and 3 across a range of sectors.

In response to COVID-19 we have introduced a broad range of flexibilities, including encouraging the remote delivery of apprenticeships, to ensure that apprentices can continue with their learning, as far as possible, and to support the continued take up of apprenticeships at all levels by employers.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

30 Jun 2020, 5:43 p.m. Apprentices: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on providing additional (a) support and (b) incentives to SMEs to (i) retain and (ii) take on apprentices while dealing with the economic challenges resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow post COVID-19.

The flexibilities we have introduced, including remote learning, are enabling apprenticeships to continue. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course.

We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year and have extended the transition period of transferring onto the apprenticeship service from 1 November 2020 to 1 April 2021. This will enable smaller employers to have more control over the funding they use to create new apprenticeship opportunities and allow them to reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs.

As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, I hosted a series of round tables in June 2020 with employers, business representative groups and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss what further support employers may need in continuing to access apprenticeships.

30 Jun 2020, 5:37 p.m. Apprentices: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to NHS trusts to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their ability to use mapped career pathways of apprenticeships to improve social mobility.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

Apprenticeships offer a complete pathway from entry-level through to postgraduate level, giving people of all backgrounds the opportunity to pursue a career in the health and social care sector. We are committed to minimising disruption to nurses’ training and career progression, while supporting the NHS to deal with the challenges of COVID-19, and we have introduced a broad range of flexibilities to help support this.

Nursing apprentices who have completed their programme and passed through the apprenticeship gateway will be regarded to have met the end-point assessment requirements and achieved their apprenticeship. The apprentice will then have the opportunity to continue along the nursing apprenticeship pathway. We have also issued guidance on how critical workers such as nurses may be able to continue off-the-job training when redeployed to a new role.

We continue to engage regularly with NHS stakeholders, including Health Education England and NHS Employers, to make sure the NHS is fully supported to recruit the apprentices it needs to deliver high-quality care.

30 Jun 2020, 5:35 p.m. Education: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effects of the covid-19 outbreak on learners who have not been able to gain training placement experiences and as a result may struggle to achieve the necessary competency for their programme.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

The current situation means that many learners are not able to carry out any placement element of their programme due to social distancing measures and employers being closed or having ‘work at home’ arrangements that are not suitable. This is particularly the case for traineeships where the work experience is an integral part of the programme. In such cases, temporary flexibilities that apply from 23 March 2020 allow reduced duration of work experience to complete learning aims where appropriate. This also includes potential extension of traineeships by up to 12 months where required and confirmation of attainment of qualification by email until hard copy certificates can be issued.

More widely on other vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs), Ofqual has set out in guidance how results should be issued this summer to enable as many learners as possible to progress as they have planned. For many VTQs, a calculated grade will be awarded – in a similar way to GCSEs and AS/A levels. For other VTQs where a calculated grade is not possible, assessments will be delivered in an adapted way this summer. We know for some VTQs that neither of these approaches will be possible and that the only option will be to delay assessments into the next academic year - this should be a last resort. Awarding organisations are working with Ofqual and centres to deliver results and assessments wherever possible this summer.

30 Jun 2020, 2:34 p.m. Clean Air Zones: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will provide updated guidance and advice to local authorities on how Clean Air Zone programmes are affected by the covid-19 lockdown.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

We are in active dialogue with all local authorities with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceedances, including those planning Clean Air Zones (CAZs), and are continuing to provide them with specific support and guidance. We are clear that even in these challenging times, we are committed to delivering compliance with NO2 limits in the shortest possible time and that NO2 reduction measures, including CAZs, are still needed.

29 Jun 2020, 5:25 p.m. Employment: Disadvantaged Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure that Local Industrial Strategies developed by devolved authorities have targeted plans in place to improve skills and access to jobs in areas with high deprivation.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

The Local Industrial Strategies which have been published to date are based on robust evidence, allowing places to make the most of their distinctive strengths, address their weaknesses, and maximise their potential contribution to UK productivity. Local Industrial Strategies have a strong skills focus and are supported by analysis by locally led Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs), to which Government has given each £75,000 funding for the 2020/2021 financial year. SAPs help places to identify local skills priorities based on analysis of the local area, and agree how these will be met through local education and training provision.

29 Jun 2020, 4 p.m. Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Maternity Leave Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with his Department on the implications for Government policy of the amount of support through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme self employed women on maternity leave can claim.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

As announced on 17 June, the Government is amending the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) eligibility conditions to support self-employed new parents.

This means self-employed parents will be able to claim grants if they were taking time out of their trade to care for their new-born or newly adopted child and, as a result, did not submit a Self-Assessment tax return for 2018-19 or their trading profits in 2018-19 were less than their non-trading income.

Further details of the change for self-employed parents will be set out at the start of July in published guidance.

26 Jun 2020, 1:12 p.m. Universal Credit: Self-employment Income Support Scheme Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have received a payment under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

Answer (Will Quince)

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

26 Jun 2020, 1:12 p.m. Universal Credit: Self-employment Income Support Scheme Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants who are lone parents have received a payment under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

Answer (Will Quince)

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

26 Jun 2020, 1:12 p.m. Universal Credit: Self-employment Income Support Scheme Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have received a payment under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme which exceeds their standard and any other allowance for that assessment period.

Answer (Will Quince)

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

2 Jun 2020, 11:30 a.m. Coronavirus: Local Government Finance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the long-term financial effects on local authorities in (a) the South West and (b) other areas of the England with low rates of covid-19 deaths of a potentially delayed peak in covid-19 cases in those areas compared to other areas of England.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

The Government has now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities through an un-ringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Local authorities in the South West of England have received £316 million of this funding.

The package recognises the additional costs and pressures on finances councils are facing as a result of the current crisis. It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure councils have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

We will continue to work with local government and their representatives to ensure they are managing the pandemic.

2 Jun 2020, 11:27 a.m. Local Government Finance: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the estimate by the Local Government Association that the cost to local authorities of tackling the covid-19 outbreak is £13 billion; and whether he has plans to allocate additional funding from the public purse to local authorities to meet that cost.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

MHCLG continues to work closely with local authorities to manage the impacts of Covid-19 on our society.

The Government has made £3.2 billion available to local authorities in England through unringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have also announced measures worth over £5 billion to ease immediate cashflow concerns. These measures recognise the additional costs and financial pressures councils are facing as a result of the current crisis.  They demonstrate the Government’s commitment to making sure all councils have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

These measures are part of a comprehensive package of support for local areas from across Government, including £13 billion to support small businesses, £10.2 billion in business rates support for businesses, £600 million for infection control in care homes and £500 million of council tax support for vulnerable families.

Estimates of full-year costs are necessarily unreliable at this stage since the progress of the pandemic is unknown. We will continue to work with councils over the coming weeks, including though new monthly financial monitoring, to ensure we have a collective understanding of the issues they are facing.

2 Jun 2020, 7:55 a.m. Council Tax: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a council tax support grant for local authorities that face significant shortfalls in council tax as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The Government has provided councils with a significant package of support to help them meet a range of pressures they face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have announced over £3.2bn of new funding for councils and over £5bn of further measures to support councils’ cashflow.

2 Jun 2020, 7:55 a.m. City Region Deals: West of England Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of underwriting the City Region Deal for the West of England to remove the financial risk from the unitary authorities of the economic downturn caused as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

The devolution deal agreed between Government and West of England Combined Authority provides the region with several grant funding streams, such as a 30-year commitment to £30m p/a of ‘gainshare’ funding, as well as devolved budgets and powers across transport and skills. Government has committed to these funding streams in the devolution deal it agreed with the West of England – this should provide reassurance to the local area that this funding will continue to come forward.

The constituent Local Authorities of the West of England have received support from a significant package of Government funding to help them meet pressures resulting from Covid-19, with Local Authorities in the region receiving over £50m of the £3.2bn of new grant funding approved.

27 May 2020, 1:03 p.m. Social Services: Finance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on potential long-term sustainable funding solutions for adult social care to inform the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020.

Answer (Helen Whately)

At the 2019 Spending Round we announced that we would be providing councils with access to an additional £1.5 billion for adult and children’s social care in 2020/21 on top of maintaining £2.5 billion of existing social care grants and will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.

This includes an additional £1 billion of grant funding for adults and children’s social care, and a 2% precept that enables councils to access a further £500 million for adult social care.

We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including in adult social care. On 15 May we published details of an additional £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care.

Future funding for social care will be set out at the next Spending Review.

26 May 2020, 10:49 a.m. Local Government Finance: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadlines for when expenditure needs to be incurred on (a) Housing Infrastructure Fund, (b) Local Growth Fund and (c) Transforming Cities Fund projects to enable local authorities to re-adjust after the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

The inevitable pressures caused by Covid-19 are impacting on the delivery of capital programmes. At this difficult time we recognise the need to take a pragmatic approach, supporting partners to enable continued delivery of these vital programmes where possible to stimulate the economy.

Government is working closely with relevant partners to better understand the impact on delivery across a number of programmes. We will review what further support or flexibility may be needed based on the outcome of those conversations.

26 May 2020, 10:28 a.m. Local Government Finance: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of whether the per capita methodology that is used to allocate emergency funding to local authorities accurately reflects the costs incurred by local authorities in responding to the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

MHCLG continues to work closely with local authorities to manage the impacts of Covid-19 on our society.

The Government has made £3.2 billion available to councils in England through unringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first wave of £1.6 billion of funding, announced on 19 March, was primarily allocated through the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula, in recognition that the greatest immediate pressures would fall on local authorities with social care responsibilities. The second wave of £1.6 billion of funding, the allocations for which were announced on 28 April, was allocated on a per capita basis. This reflects our latest understanding of the distribution of additional Covid-related pressures, which are likely to be distributed in a way that is different from pre-existing needs.

It is important that these two waves of funding are seen together and that false comparisons between the two are avoided. Across both waves, more than 90 per cent of the funding will go to social care authorities.

21 Apr 2020, 10:58 a.m. Apprentices: Coronavirus Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support the Government plans to provide (a) businesses and (b) the education sector to maintain apprenticeships during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We are working with training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance organisations to support apprentices and employers during this challenging time.

We are encouraging training providers to deliver training remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable. We are also allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments where possible, to ensure that apprentices can continue to complete their apprenticeships.

We recognise that some apprentices may be unable to undertake training and that training providers may be unable to deliver it at present. We have therefore temporarily changed the funding rules to allow employers and training providers to initiate a break in learning of over 4 weeks, enabling apprenticeships to resume when it becomes possible to do so.

On 23 March 2020, we issued guidance setting out how the apprenticeship programme is responding to the impact of Covid-19: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response. We are keeping the guidance under review and will publish updates as the situation evolves.

The government has set out a comprehensive package of support for business which includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms to keep people in employment: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

12 Feb 2020, 3:52 p.m. Airguns: Regulation Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral contribution of 1 April 2019 of the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Official Report, column 786, what the timetable is for the publication of the outcome of the air weapons review which closed in February 2018.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Government fully understands the interest that Members of Parliament and others have in the outcomes of the review of air weapons regulation, and the concerns that have been expressed about the consequences, sometimes tragic, arising from the misuse of these weapons.

We intend to publish our conclusions as soon as possible alongside a consultation on firearms safety issues, to which we committed during the passage of the Offensive Weapons Act.

12 Feb 2020, 3:51 p.m. Crime: Airguns Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of 10-19 year olds were victims of air weapons offences in each year since 2010.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Home Office collects statistics on the number of offences involving the use of firearms recorded by the police in England and Wales. The age of victim is only collected for more serious offences when the principal weapon is an air weapon. The number and proportion of all victims of serious air weapon offences is in the table.

12 Feb 2020, 3:49 p.m. Crime: Airguns Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of young people under the age of 18 charged with air weapons offences.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Home Office collects data from the police in England and Wales on crimes recorded and on the outcomes of investigations. However, it is not possible to separately identify offences involving air weapons.

A separate special collection on offences involving firearms does not collect information on charges.

12 Feb 2020, 3:47 p.m. Firearms: Injuries Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of under-18 year olds admitted to hospital for injuries caused by firearms were injured by firearms other than a (a) handgun, (b) rifle, (c) shotgun and (d) larger firearm in each year since 2010.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Home Office does not hold information on those admitted to hospital due to injuries caused by firearms.

Information on hospital admissions are the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care. These are published by NHS Digital and are available here:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/hospital-admitted-patient-care-activity/2018-19

12 Feb 2020, 3:34 p.m. Firearms: Licensing Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Policing and Crime Act: proposals to implement legislation to define antique firearms, which closed in December 2017.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 contains a power to define in regulations which firearms can safely be regarded as antique and which still present a danger to the public and therefore require licensing.

A public consultation was held in late 2017 to seek views on the detail of these regulations. We are presently considering all the responses received, many of which are necessarily technical, and we intend to publish the

Government’s response and lay the regulations before Parliament as soon as possible.

12 Feb 2020, 3:33 p.m. Firearms: Licensing Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department,when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Statutory guidance to police on firearms licensing, which closed in September 2019.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Government launched a public consultation on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police on firearms licensing in July last year. The Home Office received over 11,000 responses to the consultation and these are now under consideration. The Government response to the consultation will be published in due course.

