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Written Question
Trade Agreements: Canada
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress her Department has made on trade negotiations with Canada.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

I refer the Hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich to the answer given by my Hon. Friend, the Minister for International Trade, on 25 November, UIN: 79336.

Work continues on developing the British negotiating mandate, and we look forward to formally commencing talks this year. On 13 December 2021 HM Government of Canada notified its Parliament of intentions to begin negotiations with the UK, triggering a 90-day notification period which, we are advised, must be completed before negotiations can commence for Canada.


Written Question
Overseas Trade: Australia
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade with Australia.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

The UK recently signed a Free Trade Agreement with Australia on 16th December 2021. The deal is expected to increase trade with Australia by 53% in the long run. The UK and Australia have committed to removing tariffs on a vast array of popular products which can now be more easily traded between the two countries including eliminating tariffs on 100% of UK exports. This deal is tailored to British strengths providing benefits for our world-class services industry, unprecedented new opportunities for UK professionals to work in Australia and trading digitally.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

Answered by Maggie Throup

As of 12 January 2022, over 83% of those aged 12 years old and over in the United Kingdom have received two doses of the vaccine, with over 90% having received one dose. Over 36 million people in the UK have received a booster or third primary dose, with every eligible adult in England aged 18 years old and over offered a booster vaccination by the target of 31 December 2021.


Written Question
Hospitals: Coronavirus
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce covid-19 hospital admissions.

Answered by Maggie Throup

Measures including the mandatory use of face masks in most public indoor venues, the requirement to display the NHS COVID Pass in specific settings and advice to work from home where possible, will help to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant and pressure on the National Health Service. The booster vaccination campaign continues which will provide additional protection against hospitalisations, especially amongst older and more vulnerable populations. We are also increasing capacity in the NHS, deploying antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments and providing free lateral flow device tests to 100,000 critical workers.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to provide additional covid-19 vaccination sites.

Answered by Maggie Throup

There are now hundreds of walk-in sites and general practitioners and pharmacies have been asked to increase their vaccination services. Vaccination sites have been asked to operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week wherever possible, with some sites extending to 24-hour operation. Additional ‘pop-up’ sites will also be opening in local areas in convenient locations for communities.


Written Question
Hospitals: Coronavirus
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the discharge of patients from hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Edward Argar

We have provided £3.3 billion to the National Health Service to facilitate timely hospital discharges during the pandemic, including £478 million for winter 2021/22. We have established a national discharge taskforce and systems are also using non-acute beds locally, including in hospices, community beds and the independent sector. To recruit and retain staff to support the discharge of patients, we are providing £462.5 million via local authorities for care providers to increase existing care support.


Written Question
Health Services: Coronavirus
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to maximise NHS capacity and help increase the NHS’s resilience during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Edward Argar

The National Health Service is ensuring that all medically fit patients are discharged to increase bed capacity, using non-acute beds in local systems and the independent sector, and expanding the use of ‘virtual wards’ to care for patients safely at home. Nightingale hubs are also under construction to deliver up to an additional 4,000 beds, should they be needed.


Written Question
Surgery
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on developing surgical hubs across England.

Answered by Edward Argar

Following successful pilots in London, the National Health Service is launching surgical hubs across the country. There are currently 44 stand-alone hubs operating in England.

We are providing a further £1.5 billion for elective recovery and reconfiguration, which includes funding for developing surgical hubs. This is in addition to £500 million provided in September 2021. Surgical hubs will be developed in existing hospital settings and plan to provide 29 types of operations.

The Getting It Right First Time programme, in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement, is providing guidance to systems and regions on how to use hubs effectively, to standardise pathways and adopt best surgical practice.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Screening
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the supply of lateral flow and PCR covid-19 tests.

Answered by Maggie Throup

In December 2021, we delivered approximately 280 million lateral flow device (LFD) tests and we have since procured new stocks and increased delivery capacity. We expect to deliver 90 million LFD tests a week across the United Kingdom, including East Yorkshire and County Durham, including seven million a day through GOV.UK. In England, this includes approximately 12 million tests a week through pharmacies.

For polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, we increased capacity before Christmas and developed a network which processed over four million tests by 10 January 2022. We expect that there is currently sufficient capacity to process PCR tests.


Written Question
Knives: Crime
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce knife crime.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

Tackling knife crime is a priority and the Government is determined to crack down on the scourge of violence devastating our communities.

We are supporting the police every step of the way in this effort. We have given them more powers and resources to go after criminals and take knives and other dangerous weapons off our streets, including through the recruitment of 20,000 additional officers and increasing police funding.

The Government has made £130.5m available this year to tackle serious violence, including murder and knife crime. This includes: £35.5m for Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) which bring together local partners to deliver a range of early intervention and prevention programmes and tackle the drivers of violence in the 18 areas worst affected by serious violence; £30m to support the police to take targeted action in parts of England and Wales most affected by serious violence through the Grip programme, which uses data to identify violence hotspots and target operational activity in those areas; and £20m for new early intervention programmes that will help stop young people from being drawn into violence, including cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, as well as specialist support in crisis moments such as when a person is admitted to A&E with a knife injury.

We have also invested £200m over 10 years for the Youth Endowment Fund, which is funding projects to support children and young people at risk of violence and exploitation and to steer them away from crime.

We acknowledge there is more to do which is why we are bringing forward the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill so the law-abiding majority can be confident they are safe. The Bill includes: Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which will give the police the power to stop and search adults already convicted of knife or offensive weapons offences; the Serious Violence Duty, which will require authorities and bodies delivering public services to collaborate to prevent and reduce serious violence in their areas; and offensive weapons homicide reviews which will be introduced to improve the national and local understanding of causes, patterns, victims and perpetrators of violence and homicide.

