Liz Saville Roberts Portrait

Liz Saville Roberts

Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd

Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

(since May 2015)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice)

(since May 2015)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

(since May 2015)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Attorney General)

(since July 2020)
Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (Joint)
6th Mar 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Welsh Affairs Committee
23rd Oct 2017 - 11th Mar 2019
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Energy & Natural Resources)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Local Government)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Welsh Affairs Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Department Event
Tuesday 5th July 2022
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
5 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Oral Question
Thursday 7th July 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral Question No. 16
What recent assessment she has made of the sustainability and future of heritage steam railways.
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Department Event
Thursday 7th July 2022
10:10
Attorney General
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Jul 2022, 10:10 a.m.
Attorney General
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Department Event
Tuesday 12th July 2022
11:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 15th September 2022
09:30
Department for Transport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
15 Sep 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Transport (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 20th September 2022
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
20 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 22nd September 2022
10:10
Attorney General
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Sep 2022, 10:10 a.m.
Attorney General
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 3 Plaid Cymru No votes vs 0 Plaid Cymru Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 273 Noes - 205
Speeches
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Q12. When the Deputy Prime Minister announced his Bill of Rights last week, he said that it would strengthen our …
Written Answers
Monday 27th June 2022
Food: Consumption
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with (a) …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Community defibrillators
That this House celebrates the Welsh Ambulance Service for their fast and efficient work responding to a recent serious heart …
Bills
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to create offences in relation to the publication of false or misleading statements by elected representatives; and for …
Tweets
Wednesday 9th March 2022
19:51
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th March 2022
1. Employment and earnings
14 March 2022, received £1,000 from Wildflame Productions, Imperial House, 12 Trade Street, Cardiff CF10 5DT, for an appearance on …
EDM signed
Monday 27th June 2022
Geraint Thomas 2022 Tour De Suisse
That this House congratulates Geraint Thomas on winning the 2022 Tour De Suisse; notes that his victory in General Classification …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 24th March 2020
Wellbeing of Future Generations (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision for requiring public bodies to act in pursuit of the United Kingdom’s environmental, social, economic …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Liz Saville Roberts has voted in 378 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Liz Saville Roberts 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(42 debate interactions)
Simon Hart (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Wales
(39 debate interactions)
Victoria Atkins (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
(19 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(76 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(57 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(40 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(30 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Liz Saville Roberts's debates

Dwyfor Meirionnydd 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 Dwyfor Meirionnydd signature proportion
Petitions with most Dwyfor Meirionnydd signatures
Liz Saville Roberts has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Liz Saville Roberts

29th June 2022
Liz Saville Roberts signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 29th June 2022

Community defibrillators

Tabled by: Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
That this House celebrates the Welsh Ambulance Service for their fast and efficient work responding to a recent serious heart attack in the village of Blaenau Ffestiniog; congratulates the local community for their support of the individual, particularly local resident Erica Davies for providing CPR while waiting for the Ambulance …
1 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 1
28th June 2022
Liz Saville Roberts signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Tuesday 28th June 2022

Bwyd Bendigedig Porthmaog Incredible Edible scheme

Tabled by: Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
That this House recognises the inspiring work of Bwyd Bendigedig Port/ Incredible Edible Porthmadog (aka Edible Madog) in working to better connect local communities through the power of food by transforming underused public spaces into community vegetable gardens; welcomes Bwyd Bendigedig Port’s core aims of mitigating and adapting to climate …
2 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 1
Independent: 1
View All Liz Saville Roberts's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Liz Saville Roberts, 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.


Liz Saville Roberts has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Liz Saville Roberts

Monday 9th November 2020

5 Bills introduced by Liz Saville Roberts


A Bill to devolve management of the Crown Estate and its assets in Wales to the Welsh Government; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to create offences in relation to the publication of false or misleading statements by elected representatives; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 28th June 2022
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 28th October 2022

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to prevent abuse of process in civil and family courts; to make provision about cooperation between court jurisdictions; to create offences when certain civil and family court orders are breached; to amend the rights and duties of certain parties to prevent abuse of process in civil and family court; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 12th December 2017
(Read Debate)

To make provision for the circumstances in which the sexual history of a victim of rape or attempted rape may be introduced at a trial; to prohibit in certain circumstances the disclosure by the police of a victim’s identity to an alleged perpetrator of a serious sexual crime; to extend the range of serious offences which may be referred to the Court of Appeal on the grounds of undue leniency of the sentence; to amend the requirements for ground rules hearings; to make provision for the issuing in certain circumstances of guidance on safeguarding to schools; to make provision for training about serious sexual offences; to place a duty on the Secretary of State to provide guidelines for the courts in dealing with cases of serious sexual offences; to require the Secretary of State to report annually on the operation of the Act; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 8th February 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to consolidate offences relating to the misuse of digital devices, technologies, systemsand services for the purposes of committing or preparing to commit or aiding, abetting, facilitating or concealing the commission of a crime or disposal of theproceeds of a crime; to make provision reflecting technological advancements, including the training of criminal justice personnel; to establish a duty for theSecretary of State to provide advice and guidance to the digital andtelecommunications services industry aimed at reducing the misuse of digitaltechnologies for criminal purposes; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 9th March 2016

550 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
8 Other Department Questions
26th May 2022
To ask the President of COP26, whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the implications for the UK’s net-zero emissions target in the context of the super-deduction for UK oil and gas extraction through the Energy Profits Levy.

The COP President meets Cabinet colleagues regularly on a wide range of issues.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department has taken to verify the authenticity of organisations that contact sponsors directly under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

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

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts regarding net-zero appropriate energy alternatives in response to sanctions on Russia.

The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions, which are an egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter. The world must focus on generating cheaper, cleaner power that is not subject to volatile international markets.

I have regular discussions with my European counterparts on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and accelerating a well-managed transition to cleaner, more efficient energy systems to deliver energy security.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies on future building standards for communal areas in blocks of flats of the need to protect occupants from infection with covid-19, in particular where some of the flats are used as holiday lets.

COVID-19 has shown the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of infection. In England, it is through Part F of the Building Regulations that we set minimum ventilation standards for new buildings, or when work is done to an existing building. We have recently published our response to the Future Buildings Standard Consultation which sets out new guidance on Part F, to come into force in June 2022. The new guidance includes measures to mitigate the risks of airborne infection in new buildings, including CO2 monitoring and updated specifications for systems that recirculate air between rooms.

Buildings should be provided with an adequate means of ventilation as a requirement of the Building Regulations. The updated guidance for shared communal rooms (such as laundry rooms or communal gyms) in flats is provided in Approved Document F2. This states that rooms in new buildings where aerobic exercise is likely to take place, such as communal gyms, should have CO2 monitors installed, which allow air quality to be monitored.

Building regulations apply when a new building is erected, or when building work is done to an existing building. They apply equally to buildings irrespective of tenure, including those that are let for short periods of time, such as holiday lets.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether there are regulations in place to regulate the implementation of ventilation and other covid-19 safety measures in communal areas of residential blocks of flats which include a mix of permanent tenants and holiday lets.

COVID-19 has shown the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of infection. In England, it is through Part F of the Building Regulations that we set minimum ventilation standards for new buildings, or when work is done to an existing building. We have recently published our response to the Future Buildings Standard Consultation which sets out new guidance on Part F, to come into force in June 2022. The new guidance includes measures to mitigate the risks of airborne infection in new buildings, including CO2 monitoring and updated specifications for systems that recirculate air between rooms.

Buildings should be provided with an adequate means of ventilation as a requirement of the Building Regulations. The updated guidance for shared communal rooms (such as laundry rooms or communal gyms) in flats is provided in Approved Document F2. This states that rooms in new buildings where aerobic exercise is likely to take place, such as communal gyms, should have CO2 monitors installed, which allow air quality to be monitored.

Building regulations apply when a new building is erected, or when building work is done to an existing building. They apply equally to buildings irrespective of tenure, including those that are let for short periods of time, such as holiday lets.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010 in preventing discrimination (a) on the ground of religion or belief or (b) because of a lack a religion or belief.

The provisions within the Equality Act 2010 protect everyone equally, if they hold a recognised religion or belief or if they have a lack of any such religion or belief. The Act does not list or codify recognised religions or beliefs as this is a matter for the courts. Exceptions in the Act recognise the legitimate requirements of organised religions, such as allowing religions to require that its ministers hold that particular faith. We believe this is an effective legislative approach.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the data collected by the Government relating to children’s wellbeing.

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)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the value was of Government procurement from UK businesses registered in each NUTS 1 nation and region in 2019.

This information is not held centrally.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent by the Government on digital advertising to promote its work in Wales in each month between March 2020 and March 2021.

The Government Communication Service is a cross-government function with teams embedded in departments. Departments are responsible for their own advertising spend across all communication channels.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on government communication spend, including our national campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements at the link below: www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-spend-data.

We work closely across the United Kingdom to ensure that government communication activity reaches the intended audiences effectively.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on the Infected Blood Inquiry.

The Government is aware that there remains significant disparities in financial and non-financial support for people infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products across the UK. I am working with HM Treasury, the Department of Health and Social Care and health departments in the devolved administrations to take forward the actions necessary to address these disparities and Cabinet Office officials are in regular contact with colleagues in the devolved administrations on the progress of this work. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of such discussions are not normally disclosed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress he has made with on convening a meeting with the health ministers of the four nations of the UK to discuss the Infected Blood Inquiry.

The Government is aware that there remains significant disparities in financial and non-financial support for people infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products across the UK. I am working with HM Treasury, the Department of Health and Social Care and health departments in the devolved administrations to take forward the actions necessary to address these disparities and Cabinet Office officials are in regular contact with colleagues in the devolved administrations on the progress of this work. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of such discussions are not normally disclosed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2020 to Question 58751, on Mass Media: Coronavirus, if he will he list of the titles that his Department has supported through the covid-19 public information campaign.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQ 46692 on 29 May 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many cases brought to the Competition Appeal Tribunal within the last five years have taken over nine months to complete.

The Tribunal is resourced to deal with these cases as quickly as due process allows. The parties before the Tribunal need time to prepare for the hearing, and the Tribunal will set a timetable for this taking account of the parties' resources, the need for a fair hearing and the need to resolve cases as expeditiously as possible.

Further detail covering the period October 2010 to October 2020 was set out in the Call for Evidence for the recent post-implementation review of the Competition Appeal Tribunal Rules published in May 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the performance of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in completing cases in a timely manner.

The Post Implementation Review of the Competition Appeal Tribunal Rules 2015 was published in April 2022. This sets out that the intended objectives of the Rules, that is, to streamline procedures in the CAT and minimise the length and cost of CAT cases while ensuring access to recourse for affected parties, have largely been achieved.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal reports on all of their cases in their annual report and they provide regular updates on the case pages on their website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including unpaid carers in the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount.

The Warm Home Discount is a key policy in the Government’s strategy for tackling fuel poverty. The Government consulted on reforming the Warm Home Discount scheme to better target fuel poverty and to provide the rebates automatically to households, as announced in the Energy White Paper. The Government’s response to the consultation will be published in the coming weeks.

The reforms include focusing support on households on the lowest incomes who are struggling to heat their homes. Eligibility would therefore be linked to receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit and having high energy costs. Unpaid carers in receipt of one of the qualifying means-tested benefits and with high energy costs would therefore be eligible for a rebate.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the compensation available for homes that experience power cuts in severe weather; and whether it is his policy that those who experience a power cut for 24 hours as a result of a Category 2 Storm should be eligible for compensation.

Ofgem, the independent regulator for the UK’s energy networks, sets service levels which Distribution Network Operators must meet, with rules on how and when compensation payments are issued to consumers if the standards are not met. This is set out in the Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with energy providers on improving public awareness of the Warm Home Discount scheme.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt. Hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton on 14th December 2021 to Question 87565.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of conducting a hydrogen village trial by 2025 in Wales to better inform a policy decision on the use of hydrogen for heating buildings by 2026.

As set out in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government is supporting industry to deliver community trials of 100% hydrogen heating. BEIS and Ofgem have invited the Gas Distribution Network Operators to submit outline proposals for village trials by December 2021. The Government expect that one or more of these will then be selected to be developed into detailed proposals. Final decisions on where the trials will take place are expected to be taken in 2023.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating a dedicated hydrogen department within Ofgem.

The organisation design of Ofgem is a matter for Ofgem. BEIS will continue to work closely with Ofgem on delivering the government’s ambitions for a hydrogen economy as set out in the Hydrogen Strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a price-cap on liquified petroleum gas for people (a) lacking a grid-connection and (b) living in fuel poverty in Wales.

The Government has no plans to control prices or set a price-cap for liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

The LPG market operates under normal competition and consumer protection law supplemented by the Domestic Bulk LPG Market Investigation Orders (which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/liquefied-petroleum-gas-lpg-market-orders-and-calculator). The Orders enable easier switching of domestic bulk LPG supplier by domestic customers.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter for the Welsh Government.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of devolving to the Welsh Government powers regulating the sale and use of fireworks currently existing under the Fireworks Act 2003.

Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy engage with counterparts at the Welsh Government regularly, to ensure the safety of the public across the UK. This has included discussion of the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report and the steps the Government has taken to address their recommendations.

The Government has now implemented the recommendations it accepted following the Petition Committee’s report, complementing the ongoing programme of action which continues to tackle the key issues associated with fireworks. This includes the 2021 fireworks public safety information programme, with all campaign materials translated into Welsh.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government Response to the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report on Fireworks, published in March 2020, what progress his Department has made in implementing those recommendations of the inquiry into fireworks which were accepted; and what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on those recommendations.

Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy engage with counterparts at the Welsh Government regularly, to ensure the safety of the public across the UK. This has included discussion of the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report and the steps the Government has taken to address their recommendations.

The Government has now implemented the recommendations it accepted following the Petition Committee’s report, complementing the ongoing programme of action which continues to tackle the key issues associated with fireworks. This includes the 2021 fireworks public safety information programme, with all campaign materials translated into Welsh.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government Response to the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report on Fireworks, published in March 2020, if he will review his response to recommendations of the inquiry into fireworks which were not accepted; and what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on those recommendations.

The Government has now implemented the recommendations it accepted following the Petition Committee’s report on fireworks. We have no current plans to introduce further restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks to the public but we continue to monitor the situation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the statement by India’s foreign secretary on 21 September 2021, how many doses of covid-19 vaccine the UK has purchased from India; and how many of those doses have been distributed.

Earlier this year, the UK purchased some Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, which form part of the UK's agreement for 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the use of residential heating oil are in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) England and (e) the UK.

The following table shows estimated greenhouse gas emission from the domestic combustion of oil in the UK in 2019 by country, measured in million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), from the UK’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Greenhouse gas emission from the domestic combustion of oil in the UK in 2019 (MtCO2e)

England

3.1

Northern Ireland

1.8

Scotland

0.6

Wales

0.6

UK total

6.2

Source: UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory, BEIS
Note: figures do not add up to total due to rounding

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the compatibility of proposals in the Subsidy Control Bill with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Officials are working with the Department of International Trade to ensure that our international agreements are consistent with and support our ambitious domestic policy agenda. The Government is committed to upholding all its international obligations, including those on subsidy control. We do not anticipate any incompatibility issues with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which does not contain any commitments on subsidies that conflict with the proposals in the Subsidy Control Bill.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what impact assessment he has conducted on the Subsidy Control Bill and its potential effect on food and drink procurement by Welsh local authorities from within their authority area.

An Impact Assessment was published alongside the Subsidy Control Bill , which gives an overarching assessment of the impact the measures in the Bill will have on public institutions and business. It focuses on the subsidy control regime’s framework, rather than the individual subsidies that may be awarded under it.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what impact assessment he has conducted on the potential effect of proposals in the Subsidy Control Bill on food and drink procurement by local authorities.

An Impact Assessment was published alongside the Subsidy Control Bill , which gives an overarching assessment of the impact the measures in the Bill will have on public institutions and business. It focuses on the subsidy control regime’s framework, rather than the individual subsidies that may be awarded under it.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of whether proposals for the Cambo oilfield are compatible with the (a) Government’s climate targets and (b) Paris Agreement on climate change.

Cambo is not a new oilfield, it was licensed in 2001. The development proposal from Cambo is being scrutinised in line with robust regulatory procedures and no decision has yet been taken.

Oil and natural gas are still required for heating, cooking and transport, and are vital to the production of many everyday essentials like medicines, plastics, cosmetics and household appliances. While we are working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels, there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee, with the UK as net importers of both oil and gas.

Looking forward, the Government will introduce a climate compatibility checkpoint which will be used to assess whether any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with our climate goals. We have committed to launching the checkpoint by the end of 2021.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the transmission electricity network in Wales in facilitating renewable energy generation.

The Government recognises the importance of investing in electricity transmission network infrastructure to enable renewable generation to build and connect to the grid. The electricity transmission network in Wales and across Great Britain is regulated via a price control, set and administered by Ofgem, as the independent regulator. The current price control commenced on 1 April this year, and it includes £8.7bn of upfront funding for electricity transmission across Great Britain, £5.4bn (2018/19 prices) of which is allocated to National Grid Electricity Transmission which owns and operates the electricity transmission network in England and Wales. Further funding of up to £10bn for future projects to enable net zero is also available across the next price control (electricity transmission and gas), including readying the network for further renewable generation.

The UK Government remains firmly committed to the renewables industry across the UK, including in Wales. To date, Contracts for Difference (CfD) have been awarded to 5 projects in Wales, totalling around 200MW of capacity. Future CfD auctions will provide further opportunities for developers of renewable electricity projects in Wales to secure contracts and expand the amount of capacity supported by the scheme in Wales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the UK to begin receiving the 50 million doses of variant vaccines secured as part of the partnership with CureVac.

We expect deliveries of the vaccines from CureVac later this year, if required. This will be subject to successful clinical trials and regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate the use of smart meters for residential solar PV installations.

Smart meters are replacing traditional gas and electricity meters in Great Britain as part of an essential infrastructure upgrade to make the energy system more efficient and flexible, enabling the cost-effective delivery of net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

All smart meters are capable of recording electricity that is exported to the grid from onsite renewable generation sources, such as solar panels.

The rollout is making good progress, with 23.6 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain, as of the end of December 2020.

The latest data on the rollout of smart meters is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/smart-meters-statistics.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support research and development into wool-based products in Wales.

The Government’s ambitions are for a world-leading system that unlocks innovation and growth throughout all parts of the economy across the UK. Research and development are central to igniting the UK’s economic recovery, boosting productivity, creating new jobs and improving people’s quality of life.

Last Summer, we published the R&D Roadmap which outlines our plan to ensure the UK is the best place in the world for scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs to live and work. Through our R&D Places Strategy, we will ensure research and development benefits the economies in places across the UK, including Wales, as part of our wider commitment to levelling up.

In November 2020, the Spending Review set out the government’s plan to cement the UK’s status as a global leader in science and innovation by investing £14.6bn in R&D in 2021-22. We will increase public R&D investment to £22bn per year by 2024-25. This investment supports our commitments set out in the R&D Roadmap and helps consolidate our position as a science superpower.

We are continuing to work with devolved administrations and other Government departments on delivering the R&D Roadmap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with private developers on proposals to build a battery factory in (a) Wales and (b) elsewhere in the UK.

The Government remains committed to securing UK gigafactories.

Ministers and Officials in the Department are regularly engaging with potential investors. These discussions are ongoing, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on specific cases.

There are a range of factors that will influence the location of any UK gigafactory investment, and ultimately this decision will be a commercial matter. There are several locations across the UK that may meet the requirements of investors, including in Wales.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a carbon border levy.

As we deliver our 10 point plan, we recognise it is important to ensure that our ambitious policy interventions do not lead to increased emissions elsewhere. We are working across government to better understand this potential issue, known as carbon leakage, including the impact it could have on the UK.

As set out in the interim report of the Net Zero Review published in December, a range of approaches could potentially help to address carbon leakage. The EU’s proposed carbon border levy is one policy option, which we are monitoring closely.

The UK will continue working closely with all our international partners to address climate change across the economy, using our G7 and COP26 Presidencies to ensure that we build back better following the coronavirus pandemic.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to restrict the distribution of plastic toys with children’s magazines.

