Kevan Jones Portrait

Kevan Jones

Labour - North Durham

Regulatory Reform
2nd Mar 2020 - 20th May 2021
Armed Forces Bill Select Committee
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021
Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
16th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Regulatory Reform
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow Minister (Defence)
8th Oct 2010 - 6th Jan 2016
Armed Forces Bill Committee
26th Oct 2015 - 24th Nov 2015
Administration Committee
2nd Nov 2010 - 1st Jul 2013
Armed Forces Bill Committee
17th Jan 2011 - 8th Mar 2011
Shadow Minister (Veterans)
12th May 2010 - 8th Oct 2010
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Veterans)
5th Oct 2008 - 6th May 2010
Administration Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 26th Jan 2009
Defence Committee
16th Jul 2001 - 19th Jan 2009
Armed Forces Bill Committee
19th Dec 2005 - 9th May 2006
Draft Civil Contingencies Bill (Joint Committee)
10th Jul 2003 - 28th Nov 2003


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 13th December 2021
16:00
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 14th December 2021
14:00
Defence Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Space Defence
14 Dec 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Major Tim Peake CMG - British ESA Astronaut
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Justin T. Johnson - Senior Vice President at Meta Aerospace
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 8th December 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 166 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 236 Noes - 288
Speeches
Wednesday 8th December 2021
Draft Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021

I would not challenge your ruling, Mr Robertson, but the point is that it is the smart technology that allows …

Written Answers
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Opiates: North East
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 10th June 2020
Judge-led public inquiry into the Horizon scandal
That this House recognises the life-changing injustices experienced by subpostmasters throughout the Horizon scandal; notes with the deepest sadness that …
Bills
Wednesday 19th October 2016
Cosmetic Surgery (Standards of Practice) Bill 2016-17
A bill to make provision about the training, qualifications and certification of medical practitioners conducting cosmetic surgical procedures; to establish …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 12th April 2021
6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
From March 2019, a share in a residential property in Nottinghamshire: (i). (Registered 09 April 2021)
EDM signed
Wednesday 24th November 2021
Giving every child the best start in life
That this House notes the work of WAVE Trust and its 70/30 campaign to reduce levels of child abuse, neglect …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021
A Bill to make provision about the administration to persons under the age of 18 of botulinum toxin and of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Kevan Jones has voted in 321 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Kevan Jones Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Johnny Mercer (Conservative)
(138 debate interactions)
Chris Evans (Labour (Co-op))
Shadow Minister (Defence)
(53 debate interactions)
Matt Warman (Conservative)
(34 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(346 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(66 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(53 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Kevan Jones's debates

North Durham Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest North Durham signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Kevan Jones

12th May 2021
Kevan Jones signed this EDM on Wednesday 24th November 2021

Giving every child the best start in life

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House notes the work of WAVE Trust and its 70/30 campaign to reduce levels of child abuse, neglect and domestic abuse by 70 per cent by 2030; further notes that over two-thirds of this House have endorsed that campaign, including a majority from all parties; recognises the role …
112 signatures
(Most recent: 3 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 36
Liberal Democrat: 12
Conservative: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
1st November 2021
Kevan Jones signed this EDM on Monday 8th November 2021

Support for autism diagnosis

Tabled by: Barry Sheerman (Labour (Co-op) - Huddersfield)
That this House has considered the Westminster Commission on Autism’s third report entitled Support Surrounding Diagnosis; recognises that the period surrounding an autism diagnosis is often stressful and uncertain; notes that access to the right support is vital; further notes that many people seeking an autism diagnosis do not have …
29 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 17
Scottish National Party: 3
Independent: 2
Conservative: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Kevan Jones's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Kevan Jones, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Kevan Jones

Kevan Jones has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Kevan Jones


A bill to make provision about the training, qualifications and certification of medical practitioners conducting cosmetic surgical procedures; to establish a code of practice for the provision of information to patients on the options and risks in relation to such procedures; to make provision about permissible treatments and the advertising of such treatments; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 19th October 2016
(Read Debate)

1192 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether the Prime Minister or his officials have met the former Manchester United Chairman Ed Woodward in the last three months.

The meeting was to discuss the safe return of fans and Covid certification, as part of ongoing work on event pilots. The European Super League was not discussed. I did not join the meeting.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what the average turnaround time has been for inquest applications by the Attorney General to the High Court under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 in each of the last 10 years.

Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 permits an application to be made to the High Court for either an order for a fresh inquest into a death, or an order to hold an inquest if one has not already been held. An application under section 13 cannot be brought unless the Attorney General’s authority – referred to as her ‘fiat’ – has been obtained. Once the Attorney General has granted or refused her fiat, the Attorney General’s Office does not usually have any further role in the process.

An applicant has six weeks from the grant of the Attorney General’s fiat to make an application to the High Court. The High Court will then decide whether to order an investigation to be carried out in accordance with Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

Neither the Attorney General’s Office nor the Ministry of Justice hold data on how long it takes between the Attorney’s fiat being granted and the High Court disposing of an application made under section 13.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the report of the Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide, commissioned by the General Medical Council, published in June 2019, whether the CPS has taken steps to implement the recommendation on enhancing the transparency and understanding of its decision-making process.

The CPS published updated legal guidance on gross negligence manslaughter in May 2019, to help make decision-making in these cases more transparent and to provide comprehensive and up-to-date guidance on the offence of gross negligence manslaughter in a medical setting, incorporating the recent relevant case law.

Evidence of medical experts will be required in all cases of medical manslaughter. Experts have to be suitably qualified and are selected on the basis of having recent and relevant expertise on the area of medicine concerned. Experts are provided with terms of reference on the elements of the offence before providing their advice. For cases where a charging decision of gross negligence manslaughter is under consideration, the prosecutor and counsel will meet with the expert to discuss the report and the evidential test. Any information which meets the disclosure test will be provided to the defence if a prosecution is commenced.

Since April 2019, all case decisions relating to charges of gross negligence manslaughter are made by specialist prosecutors or senior specialist prosecutors within the CPS Special Crime Division, and are taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Prime Minister last met the Chief Executive of the Premier League.

Details of Ministers’ official meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what date he last convened the Honours Forfeiture Committee.

The Forfeiture Committee last convened on 20th May 2021.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's plans to collect new forms of data on veteran suicide, how coroners will be able to access information to confirm that the suicide victim was a former member of the UK's armed forces.

The OVA has looked at how the frequency of suicide within the veteran community can best be measured and has identifed a robust methodology which does not require the placing of new duties on coroners. The new approach utilises data collected through the 2021 England and Wales census to compare the health of the veteran population with the health of the general population, including looking at suicide related deaths of veterans.

This new approach does not prevent coroners from seeking information about veteran status where it is felt that this is relevant to the suicide being investigated and the coroner has previously been informed by family members that the person was a veteran. There is a single point of contact at the MOD for coroners to obtain information on whether the suicide victim was a former member of the UK’s armed forces.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to provide (a) new codes of practice and (b) training to coroners for coroners to be able to discern whether the suicide of a veteran is attributable to their service.

The OVA has looked at how the frequency of suicide within the veteran community can best be measured and has identifed a robust methodology which does not require the placing of new duties on coroners. The new approach utilises data collected through the 2021 England and Wales census to compare the health of the veteran population with the health of the general population, including looking at suicide related deaths of veterans.

This new approach does not prevent coroners from seeking information about veteran status where it is felt that this is relevant to the suicide being investigated and the coroner has previously been informed by family members that the person was a veteran. There is a single point of contact at the MOD for coroners to obtain information on whether the suicide victim was a former member of the UK’s armed forces.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to place new duties on coroners to ensure that they accurately report on veteran suicide.

The OVA has looked at how the frequency of suicide within the veteran community can best be measured and has identifed a robust methodology which does not require the placing of new duties on coroners. The new approach utilises data collected through the 2021 England and Wales census to compare the health of the veteran population with the health of the general population, including looking at suicide related deaths of veterans.

This new approach does not prevent coroners from seeking information about veteran status where it is felt that this is relevant to the suicide being investigated and the coroner has previously been informed by family members that the person was a veteran. There is a single point of contact at the MOD for coroners to obtain information on whether the suicide victim was a former member of the UK’s armed forces.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's plans to collect new forms of data on veteran suicide, whether that data will include information on what engagement veterans had with mental health services prior to their suicide.

The new methodology to measure the frequency of suicide within the veteran community will utilise data gathered through the 2021 England and Wales census to compare the health of the veteran population with the health of the general population. This will include suicide related deaths of veterans and we intend to include a breakdown by service as part of this analysis. This analysis will be undertaken in 2023, and in the interim the OVA will be working with ONS and the MOD to conduct a 10 year look back at veteran deaths by suicide. This work will inform us how many veterans have died through suicide and other causes including drug and alcohol misuse from 2011-2021, and to estimate the number that died homeless. Through the new methodology and our broader research programme we will explore data linking opportunities to understand veterans’ wider experiences, support needs and interaction with public services.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's plans to collect new forms of data on veteran suicide, whether retrospective studies will be undertaken by the Office for National Statistics to assess whether veteran suicides are attributable to their service.

The new methodology to measure the frequency of suicide within the veteran community will utilise data gathered through the 2021 England and Wales census to compare the health of the veteran population with the health of the general population. This will include suicide related deaths of veterans and we intend to include a breakdown by service as part of this analysis. This analysis will be undertaken in 2023, and in the interim the OVA will be working with ONS and the MOD to conduct a 10 year look back at veteran deaths by suicide. This work will inform us how many veterans have died through suicide and other causes including drug and alcohol misuse from 2011-2021, and to estimate the number that died homeless. Through the new methodology and our broader research programme we will explore data linking opportunities to understand veterans’ wider experiences, support needs and interaction with public services.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many A321 aircraft chartered from CTM for use by the Government are to be painted in UK livery.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, non-scheduled air travel is necessary at times for undertaking Government and Royal Household official visits. This may be to the timing and flexibility needed, for security reasons, or due to the location being visited. It can also provide better value for money in the cases of larger delegations (which can include journalists).

The Government has procured a single A321 aircraft for use by Ministers and senior members of the Royal Family. The aircraft was procured through an existing Crown Commercial Framework (RM6016 PSTVS Lot 4) in order to achieve a timely, beneficial and cost-effective solution for the government. Early market engagement concluded that a wet lease was able to offer the best balance between value for money, availability and operational flexibility.

The Cabinet Office ran a competition through the Framework and the winning supplier then offered three best options to meet the requirement. Based on this, cost estimates for the procurement of the aircraft were considered against a range of options and it was assessed that an initial term of 2 years, with the opportunity for annual extensions to the full life of the contract, offered the best balance between value for money and flexibility.

The decision to procure an aircraft was based on a range of factors including guaranteed availability; a biosecure aircraft; UK branding; and an aircraft with a transatlantic range. Before the contract is extended beyond the initial 2 years, an assessment will be made on the most cost-effective option that will range from extending the contract to launching an open competition for a new contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons his Department took the decision not to place the contract to provide A321 aircraft for VIP purposes to a public tender.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, non-scheduled air travel is necessary at times for undertaking Government and Royal Household official visits. This may be to the timing and flexibility needed, for security reasons, or due to the location being visited. It can also provide better value for money in the cases of larger delegations (which can include journalists).

The Government has procured a single A321 aircraft for use by Ministers and senior members of the Royal Family. The aircraft was procured through an existing Crown Commercial Framework (RM6016 PSTVS Lot 4) in order to achieve a timely, beneficial and cost-effective solution for the government. Early market engagement concluded that a wet lease was able to offer the best balance between value for money, availability and operational flexibility.

The Cabinet Office ran a competition through the Framework and the winning supplier then offered three best options to meet the requirement. Based on this, cost estimates for the procurement of the aircraft were considered against a range of options and it was assessed that an initial term of 2 years, with the opportunity for annual extensions to the full life of the contract, offered the best balance between value for money and flexibility.

The decision to procure an aircraft was based on a range of factors including guaranteed availability; a biosecure aircraft; UK branding; and an aircraft with a transatlantic range. Before the contract is extended beyond the initial 2 years, an assessment will be made on the most cost-effective option that will range from extending the contract to launching an open competition for a new contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he made of the potential cost to the public purse of the VIP A321 aircraft only being able to be employed by Her Majesty's Government.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, non-scheduled air travel is necessary at times for undertaking Government and Royal Household official visits. This may be to the timing and flexibility needed, for security reasons, or due to the location being visited. It can also provide better value for money in the cases of larger delegations (which can include journalists).

The Government has procured a single A321 aircraft for use by Ministers and senior members of the Royal Family. The aircraft was procured through an existing Crown Commercial Framework (RM6016 PSTVS Lot 4) in order to achieve a timely, beneficial and cost-effective solution for the government. Early market engagement concluded that a wet lease was able to offer the best balance between value for money, availability and operational flexibility.

The Cabinet Office ran a competition through the Framework and the winning supplier then offered three best options to meet the requirement. Based on this, cost estimates for the procurement of the aircraft were considered against a range of options and it was assessed that an initial term of 2 years, with the opportunity for annual extensions to the full life of the contract, offered the best balance between value for money and flexibility.

The decision to procure an aircraft was based on a range of factors including guaranteed availability; a biosecure aircraft; UK branding; and an aircraft with a transatlantic range. Before the contract is extended beyond the initial 2 years, an assessment will be made on the most cost-effective option that will range from extending the contract to launching an open competition for a new contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the mortality rate for care home residents is in County Durham by month for each year since 2007.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department undertook a value for money assessment prior to the decision to lease the A321 aircraft for VIP travel for the next two years.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, non-scheduled air travel is necessary at times for undertaking Government and Royal Household official visits. This may be to the timing and flexibility needed, for security reasons, or due to the location being visited. It can also provide better value for money in the cases of larger delegations (which can include journalists).

The Government has procured a single A321 aircraft for use by Ministers and senior members of the Royal Family. The aircraft was procured through an existing Crown Commercial Framework (RM6016 PSTVS Lot 4) in order to achieve a timely, beneficial and cost-effective solution for the government. Early market engagement concluded that a wet lease was able to offer the best balance between value for money, availability and operational flexibility.

The Cabinet Office ran a competition through the Framework and the winning supplier then offered three best options to meet the requirement. Based on this, cost estimates for the procurement of the aircraft were considered against a range of options and it was assessed that an initial term of 2 years, with the opportunity for annual extensions to the full life of the contract, offered the best balance between value for money and flexibility.

The decision to procure an aircraft was based on a range of factors including guaranteed availability; a biosecure aircraft; UK branding; and an aircraft with a transatlantic range. Before the contract is extended beyond the initial 2 years, an assessment will be made on the most cost-effective option that will range from extending the contract to launching an open competition for a new contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2021 to Question 91 on Veterans: Mental Health and with reference to the evidence submitted to the Defence Committee's recent inquiry on Armed Forces and veterans mental health, for what reasons the Minister for Defence, People and Veterans was advised not to discuss veterans' mental health provision on the Today programme.

Further to the answer given to PQ 91 on 19 May 2021, Government Ministers regularly comment on the mental health services available to veterans, both in Parliament and in the media, and will continue to do so because it is vital that those who do require support know what is available through Op Courage in the NHS and how to access it.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the his Department mandated the Infrastructure Projects Authority to report on Ajax.

The IPA’s Mandate requires the IPA to support the successful delivery of Government’s Major Programmes and Projects projects by providing independent reviews at key decision points in the life-cycle of a Project. These reviews advise and support the project delivery organisation in achieving delivery of the project.

IPA Reviews do not offer external commentary on progress of Programmes or Projects for publication. They are conducted by independent, qualified and accredited reviewers. The reports are confidential and are exempt from publication under sections 33, 35, 41 and 43 of the FOI Act. Transparent information about the delivery of Government's major projects can be accessed through The IPA’s Annual Report.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether people affected by contaminated blood products will have access to legal representation for the infected blood compensation framework review.

The compensation framework study will provide advice on potential compensation framework design and solutions to Government. It is important that Sir Robert Francis QC, the independent reviewer, is able to complete his work as quickly as thoroughness allows.


At the outset of the Infected Blood Inquiry, the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster decided that it was overwhelmingly in the public interest that legal representation for infected and affected core participants in the inquiry should be funded by Government, and without means testing. This funding will continue until the conclusion of the Inquiry. However, this study is quite separate from the Inquiry. Sir Robert will want to hear directly from infected and affected people and put them at the heart of the process. Legal representation will not be required in order to put forward views.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many full-time equivalent staff are employed by the Office for Veterans Affairs.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs is currently established for 22 staff. Those numbers are kept under review to ensure it has sufficient capacity to lead the Government’s delivery of the Veterans Strategy, working in concert with the many Departments that contribute to this. The OVA has an office in the Cabinet Office estate. Staff are able to work from there, or other Cabinet Office buildings, in line with COVID safe working guidance.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of staffing levels at the Office for Veterans Affairs.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs is currently established for 22 staff. Those numbers are kept under review to ensure it has sufficient capacity to lead the Government’s delivery of the Veterans Strategy, working in concert with the many Departments that contribute to this. The OVA has an office in the Cabinet Office estate. Staff are able to work from there, or other Cabinet Office buildings, in line with COVID safe working guidance.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to offer the Office for Veterans Affairs a physical office in which to operate.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs is currently established for 22 staff. Those numbers are kept under review to ensure it has sufficient capacity to lead the Government’s delivery of the Veterans Strategy, working in concert with the many Departments that contribute to this. The OVA has an office in the Cabinet Office estate. Staff are able to work from there, or other Cabinet Office buildings, in line with COVID safe working guidance.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve awareness of support for veterans.

The Government is committed to making access to support for veterans as easy as possible, including raising awareness of what support is available and how promoting it can be accessed. This support includes Veterans UK and NHS services, such as the recently launched Op Courage Mental Health pathway, as well as the charity sector and recently provided funding to the Veterans Gateway. HMG does this through the education and support the MOD provides to those leaving the Armed Forces, with enhanced support such as the Defence Transition Service for those with the most complex needs.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the evidence submitted to the Defence Committee, for what reasons the Minister for Defence People and Veterans was advised not to go on the Today programme to discuss veterans' mental health provision.

Ministers have and will continue to appear in the media and in Parliament outlining the range of mental health support available to veterans, as seen recently with the introduction of Op Courage, NHS England’s dedicated veterans mental health pathway.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to allow the Veterans Minister to attend Cabinet.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Secretary of State for Defence represent veterans in Cabinet, ensuring their interests are included in any relevant policy discussions. Attendance at Cabinet is the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

Michael Gove
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government's agreement with Titan Airways for the lease of A321 transport aircraft was put out to tender.

Details of the contracts for the A321 will be published by the Government shortly. As always, the procurement decision was made with value for money for the taxpayer in mind. The A321 will be substantially cheaper, and “greener” to operate than current arrangements and also offers significant value for money compared to the ad-hoc hire of private planes.

The lease agreement was achieved through the use of existing travel contract frameworks. A tender competition was run using those frameworks following advice from the Crown Commercial and Government Legal Services.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost is to the public purse of the Government's leasing arrangement with Titan Airways.

Details of the contracts for the A321 will be published by the Government shortly. As always, the procurement decision was made with value for money for the taxpayer in mind. The A321 will be substantially cheaper, and “greener” to operate than current arrangements and also offers significant value for money compared to the ad-hoc hire of private planes.

The lease agreement was achieved through the use of existing travel contract frameworks. A tender competition was run using those frameworks following advice from the Crown Commercial and Government Legal Services.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that people who requested large print Census 2021 forms received them.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which organisations will be allocated funding from the £10 million announced in Budget 2021 to support veterans.

This £10million fund will help deliver charitable projects and initiatives across the UK that support veterans with mental health needs. The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, in addition to disbursing their regular funding of £10million per annum, will design and run an open grant competition to award the additional funding to organisations delivering in-scope programmes in support of veterans' mental health.

The £475,000 is new funding representing an opportunity to improve the ability of charities to work together and with government, enhancing the provision of support for veterans and the broader Armed Forces Community. Therefore the additional funds have been allocated to the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, within the Cabinet Office.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, by what mechanism his Department measures the suicide rate of former armed forces personnel.

I refer the Rt Hon member for North Durham to the answer I gave to the member for Easington on the 14th January, column 135901.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to designate the sale of baby clothes as essential retail during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 5 November, the Government acted swiftly in accordance with growing evidence of virus prevalence to put in place new national COVID-19 restrictions in England. Guidance on the closing of certain businesses and venues in England is available on the Government website. As stated in the guidance, businesses may continue offering delivery and click-and-collect services (where items are pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises).

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the oral contribution of 22 January 2020 of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Official Report column 289, what legislative proposals on procurement he plans to bring forward to enable the Government to (a) buy British and (b) support UK firms.

Leaving the EU presents a golden opportunity to reform our procurement rules by creating a brand new, bespoke system which works for British businesses and citizens, and complies with our international obligations. We intend to publish our proposals later this year.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to review the legal framework for arms-length bodies.

There is no single legal framework for arm's length bodies (ALBs). ALBs are sponsored by individual departments, and the legal framework pertaining to any particular ALB will depend on how it has been established.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what budget has been allocated to the Office for Veterans Affairs since its inception.

The Government recognises the lifelong duty which the nation owes to those who serve in the Armed Forces. The Government created the Office for Veterans' Affairs (OVA) to ensure veterans are represented right at the heart of Government for the first time.

The OVA will be responsible for coordinating the Government's services and support for veterans. It will lead the delivery of the Strategy for our Veterans, to realise the Government's ambition of making the UK the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world by 2028.

The OVA will shortly set out the first action plan containing targets for the OVA to deliver initiatives for veterans and the commitments by Departments to make improvements in the support they offer.

With regard to the OVA’s budget, I refer the Rt. Hon. member to the answer I gave him on 22 October 2019, to question 1606.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent steps the Office for Veterans Affairs has taken to provide lifelong support to military personnel.

The Government recognises the lifelong duty which the nation owes to those who serve in the Armed Forces. The Government created the Office for Veterans' Affairs (OVA) to ensure veterans are represented right at the heart of Government for the first time.

The OVA will be responsible for coordinating the Government's services and support for veterans. It will lead the delivery of the Strategy for our Veterans, to realise the Government's ambition of making the UK the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world by 2028.

The OVA will shortly set out the first action plan containing targets for the OVA to deliver initiatives for veterans and the commitments by Departments to make improvements in the support they offer.

With regard to the OVA’s budget, I refer the Rt. Hon. member to the answer I gave him on 22 October 2019, to question 1606.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 1 November 2021 from the Chair of JFSA.

I wrote to the Chair of Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance on 1 December about financial redress.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in petrol and diesel prices over the last six months.

The Department’s analysis shows that changes in retail prices of petroleum products, such as petrol and diesel, are primarily driven by changes in global market prices for crude oil and exchange rates.

Recognising that fuel is a major cost for households and businesses, the Government has kept fuel duty frozen. This is the twelfth consecutive freeze saving the average UK car driver a cumulative £1,900, compared to the plans the previous Government set out in 2010.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the ban on the sale of halogen lightbulbs that came into effect on 1 September 2021, whether that ban extends to the sale of halogen bulbs for ovens containing specialist compact halogen bulbs with a G9 fitting.