We have also prohibited certain particularly dangerous types of knife through the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 and have introduced the offence of possessing specified offensive weapons in private. The Act also introduced Knife Crime Prevention Orders which will provide the police with a vital means to steer those most at risk away from serious violence. On 5 July 2021 we introduced a pilot for KCPOs across the Metropolitan Police area.


Written Question
Fraud: Internet
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle online fraud.

Answered by Damian Hinds

Frauds that are committed online are pernicious crimes. They can cause terrible financial and emotional harm to victims. The Government has been working with partners in the public and private sectors to keep the public safe and bring these fraudsters to justice.

DCMS are leading ground-breaking work on the Online Safety Bill. The Bill will require regulated companies to take action to tackle user-generated fraud on their platforms. This will impact some of the most harmful online fraud types such as investment and romance scams. The Joint Committee recently published their report on the Bill and we are scrutinising this closely to make sure we comprehensively address their recommendations. DCMS are also leading work through the Online Advertising Programme that will consider, amongst other things, the role online advertising plays in enabling online fraud.

We have also been working closely alongside the National Cyber Security Centre who launched their Suspicious Email Reporting Service last year. This has already led to over 8.1 million reports received and the removal of over 67,000 scams and 124,000 harmful websites, since its inception in April 2020.

However, Government and the public sector cannot tackle online fraud alone. That is why, on the 21 October 2021, the Joint Fraud Taskforce was relaunched under my [Security Minister] chairmanship. The JFT brings together leaders from across the Government, private sector, regulators, law enforcement and victim groups to encourage collaboration to keep the public safe from these crimes. Alongside the relaunch, we published voluntary agreement with the retail banking, telecommunications and accountancy sectors outlining innovative measures to reduce fraud facilitated through these industries (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/joint-fraud-taskforce). The Online Fraud Steering Group (OFSG) is a public-private group focused on reducing the threat from online fraud in the UK. It reports into the Joint Fraud Taskforce and is co-chaired by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), UK Finance and techUK.

We continue to encourage the public to report fraud to Action fraud and to forward any suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious texts to 7726, free of charge.


Written Question
Safer Streets Fund
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to reduce crime through the Safer Streets Fund.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

We are delivering on the people’s priorities to cut crime and make our communities safe. The Safer Streets Fund enables Police and Crime Commissioners and Local Authorities across England and Wales to support interventions, including improved CCTV and streetlighting in areas experiencing high rates of neighbourhood crimes, such as burglary.

In total, £70 million has been invested; the first round worth £25 million and the second worth £20 million focused on preventing neighbourhood crimes, whilst third £25 million round, announced following the tragic death of Sarah Everard, aims to increase the safety of public spaces for all, with a particular focus on helping combat violence against women and girls.

As part of the October 2021 Budget, it was announced that £50 million per each for each of the three years of the Spending Review will be dedicated to the Safer Streets Fund, helping it continue its vital crime prevention role. Details of future rounds of funding will be announced in due course.


Written Question
Organised Crime: Drugs
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on tackling county line drugs gangs.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

This Government is determined to crack down on the county lines gangs who are exploiting our children and have a devastating impact on our communities. On 6 December the Government published a ten-year Strategy to combat illicit drugs which sets out a whole-system approach of how the Government is doing more than ever to cut off the supply of drugs by criminal gangs.

Through the Strategy, we will bolster our flagship County Lines Programme, investing up to £145m over the next three years to tackle the most violent and exploitative distribution model yet seen. By 2024, we expect this to result in over 2,000 more county lines closed, through a sustained attack on the distribution model.

This new funding will build on our progress in tackling drugs supply and county lines. Since November 2019, through our programme, the Police have already closed more than 1,500 lines, made over 7,400 arrests, seized £4.3 million in cash and significant quantities of drugs, and safeguarded more than 4,000 vulnerable people.


Written Question
Police: Recruitment
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress the Government has made on the recruitment of 20,000 additional police officers by 2023.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

We are increasing the number of police officers in England and Wales by 20,000, by March 2023. I am pleased to say excellent progress is being made in delivering against this target. As a result of their hard work and commitment police forces in England and Wales have recruited 11,053 additional officers, as at 30 September 2021. This is 55% of the 20,000 officer target.

We are also attracting a broad range of people into policing from all communities and backgrounds, including more women. I’m pleased to see that forces are seizing the opportunity of the uplift to make forces more representative of their communities.

Published data Police Officer uplift statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) show that as at 30 September 2021 there were 47,425 female officers (headcount) in total, representing 33.9% of officers in England and Wales. This is the highest number of female officers than ever before. Since April 2020, more than four in ten new recruits (42%) were female, an increase on 37% the year before.

The next set of quarterly statistics, showing progress to 31 December 2021,will be published on Wednesday 26 January 2022.


Written Question
Police: Females
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kieran Mullan (CON - Crewe and Nantwich)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on increasing the number of women police officers in England and Wales.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

We are increasing the number of police officers in England and Wales by 20,000, by March 2023. I am pleased to say excellent progress is being made in delivering against this target. As a result of their hard work and commitment police forces in England and Wales have recruited 11,053 additional officers, as at 30 September 2021. This is 55% of the 20,000 officer target.

We are also attracting a broad range of people into policing from all communities and backgrounds, including more women. I’m pleased to see that forces are seizing the opportunity of the uplift to make forces more representative of their communities.

Published data Police Officer uplift statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) show that as at 30 September 2021 there were 47,425 female officers (headcount) in total, representing 33.9% of officers in England and Wales. This is the highest number of female officers than ever before. Since April 2020, more than four in ten new recruits (42%) were female, an increase on 37% the year before.

The next set of quarterly statistics, showing progress to 31 December 2021,will be published on Wednesday 26 January 2022.