12 Feb 2020, 3:32 p.m. Firearms: Safety Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress she has made on a public consultation on firearms safety.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The firearms safety consultation will be published shortly. It will seek views on security arrangements for high muzzle-energy rifles and will cover other firearms safety issues that were raised during the passage through Parliament of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

12 Feb 2020, 3:32 p.m. Firearms: Safety Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the terms of reference will be for the public consultation on firearms safety.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The firearms safety consultation will be published shortly. It will seek views on security arrangements for high muzzle-energy rifles and will cover other firearms safety issues that were raised during the passage through Parliament of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

12 Feb 2020, 10:51 a.m. Crime: Airguns Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many air weapons offences there were in each year since 2014-15.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

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

8 Oct 2019, 4:03 p.m. Antisocial Behaviour Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 10 October 2019 to Question 257770 on Antisocial Behaviour, what recent assessment she has made of the level of compliance by local authorities with the requirement under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to publish data on their use of Community Triggers.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

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

8 Oct 2019, 4:03 p.m. Antisocial Behaviour Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of (a) Criminal Behaviour Orders, (b) Civil Injunctions and (c) Community Protection Notices introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

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

8 Oct 2019, 2:30 p.m. Parking: Codes of Practice Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish the new Code of Practice for parking in England, Wales, and Scotland.

Answer (Luke Hall)

The government is committed to developing and implementing the Code of Practice as soon as possible. We are currently considering the options for the delivery of the Code and the design of the levy on industry, as well as the format for stakeholder engagement. We will make an announcement in due course. We are also committed to carrying out a public consultation on the draft Code of Practice, allowing all interested parties to directly respond to the proposals.

23 Jul 2019, 9:28 a.m. Children: Maintenance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to undertake a public consultation on changing the sequence by which deductions from benefits are ordered to ensure that child maintenance payments take priority over debts to private companies.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Under Universal Credit there is a structured approach to deductions from benefit, which simplifies the current complex arrangements of the legacy system.

The aims of the deductions policy in Universal Credit are to protect vulnerable claimants by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of essential services, to enforce social obligations and to recover Government debt in a cost effective manner.

Deductions are made following the priority order, which determines the order in which items should be deducted. ‘Last resort’ deductions, such as rent or fuel costs, are at the top of the priority order, ensuring that claimant welfare is prioritised, followed by social obligation deductions, such as child maintenance, and finally benefit debt, such as Social Fund loans and benefit overpayments.

We prioritise the welfare of claimants, as this is the best way to support them and to help them to move towards work and off benefits.

The Deduction Priority Order can be found here (p. 72) - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/683470/benefit-overpayment-recovery-guide.pdf

19 Jun 2019, 3:33 p.m. Health Services: Contracts Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the term lead provider is defined and whether organisations other than the NHS may be lead providers.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The term ‘lead provider’ does not have a specific legal definition, but it usually means a person who holds a contract, and subcontracts some obligations under that contract. It is a term used in the National Health Service and elsewhere. In the NHS context, health and other related services are commissioned by public bodies – NHS England, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities. Providers, including lead providers, may be NHS (i.e. NHS trusts and foundation trusts) or non-NHS bodies.

19 Jun 2019, 3:31 p.m. Health and Social Care Act 2012 Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to inform Parliament about his Department's response to NHS England's proposals on amending the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The National Health Service outlined several potential areas for legislative change in ‘Implementing the NHS Long Term Plan: Proposals for possible changes to legislation’, published in February 2019. NHS England are currently developing a consultation response on the legislative proposals, following a public engagement exercise. They expect to publish this shortly, and the Government will respond formally in due course.

The Government’s priority is to support the NHS to improve patient outcomes by delivering the Long Term Plan. The Government will consider legislative proposals where they support the vision outlined in the Long Term Plan and have widespread support from within the NHS.

As the proposals are still under development, the Government response to these proposals was not included in the 2019-20 Accountability Framework, which combines the Government’s mandate to NHS England with the remit to NHS Improvement and was published on 21 May 2019 on GOV.UK.

19 Jun 2019, 3:31 p.m. Health and Social Care Act 2012 Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the 2019 NHS mandate will include a response to NHS England's proposals on amending the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The National Health Service outlined several potential areas for legislative change in ‘Implementing the NHS Long Term Plan: Proposals for possible changes to legislation’, published in February 2019. NHS England are currently developing a consultation response on the legislative proposals, following a public engagement exercise. They expect to publish this shortly, and the Government will respond formally in due course.

The Government’s priority is to support the NHS to improve patient outcomes by delivering the Long Term Plan. The Government will consider legislative proposals where they support the vision outlined in the Long Term Plan and have widespread support from within the NHS.

As the proposals are still under development, the Government response to these proposals was not included in the 2019-20 Accountability Framework, which combines the Government’s mandate to NHS England with the remit to NHS Improvement and was published on 21 May 2019 on GOV.UK.

19 Jun 2019, 3:26 p.m. NHS: Freedom of Information Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will issue guidance to commissioners of NHS services on how commercial confidentiality affects answers to freedom of information requests.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a right of access to a wide range of information held by public sector organisations, including clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

The Parliamentary and Public Accountability Agreements Protocols in place between the Department and its arm’s length bodies covers best practice for responding to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. This includes consulting with the Department where necessary and sets out that the Department’s FOI team will provide informal, impartial advice on relevant legislation and duties.

18 Jun 2019, 4:40 p.m. Mental Health Services: Contracts Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons NHS England decided that only NHS organisations can be the lead on contracts for specialised mental health services.

Answer (Jackie Doyle-Price)

NHS England has determined that provider collaboratives for specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services will be managed by a lead provider in their local area. The lead provider will be given delegated responsibility for managing the budget and patient pathway for specialised care for their local population.

They will be monitored and held to account via a contract with NHS England, which will retain ultimate accountability for the commissioning of these services. The lead provider will work in partnership with a collaborative of National Health Service and independent sector providers to deliver care locally to their population.

Although provider collaboratives will be led by an NHS organisation, independent providers can participate in provider collaboratives and enter into partnership agreements to support the effective and efficient delivery of NHS-funded care.

14 Jun 2019, 1:53 p.m. Integrated Care Systems and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of deferring revised plans for sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems until after the publication of the NHS Workforce Plan and the Social Care Green Paper.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, an Implementation Framework will be published shortly which will set out the next steps the National Health Service will take to deliver the commitments and the national activity and support available to systems. The Implementation Framework will assist local health systems, who will build on the engagement already taking place across the country, in developing their strategic Long Term Plan implementation plan over the summer. NHS England and NHS Improvement will then publish a national implementation plan later this year. The Interim People Plan and the forthcoming Implementation Framework will provide the NHS with significant additional information to support their strategic planning.

14 Jun 2019, 12:38 p.m. Integrated Care Systems: Conflict of Interests Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish guidance on the governance of integrated care systems to enable the disclosure of conflicts of interest.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

There are no current plans to publish separate conflict of interest guidance for integrated care systems. On 9 February 2017, NHS England issued guidance on managing conflicts of interest in the National Health Service. There is also separate guidance on managing conflicts of interest for clinical commissioning groups, which NHS England published on 16 June 2017.

13 Jun 2019, 4:21 p.m. Integrated Care Systems Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure operational changes in his Department support the approach of integrated care systems.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The Department will continue to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement to support their vision of integrated care systems covering the whole of England by April 2021, as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

13 Jun 2019, 3:48 p.m. NHS: Risk Assessment Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the risk register for the NHS Ten Year Plan.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

Any risks associated with implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan will be captured, agreed and managed as part of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s normal business operations and overarching risk register. Therefore, we do not have, or plan to create, a specific risk register for the Long Term Plan.

12 Jun 2019, 1:33 p.m. Integrated Care Systems Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allocate funds to integrated care systems for increases in market rent.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The market rent increases on NHS Property Services’ buildings have been permanently funded through clinical commissioning group (CCG) allocations, which are expected to be partners in integrated care systems.

CCG are expected to distribute the additional market rent funding to occupiers of NHS Property Services properties through, for example, health services contracts or rent reimbursement, where applicable. Where there are funding disputes there are matters for local commissioners and providers to agree.

Where there are billing disputes, NHS Property Services works with occupiers and commissioners as necessary to ensure the basis of charging is accurate and is fully understood and agreed by each party.

The most complex disputes involving National Health Service occupiers are reviewed by the Department and if necessary escalated to an independent arbitration panel to determine.

12 Jun 2019, 1:33 p.m. NHS: Buildings Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress NHS Property Services has made in resolving complex billing disputes as a result of the move to market rents.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The market rent increases on NHS Property Services’ buildings have been permanently funded through clinical commissioning group (CCG) allocations, which are expected to be partners in integrated care systems.

CCG are expected to distribute the additional market rent funding to occupiers of NHS Property Services properties through, for example, health services contracts or rent reimbursement, where applicable. Where there are funding disputes there are matters for local commissioners and providers to agree.

Where there are billing disputes, NHS Property Services works with occupiers and commissioners as necessary to ensure the basis of charging is accurate and is fully understood and agreed by each party.

The most complex disputes involving National Health Service occupiers are reviewed by the Department and if necessary escalated to an independent arbitration panel to determine.

12 Jun 2019, 1:09 p.m. NHS Trusts: Capital Investment Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether an assessment has been made of the effect on NHS trusts of their limitations on capital spending compared with the different limitations on NHS foundation trusts.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

National Health Service provider organisations invest in excess of £3 billion of capital annually and are responsible for keeping their estate and infrastructure safe, by prioritising their available capital and revenue budgets accordingly. The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement so that Trusts have the ability to spend to keep their estate safe.

Data from the annual Estates Return Information Collection (ERIC) suggests level of backlog in the NHS estate has increased across recent years. To support providers maintain existing estates and invest in new facilities, the Government announced £3.9 billion of additional capital funding in the 2017 Spring and Autumn Budgets, and the Government has been clear that it will consider proposals from the NHS to support transformation of the estate as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.

Both NHS trusts and foundation trusts receive income on the same basis, and where additional capital investment funding is provided centrally there are no differences between access to, or assessment processes, for NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts. Although NHS trusts are subject to some additional layers of governance in respect of capital investment when compared to NHS foundation trusts, these are not intended to impose limitations on their capital spending, rather to provide the balance between trusts’ freedom to manage their own capital investments with an assurance process for the approval of capital investment plans in the context of the wider financial sustainability of the bodies.

12 Jun 2019, 1:09 p.m. Hospitals: Repairs and Maintenance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of continuing controls on capital spending by his Department on maintenance in hospitals.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

National Health Service provider organisations invest in excess of £3 billion of capital annually and are responsible for keeping their estate and infrastructure safe, by prioritising their available capital and revenue budgets accordingly. The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement so that Trusts have the ability to spend to keep their estate safe.

Data from the annual Estates Return Information Collection (ERIC) suggests level of backlog in the NHS estate has increased across recent years. To support providers maintain existing estates and invest in new facilities, the Government announced £3.9 billion of additional capital funding in the 2017 Spring and Autumn Budgets, and the Government has been clear that it will consider proposals from the NHS to support transformation of the estate as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.

Both NHS trusts and foundation trusts receive income on the same basis, and where additional capital investment funding is provided centrally there are no differences between access to, or assessment processes, for NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts. Although NHS trusts are subject to some additional layers of governance in respect of capital investment when compared to NHS foundation trusts, these are not intended to impose limitations on their capital spending, rather to provide the balance between trusts’ freedom to manage their own capital investments with an assurance process for the approval of capital investment plans in the context of the wider financial sustainability of the bodies.

10 Jun 2019, 2:59 p.m. Students: Disadvantaged Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to introduce a student premium modelled on the pupil premium for full-time students aged 16 to 19 as recommended by the Social Mobility Commission.

Answer (Anne Milton)

The department already provides additional funding for 16 to 19 providers so that they can attract, retain and support disadvantaged students. Over £500 million has been allocated through the 16 to 19 funding formula for this disadvantage funding in the current academic year. We will keep 16 to 19 funding rates and arrangements, including support for disadvantaged students, under consideration in the lead-up to the next Spending Review.

10 Jun 2019, 12:03 p.m. Antisocial Behaviour Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Community Trigger process in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

We keep anti-social behaviour policy under review through a National Anti-social Behaviour Strategic Board which brings together a range of partners and representatives from key agencies, including the police, local government, and other Government departments, to consider the effectiveness of the powers introduced in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. We also published refreshed statutory guidance for frontline professionals on the use of these powers on 24 December 2017.

We are aware of the Victims’ Commissioner’s report on anti-social behaviour, published on 30 April, and which makes several recommendations, including on improvements to the Community Trigger process. We will carefully
consider the findings and recommendations in this report.

10 Jun 2019, 12:03 p.m. Antisocial Behaviour Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the level of compliance by local authorities with the requirement under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to publish data on their use of Community Triggers.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

We keep anti-social behaviour policy under review through a National Anti-social Behaviour Strategic Board which brings together a range of partners and representatives from key agencies, including the police, local government, and other Government departments, to consider the effectiveness of the powers introduced in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. We also published refreshed statutory guidance for frontline professionals on the use of these powers on 24 December 2017.

We are aware of the Victims’ Commissioner’s report on anti-social behaviour, published on 30 April, and which makes several recommendations, including on improvements to the Community Trigger process. We will carefully
consider the findings and recommendations in this report.

22 May 2019, 1:07 p.m. Visas: Applications Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of visa applications that have been delayed as a result of his Department's investigations into Life in the United Kingdom testing centres in each of the last three years.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

Providing the information requested would require a manual check of individual records which could only be done at disproportionate cost.