All children’s toys on the UK market, whether sold or supplied individually or along with children’s magazines, must meet the safety requirements set out in the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 (‘The Regulations’). Under the Regulations, any toys distributed in the UK must not jeopardise the safety or health of users or third parties when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way, bearing in mind the behaviour of children. The Regulations also set out requirements for warnings and safe use labels on toys and other safety obligations that must be met by manufacturers, importers and distributors; again, these apply however the toys are supplied.

Any toys distributed along with children’s magazines must be safe and meet the requirements of the Regulations. The Office for Product Safety and Standards and local authority Trading Standards have powers to enforce the Regulations.

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 discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the effect of higher carbon levies on steelmaking in Port Talbot.

The Government has introduced a UK Emissions Trading Scheme, enabling steelmakers, and others in industry, to use markets to decarbonise in a cost-effective way. The Department works closely with both HM Treasury and the Devolved Administrations on this Scheme. The Government recognises the important role that the UK steel industry plays in keeping our economy moving and growing post COVID-19, and has therefore put in place a package of ongoing measures to support it during this challenging time and beyond. This includes more than £500 million in relief since 2013 to make the sector’s electricity costs more competitive.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the effect of higher carbon levies on steelmaking in Port Talbot.

The Government has introduced a UK Emissions Trading Scheme, enabling steelmakers, and others in industry, to use markets to decarbonise in a cost-effective way. The Department works closely with both HM Treasury and the Devolved Administrations on this Scheme. The Government recognises the important role that the UK steel industry plays in keeping our economy moving and growing post COVID-19, and has therefore put in place a package of ongoing measures to support it during this challenging time and beyond. This includes more than £500 million in relief since 2013 to make the sector’s electricity costs more competitive.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to provide financial support to the planned new Britishvolt factory in Blyth.

I welcome Britishvolt’s announcement. As my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister set out recently in his 10 Point Plan, manufacturing electric vehicles and developing the required supply chain right here in the UK is a key part of building back better and greener. A Gigafactory will support industry, provide high quality jobs and help the automotive sector transform over the coming decade - as we make strides towards our world-beating net zero goals.

The Government has announced nearly £500m of support through the Automotive Transformation Fund to drive the electrification of the UK automotive sector. This is part of the up to £1 billion that this government previously committed to these efforts. The application process is managed by the Advanced Propulsion Centre on behalf of BEIS and funding will be allocated on a competitive basis, dependent on a full assessment of the relative value for money of any request received.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with representatives of Britishvolt on its planned factory in Blyth.

I welcome Britishvolt’s announcement. As my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister set out recently in his 10 Point Plan, manufacturing electric vehicles and developing the required supply chain right here in the UK is a key part of building back better and greener. A Gigafactory will support industry, provide high quality jobs and help the automotive sector transform over the coming decade - as we make strides towards our world-beating net zero goals.

The Government has announced nearly £500m of support through the Automotive Transformation Fund to drive the electrification of the UK automotive sector. This is part of the up to £1 billion that this government previously committed to these efforts. The application process is managed by the Advanced Propulsion Centre on behalf of BEIS and funding will be allocated on a competitive basis, dependent on a full assessment of the relative value for money of any request received.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much capital spending took place on research and development in 2019 by population share in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is planning to release in spring 2021 estimates of gross domestic expenditure on research and development in 2019 including estimates of R&D performed in different parts of the United Kingdom.

The latest available figures are for 2018: the ONS has estimated R&D performed was £786m in Wales, £2,706m in Scotland, £715m in Northern Ireland, and £32,862m in England. Dividing by the ONS mid-year population estimates would give figures of about £250 for Wales, £498 for Scotland, £380 for Northern Ireland, and £587 for England.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the merits of a public information campaign aimed at raising awareness about the risks posed by counterfeit electrical products.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is developing plans to run a pilot public awareness campaign focussing on counterfeit goods in the beauty and hygiene sector in 2021. If successful, the IPO will consider further campaigns for other product sectors such as counterfeit electrical products.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the number of people buying unsafe electrical products online of introducing regulations to require online sales platforms to (a) immediately remove goods deemed unsafe, (b) notify the buyer when they become aware that an unsafe item has been purchased and (c) take other steps to accept responsibility for the goods bought and sold on their websites.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe products can be sold in the UK. Distributors, including those selling online, have legal responsibilities under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 to ensure that equipment has the required labelling and that they do not make equipment available on the market where they know or suspect it to be unsafe. Manufacturers and importers must ensure that only safe electrical products are placed on the market, monitor the safety of their products in use and keep distributors informed of the monitoring.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) are conducting a review of the Product Safety framework to ensure it remains one of the best in the world in both protecting consumers and enabling businesses to innovate and grow. The review will consider the impact on product safety of new technologies and new business models, including e-commerce.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what date he plans to publish his Energy White Paper.

The Energy White Paper is a priority and it will be published this Autumn.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the dates on which the Hydrogen Advisory Council is planned to meet.

The inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council (HAC) was on 20 July 2020. It is expected to meet quarterly for at least the next two years with the next meeting scheduled on 14 October 2020.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase the number of trials that are testing the safety of using hydrogen for domestic heat.

Hydrogen is one potential option for decarbonising heating, alongside other solutions, including heat pumps and heat networks. The Government is therefore supporting a range of research, development and testing projects involving hydrogen to help determine the feasibility of using low carbon hydrogen as an alternative to the use of natural gas for heating in homes.

The Government is working closely with industry and other stakeholders to identify further testing and trials needed to provide evidence on issues including safety, feasibility, costs and benefits and the overall consumer experience.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to promote the UK's hydrogen sector at COP26.

We are exploring ways to promote UK hydrogen activity and enhance international cooperation at COP26.

COP provides an ideal platform to showcase UK's unique hydrogen opportunities. Harnessing UK geographical advantages such as offshore wind resource and potential CO2 storage for low carbon hydrogen production, with deployment across the energy system to enable deep decarbonisation in line with our net zero commitment.

Options under discussion include demonstration of hydrogen appliances developed under the Hy4Heat programme, as part of the BEIS Energy Innovation Portfolio; representation from leading UK hydrogen companies and projects; and discussion of international cooperation to accelerate clean energy innovation, including hydrogen. We will continue to develop this thinking in the coming months.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the UK's hydrogen strategy; and what steps he is taking to formalise cross-departmental working on the Government's hydrogen strategy.

The Government is committed to the development of hydrogen as a decarbonised energy carrier for the UK and we are currently developing our strategic approach to hydrogen. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is Chair of the Climate Action Implementation Cabinet Committee (CAI) which covers topics including hydrogen. BEIS officials and I also continue to work across government departments, including an on-going review of governance arrangements, to ensure we work effectively to develop new policy to help bring forward the technologies and supply chain we will need to grow the UK hydrogen economy.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the increase in workplace flexibility as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and whether her Department has plans to publish a long-term strategy for more flexible working to help disabled people (a) find, (b) stay in and (c) progress at work.

Currently, we are seeing an increase in flexible working with many businesses rapidly adapting to remote working, using new technology and finding new ways of working. As we move beyond the current situation, and the economy begins to reopen, we are very keen to do more to promote flexible working in all its forms.

This Government is clear about the benefits of flexible working for employers and for their employees. In our manifesto we said that, subject to consultation, we would introduce measures to make flexible working the default.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of proposals for an additional bank holiday in autumn 2020; and whether his Department has identified potential dates for that proposed bank holiday.

Currently there are no plans to change the bank holiday dates.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to commemorate a variety of occasions. The current pattern of public and bank holidays is well established and acknowledged within the country.

Whilst an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy of an additional bank holiday is considerable. The estimated cost to the economy of the one-off bank holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was £1.2 billion.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions has he had with ministers in the Welsh Government on the deployment of wooden wind turbines.

No discussions have taken place with the Welsh Government on the deployment or promotion of wooden wind turbines. We welcome innovation in this area, provided the appropriate construction and safety standards are met.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to promote the development of wooden wind turbines.

No discussions have taken place with the Welsh Government on the deployment or promotion of wooden wind turbines. We welcome innovation in this area, provided the appropriate construction and safety standards are met.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the continued viability of City Deals in Wales as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

To date, the Government has committed up to £3.08 billion to City and Growth Deals across Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This includes Deals already agreed in Cardiff, Swansea Bay, and North Wales.

These Deals are an important part of our approach to driving growth, attracting long-term investment, and creating sustainable, high-quality jobs in Wales.

Regions need to regularly assess the benefits and deliverability of their individual programmes in light of changing local circumstances. We will work with all areas to ensure City and Growth Deals respond are responsive, so they can continue to deliver maximum impact for their local area.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the level of dependence on Chinese investment of the (a) manufacturing and production industries, (b) IT and internet industries, (c) retail sector and (d) NUTS 1 region.

At at 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) data shows that China had the following FDI positions in UK sectors:

China Inward FDI Position (£m)

Global Inward FDI Position (£m)

China as % of Total Global FDI to UK

Manufacturing and Production

325

368,718

0.1%

Information and Communication

28

140,695

0.02%

Retail and Wholesale

230

125,302

0.2%

Total Economy

1,775

1,520,603

0.1%

Estimates of FDI that are based on the UK regional location of such investments are not available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2020 to Question 30846, whether he is taking steps to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the timetable for implementing the Clean Steel Fund.

The Coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation and every part of the Government is being mobilised to protect our public health. While civil service capabilities and resources are being redeployed accordingly, supporting industry onto a pathway consistent with net zero remains a key priority and work continues to ensure we meet our commitments.

Steel is a key industrial sector of strategic importance to the UK economy, and we remain committed to designing and delivering the £250 million Clean Steel Fund as planned. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders to develop the scheme, ensuring that it meets their interests.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2020 to Question 30151, whether he has taken steps to ensure that the covid-19 outbreak does not delay the launch of the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund.

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation and Government is being mobilised to protect public health - with Civil Service capabilities and resources being redeployed accordingly. Nonetheless, supporting industry onto a pathway consistent with Net Zero remains a key Government priority and work continues at pace to ensure we meet our commitments.

We remain committed to engaging with industry to design and deliver the £100 million Low Carbon Hydrogen Fund as planned.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made in implementing the Clean Steel Fund.

In August 2019, the Government announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes. The Fund will help the sector towards achieving our target of net zero emissions by 2050 , by maximising longevity and resilience while harnessing clean growth opportunities.

Steel industry stakeholders provided positive responses to our recent Call for Evidence, which closed in November 2019. The Department is currently analysing responses to inform the scheme’s design, and as we develop the scheme, we will continue to engage closely with the sector to ensure that it meets the needs of businesses.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27583, on Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund: Wales, what discussions officials in his Department have had with Welsh Government officials on the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund (LCHF) was announced in August 2019. The fund is intended to support the development of technology to produce hydrogen at scale, as a decarbonised energy carrier alongside other decarbonised gases. Formal engagement has yet to begin, but we will be discussing the design of the fund with stakeholders throughout 2020, with a view to making a call for bids in 2021. This will involve engagement with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27583, what his Department's timescale is for launching of the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund (LCHF) was announced in August 2019. The fund is intended to support the development of technology to produce hydrogen at scale, as a decarbonised energy carrier alongside other decarbonised gases. Formal engagement has yet to begin, but we will be discussing the design of the fund with stakeholders throughout 2020, with a view to making a call for bids in 2021.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27583 on Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund: Wales, whether his Department has consulted the Scottish Government on that fund.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund (LCHF) was announced in August 2019. The fund is intended to support the development of technology to produce hydrogen at scale, as a decarbonised energy carrier alongside other decarbonised gases. Formal engagement has yet to begin, but we will be discussing the design of the fund with stakeholders throughout 2020, with a view to making a call for bids in 2021. This will involve engagement with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the potential for on-farm generation of biogas.

Biogas is produced through anaerobic digestion (AD) using biomass feedstocks such as food and on-farm waste (e.g. manure and slurries). Biogas can be used to generate electricity?or?heat (or both?outputs?in a CHP?system).?The Government supports AD as an effective treatment for organic waste that produces renewable fuel, heat or energy and a nutrient rich by-product, digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser.

The Government regularly engages with the Welsh Government, at both ministerial and official level, on a range of issues including biogas.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2020 to Question 25168, how much of the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund has been allocated to facilities in Wales.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund is still under development, and no funds have been allocated to date. The Government is working with industry to inform design of the scheme, and further details will be available later in 2020. We welcome ongoing engagement with stakeholders in the region on a range of industrial decarbonisation options including low carbon hydrogen.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential for on-farm generation of biogas.

Biogas is produced through anaerobic digestion (AD) using biomass feedstocks such as food and on-farm waste (e.g. manure and slurries). Biogas can be used to generate electricity?or?heat (or both?outputs?in a CHP?system).?Alternatively, it can be upgraded into biomethane to directly replace natural gas in the gas grid. The Government supports AD as an effective treatment for organic waste that produces renewable fuel, heat or energy and a nutrient rich by-product, digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser.

Currently, biogas and biomethane produced by AD are supported by the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI). The RHI has funding confirmed for new deployment of renewable heat technologies until 31 March 2021. The Budget on 11 March confirmed a new allocation of flexible tariff guarantees on the non-domestic RHI and announced a new support scheme for biomethane production to increase the proportion of green gas in the grid, funded by a Green Gas Levy.

The Department engages regularly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at both ministerial and official level, on a range of issues including biogas.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential for on-farm refinement of biogas into compressed natural gas.

Biogas is produced through anaerobic digestion (AD) using biomass feedstocks such as food and on-farm waste (e.g. manure and slurries). Biogas can be used to generate electricity?or?heat (or both?outputs?in a CHP?system).?Alternatively, it can be upgraded into biomethane to directly replace natural gas in the gas grid. The Government supports AD as an effective treatment for organic waste that produces renewable fuel, heat or energy and a nutrient rich by-product, digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser.

Currently, biogas and biomethane produced by AD are supported by the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI). The RHI has funding confirmed for new deployment of renewable heat technologies until 31 March 2021. The Budget on 11 March confirmed a new allocation of flexible tariff guarantees on the non-domestic RHI and announced a new support scheme for biomethane production to increase the proportion of green gas in the grid, funded by a Green Gas Levy.

The Department engages regularly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at both ministerial and official level, on a range of issues including biogas.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20598, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on developing Welsh manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle batteries.

Ministers and officials regularly speak with the Welsh Government on issues such as the transition to zero emission vehicles and the impact on the wider supply chain, including batteries, to support vehicle electrification.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of using compressed natural gas as a fuel source for agricultural vehicles.

Through the Advanced Propulsion Centre programme, BEIS is providing CNH Industrial project funding to develop an advanced engine, fuelling system and composite gas storage tanks to enable tractors to run on compressed natural gas. This technology is designed to utilise bio-methane production on farms, harnessing the bio-digestion of farm waste. This project addresses a key supply chain gap for high performance gas storage and aims to help revolutionise the farming industry and the supply of farm machinery including utility vehicles.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20600, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on supporting the generation of green hydrogen in Wales.

Ministers and officials are in regular contact with DIT counterparts and Welsh Government officials on this matter.

We are exploring hydrogen’s potential to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs and capturing the commercial opportunities of the global low carbon shift.

There is tremendous opportunity for the UK to build both internal capacity and export potential for low carbon hydrogen. The future market for all?hydrogen?technologies could yield around £5.3bn of GVA and create nearly 50,000 jobs to meet demand in export and domestic markets[1].

With South Wales housing being one of the UK’s key industrial clusters, we will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government and local stakeholders on a range of decarbonisation options including low carbon hydrogen.

[1] Energy Innovation Needs Assessment, Sub-theme report – Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, October 2019 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-innovation-needs-assessments.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20600, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the export potential of UK green hydrogen technologies.

While I have not had any direct discussions on this, BEIS officials are in regular contact with DIT counterparts and Welsh Government officials on this matter.

We are exploring hydrogen’s potential to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs and capturing the commercial opportunities of the global low carbon shift.

There is tremendous opportunity for the UK to build both internal capacity and export potential for low carbon hydrogen. The future market for all?hydrogen?technologies could yield around £5.3bn of GVA and create nearly 50,000 jobs to meet demand in export and domestic markets[1].

With South Wales being one of the UK’s key industrial clusters, we will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government and local stakeholders on a range of decarbonisation options including low carbon hydrogen.

[1] Energy Innovation Needs Assessment, Sub-theme report – Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, October 2019 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-innovation-needs-assessments.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of hydrogen-powered trains on railways.

The Government is committed to exploring the option of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, alongside electricity and other decarbonised gases to support the UK’s net zero target. We are investing up to £121m in hydrogen innovation across the value chain and have announced a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund which will support deployment of low carbon hydrogen production facilities. Hydrogen could play a key role in decarbonising parts of the transport network that are currently hard to electrify, including on the rail network. The Government welcomes the development of viable hydrogen-powered rolling stock by Alstom working with rolling stock owners Eversholt and Porterbrook Leasing with Birmingham University, and recognises the opportunity to build a distinctive UK capability.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met with Welsh Government ministers on Welsh representation at COP26.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government as well as with the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK.

The Business Secretary is committed to working collaboratively with the Welsh Government on common portfolio areas including Energy and Climate Change. This collaborative engagement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government will support the successful delivery of COP26.

Officials from the UK and Welsh Governments are in regular dialogue about COP, and met again at senior level this week.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met with Welsh Government officials on the organisation of COP26.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government as well as with the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK.

The Business Secretary is committed to working collaboratively with the Welsh Government on common portfolio areas including Energy and Climate Change. UK Government officials are routinely engaging with officials in the Welsh Government on the organisation of COP26. This collaborative engagement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government will support the successful delivery of COP26.

Officials from the UK and Welsh Governments are in regular dialogue about COP, and met again at senior level this week.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the generation of green hydrogen.

We are committed to exploring the option of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, alongside electricity and other decarbonised gases. This includes exploring the role of electrolytic hydrogen production.

In the UK we are investing £33 million in innovation for hydrogen production, including support to accelerate the development of electrolytic hydrogen generation through our Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply competition. One of the projects funded will develop larger capacity, lower cost electrolysers. Another is developing an innovative green hydrogen production solution, combining floating offshore wind farm with offshore electrolysis.

We also announced our £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund which aims to deploy low carbon hydrogen production capacity to enable greater use of hydrogen as a decarbonisation option across the energy system.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to develop hydrogen-vehicle refuelling infrastructure.

The Government is committed to exploring the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, which has potential to support the UK’s efforts to decarbonise transport and meet the 2050 Net Zero target. The UK is well placed to be a leader in hydrogen and fuel-cell powered transportation due to our high-quality engineering and manufacturing capability and we are investing in innovation within the hydrogen supply chain from production to end use.

The Government’s £23 million Hydrogen for Transport programme aims to increase the uptake of fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and grow the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations. We are delivering nine new refuelling stations, upgrading five existing stations, and deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles. Alongside this, the £2 million FCEV Fleet Support Scheme is supporting public and private sector fleets to become early adopters of hydrogen fuel-cell cars and vans.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to facilitate the development of domestic manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle batteries.

The Government has a long-standing programme of support to maintain the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. Through the Automotive Sector Deal, we are working with the industry to develop world-leading battery technologies.

We have already invested £274 million in the Faraday Battery Challenge (FBC) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Faraday is a cutting-edge programme, helping UK businesses to lead the world in the design, development, and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. Under the FBC, we have invested £120 million in the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) which will open in 2020 and provide a state-of-the-art pilot facility to test new cell technology. UKBIC will play a key role in laying the groundwork to secure a battery Gigafactory in the UK.

In October 2019, the Government announced up to £1 billion of additional funding to develop UK supply chains for the large-scale production of, and research and development for, electric vehicles.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on the organisation of COP 26.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK.

The Business Secretary and Welsh Government ministers have instructed officials to work collaboratively across a number of common portfolio areas, including climate change. This is part of the ongoing engagement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government to support the successful delivery of COP26.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the viability of kaolinite-rich clay mining in Wales.

The Department has not assessed kaolinite-rich clay deposits in Wales, though I would encourage my officials, alongside Welsh Government representatives, to meet with private sector investors who have commercially viable proposals for such activity. This is the case for any investment proposition in the UK, including Wales.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department made of the affordability of quoted excess costs for consumers who have requested a universal service connection in Dwyfor Merionnydd since January 2020.