New ecodesign and energy labelling requirements for lighting products came into force in Great Britain on 1st October 2021; equivalent regulations came into force in Northern Ireland on 1st September.

There are limited exemptions built into the regulations in order to ensure that certain lighting technologies remain viable whilst the market for lighting products achieves higher levels of energy efficiency. These exemptions include G9 halogen light sources intended for use in high temperature applications such as ovens, provided that these light sources also meet further conditions which are set out in Schedule 4 of The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Lighting Products) Regulations 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will confirm that, as a core participant, Paula Vennells' cost of legal representation in relation to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry has not been covered by the public purse under Section 40 of the Inquiry Act 2005.

In the progress update published in September, Sir Wyn Williams clearly outlines his approach towards legal representation and funding for Core Participants.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) the Post Office, (b) Fujitsu, (c) his Department and (d) UKGI has refused any batch requests for documents from the Inquiry Team of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

Sir Wyn Williams made it clear in his Statement of 19 May that all parties whose decision-making is under the spotlight are cooperating fully with the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of the sale of over half of the value of Cobham by the US private equity firm, Advent, and the agreement between the Government and Advent.

The Government has worked with Advent to monitor compliance with the undertakings given at the time of their acquisition of Cobham, including commitments to give advanced notice of plans to sell parts of the business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, from which country and location in that country each boat in the service of the Met Office was procured from.

The Met Office does not own any seagoing vessels. It works with partners to gather observations of meteorological and oceanographic conditions from third party voluntary observing ships, buoys or light vessels, both nationally and internationally, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, from which country and location in that country each boat in the service of the Oil and Gas Authority was procured from.

The Oil and Gas Authority does not have any boats in its service at this point in time.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the steps required to ensure that intellectual property previously held by Cobham will remain in the UK.

Intellectual property previously held by Cobham within the UK has transferred to new ownership following Advent International’s sale of Cobham’s UK businesses.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has met with the new owners to secure assurances on their continued investment in the UK businesses and security controls remain in place under the new owners to protect security sensitive information.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 24 June 2021 to Question 19503 on Post Office: ICT, what the average payment has been to sub-postmasters through the Historic Settlement Scheme.

Some 400 early payments have been made in respect of lower value claims from the Historical Shortfall Scheme. Since these are not representative of the scheme as a whole average data is not yet available. I have asked Post Office Limited to consider options for the publication of headline scheme data.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the length of time required for sub-postmasters who have not yet received payments under the Historic Shortfall Scheme to receive those payments.

The Historical Shortfall Scheme received over 2,450 claims. Around 400 compensation payments have been made through the scheme and other claims are progressing.

Post Office and the independent panel are focused on progressing claims as quickly as they can and the Department continues to monitor the Scheme’s progress closely. It is essential claims are assessed thoroughly and a number of the cases are complex and stretch back over a long period of time.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average payment has been to subpostmasters receiving redress through the Historic Settlement Scheme.

The Historical Shortfall Scheme received over 2,450 claims. Around 400 compensation payments have been made through the scheme and other claims are progressing.

Post Office and the independent panel are focused on progressing claims as quickly as they can and the Department continues to monitor the Scheme’s progress closely. It is essential claims are assessed thoroughly and a number of the cases are complex and stretch back over a long period of time.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what associated costs have accrued to the public purse as a result of the setting up of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The associated costs that have accrued as a result of the setting up of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry are £459,000 as of April 30th 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether a transcript of evidence will be (a) collated, (b) made available to hon. Members and (c) published after the conclusion of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

On 19 May, I announced that the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry would be made a statutory inquiry from 1 June 2021. The Inquiry will set out its working procedures which will be issued in September 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people have been asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is independent of the Department, and so BEIS does not have information on the number of people that have been asked to give evidence to the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the mechanisms are for publishing the report of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

As per the revised Terms of Reference for the Inquiry that I made in the House in a Written Ministerial Statement on 19 May, the Inquiry will aim to submit its findings to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by Autumn 2022. The final report will be published by the Secretary of State and the Government will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether officials of UK Government Investments will be asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is independent of the Department, and so BEIS does not have information on who will be called to appear before it to give evidence at the Inquiry hearings. This is for Sir Wyn Williams to decide as Chair of the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which former Ministers will be asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is independent of the Department, and so BEIS does not have information on who will be called to appear before it to give evidence at the Inquiry hearings. This is for Sir Wyn Williams to decide as Chair of the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which retired and in-service civil servant post holders will be asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is independent of the Department, and so BEIS does not have information on who will be called to appear before it to give evidence at the Inquiry hearings. This is for Sir Wyn Williams to decide as Chair of the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the former Chief Executive Officer of Post Office Limited in post from 2012 to 2019 will be asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is independent of the Department, and so BEIS does not have information on who will be called to appear before it to give evidence at the Inquiry hearings. This is for Sir Wyn Williams to decide as Chair of the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Chairman of Post Office Limited will be asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is independent of the Department, and so BEIS does not have information on who will be called to appear before it to give evidence at the Inquiry hearings. This is for Sir Wyn Williams to decide as Chair of the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited will be asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is independent of the Department, and so BEIS does not have information on who will be called to appear before it to give evidence at the Inquiry hearings. This is for Sir Wyn Williams to decide as Chair of the Inquiry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the evidence given by witnesses to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry will be taken under oath.

I announced to the House on 19 May that the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry will be established as a statutory public inquiry on 1 June. This will enable Sir Wyn Williams to take evidence from witnesses under oath should he wish to do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the scope of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry will include investigation of those who took the decision to conduct private prosecutions against sub-postmasters.

I announced to the House on 19 May 2021 that the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry would be put on a statutory footing on 1 June 2021. At the same time, I made a written ministerial statement with the revised Terms of Reference for the Inquiry. That statement can be found at: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-05-19/hcws40

The Inquiry’s revised Terms of Reference have been clarified to make clear that the Inquiry can investigate the Post Office’s decision-making in pursuing the prosecution of Postmasters in relation to Horizon.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a comprehensive list of witnesses that have been asked to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

The Inquiry is independent of government, but I would expect the Inquiry will provide detail of the witnesses who are being called ahead of the hearings once these are scheduled.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what powers the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry has in the event that people refuse to come forward to give evidence.

I announced to the House on 19 May 2021 that, with the agreement of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, I will put the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry on to a statutory footing on 1 June 2021. This change will give Sir Wyn Williams powers to compel organisations to provide documents and witnesses to give evidence, under oath if necessary, to ensure the Inquiry can get to the bottom of what happened and get the postmasters the answers they are looking for.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to bring forward proposals to amend the regulations on the purchase of fireworks.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls who can purchase them, their availability and use, curfews and their safety as a product.

We agree with the conclusion of the Petition Committee’s 2019 inquiry into fireworks, that any further restrictions on fireworks sold to the public by retail outlets could lead to more individuals buying products inappropriately, through online social media sources or from outside the UK. This could drive individuals to source fireworks from illegitimate or unsafe suppliers, where products may not meet the UK’s safety requirements.

The Government will continue to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has any plans to restrict the use of fireworks.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls who can purchase them, their availability and use, curfews and their safety as a product.

We agree with the conclusion of the Petition Committee’s 2019 inquiry into fireworks, that any further restrictions on fireworks sold to the public by retail outlets could lead to more individuals buying products inappropriately, through online social media sources or from outside the UK. This could drive individuals to source fireworks from illegitimate or unsafe suppliers, where products may not meet the UK’s safety requirements.

The Government will continue to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the recent report in Computer Weekly on the extension of the Post Office Horizon contact with Fujitsu, whether representatives of the Government, in their roles as members of the Post Office Ltd (POL) Board or other POL committees or otherwise, were (a) in attendance at meetings with Fujitsu and (b) involved in the decision to extend the contract with that company to 2024.

Post Office Limited has extended its current contract with Fujitsu for a short period to allow sufficient time to develop its long-term IT strategy, including the approach to any IT system that it will use in the long-term. This was considered the appropriate commercial decision by Post Office Limited. Government representatives were not present at Post Office Limited’s meetings with Fujitsu to discuss the extension. The Government representative on the POL Board – UKGI’s Shareholder Non-Executive Director – was involved in the collective Board decision to extend the contract at the March 2021 Board meeting.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Maritime Enterprise Working Group is a permanent structure.

The Maritime Enterprise Working Group (MEWG) was set up, following the publication of the National Shipbuilding Strategy in 2017, to provide a forum for the UK’s professional marine engineering, science, manufacturing and technology community for addressing issues of common concern to secure a truly competitive, sustainable and globally successful marine engineering and shipbuilding industry.

On 16 March 2021, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and Shipbuilding Tsar announced that we are currently conducting a refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy which will be published this summer. As part of this, we will consider whether to adapt or strengthen the existing structures to enable strong partnership working between Government and industry going forward.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer of 4 March 2021 to Question 160543 on Paula Vennells, for what reason his Department made a different judgement on whether the costs of publishing the correspondence were disproportionate for (a) January to June 2013 and (b) July to December 2013.

BEIS officials consider several factors when assessing whether a request can be obtained at proportionate cost. One such factor is the time a request is made. A request made close to the time it is requesting information from is easier to process and respond to. A request sent a significant time after an event is much more difficult to process in a timely way, as it involves a recall of historic records by the records team.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish all correspondence between Paula Vennels and his Department dated between July 2013 and December 2013.

BEIS officials have assessed that publication of the correspondence between Paula Vennells and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy dated between July 2013 and December 2013 can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the Debt Relief Order limit to £50,000.

The Government has recently consulted on proposals to increase the eligibility criteria for Debt Relief Orders to help more people deal with their financial difficulties and to provide a fresh start. The consultation includes increasing the total amount of debt allowable in a Debt Relief Order. The consultation proposes an increase from the current debt limit of £20,000 to £30,000 but also seeks views on whether a different limit should be implemented. The consultation closed on 26 February 2021 and the Government is currently reviewing the responses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing additional pre-existing debts to be scheduled in Debt Relief Orders post-application in the event that the debt limit is not breached.

The Government’s consultation on the monetary eligibility requirements for Debt Relief Orders closed on 26 February 2021. The ability to add pre-existing debts to a Debt Relief Order after an application has already been made is outside the scope of the current consultation. However, the Government keeps the legislative framework under review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February 2021 to Question 144626 on Post Office: Fujitsu, how that answer relates to paragraph 14.2 of the Post Office Limited: Shareholder Relationship Framework Document.

The litigation protocol agreed between the Government and Post Office Ltd is to enable the sharing and protection of legally privileged information between Post Office Limited and the Government. Its scope does not extend to commercial arrangements between Post Office Ltd and Fujitsu (or any other third party).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the evidence base informing the decision to allow click and collect services to continue during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

Click-and-collect services allow goods to be pre-ordered and collected without customers entering the premises. Customers thus remain in well ventilated spaces - which are, by definition, safer environments and where transmission is less likely to occur.

The safer workplaces guidance provides information to help employers make their workplaces COVID-Secure for their employees, visitors, and customers. The guidance does not replace existing employment, health and safety or equalities legislation. It provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps Post Office Ltd have taken to recoup the costs from Fujitsu associated with the failure of the Fujitsu Horizon IT system.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The details regarding contracts with Fujitsu and seeking to recoup costs, is an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend Sir Wyn William’s Post Office Horizon IT inquiry to include the issue of potential perjury in each of the items listed under the scope of that inquiry.

The purpose of the Inquiry is to understand and acknowledge what went wrong in relation to Horizon and to ensure that there is a public summary of the failings that occurred at Post Office Ltd. At the Inquiry’s outset its Terms of Reference were published, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-office-horizon-it-inquiry-2020/terms-of-reference.

As such, the Inquiry will consider only those matters set out in its Terms of Reference.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Post Office has to seek financial compensation from Fujitsu in response to the costs incurred in the civil litigation case Alan Bates and Others and Post Office Limited.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The details regarding contracts with Fujitsu and seeking financial compensation, are an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

The Department has not taken, and has no plans to take, any legal action against Fujitsu.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) Post Office or (b) his Department (i) has taken or (ii) plans to take, any legal action against Fujitsu following the civil litigation case Alan Bates and Others and Post Office Limited.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The details regarding contracts with Fujitsu and seeking financial compensation, are an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

The Department has not taken, and has no plans to take, any legal action against Fujitsu.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the equity of non-essential retail being permitted in supermarkets whilst independent non-essential retail stores are not permitted to open during the national covid-19 lockdown that has been in place since January 2021.

The Government recognises how important it is for businesses to be able continue operating during these very challenging times, which is why all shops are able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.

For businesses remaining open, mixed retail principles set out in the guidance apply to all retailers, and businesses are expected to close sufficiently distinct sections.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether companies which lease children's party equipment through delivery of that equipment to customers are permitted to continue to operate during the period of the national covid-19 lockdown that has been in place since January 2021.

Any business or venue that provides goods for sale or hire that are not considered essential must close. Businesses may continue offering delivery and click-and-collect services (where items are pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises). People can also leave home to collect or return orders from these businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to advise furniture delivery companies to discourage delivery drivers from entering residences unless for specific purposes.

The other people’s home guidance was updated on 6 January to reflect the national lockdown. Where it is absolutely necessary for delivery drivers to enter someone’s home, they can do so by following the guidance, respecting social distancing and wearing a face mask.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the finding of interim analysis of data from Phase III trials that the Oxford covid-19 vaccine is 70 per cent effective, for what reason his Department has ordered 100 million doses of that vaccine.

The preliminary efficacy data is positive and indicates that the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is 70.4% effective across two different dosage regimens. One of these dose regimens could be up to 90% effective.

To beat this pandemic, it has always been likely that we would need more than one vaccine. We have now seen excellent results with multiple vaccine candidates. There will be variations between the vaccines in how well they work for different population subgroups and how long the protection lasts, alongside other factors.

The University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine has the distinct advantage that it can be stored at fridge temperature, making it easier to transport and distribute globally than other Covid-19 vaccines. The fact that the vaccine has been manufactured by AstraZeneca at cost also means it is affordable, potentially making this UK-developed vaccine a vaccine for the world.

The Vaccine TaskForce’s portfolio includes different types of vaccine and we continue to keep the portfolio under review.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the evidence for his decision that wedding venues cannot be made covid-secure in the same way as other hospitality venues.

The number of people who can attend a wedding or a wedding celebration is 15 people depending on local restrictions. Weddings remain exempt from the rule of six. We understand these guidelines may be difficult for couples and venues and are keeping them under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he plans to provide to mobile hairdressers, who cannot enter residences and therefore operate while the covid-19 restrictions are in place.

Mobile hairdressers and other close contact services can operate in other people’s homes as long as they apply the COVID-secure guidelines for working in other people’s homes and the specific guidance for close contact services. Both guides can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

As part of the Government’s response to the pandemic, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a host of measures to help businesses, including loans, tax deferrals and cash grants.

There is particular support for smaller businesses and the self-employed to help bolster the existing package of support available. For example, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme enables small businesses quicker access to finance, where they can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with no repayments due for a year, and no interest charged during that time either.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his oral contribution on 5 October 2020, Official Report, col 616, what mechanisms are available to the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry 2020 to secure disclosure in the event that documents are withheld by relevant parties.

Sir Wyn Williams has 28 years’ judicial experience, and the Government has full confidence in his ability to decide how to engage relevant parties. The Government, Post Office Limited and Fujitsu have already agreed to cooperate fully with the Inquiry, and Sir Wyn will keep the Government informed of what progress is being made.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many personnel make up the Post Office policy team within his Department.

The Post Office Policy team in BEIS has 4 full-time equivalent staff. The team works with the UKGI Post Office Shareholder team as well as experts from other functions within BEIS, including analysts, lawyers, and a correspondence team.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral contribution of Lord Callanan of 25 February 2020, Official Report, column 95GC, what plans he has to further expand the post office policy team.

In April 2019 the BEIS Post Office policy team was made up by 2 staff members and has doubled in size since then.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether any Government internal audit has identified the Post Office Limited or UKGI as entities which lacked a Framework Document or Memorandum of Understanding with his Department.

The Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) issued a report on Post Office Sponsorship in October 2019, noting that a Framework Document and MOU were in the process of being finalised. A Framework Document outlining key activities, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities between BEIS, UKGI and Post Office Ltd has been agreed and was published on 25 March 2020. The document is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-office-limited-shareholder-relationship-framework-document.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department retained a copy of Second Sight’s final report into the Post Office Limited's Horizon IT system.

The Department has retained a copy of Second Sight’s final report into the Post Office Limited's Horizon IT system.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Triennial Reviews there have been of Post Office Limited; and when those reviews were carried out.

At the time of triennial reviews, all non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) undergo a substantive review at least once every 3 years. As Post Office Ltd is classified as a Public Corporation, they are out of scope. The published guidance on the reviews can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/triennial-reviews-guidance-and-schedule.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the Partner Organisation Assessment made by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2011 of (a) Royal Mail Holdings and (b) Post Office Limited.

The Department has no plans to publish such assessments.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether a lawyer representing his Department attended meetings of the POL GLO sub-Committee from the time of its inauguration in March 2018 until the conclusion of the litigation in December 2019.

No legal advisor representing BEIS attended the Post Office Limited GLO Sub-Committee. Among the committee’s attendees were the UKGI Shareholder Representative and the UKGI General Counsel as an observer.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether a Ministerial Direction was ever sought by his Department's Accounting Officer on the regularity, propriety, value for money or feasibility in respect of spending incurred by Post Office Limited during its Horizon IT system litigation case.

No Ministerial Direction was sought on this matter. Post Office Limited (POL) handled the defence of the Group Litigation as operational matters are an exclusive responsibility for the Company, as outlined in the Framework Document.

All costs in doing so, including legal costs and the settlement in December 2019, were paid using funds from POL’s commercial revenue. BEIS sought and received assurance throughout the process that no public funding was used to contest the litigation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the evidence from Paula Vennells to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee on 24 June 2020, what the identify is of the law firm involved on behalf of his Department with which the UKGI POL representative was fully engaged.

The legal defence of the litigation was handled solely by Post Office Ltd.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the legal costs incurred by his Department as a result of the Post Office Ltd Horizon IT system litigation case for each tax year.

The Post Office appointed Womble Bond Dickenson and Herbert Smith Freehills in the latter stages of the litigation. BEIS was not a party to the litigation and did not take part in the proceedings which were handled by Post Office Limited and their own legal team. Therefore, BEIS incurred no external legal costs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the legal costs incurred (a) within his Department as a result of the Post Office Ltd Horizon IT system litigation case and (b) as a result of his Department engaging external specialist advice on that case.

The Post Office appointed Womble Bond Dickenson and Herbert Smith Freehills in the latter stages of the litigation. BEIS was not a party to the litigation and did not take part in the proceedings which were handled by Post Office Limited and their own legal team. Therefore, BEIS incurred no external legal costs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the (a) financial, (b) reputational and (c) strategic risks posed by the Post Office Limited’s Horizon IT system litigation case were escalated to his Department's Performance and Risk Challenge Panel.

The Post Office Limited’s Horizon IT system litigation has been considered by both the Performance and Risk Challenge Panel and the Performance and Risk Committee as part of the Committee’s considerations regarding its Performance and Risk report.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the (a) financial, (b) reputational and (c) strategic risks posed by the Post Office Limited’s Horizon IT system litigation case were escalated to his Department's Finance and Risk Committee.

The Post Office Limited’s Horizon IT system litigation has been considered by both the Performance and Risk Challenge Panel and the Performance and Risk Committee as part of the Committee’s considerations regarding its Performance and Risk report.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what remedial steps were taken by his Department in response to the Government Internal Audit Agency rating downgrade in 2017-18.

In the 2017-18 Annual Report and Accounts, the Group Chief Internal Auditor (GCIA) from the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) provided an overall ‘moderate’ opinion on the framework of governance, risk management, and control within the Department for 2017-18. This was an increase from the ‘limited’ level of assurance received by the Department for 2016-17. The Report is published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/beis-annual-report-and-accounts-2017-to-2018.

The strengthened assurance rating recognised the good progress made and initiatives taken across the Department to further develop the governance, risk management, and control environment. This included continuing the transformation to a single Department and the introduction of new risk management and contract management frameworks. New control measures were introduced, supported by a new internal controls team to strengthen the Department’s approach to assurance and to address control weaknesses identified by the GIAA, such as ensuring internal audit actions are implemented promptly.

Since 2017-18 the Department has continued to make improvements within its internal control environment, more detail on which is set out in subsequent Annual Reports and Accounts.

As noted by the GIIA, this has been achieved against the backdrop of a challenging scale of policy and programme work that the Department has been able to deliver concurrently.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether a Ministerial Direction was issued by his Department on the spending incurred by Post Office Limited during its Horizon IT system litigation case.

No Ministerial Direction was sought on this matter.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question HL5975 on Post Office: Accounting Officers, if he will publish the (a) correspondence and (b) papers relating to meetings that took place between Post Office Limited and his Department in which changes to the Post Office Limited's strategy and legal team were discussed.

Discussions between the Post Office and BEIS on this matter are legally privileged and therefore will not be subject to publication.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question HL5974 on Post Office: Accounting Officers, if he will publish the (a) correspondence and (b) papers relating to meetings that took place between UKGI and his Department in which changes to the Post Office Limited's strategy and legal team were discussed.

Discussions between the Post Office and BEIS on this matter are legally privileged and therefore will not be subject to publication.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, (a) when and (b) how regularly his Department's Audit and Risk Assurance Committee engaged directly with Post Office Limited (POL) or with UKGI to assess the control environments, risk management framework and escalation practices at POL with regard to its Horizon IT system issues.

As BEIS was not party to the litigation and the litigation was handled by Post Office Limited and their own legal team, it has not been included as a specific agenda item for ARAC in the last two years.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how regularly were reports from Post Office Limited's Group Litigation Subcommittee delivered directly or via UKGI to his Department's Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.

As BEIS was not party to the litigation and the litigation was handled by Post Office Limited and their own legal team, it has not been included as a specific agenda item for ARAC in the last two years.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether investigations into security breaches of URENCO employees are required to involve notification of Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland NV and Uranit GmbH.

URENCO operations in the UK are regulated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), with clear criteria for the reporting of security breaches. Security breaches are reported to the ONR and to the UK, Dutch, and German members of the Security Work Group. The Security Working Group is made up of regulators from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the US, as well as representatives from the Enrichment Technology Company and URENCO. Severe breaches may also be reported to the board of URENCO, on which Directors appointed by Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland NV and Uranit GmbH sit.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support private investment in the UK maritime industry.

The Department is working to make the UK the best place in the world for all businesses to thrive and grow.

The UK maritime sector has strategic importance for our economy and we encourage private investment into the sector. We have recently supported the £33 million investment in Artemis in Belfast to develop an autonomous water taxi.

The maritime sector is also benefitting from the Government’s Covid-19 support, which includes access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what date HM Treasury was notified by UKGI that the Post Office was to use public money to contest the case Bates v the Post Office.

Post Office Ltd. (POL) handled the defence of the Group Litigation. All costs in doing so, including legal costs and the settlement in December 2019, were paid using funds from POL’s commercial revenue. BEIS sought and received assurance throughout the process that no public funding was used to contest the litigation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what conditions were attached to the decision of HM Treasury to allow UKGI to use public funds to be used to contest the case Bates v the Post Office.