21 May 2019, 4:16 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, since January 2019 how many universal credit claimants who had an underlying entitlement to severe disability premium (SDP) have not been able to claim employment and support allowance (ESA) following the death of a partner who was the lead claimant in a previous joint ESA claim and who also had entitlement to SDP.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

This information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Since the introduction of The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (SDP Gateway) Amendment Regulations 2019, which came into force on 16th January 2019, claimants who are entitled, or have been within the last month, to an award of an existing benefit that includes Severe Disability Premium (SDP) have not been able to claim Universal Credit; even if they have experienced a relevant change in their circumstances, such as a partner’s death. These claimants continue to be able to maintain, or make, a claim to legacy benefits.

21 May 2019, 3:39 p.m. Universal Credit: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many UC50 forms were returned to her Department by residents of Bristol South constituency between June 2018 and December 2018.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

This information is not readily available at constituency level and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

21 May 2019, 3:39 p.m. Universal Credit: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many UC50 forms were issued by her Department to residents of Bristol South constituency between the June 2018 and December 2018.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

This information is not readily available at constituency level and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

21 May 2019, 3:30 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA50 forms were issued by her Department to residents of Bristol South constituency between June 2017 and December 2017.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

The requested information is not readily available to constituency level and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

21 May 2019, 3:30 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA50 forms were returned to her Department by residents of Bristol South constituency between June 2017 and December 2017.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

The requested information is not readily available to constituency level and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

21 May 2019, 2:23 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employment and support allowance joint claimant cases there are where both claimants have an underlying entitlement to severe disability premium.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

A person would have to satisfy the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) qualifying conditions to be entitled to it.

There are no ‘joint claims’ in income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(IR)). Where a couple wishes to claim ESA(IR), they will need to decide which of them will be the ‘lead’ claimant, and claim on their partner’s behalf.

Only the lead claimant has entitlement to a SDP. In couple cases, the SDP is not payable if the lead claimant does not meet the qualifying conditions, even if their partner does.

The SDP is payable at the single rate where only the lead claimant meets the qualifying conditions. The couple rate is payable where both members of the couple meet the qualifying conditions – but only the lead claimant is entitled to it.

In November 2018 there were 9,500 live couple cases of ESA(IR) where the lead claimant was in receipt of a SDP at the couple rate.

21 May 2019, 11:49 a.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will confirm that none of the 870,651 alleged Tax Credit overpayments which were remitted as detailed in the HM Revenue & Customs Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12 have been transferred to his Department for collection through universal credit.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

HMRC can confirm that none of the Tax Credit overpayments remitted have been transferred to DWP for collection through Universal Credit.

20 May 2019, 3:24 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants have had money deducted as a result of (a) council tax arrears, (b) rent arrears and (c) historical tax credit debt.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The latest available data is for eligible claims to Universal Credit Full Service that were eligible for payment in February 2019.

Of these claims:

- 2% (34,000 claims) had a deduction for council tax arrears

- 6% (83,000 claims) had a deduction for rent arrears

- 17% (255,000 claims) had a deduction for tax credit overpayments

Notes:

  1. Figures include only those claims with a non-zero deduction for each deduction type.
  2. Rent arrears deductions are defined as arrears of rent and/or service charges relating to a rented property.
  3. Figures for tax credit overpayments include both fraud and normal overpayments.
  4. Figures rounded to nearest 1,000.
4 Feb 2019, 2:28 p.m. Headteachers Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers (a) started and (b) completed the National Professional Qualification in Headship in each of the last five years; and whether he made an assessment of methods for improving head teacher recruitment and retention as part of his recently published recruitment and retention strategy.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The number of participants who have (a) started and (b) completed a National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is set out below. A full set of data for 2017/18 is not held by the Department at this time.

Academic Year

Participants who started an NPQH

Participants who completed an NPQH

2012-13

1192

855

2013-14

1132

804

2014-15

934

624

2015-16

1172

744

2016-17

1520

511

The Department funds a range of professional development programmes to strengthen school leadership in the most challenging areas and ensure there is a pipeline of talented leaders in the system. These include the reformed National Professional Qualification (NPQs) and High Potential programmes, which support aspiring and serving leaders to develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. As set out in the Recruitment and Retention Strategy, the Government is investing £20 million in scholarships to drive take-up of the reformed NPQs in the most challenging areas, doubling our initial intended investment.

22 Jan 2019, 3:39 p.m. Roadchef: Employee Benefit Trusts Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when HMRC plans to reach an agreement with the Roadchef Employee Benefit Trust on outstanding tax issues.

Answer (Mel Stride)

The administration of the tax system, including where appropriate the repayment of tax or duties, is a matter for HMRC. It would not be appropriate for Ministers to become involved in the administration of the tax system in specific cases.

21 Jan 2019, 2:52 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA50 forms were issued by her Department to residents of Bristol South constituency in each month from June to November 2017.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

21 Jan 2019, 2:52 p.m. Employment and Support Allowance: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA50 forms were returned to her Department by residents of Bristol South constituency in each month from June to November 2017.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

21 Jan 2019, 1:48 p.m. Universal Credit: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many UC50 forms were issued by her Department to residents of Bristol South constituency in each month from June to November 2018.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

This information is not readily available at constituency level and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

21 Jan 2019, 1:48 p.m. Universal Credit: Bristol South Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many UC50 forms were returned to her Department by residents of Bristol South constituency in each month from June to November 2018.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

This information is not readily available at constituency level and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

17 Jan 2019, 4:38 p.m. Windrush Generation: Compensation Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans to publish details of the Windrush compensation scheme following the Government's consultation on that scheme.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

The Government has committed to putting into place the Windrush compensation scheme and is grateful to those who responded to the public consultation that closed on 16 November.

We are considering the outcome of the consultation exercise and will respond as soon as possible with further details, including who is eligible to apply for compensation and how they can access the scheme.

17 Dec 2018, 5:28 p.m. Home Office: Written Questions Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans by the Hon Member for Bristol South to answer Question 197648 on Airguns: Reviews tabled on 30 November 2018.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

The response for UIN 197648 was given on 17th December 2018.

17 Dec 2018, 5:27 p.m. Airguns: Reviews Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will publish the Government's response to the Air Weapons Review before the House rises for the Christmas adjournment.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

The Government fully understands the interest that Members of Parliament and others have in the outcomes of the Home Office review of the regulation of air weapons. It remains our intention to set these out as soon as we can.

10 Dec 2018, 4:18 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS Property Board receives funding from non-departmental sources.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

Chaired by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy), the NHS Property Board brings together senior representatives from the Department, NHS England, NHS Improvement, wider government, Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services to provide leadership and strategic direction for the system on estates matters.

The NHS Property Board operates using existing resources; no additional funding has been allocated. The Board does not receive funding from non-Departmental sources.

10 Dec 2018, 4:18 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the annual cost of the NHS Property Board.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

Chaired by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy), the NHS Property Board brings together senior representatives from the Department, NHS England, NHS Improvement, wider government, Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services to provide leadership and strategic direction for the system on estates matters.

The NHS Property Board operates using existing resources; no additional funding has been allocated. The Board does not receive funding from non-Departmental sources.

6 Dec 2018, 10:34 a.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many staff are employed to provide (a) leadership and (b) strategic direction to the NHS as a result of the establishment of the NHS Property Board.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

No staff were employed as a direct result of the establishment of the NHS Property Board.

Chaired by the Parliamentary under Secretary of State (Lord O’Shaughnessy), the NHS Property Board brings together senior representatives from the Department, NHS England, NHS Improvement, wider Government, Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services to provide leadership and strategic direction for the system on estates matters. Member organisations are accountable to the NHS Property Board for delivering in line with its agreed objectives, though this does not affect the existing statutory duties and accountabilities of the individual member organisations and their staff.

6 Dec 2018, 10:34 a.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what accountability procedures have been established in relation to staff providing (a) leadership and (b) strategic direction to the NHS as a result of the establishment of the NHS Property Board.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

No staff were employed as a direct result of the establishment of the NHS Property Board.

Chaired by the Parliamentary under Secretary of State (Lord O’Shaughnessy), the NHS Property Board brings together senior representatives from the Department, NHS England, NHS Improvement, wider Government, Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services to provide leadership and strategic direction for the system on estates matters. Member organisations are accountable to the NHS Property Board for delivering in line with its agreed objectives, though this does not affect the existing statutory duties and accountabilities of the individual member organisations and their staff.

6 Dec 2018, 10:33 a.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 October 2018 to Question 174768, what steps his Department is taking in respect of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships which have not produced an estates strategy.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

All 42 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) submitted an estate strategy in July 2018. These strategies have been reviewed by the joint NHS England/NHS Improvement Strategic Estates Planning (SEP) team, and subsequently placed into one of four ‘bands’ overall in terms of their quality and maturity. STPs have received feedback on their strategies from SEP through their regional teams, indicating their banding and providing guidance on how their estate strategy could be further improved.

6 Dec 2018, 10:33 a.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 October 2018 to Question 174766, what steps his Department is taking to assess the quality of the 42 Sustainability and Transformation Partnership estate strategies.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

All 42 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) submitted an estate strategy in July 2018. These strategies have been reviewed by the joint NHS England/NHS Improvement Strategic Estates Planning (SEP) team, and subsequently placed into one of four ‘bands’ overall in terms of their quality and maturity. STPs have received feedback on their strategies from SEP through their regional teams, indicating their banding and providing guidance on how their estate strategy could be further improved.

6 Dec 2018, 10:32 a.m. Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 November 2018 to Question 174765 on NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships: staff, what steps he plans to take to align the 16 hub sites to the seven regions recognised by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

NHS Property Services operate throughout England, engaging locally with NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams no matter where they are physically located. NHS Property Service’s core functions operate out of 16 hub sites which are spread geographically all over the country, and many of which are co-located with NHS England and NHS Improvement. These hubs allow NHS Property Service to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, both locally and nationally.

4 Dec 2018, 4:21 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of claimants of tax credits that will not be eligible for universal credit as a result of the savings limit qualification.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

We have, however, made an estimate for the number of tax credit claimants with capital in excess of £16,000 likely to be managed migrated, across Great Britain, which is around 35,000.

As announced on 7 June 2018, for claimants with capital exceeding £16,000 who are managed migrated onto Universal Credit by the Department, any capital which exceeds the limit will be disregarded for 12 months, which means they are entitled to Universal Credit. This protection period for claimants is contingent on parliamentary approval of the required legislation.

4 Dec 2018, 2:41 p.m. NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 October 2018 to Question 174763, what proportion of the income from dividends and investments due to Community Health Partnerships in the 49 LIFT Companies has been reinvested in improving local health facilities.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The income used from dividends and investments in Life Improvement Finance Trust companies in 2017/18 is broken down in the following manner:

- Reinvested in improving local health facilities – 55%

- Used by the Department in supporting departmental initiatives – 32%

- Meet the costs of managing the 49 LIFT companies – 13%

4 Dec 2018, 2:41 p.m. NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 October 2018 to Question 174763 on NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust, what proportion of that income has been used in supporting Departmental initiatives.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The income used from dividends and investments in Life Improvement Finance Trust companies in 2017/18 is broken down in the following manner:

- Reinvested in improving local health facilities – 55%

- Used by the Department in supporting departmental initiatives – 32%

- Meet the costs of managing the 49 LIFT companies – 13%

4 Dec 2018, 2:41 p.m. NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 October 2018 to Question 174763 on NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust, what proportion of that income has been used to meet the costs of managing the 49 Lift Companies.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The income used from dividends and investments in Life Improvement Finance Trust companies in 2017/18 is broken down in the following manner:

- Reinvested in improving local health facilities – 55%

- Used by the Department in supporting departmental initiatives – 32%

- Meet the costs of managing the 49 LIFT companies – 13%

3 Dec 2018, 5:57 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of claimants of Universal Credit that have had deductions of more than 40 per cent from their Standard Allowance as a result of overpayments made by (a) computer and (b) other administrative error.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

It is not possible for a deduction of more than 40 per cent of the Standard Allowance to be made as a result of overpayments whether made by a computer or other administrative error.

When an overpayment deduction is being applied, then it has to be within the overall 40 per cent limit for deductions (reducing to 30 per cent from October 2019). The maximum deduction that can be taken for overpayments that have occurred due to computer or administrative error is either 15 per cent (standard rate) or 25 per cent (in receipt of UC with earnings) of the standard allowance. The 40 per cent maximum is only applied to overpayments caused as a consequence of fraud. As last resort deductions are higher up the deduction priority order, they will already have been taken as third party deductions, and as such the total deduction cannot exceed the 40 per cent maximum.

For example:

  1. Last resort deduction for arrears of rent at 10%;
  2. Last resort deduction for arrears of gas at 5%;
  3. Last resort deduction for arrears of electricity at 5%;
  4. Arrears of overpayment caused by error for a claimant with earnings. The maximum deduction rate for this is 25% but as 20% is already being taken for the third party deductions above, only 20% will be taken for the overpayment, so as not to exceed the 40% limit.

More generally, it is possible for the 40% ceiling to be breached but only when there is a Fraud Penalty or Sanction or an Advance repayment which means that some or all of the Last Resort Deductions cannot be applied while remaining within the 40% ceiling. If it is nevertheless in the claimant’s best interests to apply the Last Resort Deductions, then the ceiling can be breached. At this point, anything lower down the priority order (such as overpayments) would not be deducted.