The Department is aware that some BT quotations for connection under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) are significantly above the Reasonable Cost Threshold of £3,400 per premise. In September 2020, I wrote to Ofcom’s Chief Executive, Dame Melanie Dawes to outline my concerns with some of the quotes and how BT was aggregating demand from USO eligible premises.

In October 2020, Ofcom opened an investigation into BT’s compliance with its obligations as a Universal Service Provider. In January 2021, Ofcom issued a statement, stating that they had completed their initial information gathering, would be gathering additional evidence and expected to provide an update by the end of March.

Alongside the USO, the government is investing £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest to reach 20% of premises in the UK. The government recognises that the UK has some very remote places - around 0.3% of the country or less than 100,000 premises - that may be too expensive to build a gigabit-capable broadband network to, even with substantial public subsidy. These premises are also likely to be significantly above the USO’s Reasonable Cost Threshold. On 19 March, the government launched a call for evidence to explore the barriers to improving the broadband of these premises and how innovative new technologies could help.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on the continuation of the top-up to the gigabit broadband voucher scheme in Wales for 2021-22.

Building Digital UK has regular discussions with all Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme Top-Up partners, including the Welsh Government, and during the development of the UK Gigabit Voucher these discussions have included options for topping up the new voucher.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits for (a) the heritage sector, (b) the Welsh economy and (c) rural jobs of lifting the cap on Sideways Loss Relief for heritage attractions for the 2020-21 financial year.

The UK’s heritage assets are important to tourism and are internationally admired, but any change in the current Sideways Loss Relief system, such as an increase in the cap to £100,000, must be thoroughly considered and protected against abuse.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been working hard to support our sectors through this period of uncertainty, including the heritage sector. DCMS will continue to explore this proposal with HMT as we move forward into future fiscal events.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on cutting VAT on the repair and maintenance of listed buildings.

My officials are in contact with Her Majesty's Treasury regarding cutting VAT to repairs and maintenance to Listed Buildings. I understand that many in the heritage sector regard the current system as a negative incentive to demolish existing buildings entirely and start again. As with all tax matters, this is something which HMT keeps under regular review. My officials and I will continue to engage with the heritage sector to build a robust evidence base and develop targeted interventions that might benefit listed buildings in this space.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many broadband cabinets in the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd are not enabled for fibre or their locations.

The release of information regarding cabinets is a matter for Openreach due to commercial sensitivity. However, Open Market Review data suggests that in Dwyfor Meirionnydd there are 38,285 properties which can either access superfast broadband speeds or are in plans to receive it within the next two years. These may be commercial or public sector plans. There are 4,439 properties which both cannot receive superfast broadband speeds and are not in any plans to receive it. Although not a devolved matter, this specific data is captured by Welsh Government and can be found at https://gov.wales/next-generation-access-broadband-2019.

For queries about coverage, please refer to Ofcom Connected Nations data. Ofcom published the Connected Nations 2020 data on 17 December, which includes a table of data aggregated to parliamentary constituency level - Dwyfor Meirionnydd: 82.9% of premises have at least Superfast, of which 16.4% have full fibre. Constituency data is available from the HoC library, that does some constituency level aggregations: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/constituency-data-broadband-coverage-and-speeds/

We would also draw your attention to this web site. Whilst the “official data” is the Ofcom Connected Nations report, the ThinkBroadband data tends to be slightly more up to date and is easier to search at National or Constituency level.https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/W07000061

It also has a useful map facility so you can see geographical information about speeds and not-spots in your area. We have centered this map over your constituency and turned on the layers for BT Openreach connectivity https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#10/52.8152/-3.9970/openreach/adsl/geafttp/virgin/gfast/

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether IPSO has met the 38 recommendations set out in the Leveson Inquiry report 2012.

The media landscape has changed significantly since the Leveson Inquiry, and with it, the system of press self-regulation. We now have a stronger system through The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

The government is committed to independent self regulation of the press, and does not intervene in or oversee the work of IPSO.

In 2016 IPSO commissioned its own external review which found it had made some important achievements in demonstrating it was an independent and effective regulator, and that it was largely compliant with the recommendations of the Leveson Report.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of IPSO’s procedures for processing complaints from individuals affected by press abuse.

The media landscape has changed significantly since the Leveson Inquiry, and with it, the system of press self-regulation. We now have a stronger system through The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

The government is committed to independent self regulation of the press, and does not intervene in or oversee the work of IPSO.

In 2016 IPSO commissioned its own external review which found it had made some important achievements in demonstrating it was an independent and effective regulator, and that it was largely compliant with the recommendations of the Leveson Report.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) the Welsh Football Association on providing additional funding for the Welsh Football Association.

Although sport is a devolved matter, the Government continues to liaise closely with its counterparts in the Welsh Government.

As part of a promotional deal with the Football Association (FA), the National Lottery has provided a total of £10m in funding for the 66 clubs in the National Football League. This is a promotional deal led by the National Lottery and the Football Association. The National League is responsible for distributing funds and determining how and when the clubs receive this funding.

The National Lottery is now working with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland FAs to explore similar initiatives.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support package he plans to provide to (a) newspapers and (b) media outlets more widely in response to the covid-19 outbreak, and whether conditions will be attached to that funding.

Media outlets across the UK are facing existential pressures due to the impacts of Covid-19. The government remains in regular dialogue with stakeholders across the media sectors regarding ways in which this can be mitigated, in addition to the unprecedented package of nationwide support announced by the Chancellor.

In terms of newspapers in particular, the government has provided specific support to publishers during the crisis. The government has clarified that all journalists, including broadcast journalists, and other ancillary staff, are ‘key workers’ for the purposes of access to childcare and educational places. The government also issued guidance to local authorities on the importance of newspaper delivery, which has been critical to the continued dissemination of public interest news.

The government has also sought to maximise newspapers’ advertising opportunities by implementing a public information campaign to ensure the distribution of authoritative, up-to-date information about Covid-19, while also alleviating publishers’ financial pressures. The current partnership brings together over 600 titles across the UK, the vast majority of which are local papers. As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level and to ensure value for money, reach and targeting efficacy.

For online media outlets, the government has taken steps to ensure the use of ‘keyword blocklisting’ technology is not inadvertently damaging any news publishers’ online advertising revenues for Covid-19 related stories. Additionally, the Chancellor brought forward the commencement of zero-rating of VAT on all e-newspapers in order to bring savings to readers and support digital publishing.

The department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is in regular dialogue with stakeholders about ensuring the support offered is as effective and fair as it can be. Ministers are engaging with broadcasters (both TV and radio) and news publishers on a regular basis to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on their day to day operations, and how the government can support them. The government will continue to consider all possible options in the interests of promoting and sustaining high-quality news journalism.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support for Heritage Railways in the UK her Department and HM Treasury have agreed since 8 April 2020.

We recognise the extremely difficult circumstances which heritage and tourism businesses, including heritage railways, are currently facing across the country as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. To assist in mitigating this impact, the Chancellor has announced an extensive financial support package for business and workers in the current economic emergency. The Heritage Alliance, of which the Heritage Railway Association is a member, is represented at weekly Ministerial teleconferences with DCMS, in order to communicate members’ issues and concerns to Government to help us to seek solutions and mitigations.

Heritage railways may wish to apply for further support from the Heritage Emergency Fund, a £50million scheme launched by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the heritage sector through the Covid-19 pandemic. They may also want to approach Historic England, who have announced a £2million programme of grants for smaller, specialist organisations and projects.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase awareness in schools of (a) British Sign Language, (b) Welsh, (c) Ulster Scots, (d) Irish, (e) Shelta, (f) Cornish, (g) Polish, (h) Punjabi, (i) Urdu, (k) Arabic and (l) other languages used in the UK.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the information for England only. The government is committed to increasing the number of pupils studying languages at GCSE, including languages that are reflected in modern Britain. That is why the teaching of languages is in the national curriculum for pupils from age 7 to 14, and why GCSE languages were included as part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) suite of subjects in 2010. There are eighteen GCSEs in modern languages that are recognised in the EBacc, including Arabic, Polish, Punjabi, and Urdu.

The department also remains committed to reforming the subject content for French, German and Spanish GCSEs in order to make them more well-rounded for both teachers and pupils, focusing on the foundational building blocks of language education, namely vocabulary, phonics and grammar. We will publish this new content shortly.

In addition, the department continues to work on developing a GCSE in British Sign Language and aim to consult publicly on draft subject content next year.

It is ultimately for schools to decide which languages they wish to teach, and the department does not specify which languages should be taught or how to teach them.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with (a) Cabinet colleagues, (b) Devolved Governments and (c) Local Government on the promotion of the consumption of proximate seasonal produce.

This Government wants people at home and abroad to be lining up to Buy British. We will always champion our farmers and producers, supporting them to grow more of our great British food, and to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public. The recently published Government food strategy sets out our aim to broadly maintain domestic food production at current levels as we deliver our climate and environmental aims.

We work closely with industry and trade associations to engage with and support initiatives that highlight the qualities of British meat, dairy, seafood and fruit and vegetable products. During the pandemic we worked with industry to promote fish caught in UK waters, seasonal veg, and supported the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s campaign on milk and dairy to the British public. To support producers in promoting their products we hosted a Regional Food and Drink Summit in March 2022. The Summit brought together SMEs and regional organisations to share best practice and access support to grow their business. Building on the success of the Summit we will continue to offer specialised regional support and engagement with food and drink SMEs.

We welcome efforts from all parts of the food chain to promote and source British products. We will lead by example in the public sector, using our purchasing power to champion local, healthy, sustainable, and high-quality food. The consultation on public sector food and catering policy, launched alongside our food strategy, proposes a mandatory standard on menu cycles and seasonality. In this consultation we propose that public sector menus must vary throughout the year to reflect the natural growing or production period for the UK, such as cauliflower and butternut squash in the winter, and new potatoes, berries and lamb in the summer.

Due to the UK-wide and international nature of the food system, we have maintained regular engagement with the Devolved Administrations during the development of the food strategy. Responsibility for public sector food procurement is devolved to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the proposed changes therefore apply to England only.  However, we work closely across the Devolved Administrations to share best practice and ensure public sector food policy is complimentary.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of how businesses and manufacturers can reduce the microplastics in (a) personal care products and (b) clothes.

Microbeads have been banned in rinse-off personal care and cleaning products since 2018. We encourage businesses not to add them into any products that are out of scope of the ban.

The Government’s Resources & Waste Strategy for England (2018) identified textiles as one of five priority sectors for consideration of an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme and product standards. Our draft Waste Prevention Programme for England, consulted on in March 2021, affirms this commitment and sets out our approach to develop policy options.

We are working closely with industry via Textiles 2030, an industry-led voluntary agreement (managed by WRAP), which is underpinned by ambitious science-based targets, including halving the carbon footprint of new products by 50% by 2030 and reducing the water footprint by 30% by 2030. The Microfibre Consortium is a signatory to the initiative and WRAP is working with the Consortium on the Textiles 2030 Roadmap.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of banning the export licensing of pesticides which are prohibited from domestic use by the Health and Safety Executive for the purposes of protecting (a) human health and (b) the environment.

We take our trade and international obligations for human health and the environment seriously and continue to monitor action in other countries and learn from their experiences.

In Great Britain, the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals is regulated under the GB Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime. Companies intending to export any substances present on the PIC list from GB must notify the importing country via the exporter's Designated National Authority. For GB, the Designated National Authority is the Health and Safety Executive. The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely. This process is kept under review.

We believe it is essential that the use of active substances that are known to be hazardous to human health or the environment should be subject to scientific risk assessment and regulatory protections.

We are progressing projects assessing the impacts of pesticides on human health and the environment in developing countries. We will continue to support developing countries to use pest management techniques which are most beneficial for them based on evidence and the expressed desires of the countries


Additionally, the UK is committed to working internationally including through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and United Nations Environment Assembly to support other nations to manage pesticides safely. We also believe in evidence-based international policymaking through the use of scientific committees, such as the Chemical Review Committee, and strengthening of the international 'science-policy interface' for chemicals and pesticides to support global decision-making.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's consultation on Commercial and Non-Commercial Movements of Pets into Great Britain opened in August 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on smuggling cats and kittens of the proposed (a) protections and (b) exclusions.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements. The number of non-compliant cats seized at the border is much lower than for dogs, for example, in 2020 we seized and detained 17 kittens (under 15 weeks) compared to 543 puppies.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve the (a) accuracy and (b) transparency of data collected by the UK Government on the importation of pets.

The information that we provide is a true reflection of the information that we have access to.

The data regarding the Pet Travel Scheme covers pets entering Great Britain and is based on information provided by checkers employed by approved carriers of pet animals.

Every month carriers complete and submit spreadsheets detailing their throughput broken down by species, document type, non-compliance data and whether or not it is an assistance animal. This is the data recorded on the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) system. Where necessary APHA ensures that carriers provide this information in a timely manner.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of reducing vessel monitoring system polling frequency of all non-UK registered fishing vessels 12 metres and above to 10-minute intervals.

As an independent coastal state, the UK has full responsibility over how it ensures compliance in its fisheries. It is for each Devolved Administration to decide how best to control its waters. Defra and the Marine Management Organisation continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure a coordinated approach to fisheries control and enforcement.

It is a legal requirement for all licensed fishing vessels over 12m in length operating within UK waters to be fitted with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) device which reports their position at least once every two hours. In line with the conditions set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK will notify the EU Commission of any new VMS requirements that apply to EU vessels in UK waters, should any be brought forward. It will be the responsibility of those vessels to ensure they have a functioning VMS device on board that meets the requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has conducted an impact assessment of the potential effect of introducing quotas on present non-quota species in Welsh waters in the period to 2024.

Assessment of the impacts of any potential fisheries management measures in Welsh waters is the responsibility of the Welsh Government, as UK fisheries management is devolved.

UK Fisheries Administrations are working closely together on the development of future plans, including for non-quota fisheries, to ensure we secure sustainability of our stocks, the environment and a thriving industry.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the introduction of quotas on present non-quota fish species.

Discussions with UK Fisheries Administrations, including the Welsh Government, on non-quota fisheries management have focused on implementing the provisions of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement in relation to applying a tonnage limit to fishing of non-quota species in UK and EU waters. Longer term management of non-quota species will be reflected in Fisheries Management Plans and in discussions on shared stocks with the EU.

Whilst it is for the Welsh Government to develop and implement measures in Welsh waters, all UK Fisheries Administrations are part of a Fisheries Management Plan Working Group to collaborate on the development of future plans.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish an update on the progress of the work of the Seafood Exports Working Group.

In response to difficulties with exporting to the EU, Defra established the Seafood Exports Working Group in January to monitor live, immediate operational issues across the UK and work with industry on responses to minimise disruption to trade flows of seafood. The last group meeting was held on 25 March, when it was paused to allow officials to focus on developing longer-term system improvements with industry, which the group had identified as a priority. There are no current plans to publish an update on the group’s work.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Seafood Exports Working Group last met.

In response to difficulties with exporting to the EU, Defra established the Seafood Exports Working Group in January to monitor live, immediate operational issues across the UK and work with industry on responses to minimise disruption to trade flows of seafood. The last group meeting was held on 25 March, when it was paused to allow officials to focus on developing longer-term system improvements with industry, which the group had identified as a priority. There are no current plans to publish an update on the group’s work.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress her Department has made on updating the Environment Bill’s explanatory notes to clarify that the legislation contains primary powers which will allow the Secretary of State to establish a definition of environmental standards for nappies.

The Environment Bill’s explanatory notes have been updated with relevant examples to clarify that the legislation will enable us to work towards reducing the environmental impact of nappies. The notes set out that the resource efficiency powers in the Bill would enable us to make the provision of information about the environmental impact of nappies mandatory, which would be subject to conditions on assessing impact and consultation.

The explanatory notes will be published when the Bill is introduced into the Lords in the next Parliamentary session.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had discussions (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) stakeholder on the French Government’s proposals to create a new offence of ecocide.

We have had no discussions on the proposals to create a new offence of ecocide.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with organisations representing assistance dog owners on (a) the implications of losing part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme and (b) further negotiations to obtain part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme in the future.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are in a continuing dialogue with Guide Dogs UK and meet with them on a regular basis. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

After the end of the transition period the UK became a third country in relation to the EU Pet Travel Scheme. In February 2020 we submitted an application to allow the UK to become a Part 1 listed third country, this status would mean similar animal health and documentary requirements to pet movements between Member States. On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the Transition Period. This listed status has been formally adopted by the EU.

We will continue to press the EU Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

Regarding pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government is working with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on a long term solution which respects the rights of assistance dog users and pet owners to travel with the minimum of friction. Guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on the DAERA’s NIDirect website.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support assistance dog owners travelling to (a) the EU and (b) Northern Ireland since the UK ended part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are in a continuing dialogue with Guide Dogs UK and meet with them on a regular basis. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

After the end of the transition period the UK became a third country in relation to the EU Pet Travel Scheme. In February 2020 we submitted an application to allow the UK to become a Part 1 listed third country, this status would mean similar animal health and documentary requirements to pet movements between Member States. On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the Transition Period. This listed status has been formally adopted by the EU.

We will continue to press the EU Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

Regarding pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government is working with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on a long term solution which respects the rights of assistance dog users and pet owners to travel with the minimum of friction. Guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on the DAERA’s NIDirect website.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimates she has made of how much and what proportion of soy imported into the UK has been produced on illegally deforested land for the most recent period in which that information is available.

In 2019, the UK imported soya and soybean products equivalent to 3.5 million tonnes of soybeans. When combined with the volume of embedded soya imported into the UK, for example in animals fed on soya, the total consumption is equivalent to the import of around 4.2 million tonnes of soybean.

In 2018, the Government convened the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya for industry actors to work together towards the common goal of legal and sustainable soya. Since the Roundtable’s inception, the UK has doubled the proportion of soya imports which are certified as sustainable in a two-year period, from 15% in 2017 to 32% (1.12 million tonnes) in 2019. If we also include soya sourced from areas that are considered at low risk of tropical deforestation, such as North America, and soya covered by the Amazon Soy Moratorium contract, we calculate that 62% of soya (2.17 million tonnes) consumed in the UK is either covered by a deforestation and conversion free standard or comes from an area where there is a low risk of deforestation linked to production.

The Government recognises that voluntary commitments by businesses have not been sufficient to tackle deforestation and is committed to ensuring there is no place for illegally produced commodities on our supermarket shelves. That is why we have introduced a world-leading due diligence law through the Environment Bill. The law will prohibit larger businesses from using commodities produced on land occupied or used illegally and make it mandatory for businesses to conduct due diligence on their supply chains. Once operational, it will help to eradicate illegal deforestation from our supply chains.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme underspends are in the 2021-22 financial year as used to calculate the funding for agricultural support and rural development announced on 25 November 2020 in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

In our 2019 manifesto we promised to maintain the current annual budget to farmers for the lifetime of this parliament. At the recently concluded Spending Review the UK Government met this commitment by providing new exchequer funding on top of the remaining EU funding in each nation to ensure that farmers receive the same total funding next year as they received in 2019 when the manifesto commitment was made.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives from supermarkets on ensuring that appropriate adjustments have been made to enable as many disabled people as possible to shop safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been working closely with supermarkets to ensure that disabled people have access to the food and essential goods that they need.

We have published guidance online that explains what steps people can take if they are unable to access food. This guidance has been shared with local authorities, retailers and charities to help them respond to enquiries from those seeking help. The guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-accessing-food-and-essential-supplies.

Supermarkets have been working at pace to expand the total number of delivery and click and collect slots. We have secured a limited number of supermarket delivery slots for the dedicated use of vulnerable people who are having difficulties in securing access to food and who have no other options available to them. We are working closely with local authorities and charities to help make sure these delivery slots are made available to those who need them most. We have built a bespoke digital service to enable local authorities and a number of charities to directly refer individuals for access to the prioritised slots.

Most supermarkets also offer protected in-store shopping hours to the disabled and their carers.

All major supermarkets have introduced cashless volunteer shopping cards that can be purchased online and used by volunteers to purchase foods on behalf of those self-isolating or in vulnerable groups.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Agriculture Bill, what criteria his Department will use to determine a public good that is eligible for financial assistance; and whether stakeholders will be able to propose schemes to be considered as a public good.