Post Office Ltd. (POL) handled the defence of the Group Litigation. All costs in doing so, including legal costs and the settlement in December 2019, were paid using funds from POL’s commercial revenue. BEIS sought and received assurance throughout the process that no public funding was used to contest the litigation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the reopening of beauty salons as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We have now provided other close contact services like beauty salons in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

We need to be confident services are able to reopen in a COVID-secure way for the staff and customers. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and our guidance has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether workers that install electronic security systems are classified as key workers.

Government has issued guidance on maintaining educational provision for the children of critical workers during the Covid-19 outbreak. The guidance does not use the term ‘key workers’.

Critical workers are defined as those whose work is critical to the Covid-19 response, based on consultation across Government. This could include workers that install electronic security systems, for example in hospitals. However, within the guidance on critical workers, there is no blanket inclusion for workers in that particular occupation, or in any other construction occupation.

Government policy remains that construction work should continue, provided that it is undertaken in a manner consistent with the PHE guidance.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much has been paid from the public purse to individual sub-postmasters since the group litigation settlement on the Horizon IT system on 12 December 2019.

On 11 December 2019, Post Office Ltd reached a settlement of £57.75m to conclude the Horizon litigation claim. No government money was used to fund the settlement or the related litigation. These were fully funded by Post Office Ltd from its commercial revenues.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether officials in his Department have been notified of any payments to individual sub-postmasters following the settlement of the group litigation on the Horizon IT system on 12 December 2020.

It is impossible to ignore the financial and emotional suffering that the Horizon litigation process has caused for affected postmasters and their families. The Post Office has accepted – on the Horizon Accounting System – that it got things wrong in the past in its dealings with a number of postmasters and has apologised. This apology is only the start of a process of real change in the Post Office so that this situation is never repeated again.

The Post Office has notified the Department that they have settled two long-running and complex disputes with sub-postmasters who had declined to join the group litigation. As an operational matter for the Post Office, the Government was not party to the discussions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps Post Office Ltd is taking to identify former subpostmasters that repaid monies in relation to unproven allegations of financial discrepancies.

Post Office Limited will announce a scheme in the near future which will address historic shortfalls for postmasters who were not part of the Group Litigation. Post Office Limited are actively considering how best to reach all relevant postmasters both past and present as part of this process.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Question 6034 on the Post Office, if she will meet with representatives of the Communication Workers Union to discuss how that cultural change will be implemented.

The Government recognises that postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office network and it is committed to ensuring cultural change takes place regarding the Post Office's engagement and relationship with postmasters.

As such I am keen to hold discussions with representatives of the Communication Workers Union. My office has been in touch with the Communication Workers Union and are waiting for a response.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 6031 on Post Office: Public Appointments, by which selection process was Tom Cooper offered the role of Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Post Office Board.

The Government has had a Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Board of Post Office Limited since the company was separated from the Royal Mail in April 2012. This right is provided for in POL’s Articles of Association. Tom Cooper was appointed as a Director of UK Government Investments through a competitive process and was proposed to BEIS as the department’s next representative on the POL Board. This was agreed by BEIS and Tom Cooper was appointed on 27 March 2018.

Tom Cooper does not receive a salary for being on the Post Office Board.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 6031 on Post Office: Public Appointments, what salary Tom Cooper receives as Non-Executive Director of the Post Office Board.

The Government has had a Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Board of Post Office Limited since the company was separated from the Royal Mail in April 2012. This right is provided for in POL’s Articles of Association. Tom Cooper was appointed as a Director of UK Government Investments through a competitive process and was proposed to BEIS as the department’s next representative on the POL Board. This was agreed by BEIS and Tom Cooper was appointed on 27 March 2018.

Tom Cooper does not receive a salary for being on the Post Office Board.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 6031 on Post Office: Public Appointments, who occupied the role of Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Post Office Board prior to the appointment of Tom Cooper.

The Government has had a Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Post Office Board since the company was separated from the Royal Mail in April 2012. Susannah Storey occupied the role from 18 April 2012 until 26 March 2014, followed by Richard Callard from 26 March 2014 until 27 March 2018.

Tom Cooper has been the occupier of this role since 27 March 2018.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 6031 on Post Office: Public Appointments, on what date Tom Cooper began his duties as Non-Executive Director of the Post Office Board.

The Government has had a Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Post Office Board since the company was separated from the Royal Mail in April 2012. Susannah Storey occupied the role from 18 April 2012 until 26 March 2014, followed by Richard Callard from 26 March 2014 until 27 March 2018.

Tom Cooper has been the occupier of this role since 27 March 2018.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Question 6034 on Post Office, if she will hold discussions with representatives of the Communication Workers Union on how that cultural change will be implemented.

The Government recognises that postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office network and it is committed to ensuring cultural change takes place regarding the Post Office's engagement and relationship with postmasters.

As such, I am keen to hold discussions with representatives of the Communication Workers Union. My office has been in touch with the Communication Workers Union and are waiting for a response.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 6029 on National Federation of Sub-Postmasters: Expenditure, what those specific projects established to support postmasters were; and what the £1.5 million per annum for the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters' annual operations is spent on.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices and their postmasters play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Postmasters and specific projects that Post Office Limited have established to support is an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it is the Government's policy to introduce a statutory compensation scheme for customers facing serious hardship as a result of injuries or loss of life suffered while on a Thomas Cook holiday.

As announced to the House by my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 5 November, the Government intends to introduce a scheme to assist those facing serious hardship as a result of a life-changing injury, illness or loss of life for which UK-based Thomas Cook companies would have been liable, but for insolvency.

While the government cannot and will not step into the shoes of Thomas Cook, we are developing proposals to make payments to those in need, and who otherwise will receive nothing. Any scheme must strike a responsible balance between supporting those in the most serious financial need and our responsibility to the taxpayer. Accordingly, it will be a capped fund, sufficient to ensure there is support for those customers facing the most serious hardship.

Legislation to deliver the scheme will be introduced in due course.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Maritime Enterprise Working Group receives funding from the public purse.

The Maritime Enterprise Working Group does not receive continued funding from the public purse. In 2018 the Department for Business, Energy & industrial Strategy contributed £20,000 towards a study of the UK shipbuilding competitiveness and market focus.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Oral Contribution of the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility on 21 January 2020, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that cultural change takes place in the Post Office; and if she will make a statement.

Postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office, and their branches are vital to communities across the country. That is why Government takes Post Office Limited’s (POL) relationship with its postmasters very seriously.

The Post Office's Chair acknowledges the criticism received in the Horizon litigation and has committed to applying the lessons learnt. BEIS Ministers and officials will continue to raise these matters and monitor these issues in their regular engagement with the Post Office.

Progress on this work and other issues of mutual interest will also continue to be discussed at the quarterly working group between the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, Post Office and Government under my chairmanship.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2020 to Question 3684, on Post Office: Compensation, when the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility last met representatives from the Post Office.

Ministers and officials meet with Nick Read, CEO of Post Office Limited’s on a regular basis and meetings with Ministers are included on the regular transparency return.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 15 January 2020 to Question 3683, on Post Office: Compensation, when her Department plans to respond.

The letter received from the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance is still being considered and a response will be provided in due course.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether any Government representative sits on the Maritime Enterprise Working Group.

Membership of the Maritime Enterprise Working Group includes representatives from industry, government and academia. The Group reviews and selects representatives on an ad hoc basis as necessary. Government representation includes: Ministry of Defence; Department for International Trade; Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; and Department for Transport.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who the non-Executive Member on the board of Post Office Limited from her Department is.

The Secretary of State delegates the role of Shareholder Representative on the Post Office Board to UK Government Investments (UKGI). Tom Cooper (Director, UKGI) is the current Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Post Office Board.

UKGI, as the Shareholder Representative, oversees corporate governance, strategy, and the stewardship of the Post Office’s financial and other resources on behalf of BEIS. As well as the seat on the Post Office Board, UKGI Shareholder NED also sits on the Audit and Risk Committee.

The shareholder team monitors financial and operational performance of the business against the long-term strategy, holding the business to account in delivering against its commercial and policy objectives. UKGI are also responsible for ensuring the business is provided with sufficient investment and subsidy funding to achieve its target of being commercially sustainable in the longer term, whilst meeting its social obligations, particularly around minimum network coverages requirements.

Finally, UKGI advises ministers on both commercial and policy issues, supporting them in Parliament and with the wider set of stakeholders who have an interest in Post Office matters.

There are no plans to review these duties.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much has been spent from the public purse on supporting the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters in the last 10 years.

Postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office network and it is clearly vital they have a body that represents their interests.

Since 2015 National Federation of Sub-Postmasters have been funded by a grant provided by Post Office. This equates to £1.5 million per annum for its annual operations and £1 million per annum for specific projects established to support postmasters. The annual grant is paid on a quarterly basis. Individual project grants will be paid in line with the requirements of the specific projects. Any grant funding to the NFSP is paid from POL's own commercial revenues.

Prior to the Grant Agreement in 2015, NFSP received an annual payment of £175k from the Post Office along with occasional payments for specific projects. The rest of NSFP’s funding came from members’ subscription payments.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the duties of the Government's non-executive representative on the board of Post Office Limited are; and whether she has any plans to review those duties.

The Secretary of State delegates the role of Shareholder Representative on the Post Office Board to UK Government Investments (UKGI). Tom Cooper (Director, UKGI) is the current Shareholder Non-Executive Director on the Post Office Board.

UKGI, as the Shareholder Representative, oversees corporate governance, strategy, and the stewardship of the Post Office’s financial and other resources on behalf of BEIS. As well as the seat on the Post Office Board, UKGI Shareholder NED also sits on the Audit and Risk Committee.

The shareholder team monitors financial and operational performance of the business against the long-term strategy, holding the business to account in delivering against its commercial and policy objectives. UKGI are also responsible for ensuring the business is provided with sufficient investment and subsidy funding to achieve its target of being commercially sustainable in the longer term, whilst meeting its social obligations, particularly around minimum network coverages requirements.

Finally, UKGI advises ministers on both commercial and policy issues, supporting them in Parliament and with the wider set of stakeholders who have an interest in Post Office matters.

There are no plans to review these duties.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will publish the payment request of 3 January 2020 to her Department from the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 20th January 2020 to Question 3683: the letter is being considered and a response will be provided in due course. In the meantime, is not appropriate for Government to publish the payment request.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department has received a payment request from the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance regarding the settlement with sub-postmasters announced on 11 December 2019.

The Department has received a letter from the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance. This is being considered and a response will be provided in due course.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether she plans to introduce additional mechanisms for Government oversight of Post Office Ltd as a result of the settlement with sub-postmasters announced on 11 December 2019.

Ministers and officials are in regular contact with the Post Office.

Government has robust mechanisms in place to maintain oversight of the Post Office that are regularly reviewed. UKGI acts as Shareholder Representative for BEIS, overseeing POL’s corporate governance, strategy, and the stewardship of POL’s financial and other resources on behalf of the shareholder, as well as holding a non-executive seat on POL’s Board.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions she has had with representatives from the Post Office following the settlement with sub-postmasters announced on 11 December 2019.

Ministers and officials are in regular contact with the Post Office.

Government has robust mechanisms in place to maintain oversight of the Post Office that are regularly reviewed. UKGI acts as Shareholder Representative for BEIS, overseeing POL’s corporate governance, strategy, and the stewardship of POL’s financial and other resources on behalf of the shareholder, as well as holding a non-executive seat on POL’s Board.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether Ministers in her Department have met representatives of Fujitsu in the past five years.

Departments publish quarterly details of Ministers’ meetings with external organisations on GOV.UK. These can be found at the following links:

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (from July 2016) - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) (to July 2016) - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bis-quarterly-publications-april-to-june-2012

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to include provisions to protect internet users from illegal advertisements in the Online Safety Bill.

Under the Online Safety Bill, companies will have duties with regard to user-generated content advertising, such as posts by influencers and posts by companies on their social media feeds. Companies will need to minimise the risk of illegal user-generated content appearing on their services, and take swift action to remove it once alerted to it.

The legislation will not cover adverts which are placed directly or indirectly through a contract between an advertiser and an advertising service. It is important to keep the scope of the Bill manageable, to ensure its success in regulating the most harmful forms of user-generated content. We are however awaiting the report from the Joint Committee scrutinising the Draft Bill and will carefully examine any recommendations in this area.

Harms associated with paid-for advertising will be addressed holistically via the Online Advertising Programme. In February 2019, we announced that we will consider how online advertising is regulated. In 2020 we launched a call for evidence and we will be launching a public consultation on the Online Advertising Programme in the coming months.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what speed copper broadband must accomplish to be legally defined as broadband.

‘Broadband’ is defined by the technology type and replaced older ‘narrowband’ technologies such as ‘dial-up’ as a method of connecting to the internet. There is therefore no speed threshold which a connection must reach in order to be considered ‘broadband’.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to remove all covid-19 restrictions for indoor music venues after 19 July 2021.

As announced by the Prime Minister, the Government will proceed cautiously to Step 4 of the Roadmap on 19 July. At Step 4, most of the legal restrictions imposed throughout the pandemic will be removed and all remaining businesses will be able to reopen.

The Government will provide guidance for Step 4 of the Roadmap to help businesses and the public to make informed decisions about how to manage risks from COVID-19.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has plans to assess the use of third party cookies by online advertisers.

Following the Government’s call for evidence in 2020 we will be launching a public consultation by the end of this year as the next steps of our Online Advertising Programme.

Whilst online advertising presents benefits, it also presents new challenges for consumers, businesses and society as a whole. It raises questions over the collection, analysis and use of consumer data, as well as the appropriateness and accuracy of targeting. The scale and speed of advertising has also highlighted possible challenges around content standards and harmful advertisements.

We are currently working to shape the consultation and what it will consider. Ultimately we want to ensure standards about the placement and content of advertising can be effectively applied and enforced online so that consumers have limited exposure to harmful or misleading advertising.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the promotion of physical activity among young people.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all children and young people have the best opportunities to engage in sport and physical activity. Our Sporting Future strategy sets out how important it is for all children to have a good experience of sport and physical activity while they are young.

The Government’s arm’s-length body, Sport England, has invested over £190 million into physical activity for children and young people over 2016-2021, including programmes such as the £40 million Families Fund, which encourages low-income families with children to do sport and physical activity together. Initiatives such as the Studio You video platform, funded by Sport England and powered by This Girl Can, are also encouraging more teenage girls to be active.

The Government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan (jointly published by the Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Department for Health and Social Care in July 2019) sets out a commitment to ongoing collaboration to support the delivery of high-quality PE lessons and to ensure that sport and physical activity are an integral part of both the school day and after-school activities. This is supported by £320 million per year through the PE and sport premium. More recently, the Government has hosted roundtables on how to take support for young people even further, and has committed to updating the Government sport strategy, with children and young people central to this.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to enable caravan owners to be refunded for services that they have not received from caravan park operators during the covid-19 outbreak.

Whether a consumer is due a refund will depend on the terms of their contract or agreement. The Citizens Advice consumer service offers consumers free advice on their rights and how to take their complaint forward. The helpline can be contacted on 0808 223 1133, and via www.citizensadvice.org.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many Ofcom employees have the security clearance necessary to advise industry on cyber attacks.

As the communications regulator, Ofcom’s role is to ensure communication providers’ comply with their legal duties on security under the Communications Act 2003. Ofcom is also the competent authority for the digital infrastructure sector under the Network and Information Systems Directive 2020.

It is the role of the NCSC to advise industry following cyber attacks.

The NCSC will continue to play this role working closely with Ofcom under the new regime introduced in the Telecoms Security Bill. Ofcom will work with NCSC to ensure that it always has access to the right level of information which can be accessed by those with the appropriate level of security clearance.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many jobs have been lost from Ofcom since 2010.

Below is headcount data from Ofcom’s Annual Reports since 2010, figures which are in the public domain:

Year

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Average FTE

865

832

735

781

785

787

795

828

868

902

937

The reduction between 2010 and 2012 reflects headcount reductions in the wider public sector at the time. Since then, Ofcom has had a number of new duties conferred on them which account for subsequent headcount rises.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support sporting venues that are unable to open solely for the purposes of elite sport as a result of financial inviability.

The Government’s approach to reopening venues and events has been based on safety and wider public health concerns. We continue to work closely with sport governing bodies and venues across the country to fully assess what support is needed during this challenging time.

As a result of this work, on 19 November 2020 we announced a £300 million Sports Winter Survival Package which aims to protect their immediate futures over the winter period. Decisions on allocations are being undertaken by an Independent Board, whilst Sport England are responsible for administering the fund.

This support is in addition to the multi-billion pound package of business support from government that has enabled many sports clubs and leisure businesses to survive, including the furlough scheme and business interruption loan scheme. Sports have accessed many hundreds of millions of pounds of support through this.

The Government remains committed to engaging across the sector to maintain a complete picture of the financial impact of Covid-19 to ensure sports venues survive this difficult period wherever possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his timeframe is for making available funding from the Youth Investment Fund; and what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on that timeframe.

In the recently announced Spending Review £30m of capital investment was committed for 2021-22 as the first tranche of the Youth Investment Fund. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

The funding will be allocated from the Government’s unprecedented £750 million package of support which is benefiting tens of thousands of frontline charities, so they can continue their vital work. More than £60 million of this package has already been provided to organisations working with vulnerable children and young people.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) young people and (b) the youth sector of not allocating Youth Investment funding in the next three to six months.

In the recently announced Spending Review £30m of capital investment was committed for 2021-22 as the first tranche of the Youth Investment Fund. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

The funding will be allocated from the Government’s unprecedented £750 million package of support which is benefiting tens of thousands of frontline charities, so they can continue their vital work. More than £60 million of this package has already been provided to organisations working with vulnerable children and young people.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress he has made on the timeframe for allocating Youth Investment funding; and if he will publish that timeframe.

In the recently announced Spending Review £30m of capital investment was committed for 2021-22 as the first tranche of the Youth Investment Fund. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

The funding will be allocated from the Government’s unprecedented £750 million package of support which is benefiting tens of thousands of frontline charities, so they can continue their vital work. More than £60 million of this package has already been provided to organisations working with vulnerable children and young people.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on the approval and allocation of the £500 million Youth Investment Fund.

In the recently announced Spending Review £30m of capital investment was committed for 2021-22 as the first tranche of the Youth Investment Fund. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

The funding will be allocated from the Government’s unprecedented £750 million package of support which is benefiting tens of thousands of frontline charities, so they can continue their vital work. More than £60 million of this package has already been provided to organisations working with vulnerable children and young people.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to include the Youth Investment Fund in his November 2020 spending review; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) young people and (b) the youth sector of excluding that fund from his spending plans.

In the recently announced Spending Review £30m of capital investment was committed for 2021-22 as the first tranche of the Youth Investment Fund. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

The funding will be allocated from the Government’s unprecedented £750 million package of support which is benefiting tens of thousands of frontline charities, so they can continue their vital work. More than £60 million of this package has already been provided to organisations working with vulnerable children and young people.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much money from the public purse has been spent through the Youth Investment Fund.

No money has been distributed through the Youth Investment Fund to date.

DCMS officials continue to assess how COVID-19 is impacting on young people and youth services. We will keep engaging with the youth sector as plans for the Youth Investment Fund develop, and expect to publish further details in due course.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to accelerate funding from the Youth Investment Fund to support youth organisations during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the important role of youth services in supporting them.

We are engaging regularly with key youth organisations and colleagues in other government departments to understand the impact of Covid-19 on the provision of vital services for young people, and options for addressing this.

We will keep engaging with the youth sector as plans for the Youth Investment Fund develop, and expect to publish further details in due course.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the legacy effect of the Great Exhibition of the North on the economy of the North East.

In February 2019, the evaluation of the Great Exhibition of the North was completed and a detailed final report was published by Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, the lead delivery partner, following sign off from local partners and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The final report identified that the exhibition received 3.8 million visits across 80 days of events, installations and activities, and that 90% of visitors felt that the exhibition had changed their perceptions of Newcastle Gateshead, 84% saying that they would recommend Newcastle Gateshead to friends and relatives and generated £126 million for the local economy in Newcastle Gateshead.

A copy of the final report can be found here

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support is available to help stand-up comedy venues during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government appreciates that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many of DCMS’ sectors, including the stand-up comedy sector, which is why we announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

On Sunday 5 July 2020, the Secretary of State announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Live comedy is a much loved part of the British cultural landscape. Comedy venues and organisations will be eligible to apply for support through the package.

The Live Comedy Association attends the regular ministerially-chaired roundtables that ensure we are assisting all our Creative Industries sectors as effectively as possible. In addition, officials are in regular contact with the Live Comedy Association, ensuring that the needs of the comedy industry are fully understood.

We will continue to work with the stand-up comedy sector to understand the difficulties the industry faces and help it access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will publish the evidence which has informed its decision to keep ice rinks closed as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health.

Ice-skating rinks were able to reopen from 15 August. These facilities are able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance. Elite athletes have been able to access specialist sports facilities for training purposes since mid-April.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an estimate of the cost of removing Huawei components from the UK's 4G infrastructure network.

As part of its UK Telecoms Supply Chain Review, the Government set out its position on the stringent restrictions that should be applied to the presence of high risk vendors in the UK telecoms networks in January 2020.

The Review focused on 5G and full fibre networks. We have not estimated the specific costs associated with the removal of equipment from high risk vendors in the UK’s 4G mobile networks. Cost estimates produced for the review represented the aggregated view across all mobile technologies (2G,3G,4G,5G).

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of support after October 2020 for independent theatres that cannot operate under social distancing measures.

The performing arts industry is one the UK's greatest success stories and we are doing all we can to support the sector through the pandemic. We are providing unprecedented assistance including a years' business rates holiday, government loans, the recently-extended Self Employed Income Support Scheme, the Job Retention Scheme that hundreds of organisations have received support from.

Additionally, DCMS has worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding. This intervention complements the financial measures already announced to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

The package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations including independent theatres; and £20 million of financial support for individuals, including self-employed theatre practitioners, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date more than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures required to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector, including independent theatres, and we remain committed to opening up venues as soon as it is safe to do so and are working directly with the sector on detailed advice and guidance.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to allow campsites and caravan parks to reopen that have been closed due to the covid-19 outbreak before the end of June 2020.

We will look at opening forms of holiday accommodation in Step 3 of the government’s recovery strategy, currently planned for 4 July at the earliest. This will be subject to the further scientific advice and the latest risk assessment at the time.

My Department has launched the Cultural Renewal Taskforce to help our sectors’ businesses prepare to reopen when it is safe to do so. To inform this Taskforce, we have set up a Visitor Economy Working Group to specifically focus on the practicalities and guidelines for restarting tourism activity during the recovery period. We remain in regular contact with holiday park stakeholders as part of this group and via the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the role that physical education and school sport can play in promoting mental wellbeing among children and young people.

The Department is working with the Department of Health and Social Care to regularly review the latest evidence on children and young people’s mental wellbeing, including the impact of physical activity and sport.

Evidence from a number of sources suggests that good quality sporting activity can have a positive impact on children and young people’s general wellbeing and mental health. Research by The National Centre for Social Research shows that participating in organised sports and joining after school clubs can help to improve primary school children’s academic performance and social skills.