The Deduction Priority Order can be found here (p. 72) - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/683470/benefit-overpayment-recovery-guide.pdf

3 Dec 2018, 12:51 p.m. Welfare Tax Credits: Carers Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October to Question 180796 on Carers: Welfare Tax Credits, when the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to change the tax credit sequencing rules that are applied to non-parental carers.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The government recognises the immense value of the care provided by non-parental carers and adoptive parents. It is for this reason that we are ensuring that they receive support irrespective of the order in which these children enter their household. Regulations to extend support in Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit were laid in Parliament on 5 November 2018 and came into force on 28 November 2018. The regulations can be viewed here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/1130/made

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/1129/made

30 Nov 2018, 2:48 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to implement the transitional protections for claimants of universal credit that were in receipt of severe disability premium.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Our proposals to implement transitional protections for claimants of Universal Credit who had previously been in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium were laid before Parliament on 5 November 2018 as part of the Universal Credit (Managed Migration) Regulations 2018.

These regulations make provision for an on-going payment to claimants who have already lost their Severe Disability Premium as a result of moving on to Universal Credit and who would still meet the eligibility criteria. The regulations also include an additional payment to cover the period since they moved onto Universal Credit. These payments are subject to the regulations receiving Parliamentary approval.

30 Nov 2018, 2:48 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the proposed transitional protections for claimants of universal credit that were in receipt of severe disability premium will be backdated for claimants that have been migrated to universal credit.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Our proposals to implement transitional protections for claimants of Universal Credit who had previously been in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium were laid before Parliament on 5 November 2018 as part of the Universal Credit (Managed Migration) Regulations 2018.

These regulations make provision for an on-going payment to claimants who have already lost their Severe Disability Premium as a result of moving on to Universal Credit and who would still meet the eligibility criteria. The regulations also include an additional payment to cover the period since they moved onto Universal Credit. These payments are subject to the regulations receiving Parliamentary approval.

29 Nov 2018, 12:39 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on claimants of universal credit of the 53 week rent year for many social housing tenants in 2019.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

Universal Credit is paid on a monthly cycle to reflect the fact that the vast majority of people receive their wages monthly. Many social landlords still expect their tenants to pay rent on a weekly basis, a practice based upon a time when both wages and benefits were paid weekly. The effect of this is that, roughly every six years, there will be 53 payment days in a twelve-month period with the result that, over the cycle, the average social sector tenant will receive approximately 35p a week less towards their rent. A key principle of Universal Credit is that it simplifies the benefit system for working age claimants and re-assessing housing costs to reflect the number of rent payments in any particular year would be complicated and lead to confusion.

26 Oct 2018, 12:38 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of historical tax credit overpayments to be referred from HMRC to her Department for recovery through universal credit payments.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Where a person stops claiming Tax Credits and instead claims Universal Credit, DWP will take responsibility for Tax Credits debt that person has, which HMRC has not been able to recover at the point of transfer. This will enable recovery to continue through Universal Credit. As at the end of September 2018, £571m* of Tax Credits debt has transferred. This will increase as Tax Credits claimants move onto Universal Credit. DWP continues to work with HMRC and HM Treasury to better understand the make-up of the Tax Credits debt to be transferred. DWP’s 2017/18 annual accounts noted that £5.9 billion of tax credit debt will transfer across as part of the Universal Credit migration process.

* From DWP internal management information data

26 Oct 2018, 12:38 p.m. Universal Credit Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which Department will be responsible for resolving disputes on the recovery of alleged tax credit overpayments by universal credit.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Where a person stops claiming Tax Credits and instead claims Universal Credit, DWP will take responsibility for Tax Credits debt that person has, which HMRC has not been able to recover at the point of transfer. This will enable recovery to continue through Universal Credit. As at the end of September 2018, £571m* of Tax Credits debt has transferred. This will increase as Tax Credits claimants move onto Universal Credit. DWP continues to work with HMRC and HM Treasury to better understand the make-up of the Tax Credits debt to be transferred. DWP’s 2017/18 annual accounts noted that £5.9 billion of tax credit debt will transfer across as part of the Universal Credit migration process.

* From DWP internal management information data

26 Oct 2018, 11:10 a.m. Welfare Tax Credits: Carers Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Government plans to lay legislative proposals before the House to change the tax credit sequencing rules applied to non-parental carers.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

HM Treasury continues to work closely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to bring these regulations into force as soon as possible. On 25 July, HMRC and DWP consulted with the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) on draft regulations to bring this change into force. The minutes of that meeting have been published online and can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/735203/ssac-minutes-july-2018.pdf.

The government intends to lay these regulations before parliament as soon as possible.

15 Oct 2018, 4:42 p.m. NHS: Subsidiary Companies Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the approval criteria for applications for NHS bodies to form wholly-owned companies will be applied retrospectively.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

NHS Improvement will shortly consult around the regulatory approach of National Health Service bodies setting up subsidiaries and expects to report its outcome later this year.

Further detailed guidance will be issued following the consultation, including the scope of the regulatory approach.

15 Oct 2018, 11:22 a.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Strategic Transformation Partnerships have developed and agreed a local strategic estates strategy.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

All 42 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) have produced an estate strategy articulating key estates issues and priorities in their STP area and outlining plans for transformation of clinical services to better meet the needs of patients.

The Department does not intend to publish or oversee the publication of these documents. It is for individual STPs to decide on how best to communicate the content of their strategies externally. It is expected that STPs’ estate strategies will continue to evolve in line with individual STPs’ clinical plans and following feedback provided by national organisations.

Commissioners and providers have a duty to undertake public engagement and involvement on a continuous basis and guidance issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement to STPs stated that estate strategies should demonstrate that there has been thorough consultation and participation from all partners.

15 Oct 2018, 11:22 a.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Strategic Transformation Partnerships' local estates strategies have been published.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

All 42 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) have produced an estate strategy articulating key estates issues and priorities in their STP area and outlining plans for transformation of clinical services to better meet the needs of patients.

The Department does not intend to publish or oversee the publication of these documents. It is for individual STPs to decide on how best to communicate the content of their strategies externally. It is expected that STPs’ estate strategies will continue to evolve in line with individual STPs’ clinical plans and following feedback provided by national organisations.

Commissioners and providers have a duty to undertake public engagement and involvement on a continuous basis and guidance issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement to STPs stated that estate strategies should demonstrate that there has been thorough consultation and participation from all partners.

15 Oct 2018, 11:22 a.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided on the requirement for consultation on the development of Strategic Transformation Partnerships' local estate strategies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

All 42 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) have produced an estate strategy articulating key estates issues and priorities in their STP area and outlining plans for transformation of clinical services to better meet the needs of patients.

The Department does not intend to publish or oversee the publication of these documents. It is for individual STPs to decide on how best to communicate the content of their strategies externally. It is expected that STPs’ estate strategies will continue to evolve in line with individual STPs’ clinical plans and following feedback provided by national organisations.

Commissioners and providers have a duty to undertake public engagement and involvement on a continuous basis and guidance issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement to STPs stated that estate strategies should demonstrate that there has been thorough consultation and participation from all partners.

15 Oct 2018, 11:21 a.m. Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Community Health Partnerships will be making a submission to the development of the long-term plan for the NHS.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The Government has asked National Health Service leaders to produce a new ten-year plan for the NHS, underpinned by a five-year funding settlement which will see the NHS budget grow by over £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023-24. As it develops the long-term plan, the NHS has been engaging with system leaders, patients and the public for their views including through a consultation which closed 30 September.

Community Health Partnerships has not made a formal submission but instead works closely with its NHS partners to ensure the funding, design and utilisation of its healthcare facilities features appropriately in all future development plans.

15 Oct 2018, 11:20 a.m. Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services: Staff Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on aligning the staff, roles and responsibilities of NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships into a regional structure alongside NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships operate throughout England. The two companies work closely with building occupiers, tenants, NHS clinical commissioning groups, sustainability and transformation partnerships and National Health Service England and NHS Improvement regional and national teams with the objective of ensuring their healthcare estate and facilities is fully utilised and delivers value for money for the NHS.

NHS Property Services deliver services locally and works out of 16 hub site offices; in many cases, these are co-located with NHS England or NHS Improvement teams. Community Health Partnerships delivers services through a regional field-based property and asset management team.

15 Oct 2018, 11:19 a.m. NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what consultation his Department is planning ahead of making a decision on the distribution of dividends from NHS LIFT Companies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The identification and distribution of dividends is a matter for each National Health Service Local Improvement Finance Trust Company and is set out in the Shareholder Agreement and/or Dividend Policy which is agreed from time to time by the Directors of each Company. Payment of Dividends is subject to the performance of the companies and their obligations to their debt funders.

Community Health Partnerships (CHP) is 100% owned by the Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care. CHP manages the public investments in LIFT Companies and receives all dividends payable in respect of its shareholding of up to 40%. CHP’s board, on which the Secretary of State is represented by a Shareholder Director, is responsible for determining how this investment income is to be spent and no dividends have been paid to date to the Secretary of State.

All income from dividends and investments due to CHP in the 49 NHS LIFT Companies is currently reinvested in the NHS whether through:

- meeting the costs of managing those investments;

- part funding the running of the company and the direct costs of managing the LIFT portfolio of assets thus reducing charges to tenants; and

- supporting Departmental initiatives to benefit the wider NHS such as the Strategic Estates Planning service.

15 Oct 2018, 11:19 a.m. NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued on how dividends from NHS LIFT Companies should be spent.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The identification and distribution of dividends is a matter for each National Health Service Local Improvement Finance Trust Company and is set out in the Shareholder Agreement and/or Dividend Policy which is agreed from time to time by the Directors of each Company. Payment of Dividends is subject to the performance of the companies and their obligations to their debt funders.

Community Health Partnerships (CHP) is 100% owned by the Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care. CHP manages the public investments in LIFT Companies and receives all dividends payable in respect of its shareholding of up to 40%. CHP’s board, on which the Secretary of State is represented by a Shareholder Director, is responsible for determining how this investment income is to be spent and no dividends have been paid to date to the Secretary of State.

All income from dividends and investments due to CHP in the 49 NHS LIFT Companies is currently reinvested in the NHS whether through:

- meeting the costs of managing those investments;

- part funding the running of the company and the direct costs of managing the LIFT portfolio of assets thus reducing charges to tenants; and

- supporting Departmental initiatives to benefit the wider NHS such as the Strategic Estates Planning service.

9 Oct 2018, 4:27 p.m. NHS: Living Wage Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many wholly-owned companies formed by (a) NHS Trusts and (b) NHS Foundation Trusts pay staff below the Living Wage.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Neither the Department nor its arm’s length bodies holds data on how many wholly-owned companies formed by National Health Service trusts and NHS foundation trusts pay staff below the Living Wage nor any bonus or other financial schemes in place for senior staff at wholly-owned subsidiaries (WOSs), but we are aware that some NHS organisations use the flexibilities available to WOSs to offer higher pay to staff than would otherwise be possible.

The decision to set up WOSs is for the relevant NHS organisations, based on whether they think establishing a WOS can help them make best use of available resources for the benefit of patients. Any benefits and/or other financial incentives paid to executive directors of WOSs would be included in their annual report and accounts.

9 Oct 2018, 4:27 p.m. NHS: Incentives Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many wholly-owned companies formed by (a) NHS Trusts and (b) NHS Foundation Trusts operate (i) bonus schemes and (ii) other financial incentives schemes for their senior staff.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Neither the Department nor its arm’s length bodies holds data on how many wholly-owned companies formed by National Health Service trusts and NHS foundation trusts pay staff below the Living Wage nor any bonus or other financial schemes in place for senior staff at wholly-owned subsidiaries (WOSs), but we are aware that some NHS organisations use the flexibilities available to WOSs to offer higher pay to staff than would otherwise be possible.

The decision to set up WOSs is for the relevant NHS organisations, based on whether they think establishing a WOS can help them make best use of available resources for the benefit of patients. Any benefits and/or other financial incentives paid to executive directors of WOSs would be included in their annual report and accounts.

9 Oct 2018, 2:06 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS Property Services will be making a submission to the development of the long term plan for the NHS.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The Government has asked National Health Service leaders to produce a new ten-year plan for the NHS, underpinned by a five-year funding settlement which will see the NHS budget grow by over £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023-24. As it develops the long-term plan, the NHS has been engaging with system leaders, patients and the public for their views including through a consultation which closed 30 September.

NHS Property Services has not made a formal submission but instead works closely with its NHS partners to ensure the funding, design and utilisation of its healthcare facilities features appropriately in all future development plans.

9 Oct 2018, 1:53 p.m. Department of Health and Social Care: NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many meetings of the NHS Property Board (a) he and (b) Ministers of his Department have attended in 2018 to date.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board has been established to provide leadership and strategic direction to the National Health Service on estates matters. As part of this, it will seek to ensure that estates issues are appropriately addressed in the long-term plan being developed by the NHS. The NHS Property Board and its constituent members are ensuring that local estates plans, supported by the strategic estates planning team, are grounded in local clinical strategies and adaptable to changes in demand. The Board is chaired by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy). He has chaired six of the seven Board meetings that have taken place in 2018 but was unable to attend the July meeting due to parliamentary business. No other Ministers have attended any meetings. The Board also includes senior representatives from the Department of Health and Social Care and other key Government Departments, NHS England, NHS Improvement, NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships. Meetings of the NHS Property Board are held in closed session due to the confidential nature of items discussed.

9 Oct 2018, 1:53 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) agendas and (b) attendance records of the NHS Property Board.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board has been established to provide leadership and strategic direction to the National Health Service on estates matters. As part of this, it will seek to ensure that estates issues are appropriately addressed in the long-term plan being developed by the NHS. The NHS Property Board and its constituent members are ensuring that local estates plans, supported by the strategic estates planning team, are grounded in local clinical strategies and adaptable to changes in demand. The Board is chaired by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy). He has chaired six of the seven Board meetings that have taken place in 2018 but was unable to attend the July meeting due to parliamentary business. No other Ministers have attended any meetings. The Board also includes senior representatives from the Department of Health and Social Care and other key Government Departments, NHS England, NHS Improvement, NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships. Meetings of the NHS Property Board are held in closed session due to the confidential nature of items discussed.