The Agriculture Bill gives the Secretary of State powers to provide financial assistance for particular listed purposes, including: managing land or water to protect or improve the environment; protecting or improving the health and welfare of livestock; supporting public access to and enjoyment of the countryside, farmland or woodland; protecting or improving the health of plants; and protecting or improving the quality of soil. Funding such purposes will enable the delivery of a number of Defra’s future policies, including the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which will be the cornerstone of our future agricultural policy.

Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions. Land managers will be paid for delivering the following public goods set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan:

  • clean air
  • clean and plentiful water
  • thriving plants and wildlife
  • protection from and mitigation of environmental hazards
  • beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment
  • mitigation of and adaptation to climate change

We are working closely with a range of environmental and agricultural stakeholders to collaboratively design the new scheme so that it is fit for purpose. We are currently running a programme of Tests and Trials, the priorities for which are the building blocks we will need for the National Pilot. The National Pilot will provide a critical opportunity to test and refine the scheme design prior to full rollout of the ELM scheme across England.

We are also working closely with stakeholders to inform the design of other future financial assistance schemes which we intend to introduce using the financial assistance powers during the seven-year agricultural transition period from 2021 to 2028.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many properties in (a) Fairbourne, Gwynedd, (b) Dwyfor Meirionnydd and (c) Wales have access to affordable flood insurance through the Flood Re scheme.

Flood Re (FR) covers the UK, including Wales. It is available through more than 85 insurance brands representing 94% of the home insurance market. FR does not deal directly with homeowners, but instead allows insurance companies to choose whether to pass the flood risk element over to them for a set, below market-cost, premium.

As of 30 September 2019, there were 12,567 policies in Wales backed by FR. In Dwyfor Meirionnydd, there were 388 policies. The lowest granularity FR can provide figures for is at a constituency level so FR cannot provide a number for Fairbourne, Gwynedd.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that Official Development Assistance reaches the most vulnerable people during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has so far pledged up to £764 million of UK aid and we are at the forefront of the global response. This includes £296 million to support resilience in vulnerable countries, as well as support to UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries.

We are leading the way by pushing for coordinated international action to open fiscal space in vulnerable countries, allowing them to increase the resources available to respond to the crisis. We are providing support through our Rapid Response Facility in numerous Fragile and Conflict Affected States to reduce the spread of the pandemic, protect vulnerable communities, provide livelihoods support, assist those with disabilities, and address gender-based violence.

It is absolutely in Britain’s interest to use ODA to make the world a healthier, safer and more prosperous place. We will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act, including a commitment to poverty reduction.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions has she had with her Irish counterpart on the operation of new trade arrangements for chemical products to the Republic of Ireland.

The Secretary of State has not recently discussed new trading arrangements for chemical products with her counterpart from the Republic of Ireland, as the United Kingdom-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the United Kingdom’s exit from the Transition Period is a matter led by the Cabinet Office. However, HM Government recognises the importance of the chemicals industry and is working to mitigate issues with regulatory compliance, such as phasing-in compliance with British Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) obligations.

As the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is the first trade deal that the EU has ever reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas, it is fantastic news for businesses in the chemical sector, who exported £13 billion worth of goods to the EU in 2019. The Department for International Trade is clear that the chemicals sector has a key role to play in helping the United Kingdom achieve her net zero goal, and is exploring ways to support businesses.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of banning imports to the UK of soy from illegally deforested land.

In November, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) tabled a new ‘due diligence’ requirement under the Environment Bill to tackle illegal deforestation.

This would require certain businesses to only source legally produced commodities where there is “forest risk” (those commodities that can lead to deforestation), conduct due diligence on their supply chains and report on it annually.

Whether specific commodities, including soya, are in scope will be determined through secondary legislation, on which DEFRA will consult further.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring diesel cars to undergo a particulate filter efficiency test as occurs in The Netherlands.

Some initial research has been undertaken by the Department relating to availability of equipment for checks of functioning diesel particulate filters. Where emissions control equipment fitted by a vehicle manufacturer is missing, obviously modified, or defective, the vehicle will not pass its annual MOT test. The Department for Transport keeps the requirements of the MOT test under review and we note with interest the developments that have taken place in parts of Europe.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department (a) is offering and (b) plans to offer financial support to driving instructors following changes to the BE driving licence.

The changes to BE licensing rules are amongst 32 different actions the Government is taking to increase the number of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and the number of tests available.

All car drivers wishing to tow a trailer or caravan for leisure or business are still encouraged to undertake voluntary training through an accreditation scheme the trailer industry and training providers are developing with support from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. This will include training for those who tow for leisure and for business requirements.

Responses from the consultation indicated that many drivers who are required to tow as part of the work they do, will continue to take training, and that employers, as part of their corporate responsibility, insurance requirements and health and safety compliance, will also require their employees to undertake appropriate training. As such there will continue to be a market for trailer towing training.

Businesses that have been affected by the BE changes are advised to seek further advice and support from the Business Support Line at www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the development of electric vehicle smart charging regulations.

Officials from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) have worked closely with counterparts in Welsh Government throughout the development of The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021. I wrote to all Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government ahead of announcing our commitment to legislate. We will continue to work with the Welsh Government as we develop further smart charging policy in the future.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on increasing the roll-out of rapid charging points for electric vehicles in Wales.

Government works closely with the devolved administrations on supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles across the whole of the UK. Regular discussions about rapid chargepoints as well as other measures to support electric vehicles are held on an ongoing basis with the Welsh Government. Officials have been working together to align the upcoming electric vehicle infrastructure strategy from UK government with the approach set out in the Welsh government’s electric vehicle charging strategy for Wales.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department’s latest assessment is of the economic benefit to Wales of the proposed HS2 route detailed in the Integrated Rail Plan.

By improving regional connectivity, the Integrated Rail Plan will unify labour markets, so that people can access a much wider range of jobs; bring businesses closer together; and improve access to key international gateways and markets so they become even more attractive locations for business investment. Crewe Northern Connection would improve connections from North Wales to the HS2 network, potentially bringing many passengers within 2 hours 15 minutes of London. Work to progress options on completing the Midlands Rail Hub could give passengers from South Wales easy access to the HS2 network at Birmingham Curzon Street.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the development of electric vehicle smart charging regulations.

Officials from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) have worked closely with counterparts in Welsh Government throughout the development of The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021. The Secretary of State for Transport wrote to all Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government ahead of announcing our commitment to legislate. We will continue to work with the Welsh Government as we develop further smart charging policy in the future.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment has he made of the adequacy of the (a) provision and (b) availability of driving tests in North Wales.

The Driver and Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA) offers driving tests in Welsh at all 24 practical driving test centres (DTC) in Wales, as well as those outside Wales whose catchment area includes part of Wales. Customers can choose to take a practical test in Welsh at the time of booking. The DVSA has 13 Welsh speaking driving examiners (DE) who will be deployed to meet requests to deliver Welsh language driving tests.

The DVSA has a number of measures in place to increase practical driving tests, including North Wales. These include offering a national recovery allowance and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays and weekends). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners and will shortly launch a specific recruitment campaign to increase the number of Welsh speaking examiners.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment has he made of the availability of Welsh language driving tests.

The Driver and Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA) offers driving tests in Welsh at all 24 practical driving test centres (DTC) in Wales, as well as those outside Wales whose catchment area includes part of Wales. Customers can choose to take a practical test in Welsh at the time of booking. The DVSA has 13 Welsh speaking driving examiners (DE) who will be deployed to meet requests to deliver Welsh language driving tests.

The DVSA has a number of measures in place to increase practical driving tests, including North Wales. These include offering a national recovery allowance and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays and weekends). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners and will shortly launch a specific recruitment campaign to increase the number of Welsh speaking examiners.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is offering to car and trailer test (categories B and E) providers affected by changes to driving test requirements for HGV drivers.

The Government takes road safety very seriously and the UK has some of the safest roads in the world. Therefore, the Government will explore options for an industry-led accreditation that could offer a standardised non-statutory training approach. We plan to meet with key stakeholders including trainers and insurers to discuss this idea.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of (a) jobs and (b) apprenticeships supported by High Speed Two are located in Wales.

Whilst HS2 presents a significant opportunity for businesses of all sizes across the UK, HS2 Ltd does not track the proportion of HS2 jobs and apprenticeships that are located in Wales. As HS2 Ltd’s supply chain will consist of up to 400,000 contract opportunities, a smaller number of critical contracts are monitored and so far, there are 27 suppliers based in Wales delivering work on critical contracts. It is likely there will be many more jobs and apprenticeships created in factories and businesses in Wales from the HS2 project within the supply chain.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department has provided to the maritime sector in Wales since March 2020.

Ministers and officials have engaged with their Welsh counterparts throughout the global pandemic on a wide range of issues. While financial support for the maritime sector in Wales is predominantly a matter for the Welsh Assembly, particularly where it relates to non-reserved harbours and ports, the financial support that the Chancellor has announced, including business support loans and the job retention scheme, is in place to support all parts of the economy including the maritime sector. My officials and I have worked closely throughout the pandemic with all parts of the maritime sector on the challenges they have faced and the support that they need.

The Department for Transport is also supporting Cabinet Office in the delivery of the £200 million Port Infrastructure Fund, helping ports to build and enhance vital import facilities. The Welsh ports of Fishguard, Holyhead, and Pembroke have been awarded grants totalling £2.8 million.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he had has with the Welsh Government on the adequacy of regulations on the use of e-scooters.

Department of Transport officials have met with their Welsh Government counterparts on several occasions to discuss e-scooter regulations, both prior to national trials commencing and subsequently. Meetings at a Ministerial level have not taken place.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is planning to take to reduce dependency on private cars.

Accelerating the shift to public and active transport was one of the six strategic priorities identified for the development of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan. The Plan is due for publication in Spring 2021 and will set out a holistic and cross-modal approach to decarbonising the entire transport system.

Last year, the Prime Minister also launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking in England, so that half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years. Additionally, in England, our long-term National Bus Strategy, to be published in the coming months, will provide the right, accessible services for people and communities in ways that meet their needs and provide positive encouragement to use the bus instead of the car.

Transport policy in Wales is a devolved matter and the responsibility of the Welsh Government.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is planning to take to reduce ownership of sports utility vehicles in urban areas.

Decarbonising transport, including sports utility vehicles, is a key priority for the Government’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan. It will set out how we are taking decisive action to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and also investing £5 billion to increase the share of journeys taken by public transport, cycling and walking. A green paper on the UK’s post-EU CO2 emissions regulations on new vehicles and the first-ever National Bus Strategy will be published shortly.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of offering free driving theory tests to individuals who have been prevented from take a driving test due to covid-19 restrictions, and whose driving theory certificate is no longer valid.

A candidate whose theory test certificate expires will have received the service for which they paid the fee.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) pays its contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were exempted from having to pay for a retake, then the DVSA and in turn the taxpayer would incur these costs. In addition, applications for a re-test would need to be validated and systems amended to remove the requirement for payment in these cases. The DVSA’s focus should rightly be on developing solutions to address the backlog of practical driving tests that has arisen as a result of the pandemic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much capital spending on transport took place in 2019 by population share in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

HM Treasury publish an annual ‘Country and Regional Analysis’, which presents statistical estimates for the allocation of identifiable expenditure between the UK’s countries and regions. For 2018-2019 the analysis shows that transport spend per capita in 2018-2019 was £474 in England, £642 in Scotland, £395 in Wales and £354 in Northern Ireland.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many electric cars have been purchased in each NUTS region in 2020.

Data for vehicle purchases are not available. However, the following table shows the number of battery electric cars registered for the first time in the UK, by NUTS 1 region, during the first 6 months of 2020.

Data covering all of 2020 are scheduled to be published in April 2021.

NUTS 1 Code

NUTS 1 Region

New registrations of battery electric cars

UK

United Kingdom*

31,047

UKC

North East

427

UKD

North West

1,250

UKE

Yorkshire and The Humber

3,617

UKF

East Midlands

1,318

UKG

West Midlands

3,983

UKH

East of England

2,901

UKI

London

2,398

UKJ

South East

7,165

UKK

South West

5,041

UKL

Wales

946

UKM

Scotland

1,658

UKN

Northern Ireland

339

* The UK total includes 4 new registrations that could not be assigned a region due to an incomplete or invalid postcode.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Welsh Government has legislative competence to regulate on the (a) use and (b) ownership of jet skis.

Regulations on the use and ownership of jet skis and other personal water craft is a reserved matter for the UK Parliament. This is because they are within the scope of shipping, technical and safety standards of vessels that are not ships for the purposes of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Although the vast majority of personal watercraft users operate their craft responsibly, the Department for Transport are currently considering how to ensure that any who willfully or neglectfully cause accidents or endanger the safety of others can be prosecuted.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish guidance for driving instructors on when the suspension of driving tests due to the covid-19 outbreak will be lifted.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to driver testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry, which will help candidates to prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20599, what steps he is taking to promote the adoption of hydrogen in the haulage industry.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology could play a role in supporting the transition to zero emissions transport, as long as it is produced in a sustainable way. The £23 million Hydrogen for Transport programme will support the rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, which is expected to help reduce barriers to the deployment of hydrogen heavy duty vehicles.

The Government is also supporting the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Decarbonising Transport Networks+, which are removing barriers to low carbon transport. This includes a hydrogen trial and a decarbonisation of freight trial. Furthermore, the £20 million government Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, which concludes this year, includes lorries running on hydrogen dual-fuel.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the promotion of biofuel production in Wales.

The Department has been in regular consultation with officials from the Welsh Government in developing our biofuels policy, including on the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme. The RTFO has been successful in promoting a market for sustainable renewable fuels across the United Kingdom since 2008.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a fuel source for light commercial vehicles.

In July 2018 the Department for Transport published the Transport Energy Model1. This was developed to provide an objective assessment of the relative environmental performance of the powertrain technologies and fuel choices for different vehicle types.

This assessment concluded compressed natural gas (CNG) vans are estimated to reduce CO2 tailpipe emissions by between 6-9% compared to diesel and between 22-25% for equivalent petrol models. Tailpipe emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) are estimated to be approximately equivalent to petrol models.

1:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/739462/transport-energy-model.pdf

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on increasing the roll-out of rapid charging points for electric vehicles in Wales.

Government collaboration with the devolved administrations and local authorities is crucial to facilitating the transition to zero emission vehicles and addressing local air quality issues. Regular discussions about rapid chargepoints, as well as other measures to support electric vehicles, are held on an ongoing basis with the Welsh Government.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) had a Devolved Authority (DA) Roundtable in November 2019 with officials from all DAs, where we discussed progress and shared lessons, including around rapid chargepoint rollout.

OLEV are working with Welsh officials to organise a workshop in Wales, where local authorities can hear about and discuss best practice to supporting Zero Emission Vehicle uptake in their areas.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she is taking steps in response to the decision of some energy companies to halt participation in the Fuel Direct Scheme.

The Secretary of State has written to OFGEM to express her concern. Energy suppliers have a duty to support customers in payment difficulty. OFGEM have noted the concerns raised and will work with DWP to ensure benefit claimants receive the support they need.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the Fuel Direct scheme as an alternative to energy prepayment for vulnerable customers who are at risk of self-disconnection.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about the option of paying towards energy bills directly out of a range of benefits if the claimant is in debt and is having difficulties budgeting for these costs, as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits.

DWP staff will discuss the option of Fuel Direct and third-party deductions with claimants and handle any applications they receive. The scheme is not intended to be an alternative to energy prepayment meters, which may be appropriate for the claimant depending on their circumstances.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations who provide specialist debt and money management support.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the use of third party deductions from benefits claimants to pay energy bills in (a) Wales and (b) the UK.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about the option of paying towards energy bills directly out of a range of benefits if the claimant is in debt and is having difficulties budgeting for these costs, as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits.

DWP staff will discuss the option of Fuel Direct and third-party deductions with claimants and handle any applications they receive. The scheme is not intended to be an alternative to energy prepayment meters, which may be appropriate for the claimant depending on their circumstances.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations who provide specialist debt and money management support.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will guarantee the maintenance of third party deductions in their current form until at least the end of this Parliament.

The Social Security Benefits (Claims and Payments) (Modification) Regulations 2022 are a temporary modification to legislation which means that only claimants will be able to make new requests to pay for their ongoing energy consumption directly from their benefit or request an increase or decrease to existing arrangements. Requests for fixed-rate deductions towards fuel arrears remain unchanged. These regulations will expire on 06/04/2023 and legislation will revert unless a further legislative change is made.

Record energy prices are just one of a range of cost-of-living pressures that DWP claimants are facing. Given the increased proportion of income that energy bills are likely to represent in coming months, the Department is not content to continue to prioritise this particular need to the potential detriment of other essential needs - unless this is the express wish of a claimant.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with representatives of energy suppliers on third party deductions.

DWP collaborate with Ofgem and Energy UK on any changes to energy deductions from benefits, most recently to gauge their thoughts on the temporary changes to be made regarding ongoing consumption payments. They both supported DWP in communicating to energy suppliers why a change was required, how it operates and when it is effective.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 23 February 2022 to Question 125365 on Maternity Allowance, and with reference to the Benefit expenditure and caseload tables published by her Department, what assessment she has made of reasons for the absence of a decline in the Statutory Maternity Pay caseload over the period in which the number of grants of Maternity Allowance to employed women has fallen by 45 per cent.

Statutory Maternity Payment caseload is a different measure to the number of grants of Maternity Allowance.

Both the number of women on the caseload for Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance has decreased from 2016/17 to 2020/21. The reason for this has not been fully assessed.

However, the date shows a larger decrease in the Maternity Allowance caseload, than the Statutory Maternity Pay caseload. A likely contributor to the fall is the decrease in the UK’s total fertility rate

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department taking to increase awareness of the Fuel Direct scheme amongst people in Wales.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about Fuel Direct as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits. DWP staff will discuss this option with claimants and handle any applications they receive.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations, who provide specialist debt and money management support.

Whilst we can identify the number of claims on Universal Credit with a deduction for energy arrears or energy ongoing consumption in the Dwyfor Meirionnydd parliamentary constituency we cannot release this data as the numbers are so small that releasing these could potentially identify individuals and risk claimant confidentiality.

The Department does not keep this information centrally for legacy benefits and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency are using fuel direct as a method of payment for energy bills as of 28 February 2022.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about Fuel Direct as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits. DWP staff will discuss this option with claimants and handle any applications they receive.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations, who provide specialist debt and money management support.

Whilst we can identify the number of claims on Universal Credit with a deduction for energy arrears or energy ongoing consumption in the Dwyfor Meirionnydd parliamentary constituency we cannot release this data as the numbers are so small that releasing these could potentially identify individuals and risk claimant confidentiality.

The Department does not keep this information centrally for legacy benefits and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2021 to Question 42053 on Maternity Allowance, and with reference to Table 7 of the quarterly Maternity Allowance statistics published by her Department on 15 February 2022, if she will make an assessment of the reasons for the 45 per cent fall in the number of grants of Maternity Allowance to employed women between the four quarters ending on 31 May 2016, during which period there were 50,100 grants, and the four quarters ending on 31 August 2021, in which there were 27,480 grants.

Fewer Maternity Allowance claims were started in the year up to 31 August 2021, compared to the year up to 31 May 2016. This decrease is particularly evident in claims by employed women. A likely contributor to this is the decrease in the UK’s total fertility rate. This has fallen year-on-year from 1.92 in 2012, to 1.56 in 2020. Population projections continue to anticipate a decrease in 2021 and 2022.

National population projections, fertility assumptions: 2020-based interim - Office for National Statistics [Figure 2]

We will continue to monitor fertility rates, as well as changes in the employment status and income of the female population over time, which impact on the number of MA claims.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of self-employed mothers who have had a child through a surrogacy arrangement who have not been eligible for either (a) Statutory Adoption Pay or (b) Maternity Allowance in the last five years.

No estimation has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the change in the number of maternity allowance starts between 2016-17 and the second half of 2020-21.

No assessment has been made. However, any change will be contributed to by the total fertility rate, which has decreased in recent years.

  • The total fertility rate decreased for the seventh consecutive year:

Births in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 704 on Bereavement Benefits, what his timescale is for bringing forward a draft Remedial Order to extend eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with children.