There is also evidence that organised sporting activity can have a positive effect on personal development and contribute to wellbeing by increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, and improving social skills. Such activity can have a beneficial effect on mental health by reducing anxiety, emotional distress and depressive symptoms.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children with disabilities can participate in physical activity at school.

The Department has provided £900,000 to the Inclusion 2020 programme since 2018, which supports 9,328 schools with continuing professional development to ensure that PE and school sport is inclusive of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This programme funded the development of new teacher resources such as the ‘All about Autism, All about Me’ digital toolkit, endorsed by the National Autistic Society, which provides support for making PE and sport inclusive to pupils with autism spectrum conditions.

The Department has committed to continue to fund a programme to support children and young people with SEND to take part in PE and school sport. It launched an open competition process last month to select a new programme.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help support local school sport organisers with (a) training, (b) quality assurance and (c) local coordination.

The Department for Education works with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver the School Sport and Activity Action Plan which aims to increase participation in sport and physical activity by children and young people.

The Government, through DCMS and Sport England, funds support for school sport through Active Partnerships and a contract with the Youth Sport Trust to provide training and coordination for School Games Organisers based in 450 host schools across the country. Over 95% of schools in England take part in The School Games, which provides an annual calendar of competition at local, regional, and national levels.

The Government has recently confirmed the continuation of £11 million funding for School Games Organisers until the end of this financial year.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding for physical education and school sport to account for the period during which those activities were restricted during the covid-19 lockdown.

PE and school sport play an important part in supporting pupils to recover from the effects of school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government has confirmed the overall funding for the Primary PE and sport premium will continue at £320 million for the 2021/22 academic year. Funding will be allocated according to a formula and details will be confirmed in the autumn as in previous years. Schools will be permitted to carry forward any unspent PE and sport premium funding from the current academic year to ensure that this is spent to benefit primary pupils’ physical education, school sport and physical activity recovery.


In June 2021, the Department announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. Schools have the flexibility to determine how they choose to spend some of this funding to support the needs of their pupils, including on activities to support health and wellbeing where needed. The Government has also provided £10.1 million of funding to support schools to reopen their sports facilities and increase the opportunity for children and young people to take part in extra-curricular and community sport.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including physical education and school sport in the recovery plan for education following the covid-19 outbreak.

PE and school sport play an important part in supporting pupils to recover from the effects of school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government has confirmed the overall funding for the Primary PE and sport premium will continue at £320 million for the 2021/22 academic year. Funding will be allocated according to a formula and details will be confirmed in the autumn as in previous years. Schools will be permitted to carry forward any unspent PE and sport premium funding from the current academic year to ensure that this is spent to benefit primary pupils’ physical education, school sport and physical activity recovery.


In June 2021, the Department announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. Schools have the flexibility to determine how they choose to spend some of this funding to support the needs of their pupils, including on activities to support health and wellbeing where needed. The Government has also provided £10.1 million of funding to support schools to reopen their sports facilities and increase the opportunity for children and young people to take part in extra-curricular and community sport.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing students, parents and carers the choice of retaking a school year due to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises that the national lockdown has had a huge impact on children and young people’s education, which will take more than a year to catch up. On 27 January 2021, the Government announced a further £300 million of new funding for high quality tutoring to help children and young people catch up. The Government will be working in collaboration with the education sector to develop specific initiatives for summer schools, and a COVID-19 premium to support catch up, alongside developing a long term plan to support pupils to catch up over the course of this Parliament. Further detail on this funding and support will be confirmed in due course.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of delays in family court cases involving foster children on foster families.

The COVID-19 outbreak has had an impact on backlogs of cases in family courts. We are working closely with the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and other key partners in the family justice system to make sure that we prioritise children’s welfare during this difficult and unprecedented time.

I recognise the additional support that foster families need at this time. That is why we have provided £125,000 in additional funding for Fosterline to deliver free-to-access and specialist one-to-one support to foster families. The service has focussed on reducing the risk of breakdown in fostering placements to ensure stability for looked-after children and increasing capacity by providing new or prospective carers with access to the specialist information they need.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy was on whether pupils without access to a computer or the internet were entitled to be in school during the covid-19 lockdown announced in March 2020.

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 22 January 2021 to 136013.

Guidance is available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. The overall definition of vulnerable children has been in place since March 2020. It includes children who are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, children who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and children who have been identified by the school or local authority as otherwise vulnerable for any other reason. Therefore, since the outset, guidance has been clear that schools and local authorities have had full flexibility to allow children to attend school based on their assessment of the child’s needs.

A number of examples of the factors that schools may wish to consider under this third category of vulnerability (otherwise vulnerable category) have been provided throughout the outbreak. This is not an exhaustive or definitive list and the guidance states that these categories are given as examples that schools might wish to factor in when identifying otherwise vulnerable children. Schools should interpret this in light of the wide range of information they have available to them, such as the needs of the child and their family.

One specific example within this list includes the term “those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)”. This was first cited in published guidance on 28 Aug 2020 to include reference to the fact that children having difficult engaging in remote education might be a factor that schools may wish to consider when identifying children who may be vulnerable.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter of 10 November 2020 from the hon. Member for North Durham on support for the school travel sector.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 9 November 2020, from the right hon. Member for North Durham.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that students returning to universities do not contribute to higher covid-19 transmission rates in the localities where their student accommodation is based.

Our top priority remains the welfare of students, staff, and the communities around higher education (HE) providers. To help providers make informed decisions about their provision, the government issued guidance on national restrictions and return of students in spring term for the sector based on the latest public health advice.

We are taking further steps to reduce transmission, including by significantly reducing the number of students returning to university from their winter break accommodation, and limiting the number of people travelling to and from university facilities. We are prioritising the return to face-to-face teaching for courses which are most important to be delivered in-person, predominately clinical based courses such as medicine and dentistry, in order to support the pipeline of future key workers. The guidance on which courses can return can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950583/Students_returning_to_and_starting_higher_education_in_Spring_Term_2021_FINAL_v3.pdf.

As stated in the spring term 2021 student return guidance, all HE providers should offer asymptomatic mass testing to all students on their return. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. NHS Test and Trace is working with providers to support the roll-out of mass asymptomatic testing via lateral flow devices for all students on their return. This support will be in the form of personal protective equipment, testing kits, and cost recovery for workforce. Local community testing is also now available in some areas. HE providers should work with their local authority to consider how the local mass asymptomatic testing might help their students.

All universities have plans for managing and controlling outbreaks. These have been agreed with local directors of public health and continue to be reviewed and updated based on emerging lessons and local situations. We expect universities and other HE providers to continue to prioritise the health and safety of their staff, students, and local community by putting in place measures that apply to their individual circumstances.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what date the Government decided not to pursue membership of the Erasmus Scheme as part of the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Agreement with the EU on all elements of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which includes programme participation, was concluded on the 24 December 2020. We said we would consider participation in elements of Erasmus+ on a time-limited basis, provided the terms were in the UK’s interests. The EU would not meet those terms and we did not consider participation would be in the interests of the UK taxpayer. Through the new Turing scheme we will provide UK students with the opportunity to study not only in Europe, but in countries across the world.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide covid-19 tests for students returning to university in January 2020.

Following the end of term break, our top priority for January 2021 will be the welfare of students, staff, and the communities around higher education (HE) providers. As stated in the January 2021 student return guidance published on 2 December 2020, all higher education providers should offer asymptomatic mass testing to all students on their return. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/students-returning-to-higher-education-from-spring-term.

The department has sent communications to all HE providers on 2 December detailing the roll-out plans for January tests on return. Providers must return their data capture forms, including lateral flow device (LFD) test kit orders, to the department by 8 December. Providers selecting LFD testing will receive their kits by 18 December, thus ensuring testing of returning students can commence on 4 January.

The department and the Department of Health and Social Care have been hosting a series of webinars in December 2020 to discuss roll-out plans for January 2021. These sessions are also being used to hear and address providers’ concerns about signing up to the testing programme.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government's covid-19 guidance has affected the legal obligations foster carers have to facilitate meetings with birth parents.

There are no legal obligations placed upon foster carers to facilitate birth family meetings. Arrangements for children to keep in touch with their family are set out by courts or in care plans. Foster parents will necessarily be involved in ensuring that the child in their care is able and supported to attend those meetings, and they may therefore have a role in facilitating or hosting birth families.

Ultimately, contact arrangements should be focused on, and shaped around, the child’s needs. Maintaining contact is crucial to help children and young people develop their identity and history, and to understand their lives and their sense of self. However, the child’s welfare is the paramount consideration at all times, and each child’s wishes and needs for contact should be individually considered and regularly assessed.

The department's guidance on vulnerable children describes how children living in care can stay in touch with their family during the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact arrangements should be assessed on a case by case basis taking into account a range of factors including the government’s social distancing guidance and the needs of the child. Additional information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish guidance for local authorities and foster carers on safe contact for foster children with their birth parents during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department has already produced guidance for children’s social care provision, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

The guidance on new local restrictions includes exemptions for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-restrictions-areas-with-an-outbreak-of-coronavirus-covid-19.

The department may review its guidance for children’s social care provision based on any new information that could impact this area.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to introduce grant funding for vocational education up to Level 3 for learners aged 19 and over.

The government is providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations), for the National Skills Fund. The National Skills Fund will support adults to learn and reach their potential in the labour market.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced that for adults who do not currently have a level 3 qualification, the government will be fully funding their first full level 3 through the National Skills Fund.

Currently, adults who are between the ages of 19 – 23 are eligible for full funding for their first full level 3. We are now extending eligibility for a first full level 3 so adults who are above the age of 23 can also benefit from level 3 courses and qualifications with high economic value and strong alignment with government priorities.

This offer will focus on the valuable skills, including vocational skills, that will help adults get ahead in the labour market, ensuring the best possible returns for individuals, employers and the nation.

The government remains committed to consulting on aspects of the National Skills Fund to ensure that we develop a fund that helps adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

We are continuing to review the ongoing implications of the COVID-19 outbreak and we are considering the most appropriate time and approach we can take to launch the consultation, ensuring we have meaningful discussions with employers, providers and users.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy is on teachers wearing face masks when schools return during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will publish his Department's risk assessment on that matter.

The Department has published guidance for the full opening of schools from the beginning of the autumn term. The guidance can be found here:

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

The Department has worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to develop this guidance based on a ‘system of controls’ which, when implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This provides a framework for schools to put in place proportionate protective measures to manage risk effectively.

The majority of staff in schools will not require personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond what they would normally need for their work. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases, which are set out clearly in the guidance.

On 26 August 2020, the Department revised its guidance on face coverings in schools and colleges following a new statement by the World Health Organisation on 21 August, which advised that children aged 12 and over should wear face coverings under the same condition as adults, particularly when they cannot guarantee at least a 1 metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As a result, from 1 September, in areas of national Government intervention, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and pupils in years 7 and above when moving around schools indoors, for example in corridors and communal areas, where social distancing cannot be safely managed. Nationwide, schools will have the discretion to require staff, visitors and pupils in years 7 and above to wear face coverings in indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed, if they believe that it is right in their particular circumstances.

Primary school children will not need to wear a face covering and based on current evidence and the measures that schools are already putting in place, face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. Face coverings would have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to introduce maintenance loans for post-graduate education.

Postgraduate master’s and doctoral degree loans are intended as a contribution to the cost of postgraduate study. The loan can be used by students according to their personal circumstances to cover tuition fees, maintenance costs or any other costs associated with study. There are no plans to extend this further.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the evidential basis is for the decision to not advise school staff to wear personal protective equipment when schools resume in September 2020.

The Department has published guidance for the full opening of schools from the beginning of the autumn term. The guidance can be found here:

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

The Department has worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to develop this guidance based on a ‘system of controls’ which, when implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This provides a framework for schools to put in place proportionate protective measures to manage risk effectively.

The majority of staff in schools will not require personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond what they would normally need for their work. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases, which are set out clearly in the guidance.

On 26 August 2020, the Department revised its guidance on face coverings in schools and colleges following a new statement by the World Health Organisation on 21 August, which advised that children aged 12 and over should wear face coverings under the same condition as adults, particularly when they cannot guarantee at least a 1 metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As a result, from 1 September, in areas of national Government intervention, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and pupils in years 7 and above when moving around schools indoors, for example in corridors and communal areas, where social distancing cannot be safely managed. Nationwide, schools will have the discretion to require staff, visitors and pupils in years 7 and above to wear face coverings in indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed, if they believe that it is right in their particular circumstances.

Primary school children will not need to wear a face covering and based on current evidence and the measures that schools are already putting in place, face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. Face coverings would have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness for prospective applicants to student finance of the requirement to have legal status for three years.

To qualify for support from Student Finance England, a person must have settled status or a recognised connection to the United Kingdom and meet the relevant ordinary residence requirements. Most persons must have been ordinarily (lawfully) resident in the United Kingdom and Islands, or, in some cases, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, for the 3 years prior to the first day of the first academic year of their course, excluding periods of temporary absence. These are longstanding requirements.

Student Finance England publishes guidance for students about the eligibility criteria for student support, to include the ordinary residence requirements:
https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/supporting-materials/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate the Government has made of the number of universities that have charged (a) full or (b) partial tuition fees during the covid-19 outbreak.

Higher education providers are autonomous institutions and responsible for setting their own fees. Higher education providers will of course want to ensure that they can continue to deliver courses that are fit for purpose and that help students progress their qualifications.

As of 11 June, no university had made a submission of changes in the level of chargeable fees for courses during the COVID-19 outbreak for the academic year 2019/20. It is possible that a higher education provider has submitted adjustments for an individual or sub-set of students on a course. However, these adjustments would have been processed on a student-by-student basis, and no information is recorded on the reason for a fee reduction being recorded.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support external candidates unable to sit GCSE exams that have been cancelled due to the covid-19 outbreak but who must matriculate to sixth form education in 2020.

The Department anticipates that the vast majority of students will be able to use the calculated grades they receive in the summer to move on to their next steps.

There may be a relatively small number of students, including some private candidates, where there is not enough evidence to calculate a grade. The Department understands that 16 to 19 schools and colleges will consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible.

Students who are unable to receive a calculated grade will also have the opportunity to sit exams in the autumn.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to respond to the email sent by the hon. Member for North Durham on 16 April 2020 on exam provisions for external candidates.

I can confirm that the letter, received into the Department on 16 April 2020, from the right hon. Member for North Durham has been responded to. A response was signed and sent via email to the right hon. Member on 10 June 2020.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what contingency planning his Department has undertaken on supporting teachers and students to learn remotely.

The Department is committed to ensuring that children can continue to learn at home in these very difficult circumstances. We recognise that many schools and colleges have already shared resources for children who are at home, and we are grateful for this.

The Department has issued guidance for schools which signposts to an initial list of free online resources identified by educational experts and teachers. Many other suppliers have also helpfully made their resources available for free. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

The Department has also issued information, guidance and support to parents and carers of children who are learning from home at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Leading state schools have collaborated to open The Oak National Academy, which was launched online on 20 April. This new initiative is led by 40 teachers who have assembled video lessons and resources for any teacher in the country to make use of if they wish to do so. 180 video lessons will be provided each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10. Additionally, the BBC has developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive new education package, which is now available on TV and online at BBC Bitesize.

The Government has also committed over £100 million to boost remote education. This includes, providing devices and internet access for those who need it most, ensuring every school that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education, and offering peer support from schools and colleges leading the way with the use of education technology. Further information can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools will remain open during school holidays for the children of key workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Schools will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. We will only re-open schools when the scientific advice indicates it is safe to do so, and will engage closely with the sector on our approach.

The Government encouraged schools to remain open in order to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays and we are grateful to the many schools that did so.

No decision has been taken yet on arrangements for future school holidays.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect teachers from covid-19 infection whilst they look after the children of key workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

School leaders, teachers and support staff are central to the country’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19) and we thank them wholeheartedly for their support at this difficult time.

It is important to underline that schools remain safe places for children and staff. Fewer people making the journey to school and fewer people in educational settings will reduce the risks of spreading the virus.

The Government’s guidance on COVID-19 for educational settings is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19.

Advice on implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Public Health England’s advice about how to help stop the spread of the virus and stay safe is available here:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.

The Government is strongly advising people, including education staff, with serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Staff in this position must not attend work. More advice on shielding can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to make levels of maternity pay under the Burgundy Book scheme available for teachers working in all types of schools.

The Department has no jurisdiction over maternity arrangements as these are covered by the Conditions of Service for School Teachers in England and Wales (known as “the Burgundy Book”) which is widely incorporated into teachers' contracts and covers areas such as maternity pay, sick pay and resignation periods.?This is a national agreement between trade unions and teacher organisations.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which (a) country and (b) location in that country each boat in the service of Marine Management Organisation was procured from.

The Marine Management Organisation currently charters two vessels under a framework agreement with Atlantic Services, a UK company based in Aberdeen.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, from which country and location in that country each boat in the service of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science was procured from.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science owns one vessel, the RV Cefas Endeavour, which was constructed by and purchased from Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd in Glasgow, Scotland.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, from each country and location in that country each boat in the service of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency was procured from.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency does not own any vessels.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, from which country and location in that country each boat in the service of Environment Agency was procured from.

The Environment Agency owns five vessels which were built in Pembroke, South Wales.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Environment Agency concluded its investigation into Niramax on the potential systematic abuse of the landfill tax system by that company prior to the inauguration of the Joint Unit for Waste Crime; and whether the Environment Agency passed over its investigation of that company to the Joint Unit for Waste Crime.

The investigation into Niramax and abuse of the landfill tax system was conducted by HM Revenue & Customs. The Environment Agency and the Joint Unit for Waste Crime only provided support to their investigation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether Government agencies in addition to the Joint Unit for Waste Crime conduct separate investigations into waste crime.

In England the Environment Agency is responsible for the regulation of the waste management sector. This includes the investigation of, and enforcement against, criminal activity in the sector.

Waste crime includes a broad spectrum of illegal activity, including large-scale illegal dumping of waste, avoidance of Landfill Tax, deliberate misdescription of waste, and fly-tipping. Bodies other than the Environment Agency may take responsibility for investigating and taking action against criminal activity as well. For example, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) undertakes investigations into illegal activity regarding Landfill Tax, while local authorities also have powers to tackle certain types of waste crime, such as fly-tipping.

The Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) brings agencies together in partnership, including HMRC, to investigate and take enforcement action against criminal activity in the waste management sector. The JUWC has developed intelligence links and sharing arrangements with a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors including law enforcement agencies, infrastructure providers and the financial services sector.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Environment Agency's surveillance powers in respect of tackling waste crime.

No recent assessment has been made of the adequacy of the Environment Agency's surveillance powers in respect of tackling waste crime, nor is one planned. The Environment Agency considers its existing authority to conduct directed surveillance adequate.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what environmental enforcement his Department has taken against Niramax since the establishment of that company.

The Environment Agency has taken 19 actions against Niramax Group, including providing advice and guidance once, issuing six warning letters, five enforcement notices, one caution and three court proceedings. Fines totalling £26,000 and costs of £10,500 have been awarded.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many investigations were conducted by the Environment Agency as part of HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

The Environment Agency did not conduct any investigations as part of Operation Nosedive. The Operation was led by HMRC and the Environment Agency acted in a supporting role only.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse was of the Environment Agency's involvement in HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

The Environment Agency recorded 109 hours against Operation Nosedive between May 2016- July 2018 for relevant Proceed of Crimes Act related activities. There is no related cost schedule.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2021 to Question 136454, on Dogs: Imports, when her Department expects to have the figures for 2020.

Further to Question 136454, the number of commercial dogs from Russia into the United Kingdom for 2018 to 2020 are as follows;

Year

Number of commercial dogs

2018

60

2019

70

2020

713

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the number of dogs entering the UK from Russia.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency does not hold data on the country of origin for non-commercial pets moving into the United Kingdom, and therefore this answer relates solely to dogs imported from Russia commercially. The commercial importation requirements apply to dogs, cats and ferrets who:

  • Travel in groups of more than five (unless travelling with a specific exemption for sports shows or training)
  • Travel more than five days before or after their owner or authorised person
  • Are being moved for the transference of ownership (including rescue animals being rehomed) or for sale

In 2018, 60 dogs were imported commercially into the United Kingdom from Russia and in 2019, 70 dogs were moved in this way. We do not currently have figures for the number of dogs commercially imported from Russia to the United Kingdom in 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the preservation of bridleways and equestrian rights of way.

Local authorities are responsible for the management and maintenance of public rights of way. They are required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan to plan improvements to the rights of way network in their area, which is usually available on the authority’s website. This must include an assessment of the local rights of way including the condition of the network.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to ease restrictions on dog grooming parlours in the next three weeks.

The Government's message to the public is clear: stay alert, control the virus and save lives. Dog grooming businesses play a key role in ensuring the welfare of the nation's pets and have been allowed to operate since advice to businesses was first published, within the strict advice on social distancing and hygiene.

The Canine and Feline Sector Group, which advises both the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England and Defra Ministers, has issued its own guidance to pet businesses, including dog groomers, on how they can continue to operate under current restrictions and in line with guidance around social distancing and hygiene:

http://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/SiteAssets/SitePages/Home/29th%20May%202020%20Animal%20Business%20Guidance.pdf

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help mitigate the risk of wildfire.

We are working across Government with a wide range of stakeholders including land managers, conservation bodies and wildfire management groups to ensure that we promote better planning for wildfire locally and take measures to mitigate against the risk of wildfire.

We undertook a review of the impact of wildfire and upland environments in 2019 and will publish the findings in due course. We will also, through the forthcoming England Peat Strategy, set out measures to protect our peatlands, which includes making them more resilient to and mitigating the risk of wildfire.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 39481 on Food Supply: Coronavirus, whether the Government has plans to enable members of the public to receive a priority supermarket slot, without the need to register for free food packages, in cases where free food packages are not necessary.

Members of the public who have received a letter advising that they are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) can register to say that they are unable to get essential supplies delivered, and those individuals’ details are shared with supermarkets to match them with priority delivery slots.

This system was designed with safety in mind to ensure that CEV individuals, who have been advised to stay at home at all times, could get essential supplies delivered to their homes if they had no alternative means of obtaining food. If an individual who is shielding obtains a priority supermarket slot, they can easily de-register from the system through the GOV.UK platform or by rejecting a box when delivery is attempted. The food package will be re-delivered to the next person in need.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether (a) professional dog walkers and (b) kennels are able to walk their dogs more than once a day under the social distancing measures announced by the Government on 23 March 2020.

The Government has issued guidance which sets out which businesses must close, and clarifies that “Other businesses can remain open, their employees can travel for work purposes if they cannot work from home”, and “it is important for other businesses to carry on”. Dog walking businesses and kennels are not required to close by the Government. These businesses should make every effort to comply with social distancing and hygiene guidelines; otherwise they should carry on with their normal day to day routines.