9 Oct 2018, 1:53 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS Property Board will be making a submission to the development of the long-term plan for the NHS.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board has been established to provide leadership and strategic direction to the National Health Service on estates matters. As part of this, it will seek to ensure that estates issues are appropriately addressed in the long-term plan being developed by the NHS. The NHS Property Board and its constituent members are ensuring that local estates plans, supported by the strategic estates planning team, are grounded in local clinical strategies and adaptable to changes in demand. The Board is chaired by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy). He has chaired six of the seven Board meetings that have taken place in 2018 but was unable to attend the July meeting due to parliamentary business. No other Ministers have attended any meetings. The Board also includes senior representatives from the Department of Health and Social Care and other key Government Departments, NHS England, NHS Improvement, NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships. Meetings of the NHS Property Board are held in closed session due to the confidential nature of items discussed.

5 Sep 2018, 10:17 a.m. Respite Care Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much money each local authority received via clinical commissioning groups in 2017-18 to provide breaks for carers as a proportion of the £130 million of Government funding for carers' breaks included annually in the Better Care Fund.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The clinical commissioning groups minimum allocation to the Better Care Fund (BCF) in 2017-18 includes £130 million of funds for the provision of carers’ breaks.

Local BCF plans set out the level of resource that will be dedicated to carer-specific support, including carers’ breaks, and identify how the chosen methods for supporting carers will help to meet key outcomes. The exact breakdown on spend for carers breaks is not collected centrally.

4 Sep 2018, 4:13 p.m. Respite Care Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to change from 2019 the level of the £130 million of funding for carers' breaks designated annually in the Better Care Fund; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

As stated in the Integration and Better Care Fund Policy Framework 2017-19, the minimum clinical commissioning groups contribution to the Better Care Fund (BCF) includes £130 million funding for the provision of carers’ breaks.

We want to have the biggest possible impact with the money available, so as part of the National Health Service plan, we will review the current functioning and structure of the BCF to make sure that it supports the full integration of health and social care.

Source:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/integration-and-better-care-fund-policy-framework-2017-to-2019

4 Sep 2018, 4:13 p.m. Respite Care Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether future operating guidance on the Better Care Fund will include a clear reference to funding for breaks for carers; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

As stated in the Integration and Better Care Fund Policy Framework 2017-19, the minimum clinical commissioning groups contribution to the Better Care Fund (BCF) includes £130 million funding for the provision of carers’ breaks.

We want to have the biggest possible impact with the money available, so as part of the National Health Service plan, we will review the current functioning and structure of the BCF to make sure that it supports the full integration of health and social care.

Source:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/integration-and-better-care-fund-policy-framework-2017-to-2019

18 Jun 2018, 4:28 p.m. Social Security Benefits: Disqualification Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the (a) level of and (b) reasons for the variance between different job centres in the level of benefit payment sanctions for claimants of (i) jobseeker's allowance, (ii) employment support allowance and (iii) universal credit.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

To monitor variation in sanction referrals, the Department has established a regular sanctions variation dashboard overseen by a senior steering group. This will allow the Department to make use of the latest internal data to ensure that any issues are identified in a timely way. The dashboard includes monitoring levels of variation, highlighting areas with unusually high or low referral rates compared to historical trends and also information about how rates differ between claimants due to certain characteristics such as ethnicity or age.

The Department has also been examining sanction data by a range of both claimant and geographical characteristics in order to better understand the reasons for variation in sanction referrals.

13 Jun 2018, 3:23 p.m. Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments Karin Smyth

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people who have debt from tax credit over-payments which is not being recovered by HMRC.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The information is only available at disproportionate cost.

13 Jun 2018, 3:23 p.m. Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments Karin Smyth

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the number of individuals who have an outstanding Tax Credit overpayment debt.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The information is only available at disproportionate cost.

12 Jun 2018, 11:17 a.m. Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments Karin Smyth

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what is the total amount of outstanding Tax Credit overpayments which remain unrecovered by HMRC, for the most recent year for which figures are available.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The total amount of tax credits debt owed to HMRC by March 2017 was £4.3 billion. This excludes debt being recovered through ongoing personal tax credits award. This figure can be found on page 25 of the HM Revenue and Customs Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17, which can be found at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/635587/HMRC_Annual_Report_and_Accounts_2016-17_web_.pdf

The above figure for the amount of outstanding overpayments is also shown on page 191 of the above under Impairment (Provision).

15 May 2018, 4:17 p.m. Children: Maintenance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) has dealt with in the last twelve months for which data are available; in what proportion of those cases has a member of staff in the FIU been tasked with identifying assets and income of those alleged to be hiding such income or assets from the Child Maintenance Service; and how many such cases are outstanding as of 1 May 2018.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Child Maintenance Service can confirm for the period of April 2017 to March 2018 the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) received 5746 referrals; during the same period FIU staff have undertaken 3802 investigations relating to total Income/Assets investigations. Our current Work on Hand figure as of 1 May 2018 is 2872 many of which will relate to total Income/Asset Investigations.

14 May 2018, 1:39 p.m. Children: Maintenance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of staff who work in his Department’s Financial Investigation Unit are tasked with seeking to identify the assets and income of people alleged to be hiding those assets and income from the Child Maintenance Service; of how many people at what grades that proportion consists; and what recent assessment has been made of the adequacy of that number for the task those staff perform.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

As at the end of March 2018, we have 73 people working within the Child Maintenance Financial Investigation Unit, which is comprised of 1 Grade 7, 2 SEOs, 7 HEOs, 51 EOs and 12 AOs. Of these people, all except the AOs are tasked with seeking to identify assets and income of people alleged to be hiding those assets and income. The numbers of people working within the Financial Investigation Unit is reviewed regularly, with the most recent review completing in April 2018. Plans are in place to increase the numbers of people by a further 23 (1 SEO, 2 HEOs and 20 EOs) by December 2018.

11 May 2018, 11:43 a.m. Airguns: Licensing Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans to publish a response to his Department's Air Weapon's Review, announced on 12 December 2017.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The Government announced the review of the regulation of air weapons on 9 October. We received a large number of representations from interested parties and members of the public and we are now considering these carefully. We will publish our findings in due course.

11 May 2018, 10:24 a.m. NHS Foundation Trusts Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Foundation Trusts that have set up wholly owned companies (WOC) have been required to agree changes to their terms of authorisation to protect assets that transfer to the WOC.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

There is no requirement to change the terms of authorisation when setting up a wholly owned subsidiary and therefore, the Department does not hold the information requested. If trusts hold community interest assets then these are considered public assets and cannot be sold unless subject to a Departmental/Secretary of State approval, however this is only a limited number of assets.

For other assets trusts should consider whether transactions are ‘reportable’ under the transactions guidance and therefore would be subject to a review if above the thresholds outlined.

NHS Improvement has committed to:

- The proposed creation of subsidiary companies becoming a reportable transaction to NHS Improvement under the Transactions Guidance, irrespective of size; and

- A requirement for trusts to inform NHS Improvement of any subsequent changes to these companies.

11 May 2018, 10:24 a.m. NHS Foundation Trusts Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many times NHS Improvement has required changes to the terms of authorisation of Foundation Trusts that transfer assets to wholly-owned companies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

There is no requirement to change the terms of authorisation when setting up a wholly owned subsidiary and therefore, the Department does not hold the information requested. If trusts hold community interest assets then these are considered public assets and cannot be sold unless subject to a Departmental/Secretary of State approval, however this is only a limited number of assets.

For other assets trusts should consider whether transactions are ‘reportable’ under the transactions guidance and therefore would be subject to a review if above the thresholds outlined.

NHS Improvement has committed to:

- The proposed creation of subsidiary companies becoming a reportable transaction to NHS Improvement under the Transactions Guidance, irrespective of size; and

- A requirement for trusts to inform NHS Improvement of any subsequent changes to these companies.

10 May 2018, 10:46 a.m. Offences against Children Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department plans to fund therapy services for child victims of sexual abuse who are aged under 13.

Answer (Dr Phillip Lee)

On 25 April, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its Interim Report. The Report contains a series of recommendations for specific changes, several of which are directed at Government. The Government welcomes the Report and is now considering the Inquiry’s recommendations very carefully. The Government will respond fully in due course.

The Government’s Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: Progress Report, published in February 2017, announced a £40m package of measures to protect children and young people from sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking. The package included £7.5m for a new Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse, and a £7m uplift in funding for non-statutory organisations supporting the victims and survivors of sexual abuse.

The Ministry of Justice have provided around £68m to Police and Crime Commissioners in 2017/18 to locally commission emotional and practical support services for victims of crime, including for child victims of sexual abuse.

9 May 2018, 2:41 p.m. Children: Maintenance Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases undertaken by the Financial Investigation Unit have resulted in a financial uplift in payments to resident parents through the Child Maintenance Service in each of the last three years.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

Whilst we don’t have figures available for the last 3 years, the CMS 2012 experimental statistics publish information from June 16 to December 17. This shows the volume of changes to assessments, shown in Table 12, entitled Financial Investigation Unit actions.

Please see the link below :

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/684262/tables-child-maintenance-service-august-2013-to-december-2017.ods

30 Apr 2018, 2:35 p.m. NHS Foundation Trusts Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what restrictions apply to the sale of shares in any wholly owned company limited by shares which have been set up by a NHS Foundation Trust.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Legislation permitting foundation trusts to set up subsidiary companies has been in place since 2004 and specific restrictions on subsequent sale were not put in place at that time or subsequently.

Restrictions for foundation trusts on the sale of assets exist where disposal would affect commissioner requested services, but that only applies in specific limited cases.

27 Apr 2018, 1:47 p.m. Children: Day Care Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of parents not eligible to receive 30 hours free childcare because their income is from a University or other stipend.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

The information requested is not held centrally.

All 3- and 4-year-olds are able to access our universal offer of 15 hours of early education a week, and therefore parents who receive income from a university or other stipend would be able to access this, to support them with their childcare.

Since September 2017, working parents of 3- and 4- year-olds are now eligible for an additional 15 hours of free childcare. Our latest published data shows that 294,000 children benefitted from a 30 hours place in the spring term.

24 Apr 2018, 10:50 a.m. Brexit: Northern Ireland Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the compatibility with the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement of the decision as to which passport holders are permitted to carry out public sector Brexit-related functions in Northern Ireland.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

The Government is fully committed to the Belfast Agreement.

Recruitment to Home Office functions including in Northern Ireland is conducted in accordance with the Civil Service Nationality Rules. These are available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/536134/civil_service-nationality_rules_20_june__2016.pdf

26 Feb 2018, 3:36 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans there are to extend access to accredited training and development in the development of high quality business cases as set out in the Government’s response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018, to other NHS organisations.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Accredited training and development is already available to support National Health Service organisations in the development of business cases, for example, the Better Business Cases training programme, based on The Five Case Model.

The Five Case Model, used widely across Government to support development of capital investment business cases, is a best practice approach to planning spending proposals and enabling effective business decisions. The training provides a step by step guide to developing a business case, focusing on the ability of delegates to establish a case for change, setting clear objectives, undertaking a wide ranging options appraisal to ensure an optimal balance of benefits, cost and risk and putting the arrangements in place to successfully deliver the business case proposal.

We will promote the benefits and availability of accredited training on the development of high-quality business cases to encourage and incentivise take up across the NHS.

26 Feb 2018, 2:45 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.7 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018, whether specialist support and guidance to the NHS for areas such as contract management will be provided by NHS staff and not by external management consultancies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

As set out in paragraph 4.7 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, NHS Improvement will provide specialist support and guidance on areas such as contract management, as part of their National Health Service estates policy and technical guidance programme.

26 Feb 2018, 2:43 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prevent the transfer of ownership of NHS estates until the proposals have been evaluated by the NHS Property Board as part of an STP Estate Strategy and as set out in 4.4 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The evaluation of capital investment proposals is undertaken jointly by the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement. No proposal can progress until it has received formal approval, as set out in guidance issued by NHS Improvement available at:

www.improvement.nhs.uk/resources/capital-regime-investment-and-property-business-case-approval-guidance-nhs-trusts-and-foundation-trusts/

The Government response to the Naylor review is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naylor-review-government-response

It sets a clear expectation that local National Health Service leaders will collaborate to develop estates strategies that support the priorities set by sustainability and transformation partnerships (STP), and to develop robust capital business cases. Business cases are submitted by an individual NHS trust or NHS foundation trust as STPs are not legal entities. The business case approval process will provide assurance that proposals align with the STP’s clinical and estates strategy and will deliver the intended benefits.

26 Feb 2018, 2:43 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018, what assessment he has made of whether requirements for business cases to be based on benefits across a whole Sustainability and Transformation Plan might prevent NHS Foundation Trusts from acting autonomously and pursuing independent proposals as is current practice.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The evaluation of capital investment proposals is undertaken jointly by the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement. No proposal can progress until it has received formal approval, as set out in guidance issued by NHS Improvement available at:

www.improvement.nhs.uk/resources/capital-regime-investment-and-property-business-case-approval-guidance-nhs-trusts-and-foundation-trusts/

The Government response to the Naylor review is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naylor-review-government-response

It sets a clear expectation that local National Health Service leaders will collaborate to develop estates strategies that support the priorities set by sustainability and transformation partnerships (STP), and to develop robust capital business cases. Business cases are submitted by an individual NHS trust or NHS foundation trust as STPs are not legal entities. The business case approval process will provide assurance that proposals align with the STP’s clinical and estates strategy and will deliver the intended benefits.