It remains our intention to take forward a Remedial Order that will extend eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with children.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to expand the eligibility criteria for the Bereavement Support Payment to include unmarried couples; and if she will make a statement.

We intend to take forward a Remedial Order to remove the incompatibilities from the legislation governing Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment by extending these benefits to cohabitees with children. The Order will be laid before the House in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing registered healthcare professionals other than GPs to sign statements of Fitness for Work.

We recognise that the changing nature of primary care services and the associated workforce means that there are professionals other than GPs who are well placed to have work and health conversations and issue statements of Fitness for Work.

We have assessed the benefits of extending certification to other healthcare professionals by carrying out research and consultation with key stakeholders including professional bodies.

We have also worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure that we have considered a range of options and that any changes to the operation of the fit note will meet the needs of healthcare services, their workforce and their patients.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to ensure that universal credit claimants know (a) during which months they should note Self-Employment Income Support Scheme income as income in their universal credit diaries and (b) how to record other SEISS information in those diaries.

We have provided guidance for claimants, including useful step-by-step process maps, on the Understanding Universal Credit website at https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/self-employment/. It is also made very clear in a claimant’s journal that they should report SEISS payments as self-employed income when they are received, as normal, and an additional field in their journal has been provided for claimants to do this easily.

Additionally, internal guidance has been drafted and circulated to ensure our work coaches are aware of how to treat SEISS payments, along with other Coronavirus grants and schemes.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the current definition of statutory sick pay for people with endometriosis.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. For SSP purposes, any periods of sickness which last for four or more days in a row, and are less than 8 weeks apart, are treated as linked and therefore count as one period of sickness. Once waiting days have been served, SSP is paid for all days of work missed because of sickness in any linked periods. The current definition supports employees who have fluctuating conditions who may take frequent, shorter absences from work as part of managing their health condition, such as endometriosis.

The government recently published a consultation in which we sought views on a range of proposals to reform SSP. Reform to SSP forms part of a wider package of proposals which seek to reduce ill-health related job loss and support disabled people and people with health conditions to stay in and thrive in work.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of eligibility for statutory sick pay from the fourth day of sickness on people with endometriosis; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of paying statutory sick pay from the first day of sickness for people with that condition.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. It is paid by employers at £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks in any one period of entitlement.

SSP is designed to balance support for an individual when they are unable to work because of sickness with the costs to employers of providing such support. SSP is paid from the fourth day of sickness for absences not related to COVID-19 to avoid an employer facing the burden of paying for all minor absences. The rules apply to all employees where they meet the eligibility criteria, regardless of the nature of their health condition.

For SSP purposes, periods of sickness for four or more days in a row are known as a Period of Incapacity for Work. Periods of Incapacity for Work are linked and treated as one period of sickness, if the gap between them is not more than eight weeks. Where an employee has two or more linked periods, SSP is paid from the first day in the linked period. This is because waiting days will have been served in the earlier period. The linking rules add protections to both employers, by imposing limits on their liability to make payments, and to employees by not penalising those who suffer from reoccurring health problems, such as endometriosis.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will bring forward proposals to amend the definition of statutory sick pay to ensure that people with endometriosis which can result in intermittent rather than continual symptoms are eligible for that support.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. For SSP purposes, any periods of sickness which last for four or more days in a row, and are less than 8 weeks apart, are treated as linked and therefore count as one period of sickness. Once waiting days have been served, SSP is paid for all days of work missed because of sickness in any linked periods. The current definition supports employees who have fluctuating conditions who may take frequent, shorter absences from work as part of managing their health condition, such as endometriosis.

The government recently published a consultation in which we sought views on a range of proposals to reform SSP. Reform to SSP forms part of a wider package of proposals which seek to reduce ill-health related job loss and support disabled people and people with health conditions to stay in and thrive in work.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the three year limit in respect of continuous periods of sickness for statutory sick pay on people with endometriosis.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable for up to 28 weeks per sickness absence. Sickness absences which are less than 8 weeks apart count as the same period of sickness. This supports employees who have fluctuating conditions, such as endometriosis, who may take frequent, shorter absences from work as part of managing their health condition. Individuals will no longer be eligible for SSP after a continuous series of linked periods which lasts more than 3 years. In a new period of sickness, employees are eligible for 28 weeks of SSP.

Where an individual’s SSP entitlement has ended, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance when their SSP ends, depending on individual circumstances.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 19986 on social security benefits: endometriosis, what proportion of healthcare professionals employed by the Centre for Health and Disability Assessment have undertaken the learning module on endometriosis as part of their Continuous Professional Development.

Currently, while preparing to undertake an assessment, Healthcare Professionals can access a wide range of clinical resources to research any conditions presented. This includes a learning module on chronic pain that contains a section on endometriosis. Current guidance enables Healthcare Professionals to have a satisfactory understanding of endometriosis and how it can affect an individual’s ability to work. Experienced clinicians can also support them in assessing individuals with conditions that they may not be familiar with.

As previously advised, Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) plans to develop and deliver a learning module on endometriosis as part of their upcoming Continuous Professional Development schedule. As agreed with the department, this training module is scheduled for delivery in July 2021. Once delivered all Healthcare Professionals will be expected to complete the module as part of their Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the guidance provided for disability benefits assessors on how endometriosis can affect an individual’s ability to work.

Currently, while preparing to undertake an assessment, Healthcare Professionals can access a wide range of clinical resources to research any conditions presented. This includes a learning module on chronic pain that contains a section on endometriosis. Current guidance enables Healthcare Professionals to have a satisfactory understanding of endometriosis and how it can affect an individual’s ability to work. Experienced clinicians can also support them in assessing individuals with conditions that they may not be familiar with.

As previously advised, Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) plans to develop and deliver a learning module on endometriosis as part of their upcoming Continuous Professional Development schedule. As agreed with the department, this training module is scheduled for delivery in July 2021. Once delivered all Healthcare Professionals will be expected to complete the module as part of their Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential barriers people with endometriosis face when trying to access (a) personal independence payments and (b) universal credit.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and the level at which it can be paid, is based on the daily living and mobility needs arising from a long-term health condition or disability, rather than being based on the condition or disability itself. People with endometriosis are able to access PIP in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

Universal Credit (UC) claimants with endometriosis are able to access UC in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

A Work Capability Assessment is used to determine someone’s capacity to work or engage in work-related activity, rather than their specific health condition

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many yearly applications have been made for personal independence payments which cite endometriosis as the reason for application in the last five years; and what proportion of those applications were successful.

In the PIP application process, claimants’ main disabling condition is only recorded for collation by the Department at assessment. It is not recorded at the point of application. The Department does not therefore hold data on the number of applicants to PIP with particular conditions. Only those who have a disability assessment determination decision will have a main disabling condition recorded for them.

In respect of the second part of your question, I would like to refer you to the detailed statistics for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that can be found in Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

We collect data on the main disability condition for those who have had a PIP clearance. This includes those awarded and disallowed at assessment and can be broken down by disability. ‘Endometriosis’ is found under ‘Diseases of the ovary, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva’ which is under the main disability group of ‘Genitourinary disease’

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many yearly applications have been made of universal credit which cite endometriosis as the reason for application in the last five years; and what proportion of those applications were successful.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the capacity of Job Centre Plus to continue to provide services with (a) increased demand and (b) pressures on staff as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Between the 16th March and the end of April, we received over 1.8 million claims for Universal Credit. Overall, that is six times the volume that we would typically experience, and in one week we had a tenfold increase. DWP is standing up to this challenge and payment timeliness for Universal Credit remains high.

We have re-deployed around 10,000 staff to critical frontline services and made important changes to processes.

The Department is continually impacting and assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.

Throughout this period, we have collected insight from DWP colleagues on their experiences. We have also refreshed and developed a wide range of wellbeing resources to support our people and will continue to do so.

The Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. We have already committed to increasing the number of Work Coaches and Case Managers and recruitment is already underway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits for disabled people of the temporary pause to (a) sanctions and (b) face-to-face assessments for disability benefits; and if she will publish a strategy outlining how her Department plans to build on the temporary changes during the covid-19 outbreak to make permanent improvements to the system.

These pauses were brought in to safeguard the public and staff and because we recognised the need for our staff to focus on the processing of new claims.

We are currently reviewing these measures in light of the latest public health advice and will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of whether uprating the legacy benefits received by people with disabilities in line with universal credit could remove the income disparities between different groups of disabled people.

DWP has no plans to increase Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support. These benefits were increased by 1.7% in April 2020 as part of the annual up-rating exercise.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on household incomes of the temporary change to the five-week wait for universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of permanently removing the five-week wait for universal credit.

There has not been a temporary change to the length of the Initial Assessment Period during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Universal Credit assessment period and payment structure are fundamental parts of the design. The assessment period runs for a full calendar month from the date of entitlement and the Universal Credit pay date will be within seven calendar days after the end of the initial assessment period. Subsequent pay dates will be the same each month. It is not possible to award a Universal Credit payment as soon as a claim is made, as the assessment period must run its course before the award of Universal Credit can be calculated.

No claimant in need of support has to wait 5 weeks for payment under Universal Credit. New Claim Advances of up to 100% of a claimant’s estimated award are available within a few days if claimants need support during their first assessment period.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish a breakdown of the number of universal credit claimants by employment sector background for each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority.

We do not systematically collect data on the employment sector background of UC claimants because this does not affect entitlement to UC.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 24399, Prisons: Industrial Health and Safety, on how many occasions the Health and Safety Executive inspectors were denied full access to workplaces within prisons in the last (a) two, (b) five and (c) 10 years.

There have not been any occasions reported in the last two, five and ten years where Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors have been denied full access to workplaces within prisons.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on how many occasions in the last (a) 12, (b) 24 and (c) 36 months Health and Safety Executive inspectors were denied full access to workplaces within prisons; and if she will make a statement.

There have not been any occasions in the last 12, 24 and 36 months where Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors have been denied full access to workplaces within prisons.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of levels of funding available for research into (a) cures, (b) treatments and (c) diagnostic equipment for cancer; and what steps he is taking to increase research funding for those purposes.

No such assessment has been made. The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). However, the NIHR does not categorise research in the format requested. Additionally, not all studies focus on a specific condition and aim to prevent or improve outcomes for multiple conditions.

The NIHR’s expenditure on cancer research has increased from £101 million in 2010/11 to £138 million in 2019/20 and the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including cancer.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people applying for the UK's Global Health Insurance Card are able to complete the application form in Welsh.

An applicant cannot apply for the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) in Welsh. The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), who are responsible for issuing the cards, are only able to accept applications in English. If a Welsh speaking customer wishes to contact the NHSBSA in relation to an EHIC or GHIC application a translation service is available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Global Health Insurance Card is available in English and Welsh.

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is available in English and Welsh. Cardholders applying in Wales automatically receive the Welsh version of the GHIC card and accompanying letter which has a separate English translation.

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 estimate he has made of the number of veterans that have received mental health support in each of the last five years.

Veterans in England can access mental health support through Operation Courage Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), the veteran’s specialist mental health service and the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. The data for veterans accessing TILS and IAPT in each of the last five years is shown in the following table.

Financial year

Number of TILS assessments

Total number in receipt of TILS/ IAPT treatment

2017/2018

1,649

17,271

2018/2019

2,120

18,033

2019/2020

2,569

18,375

2020/2021

2,391

10,793

April to August 2021

1,052

4,294

It should be noted that IAPT data reports veterans who received treatment and declared their veteran status.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) Cabinet colleagues on developing alternatives to the hotel quarantine system for international students travelling to Wales from red list countries during the covid-19 outbreak, including controlled isolation conditions in university-managed accommodation.

The Department has had regular engagement with the Developed Administrations, including the Welsh Government, throughout our shared response to the global pandemic. This has included policy development with my officials and Ministers also meet regularly with Welsh Government Ministers at the United Kingdom Health Ministers’ Forum. This forum discusses a range of topics, including managed quarantine.

We are currently exploring the policy options for international students travelling to the UK for Red-List countries. These discussions have included ensuring the system has the necessary capacity to respond to the potential increased demand from arrivals to the UK, including international students arriving from red-list countries. As we have done throughout this global health emergency, we will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the public and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for those with B12 deficiency of removing the classification of Prescription Only Medicine from injectable vitamin B12 and making B12 injectables available over the counter at pharmacies.

Vitamin B12 is only available as an injection and therefore must be classified as prescription only under the regulations as suitable training needs to be given for its administration. The condition for which it is prescribed also means the product must be classified as a prescription only medicine and therefore no further assessment has been made of the potential merits of making these products available over the counter. Patients are prescribed vitamin B12 for pernicious anaemia and need medical input to diagnose, monitor their condition and treat it appropriately.

Formal discussions have therefore not been held with the Welsh Government or NHS England on the reclassification of vitamin B12. Officials have responded to patient enquiries to explain the rationale for the classification of this medicine as they have arisen.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Government, (b) NHS England and (c) people with B12 deficiency on removing the classification of Prescription Only Medicine from injectable vitamin B12 and making B12 injectables available over the counter at pharmacies.

Vitamin B12 is only available as an injection and therefore must be classified as prescription only under the regulations as suitable training needs to be given for its administration. The condition for which it is prescribed also means the product must be classified as a prescription only medicine and therefore no further assessment has been made of the potential merits of making these products available over the counter. Patients are prescribed vitamin B12 for pernicious anaemia and need medical input to diagnose, monitor their condition and treat it appropriately.

Formal discussions have therefore not been held with the Welsh Government or NHS England on the reclassification of vitamin B12. Officials have responded to patient enquiries to explain the rationale for the classification of this medicine as they have arisen.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help enable the unhindered movement of medicinal drugs from EU countries into the UK after the end of the transition period.

Our priority is to ensure that patients continue to have access to the medicines they need. We continue to work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to deliver the shared goal of continuity of safe patient care by mitigating any potential disruption to supply into the United Kingdom of medicines at the end of the transition period.

As set out in a letter from the Department to industry of 3 August, we are implementing a multi-layered approach, that involves asking suppliers of medicines and medical products to the UK from or via the European Union to get trader ready, reroute their supply chains away from any potential disruption and stockpile to a target level of six weeks on UK soil where this is possible. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-medicines-and-medical-products-suppliers-3-august-2020/letter-to-medicine-suppliers-3-august-2020

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on preparations for the deployment of a covid-19 vaccine.

The Vaccine Taskforce is procuring vaccines for the whole of the United Kingdom, including Wales. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care meets weekly with counterparts in the devolved administrations for discussions of key COVID-19 issues across all four nations. The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure successful delivery across the whole of the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the incompatibility of older phones with the NHS covid-19 app on the effectiveness of that app.

Estimates using the latest data from Apple and Google show that 87% of iOS smartphone users and 93% of Android smartphone users in the United Kingdom can install a version of the operating system with the contact tracing technology the National Health Service app uses.

This means over 33.5 million people in England and Wales can download and use the NHS app.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the NHS covid-19 app is compatible with all mobile phone software.

Estimates using the latest data from Apple and Google show that 87% of iOS smartphone users and 93% of Android smartphone users in the United Kingdom can install a version of the operating system with the contact tracing technology the National Health Service app uses.

This means over 33.5 million people in England and Wales can download and use the NHS app.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many individuals in (a) Wales and (b) England his Department will not have access to the NHS COVID-19 app due to (i) device incompatibility and (ii) lack of access to a device; and if he will publish the methodology used.

Estimates using the latest data from Apple and Google show that 87% of iOS smartphone users and 93% of Android smartphone users in the United Kingdom can install a version of the operating system with the contact tracing technology the National Health Service app uses.

This means over 33.5 million people in England and Wales can download and use the NHS app.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) access to medical cannabis for children and adults with rare and severe forms of epilepsy and (b) of Government financial support for vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy who are reliant on privately-paid for medical cannabis.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions of unlicensed cannabis-based medicines for severe treatment resistant epilepsy and other conditions. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng144

With regard to Government financial support for vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy who are reliant on privately-paid for medical cannabis, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt. hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead on 15 May 2020 to Question 43850.

No assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children’s well-being is prioritised in the Government’s covid recovery strategy.

We have provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities including charities like Young Minds to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

We are taking action to ensure that children and young people have access to support in schools. Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and access to resources they need to support children and young people, teachers and parents.

On 8 September, the Government launched a mental wellbeing campaign for children and young people. This involves an extension of Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters webpage with content specifically for children and young people and their parents and carers. The campaign will raise awareness of the guidance and tools available to support mental wellbeing and ensure children and young people who need urgent support are directed towards the right services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the changes proposed in his Department’s consultation on changes to Human Medicine Regulations to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, how long the proposed temporary authorisation of the supply of an unlicensed vaccine is planned to last.

The preferred route to enable deployment of a new vaccine for COVID-19 is through the usual marketing authorisation (product licensing) process. If a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with strong supporting evidence of safety, quality and efficacy, becomes available, we will seek to license that vaccine through the usual route. Any temporary authorisation of the supply of an unlicensed vaccine would be by exception and the timing of this would depend on the public health need.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that any vaccine approved for product license is safe for use.

All vaccines will undergo a thorough assessment of quality, safety and efficacy before being licenced. The preferred route to enable deployment of a new vaccine for COVID-19 is through the usual marketing authorisation (product licensing) process. If a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with strong supporting evidence of safety, quality and efficacy, becomes available, we will seek to license that vaccine through the usual route. Until the end of December 2020, European Union legislation requires biotechnological medicines (which would include candidate COVID-19 vaccines) to be authorised via the European Medicines Agency, and a marketing authorisation granted by them would automatically be valid in the United Kingdom. From January 2021, the UK’s licensing authority the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will have new powers to license all medicines, including vaccines. Following vaccine deployment, safety will be proactively and continuously monitored.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the risk covid-19 poses to people with blood cancer.

NHS England and NHS Improvement produced a list at the beginning of the pandemic of those who were at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they contracted COVID-19. This list has two levels of higher risk:

- High risk (clinically extremely vulnerable); and

- Moderate risk (clinically vulnerable).

People who were high risk included those who have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma.

It is advised that those with blood cancers follow the NHS England and NHS Improvement advice that is regularly updated on their website. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on establishing support packages for people shielding whose workplaces cannot be made covid-safe when shielding provisions end on 1 August 2020.

We are continuing to work across Government to ensure that clinically extremely vulnerable people can return to work safely. Further guidance will be issued on 1 August 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2020 to Question 62541 on protective clothing: coronavirus, whether that figure also includes items supplied to dental practices.

The figure provided in response to Question 62541 was for general practitioners located in England only. This figure does not include dental practices.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent comparative assessment he has made of the equity of the level of financial support provided to people affected by the contaminated blood scandal in Wales and England.

Since 1988, successive Governments have voluntarily provided ex-gratia financial and non-financial support for people affected by HIV and/or hepatitis C through historic treatment with National Health Service-supplied blood or blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2017, country specific support schemes were set up in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These four schemes are devolved, and each nation has made different choices around their offers of support over time.

We are aware that there are disparities between the schemes, and we are working with our partners in the devolved nations and other relevant Government departments to improve parity of support for all beneficiaries across the United Kingdom.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK-wide Covid-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan, how many items have been sold to suppliers by Public Health England on the condition that they would only be given to practices in England.

14 million items of personal protective equipment have been sold to wholesalers who supply general practitioners located in England only.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK-wide Covid-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan, what recent assessment he has made of the equitable distribution of PPE across the four nations of the UK.

Our personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy is United Kingdom-wide, making sure that frontline workers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have the PPE they need to stay protected while taking care of patients. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to co-ordinate the distribution of PPE across the UK.

We are working to agree a protocol between the four nations of the UK to underpin our approach to PPE sourcing and supply. The stock positions in each of the four nations is changing rapidly, which means on some occasions other nations, including Scotland, have been able to restock from their own sources more quickly. Representatives from the four nations are in touch regularly and there is an established system of mutual aid to make sure PPE gets to the frontline across the whole of the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of asking UK nationals to be tested for covid-19 before undertaking international travel.

Current clinical advice is that testing of individuals without symptoms should be used where clinically appropriate, predominantly for outbreak investigation and infection control. We continue to use the latest science and clinical advice to inform our approach. Our primary focus is symptomatic people to ensure that everyone who needs a test can get one. On that basis, we are not currently using our testing capacity to provide asymptomatic testing to support exit health monitoring for persons departing the United Kingdom for international travel.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel, with the exemption of a number of countries and territories which have been assessed as no longer presenting an unacceptably high risk to British people travelling abroad. The list of exempted destinations is under constant review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Welsh Government was represented on the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group sub-committee on facemasks and respirators.