The Canine and Feline Sector Group, which advises both the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England and Defra Ministers, has issued its own guidance to pet businesses, including professional dog walkers and boarding kennels, on how they can continue to operate under current restrictions, including how to exercise dogs, and in line with guidance around social distancing and hygiene. http://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/SiteAssets/SitePages/Home/CFSG%20Animal%20Business%20Guidance%2007.0

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether (a) kennels and (b) dog walking businesses are able to operate outdoors under the guidance on covid-19 announced on 23 March 2020.

The Government’s message to the public is clear: stay at home, in order to protect the NHS and save lives. To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. A full list of those businesses required to close, and exemptions, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#businesses-and-premises-that-must-remain-closed

Kennels and dog walking businesses are not explicitly referred to as businesses that are required to close. Indeed, kennels and dog walking businesses play a key role in ensuring the welfare of the nation’s pets and can operate within the strict advice on social distancing and hygiene.

The Canine and Feline Sector Group, which advises both the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England and Defra Ministers, has issued its own guidance to pet businesses on how they can continue to operate under current restrictions and in line with guidance around social distancing and hygiene.

http://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/SiteAssets/SitePages/Home/CFSG%20Animal%20Business%20Guidance%2007.04.20.pdf

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to provide support for the private waste collection sector to help ensure the safe disposal of waste from key sectors during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is continuing to work closely with the waste industry to understand the impact on the sector of COVID-19 and to provide the necessary and appropriate support.

The Chancellor has already announced unprecedented support for businesses in general including a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, deferral of VAT payments for firms until the end of June and £330 billion of Government-backed and guaranteed loans, including a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Defra has been working with the waste industry to develop an online platform to facilitate the sharing of resources between local authorities and commercial operators. The platform, Waste Support, was launched on 16 April. In addition, the Environment Agency is taking a proportionate approach to regulation and has published a number of COVID-19 Regulatory Position Statements to address specific concerns around compliance with permit conditions, for instance on exceeding waste storage limits at permitted sites. These can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/covid-19-regulatory-position-statements

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of (a) the number of UK fishing protection vessels in operation, (b) the type of vessel in operation (c) the number of square miles of ocean the vessels patrol; and if she has plans to increase the number of fishing protection vessels.

The Government has undertaken a thorough risk assessment of fisheries control and enforcement to ensure we have sufficient assets to meet all possible threats now that we have left the EU. These assets include, with respect to England via the Marine Management Organisation, core provision which is a scaleable, enduring patrol, surveillance and inspection capability based on two to three Offshore Patrol Vessels. In addition, the ten Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities in England have 22 inshore patrol vessels to undertake fisheries management and enforcement within the 0-6 nautical miles zone.

Fisheries control and enforcement is a devolved matter. It is for each Devolved Administration to decide how best to control its fishing waters. We work closely with the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure a coordinated approach to fisheries control and enforcement across UK waters.

English waters comprise around 230,000km2 of the UK’s total Exclusive Economic Zone of approximately 683,000km2.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, where the proposed hospital ship will operate from.

DFID and the MoD already work closely together to respond to humanitarian emergencies. For example, following Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas last September, RFA Mounts Bay played a critical role in the UK response.

As set out in the UK Humanitarian Reform Plan, the UK Government is committed ensuring a bigger, better, faster response capability which is able to respond to a range of different natural disasters. This includes a continued commitment to use our military assets to deliver humanitarian aid whenever appropriate, in accordance with UN guidelines.

No decision has been made on the construction or operation of a UK hospital ship, and we will continue to ensure that UKaid is deployed in a way that maximises value for money for development and the UK taxpayer.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what capability gap has been identified to support the decision to construct a hospital ship.

DFID and the MoD already work closely together to respond to humanitarian emergencies. For example, following Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas last September, RFA Mounts Bay played a critical role in the UK response.

As set out in the UK Humanitarian Reform Plan, the UK Government is committed ensuring a bigger, better, faster response capability which is able to respond to a range of different natural disasters. This includes a continued commitment to use our military assets to deliver humanitarian aid whenever appropriate, in accordance with UN guidelines.

No decision has been made on the construction or operation of a UK hospital ship, and we will continue to ensure that UKaid is deployed in a way that maximises value for money for development and the UK taxpayer.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government's accession to the WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement includes an exemption to UK shipbuilding.

The procurement of ships, boats and floating structures is covered under Annex 4 of the UK’s schedules of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement. This is provided no other exceptions apply.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support UK maritime businesses to attend overseas trade shows.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides businesses with information on overseas trade shows and helps facilitate their attendance by organising DIT stands, leading targeted trade missions and linking potential buyers, investors and decision-makers to UK companies who attend these events. DIT can also cover the associated costs of setting up activities such as workshops, presentations, and networking dinners.

DIT remains in contact with other government departments and key stakeholders, such as Maritime UK, to discuss future arrangements to help UK businesses continue to attend international trade shows.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions her Department has held with relevant stakeholders on (a) the cessation of the Tradeshow Access Programme and (b) a replacement scheme for the Tradeshow Access Programme.

A range of trade associations were consulted last summer by Department for International Trade (DIT) officials on plans for a revised trade show support programme. DIT will announce further details when discussions with HM Treasury are concluded.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what support her Department is providing to maritime SMEs participating in international export activity.

The UK maritime sector is export intensive and contributed £12 billion to the UK’s total exports in 2017. The Department for International Trade (DIT) is supporting maritime small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reach their exporting potential with a range of schemes. The Department recently launched the Internationalisation Fund. The fund, part of the Government’s Export Growth Plan and supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), offers eligible SMEs in England between £1,000 - £9,000 in matched funding to help overcome barriers to grow their overseas trading and strengthen their business. This is in addition to a suite of practical, promotional and financial initiatives from DIT to boost exports right across the economy including the Export Academy. DIT is also supporting maritime SMEs through engagement with industry stakeholders and events aimed at enabling companies to export more.

20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government has fulfilled any export orders for the Type 31e Frigate to date.

There have been no export orders for the Arrowhead 140 (T31) yet. UK Defence and Security Exports is supporting Babcock in its campaigns to export UK built ships, as well as the sale of the design to overseas customers.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, from which country and location in that country each boat in the service of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency was procured from.

The Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) the Ievoli Black is the only vessel procured by MCA. This procurement was conducted under an 'Open Procedure' via the Official Journal to the European Union. The current vessel has been procured from an Italian organisation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions officials of his Department have had with relevant stakeholders on investment in UK ports to develop shore power facilities.

Shore power has a role to play in immediately reducing emissions from vessels visiting port. I and my officials routinely engage with industry stakeholders such as port operators to discuss investment to develop lower emission infrastructure, including shore power facilities.

Shore-side low and zero carbon fuelling including bunkering of such fuels are in scope of the £20m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which will fund feasibility studies and initial technology trials to support the transition to zero emission shipping and cleaner, greener ports.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the international competitiveness of UK seafarer training.

The Department for Transport have established a Maritime Skills Commission (MSC) to lead the sector’s work in ensuring the maritime sector has a pipeline of talented people to serve all parts of the sector. The Commissions has recently completed and published a review of seafarer cadet training. Working with stakeholders the MSC and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will look at taking forward these recommendations.

Refreshing the seafarer training system in the UK will allow the well-regarded UK maritime training sector to strengthen its position internationally and meet the future skills needs of the sector.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his Department's policy that car sharing is permitted in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

In line with the easing on the rules of households mixing indoors at Step 3 of the roadmap, car sharing is now permitted. People may travel in a group of up to 6 people from any number of households, or a group of any size from no more than 2 households. Due to certain exemptions mean, these restrictions do not apply in all circumstances.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has plans to release further vouchers under the Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme.

The Department plans to release a further batch of vouchers before Easter, providing lockdown restrictions still allow.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to improve the UK's network of motorhome stopover points.

The Department for Transport holds policy responsibility for on street parking facilities only. The Department has no plans in that context for the UK’s network of motorhome stopover points. This question may be relevant to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government who hold policy responsibility for off street parking facilities and planning decisions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support the development of the maritime energy efficiency sector.

The Government is committed to decarbonising the maritime sector both domestically, to meet our Net Zero target, and internationally to meet International Maritime Organisation targets.

In 2019, Government published the Clean Maritime Plan, which noted that by 2025 we expect that ‘all vessels operating in UK waters [should be] maximising the use of energy efficiency options’, to reduce emissions in the short-term before practical zero emission technologies are made deployable. Following publication of the Clean Maritime Plan, Government provided £1.5m for clean maritime projects including maritime energy efficiency projects, through the MarRI-UK Clean Maritime Call. The Department will soon publish the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which will set out further details of the Government’s maritime decarbonisation measures.

Internationally, the UK was crucial to securing both the efficiency target in the IMO’s Initial Greenhouse Gas Strategy, and to the IMO’s adoption of the Energy Efficiency Design Index. The UK will continue to push for ambition on efficiency and decarbonisation measures at the IMO.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to introduce a minimum proportion usage of UK steel in HS2.

The contractors involved in the delivery of HS2 have only recently commenced their procurement of steel for HS2 and therefore it is not possible to determine at this time what percentage of that steel will be British, but, the Government’s guidance on the procurement of steel was published in November 2015 and subsequently updated in December 2016. All major government projects are required to take cognisance of the Crown Commercial Service Procurement Policy Note 11/16: “Procuring Steel in Major Projects - Revised Guidance” (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-1116-procuring-steel-in-major-projects-revised-guidance ).

Whilst HS2 Ltd does not directly buy steel, it does apply a strategic and transparent approach to the sourcing of steel for the HS2 Programme through its Tier 1 contractors and their supply chains. HS2 Ltd is governed by the Utility Contract Regulations and ensures a fair procurement process which complies the with UK procurement law and the Government policy on the procurement of steel. I can confirm that the UK steel industry is already delivering for HS2 including 1,130 tonnes from Darlington-based Cleveland Bridge. Celsa Steel in Cardiff for 1,800 tonnes of loose steel and rebar. Caunton Engineering in Nottinghamshire for 2,400 tonnes of structural steel.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether seafarers working on private yachts that enter the UK are required to self-isolate.

The list of exemptions to the requirement to self-isolate includes an exemption for ‘Seamen and masters as defined in section 313(1) Merchant Shipping Act 1995, maritime pilots as defined in para 22(1) of schedule 3A of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, and inspectors and surveyors of ships appointed under section 256 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 or by a government of a relevant British possession as defined in section 313(1) of that Act.’

It is the responsibility of the individual, or their employer, to determine whether they may qualify for an exemption and, where they do, ensure they travel with the appropriate supporting documentation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of setting a minimum threshold for the involvement of UK companies in the High Speed Two project.

The Department for Transport has not assessed the potential merits of setting a minimum threshold for the involvement of UK PLC in HS2. UK procurement law does not permit public sector bodies to set targets for goods and services based on country-specific locations. However, HS2 Ltd has an excellent track record of supporting British businesses; over 2,000 businesses have delivered work so far on HS2, of which 98% are UK-based, and 70% of which are SMEs.

The project already has 13,000 workers in the UK employed on it and the construction of Phase One will see HS2 create and sustain a further 22,000 jobs over the coming years, with many more in businesses and factories around the country through an estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities. HS2 Ltd estimate that 95% of those contract opportunities will be won by UK based businesses, with around two thirds being SMEs.HS2 Ltd continues to undertake procurement activity in line with the established legal framework governed by the Utilities Contracts Regulations under which it operates.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether steel produced in the UK will be prioritised for High Speed Two.

The contractors involved in the delivery of HS2 have only recently commenced their procurement of steel for HS2 and therefore it is not possible to determine at this time what % of that steel be British, but, the Government’s guidance on the procurement of steel was published in November 2015 and subsequently updated in December 2016. All major government projects are required to take cognisance of the Crown Commercial Service Procurement Policy Note 11/16: “Procuring Steel in Major Projects - Revised Guidance” (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-1116-procuring-steel-in-major-projects-revised-guidance ).

Whilst HS2 Ltd. does not directly buy steel, it does apply a strategic and transparent approach to the sourcing of steel for the HS2 Programme through its Tier 1 contractors and their supply chains. HS2 Ltd ensures a fair procurement process which complies with UK procurement law and the Government policy on the procurement of steel.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Treasury's Green Book provides scope for his Department to prioritise the UK supply chain in the High Speed Two project.

HS2 Ltd operates in line with current UK public procurement law, specifically the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016. It is therefore a legal requirement that, across the project, it conducts all procurement activity on a fair, equal and transparent basis that does not discriminate by location. While complying to these principles, the High Speed Two project continues to provide significant opportunities for the UK supply chain with 97% of businesses in the supply chain being UK businesses.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that adequate personal protective equipment for driving test instructors is available at driving test centres.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) makes personal protective equipment (PPE) available at driving test centres for every examiner, for every test. PPE includes face coverings, gloves and car seat covers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what tailored support is available to the coaches industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced several measures available to UK businesses, including the coach sector, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

On 8 August, the Government also announced a funding package of over £40 million for Local Transport Authorities to procure additional, dedicated home to education transport services, including the provision of additional coach services for the first autumn half term.

The Department for Transport has also provided a further exemption from Public Service Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) until 31 July 2021. Whilst many coach operators are PSVAR-compliant, and we remain committed to ensuring that all vehicles meet the standards set out in PSVAR, we understand the COVID-19 outbreak may have constrained some operators’ ability to invest in PSVAR-compliant vehicles. This further exemption enables operators to redirect their revenue streams to those areas most needed for the immediate future.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with the maritime sector on decarbonising that sector as part of the transition towards reaching net zero by 2050.

The Department engages in regular discussions with the maritime sector in relation to decarbonisation and the transition towards net zero.

Officials attend standing industry meetings such as the Chamber of Shipping’s Carbon Working Group, and have regularly consulted over the summer period with industry and civil society on maritime decarbonisation issues, including net zero.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support the Government is providing to the maritime sector to help it decarbonise.

The Department for Transport is working actively with the maritime sector to support decarbonisation at both international and domestic level.

Internationally we are working with other high ambition states and the sector to develop and adopt pragmatic, effective short and medium term measures that will peak and reduce emissions from the sector.

Domestically we have published research exploring the opportunities and challenges arising from decarbonisation, to provide the sector with greater clarity on what is required to achieve decarbonisation, and in support of this the Department has provided £1.5m of grants through Maritime Research and Innovation UK, supporting clean maritime innovation in the UK

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with the maritime sector on the effect decarbonising that sector will have on improving (a) the environment and (b) air quality.

Officials have regularly engaged with industry on the issue of maritime decarbonisation, particularly since the launch of the Clean Maritime Council, in 2018. When discussing the need for rapid decarbonisation with the maritime sector the Department for Transport has been careful to consider and include the opportunities for wider environmental improvements, including to air quality.

Research carried out for the Department in support of the Clean Maritime Plan considered air quality elements alongside decarbonisation, and looked at options for decarbonisation that would also maximise the air quality benefits. This work has been published on Gov.UK, and was shared with the maritime sector as part of a wider dialogue on zero emissions shipping.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions the Government has had with the maritime sector on the potential effect of decarbonising that sector in securing a transition from jobs reliant on carbon industries to those in low and zero-carbon sectors.

In 2019, the Department published the Clean Maritime Plan, which identified the potential for clean economic growth in the UK as a result of the transition to zero emission shipping. In line with the Government’s vision for sustainable economic growth as set out in the Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy, the Clean Maritime Plan seeks to support the innovation already present in British manufacturing, technology, fuel production and services, encouraging the translation of this expertise to the potential new clean maritime market.

The Clean Maritime Plan has been developed in close partnership with the maritime industry. This has included an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement, including the establishment of a Clean Maritime Council, alongside workshops and ongoing dialogue.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is providing to the maritime sector as part of the economic recovery from the covid-19 oubreak.

The maritime sector plays a vital role in the UK economy and continues to provide vital freight and key worker services throughout the pandemic. However, as with many parts of the economy, it has faced significant disruption and challenges. That is why the Chancellor announced a £330bn package of financial support to support businesses and employees during these unprecedented times. In addition, the Department provided bespoke financial support to ensure that critical lifeline and freight services continued to operate through the most challenging period.

My Department is now working closely across the maritime sector on their restart plans identifying the support that is needed to enable the safe resumption and continued increase of services and operations. We are also working with the sector on a longer-term Maritime Recovery Plan which will build on the Maritime 2050 launched by the Government last year. The Recovery Plan will draw on the plans the industry has already provided and consider both fiscal and non-fiscal opportunities.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has met with TravelUp to discuss the implications for his policies of their proposals for airlines to protect customers' money in trusts.

The Department has not met with Travelup to discuss their proposals. The department has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, but balancing the support businesses need during this unprecedented situation.

The department is keen to work with the regulator, industry and consumer groups to help the sector return to normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of challenges and the department will be learning lessons from the pandemic, to make changes that are practicable and deliverable.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the Cycle to Work scheme is available to people on zero-hour contracts.

The Cycle to Work Scheme is a tax-efficient, salary-sacrifice employee benefit, which enables an employee to hire a cycle and safety equipment from their employer through a pre-tax salary sacrifice arrangement. It is for employers to decide whether to offer the Scheme to their staff, including those on zero-hours contracts, or to offer alternative provision through a loan or pooled cycle scheme.

The Government updated the Cycle to Work scheme guidance for employers in 2019 which made it easier for employers to provide cycles and equipment including e-bikes and adapted bikes worth over £1,000.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, when the DVA plans to issue guidance in respect of whether driving tests scheduled for July 2020 will take place.

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is currently working hard to prepare for a safe return to testing.

At present, its testing services are under review and it will announce details of resumption in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what plans the Government has to allow driving instructors to conduct their work safely.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need. ADIs should ask pupils to bring appropriate identification to demonstrate the need for the lesson: a payslip, letter or identification badge should suffice.

When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.

We are reviewing when driving tests and lessons may be able to resume and will announce details in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the British Transport Police collects data on the number of horse-related incidents that occur on roads.

BTP does not collect this data as its remit is for the rail network only.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the trends in the level of misuse of civilian drones; and whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals on civilian drone use.

In its Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Strategy, the Government has set out its ongoing commitment to building a comprehensive, up-to date risk picture, as well as horizon scanning to predict the future threat. The Government also introduced the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill in the House of Lords on 9th January, which will provide the police with greater powers to tackle drone misuse.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of whether rolling stock procurement regulations support UK manufacturers.

Rolling stock procurement in the UK is undertaken through a competitive process by franchised or open access train operators who must act without discrimination and in a transparent manner. The Government continues to remain supportive of a competitive UK rolling stock manufacturing market that delivers benefits for both the economy and passengers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Williams Review will include consideration of ways in which manufacturing can support the UK economy.

The Williams Rail Review was tasked with bringing forward recommendations for root and branch change in the rail industry.

Keith Williams, its independent chair, and his team have been looking closely across the sector to ensure it works in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. He has also been considering the railway’s wider social and economic benefits. A White Paper based on his recommendations will be published soon.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that rolling stock procurement delivers economic benefits to (a) the North East and (b) the UK.

Rolling stock procurement in the UK is undertaken through a competitive process by franchised or open access train operators who must act without discrimination and in a transparent manner. The Government continues to remain supportive of a competitive UK rolling stock manufacturing market that delivers benefits for both the economy and passengers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether reform of rolling stock procurement was a recommendation of the Williams Rail Review.

The Williams Rail Review is tasked with bringing forward recommendations for root and branch change in the rail industry.

Keith Williams, its independent chair, and his team are looking closely across the sector to it works in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. He has not been asked to develop specific recommendations on rolling stock manufacturing or procurement. A White Paper based on his recommendations will be published soon.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has met with representatives of Hitachi Rail to discuss the sustainability of its factory in the North East.

Representatives from Hitachi rail were present at a meeting the Secretary of State held with TransPennine Express, and relevant stakeholders, to discuss TransPennine Express’ recent poor performance. The facility at Newton Aycliffe was not discussed as it was not part of the agenda. Officials from the Department regularly engage with representatives from Hitachi on a number of matters including current and future projects.

The Minister for Business & Industry met with the MP for Sedgefield, the constituency in which Hitachi Rail’s factory in Newton Aycliffe is situated, on 14th January.

At that meeting the Minister for Business & Industry was informed that a 45 day consultation period is currently underway, and while the exact numbers won’t be known until late February or early March, understands that some may be redeployed elsewhere in Hitachi Rail Limited (HRL). The Minister welcomed HRL’s decision to invest £8.5m in additional capability in Newton Aycliffe to make the plant more competitive and sustainable in the long term, as this demonstrates the company’s long term commitment to the North East.

BEIS officials have been in close contact with HRL senior management at Newton Aycliffe through the last year over investment in the plant to increase capability and, following the 14th January meeting, have fed back directly to HRL that the Minister would welcome a meeting with the company’s representatives.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to allocate funding from the public purse to Maritime Research and Innovation UK.

To date the Department for Transport has provided £3.3m to Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK). This funding has supported the establishment of MarRI-UK and two rounds of innovation funding - a £1.5m Clean Maritime Innovation Call and a £1.5m Technology and Innovation in UK Maritime Call.

Both calls take forward our Maritime 2050 ambitions set out in the Clean Maritime Plan and in the Technology and Innovation in UK Maritime Roadmap. The Government continues to support MarRI-UK in coordinating UK maritime research and development. It is MarRI-UK’s intention to fund its core research programme through contributions from its members.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions her Department has had with representatives of the Women Against State Pension Inequality group on the effectiveness of her Department's communication of changes to women's state pension age.

There have been no recent discussions with representatives of the Women Against State Pension Inequality group.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the money students receive through maintenance loans from Student Finance is being deducted from universal credit payments.

Students cannot normally satisfy the entitlement conditions for Universal Credit (UC). Exceptions are made where students have additional needs that are not met through the student support system. Primary financial support for students comes from this student support system which is designed for their needs, unlike the social security system. It is important that UC does not duplicate this support and UC broadly mirrors the treatment of most of the legacy benefits it replaces. This safeguards fairness whilst also ensuring simplification of the benefit system. Eligible claimants receiving legacy benefits whose circumstances remain the same will be considered for transitional protection to protect entitlement at the point of transition to UC.

Where UC is paid to a student, any student loan or grant paid to meet living costs is subject to a £110 disregard in each Assessment Period where student income is taken into account, equivalent to that provided under Legacy Benefits. Any reduction is only for living costs as loans or grants for other things, such as tuition fees or books, are fully disregarded. Any Special Support loan/grant is also fully disregarded as this specifically covers the costs of the course

Whilst it is acknowledged that maintenance loans are to be paid back, if they were not treated as income and were disregarded this would result in UC (and most legacy benefits) duplicating support already provided through the student finance system.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government takes to ensure that face painters use paint that is compliant with the CE standards required under Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products.

Cosmetic products, including face paints, must comply with Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products and must be safe before they can be placed on the market. Local Authority Trading Standards have responsibility for enforcement of these regulations.

In the workplace, health and safety laws apply only to those who offer face painting services commercially (employing organisations, those they employ and the self-employed). The requirements do not apply to members of the public or to those who carry out face painting on a voluntary, non-commercial basis e.g. at a community fete.

Employers and the self-employed have general responsibilities under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) to manage the risks presented by their business to ensure, so far as is reasonably practical, the safety and health of members of the public affected by their business. Whilst HSWA does not specify the standard of face paint to be used in meeting these legal duties, commercial face painters would be expected to ensure that the paints used on clients meet the relevant standards and are safe for use eg that they do not cause harmful skin reactions.