26 Feb 2018, 2:43 p.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process will be followed by the NHS Property Board to evaluate capital investment projects in terms of benefits across an STP.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The evaluation of capital investment proposals is undertaken jointly by the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement. No proposal can progress until it has received formal approval, as set out in guidance issued by NHS Improvement available at:

www.improvement.nhs.uk/resources/capital-regime-investment-and-property-business-case-approval-guidance-nhs-trusts-and-foundation-trusts/

The Government response to the Naylor review is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naylor-review-government-response

It sets a clear expectation that local National Health Service leaders will collaborate to develop estates strategies that support the priorities set by sustainability and transformation partnerships (STP), and to develop robust capital business cases. Business cases are submitted by an individual NHS trust or NHS foundation trust as STPs are not legal entities. The business case approval process will provide assurance that proposals align with the STP’s clinical and estates strategy and will deliver the intended benefits.

26 Feb 2018, 2:42 p.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that strategic estates planning services to support STPs will be provided by NHS employed staff and not through external consultancy arrangements.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

In order to build greater capability within the National Health Service, we have established a single, integrated strategic estates planning team to support sustainability and transformation partnerships in delivering their transformation plans. The team will be a centre of expertise and primary source of support on strategic estates planning advice and report to the NHS Property Board. A permanent director for this team will be recruited shortly. NHS organisations may continue to seek other sources of advice, for example on specialist, legal or technical issues, where they feel such support is necessary.

26 Feb 2018, 2:40 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 5.12 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, what steps he has taken to (a) renegotiate and (b) replace PFI schemes.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

This Government has undertaken a number of initiatives and will continue to assist National Health Service trusts to look for ways to reduce their Private Finance Initiative (PFI) commitments.

The Department has helped and advised local trust contract managers where requested in relation to PFI contractual issues and also to support trusts in making operational savings in their PFI schemes. Final decisions however about the level and quality of these services are best made at a local level where these services interact with local delivery activities.

Opportunities for re-financing PFI schemes are being investigated, although these are now comparatively limited given the nature of the financial instruments used by the PFI companies at the time. We have also looked very carefully at cases for terminating PFI schemes – a buy out – but in following Treasury guidance this has generally proved not to be value for money or affordable.

One of the first things the Government did in 2010 was to begin an initiative to extract savings and better value for money at all the signed and operational PFI contracts.

26 Feb 2018, 2:39 p.m. NHS Foundation Trusts: Buildings Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what monitoring process will be put in place to assess whether NHS Foundation Trusts are maintaining their facilities effectively.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Data is collected centrally on the estate used by all National Health Service trusts and NHS foundation trusts through a variety of collections including the Estates Return Information Collection and Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment. This data is used by NHS Regulators amongst others for many purposes including monitoring the safety, quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the NHS estate.

To assist NHS foundation trusts, and NHS trusts, with maintaining their facilities effectively the Department provides the NHS Premises Assurance Model. Further information is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-premises-assurance-model-launch

26 Feb 2018, 2:37 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph of 4.13 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review published in January 2018, if he will publish the evaluations of the small number of sustainability and transformation partnerships that have been assessed by the group of strategic estatesadvisers.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The purpose of the pilot undertaken with a small group of sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) was to develop an operating model for the strategic estates planning function that we are now establishing. The team worked with the STPs to understand their challenges, ways of working and the nature of the support that all STPs will need to accomplish their respective estates transformation ambitions. A summary report of the pilot programme will be published in due course.

26 Feb 2018, 2:36 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.9 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, when the comprehensive dataset on the primary care estate will be completed and available for enquiries.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

A primary care estates review and data collection exercise will be undertaken by NHS England through 2018/19, commencing in April 2018 and is expected to be concluded by 31 March 2019.

26 Feb 2018, 2:35 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.22 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, what steps the Property Board takes to improve the quality of business cases.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

On behalf of the NHS Property Board, NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing plans for the training of key National Health Service staff involved in the development, assurance and approval of capital investment business cases. It is anticipated that this will be rolled out during 2018/19. They will focus efforts on building capability within the NHS to improve the quality of business cases coming forward for approval. They will work closely with commissioners and providers from the early stages of business case development to provide advice and guidance to enable them to meet the required standards for approval.

In order to build greater capability within the NHS, we are establishing a single, integrated strategic estates planning team to support sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) in delivering their transformation plans. The team will be a centre of expertise and primary source of support on strategic estates planning advice, and report to the NHS Property Board. Working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, the team will provide advice to STPs and NHS organisations in relation to best practice business case development to support the timely delivery of better quality business cases.

26 Feb 2018, 2:34 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 5.11 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, what steps he is taking to ensure that business cases will have the full support of sustainability and transformation partnerships.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) are not statutory organisations, but a new way for the National Health Service and local government to work together. Each partnership is convened by a senior leader who has agreed to chair and lead the meetings on behalf of their peers. Each footprint has agreed to its own governance and representation, and all bodies represented on the partnership have agreed to abide by its decision making process.

The ability of these partnerships to act collectively as health and care systems in the interests of patients and residents – rather than solely pursing institutional interests – is critically dependent on the strength of the relationships they are able to build.

Last year the Department, NHS Improvement and NHS England organised a bidding process to enable these local partnerships to access the first waves of capital funding. Each bid required sign off from a senior representative of both the bidding organisation and the STP of which that organisation is a part. The NHS Joint planning guidance, published January 2018 makes clear that access to additional STP capital will only be considered once partners within a given STP footprint have agreed to a single estates and capital plan, in addition to other criteria.

26 Feb 2018, 2:32 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 5.5 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, what the timetable is for the prioritised capital investment plans covering whole sustainability and transformation partnerships footprints to be (a) completed and (b) published.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Working with Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to refine their estates and capital plans is a priority for the new Strategic Estates Planning team. The Government response to the Naylor review was clear that STPs cannot expect to receive additional Government capital funding until they have developed robust and ambitious capital and estates plans, which support their clinical strategies.

As STPs are at different stages in this process we have not set a specific date for these plans to be completed.

The publication of these plans is a matter for STPs which are subject to requirements to consult on changes to clinical services.

26 Feb 2018, 2:24 p.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that sustainability and transformation partnerships are held accountable for the successful delivery of approved capital developments given those partnerships are not legal entities.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) are not statutory organisations, but a new way for the National Health Service and local government to work together. Each partnership is convened by a senior leader who has agreed to chair and lead the meetings on behalf of their peers. Each footprint has agreed to its own governance and representation, and all bodies represented on the partnership have agreed to abide by its decision making process.

As STPs are not legal entities the actual delivery of schemes, such as holding contracts with builders, will be undertaken by individual organisations within these STPs acting on behalf of their local area. These organisations will be responsible for delivering the schemes, in line with their existing statutory, responsibilities as is the case of all NHS spending.

The ability of these partnerships to act collectively as health and care systems in the interests of patients and residents – rather than solely pursing institutional interests – is critically dependent on the strength of the relationships they are able to build.

Last year the Department, NHS Improvement and NHS England organised a bidding process to enable these local partnerships to access the first waves of capital funding. Each bid required sign off from a senior representative of both the bidding organisation and the STP of which that organisation is a part. The NHS joint planning guidance, published January 2018 makes clear that access to additional STP capital will only be considered once partners within a given STP footprint have agreed to a single estates and capital plan, in addition to other criteria.

26 Feb 2018, 2:16 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether stakeholders including the public, patients and NHS staff representatives will be consulted on the development of plans for capital expenditure, sale, or transfers of ownership of the NHS estate before the approval of any such plans.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

National Health Service organisations are under a legal duty to consult local people and communities on proposals to make substantial changes to the services that they provide to patients. The Government has mandated four tests of service reconfiguration, one of which is for strong public and patient engagement. This must be evidenced as part of the business case approval process.

The Government’s response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018 is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naylor-review-government-response

It sets a clear expectation that local NHS leaders should collaborate on planning across a sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) footprint and the development of estates and capital strategies. STP proposals have been published for every part of England and take account of estates strategies. These are works in progress and will evolve further to reflect the outcomes of local consultation.

26 Feb 2018, 2:16 p.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will require all STPs to publish their Estates strategies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

National Health Service organisations are under a legal duty to consult local people and communities on proposals to make substantial changes to the services that they provide to patients. The Government has mandated four tests of service reconfiguration, one of which is for strong public and patient engagement. This must be evidenced as part of the business case approval process.

The Government’s response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018 is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naylor-review-government-response

It sets a clear expectation that local NHS leaders should collaborate on planning across a sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) footprint and the development of estates and capital strategies. STP proposals have been published for every part of England and take account of estates strategies. These are works in progress and will evolve further to reflect the outcomes of local consultation.

26 Feb 2018, 2:16 p.m. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that STPs will be required to provide evidence that they have consulted with the relevant partners and stakeholders before drawing up the STP Estate Strategy and any significant updates to such strategies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

National Health Service organisations are under a legal duty to consult local people and communities on proposals to make substantial changes to the services that they provide to patients. The Government has mandated four tests of service reconfiguration, one of which is for strong public and patient engagement. This must be evidenced as part of the business case approval process.

The Government’s response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018 is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naylor-review-government-response

It sets a clear expectation that local NHS leaders should collaborate on planning across a sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) footprint and the development of estates and capital strategies. STP proposals have been published for every part of England and take account of estates strategies. These are works in progress and will evolve further to reflect the outcomes of local consultation.

20 Feb 2018, 4:27 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the procurement process which removes responsibility for facilities management services from NHS Property Services Ltd will be in line with the proposals set out in the Government's response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The Government’s response to the Naylor Review confirmed that it has chosen not to merge the existing National Health Service property companies at the current time. NHS Property Services Ltd and Community Health Partnerships Ltd (CHP) will continue to provide the asset ownership and management, facilities management (FM) and financing functions that they offer currently. In running a procurement now for ‘soft’ FM services (cleaning, catering, laundry etc), CHP is seeking to improve and better coordinate soft FM activities across its sites and better serve its customers requirements. The initiative will enable CHP to deliver more active management of its buildings for the benefit of its customers, their staff and patients.

20 Feb 2018, 4:26 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will place in the Library a copy of the terms of reference for the establishment of the NHS Property Board.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board has been established to provide leadership and strategic direction to the National Health Service on estates matters. The attached document sets out its agreed terms of reference. The NHS Property Board and its constituent members will ensure that local estates plans, supported by the strategic estates planning team, are grounded in local clinical strategies and adaptable to changes in demand. Meetings of the NHS Property Board are held in closed session due to the confidential nature of items discussed.

20 Feb 2018, 4:26 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS Property Board will hold its meetings in public and publish its agenda, minutes and other key documents.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board has been established to provide leadership and strategic direction to the National Health Service on estates matters. The attached document sets out its agreed terms of reference. The NHS Property Board and its constituent members will ensure that local estates plans, supported by the strategic estates planning team, are grounded in local clinical strategies and adaptable to changes in demand. Meetings of the NHS Property Board are held in closed session due to the confidential nature of items discussed.

20 Feb 2018, 4:26 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.4 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, how the NHS Property Board plans to ensure that the NHS estate is used in a way that supports the delivery of clinical strategies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board has been established to provide leadership and strategic direction to the National Health Service on estates matters. The attached document sets out its agreed terms of reference. The NHS Property Board and its constituent members will ensure that local estates plans, supported by the strategic estates planning team, are grounded in local clinical strategies and adaptable to changes in demand. Meetings of the NHS Property Board are held in closed session due to the confidential nature of items discussed.

20 Feb 2018, 4:26 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.4 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, how the NHS Property Board plans to ensure that the NHS estate is used in a way that is adaptable to locally changing demand.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board has been established to provide leadership and strategic direction to the National Health Service on estates matters. The attached document sets out its agreed terms of reference. The NHS Property Board and its constituent members will ensure that local estates plans, supported by the strategic estates planning team, are grounded in local clinical strategies and adaptable to changes in demand. Meetings of the NHS Property Board are held in closed session due to the confidential nature of items discussed.

20 Feb 2018, 4:22 p.m. NHS Property Board Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding he has allocated to the (a) establishment and (b) operation of the NHS Property Board.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Property Board brings together senior representatives from the Department, NHS England, NHS Improvement, wider Government, Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services to provide a single leadership focus for the system on estates matters. The NHS Property Board has been established and will operate using existing resources; no additional funding has been allocated.

20 Feb 2018, 4:21 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.10 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review published in January 2018, how estates expertise will be enabled at the local level.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

To enhance local capability and expertise, strategic estates advisers from NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships have been operating as a single team since November 2016 to support the development of local estates strategies. The team’s role will now evolve to provide a full national strategic estates planning service to support sustainability and transformation partnerships to make further progress. The role of this team is set out in paragraphs 4.14 to 4.18 of the Government’s response to the Naylor Review. We will recruit a new Director to lead the team. The Director will be a member of the NHS Property Board.

20 Feb 2018, 4:21 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.11 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, how the development of (a) local capacity and (b) local support has been delivered.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

To enhance local capability and expertise, strategic estates advisers from NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships have been operating as a single team since November 2016 to support the development of local estates strategies. The team’s role will now evolve to provide a full national strategic estates planning service to support sustainability and transformation partnerships to make further progress. The role of this team is set out in paragraphs 4.14 to 4.18 of the Government’s response to the Naylor Review. We will recruit a new Director to lead the team. The Director will be a member of the NHS Property Board.