New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) subcommittees do not usually have observers like the main committee meetings. Subcommittees usually only consist of a subgroup of NERVTAG committee members and may recruit temporary co-opted specialists if this is relevant and important to the subject matter. Subcommittees always report back to the main committee.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the minutes and reports of the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group have been shared with the Welsh Government in each year since 2015.

The New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) secretariat does not routinely circulate the minutes of meetings or reports to anyone outside of the list of members and observers, unless they are specifically requested. However, all minutes and reports are published online and are freely accessible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Welsh Government was offered observer status on the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group.

The Chief Medical Officers from all devolved administrations have a delegate that attends the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) meetings in an observer capacity. Thus, the Welsh Government does have representation at the NERVTAG meetings, as do all devolved administrations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group recommendation in June 2019 on surgical gowns was shared with the Welsh Government.

The recommendations of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) on personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement are publicly available and can be accessed online.

The contents of the pandemic influenza stockpile were based on the recommendations of NERVTAG. Following advice from the NERVTAG committee on the inclusion of gowns in the stockpile, the NERVTAG sub-committee for PPE was asked to confirm the specification (sterile non/sterile) for the market analysis. This was received by Public Health England in November 2019 and the market analysis was being finalised prior to seeking policy and financial approval from the Department, Welsh Government, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Assembly. Once approval was received the procurement exercise would have commenced in early 2020. However, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak the focus shifted to procuring gowns for immediate distribution to the National Health Service and social care.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 April 2020 to Question 38618, on Detention Centres, for what reasons information on the number of covid-19 tests conducted in immigration removal centres is not held; and if he will make a statement.

The overall number of tests for COVID-19 is published daily by the Government and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

However, the information is not broken down to the level of detail being requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the ethnicity of people (a) infected and (b) who have died of covid-19 by (i) age and (ii) English region in (A) hospitals and (B) in the community; whether demographic data on covid-19 deaths can be provided in real-time; and how that data will be collected.

Data on those infected with COVID-19 are collected by Public Health England (PHE) for new diagnoses and hospitalised patients. Standard recording practice across laboratory systems requires recording of only minimal data (such as date of birth and name) as these records are not intended for disease surveillance purposes.

PHE has begun a rapid review to better understand how COVID-19 may be having an impact on different ethnic groups. As part of this review, PHE is matching thousands of laboratory records of COVID-19 cases to other health records to draw down accurate data on ethnicity, age, sex and geographical region. The first results will be published by the end of May.

NHS England and NHS Improvement lead on reporting deaths with confirmed COVID-19 in hospital. They publish a daily summary that includes a breakdown by ethnicity which can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/

The Office for National Statistics publishes provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving COVID-19, by age, sex and region, in the latest weeks for which data are available. These data can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending24april2020

The Public Health England COVID-19 dashboard shows the number of cases confirmed by NHS/PHE labs for each region and upper tier local authority in England. The dashboard can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-track-coronavirus-cases

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the reasons why covid-19 disproportionately affects people from BAME communities throughout the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) has been asked by the Chief Medical Officer to review the potential that some ethnic minority groups are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. PHE is hosting a series of stakeholder events in the coming weeks, which will involve the devolved administrations and opportunities to collaborate and share learning will be part of the discussion.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the decision to appoint Trevor Phillips to lead a review into the effect of covid-19 on BAME communities was made; and whether he will provide a list of all other individuals contributing to the review.

Trevor Phillips is not leading or running the review. The review is being led by Public Health England (PHE). Mr Phillips and his company will be but one source of intelligence alongside the National Institute for Health Research research call and PHE’s own surveillance expertise. Their input will be specific and time limited.

PHE is hosting a series of stakeholder events in the coming weeks and these discussions will include government and public health specialists from the devolved administrations, community and faith groups, voluntary sector leads, organisations that represent migrant populations, local government leaders and public health specialists, academics and researchers, Royal Colleges and other Government departments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the terms of reference for the inquiry into BAME covid-19 deaths will be announced.

We are very concerned by the apparent disproportionate number of people from minority ethnic backgrounds who have died, both within the National Health Service and overall. We have asked Public Health England to complete a rapid review to understand how COVID-19 may be having an impact on different ethnic groups, and other groups of concern. The Terms of Reference will be announced in due course.

To complement this rapid review, the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation issued a joint call on 22 April for research proposals to investigate emerging evidence of an association between ethnicity and COVID-19 incidence and adverse health outcomes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been conducted in immigration removal centres as of 21 April 2020; and what testing strategy is in place for those centres.

Information on the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in immigration removal centres is not held.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she will take to help ensure that (a) relevant stakeholders and (b) members of the public are able to feed into the UK’s position on the World Health Organisation’s new international agreement on pandemic preparedness and response.

FCDO and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) are engaging with a range of stakeholders during the development of the proposed new pandemic instrument. Consultations with civil society organisations have already taken place and we are committed to further consultations in the future. An effective instrument for pandemic prevention and preparedness will require a whole-of-society approach and non-state actors are vital to ensure countries are protected from health threats. We welcome public interest, and will continue to respond to the queries and ideas raised by the public.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, for what reason a representative of the UK has yet to be appointed to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages' Committee of Experts; and whether she has taken steps to help ensure the position is filled.

The FCDO is currently exploring options on how best to identify suitably qualified, independent candidates for the process of appointing a UK expert to the ECRML Committee of Experts (COMEX). We remain committed to ensuring the position is filled by an appropriate expert in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether any funding for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda will be funded through the overseas aid budget.

The funding for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda is not from the Official Development Assistance budget.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2021 to Question 58973 on Travel Restrictions: Coronavirus, whether she is aware of any countries (a) who will not acknowledge that UK citizens who have received the vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India are fully vaccinated for the purposes of international travel and (b) to which people who received the vaccine produced at the Serum Institute cannot currently travel.

We are aware of no countries or territories with border requirements which differentiate between vaccines administered in the UK. Where there have been a few instances of confusion, they have been swiftly resolved. Border regulations remain the prerogative of the receiving country and travellers should always check FCDO Travel Advice to ensure they are familiar with entry restrictions - including any self-isolation or testing requirements - prior to travel.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish an update on the steps her Department is taking to facilitate the safe passage for vulnerable Afghans from Afghanistan to the UK through the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme.

In its first year, the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme will welcome up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK who have been forced to flee the country, with up to a total of 20,000 over a five-year period. The Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme (ACRS) will provide protection for people at risk identified as in need. We will work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to identify those we should help. The scheme is not yet open and further details will be announced in due course by the Home Office. For further information on the scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether information provided to her Department through the (a) public hotline and (b) emergency email address provided to vulnerable Afghans, including the Afghan special cases, is being used for referrals and prioritisation for the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme.

In its first year, the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will welcome up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK who have been forced to flee the country, with up to a total of 20,000 over a five-year period. The ACRS will provide protection for people at risk identified as in need. The Government will use available information and knowledge, including relevant information provided to emergency public numbers and email mailboxes, and will work with international partners and NGOs in the region, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to implement a fair referral process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the potential barriers to international travel experienced by fully vaccinated UK citizens as a result of the institution and country in which their covid-19 vaccine was produced, including at the Serum Institute for India; and what discussions she has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and (b) international counterparts on that matter.

All doses used in the UK have been subject to rigorous safety and quality checks, including individual batch testing and physical site inspections, by the medicines regulator, the MHRA. 5 million doses of AstraZeneca/Vaxzevria deployed in the UK were manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. There have been incorrect reports that this is Covishield. This is untrue. No Covishield vaccines have been administered in the UK. All AstraZeneca/Vaxzevria deployed in the UK - regardless of site of manufacture - is the same product and appears on the NHS COVID Pass as Vaxzevria. The European Medicines Agency has authorised this vaccine and we are confident travel should not be affected.

Where there have been isolated instances of confusion about what vaccines have been deployed in the UK, officials have worked closely with other departments and international partners to clarify what vaccines have been deployed in the UK.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his (a) international counterparts and (b) Cabinet colleagues on developing a strategy to support and protect human rights defenders.

The UK strongly supports human rights defenders (HRDs) worldwide to enable them to carry out their work safely and without fear. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon is the Minister responsible for Human Rights at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. In 2019, Lord Ahmad launched the document 'UK support for Human Rights Defenders' which was drawn up with significant and important input from relevant stakeholders, including Amnesty International, and sets out how HMG engages with HRDs, and how we work with them to further human rights globally. Lord Ahmad is listening closely to Amnesty and other NGOs on their request for an HMG strategy on HRDs. In the context of the establishment of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, we will be considering what more the UK can do to support HRDs going forward.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will use the 2021 Nutrition for Growth summit to emphasise that the UK is committed to reaching over 50 million children, women and adolescent girls through nutrition-specific programmes by 2025.

Between April 2015 and March 2020, the UK reached 55.1 million young children, women and adolescent girls through our nutrition programmes.

We remain committed to the Nutrition for Growth process and will continue to work closely on preparations for the 2021 Summit with the Government of Japan. Options for any new Nutrition for Growth commitment will be reviewed once the internal business planning process is complete.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to support the one in four countries with ongoing humanitarian crises who are experiencing reductions of 10 per cent or more in household drinking water services compared with the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government recognises that countries with ongoing humanitarian crises can be particularly affected by COVID-19 and that access to drinking water can be reduced. In the first response phase to COVID-19 we provided £20 million of finance to UNICEF for urgent COVID-19 support including for water, sanitation and hygiene. We also supported the provision of emergency drinking water in a number of humanitarian contexts, including to nineteen Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Yemen, through our support to the Hygiene and Behaviour-change Coalition (HBCC), working with Unilever during the pandemic. As a longer-term effort, the UK Government met its 2015 - 2020 target of 60 million people with improved water or sanitation, of which 26.2 million people were based in fragile states. Going forward, the UK will continue to work with the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, which includes 69 partner governments, to increase political commitment to improving access to clean water and sanitation in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborn babies and children across the world; and whether UK Aid has supported global interventions which seek to (a) ensure that every child has access to a measles vaccines, (b) reduce disruptions in antenatal check-ups and post-natal care and (c) provide essential nutrition services to children.

The FCDO is committed to working with others to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. Our steps to deliver this commitment include: Support for efforts to protect children in low income countries through our commitment of up to £1.65 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Over 2021-2025, Gavi will support the roll-out of the most comprehensive package of vaccines to the world's poorest countries, focusing the hardest to reach children. This will include immunising 490 million children against measles, averting approximately 1.4 million preventable deaths; Support for delivery of quality antenatal and post-natal care, including through the Global Financing Facility in 36 countries, which is helping countries challenged by service disruptions due to the pandemic; and; Promotion of a highly cost-effective set of nutrition services for women and children, including breastfeeding support, provision of nutritional supplements and treatment for acute malnutrition. Between April 2015 and March 2020, we reached 55.1 million young children, women and adolescent girls through our nutrition programmes.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the UK plans to use as G7 president to lead global efforts to strengthen primary health care systems.

Leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics is a priority for our G7 Presidency. We are using our G7 Presidency to champion support for vulnerable countries and to promote global health and development. This will include strengthening global and national health systems, as we pursue our vision for a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts across the globe on the impact of soy production on deforestation.

A due diligence obligation set out in the Environment Bill will make it illegal for UK businesses to use agricultural commodities if they have not been produced in line with local laws protecting forests. This will help to ensure that UK imports of soya come from sustainable sources, and the Government is working to encourage other major markets to take a similar position.

As President of the COP26 climate change conference, the UK is also working to establish a new partnership between consumer and producer countries of agricultural commodities. The partnership will promote collaboration between governments and accelerate action to stop deforestation caused by agricultural commodities, including soya, and encourage trade in commodities that have been grown sustainably.

This political engagement complements UK International Climate Finance for forest protection and sustainable agriculture in key regions, including soya-producing regions of Brazil.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the Government of Morocco to secure peace in Western Sahara.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and are in regular contact with the parties, including the Government of Morocco. We are also in close contact with the UN, both in New York and in the region. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process. We strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts to appoint a Personal Envoy as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will propose a motion to the United Nations Security Council requesting the United Nations Secretary-General appoint a Personal Envoy to Western Sahara.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and are in regular contact with the parties, including the Government of Morocco. We are also in close contact with the UN, both in New York and in the region. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process. We strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts to appoint a Personal Envoy as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the mechanisms in the UK-Morocco association agreement to support a peaceful solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

The UK supports UN-led efforts to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. We have regular exchanges with the parties to the Western Sahara dispute, including Morocco. Association Agreements, including the UK-Morocco Association Agreement, include provisions for political dialogue.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Iranian counterpart on the return of the detained British national Anoosheh Ashoori to the UK.

The Government remains extremely concerned about all dual British nationals detained in Iran, including Anoosheh Ashoori. Iran does not recognise dual nationality and therefore does not permit access to British-Iranian detainees. We continue to urge the Iranian Government to immediately release all British-Iranian nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran to enable them to return to their families in the UK. The welfare of British-Iranian citizens in Iran is also of paramount importance, and we call on Iran to uphold its commitments under international law to treat all detainees in line with international standards. We have continued to raise the cases of British-Iranian nationals detained in Iran at the most senior levels, and discuss them at every opportunity with our Iranian counterparts.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK aid reaches the most vulnerable people during the covid-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is a compound and protracted crisis, where the impacts on health, economies, food security, stability and society will hit the world's poorest and most fragile countries hardest. As a leading donor to the global COVID-19 response and one of the biggest humanitarian donors globally, we are ensuring that our support goes to those who need it the most, including refugees and other forcibly displaced populations.

We have so far pledged up to £790 million of UK aid to counter the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, and to further the search for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. In addition, we have pivoted over 200 bilateral programmes towards addressing direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 response.

We are paying particular attention to the needs of the most vulnerable. Our funding for UNHCR is focused on supporting refugees. Our support to UNFPA and UNICEF will protect the rights of women and girls, including addressing gender-based violence and ensuring continued access to sexual and reproductive health care. We have also recently announced a package of £119 million to provide relief to over six million people and help prevent famine in countries hit by conflict and COVID-19.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of discrimination against religious minorities on the distribution of UK aid.

The UK Government works to ensure that recipients of UK Aid, including minority religious communities, are not discriminated against because of their faith. The UK is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally-recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. This includes minority religious communities, who are assessed by our partners when determining those most in need of protection and assistance.

The FCDO's use of country context analysis has increased the understanding of how religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. The FCDO undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country's politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and discrimination of religious minorities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to ensure that UK offshore sailors visiting the EU will be able to (a) stay in the EU for 180 consecutive days a year and (b) receive equal treatment to EU national visiting the UK for the same period of time; and what assessment he has made of the effect on offshore sailors of the differential arrangements that will potentially apply at the end of the transition period.

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. Under the UK's new immigration system, EU citizens will be treated as non-visa nationals for the purposes of tourism after the end of the transition period. EU citizens will be able to come to the UK as visitors for six months without the need to obtain a visa. This length of stay is the standard visitor provision for the nationals of all other non-visa countries.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure delivery on the aims of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality.

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of the UK Government's mission, and Global Britain's role as a force for good in the world, including fulfilling every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

Substantial progress has been made since the launch of the Strategic Vision in 2018. Highlights include announcing the biggest ever donor commitment to support and accelerate the Africa-led movement to end female genital mutilation (£50 million), securing unilateral agreement by the 53 Commonwealth Leaders to work to ensure 12 years of quality education for all girls by 2030, and generating world-leading evidence on how to drive down global rates of violence against women and girls through our What Works to Prevent Violence programme. Between 2019-20 alone UKaid supported 25.4 million women to access modern methods of family planning, helping to save thousands of lives.

As part of the launch of the new FCDO, we will refresh and build on existing strategies, as well as develop new approaches, but we do not see the core ambitions of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality changing.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Bahraini counterpart on (a) Mohammed Ramadhan, (b) Hussain Moosa and (c) other prisoners who have been sentenced to death in Bahrain.

We are concerned by the death sentences handed to Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa. We continue to raise both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We continue to monitor their case, as it is taken to the Court of Cassation for final review.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of individuals affected by the Loan Charge have been (a) contacted by an Enquiry Officer when their case is placed on hold for any reason and (b) updated annually about the status of their open tax enquiry.

HMRC wants to help taxpayers get out of tax avoidance schemes as soon as possible and rarely put enquiries on hold.

HMRC has opened approximately 25,000 enquiries into individuals who are subject to the Loan Charge. As part of its overall compliance processes and its commitment to update taxpayers at least annually, all of these taxpayers should have received correspondence from HMRC in the last 12 months, either to open the enquiry or to update them on their position.
Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the validity of open years within regards to the Loan Charge on (a) the ability of HMRC to recover unpaid tax, (b) the welfare of individuals affected by the Loan Charge and (c) the ability of individuals affected by the Loan Charge to repay designated sums without risking bankruptcy.

The Government takes tax avoidance seriously. The Loan Charge was announced at Budget 2016 as part of a package of measures to tackle Disguised Remuneration (DR) tax avoidance. The forecast was last revised at Spring Statement 2022, with the latest estimated overall Exchequer yield of £3.4 billion for the entire package, which includes the Loan Charge.

Individuals are personally responsible for paying the right tax under UK law. Where a taxpayer has outstanding tax on DR loans, HMRC is working to bring these cases to conclusion.

However, HMRC is also committed to ensuring that anyone with concerns about paying what they owe has access to payment support options, including the ability to pay in instalments based on what they can afford and over any length of time needed. HMRC only petitions for bankruptcy as a last resort in a small minority of cases where all other avenues have been exhausted.

The Government knows that some taxpayers need extra help to resolve their DR use at what can be a difficult time for them. All HMRC DR and Debt Management teams are trained to identify and support taxpayers who need extra help. HMRC also signposts organisations such as MIND and Samaritans to help support taxpayers who have mental health issues or who are demonstrating emotional distress.

HMRC published the ‘HMRC issue briefing: settling disguised remuneration scheme use and/or paying the loan charge’ on 11 April 2022. This includes further information about support to help taxpayers settle their outstanding tax liabilities.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to suspend the requirement for an ATA Carnet for the temporary movement of leisure boats from the UK to the EU.

There is no requirement to use an ATA Carnet for the temporary movement of leisure boats from the UK to the EU. The use of an ATA Carnet is optional and is a commercial decision depending on an individual or business’s specific circumstances.

ATA Carnets are generally an option for temporarily moving boats that are participating in an official event, such as a race or a trade fair, between the UK and EU. An ATA Carnet can help simplify customs formalities by allowing a single document to be used for clearing goods through customs in the countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system. In the UK, ATA Carnets are administered by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Individuals and businesses wishing to use ATA Carnets are advised to contact the LCCI directly to discuss their needs.

Boats for personal use may not require an ATA Carnet as the EU’s Temporary Admission (TA) procedure offers an alternative means to import goods temporarily into the EU, provided the relevant conditions are met. TA is a customs facilitation which allows temporary imports without payment of EU import duties, including VAT. The management of EU import and export procedures is the responsibility of the customs authorities of the EU Member States, so businesses and individuals should confirm the processes at their port of arrival.

Individuals or businesses re-importing goods into the UK can claim relief from import VAT, and any customs duty under Returned Goods Relief (RGR), provided specific conditions are met. RGR applies to goods exported from the UK and re-imported within three years in an unaltered state and can be claimed for goods which are imported into the UK following their export from the UK under TA or with an ATA Carnet. The Government recently legislated to make it clear that personal effects, such as leisure boats, returning to the UK with the original owner will be granted a waiver of the three-year rule.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the payment of a ATA Carnet on the temporary movement of boats from the UK to the EU.

The UK is a signatory to the Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet and the Istanbul Convention on Temporary Admission. Approximately 80 countries around the world (including all EU member states) accept ATA Carnets. ATA Carnets are an option for moving goods temporarily between the UK and EU. During negotiations on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU, both parties proposed text on the temporary admission of goods, which reflect practices set out in the ATA Carnet and Istanbul Conventions. These proposals are reflected in the final Trade and Cooperation Agreement text.