Whilst the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) holds the national policy lead for the leisure and beauty industries, responsibility for enforcing health and safety legislation at individual work premises in these sectors rests primarily with the Local Authority Environmental Health Department where the premises are located. HSE would enforce where a peripatetic commercial face painter carries out their work in domestic premises e.g. at a children’s party.

Local Authorities and HSE take a risk-based approach to targeting their regulatory activities and in terms of occupational health and safety, face painting would generally be deemed as low risk. However, where there is evidence that risks are not being properly managed e.g. as a result of concerns being raised or incidents reported, the appropriate enforcing authority is able to intervene and take appropriate enforcement action to ensure that employees and customers are protected.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support is available to people whose covid-19 symptoms have extended beyond two weeks and are unable to return to work as a result.

Individuals should tell their employer that symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) persist and that they must continue to self-isolate.

Individuals will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they have tested positive for coronavirus and are staying at home and self-isolating for 10 days, or until they no longer have symptoms, and they are not able to work as a result. Other SSP eligibility criteria will apply. Individuals should continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days if they still have symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste.

Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, for example where they are not eligible for SSP, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their individual circumstances.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she is putting in place during the covid-19 outbreak to support students in part-time work who are unable to claim universal credit.

Students who do not ordinarily have entitlement to Universal Credit (UC) and who receive a maintenance loan or grant through the student finance system, will continue to be able to draw upon this financial support until the end of this academic year.

Those who do not receive student finance and who would ordinarily not have entitlement to UC, such as those undertaking a part-time course which would otherwise not be considered as compatible with the requirements for them to look for and be available for work, will have entitlement to UC. We have disapplied UC and both legacy and new style JSA work preparation, work search and availability requirements and related sanctions. This will initially be for a three-month period. After three months, consideration will be given as to whether a further extension is required.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of opioid-related deaths in the North East in each of the last five years.

The Office for National Statistics publish data on drug-related deaths through annual drug poisoning statistics. The following table shows opioid-related deaths in the North East in each of the last five years.

Registration year

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Number of deaths

160

164

187

172

191

Source:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsrelatedtodrugpoisoninginenglandandwales/2020

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in what procedures is hyaluronidase permitted to be used by medical practitioners.

Hyaluronidase is licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for the following indications:

Enhance permeation of subcutaneous or intramuscular injections by subcutaneous injection, or by intramuscular injection; enhance permeation of local anaesthetics by local infiltration; enhance permeation of ophthalmic local anaesthetic to the eye; hypodermoclysis by subcutaneous injection; and extravasation by local infiltration.

There is no definitive list of procedures in which it can be used.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government have to reduce the public health backlog.

The National Health Service is ensuring that national public health programmes continue to address additional demand during the pandemic, including in some screening and routine vaccination programmes. We are also ensuring that local authorities are recovering activity on NHS health checks where they were paused.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the Government has spent on public health messaging for foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in each of the last five years.

No specific public health messaging on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) has been undertaken in the last five years. However, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, NHS England and NHS Improvement and local commissioners continue to raise awareness and education on the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant. The United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines published in 2016 provide clear advice to women not to drink alcohol if they are planning for a pregnancy or are pregnant.

In 2020/21, the Department allocated £531,928 funding to five voluntary organisations to support grassroots initiatives to develop resources and training programmes for professionals and to help improve support for children and families affected by FASD.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will bring forward legislative proposals to require medicine and medical device makers to declare all payments made to (a) doctors, (b) teaching hospitals, (c) research institutions and (d) charities.

The Government’s response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review accepted in principle the need for stronger reporting of payments made by industry to healthcare professionals and organisations. The Department continues to explore options to expand and reinforce current industry schemes, including making reporting mandatory through legislation.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who have one dosage of a covid-19 vaccine as part of the Covishield programme administered by the UN are still required to quarantine when travelling to the UK from amber list countries.

Covishield is a two-dose vaccine and therefore we require people to have received both doses and completed the course before they are able to travel to the United Kingdom from an ‘amber list’ country without the need to quarantine.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether members of the public who received doses of Astra Zeneca 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003 will be entitled to receive a third dose of a vaccination recognised by the European Medicines Agency.

Members of the public will not be entitled to receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccination on the basis of having received doses of AstraZeneca with batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003. All AstraZeneca vaccine doses administered in the United Kingdom are the same COVID-19 vaccine and have been authorised for use under Regulation 174, having met the strict standards on safety, quality and efficacy.

The decision to accept a particular vaccine is ultimately for individual European Union Member States. The EU has published a list of vaccines it sees as equivalent to those authorised by the European Medicines Agency for the purposes of travel includes all vaccines administered in the UK, including all batches of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the proposal by NHS England to incorporate Clinical Commissioning Groups into integrated care systems, whether his Department monitors the per capita expenditure of ICGs by region.

We have interpreted the hon. Member's question to refer to the intended future monitoring of integrated care boards (ICBs) as the successor to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
The proposals for ICBs are set out in the current Health and Care Bill. ICBs will be established from April 2022 and will take on the merged allocations from CCGs. The Department does not currently monitor the per capita expenditure of CCGs and there are no plans to monitor the per capita expenditure of ICBs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to extend the powers of the Health Services Safety Investigations Body to include the investigation of (a) cosmetic and (b) aesthetic malpractice.

We do not plan to extend the powers of the Health Services Safety Investigations Body. The provisions in the Health and Care Bill mean that the Health Services Safety Investigations Body will have the power to investigate incidents which have or may have implications for patient safety. Its remit will cover healthcare provided in the National Health Service and healthcare provided in and by the independent sector.

In England cosmetic surgery may only be performed by doctors registered with the General Medical Council. Providers of surgery must also register with the Care Quality Commission and meet its fundamental standards of safety and quality. The Government is evaluating the existing education and qualification frameworks for practitioners of non-surgical cosmetic procedures operating in England and assessing options for improving standards. This includes consideration of whether increased oversight of practitioners performing the most invasive non-surgical procedures is needed and how to achieve a proportionate system of practitioner regulation that protects the public.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to ban the use of animals in the testing of botox.

Cosmetic testing on animals was banned in the United Kingdom in 1998 and household products have not been tested on animals in the UK since 2011, with such testing formally banned in 2015.

Botox (Botulinum toxin) is regulated as a medicine in the UK. Unlike many biological medicines, a validated cell-based release assay has been approved for botulinum toxin in the UK and does not require the use of animals in the testing of Botox. There is no plan to alter this policy currently.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his department has made of a possible rise in childhood obesity due to inactivity during lockdown and what steps he is taking to tackle this.

Public Health England has not made such an assessment as the data is not yet available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that third parties will not be able to access patient data through the creation of the NHS Digital database.

Through the new General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection, applications must be made through NHS Digital’s Data Access Request Service. Access is strictly controlled and all applications are scrutinised and approved by the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data before access is granted. Organisations using this data must have a clear legal basis to do so for health and care purposes and only the minimum amount of data needed to meet the specific purpose will be made available.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of childhood obesity as a result of inactivity during covid-19 lockdown.

Public Health England has not made an assessment as the data is not yet available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government's definition of a low risk visit in respect of taking care home residents out of the care home during the covid-19 outbreak includes visits to indoor hospitality settings.

The guidance on visiting, which came into effect on 17 May 2021, says that care home residents should be able to leave their care home to spend time outdoors or to go to medical appointments excluding overnight stays, their workplace, educational settings or day centres, without having to self-isolate on their return.

In addition, the guidance says that residents can go on other visits out of the home where an individual risk assessment is in place and they are essential to maintaining the individual’s health and wellbeing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to widen the scope of exemptions for quarantine on compassionate grounds to include people who have recently suffered a bereavement.

We have no current plans to do so. However, it is possible to request permission to leave managed quarantine for a limited period if a close family member or member of an individual’s household is dying. It is also possible to request permission to attend a funeral.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to provide an update on allowing care home residents to make visits outside as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

We have updated our guidance on care home visiting which came into effect on 17 May, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/arrangements-for-visiting-out-of-the-care-home/visits-out-of-care-homes

All care home residents should be supported to leave the home to spend time outdoors or to take part in other activity that is important to their health and wellbeing, subject to individual risk assessments. Our guidance advises care homes that visits out for medical appointments or to take part in other activities necessary to maintain an individual’s health and wellbeing do not need to be followed by a period of isolation.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has undertaken an assessment of the potential effect of fast food outlets selling only sugar free and diet drinks on people suffering from Phenylketonuria (PKU).

Public Health England has made no such assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether specialist surgical mesh centres opening from April 2021 will provide surgery for people affected by rectopexy meshes.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are considering the commissioning of care and support for people with complications in the use of mesh inserted for colorectal indications or rectopexy. This work includes exploring whether the remit of the existing specialist mesh services can be expanded. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect to have made a decision by the autumn.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that elderly parents and relatives of care home residents do not have to sit in the cold during visits during the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 12 April, every care home should ensure that each resident can nominate up to two named people who can have regular, indoor visits. Those residents with higher care needs can also nominate an ‘essential care giver’. These visitors will be able to visit more often in order to provide essential care. Visiting arrangements that have been available throughout the period of national lockdown should continue such as using substantial screens, visiting pods, behind windows or outdoors.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the list of bodies with whom the Joint Biosecurity Centre will be permitted to share data.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) does not currently have any outward data sharing agreements itself. The JBC is a division of NHS Test and Trace. NHS Test and Trace’s overarching privacy notice sets out the bodies with which there are outward personal data sharing agreements with all its divisions, including the JBC. The privacy notice is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-test-and-trace-privacy-information/test-and-trace-overarching-privacy-notice

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the UK Health and Security Agency will receive data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre will become part of the UK Health and Security Agency. bringing its cutting-edge capabilities in data analysis.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the UK Health and Security Agency will be subject to accountability through the Intelligence and Security Committee.

As an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, the UK Health and Security Agency is accountable to the Department.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Joint Biosecurity Centre will be subject to oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) is not subject to oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). The Justice and Security Act 2013 states that the ISC has the remit to oversee ‘the work of the Agencies and of those parts of Departments whose work is directly concerned with intelligence and security matters’. The JBC’s purpose is to collate data science, assessment and public health expertise and provide analysis and insight on the status of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United Kingdom.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to end the use of paper prescriptions.

The Government wants to enable as many prescriptions as possible to be sent electronically. However paper prescriptions for those who require them will still be available.

In England there has been an unprecedented growth in the use and availability of electronic prescriptions in primary care, and more is being done to expand their use. This builds on work already ongoing throughout the National Health Service, where in January 2021 89% of prescription items were sent via the Electronic Prescription Service.

NHS Digital is looking to improve the current functionality of electronic prescribing and extend its use into other care settings.

Expansion has been implemented in phases.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what are the proposed annual running costs for the contracts awarded to BAE Systems and Palantir Technology for the creation of covid-19 databases.

The Department will publish audited annual accounts later this year on Test and Trace programme costs. The BAE Systems contract award notices are now published on Contracts Finder and can be found at the following links:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/34171774-d3db-42e8-ae21-f74294a38df5

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/9dc8a091-62f9-46ea-acdf-733c913583b8

The value for each respective contract was £2.4 million and £4.3 million.

The Palantir Technology contract award notice is now published on Contracts Finder and can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/6d586696-365e-43f0-af63-1e3c0af32e41

The contract value was £908,000.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 167165 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, how that data on prisoner vaccination prior to release is held.

This information is not collected.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the value for money of awarding contracts to both BAE Systems and Palantir Technology for the creation of covid-19 databases for the (a) Joint Biosecurity Centre and (b) the NHS; and whether his Department made an assessment of the potential merits of creating one such database for both the Joint Biosecurity Centre and the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

BAE Systems and Palantir Technology provided two pieces of software, Intelligence Reveal and Foundry. Management processes for each contract were defined at the outset in collaboration with the supplier. Overall performance, including value for money, is continually monitored through contract management meetings and performance reporting milestones aligned to the Government standards and best practice. Decisions on data assessment, storage and collection are yet to be confirmed. The contract with BAE Systems is to build the necessary data architecture, engineering and analytics capability to serve NHS Test and Trace, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Its scope is far wider in terms of National Health Service data and the analytics capability is more advanced than that provided by Foundry.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what safeguards are in place to protect the security of the data held by the Joint Biosecurity Centre; and whether covid-19 patients will be (a) informed about their details being held on such a database and (b) able to submit a subject access request for that data.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) holds and processes personal data to provide evidence-based, objective analysis, assessment and advice to inform local and national decision-making in response to COVID-19 outbreaks. This includes helping to inform action on testing, contact tracing and local outbreak management. The insight and analysis supports decision-makers at a local and national level to take effective action to break the chains of transmission and to protect the public.

The JBC stores and processes all data securely, for example in secure premises and on secure IT systems. The JBC uses appropriate security measures to protect any information held in our records and has written security procedures and policies. All data subject rights under the General Data Protection Regulations and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018 are upheld by the JBC.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Joint Biosecurity Centre holds data on the (a) names, (b) contact details, (c) gender, (d) ethnicity, (e) occupation and employment and (f) NHS test and trace records of individual covid-19 patients.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) holds and processes personal data to provide evidence-based, objective analysis, assessment and advice to inform local and national decision-making in response to COVID-19 outbreaks. This includes helping to inform action on testing, contact tracing and local outbreak management. The insight and analysis supports decision-makers at a local and national level to take effective action to break the chains of transmission and to protect the public.

The JBC stores and processes all data securely, for example in secure premises and on secure IT systems. The JBC uses appropriate security measures to protect any information held in our records and has written security procedures and policies. All data subject rights under the General Data Protection Regulations and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018 are upheld by the JBC.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of prisoners had received a covid-19 vaccination prior to their release in each of the last three months.

This information is not held centrally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to allow the police access to the medical records of members of the public.

Our position remains that practitioners must make decisions about the disclosure of confidential patient information to the police on a case-by-case basis and only when they are confident that the public interest served by disclosure outweighs the public interest served by protecting the confidentiality of the individual and the public interest served by providing a confidential service to the wider public.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to unpaid carers as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

We recognise the vital role unpaid carers play in caring for vulnerable individuals. Since the 15 February general practitioners and other primary care professionals have been asked to invite those eligible for vaccination within cohort six to attend an appointment for vaccination. This cohort includes unpaid carers that care for those vulnerable to COVID-19.

We are developing bespoke guidance for this group, set out in a Standard Operating Protocol which has been developed in close cooperation with carers organisations and local authorities. This will be published in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Question 139985 on IQVIA: Redundancy, tabled on 19 January 2021 by the hon Member for North Durham, when he plans to provide an answer.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to members of the public with severe allergic conditions under the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination is based on a range of evidence and assessments, including a review of UK epidemiological data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic so far and data on demographic and clinical risk factors for mortality and hospitalisation from COVID-19. To date, having severe allergic conditions alone has not been identified as a condition that would place an individual at increased clinical risk to COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of whether social media influencers should be permitted to travel abroad on employment grounds.

Under the current restrictions, it is against the law to leave home without a reasonable excuse. This does not include going on holiday for leisure.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to teachers in the covid-19 vaccination programme.

If teachers are prioritised in phase one due to their age or clinical risk factors they should be offered the vaccination. However, the Government, as advised by the JCVI, are not considering vaccinating teachers as a phase one priority at this stage. Prioritisation decisions for next phase delivery are subject to of the surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to adults with learning disabilities as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation of a COVID-19 vaccine at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors which includes people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and/or have underlying health conditions.

Adults with severe or profound learning difficulties and adults with Down’s syndrome are considered to be ‘at risk’ and therefore included as priorities in phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination programme’s roll out.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of redundancies at Iqvia on the UK's ability to take swab samples for covid-19 testing.

The COVID-19 Infection Survey is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in collaboration with the Department, the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester, Public Health England, the Wellcome Trust, IQVIA and the UK Biocentre. IQVIA are contracted by the ONS to deliver the required services for the COVID-19 Infection Survey. The ONS will continue to ensure targets for swab tests are reached, as required by the Key Performance Indicators and Service Levels agreed within the ONS/IQVIA contract, and ensure performance maintained at the agreed level for the duration of the contract.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support the Government provided to the Transform Hospital Group to assist with responding to the covid-19 outbreak during the first covid-19 national lockdown in March 2020; and how many covid-19 patients the Transform Hospital Group provided treatment to during that period.

Under its contract with the Transform Hospital Group, in operation between 23 March – 7 September 2020, NHS England covered Transform’s operating costs in respect of specific clinical facilities, in return for the National Health Service having access to those facilities and services delivered from them. The actual costs recoverable are still being finalised.

The Transform Hospital Group did not treat any COVID-19 patients during this period but provided elective activity for NHS patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to publish data on the number of vaccinations administered in each local authority area.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish weekly data for vaccinations in England by local authority which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to adults with learning difficulties, as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that those with severe and profound learning disabilities, and those with learning disabilities residing in residential care, should be offered vaccine in priority group six and that all individuals with Down’s syndrome should be offered vaccination in priority group four. On 24 February the JCVI published a clarification of their advice on vaccinating people with a learning disability.

The JCVI confirmed their advice that priority should be given to those with a severe and profound learning disability. To efficiently identify those who are more severely affected and may not be invited for vaccination due to coding of learning disability on general practitioner (GP) systems, the JCVI supports a practical approach of inviting everyone who is on the GP Learning Disability Register for vaccination in cohort six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to police officers as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services. This could include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, teachers, transport workers, and public servants essential to the pandemic response.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to teachers as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services. This could include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, teachers, transport workers, and public servants essential to the pandemic response.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to frontline social workers as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Government takes advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) regarding who should be vaccinated first and this is kept under review. The JCVI has advised that the vaccine first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 years old and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk.


All frontline social care workers directly working with clinically vulnerable people who need care and support will be a priority for phase one of the vaccine programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to frontline charity workers working with (a) people with learning disabilities, (b) homeless people and (c) other vulnerable groups as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.


All frontline social care workers directly working with people who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and need care and support, irrespective of where they work, will be a priority for phase one of the COVID-19 vaccine programme.


The Government will set out plans for phase two of vaccination in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to dentists and clinical support staff, as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Government takes advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) regarding who should be vaccinated first and this is kept under review. The JCVI has advised that the immediate priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

In phase one of the vaccination programme, all frontline healthcare staff who are eligible for seasonal influenza vaccination will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes doctors, dentists, midwives and nurses, paramedics and ambulance drivers, pharmacists, optometrists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and radiographers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to clinical staff working in private practices, as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.


All frontline social care workers directly working with people who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and need care and support, irrespective of where they work, will be a priority for phase one of the COVID-19 vaccine programme.


The Government will set out plans for phase two of vaccination in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to foster carers, as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.


All frontline social care workers directly working with people who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and need care and support, irrespective of where they work, will be a priority for phase one of the COVID-19 vaccine programme.


The Government will set out plans for phase two of vaccination in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the priority given to staff working in NHS Blood and Transplant, as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

All frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work will be a priority for phase one of the vaccine programme.

The Government will set out plans for phase two of vaccination, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on mass testing in tier 3 areas; and if he will make a statement.

The community testing programme was launched in December 2020 with the aim of using asymptomatic testing to find and isolate positive cases within the community in order to help reduce the spread of the virus. The current focus of community testing is on those who have to leave home to work during lockdown, with local authorities able to focus on the right people in their areas and decide how the testing is best delivered.
Community led testing forms an important part of our overall asymptomatic testing programme in identifying and isolating cases to break the chains of transmission. We have expanded the eligibility of community led testing to all local authorities across England. As part of this expansion, all participating local authorities will be able to deliver testing over a longer period of time, moving away from a six-week intervals to constant delivery until the end of March.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the effect of eating a substantial meal on covid-19 transmission rates.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tiers framework and allocations. We have also published a supporting document to accompany the most recent regulations of 30 November which is available the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the covid-19 transmission rates in working men's clubs and public houses.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tiers framework and allocations. We have also published a supporting document to accompany the most recent regulations of 30 November which is available the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made assessment of the false-positive rates of PCR tests.

All tests have been assessed as performing to manufacturers’ specifications before being used. The current tests are very specific and the risk of false positives is extremely low. Like any diagnostic test however, there is always the small possibility of a false negative or a false positive result.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people without internet access take up digital GP appointments.

When we introduce a new digital service, we ensure that access to general practitioner (GP) appointments via other channels is still available. Patients are still able to book appointments via the telephone and through NHS 111, and the service has the same features as available online. In addition, we have developed alternative ways for people to access digital services, such as booking appointments by proxy, where a family member or carer has access to the internet.

To support people living in care homes to take up digital GP appointments, NHSX and NHS Digital have negotiated a range of internet connectivity deals for care homes, along with guidance to help care homes choose a suitable internet connection. NHSX will also be distributing tablet devices to care homes so that residents can access digital health appointments and stay connected to loved ones. A 12-month SIM data package will be included for care homes with poor or no WiFi connections.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to recommend the wearing of visors for members of the public who cannot wear face masks during the covid-19 outbreak.

As the Government’s guidance makes clear, there are circumstances when people may be unable to wear a face covering. No one should be forced to wear a face covering if they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse for not doing so, nor should they be required to prove their exemption.

By law, a face covering must adequately cover the nose and mouth. A visor may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead, as they do not adequately cover the nose and mouth.

A member of the public who is exempt or has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering has the discretion to wear a visor. However, as the evidence does not support the use of visors on their own as an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus, the Government does not recommend visors as an alternative to face coverings. The most important measures remain social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether the Government plans to introduce guidance for members of the public unable to wear face coverings.

Existing Government guidance recognises that some people may be either exempt or have a reasonable excuse for not wearing a face covering, and that they should not be challenged about this. The guidance also makes clear that social distancing and good hand hygiene remain fundamentally important in helping to reduce the spread of the virus. These aspects of the guidance apply to all people, including those who are not wearing a face covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of his Department's guidelines which state that people over the age of 70 are vulnerable to covid-19 with the finding of the World Health Organization which states that people over the age of 60 are clinically vulnerable to covid-19.

The national restrictions guidance published on 31 October recognises that people over 60 could be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The guidelines recommend that people over 60 follow the same advice as those in the clinically vulnerable category. People aged 70 or over remain in the clinically vulnerable category. Further guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting lists for NHS speech and language sessions.

We want routine NHS services such as speech and language therapy to return for patients as quickly as possible, but this must be done in a safe and managed way. With a rise in COVID-19 activity, we have been clear that non-COVID-19 services will be maintained as far as possible. Trusts, working with general practitioner practices, have been asked to ensure that every patient whose planned care has been disrupted by COVID-19 receives clear communication about how they will be looked after, and who to contact if their clinical circumstances change. Clinically urgent patients should continue to be treated first, with priority then given to the longest waiting patients specifically those breaching or at risk of breaching 52 weeks by the end of March 2021.

In the longer term, a critical element of reducing waiting lists for speech and language therapy is ensuring we recruit and retain the workforce needed to meet demand for services. To encourage students to study nursing, midwifery or one of the allied health subjects, including speech and language therapy, from September 2020 the Government has made available additional maintenance grant funding of at least £5,000 per academic year, for new and continuing students at English universities. In addition, students with child dependants will benefit from an extra £1,000.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has issued guidance to care homes on prohibiting window visits by relatives.