20 Feb 2018, 4:21 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.14 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, what arrangements his Department has put in place for the (a) governance and (b) accountability for the Strategic Estates Planning service.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

To enhance local capability and expertise, strategic estates advisers from NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships have been operating as a single team since November 2016 to support the development of local estates strategies. The team’s role will now evolve to provide a full national strategic estates planning service to support sustainability and transformation partnerships to make further progress. The role of this team is set out in paragraphs 4.14 to 4.18 of the Government’s response to the Naylor Review. We will recruit a new Director to lead the team. The Director will be a member of the NHS Property Board.

20 Feb 2018, 12:12 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the establishment of wholly-owned companies to manage NHS properties on behalf of NHS Foundation Trusts with proposals set out in the Government response to the Naylor Review, published on 30 January 2018.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

National Health Service organisations are responsible for deciding locally the most appropriate structures they need to deliver services to their patients within available resources and they must do so in line with the appropriate guidance. Commissioners and regulators are responsible for ensuring that NHS providers act in the best interests of patients and taxpayers, and this includes working with them to ensure that the Government’s response to the Naylor Review is implemented.

20 Feb 2018, 12:12 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prevent the establishment of wholly owned companies to manage estates and property management which have been progressed but whose business case does not meet the standards of the published checklist.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

National Health Service organisations are responsible for deciding locally the most appropriate structures they need to deliver services to their patients within available resources and they must do so in line with the appropriate guidance. Commissioners and regulators are responsible for ensuring that NHS providers act in the best interests of patients and taxpayers, and this includes working with them to ensure that the Government’s response to the Naylor Review is implemented.

20 Feb 2018, 12:12 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will pause any further attempts by NHS Foundation Trusts to form wholly owned companies to deliver facilities and estates management services to avoid further fragmentation of the service and help enable a consistent approach to the NHS Estates Strategy as set out in the Naylor Review and accepted in the Government’s response to that review.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

National Health Service organisations are responsible for deciding locally the most appropriate structures they need to deliver services to their patients within available resources and they must do so in line with the appropriate guidance. Commissioners and regulators are responsible for ensuring that NHS providers act in the best interests of patients and taxpayers, and this includes working with them to ensure that the Government’s response to the Naylor Review is implemented.

20 Feb 2018, 12:10 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will place in the Library the evidence to support the assertion in 4.3 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018 that the current estates’ responsibilities have been effective in addressing operational matters.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Paragraph 4.3 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review reflects the Department’s view that the various organisations responsible for estates matters have fulfilled the expectations that we have placed upon them, whether through formal mandate or other delegations of responsibility. This has ensured that the healthcare estate supports clinical service models effectively, and patient services operate without interruption. The Department’s mandate to NHS England and its letter to NHS Improvement setting its remit are available on the following web links together with the minutes of accountability meetings between the Department and these organisations.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-mandate-2017-to-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-improvements-remit-for-2017-to-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-improvement-accountability-meeting-minutes

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-commissioning-board-accountability-meeting-minutes

20 Feb 2018, 12:07 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 9 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, what funding will be made available for the training and development of the estates and facilities workforce; and whether that funding will come from existing budgets.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

As part of its ongoing work, the NHS Estates and Facilities division of NHS Improvement leads on the training and development of the estates and facilities workforce, and will continue to do so. As part of the implementation of the workforce related elements of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, funding will be identified as required. National Health Service organisations remain responsible for the training and development of their own estates and facilities staff.

20 Feb 2018, 12:06 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 6.28 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, how much of the £8 billiion of operating costs is directly linked to (a) PFI and (b) other external contracts.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Data is collected from the National Health Service on the costs of their Estates and Facilities services, through the Estates Return Information Collection. This includes Private Finance Initiative (PFI) costs identified separately, but not the costs of external contracts generally. Data for the latest available year shows that PFI costs reported by the NHS were £1.6 billion.

20 Feb 2018, 12:05 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 4.7 of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, published in January 2018, how guidance issued by NHS Improvement can be applied to the primary care estate.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The NHS Estates and Facilities division of NHS Improvement leads on the development of guidance for NHS Estates and Facilities. They have published guidance relevant to primary care previously, e.g. Facilities for primary and community care services (HBN 11-01), and will continue to do so in future, working closely with the primary care division in NHS England. Following publication of the Government Response to the Naylor Review, NHS Improvement will support implementation of the Response through their Guidance.

20 Feb 2018, 11:47 a.m. Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to direct Community Health Partnerships to return the dividend paid from Local Improvement Finance Trust contracts to local health economies.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Community Health Partnerships Ltd (CHP) invests equity and subordinated debt into National Health Service Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) companies, and the projects that they deliver, as envisaged in and required by the NHS LIFT contracts. When CHP invests in these NHS LIFT companies and projects, it receives a return on its investment via loan interest and dividends. The dividends have been used by the companies to support a range of initiatives to improve local services, for example, funding strategic estate advisors to support the development of local estate strategies that are required as part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans. All dividends received by CHP are re-invested exclusively into the NHS.

5 Dec 2017, 5:49 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2017 to Question 108736, if he will place, after redaction of any commercially confidential information, the full value-for-money options appraisal to relocate the main premises of NHS Property Services in London in the Library.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

There was a full options appraisal undertaken by NHS Property Services for its Board and the main factors were also considered by the Department. The full appraisal was heavily reliant on commercially sensitive information, for example the financial and commercial lease terms of potential landlords, therefore it is inappropriate to provide it.

However, the key components of the appraisal can be summarised as follows:

NHS Property Services occupied six buildings across central London and was required to relocate from two buildings to free up space for other public sector occupiers, additionally leases were due to expire on others.

Moves were therefore necessary and it was recognised that there could be operational efficiencies derived from accommodating all of NHS Property Services’ London staff in a single location. There were however no options available within DH, NHS and the wider public estate that were able to accommodate all NHS Property Services staff so the Company looked at other options.

A variety of other options were assessed. Rents in the West End, Victoria and Mid Town were considerably higher than the chosen location, whilst rents in areas such as King’s Cross, London Bridge and the South Bank were comparable to the chosen option in the City. In the end, the current Gresham Street option in the City was selected.

5 Dec 2017, 5:48 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 18 October 2017 to Question 108609, when the shareholder's high level objectives for NHS Property Services were agreed; and what consultation process was undertaken before that agreement was reached.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The high level objectives for NHS Property Services Ltd can be broadly summarised as:

- The provision of a high quality property service and the achievement of significant efficiency savings; and

- Timely and value for money disposals of assets declared surplus by the National Health Service to release capital for investment for the benefit of frontline NHS services.

These were arrived at with reference to its function as a publicly owned national provider of property to accommodate NHS services.

Additionally, every year these high-level objectives are converted into agreed operating targets for the Company based on the Company’s aggregations of local needs and opportunities. It is also based on a national level assessment as to for example, the required level of cash released from property sales to fund maintenance and improvement of properties.

5 Dec 2017, 5:45 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October 2017 to Question 108609, whether the consideration of the shareholder's high level objectives for NHS Property Services took into account the development of sustainability and transformation partnerships.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property Services Ltd is a Company serving all of England, with in total over 3,000 properties.

Objectives and targets are set for the Company by the Department with reference to the national scale of its portfolio and functions, however the Company cannot achieve its national objectives without delivering effectively in the localities where its buildings are situated. It is local National Health Service budgets that ultimately fund the costs of the properties and services provided by NHS Property Services.

Local NHS organisations are responsible for the production of sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs), not NHS Property Services, however NHS Property Services’ teams will support the delivery of STPs where there is an estate-related requirement, and of course as long as any additional costs can be funded.

5 Dec 2017, 5:44 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference paragraph 1.9 of the memorandum to the Health Committee from the National Audit Office on the investigation into NHS Property Services, published in March 2014, if he will place in the Library a copy of the long-term strategy for NHS Property Services Limited.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The Department is currently considering its response to the Naylor report which made a number of recommendations regarding NHS Property Services. The Department’s response to the Naylor report will be published in due course.

5 Dec 2017, 5:42 p.m. General Practitioners: Fees and Charges Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2017 to Question 108735, on general practitioners: fees and charges, if he will place the terms of reference for the joint working party comprising NHS England, NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships in the Library.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

There are no formal terms of reference or meeting minutes for the working group, but the main aim of the group is to work collaboratively to achieve a shared understanding of the issues behind the increasing levels of debt owed to the Department-owned property companies by general practices, including overdue practice service charges, and to take steps to address those issues.

5 Dec 2017, 5:42 p.m. General Practitioners: Fees and Charges Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2017 to Question 108735, on general practitioners: fees and charges, if he will place the minutes of meetings of the joint working party comprising NHS England, NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships in the Library.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

There are no formal terms of reference or meeting minutes for the working group, but the main aim of the group is to work collaboratively to achieve a shared understanding of the issues behind the increasing levels of debt owed to the Department-owned property companies by general practices, including overdue practice service charges, and to take steps to address those issues.

5 Dec 2017, 5:39 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2017 to Question 108736, what criteria was used by his Department in approving the decision to relocate the main premises of NHS Property Services in London.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The options appraisal was compiled in the first instance by NHS Property Services, following their exploration of the various suitable rental options. The options appraisal was value for money based, and various co-location-related benefits were considered along with the rental and other property holding costs of the options.

30 Nov 2017, 2:05 p.m. Department of Health: Arms Length Bodies Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many directors and senior officials in his Department's arm's length bodies received bonuses in the 2016-17 financial year.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Directors and senior officials in the Department’s arm’s length bodies (ALBs), employed on the Executive and Senior Manager’s Pay Framework, are eligible for non-consolidated performance related pay awards. For the financial year 2016/17 the following table summarises the application of these arrangements by each ALB, in respect of performance year 2015/16:

ALB

Numbers in receipt

NHS England

Nil

NHS Digital

2

Health Education England

6

Care Quality Commission

Nil

NHS Improvement

Nil

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Nil

NHS Business Services Authority

Nil

NHS Resolution

1

Human Tissue Authority

1

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

1

Health Research Authority

1

NHS Blood and Transplant

3

30 Nov 2017, 1:53 p.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has been made of the effect of the establishment of wholly owned companies set up by foundation trusts to undertake facilities management on the implementation of the recommendations of Sir Robert Naylor's review of the NHS estate.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department, published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

The Department does not collect information centrally on the functions undertaken by subsidiaries established by National Health Service trusts or foundation trusts. It is for individual NHS trusts and foundation trusts to determine how best to manage their estates and facilities locally.

30 Nov 2017, 1:53 p.m. NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2017 to Question 108742, on NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships, whether a business case for the proposed new NHS property organisation has been prepared for consideration by the Government.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department, published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

The Department does not collect information centrally on the functions undertaken by subsidiaries established by National Health Service trusts or foundation trusts. It is for individual NHS trusts and foundation trusts to determine how best to manage their estates and facilities locally.

30 Nov 2017, 1:53 p.m. NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2017 to Question 108742, on NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships, whether a full business case for the proposed new NHS property organisation will be prepared and considered before a decision is made on options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department, published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

The Department does not collect information centrally on the functions undertaken by subsidiaries established by National Health Service trusts or foundation trusts. It is for individual NHS trusts and foundation trusts to determine how best to manage their estates and facilities locally.

27 Oct 2017, 10:17 a.m. General Practitioners: Fees and Charges Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 15 September 2017 to Question 9467, what assessment his Department has made of the risks involved in increasing the level of overdue practice service charges.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The level of overdue practice service charges is currently being considered by a joint working party comprising NHS England, NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships.

27 Oct 2017, 10:17 a.m. Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will place in the Library copies of the external auditors' reports of community health partnerships for each of the last three financial years.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The external auditors reports are included in Community Health Partnerships’ (CHP) annual accounts and these are a publicly available document held by Companies House and published on the CHP website at:

http://www.communityhealthpartnerships.co.uk/publication-scheme

The company followed a procurement process in line with its procurement policy by way of competitive tender in which the National Audit Office (NAO) participated but were unsuccessful. Although the NAO is responsible for auditing the financial statements of all central government departments, agencies and other public sector bodies, as a limited company CHP may appoint its own independent auditors.

27 Oct 2017, 10:17 a.m. Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with Community Health Partnerships on that organisation's decision not to use the National Audit Office as auditors.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The external auditors reports are included in Community Health Partnerships’ (CHP) annual accounts and these are a publicly available document held by Companies House and published on the CHP website at:

http://www.communityhealthpartnerships.co.uk/publication-scheme

The company followed a procurement process in line with its procurement policy by way of competitive tender in which the National Audit Office (NAO) participated but were unsuccessful. Although the NAO is responsible for auditing the financial statements of all central government departments, agencies and other public sector bodies, as a limited company CHP may appoint its own independent auditors.

27 Oct 2017, 10:15 a.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, for what reason he approved the application by NHS Property Services Limited to extend the deadline set for the repayment of the loan by six months to 30 September 2018.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The loan repayment term was varied to 30 September 2018 to ensure the company had sufficient working capital for a period of at least one year following approval of the statutory report and accounts for the 2016-17 financial year, which is in line with best practice for companies.