There is no requirement to use an ATA Carnet for the temporary movement of leisure boats from the UK to the EU. The use of an ATA Carnet is optional and is a commercial decision depending on an individual or business’s specific circumstances.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to take steps to support unpaid carers with the recent increase in the cost of living.

The government understands the pressures that many households are facing with the cost of living and is monitoring the situation closely. These are global challenges, but the government is providing support worth over £22 billion in 2022-2023 to help families with these pressures, much of which will help carers on low incomes. This includes providing millions of households with up to £350 to help with rising energy bills and helping people keep more of what they earn. The government has cut the Universal Credit taper rate and increased work allowances, frozen alcohol duty as well as announcing a further rise in the National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour from April 2022.

The Spring Statement went further, with the government announcing an increase to the annual National Insurance Primary Threshold and Lower Profits Limit to £12,570, a cut to fuel duty by 5 pence per litre, and an additional £500m to help with the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and utilities through the Household Support Fund.

Carers and their vital contribution to society are also recognised within the welfare system. Carers can receive additional support through Carer’s Allowance, the Carer Element in Uni versal Credit and through Pension Credit. The weekly rate of Carer’s Allowance will increase to £69.70 in April 2022. Around 360,000 carer households on Universal Credit can receive an additional £1,965 a year through the Carer Element, ensuring that extra support is focused on those carers who need it most. This amount will increase from April 2022 and will benefit carers across the country.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the economic impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on businesses in the UK.

The Treasury has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and it does not prepare forecasts for the UK economy and public finances, as this is the responsibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The latest forecasts from the OBR were published alongside the Budget on 27 October 2021:

https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-october-2021/

The OBR’s analysis used a range of external studies to predict the long term impact on UK GDP.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the cost to businesses in the UK of leaving the EU VAT area.

As with all new tax measures, the Government includes its assessment of the impacts of the changes in Tax Information and Impact Notes. Notes for measures legislated for in the Taxation (Post-transition Period) Act were published alongside that legislation.
Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much was distributed from the £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund before that fund’s closure on the 30 June 2021.

As of 26 October 2021, there has been a total of 4,268 payments made to 4,163 unique businesses, amounting to £6,682,367.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many SMEs applied for funding through the SME Brexit Support Fund before that fund’s closure on the 30 June 2021.

As of 26 October 2021, 11,138 SMEs expressed an interest in applying for funding through the SME Brexit Support Fund, and 5088 grant offers were made.

There were 6050 applications that did not progress to the grant offer stage. This was for a variety of reasons, primarily that 4461 did not finalise their applications. The remaining 1589 applications were not offered grants as they did not meet the eligibility criteria.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a right to appeal for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant decisions.

The Government announced at Budget 2021 that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue until September, with a fourth and a final fifth grant. This provides certainty to business as the economy reopens and means the SEISS will continue to be one of the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world.

There is no legal right to appeal either eligibility for a SEISS grant or the amount of the grant. These decisions are based on information from tax returns provided to HMRC by the self-employed. Anyone who believes that information is wrong can ask HMRC to review the position. If someone was eligible for earlier SEISS grants (SEISS 1-3) but has not been invited to claim the fourth grant, they can access the SEISS service to find out why they are considered ineligible for the fourth SEISS grant, and again can ask HMRC to review this decision

Individuals asking for a review need to tell HMRC the reason for the request and be prepared to provide evidence where necessary.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the (a) number of jobs that would be created by a freeport in Wales, (b) type of jobs that freeport would create and (c) other economic impacts of that freeport.

Freeports will be national hubs for international trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, not just England. We are having ongoing discussions with the Welsh government to establish at least one Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has undertaken an economic impact assessment of establishing a freeport in Wales.

There is significant interest from the port sector in Wales, the UK Government stands ready to continue discussions with the Welsh Government to ensure the economic and regeneration opportunities Freeports can bring to Wales can be fully realised.
Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government in respect of Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 in Wales.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The Crown Estate has committed to optimise the green energy potential of the nation’s world-class offshore resources in supporting the nation’s 2050 net zero ambition. On 8 February 2021, The Crown Estate announced six proposed new offshore wind projects, including one in the north Wales region. These will all now progress to environmental assessment known as a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). These projects together represent just under 8 GW of potential new offshore wind capacity with the opportunity to deliver clean electricity for more than seven million homes and create employment opportunities across the country.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the equity of the correlation between the allocation of child benefits to individuals who share joint custody of a child and the costs that those individuals incur.

At present, the law provides for Child Benefit to be paid to one parent only. The parent who claims Child Benefit can voluntarily choose to pay an agreed proportion to the other parent. Where parents separate and both have care of their child, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) encourage them to agree who should claim Child Benefit. Where they cannot reach an agreement, the law allows HMRC to decide, at their discretion, who should receive the payment based on information from both parents, including the number of days the child lives with them, and the actual costs incurred by each of them on things such as clothing, food and accommodation.

Currently there are no plans to change the law to split payments of Child Benefit where parents have separated and share care of their children. The Government believes that directing payment to the person mainly responsible for the child best ensures that the money goes to the person most likely to bear the weight of everyday care and expenditure.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of backdating the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to include March and April 2020.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been, and continues to be, one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world.

The SEISS is not intended to provide a month-by-month replacement of income. Due to the volatility of self-employed income and the lack of granular data that HMRC hold on self-employed trading profits, precise mapping of income replacement month by month is not possible. Instead, the SEISS provides a lump sum payment to support eligible self-employed individuals whose businesses have been affected by coronavirus.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to the devolved Administrations to support wholesalers who are ineligible for Business Rates Relief.

The UK government has supported businesses across the UK through a range of schemes this year, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

As business rates is a devolved tax it is for the devolved administrations to determine reliefs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the UK government has already guaranteed the devolved administrations an additional £16 billion of resource funding to provide support to people, businesses and public services this year. This comprises £8.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £5.0 billion for the Welsh Government and £2.8 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of current levels of funding to the devolved Administrations on their ability to administer Business Rates Relief to wholesalers.

The UK government has supported businesses across the UK through a range of schemes this year, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

As business rates is a devolved tax it is for the devolved administrations to determine reliefs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the UK government has already guaranteed the devolved administrations an additional £16 billion of resource funding to provide support to people, businesses and public services this year. This comprises £8.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £5.0 billion for the Welsh Government and £2.8 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on the financial security of wholesalers in Wales of their ineligibility for Business Rates Relief.

The UK government has supported businesses across the UK through a range of schemes this year, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

As business rates is a devolved tax it is for the devolved administrations to determine reliefs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the UK government has already guaranteed the devolved administrations an additional £16 billion of resource funding to provide support to people, businesses and public services this year. This comprises £8.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £5.0 billion for the Welsh Government and £2.8 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to protect people who have accrued debt as a result of the covid-19 outbreak from losing their homes.

For mortgage payers, the Government has worked with mortgage lenders and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure the financial sector provides access to mortgage payment holidays. In addition, support for Mortgage Interest provides qualifying borrowers who cannot afford their mortgage interest with financial help, enabling them to stay in their homes.

The Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support for tenants. This includes providing nearly £1 billion of additional support for private renters claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit by increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate in 2020-21. The Government paused possession proceedings over the summer and now, to ensure that renters served notice can stay in their homes over winter, has extended notice periods to six months in all but the most egregious cases. And there will be no enforcement of evictions in areas of local lockdown, where access to premises is restricted, or over the Christmas period in England and Wales.

To help people in problem debt get their finances back on track, the budget for free debt advice in England has been increased to over £100 million this financial year. And from May 2021 the Breathing Space scheme will offer people in problem debt a pause of up to 60 days on most enforcement action, interest, fees and charges.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much the Welsh Government will receive in Barnett Consequentials from the £3 billion of new funding introduced for green buildings in England as part of the Plan for Jobs.

As part of the Plan for Jobs, the Chancellor announced over £3 billion of new funding for green buildings. This funding is subject to the Barnett formula. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure they have the best information about likely changes in Barnett funding to facilitate their financial planning.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of credit card processing fees on small businesses and charities since the discouragement of cash payments during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to ensure businesses are not negatively affected by the increase in credit card payments.

The Government remains committed to helping businesses and workers through the present very difficult time, and has announced unprecedented support, including a range of grant and tax deferral schemes, and £300 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15 per cent of UK GDP. For voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, the government has pledged £750 million to ensure they can continue their vital work supporting the country during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government remains closely engaged with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals have been encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. To work safely during Coronavirus, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. However, it remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

Some acquirers (the financial services firms which enable retailers to process card payments) are taking voluntary measures to support their business customers, for example through waiving fees, and the Government welcomes such action.

Furthermore, the Payment Systems Regulator is currently carrying out a market review into card-acquiring services. Its review is examining how competition is working, including looking at the fees retailers pay for card-acquiring services and the quality of service they receive. The interim findings will be published in Q3 2020.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Government on (a) extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (b) other employment support and (c) an adequate level of financial support for outdoor residential centres.

The Treasury’s priority is to support the whole UK economy through Covid-19. IT HAS taken unprecedented steps to support viable businesses to stay afloat and protect the incomes of the most vulnerable.

The Welsh Government and Office of the Secretary of State for Wales play a key part in these discussions, and there is regular engagement on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Welsh Government’s plans to protect jobs and support key sectors in Wales.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to extend the reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions to (a) travel and (b) holiday letting agencies.

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has introduced a range of measures to help individuals and businesses through the crisis, including grants, loans and relief from business rates at a cost of more than £300 billion.

Property agencies are included in the temporary reduced rate provided that the contract is between the customer and the agent, and that the agent has the power to grant someone a licence to occupy holiday accommodation. Passenger transport for more than 10 people is ordinarily zero-rated for VAT purposes.

Expanding the scope of the temporary VAT reduction would come at a considerable cost to the Exchequer. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support educational charities; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for and (b) a package of support for educational charities whose operations will not be able to return to normal until January 2021 at the earliest.

The Government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until 31 October. This Scheme must be temporary, and we must ensure people can get back to work when it is safe to do so and get the UK economy up and running again.

Many charities and social enterprises have benefitted from existing measures to support employers and businesses. Under these measures, charities have deferred VAT bills and will pay no business rates for their shops next year. In April the Government announced a £750 million support package for charities. £360 million of funding will be allocated directly to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people including children and young people, while £370 million will be available to local charities including through the National Lottery Community Fund.

In addition, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package to help teachers support those who have fallen behind while out of school and over £100 million to support remote learning.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to maintain the current level of employment support for people who are shielding and whose workplaces cannot be made covid-safe when the shielding scheme comes to an end on 1 August 2020.

On 22 June, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will relax the current public health guidance for those identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to shield at home. This means from 1 August they will be able to return to work if they are unable to work from home, provided their workplace is COVID-safe.

It is important that this group continue to take careful precautions, and employers should do all they can to enable them to work from home where this is possible, including moving them to another role if required. Where this is not possible, the CEV should be provided with the safest on-site roles that enable them to maintain social distancing from others.

If employers cannot provide a safe working environment, the CEV will continue to have access to an unprecedented package of financial support. This is not limited to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but also includes the introduction of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and an increase in the generosity of welfare payments worth a further £8bn.

Current guidance for those who live with the shielded, including those in multi-generational households, is that they do not need to shield themselves but must carefully follow guidance on social distancing.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department made before deciding how (a) maternity leave, (b) sick leave and (c) holidays affect the value of claims made to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Government takes care to pay due regard to the equality impacts of its policy decisions relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the equality impacts of the SEISS, in line with all legal requirements and the Government’s commitment to promoting equality.

It is not possible for HMRC to know the reasons why an individual’s profits may have dropped in earlier years from income tax self-assessment returns. However, by calculating the grant on a three-year average of profits, the SEISS supports people who saw a dip in profits for parental/sickness leave.

HMRC have published statistics about the number and value of SEISS claims made by 31 May, including a breakdown by gender. These can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/self-employment-income-support-scheme-statistics-june-2020

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the calculation of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect on women of not exempting maternity leave taken in (a) 2017-18 and (b) 2016-17.

The Government takes care to pay due regard to the equality impacts of its policy decisions relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the equality impacts of the SEISS, in line with all legal requirements and the Government’s commitment to promoting equality.

It is not possible for HMRC to know the reasons why an individual’s profits may have dropped in earlier years from income tax self-assessment returns. However, by calculating the grant on a three-year average of profits, the SEISS supports people who saw a dip in profits for parental/sickness leave.

HMRC have published statistics about the number and value of SEISS claims made by 31 May, including a breakdown by gender. These can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/self-employment-income-support-scheme-statistics-june-2020

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that holiday insurance companies do not insist that claimants first file for a chargeback claim before they pay out on claims; and what discussions he has had with representatives from the Financial Conduct Authority and (b) Competition and Markets Authority on that matter.

Travel insurance typically applies only for losses that cannot be recovered from elsewhere. Customers should therefore first contact travel providers or accommodation providers for reimbursement. In the next instance, credit card providers would provide a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if the payment was made by credit card and cost was over £100 per unit. However, travel insurance policies differ so customers should check the terms and conditions of their policy or speak to their insurer.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published guidance for firms handling consumer claims during the Covid-19 crisis. Where consumers have two potentially valid avenues of redress against regulated firms (for example, from an insurer and credit provider) there is nothing in their rules that stops an insurer, credit provider or other regulated firm settling the claim in full (so long as there is no disadvantage to the consumer in this) and, where appropriate, seeking to claim back from the other firm involved.

The FCA will be consulting in the coming weeks on guidelines so that in future their expectations of firms and the choices for consumers will be clearer. More broadly, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if HM Revenue and Customs will waive the tax on the Welsh Government's £500 payments to carers.

The UK Government values the contribution of care workers greatly, particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis.

HM Revenue and Customs are working with the Welsh Government to understand the nature of the payments. Under the longstanding rules of income tax, any payments made in connection with an employment are chargeable to income tax and National Insurance contributions.

This is consistent with the Government’s approach across different forms of financial support during COVID-19, including payments made under the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which are liable to tax.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much additional funding has been allocated to the (a) Welsh Government and (b) other public bodies in Wales in response to the covid-19 outbreak to ensure additional health provisions in prisons in Wales, since 31 January 2020.

The Welsh Government have been provided with over £1.6bn to support people, businesses and public services through COVID-19.

HMPPS is working closely with Public Health Wales, Welsh Government, Public Health England, the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Alongside existing procedures to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, HMPPS are ensuring that staff have access to personal protective equipment where necessary and have introduced a procedure for the protective isolation of individuals in custody when it is considered that they may be infected with the virus. HMPPS are also working with prison health teams in Wales to ensure that there is a joint approach to any incidents.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the provision of compensation for (a) individuals and (b) businesses affected by coastal erosion.

Treasury Ministers and officials have regular discussions with all of the devolved administrations on matters of importance to the economy across the UK, including Environment policy. Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management policy is devolved. It is for the devolved administrations to set their own priorities and determine the allocation of funds as they choose.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the representatives from (a) Crown Estate Commissioners and (b) Natural Resources Wales on the responsibility for land exposed to coastal erosion in Fairbourne, Gwynedd.

Treasury Ministers and officials have regular discussions with all of the devolved administrations on matters of importance to the economy across the UK, including Environment policy. Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management policy is devolved. It is for the devolved administrations to set their own priorities and determine the allocation of funds as they choose.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment has she made of the adequacy of financial support available to participants in the Ukraine Family Scheme compared to those participating in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Ukrainian nationals coming to the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme are given the same access to work, benefits and public services as those coming here under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, as laid down in Appendix Ukraine to the Immigration Rules, details of which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-ukraine-scheme?msclkid=e6adf1dbcf7b11ec86b0be860d4b164a

Those sponsoring under the Ukraine Family Scheme are not required to provide accommodation. Therefore, the Government has not extended the £350 per month ‘thank you’ payment offered to those providing a home to refugees arriving in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine and Super Sponsor Schemes.

Sponsoring family members able to provide appropriate accommodation can choose to sponsor their family members under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme or Super Sponsor Schemes in order to become eligible for the ‘thank you’ payment.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of average time it currently takes to process and issue visas for non-Ukrainian nationals.

For applications not lodged under the Ukraine schemes, UKVI offers a range of service levels for applications which include Standard service (15 working days), Priority service (5 working days), and Super Priority service (next day) after a customer has provided their biometrics.

UKVI made a decision to prioritise the Ukraine Schemes following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Resources are now being returned to focus on visa routes impacted by these prioritisation decisions which should reduce the average processing times in due course. We continue to prioritise any urgent compelling or compassionate cases across all workstreams and are working to reduce the current processing times as quickly as possible.

For Standard applications lodged outside the UK, the current average processing time is as follows:

  • Visitors – 6 weeks
  • Students – 5 weeks
  • Working/Investing – 5 weeks
  • Joining Family – up to 24 weeks

Further information can be found at Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and this is regularly updated.

For Standard applications lodged inside the UK, the current average processing times are not published though all routes are currently within the published service standards which are:

  • Switching/Extending a Student, Family, Ancestry, Work, Visitor, or Graduate Visa – 8 weeks
  • Switching/Extending a Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa – 12 weeks
  • Applying for Settlement - within 6 months

Further information is published at Visa decision waiting times: applications inside the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Animals in Science Regulation Unit’s Change Programme, what assessment she has made of the impact on animal welfare of (a) that programme and (b) the proposed decrease in in-person inspector visits to animal testing sites.

Each establishment licence holder has the responsibility at all times for the welfare of the animals within their establishment.

Establishment licence holders are required to have governance systems in place to ensure all Personal and Project Licence Holders comply with the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) and to maintain compliance with the conditions on their own establishment licence. These requirements are defined in the Standard Conditions of licences.

In July 2021 the regulator initiated a new operating model that delivers a structured and integrated framework aligned with leading regulatory practice. In October of this year the regulator commenced a new system of full system audits that form part of an integrated system to assess compliance across the regulated community.

The audit process and the evidence for assessment of compliance against the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and associated licence conditions, are available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/animal-research-technical-advice#process-and-standards-for-establishment-full-system-audits

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2022 to Question 131268, on Police: Pepper Spray and Tasers, under what circumstances police officers are permitted to be in possession of (a) PAVa and (b) Conducted Energy Devices when they are (i) off duty and (ii) on call.

Decisions around equipping police officers, including the specific arrangements for carrying and storing equipment while off-duty and on call, are for operationally independent Chief Constables.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent guidance her Department has issued to police officers on the possession of (a) Pelargonic Acid Vannilylamide (PAVa) spray and (b) conducted energy devices (Taser) when they are (i) off duty and (ii) on call.

The Home Office has not issued guidance to police officers on the possession of PAVa and Conducted Energy Devices.

Guidance for police on operational matters, including equipment, is for Chief officers and/or the College of Policing to issue.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people who have been spiked through the use of injection needles in (a) Wales, (b) England, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland in each month since January 2021.

The Home Office does not collect figures for the number of people who have been spiked through the use of injection needles.

However, following the concerns raised about this new phenomenon last year, the Home Secretary has been receiving regular reports from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). The NPCC has established a reporting mechanism to enable forces to report any reported incidences of needle-spiking to help us to gain a better understanding of the scale and nature of the problem.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will take steps to accelerate the activation of Emergency Area Service masts in Wales.

Activation of all EAS sites is dependent on securing a transmission solution with a supplier. This is currently in progress and we expect to make this award towards the end of this year. Thereafter, we anticipate that all EAS sites will commence in April 2022 with all sites activated by the end of 2024. In Wales there are 86 EAS sites of which 35 are passive build complete and awaiting transmission and activation. These 35 sites will be part of the priority sites once the transmission contract has been secured. We need to follow government procurement processes fully in this award and are unable to accelerate this aspect of the process.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people were housed in (a) Brook House Immigration Removal Centre and (b) Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre at the start of each of the last six months; and what proportion of maximum capacity that represents.

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity, in the right places and that it provides value for money.

The Home Office will maintain sufficient capacity to support the removal of the men and women it proves necessary to detain for the purposes of removal. In order to meet operational needs and demands, we will continue to operate the immigration removal estate in a flexible manner.