Receiving visitors is a very important part of care home life. Maintaining some opportunities for visiting to take place is critical for supporting the health and wellbeing of residents and their relationships with friends and family.

On 5 November we published guidance to enable COVID-19-secure visits to take place for care home residents while national restrictions are in force. This guidance encourages providers, supported by local professionals, families and the wider community, to provide appropriate visiting opportunities, that balance these important benefits against the continued priority of preventing infections to protect staff and residents.

This guidance states that window visits can take place.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to enable people with older mobile operating systems to access the NHS track and trace app.

The National Health Service COVID-19 app requires users to be owners of smartphones that can install Apple iOS 13.5 and above and Android Marshmallow and above. This is related to the hardware needed for this Bluetooth technology to work effectively and is the same in all countries with apps using the Google and Apple exposure notification API for contact tracing.

People who do not have a compatible smartphone will still benefit from the app and from other people downloading it. This is because people who use the app are helping to break chains of transmission.

The app complements and supports regular contact tracing. They work together to protect vulnerable groups, including those who are unable, or do not wish, to use digital tools, including the app.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to advise people who had previously been shielding to do so again in response to increasing infection rates across the UK.

Shielding was paused on 1 August 2020 in England and clinically extremely vulnerable people are now required to follow the Local COVID Alert Level arrangements in place in their area. Advice has also been provided to the clinically extremely vulnerable to follow in addition to these measures.

It is important that guidance and support to the clinically extremely vulnerable balances the risk of exposure to the virus with the potential negative consequences on people’s mental and physical health caused by prolonged social and financial isolation.

In the future, we will only introduce shielding in the worst affected areas and this decision will be based on the latest evidence and on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer. The Government will write to those affected if they are being asked to shield.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 55665 on Surgical Mesh Implants, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review's recommendation that a redress agency be established to administer compensation to those affected by surgical meshes.

All recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully. The Government will provide an update in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he is providing to NHS trusts on ensuring that partners are able to be with expectant mothers for the entirety of the birth during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, women have been able to have one birth partner of their choice with them during labour and childbirth as long as their birth partner is well and doesn’t have COVID-19 symptoms.

If the birth partner has symptoms of coronavirus, they will not be allowed to go into the maternity suite, to safeguard the health of the woman, other women and babies, and the maternity staff. However, an alternative, well birth partner can attend in their place.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to introduce emergency legislation to curtail the use of mobile or home-based aesthetic practitioners through the period of the covid-19 outbreak.

Providers of aesthetic services should ensure they have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with health and safety legislation and Government guidance on close contact services and working in other people’s homes.

Where applicable, practitioners should also take into account any guidance issued by the healthcare regulators or a relevant professional body.

The Government remains ready to reintroduce proportionate restrictions in the future if the data shows that the rate of infection is increasing and that there is a need to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS hospitals are collecting data on restorative services that they are required to provide when adverse effects of aesthetic treatments require medical intervention and correction.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

Neither the Department nor its arm’s length bodies hold or collect data on non-surgical aesthetic treatments. Officials continue to work with stakeholders to explore the options for enhanced data collection and reporting mechanisms in this area. This could include the prevalence of cosmetic procedures, adverse reactions to procedures, and the incidence of consumers seeking treatment through NHS services for health complications following private cosmetic procedures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to collect data on the (a) number and (b) type of non-surgical aesthetic treatments that are being carried out.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

Neither the Department nor its arm’s length bodies hold or collect data on non-surgical aesthetic treatments. Officials continue to work with stakeholders to explore the options for enhanced data collection and reporting mechanisms in this area. This could include the prevalence of cosmetic procedures, adverse reactions to procedures, and the incidence of consumers seeking treatment through NHS services for health complications following private cosmetic procedures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to introduce legislation to implement a mandatory licensing scheme for people wishing to practise aesthetic procedures in England.

The Local Government Miscellaneous Act 1982 gives local authorities powers to regulate the hygiene and cleanliness of the practice of businesses providing a specific range of body modification procedures, including electrolysis, semi-permanent skin-colouring and body piercing. Local authorities also have general enforcement powers under health and safety at work legislation if they judge that there is a risk to customers’ health and safety.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards for cosmetic procedures. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners and businesses offering the most invasive procedures, additional safeguards for children, and effective enforcement mechanisms.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to introduce extended powers for local authorities and their associated enforcement agencies to regulate the aesthetics sector.

The Local Government Miscellaneous Act 1982 gives local authorities powers to regulate the hygiene and cleanliness of the practice of businesses providing a specific range of body modification procedures, including electrolysis, semi-permanent skin-colouring and body piercing. Local authorities also have general enforcement powers under health and safety at work legislation if they judge that there is a risk to customers’ health and safety.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards for cosmetic procedures. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners and businesses offering the most invasive procedures, additional safeguards for children, and effective enforcement mechanisms.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has plans to empower local authorities to (a) refuse registration of people wishing to practise aesthetic procedures and (b) set conditions on the qualification standards for people practising aesthetic procedures on patients.

The Local Government Miscellaneous Act 1982 gives local authorities powers to regulate the hygiene and cleanliness of the practice of businesses providing a specific range of body modification procedures, including electrolysis, semi-permanent skin-colouring and body piercing. Local authorities also have general enforcement powers under health and safety at work legislation if they judge that there is a risk to customers’ health and safety.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards for cosmetic procedures. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners and businesses offering the most invasive procedures, additional safeguards for children, and effective enforcement mechanisms.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plan the Government has to introduce a mandated standard of education and training for people who practise in the aesthetics sector.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners, and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners in the aesthetics sector and working with stakeholders to ensure that practitioners are able to identify providers of accredited training.

The Government expects providers of cosmetic procedures to operate responsibly by conducting a pre-treatment consultation and ensuring they hold the requisite.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to implement statutory regulation of the aesthetics sector.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners, and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners in the aesthetics sector and working with stakeholders to ensure that practitioners are able to identify providers of accredited training.

The Government expects providers of cosmetic procedures to operate responsibly by conducting a pre-treatment consultation and ensuring they hold the requisite.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether practitioners of aesthetic treatments are required to undertake a mandatory risk assessment of each patient prior to treatment.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners, and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners in the aesthetics sector and working with stakeholders to ensure that practitioners are able to identify providers of accredited training.

The Government expects providers of cosmetic procedures to operate responsibly by conducting a pre-treatment consultation and ensuring they hold the requisite.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether individual health centres are receiving guidance from Public Health England on the administering of winter flu jabs.

The Department, Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published the Annual Flu letter 2020/21 to ensure that local areas have plans to deliver activities to encourage all eligible individuals particularly those in at risk groups to have this year’s flu vaccine. The latest letter is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907149/Letter_annualflu_2020_to_2021_update.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to extend powers to local authorities to regulate mobile or home-based practitioners who practise in the aesthetic sector.

The Local Government Miscellaneous Act 1982 gives local authorities powers to regulate the hygiene and cleanliness of the practice of businesses providing a specific range of body modification procedures, including electrolysis, semi-permanent skin-colouring and body piercing. Local authorities also have general enforcement powers under health and safety at work legislation if they judge that there is a risk to customers’ health and safety.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards for cosmetic procedures. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners and businesses offering the most invasive procedures, additional safeguards for children, and effective enforcement mechanisms.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the turnaround time for covid-19 test results is dependent on which area of the country the test is taken.

We have rapidly expanded our testing capability and anyone with symptoms can now get a test. Testing turnaround times have significantly improved over the last few months. While there are currently some small delays due to increased demand, the vast majority of results for tests taken in person at drive through, walk through and mobile testing units are still delivered the day after the test was taken.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the turnaround time for Covid-19 test results is as short as possible.

We have rapidly expanded our testing capability and anyone with symptoms can now get a test. Testing turnaround times have significantly improved over the last few months. While there are currently some small delays due to increased demand, the vast majority of results for tests taken in person at drive through, walk through and mobile testing units are still delivered the day after the test was taken.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to change the current guidance on care home visits during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our aim is to enable residents to be reunited safely with their loved ones. This guidance will be updated as the risk posed by COVID-19 continues to change.

On 22 July 2020 the Government published updated guidance on visiting arrangements for care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus

Our first priority is to prevent infections in care homes and therefore visits should be carried out with caution.

Care homes can develop their visiting policies based on a local dynamic risk assessment, taking into account the circumstances and needs of the individual care setting, including both residents and staff, and the external COVID-19 environment. The process of considering visitors should be led by the relevant local Director of Public Health.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the care system for the partners of people in care.

The Government’s priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need. Local authorities have a duty to make an assessment of each individual’s needs and set out how they will be met.

Family carers can play an important role. However, we remain committed to supporting carers to provide care as they would wish, for it to be a positive choice and in a way that maintains their own health and wellbeing and other life chances. We published the ‘Carers Action Plan 2018 – 2020 Supporting Carers Today’ which sets out a cross-Government programme of targeted work to support all carers in England, so they receive the recognition and support they need.

Carers, including partners, are also entitled to an assessment of their own need for support from their local authority.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to assess the extent to which the family members of people in care may come under pressure to become second carers.

The Government’s priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need. Local authorities have a duty to make an assessment of each individual’s needs and set out how they will be met.

Family carers can play an important role. However, we remain committed to supporting carers to provide care as they would wish, for it to be a positive choice and in a way that maintains their own health and wellbeing and other life chances. We published the ‘Carers Action Plan 2018 – 2020 Supporting Carers Today’ which sets out a cross-Government programme of targeted work to support all carers in England, so they receive the recognition and support they need.

Carers, including partners, are also entitled to an assessment of their own need for support from their local authority.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process is available to people that are unable to wear masks as a result of to health conditions to prove that to enforcing officers.

People do not need to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:

- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability;

- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause the wearer severe distress; and

- if travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

The list of exemptions is not exhaustive and would extend to someone who has a justifiable reason for not wearing one on the grounds of health or disability not outlined within the guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the trends in the level of mental health issues experienced by former armed forces personnel during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to prevent an increase in suicide numbers of veterans following the covid-19 outbreak.

Veteran mental health needs are very often no different to those of the general population. Data has shown that most patients suffer from common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and readily make use of the mainstream mental health services provided throughout the United Kingdom. Research shows that suicide amongst former members of the Armed Forces remains extremely rare and is lower than comparative rates in the civilian population.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are aware of concerns amongst the Armed Forces community that individuals may be differentially disadvantaged as waiting lists lengthen due to COVID-19 constraints. We have no evidence that this will be the case.

More generally, National Health Service local systems and organisations are stepping up non-COVID-19 services as soon as possible. The approach is being flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, but the reset will be gradual, with full attention to infection prevention and control as the guiding principle.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to introduce guidance on wearing of face-coverings in retail outlets during the covid-19 outbreak.

From Friday 24 July, members of the public must wear a face covering when visiting a shop or supermarket.

Guidance that explains what face coverings are, their role in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored is published online at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that dentists are supplied with appropriate personal protective equipment.

From Monday 8 June all National Health Service practices were able to start, at their own pace, seeing patients again once they have appropriate social distancing and other safety measures in place. Personal protective equipment (PPE) for dentists is being made available through their business as usual wholesalers. We have also set up new distribution routes for dentistry to ensure continuity of supply for all urgent dental care centres and have placed them on the list of priority areas to receive supplies from Local Resilience Forums. PPE for dental practices will include equipment necessary for aerosol generating procedures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS England plans to use the Nightingale units to help hospitals restore (a) elective surgery and (b) other services that have been impeded by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Nightingale hospitals were built primarily for ventilated COVID-19 patients or COVID-19 step down patients and currently do not have operating theatres or other standard facilities required for elective surgery. Regions and host trusts are now considering future use and the Nightingales will be an important part of ensuring the National Health Service has enough beds to cope over the next period.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 39482, if he will confirm whether he has had discussions with the Health and Safety Executive since the beginning of March 2020.

Departmental officials have held virtual meetings and corresponded with the Health and Safety Executive on a number of occasions since the beginning of March 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the reopening of pain clinics for sufferers of complex regional pain syndrome.

We continue to work closely with the National Health Service and partners and guidance has already been issued to the NHS on the process of starting to restore urgent non-COVID-19 services in a safe way, with excellence in infection prevention and control as a key principle.

The approach to the reset of services, including pain clinics, will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country and will be a gradual process.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussion (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Treasury on plans to introduce a compensation fund for people affected by mesh implants.

We are currently awaiting the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, which is expected on 8 July.

The Review is independent of Government and it would not be right to pre-empt the Review’s report or recommendations before they have been made public. We can confirm that the Government will consider its recommendations most carefully.

We would urge anyone who believes that they may have been affected by mesh implants to seek clinical advice and support for what help is available.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has plans to expand the access to those eligible for coronavirus testing to include people shielding who are without symptoms.

Testing is a vital part of the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19 and we have made testing available to all symptomatic people across the UK. We are only testing asymptomatic people under a range of specific circumstances, but this does not currently include those who are shielding.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of supplies of personal protective equipment in the event that the covid-19 reproduction (R) rate rises above 1.

We have massively expanded our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) from overseas and domestically. We have contracted with over 100 new suppliers able to deliver at the scale and pace the United Kingdom requires. We are continuing to sign further deals to make our position more secure. We recently secured a further 3.7 billion gloves to help meet the expected demand and we are building up UK manufacturing capability. We have signed contracts for over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including aprons, facemasks, visors and gowns. We are confident in the stocks and sources of supply of PPE to meet the needs of health and social care over the next 7 and 90 days.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason motor neurone disease (MND) was removed from the extremely vulnerable list; if he will publish the evidential basis for that decision; and if he will make an assessment of for what reason Northern Ireland regards MND patients as extremely vulnerable, but England does not.

Expert doctors in England identified specific medical conditions that, based on what we knew about the virus so far, placed someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Motor neurone disease has never been on the list of specific medical conditions as it was determined that it would not be included as there are many stages to the disease, with varying levels of severity.

General practitioners and hospital clinicians have the discretion to add individual patients to the list based on a clinical assessment of their needs. Anyone with motor neurone disease who is concerned about whether or not they should be shielding, should contact their doctor to discuss.

The Northern Ireland Executive, through its Department of Health, is responsible for decisions in Northern Ireland.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to introduce time slots for exercise to enable people in certain demographics that are vulnerable to covid-19 to leave their homes with less risk.

There are currently no plans to introduce time slots for exercise. Those who are identified as clinically vulnerable are advised to follow stringent social distancing measures to minimise contact with others outside their household, this includes when exercising outdoors. Those who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to shield and avoid all face-to-face contact until at least the end of June.

Further to the Prime Minister's announcement on Sunday 10 May, the Government has published detailed guidance on grassroots and elite sport. This includes further details for members of the public on how they can exercise outside and for outdoor facilities on re-opening, should they wish to do so.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reimbursing care sector employers for the cost of employees that have been advised by healthcare professionals to shield for beyond two weeks.

We stated in our social care action plan that where social care workers are unable to work for a long period of time, because they are in a high-risk group, or because they are shielding during the outbreak, employers can furlough these workers, to ensure that they continue to receive 80% of their normal income.

Employers who choose to furlough staff in this way would therefore not need to be reimbursed, as the wages would already be funded through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We have also provided local authorities with £1.6 billion of additional funding, which includes the cost of backfilling care shifts while as far as possible maintaining income for those that are unable to work as a result of the public health advice and wider social distancing measures. This funding would apply to any employers choosing not to furlough staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the safety of NHS workplaces in the last two months due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has agreed with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that National Health Service and social care employers will be reminded of the requirement to report dangerous occurrences, cases of disease and work-related fatalities to the HSE under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) regulations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS workers returning to work will be subject to an interview after seven days absence in line with routine process or whether that requirement will be relaxed during the covid-19 pandemic.

National Health Service employers are responsible for managing sickness absence in their organisation and it will be up to each individual employer to decide whether they continue with return to work interviews or decide to relax the process during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department continues to commission NHS Employers to provide guidance, advice and resources for NHS trusts to manage sickness absence. A toolkit specifically designed to manage sickness absence can be found at the following link:

https://www.nhsemployers.org/retention-and-staff-experience/health-and-wellbeing/action-on-sickness-absence

NHS organisations need to take a collaborative approach to supporting staff and this includes closer working with occupational health providers who can provide proactive support and guidance to staff who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to launch a public health campaign to raise public awareness of the risk of transmission of covid-19 via (a) ATMs, (b) petrol pumps and (c) other frequently touched objects in public places.

Public Health England (PHE) has published guidance on Covid-19 decontamination in non-healthcare settings. The guidance describes best practice in cleaning, ?the appropriate disposal of materials, the disinfection of equipment and the personal protective equipment that should be worn.

PHE has also produced a ‘cleaning and disinfection’ poster, to accompany its specific guidance covering the cleaning of environments in the community. Both can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure local authorities are able to support the care home sector.

We are providing £1.6 billion of additional funding to local authorities to assist them in their response to COVID-19. We expect the majority of this resilience funding will go to adult social care to meet increased demand and support providers and the workforce. In addition to this we are giving £1.3 billion to enhance the National Health Service discharge process which will get patients who no longer need urgent treatment home from hospitals safely and quickly.

In addition to COVID-19 funding, we announced that in 2020/21 we are providing councils with an additional £1.5 billion for adult and children’s social care which will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the NHS has an adequate number of intensive care beds to respond effectively to the covid-19 outbreak.

It is the Government’s priority that the National Health Service has appropriate equipment to respond to COVID-19. This includes the provision of intensive care beds. The Department is working closely with NHS England and the devolved administrations to ensure this is achieved.

NHS England is actively assessing the critical care capacity of NHS organisations and the availability of additional facilities in the independent sector. It is working to ensure that hospitals have as much ventilation equipment as required and, crucially, the skilled and trained people to use it.

Information on critical care bed capacity is published by NHS England and can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/critical-care-capacity/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to delay the transmission of covid-19 in supermarkets.

The spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within two metres or less) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.

We have issued guidance to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff. This guidance for workplace environments, including supermarkets, can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19#how-covid-19-is-spread

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the (a) findings and (b) recommendations for the Chief Coroner of the report of June 2019, Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide, commissioned by the General Medical Council.

The Department supports steps towards a just, learning culture that will support patient safety and benefit healthcare professionals, patients and their families.

We welcomed Leslie Hamilton’s ‘Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide’ and are committed to bringing forward the recommendations from Sir Norman Williams’ Review into Gross Negligence Manslaughter, which was published in 2018.

We are planning to consult on these legislative changes, which are being developed as part of our reforms to professional regulation, later this year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Optum has been recruited to identify rising risk groups in County Durham.

The Department is not aware of any local National Health Service organisations in Durham who commission Optum to identify rising risk groups.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer 8167, what checks his Department undertakes to ensure the accuracy of the GMC register.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom. The GMC is independent of the Government but accountable to the UK Parliament. The Department does not have a role in assessing the accuracy of the GMC Register.

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) oversees the work of the GMC. The PSA annually reviews each professional regulator’s performance against the following four core functions: guidance and standards, education and training, registration and fitness to practice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to publish its response to the final report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983, published on 6 December 2018; and what the Government's timescale is for introducing a mental health Bill to reform that Act.

We plan to publish our White Paper in the next few months, which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983.

We will consult publicly on our proposals and we will bring forward a Bill to amend the Act when parliamentary time allows.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the needs of people with mental health problems are being met within (a) primary care and (b) general practice.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to developing and rolling-out a new primary care and community-based offer for people with severe mental illness. This includes access to psychological therapies, improved physical health care and employment support, giving 370,000 adults greater choice and control over their care and support them to live well in their communities. The NHS Long Term Plan also commits to expanding access to psychological therapies further – to reach 380,000 more adults by 2023/24.

The Update to the GP contract agreement 2020/21 to 2023/24 commits to adding mental health practitioner roles to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme from April 2021. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the General Practitioners Committee England have agreed to an ongoing programme of general practice quality outcome framework indicator review in key priority areas, including mental health in 2020/21.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2020 to Question 8166 on Plastic Surgery, how many surgeons on the GMC register are not resident in the UK.

The General Medical Council does not hold information on the number of surgeons on its register that do not reside in the United Kingdom.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 8164 on Plastic Surgery, whether the surgical procedures referred to in that Answer include the use of (a) dermal fillers and (b) botox.

In England any hospital or clinic offering cosmetic surgery that involves instruments or equipment being inserted into the body must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Subcutaneous injections of botulinum toxins and dermal fillers are not regulated by the CQC.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the United Kingdom, including botulinum toxins and, from May 2020, all dermal fillers.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 8164 on Plastic Surgery, which regulator oversees the administering of (a) botox and (b) other subcutaneous injections of muscle relaxing substances used to improve appearance.

Botulinum toxins are Prescription-Only Medicines. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the United Kingdom.

A prescriber, who must be a registered healthcare professional or medical practitioner, may delegate the administration of the medicine to a secondary practitioner. The person administering the injection is not required to be a healthcare professional, but the prescriber retains responsibility for ensuring the treatment is provided safely.

Where the treatment is administered by a registered healthcare professional or medical practitioner (e.g. nurse, doctor) they are required to follow the standards set by their regulatory body. Failure to do so can result in an investigation into their fitness to practise and sanctions issued to protect patient safety.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the training period is for a person to be trained to conduct micro-suction procedures for the removal of earwax.

All private providers of procedures for the removal of earwax are subject to regulation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), if the procedures are being conducted by, or under the supervision of, a healthcare professional.

All providers registered with the CQC have a duty to ensure they meet the relevant regulations as defined in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. The CQC undertakes periodic inspections of all providers of regulated activities to ensure that the minimum standards of care are being met. The CQC will use its enforcement powers in cases where the standard of care falls below what is expected.

Information about the training period for a person to conduct micro-suction procedures is not held centrally.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for ensuring that they provide a comprehensive health service in their area, based on their assessment of local needs. The Department has no national plans to increase the provision of micro-suction procedures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 since 6 December 2018.

The information is not available in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what regulations exist for private providers of micro-suction procedures for the removal of earwax.

All private providers of procedures for the removal of earwax are subject to regulation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), if the procedures are being conducted by, or under the supervision of, a healthcare professional.

All providers registered with the CQC have a duty to ensure they meet the relevant regulations as defined in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. The CQC undertakes periodic inspections of all providers of regulated activities to ensure that the minimum standards of care are being met. The CQC will use its enforcement powers in cases where the standard of care falls below what is expected.

Information about the training period for a person to conduct micro-suction procedures is not held centrally.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for ensuring that they provide a comprehensive health service in their area, based on their assessment of local needs. The Department has no national plans to increase the provision of micro-suction procedures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to increase the provision of micro-suction procedures on the NHS.

All private providers of procedures for the removal of earwax are subject to regulation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), if the procedures are being conducted by, or under the supervision of, a healthcare professional.

All providers registered with the CQC have a duty to ensure they meet the relevant regulations as defined in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. The CQC undertakes periodic inspections of all providers of regulated activities to ensure that the minimum standards of care are being met. The CQC will use its enforcement powers in cases where the standard of care falls below what is expected.