27 Oct 2017, 10:14 a.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 21 July 2017 to Question 4639, on NHS Property Services, what recent progress has been made in consideration of the recommendations of Sir Robert Naylor's review of the NHS Estate.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department and published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

27 Oct 2017, 10:14 a.m. NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Answer of 22 March 2017 to Question 67994, on NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships. what recent progress has been made in developing plans to establish a new NHS property organisation.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department and published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

27 Oct 2017, 10:14 a.m. NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Answer of 22 March 2017 to Question 67994, on NHS Property Services: Community Health Partnerships, if he will publish the business case for the proposed new NHS property organisation.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department and published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

27 Oct 2017, 10:14 a.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to implement the recommendations of Sir Robert Naylor's review of NHS Estates on the future of Community Health Partnerships and NHS Property Services Limited.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department and published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

27 Oct 2017, 10:14 a.m. NHS Property and Estates Review Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with Sir Robert Naylor about implementing the recommendations in his review of NHS Estates.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property and Estates: why the estate matters for patients (the Naylor Review) is an independent report prepared for the Department and published on 31 March 2017. The report is available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review.

The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including options for the establishment of a new NHS Property Board, and will respond in due course.

27 Oct 2017, 10:11 a.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether he has given permission to relocate the main premises of NHS Property Services in London.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

This was an operational matter for the company and followed a full value-for-money options appraisal. Approval was given by the Department.

27 Oct 2017, 10:10 a.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will place in the Library correspondence with NHS Property Services Limited on that company's proposals for an executive bonus for three directors in 2016-17.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The Company’s proposals on Directors’ remuneration, including bonuses, are presented and considered at its Remuneration Committee, which includes the Shareholder Director, who is a Senior Civil Servant acting on behalf of the Secretary of State. The payments that result from the Committee’s decisions on pay and bonuses are made public in the Company’s annual report and accounts.

26 Oct 2017, 3:05 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much additional funding over the baseline funding allocated to clinical commissioning groups was disbursed from the public purse in order to meet the effect of the change by NHS Property Services Limited to charge tenants market rents in 2017-18.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The amount allocated for 2017-18 by NHS England to clinical commissioning groups for this purpose was £119,480,000.

26 Oct 2017, 3:04 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what monitoring was undertaken on whether the funding that was added to the baseline funding allocated to clinical commissioning groups in 2016-17 to meet the effect of the change by NHS Property Services Limited to charge tenants market rents was used for that purpose.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS England allocated the additional funding provided by the Department in 2016/17 to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) with an express expectation that CCGs worked with their providers to ensure that the impact of the NHS Property Services charging regime was neutral in 2016/17 and should not be used for any other purpose. NHS Property Services is working with commissioners and its tenants at a local level to ensure that its charges are being paid.

26 Oct 2017, 3:02 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when the shareholder objectives for NHS Property Services Limited were last reviewed; and which organisations or people were consulted during that review process.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The shareholder’s high level objectives for NHS Property Services are:

- The provision of a high quality property service and the achievement of significant efficiency savings; and

- Timely and value for money disposals of assets declared surplus by the National Health Service to release capital for investment for the benefit of frontline NHS services.

These are translated into annual operational performance targets reviewed and agreed on an annual basis by the Shareholder Director, as senior civil servant acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, against which the company’s performance is assessed.

26 Oct 2017, 3:02 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the shareholder objectives are for NHS Property Services Limited; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The shareholder’s high level objectives for NHS Property Services are:

- The provision of a high quality property service and the achievement of significant efficiency savings; and

- Timely and value for money disposals of assets declared surplus by the National Health Service to release capital for investment for the benefit of frontline NHS services.

These are translated into annual operational performance targets reviewed and agreed on an annual basis by the Shareholder Director, as senior civil servant acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, against which the company’s performance is assessed.

26 Oct 2017, 3 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the terms are of the loan facilities available to NHS Property Services Limited.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The key terms of the NHS Property Services loan facility from the Department are:

- Working Capital Loan up to £160 million (£100 million current loan balance);

- Issued: 1 April 2017;

- End date: 30 September 2018; and

- The interest rate is determined with reference to the National Loan Fund rate prevailing on the day the loan facility is first used by the Company. In the case of the current loan facility the rate is 0.14% per annum.

26 Oct 2017, 2:59 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether he has approved any salary increases or bonus schemes for the directors of NHS Property Services Limited in 2017.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property Services must seek shareholder (i.e. Secretary of State) approval for all Director appointments and the remuneration for all Directors and senior employees earning more than £120,000 base salary per year. This includes the Directors’ salaries and bonuses (where applicable) for the 2016/17 financial year. This approval function is discharged by the Shareholder Director, a Senior Civil Servant acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, through membership and attendance of the Company Boards and relevant Committees, i.e. the Remuneration and Nomination Committees.

26 Oct 2017, 2:04 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether the payment of bonuses to the directors of NHS Property Services Limited is consistent with public sector pay policy.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Current guidance on pay for very senior National Health Service managers (published by NHS Improvement in February 2017) requires NHS trusts to seek ‘very senior manager’ (VSM) salary approval and NHS foundation trusts to seek an opinion on VSM salaries from NHS Improvement, the Department, the Minister of State for Health and Her Majesty’s Treasury before confirming VSM salaries at appointment, where the annual salary is £142,500 or above. NHS Improvement’s guidance does not explicitly require approval of bonuses.

Cabinet Office guidance on the approval of senior pay requires Chief Secretary to the Treasury (CST) approval for pay and remuneration of £142,500 for all Civil Service appointments and appointments to public sector bodies which are subject to Ministerial approval. CST approval is also required for all new performance pay (“bonus”) arrangements above £17,500 in the same organisations.

Salaries of Director level posts in NHS Property Services (NHSPS) are set by NHSPS’ Remuneration Committee and established through external market benchmarking, which references the current NHS Senior Executive pay scales. Consideration is also given by the Remuneration Committee to the rates prevailing in the market for the post, as well as consideration of salaries in the public sector and other terms of the contracts.

26 Oct 2017, 2:02 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what criteria he has used to assess requests for additional equity funding beyond the original £125 million for NHS Property Services Limited.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

To ensure that property costs payable by commissioners are not fundamentally impacted by the creation of NHS Property Services, certain charges are excluded from the charging policy. These costs are funded directly by the Department as equity funding.

The equity funding is paid to the company on an as required basis and covers the following types of expenditure:

- Irrecoverable VAT and corporation tax;

- One-off costs related to restructuring and specific agreed programme; and

- Funding for approved capital projects.

26 Oct 2017, 2:01 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate his Department has made of the return to date on the investment from the public purse made in NHS Property Services Limited.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Since its establishment in April 2013, NHS Property Services has:

- Through disposals of surplus sites and properties, delivered £200 million in capital receipts, which has been directly reinvested in the National Health Service estate, and released land for an estimated 4,000 new housing units, almost 3,000 of which are currently under construction;

- Delivered 500 capital investment construction projects every year; and

- Reduced its running costs by £120 million.

26 Oct 2017, 1:51 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what criteria he applies in the salaries paid to the directors of NHS Property Services Limited.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Salaries of Director level posts in NHS Property Services (NHSPS) are set by NHSPS’ Remuneration Committee and established through external market benchmarking, which references the current NHS Senior Executive pay scales. Consideration is also given by the Remuneration Committee to the rates prevailing in the market for the post, as well as consideration of salaries in the public sector and other terms of the contracts.

Director’s bonuses are tied to the delivery of challenging efficiency and improvement targets set by the Department. The Company’s proposals on Directors’ remuneration, including bonuses, are presented and considered at its Remuneration Committee, which includes the Shareholder Director, who is a Senior Civil Servant acting on behalf of the Secretary of State.

26 Oct 2017, 1:51 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what criteria he applies in calculating bonuses paid to the directors of NHS Property Services Limited.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Salaries of Director level posts in NHS Property Services (NHSPS) are set by NHSPS’ Remuneration Committee and established through external market benchmarking, which references the current NHS Senior Executive pay scales. Consideration is also given by the Remuneration Committee to the rates prevailing in the market for the post, as well as consideration of salaries in the public sector and other terms of the contracts.

Director’s bonuses are tied to the delivery of challenging efficiency and improvement targets set by the Department. The Company’s proposals on Directors’ remuneration, including bonuses, are presented and considered at its Remuneration Committee, which includes the Shareholder Director, who is a Senior Civil Servant acting on behalf of the Secretary of State.

26 Oct 2017, 1:34 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many directors and employees of NHS Property Services Limited receive remuneration in excess of that paid to the Prime Minister.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The table below sets out the required information based on the Prime Minister’s base pay of £150,420 as published on the parliamentary website.

Directors

Other Employees

Number of NHS Property Services employees with remuneration greater than the Prime Minister’s salary

4

1

26 Oct 2017, 1:26 p.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will publish the guidance issued to clinical commissioning groups and NHS England about NHS Property Services Limited and charges for vacant space.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

NHS Property Services has introduced a Vacant Space Handback Scheme, which enables clinical commissioning groups within agreed parameters to transfer the liability of vacant space to NHS Property Services. This is publicly available on their website:

http://www.property.nhs.uk/vacantspace/

13 Sep 2017, 11:29 a.m. Parliament: Apprentices Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, with reference to the Answers of 21 April 2017 to Questions 70502 and 70503, on apprentices: Parliament, whether the House of Commons has declared a levy payment since May 2017.

Answer (Tom Brake)

The House of Commons has made levy payments to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) since April 2017, in the region of £37,000–£38,000 per month. All levy payments are up to date. This figure includes the House of Lords share of staff costs which are incurred on a shared basis between the two Houses.

12 Sep 2017, 2:36 p.m. Parliament: Apprentices Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answers of 21 April 2017 to Questions 70502 and 70503, on apprentices: Parliament, how much has been paid by the House of Commons and by hon. Members of the House of Commons and Members of the House of Lords.

Answer (Anne Milton)

Introduced on 6 April 2017, the apprenticeship levy requires all UK employers with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more to pay 0.5% of their paybill to invest in apprenticeship training.

The levy is collected from UK employers on a monthly basis via PAYE.

The expected yield for the apprenticeship levy is published in table B.5 (‘Current Receipts’) in the Spring Budget 2017 document. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/597467/spring_budget_2017_web.pdf.

Data on how much individual employers contribute to the levy will not be made publicly available because of taxpayer confidentiality.

21 Jul 2017, 9:06 a.m. NHS Property Services Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Answer of 24 February 2017 to Question 63652, if he will set out the timetable for the establishment of the new NHS property service organisation.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Sir Robert Naylor’s review of the National Health Service estate recommended the establishment of a ‘powerful new NHS Property Board’. The Government is giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, including the form and function of an NHS Property Board and the best way to support estates transformation by providing leadership, expertise and delivery support to the NHS and strengthening existing estates capabilities and skills. No timetable has been set out for the development of an NHS Property Board.

We have been prioritising action to build capability by enhancing the strategic estates support to help the NHS achieve the clinical transformation set out in the Five Year Forward View. A single, integrated team of Strategic Estates Advisors from NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships is providing immediate support to Sustainability and Transformation Plan areas with the development and implementation of their local estates strategies.

20 Jul 2017, 3:11 p.m. Commissioning Support Units Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Answer of 7 March 2017 to Question 65785, on commissioning support units, if he will set out the timetable for a formal decision on the autonomy of such units.

Answer (Steve Brine)

The decision on whether to make Commissioning Support Units autonomous has been deferred until NHS England has decided how these units can be best positioned to support Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and the move to develop Accountable Care Systems. They expect to be in a position to consider this later this year.

4 Jul 2017, 4:22 p.m. NHS: Buildings Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the implications for NHS Property Services of Sir Robert Naylor's review of the NHS estate.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Sir Robert Naylor’s independent review set out a vision for how the National Health Service might make best use of its estate and support the delivery of clinical transformation.

We are giving careful consideration to the Review’s recommendations, working closely with NHS Property Services and others. As part of this we will be considering the impact of any changes on NHS Property Services.

4 Jul 2017, 3:44 p.m. Great Western Railway Line: Electrification Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the role of the Office of Rail and Road is in relation to the full electrification of the Great Western mainline to Bristol.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

The Office of Rail and Road is the independent economic and safety regulator for the railways. In relation to the enhancements and electrification of the Great Western Main Line, it is responsible for monitoring the delivery of certain regulated outputs set out in Network Rail’s Enhancements Delivery Plan.

4 Jul 2017, 3:30 p.m. Great Western Railway Line: Electrification Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the benefits for passengers in terms of capacity, frequency and journey times of the full electrification of the Great Western mainline to Bristol.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

Frequency and journey times on the Great Western mainline will be decided as part of the industry timetabling process which will in turn inform the improved capacity of the network.

Once the current programme is complete, over 100 million rail journey experiences will improve each year, there will be an extra 4,900 extra seats into London and it is expected that journey times between London, Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea will reduce by around 15 minutes.

4 Jul 2017, 3:27 p.m. Great Western Railway Line: Electrification Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to announce whether the Great Western mainline to Bristol will be fully electrified; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

Network Rail is delivering the Great Western Electrification Programme to the dates set out in the latest publication of their Enhancement Delivery plan. This includes completing electrification of the Great Western Mainline between London and Bristol Parkway and on to Cardiff by December 2018.

26 Jun 2017, 4:19 p.m. Airguns Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a requirement that air rifles should be kept in a locked cabinet; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The Government keeps the legislation relating to air weapons in England and Wales under review. High-powered air weapons require a firearms licence and low-powered air weapons are already subject to a range of controls, such as the requirement that owners take reasonable precautions to prevent young people from gaining unauthorised access to air weapons. Guidance is published on the safe use and storage of air weapons and this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/117804/air-weapons-safety-leaflet.pdf