Information about the training period for a person to conduct micro-suction procedures is not held centrally.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for ensuring that they provide a comprehensive health service in their area, based on their assessment of local needs. The Department has no national plans to increase the provision of micro-suction procedures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 while the Government has been considering its response to the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, published on 6 December 2018.

The information is not available in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 5 September 2019 to Question 284642 on Plastic Surgery: Costs, whether the Government plans to collect data on the cost to the NHS in the last three years of correcting or ameliorating the effects of unregulated aesthetic surgery procedures.

The Department is working with stakeholders and NHSX to consider options to assess the incidence and cost to the National Health Service of patients seeking medical care following complications of cosmetic procedures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department collects data on how many fly in fly out surgeons operated in the UK in the last 12 months.

The information requested is not collected by the Department.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator of medical doctors in the United Kingdom. All medical doctors, including those undertaking cosmetic surgery, must register with the GMC and meet set professional standards to work in the UK and be fit to practise.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what qualifications are required to operate as a hair transplant surgeon.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator of medical doctors in the United Kingdom. All doctors must register with the GMC, hold a license to practise and meet set professional standards to work in the UK and be fit to practise. The GMC sets the standards that medical training organisations have to meet in the delivery of their training, and in the development of postgraduate curricula.

Qualified doctors do not need specific qualifications to perform cosmetic interventions (surgery) including hair transplant surgery.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the term cosmetic surgeon is defined in law.

The term ‘surgeon’ is a protected title under the Medical Act 1983. Only doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates doctors in the United Kingdom, may perform surgical procedures. In England any hospital or clinic offering cosmetic surgery that involves instruments or equipment being inserted into the body must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Any provider of surgery must meet the CQC’s fundamental standards of safety and quality – or risk enforcement action.

The Royal College of Surgeons also operates a voluntary cosmetic surgery certification scheme which provides recognition to surgeons who have the appropriate training, qualifications and experience to perform cosmetic surgery. In June 2019 the GMC Council approved the development of the certificate into a GMC-regulated credential in cosmetic surgery.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a statutory register of cosmetic surgeons.

At present, there are no plans to introduce statutory registers for doctors performing cosmetic surgery, as a robust regulatory framework is already in place.

Only doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), the regulator of doctors in the United Kingdom, can perform surgical procedures, including hair transplant surgery. All registrants are required to meet the standards set out by the GMC in Good Medical Practice. Where these standards are not met the GMC can take action to protect patients from harm through the fitness to practise process.

In England any hospital or clinic offering cosmetic surgery must also be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Any provider of surgery must meet the CQC’s fundamental standards of safety and quality – or risk enforcement action.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department collects data on the number of fly in fly out surgeons registered by the General Medical Council.

The information requested is not collected by the Department.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator of medical doctors in the United Kingdom. All medical doctors, including those undertaking cosmetic surgery, must register with the GMC and meet set professional standards to work in the UK and be fit to practise.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average training period is for a cosmetic surgeon.


The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator of medical doctors in the United Kingdom. All doctors must register with the GMC, hold a license to practise and meet set professional standards to work in the UK and be fit to practise. The GMC sets the standards that medical training organisations have to meet in the delivery of their training, and in the development of postgraduate curricula.

Qualified doctors do not need specific qualifications to perform cosmetic interventions (surgery). There is no a defined ‘route’ to becoming a cosmetic surgeon, and as a result no average training period.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a statutory register of hair transplant surgeons.

At present, there are no plans to introduce statutory registers for doctors performing cosmetic surgery, as a robust regulatory framework is already in place.

Only doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), the regulator of doctors in the United Kingdom, can perform surgical procedures, including hair transplant surgery. All registrants are required to meet the standards set out by the GMC in Good Medical Practice. Where these standards are not met the GMC can take action to protect patients from harm through the fitness to practise process.

In England any hospital or clinic offering cosmetic surgery must also be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Any provider of surgery must meet the CQC’s fundamental standards of safety and quality – or risk enforcement action.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he recently travelled to Vietnam on an A321 aircraft leased from CMT; and whether the costs of that flight were met from his Departmental budget.

The Foreign Secretary's travel expenses for Ministerial trips are published quarterly at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-january-to-march-2021

Information pertaining to the Foreign Secretary's travel to Vietnam will be published at the same link in due course, in accordance with timelines set out by the Cabinet Office.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Iranian counterpart on the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president.

The Foreign Secretary speaks regularly with his Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Zarif. He and his officials, including those in the British Embassy in Tehran, engage with Iran on a wide range of issues, including our nuclear concerns, our consular cases, human rights and Iran's role in the region. We call on President-elect Raisi to set Iran on a different course and expect to engage him on the full range of issues when he takes office.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president of Iran.

The Foreign Secretary most recently engaged with his Israeli counterparts during a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the 25-26 May. We regularly discuss regional issues with international partners, and continue to support the security of our allies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of threat to Israel of the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president of Iran.

The Foreign Secretary most recently engaged with his Israeli counterparts during a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the 25-26 May. We regularly discuss regional issues with international partners, and continue to support the security of our allies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to increase UK diplomatic cooperation with Israel as part of the Integrated Review 2021.

The Integrated Review was published on 16 March and can be found on gov.uk. The review is the most comprehensive articulation of security, defence, development and foreign policy published by a British Government in decades. We are proud to enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship with Israel. We welcome the formation of a new government, and look forward to working together closely to ensure the relationship goes from strength to strength. We engage frequently with the Government of Israel, and will continue to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support Commonwealth nations with the roll-out of the covid-19 vaccination.

The UK is committed to rapid and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. The UK has been instrumental in supporting the establishment of the COVAX Facility, the international initiative managed by Gavi, the vaccine alliance, which provides equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for 190 economies. High and upper-middle-income Commonwealth countries can access the self-financing window of the COVAX Facility. Low- and middle-income Commonwealth countries are eligible for support from the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

The UK has committed £548 million to the COVAX AMC, and is among its largest bilateral donors. Our commitment will contribute to the supply of 1 billion doses in up to 92 developing countries in 2021, including Commonwealth nations, vaccinating up to 500 million people. We work closely with COVAX partners, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and the World Bank to ensure that countries have the support they need to introduce COVID-19 vaccines. The AMC aims to start deliveries in the first quarter of 2021.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress the Government has made in securing a reciprocal tourist travel mobility agreement with the EU.

The Government has discussed mobility arrangements across a number of areas as part of negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

The EU has already legislated such that UK nationals will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This will apply from the end of the transition period to all UK nationals travelling to and within the Schengen area for purposes such as tourism.

This is the standard length of stay that the EU provides to the nationals of eligible third countries that offer visa-free travel access for EU citizens, in line with existing EU legislation.

As things stand, stays beyond the EU's 90/180 day visa-free allocation from 1 January 2021 onwards will be for individual Member States to decide and implement through domestic entry rules and visa arrangements for non-EU citizens. UK nationals will need to discuss the specifics of their situation with the relevant Member State authorities and should be prepared to provide any extra documentation that may be required.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans to issue guidance to people in high-risk health categories on travelling abroad during the covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice aims to provide relevant and up-to-date guidance to help British people make informed decisions about foreign travel and stay safe while overseas. No two trips or traveller are the same; our advice represents an objective assessment of the level of risk that British people generally will face in another country. People planning travel at this time, in particular those who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, should consult the latest FCO travel advice for their destination, alongside expert travel health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website. They may wish to consider discussing their travel plans with a health professional to help them make a decision that is right for them.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, which Minister is leading on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy; and which senior officials are working on that review.

The Prime Minister is leading on the Integrated Review with the National Security Council, with support from a cross-Whitehall team and a small team in Downing Street. On the Civil Service side, the National Security Advisor is leading on the Integrated Review, with support from the Deputy National Security Advisor.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Annual Report on Major Projects 2020-21, published on 15 July 2021, what assessment he has made of the capability of his Department to manage the (a) scope, (b) time, (c) quality and (d) cost of its 36 category A projects.

The IPA has released a Deliverability Confidence Assessment (DCA) of GMPP projects in the Transparency document which accompanies the Annual Report. [1] (see deliverability assessment on column F). These represent the IPA’s evaluation of a project’s likelihood of achieving its aims and objectives, and doing so on time and on budget. Each DCA is followed by a departmental commentary that provides further explanation behind the GMPP projects’ rating.

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002103/GMPP_Government_Major_Projects_Portofolio_AR_Data_March_2021.xls

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether there is any stipulation within the appointments procedures of his Department that would prevent a person who was previously a member of a tax avoidance vehicle from becoming an official within his Department.

HM Treasury’s appointment procedures set out that all Civil Servants working in the Department must follow the Civil Service Code, which includes a commitment to the Civil Service and its values.

Furthermore, any external interests are required to be declared to HM Treasury upon joining the organisation, plus ongoing as they arise thereafter.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether UK Government Investment pays UKGI director Mr Thomas Cooper’s salary through his firm TKGC Consulting.

All UKGI employees are remunerated directly and not via any external firm.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether declarations of interest were received by UK Government Investments from Tom Cooper on his appointment as a Director in 2017 in respect of (a) Inside Track 1 LLP, (b) Inside Track 2 LLP, and (c) Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP, when he was appointed as a Director in 2017.

As with all external interests of its staff, UKGI discussed the disclosure of Tom Cooper’s membership and passive investment interest in film partnerships managed by Ingenious Media at the time of his appointment. Tom Cooper is not and has not been a director of these entities.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps UK Government Investments took to ensure there were no conflicts of interest in the appointment of Tom Cooper as a Director in 2017; and whether other directorships were required to be declared as part of the appointment process for that post.

UK Government Investments (UKGI) requires all staff, including directors, to declare any external appointments on joining the organisation and on an ongoing basis where new appointments arise during the course of their appointment at UKGI. This is to ensure there are no conflicts of interest arising from its staff holding external posts and so any potential conflicts of interest can be managed appropriately.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps UK Government Investments has taken to ensure that there is no conflict of interest in UKGI director Mr Tom Cooper’s ownership and management of a private consulting firm TKGC Consulting.

As with all external interests of its staff, UKGI discussed the disclosure of Tom Cooper’s ownership and management of private consulting firm TKGC Consulting following its incorporation.

In considering the external interests of its staff, UKGI ensures it has asked for appropriate detail in determining whether a conflict of interest exists and so that it can satisfy itself that the external position or interest held by a staff or board member is appropriate and in line with its existing priorities.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11491 on Niramax, how many press releases and press comments HMRC have made on landfill tax fraud in the last five years.

HMRC do not collate data on all the comments/press releases issued so they are unable to provide an accurate answer to the question asked within the timeframe.

The statutory duty of confidentiality referred to in the answer of 15 June 2021 relates to the legislation as set out at Section 18 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act of 2005.

The request to break down the number of interventions by region and year is not possible to fulfil within the timescale allowed as HMRC do not record the data in that format. HMRC can give details of the number of risks closed as follows: 2018, 250 risks closed; 2019, 235 risks closed; 2020, 293 risks closed; and 2021, 238 risks closed. Information in the form requested is not readily available and could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11491 on Niramax, to set out these cases (a) by region and (b) by year.

HMRC do not collate data on all the comments/press releases issued so they are unable to provide an accurate answer to the question asked within the timeframe.

The statutory duty of confidentiality referred to in the answer of 15 June 2021 relates to the legislation as set out at Section 18 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act of 2005.

The request to break down the number of interventions by region and year is not possible to fulfil within the timescale allowed as HMRC do not record the data in that format. HMRC can give details of the number of risks closed as follows: 2018, 250 risks closed; 2019, 235 risks closed; 2020, 293 risks closed; and 2021, 238 risks closed. Information in the form requested is not readily available and could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 11491 on Niramax, which piece of legislation creates this statutory duty.

HMRC do not collate data on all the comments/press releases issued so they are unable to provide an accurate answer to the question asked within the timeframe.

The statutory duty of confidentiality referred to in the answer of 15 June 2021 relates to the legislation as set out at Section 18 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act of 2005.

The request to break down the number of interventions by region and year is not possible to fulfil within the timescale allowed as HMRC do not record the data in that format. HMRC can give details of the number of risks closed as follows: 2018, 250 risks closed; 2019, 235 risks closed; 2020, 293 risks closed; and 2021, 238 risks closed. Information in the form requested is not readily available and could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2021 to Question 77, what assessment he has made of whether the comments made by the Fraud Investigation Service director at HMRC in response to enforcement action in the North East in September 2015 were in breach of HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality; and who was responsible for authorising the publication of those comments.

The comments made by the Fraud Investigation Service director in HMRC in response to enforcement action in the North East in September 2015 were not in breach of HMRC’s statutory duty of confidentiality. It is right and proper that HMRC raise public awareness of suspected fraud on this scale and of the action they are taking in response to tackle it. None of the comments made related to the details of an individual taxpayer.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether HMRC has brought any civil cases against Niramax as a result of its investigations of that company.

Under the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA), HMRC have a statutory duty of confidentiality to protect the information they hold about taxpayers and as a result, HMRC cannot comment on any civil action being taken against any specific taxpayer or entity.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2021 to Question 78 on Landfill Tax, how the £1.563bn yield was calculated; and how his Department defines the risks referred to.

The yield is the total financial impact flowing from HMRC interventions in relation to landfill tax, as recorded on HMRC management information systems. It includes additional tax paid to HMRC, tax losses prevented, financial penalties and estimated additional future tax flowing from the interventions.

The risks that this yield flowed from were mainly suspected evasion or avoidance of landfill tax, but also include situations where interpretation of the law is disputed by HMRC and the tax paying entity.

20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many hon. Members had meetings with HMRC on its investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

The response provided related to landfill tax fraud.

Two Honourable Members have met with HMRC on their investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

Landfill Tax is a devolved tax. 125 companies pay Landfill Tax to HMRC in relation to landfill sites in England. 16 companies pay Landfill Disposal Tax to the Welsh Revenue Authority, along with 1 City Council. 28 companies pay the Scottish Landfill Tax (SLT) to Revenue Scotland, along with 7 Unitary Authorities and 1 Public Body.

As at 20 May 2021 there are approximately 48 HMRC investigators working on landfill tax compliance. Of this number approximately 10 HMRC investigators are looking into the issue of landfill tax fraud.

HMRC have a statutory duty of confidentiality to protect information held about taxpayers, so that such information is not passed to unauthorised parties. HMRC’s ability to disclose information held about taxpayers is restricted by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA). Section 18 of CRCA makes clear that HMRC must not disclose information to anyone, unless they have lawful authority to do so.

20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what is HMRC's policy on commenting on ongoing landfill tax fraud investigations.

The response provided related to landfill tax fraud.

Two Honourable Members have met with HMRC on their investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

Landfill Tax is a devolved tax. 125 companies pay Landfill Tax to HMRC in relation to landfill sites in England. 16 companies pay Landfill Disposal Tax to the Welsh Revenue Authority, along with 1 City Council. 28 companies pay the Scottish Landfill Tax (SLT) to Revenue Scotland, along with 7 Unitary Authorities and 1 Public Body.

As at 20 May 2021 there are approximately 48 HMRC investigators working on landfill tax compliance. Of this number approximately 10 HMRC investigators are looking into the issue of landfill tax fraud.

HMRC have a statutory duty of confidentiality to protect information held about taxpayers, so that such information is not passed to unauthorised parties. HMRC’s ability to disclose information held about taxpayers is restricted by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA). Section 18 of CRCA makes clear that HMRC must not disclose information to anyone, unless they have lawful authority to do so.

20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many investigators are looking into the issue of landfill tax fraud as at 20 May 2021.

The response provided related to landfill tax fraud.

Two Honourable Members have met with HMRC on their investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

Landfill Tax is a devolved tax. 125 companies pay Landfill Tax to HMRC in relation to landfill sites in England. 16 companies pay Landfill Disposal Tax to the Welsh Revenue Authority, along with 1 City Council. 28 companies pay the Scottish Landfill Tax (SLT) to Revenue Scotland, along with 7 Unitary Authorities and 1 Public Body.

As at 20 May 2021 there are approximately 48 HMRC investigators working on landfill tax compliance. Of this number approximately 10 HMRC investigators are looking into the issue of landfill tax fraud.

HMRC have a statutory duty of confidentiality to protect information held about taxpayers, so that such information is not passed to unauthorised parties. HMRC’s ability to disclose information held about taxpayers is restricted by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA). Section 18 of CRCA makes clear that HMRC must not disclose information to anyone, unless they have lawful authority to do so.

20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many companies pay landfill tax in the UK as at 20 May 2021.

The response provided related to landfill tax fraud.

Two Honourable Members have met with HMRC on their investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

Landfill Tax is a devolved tax. 125 companies pay Landfill Tax to HMRC in relation to landfill sites in England. 16 companies pay Landfill Disposal Tax to the Welsh Revenue Authority, along with 1 City Council. 28 companies pay the Scottish Landfill Tax (SLT) to Revenue Scotland, along with 7 Unitary Authorities and 1 Public Body.

As at 20 May 2021 there are approximately 48 HMRC investigators working on landfill tax compliance. Of this number approximately 10 HMRC investigators are looking into the issue of landfill tax fraud.

HMRC have a statutory duty of confidentiality to protect information held about taxpayers, so that such information is not passed to unauthorised parties. HMRC’s ability to disclose information held about taxpayers is restricted by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA). Section 18 of CRCA makes clear that HMRC must not disclose information to anyone, unless they have lawful authority to do so.

20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2021 to Question 77 on Stamp Duty Land Tax: Fraud, whether the Minister was referring to landfill tax fraud, not land tax fraud, in his answer.

The response provided related to landfill tax fraud.

Two Honourable Members have met with HMRC on their investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

Landfill Tax is a devolved tax. 125 companies pay Landfill Tax to HMRC in relation to landfill sites in England. 16 companies pay Landfill Disposal Tax to the Welsh Revenue Authority, along with 1 City Council. 28 companies pay the Scottish Landfill Tax (SLT) to Revenue Scotland, along with 7 Unitary Authorities and 1 Public Body.

As at 20 May 2021 there are approximately 48 HMRC investigators working on landfill tax compliance. Of this number approximately 10 HMRC investigators are looking into the issue of landfill tax fraud.

HMRC have a statutory duty of confidentiality to protect information held about taxpayers, so that such information is not passed to unauthorised parties. HMRC’s ability to disclose information held about taxpayers is restricted by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA). Section 18 of CRCA makes clear that HMRC must not disclose information to anyone, unless they have lawful authority to do so.

11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what (a) methodology and (b) evidence HMRC used to estimate the alleged landfill tax fraud at £78 million prior to its raid on Niramax's offices in September 2015.

Over the last five years HMRC have undertaken interventions into land tax fraud that have closed 1121 risks and generated £1.563 billion of yield.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevent them from commenting on the specifics of any case.

11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many investigations into land tax fraud his Department has conducted in each of the last five years.

Over the last five years HMRC have undertaken interventions into land tax fraud that have closed 1121 risks and generated £1.563 billion of yield.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevent them from commenting on the specifics of any case.

27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many investigations his Department has conducted into tax fraud in the last five years.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Environment Agency on HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many agencies were involved in HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff were involved in HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money has been recovered for the public purse as a result of HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what (a) methodology and (b) evidence HMRC used to estimate the alleged landfill tax fraud at £78 million prior to its raid on Niramax's offices in September 2015.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many landfill tax fraud cases in the North East brought forward by HMRC have resulted in successful prosecutions in the last ten years.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many landfill tax fraud cases brought forward by HMRC have resulted in successful prosecutions in the last ten years.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive, was terminated.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse was of HMRC's investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system, referred to as Operation Nosedive.

HMRC’s statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality prevents it from commenting on the specifics of any case. HMRC do not break costs down by individual investigations. They are funded by Government to investigate serious tax fraud and deploy resources to achieve value for money overall. HMRC closely collaborates with the Environment Agency, relevant local authorities and the Crown Prosecution Service during the course of investigations into landfill tax fraud. To date there has been no prosecution into landfill tax fraud, but over the last five years, HMRC’s civil compliance activity has prevented more than £1billion in incorrect landfill tax repayment claims and it has stepped in to protect £125m of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid. Since it was set up in 2016, HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service has secured and protected more than £25bn for our vital public services and has launched over 76,000 civil cases and more than 4,000 criminal investigations, securing 3,700 criminal convictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions officials in his Department have had with stakeholder groups on the approval of the Shared Outcome Fund bid for the creation of a National Skills Academy for Maritime (Shipbuilding).

HMT Officials are in regular contact with stakeholders. But it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence, who are leading the National Skills Academy for Maritime bid, to engage with relevant stakeholders prior to submission of the bid.

This Government is committed to supporting people to develop the skills needed to get good jobs and improve national productivity. The Department for Education recently published the ‘Skills for Jobs’ White Paper which sets out how the government will put employers at the heart of the skills system to ensure skills provision meets local labour market needs.

The Shared Outcomes Fund encourage Departments to work together to overcome some of the most difficult social, environmental and economic challenges that sit across the areas of responsibility of multiple public sector organisations.

The second round of the Shared Outcomes Fund, announced at Spending Review 2020, will provide a further £200 million for projects to improve the join up across government.

The assessment process to award the funding is ongoing.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to waive income tax and national insurance for care workers who have received bonuses for their service during the covid-19 outbreak.

Care workers have demonstrated remarkable commitment in the continuing fight against COVID-19. The Government hugely values and appreciates these vital contributions to the COVID-19 response, both in the private and public sector.

Under the longstanding rules of income tax, any payments made in connection with an employment, such as bonus payments, are chargeable to income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs).

The Government’s approach during COVID-19 has been consistent with these rules which have applied to support payments made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as well as COVID-19 related bonus payments made to care workers in Wales and Scotland.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the covid-19 stamp duty exemption beyond 31 March 2021.

The temporary increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax nil rate band was designed to create immediate momentum within the property market, where property transactions fell by as much as 50 per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown. The downturn in the market meant that the future was uncertain for many people whose jobs relied on custom from the property industry. There are already early signs that demand and transactions have increased, and are continuing to rise, since the increase to the SDLT nil rate band was announced in July.

As the relief was designed to provide an immediate stimulus to the property market, the Government does not plan to extend this relief and will continue to monitor the property market.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support is available to employers whose staff need to self-isolate for a period during which time statutory sick pay would exceed the amount of state aid received by the employer.

The Government is committed to supporting businesses through this time and has announced an unprecedented level of financial support. This includes but is not limited to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Job Support Scheme, business loans, tax deferrals, the Future Fund, and a year-long business rates holiday for all eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Some of these schemes will constitute State Aid, such as the Small Business Grant Scheme and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme. Businesses eligible for the SSP rebate may claim grants up to a total of €800,000, as provided for under the EU Commission’s COVID-19 State Aid Temporary Framework. This is a cumulative amount that must consider other forms of aid received as grants under the Framework. There is a lower grant allowance for agriculture at €100,000 and aquaculture and fisheries at €120,000.

Businesses may also be eligible for business support loans such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). Under the Temporary Framework, loan schemes are not subject to the €800,000 allowance for grants.

In addition, some support schemes do not constitute State Aid. For example, businesses may be eligible for the CJRS, VAT Deferral, and Time to Pay, among others.

The combination of these and other measures constitutes an unprecedented programme of Government support for businesses to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who the UKGI's annual declaration of interests compliance officer is.