The Home Office publishes statistics on people in detention on the last day of each quarter in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on people in detention under immigration powers are published in table Det_D02 of the Detention detailed datasets. The data can be broken down by place of detention. The latest data release relates to the number of people in detention at the end of June 2021.The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on detention.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what security clearance is required by staff working with people housed in hotels in the Gatwick area under her Department’s policies.

To respond to your question we have interpreted it as requiring this information for supported asylum seekers, resettled refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking minors and have provided information on that basis.

The Home Office do not routinely publish the numbers of people accommodated in hotels, or what hotels are used for accommodation, however we do publish information on the numbers of people accommodated in each local authority, which includes hotel accommodation at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2021

The Home Office considers the cost of accommodation to be commercially confidential and does not publish this information.

Staff employed by our providers working within hotels are required to have security clearance (SC) and a DBS check. Those staff who are employed by the hotel do not require security clearance unless their employers have clearance within their terms & conditions.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many hotels in the Gatwick area house people under her Department’s policies.

To respond to your question we have interpreted it as requiring this information for supported asylum seekers, resettled refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking minors and have provided information on that basis.

The Home Office do not routinely publish the numbers of people accommodated in hotels, or what hotels are used for accommodation, however we do publish information on the numbers of people accommodated in each local authority, which includes hotel accommodation at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2021

The Home Office considers the cost of accommodation to be commercially confidential and does not publish this information.

Staff employed by our providers working within hotels are required to have security clearance (SC) and a DBS check. Those staff who are employed by the hotel do not require security clearance unless their employers have clearance within their terms & conditions.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of her Department’s policy of housing people in hotels in the Gatwick area in each of the last six months; and if she will make a statement.

To respond to your question we have interpreted it as requiring this information for supported asylum seekers, resettled refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking minors and have provided information on that basis.

The Home Office do not routinely publish the numbers of people accommodated in hotels, or what hotels are used for accommodation, however we do publish information on the numbers of people accommodated in each local authority, which includes hotel accommodation at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2021

The Home Office considers the cost of accommodation to be commercially confidential and does not publish this information.

Staff employed by our providers working within hotels are required to have security clearance (SC) and a DBS check. Those staff who are employed by the hotel do not require security clearance unless their employers have clearance within their terms & conditions.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people were housed in hotels in the Gatwick area under her Department’s policies at the start of each of the last six months.

To respond to your question we have interpreted it as requiring this information for supported asylum seekers, resettled refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking minors and have provided information on that basis.

The Home Office do not routinely publish the numbers of people accommodated in hotels, or what hotels are used for accommodation, however we do publish information on the numbers of people accommodated in each local authority, which includes hotel accommodation at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-june-2021

The Home Office considers the cost of accommodation to be commercially confidential and does not publish this information.

Staff employed by our providers working within hotels are required to have security clearance (SC) and a DBS check. Those staff who are employed by the hotel do not require security clearance unless their employers have clearance within their terms & conditions.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 41108, how travellers without access to the internet are able to complete the Passenger Locator Form.

All passengers must complete the Passenger Locator Form online, however, once completed they can print off their finished form to show carriers before departing to the UK.

Passengers may seek assistance, from family, friends or another third party, to complete on their behalf.

There are dedicated helplines for members of the public who are encountering issues with completing the PLF form. Whilst these helplines can provide advice, they cannot complete the form on behalf of the passenger.

The contact telephone number from within the UK is 0800 678 1767 and is open Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 5pm. These calls are free of charge.

The contact telephone number when outside the UK is 0044 207 113 0371 and is open Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 5pm. These calls are charged dependant on the network provider.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions her Department has had with the Welsh Government to identify and encourage applications from eligible individuals in Wales to the EU Settlement Scheme who did not apply by 30 June 2021.

The latest published information of applications and concluded applications by UK country to 31 March 2021 are published in Tables EUSS_01 and EUSS_03_WAL of the quarterly EUSS statistics tables (EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, March 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The Home Office has so far invested nearly £8 million in marketing campaigns to encourage eligible EEA nationals and their family members to apply to the EUSS, and provided grant funding of £22 million through to 30 September 2021 to a network of now 72 organisations across the UK working to help vulnerable groups to apply.

Plans have been shared with communication colleagues in the Devolved Administrations throughout to align and support respective efforts; and core assets have consistently been produced in Welsh translation and shared widely. We will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations, local authorities, community organisations and others to encourage remaining EEA nationals and their family members eligible for the EUSS to apply and secure their rights in the UK.

We have made clear we will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to dealing with late applications and have already published non-exhaustive guidance on what will be considered reasonable grounds for making one.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate her Department has made of the number and proportion of eligible people in Wales who did not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30 June 2021 deadline.

The latest published information of applications and concluded applications by UK country to 31 March 2021 are published in Tables EUSS_01 and EUSS_03_WAL of the quarterly EUSS statistics tables (EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, March 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The Home Office has so far invested nearly £8 million in marketing campaigns to encourage eligible EEA nationals and their family members to apply to the EUSS, and provided grant funding of £22 million through to 30 September 2021 to a network of now 72 organisations across the UK working to help vulnerable groups to apply.

Plans have been shared with communication colleagues in the Devolved Administrations throughout to align and support respective efforts; and core assets have consistently been produced in Welsh translation and shared widely. We will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations, local authorities, community organisations and others to encourage remaining EEA nationals and their family members eligible for the EUSS to apply and secure their rights in the UK.

We have made clear we will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to dealing with late applications and have already published non-exhaustive guidance on what will be considered reasonable grounds for making one.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of pending applications to the EU Settlement Scheme are from applicants in Wales.

The latest published information of applications and concluded applications by UK country to 31 March 2021 are published in Tables EUSS_01 and EUSS_03_WAL of the quarterly EUSS statistics tables (EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, March 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The Home Office has so far invested nearly £8 million in marketing campaigns to encourage eligible EEA nationals and their family members to apply to the EUSS, and provided grant funding of £22 million through to 30 September 2021 to a network of now 72 organisations across the UK working to help vulnerable groups to apply.

Plans have been shared with communication colleagues in the Devolved Administrations throughout to align and support respective efforts; and core assets have consistently been produced in Welsh translation and shared widely. We will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations, local authorities, community organisations and others to encourage remaining EEA nationals and their family members eligible for the EUSS to apply and secure their rights in the UK.

We have made clear we will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to dealing with late applications and have already published non-exhaustive guidance on what will be considered reasonable grounds for making one.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 71114, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to amend the immigration rules to ensure that Welsh language skills are awarded equal points as English, including a date whereby final conclusions of that assessment will be published.

We are continuing to explore the role of the Welsh language in our immigration system, reflecting its importance to both the communities where it is spoken and to the UK as a whole. Language skills are an important part of integration for those coming to work, study or settle in the UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of granting asylum seekers who are victims of modern slavery a minimum of one year of leave to remain in the UK to support their long term recovery.

The UK’s policy for confirmed victims of modern slavery is to consider granting discretionary leave to remain on a case-by-case basis, based on the individual’s circumstances. The published policy can be found on gov.uk Discretionary leave for victims of modern slavery casework guidance (publishing.service.gov.uk) and gives a number of examples in which a grant of discretionary leave is appropriate.

Confirmed victims of modern slavery who are also asylum seekers are eligible for a grant of leave under the same policy, but this usually only needs to be considered if the asylum claim is refused.

As part of the New Plan for Immigration announced on 24 March 2021, we are consulting on a proposal that confirmed victims with long-term recovery needs linked to their modern slavery exploitation can be considered for a grant of temporary leave to remain to assist their recovery. This builds on our end-to-end needs-based approach to supporting victims. We also make clear that temporary leave to remain may be available to victims who are helping the police with prosecutions and bringing their exploiters to justice.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of effect of the removal of all non-administrative costs from the child citizenship fee on her ability to discharge her duty under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009.

The Home Office keeps all fees under review.

The Home Office has acknowledged the judgment given in the recent court case on child registration fees, where the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision the Home Office had not demonstrated compliance with its duties under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 in setting the child registration fee

A Section 55 assessment of the child registration fee is currently being carried out.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many eligible (a) adults, (b) children in Wales have applied unsuccessfully for UK citizenship as a result of being unable to pay the non-administrative costs of the citizenship fee since 2010.

The Home Office publishes data on citizenship applications and grants at:

www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/immigration-statistics-data-tables-year-ending-june-2020#citizenship

An incomplete payment is just one of a number of reasons which could lead to an application being rejected and included under the ‘rejected applications’ heading in Table 4.

The Home Office does not have accessible management information on applications rejected in Wales specifically, as a result of being unable to pay the non-administrative costs of citizenship fees. Fees are set according to section 68 of the Immigration Act 2014 and are set within parameters agreed by Parliament.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to publish its response to the key findings by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration from its site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, published on 8 March 2021.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the key findings by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration from its site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, published on 8 March 2021, what recent assessment her Department has made its plans to extend planning permission at (a) Penally training camp and (b) Napier barracks.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the key findings by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration from its site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, published on 8 March 2021, what recent assessment her Department has made of the continued use of (a) Penally training camp and (b) Napier barracks as contingency asylum accommodation.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the key findings of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration from its site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, published on 8 March 2021; and if she will make a statement.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many confirmed cases of covid-19 there have been at the temporary accommodation site for asylum seekers at Penally training camp since September 2020.

The Home Office secured use of the site for six months under emergency provisions within the Town and Country Planning regulations, Part 37 of which can be used for Crown emergency development. We are aware of the need for further planning consent for use of the site beyond March 2021.

Any further planning application will be made in line with the legal requirements and in consultation with the County Council local planning authority and other statutory bodies

There have been no confirmed cases of Covid at the Penally Training camp since September 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to suspend the use of the Penally training camp as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers between 21 March and mid-April 2021 as the camp will be under occupation but without the requisite planning consents in place during that period.

The Home Office secured use of the site for six months under emergency provisions within the Town and Country Planning regulations, Part 37 of which can be used for Crown emergency development. We are aware of the need for further planning consent for use of the site beyond March 2021.

Any further planning application will be made in line with the legal requirements and in consultation with the County Council local planning authority and other statutory bodies

There have been no confirmed cases of Covid at the Penally Training camp since September 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with police forces in England and Wales on the use of e-scooters on pavements; and what recent (a) estimate she has made of the incidence of e-scooters being used on pavements and (b) assessment she has made of the effect of e-scooter use on pavements on the safety of people with sight loss.

It is illegal to use privately owned e-scooters on the roads and the pavements. How the police enforce road traffic laws is an operational matter for individual Chief Officers who will decide how to deploy available resources, taking into account any specific local problems and demands.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the value is of the contracts awarded to Clearsprings Ready Homes Ltd for running the temporary accommodation site for asylum seekers at (a) Penally camp in Pembrokeshire and (b) Napier barracks in Kent.

We do not publish the costs of our accommodation & support contracts as they are considered commercially sensitive.

The use of MoD sites lessens our reliance on hotels and provides savings for the taxpayer of approximately 50 per cent.

We are working to reduce the cost of the asylum system, which is under significant pressure, and are considering a number of accommodation options while we fix the broken asylum system to make it firmer and fairer.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of proposed reforms to the policing of unauthorised encampments on (a) Gypsies and Travellers, (b) walkers and ramblers, (c) horse riders and (d) cyclists.

The Government is committed to ensuring all communities are treated fairly. We are equally clear that we will not tolerate law breaking.

That is why we set out in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019 our firm aim to bring forward legislation this session to strengthen the powers available to the police to tackle unauthorised encampments.

Legislation will target those causing harm and disruption, rather than those simply wanting to enjoy the countryside

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers does her Department intend to transfer into the temporary accommodation site at the Penally training camp over the next four weeks.

We are not able to provide the information requested.

We have a statutory obligation to provide accommodation to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute. Due to the unpredictable nature of asylum intake we are unable to forecast the number of people to be accommodated at Penally over the next four weeks.

Transfer out of Penally is dependant on the amount of dispersed accommodation being available through people being granted asylum and moving on and the procurement of additional dispersal properties. We are unable to predict the number of people who will be dispersed from Penally camp in the next four weeks.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers will be transferred out of the temporary accommodation site at the Penally training camp in the next four weeks.

We are not able to provide the information requested.

We have a statutory obligation to provide accommodation to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute. Due to the unpredictable nature of asylum intake we are unable to forecast the number of people to be accommodated at Penally over the next four weeks.

Transfer out of Penally is dependant on the amount of dispersed accommodation being available through people being granted asylum and moving on and the procurement of additional dispersal properties. We are unable to predict the number of people who will be dispersed from Penally camp in the next four weeks.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 136619 on Asylum: Military Bases, what the Government's timetable is for the transfer of all individuals of the Penally training camp.

There are currently 118 asylum seekers accommodated at Penally training camp, Pembrokeshire.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed, Powys police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation. The MOD has given permission to use the site for 12 months.

At present the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into Dispersal Accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

Those asylum seekers being moved to Dispersal Accommodation will not be moved to the other Ministry of Defence site currently in use; Napier Barracks. This site is also providing temporary contingency accommodation for asylum seekers whilst their claims are examined.

Accommodation for supported asylum seekers is arranged by private sector providers through contractual arrangements with the Home Office. Dispersal Accommodation is a mixture of Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s), flats, houses or hostel-based properties. Location will be based on the availability of properties suitable for each asylum seekers needs.

Our accommodation providers are also working to maximise accommodation procurement opportunities throughout the UK, however they can only do so with local authority agreement. It is our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation dependent upon it becoming available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people were housed at the Penally training camp as at 21 January 2021.

There are currently 118 asylum seekers accommodated at Penally training camp, Pembrokeshire.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed, Powys police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation. The MOD has given permission to use the site for 12 months.

At present the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into Dispersal Accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

Those asylum seekers being moved to Dispersal Accommodation will not be moved to the other Ministry of Defence site currently in use; Napier Barracks. This site is also providing temporary contingency accommodation for asylum seekers whilst their claims are examined.

Accommodation for supported asylum seekers is arranged by private sector providers through contractual arrangements with the Home Office. Dispersal Accommodation is a mixture of Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s), flats, houses or hostel-based properties. Location will be based on the availability of properties suitable for each asylum seekers needs.

Our accommodation providers are also working to maximise accommodation procurement opportunities throughout the UK, however they can only do so with local authority agreement. It is our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation dependent upon it becoming available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans for the cessation of transfers of asylum seekers into the Penally training camp.

There are currently 118 asylum seekers accommodated at Penally training camp, Pembrokeshire.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed, Powys police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation. The MOD has given permission to use the site for 12 months.

At present the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into Dispersal Accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

Those asylum seekers being moved to Dispersal Accommodation will not be moved to the other Ministry of Defence site currently in use; Napier Barracks. This site is also providing temporary contingency accommodation for asylum seekers whilst their claims are examined.

Accommodation for supported asylum seekers is arranged by private sector providers through contractual arrangements with the Home Office. Dispersal Accommodation is a mixture of Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s), flats, houses or hostel-based properties. Location will be based on the availability of properties suitable for each asylum seekers needs.

Our accommodation providers are also working to maximise accommodation procurement opportunities throughout the UK, however they can only do so with local authority agreement. It is our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation dependent upon it becoming available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January to Question 136619 on Asylum: Military Bases, what (a) type of accommodation and (b) location asylum seekers being transferred out of the Penally training camp are being placed in.

There are currently 118 asylum seekers accommodated at Penally training camp, Pembrokeshire.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed, Powys police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation. The MOD has given permission to use the site for 12 months.

At present the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into Dispersal Accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

Those asylum seekers being moved to Dispersal Accommodation will not be moved to the other Ministry of Defence site currently in use; Napier Barracks. This site is also providing temporary contingency accommodation for asylum seekers whilst their claims are examined.

Accommodation for supported asylum seekers is arranged by private sector providers through contractual arrangements with the Home Office. Dispersal Accommodation is a mixture of Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s), flats, houses or hostel-based properties. Location will be based on the availability of properties suitable for each asylum seekers needs.

Our accommodation providers are also working to maximise accommodation procurement opportunities throughout the UK, however they can only do so with local authority agreement. It is our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation dependent upon it becoming available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 136619, whether other Ministry of Defence sites will be used to house individuals being transferred out of the Penally training camp.

There are currently 118 asylum seekers accommodated at Penally training camp, Pembrokeshire.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed, Powys police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation. The MOD has given permission to use the site for 12 months.

At present the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into Dispersal Accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

Those asylum seekers being moved to Dispersal Accommodation will not be moved to the other Ministry of Defence site currently in use; Napier Barracks. This site is also providing temporary contingency accommodation for asylum seekers whilst their claims are examined.

Accommodation for supported asylum seekers is arranged by private sector providers through contractual arrangements with the Home Office. Dispersal Accommodation is a mixture of Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s), flats, houses or hostel-based properties. Location will be based on the availability of properties suitable for each asylum seekers needs.

Our accommodation providers are also working to maximise accommodation procurement opportunities throughout the UK, however they can only do so with local authority agreement. It is our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation dependent upon it becoming available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the covid-19 audit reports of the (a) Penally training camp, (b) Napier barracks and (c) hotels which are being used as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers.

As required by law, we provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation, paid for by the taxpayer.

We welcome independent scrutiny and routinely facilitate inspections by the ICIBI or another relevant body.

The Department is responding to further preliminary enquiries made by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration but has not yet received a formal notice of inspection. Preliminary correspondence is not routinely published but the ICIBI may include relevant information in any final inspection report that is published on gov.uk.

The Home Office is currently reviewing the recommendations of the rapid review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations.

Our ambition is to house asylum seekers within the asylum estate without the need for contingency accommodation. We are working to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the correspondence her Department has had with the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration regarding an inspection of (a) Penally training camp (b) Napier barracks.

As required by law, we provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation, paid for by the taxpayer.

We welcome independent scrutiny and routinely facilitate inspections by the ICIBI or another relevant body.

The Department is responding to further preliminary enquiries made by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration but has not yet received a formal notice of inspection. Preliminary correspondence is not routinely published but the ICIBI may include relevant information in any final inspection report that is published on gov.uk.

The Home Office is currently reviewing the recommendations of the rapid review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations.

Our ambition is to house asylum seekers within the asylum estate without the need for contingency accommodation. We are working to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking in order to facilitate a comprehensive inspection of the temporary accommodation site for asylum seekers at the Penally training camp by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

As required by law, we provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation, paid for by the taxpayer.

We welcome independent scrutiny and routinely facilitate inspections by the ICIBI or another relevant body.

The Department is responding to further preliminary enquiries made by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration but has not yet received a formal notice of inspection. Preliminary correspondence is not routinely published but the ICIBI may include relevant information in any final inspection report that is published on gov.uk.

The Home Office is currently reviewing the recommendations of the rapid review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations.

Our ambition is to house asylum seekers within the asylum estate without the need for contingency accommodation. We are working to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what planning her Department has undertaken to provide contingency accommodation for asylum seekers beyond 2021.

As required by law, we provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation, paid for by the taxpayer.

We welcome independent scrutiny and routinely facilitate inspections by the ICIBI or another relevant body.

The Department is responding to further preliminary enquiries made by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration but has not yet received a formal notice of inspection. Preliminary correspondence is not routinely published but the ICIBI may include relevant information in any final inspection report that is published on gov.uk.

The Home Office is currently reviewing the recommendations of the rapid review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations.

Our ambition is to house asylum seekers within the asylum estate without the need for contingency accommodation. We are working to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum accommodation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many of the (a) 213,000 offence records, (b) 175,000 arrest records and (c) 15,000 person records deleted from the Police National Computer related to people in Wales.

The Home Office is working closely with Policing/National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to assess the scale and impact of the incident. This includes undertaking a robust and detailed assessment and verification of all affected records. Once complete we will develop and implement a plan to recover as many lost records as is possible over the next few weeks.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many of the 2,300 Boots pharmacies and 300 independent community pharmacies which are participating in the Ask for ANI codeword scheme will be in Wales.

There are currently 116 pharmacies (101 Boots pharmacies and 15 independent community pharmacies) participating in the Ask for ANI codeword scheme in Wales. There is an on-going sign-up process open to all pharmacies to join the scheme, so the total number of pharmacies involved in the scheme is increasing each week.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many incidents of self-harm have occurred at (a) Penally training camp and (b) Napier barracks since September 2020.

Those accommodated at Penally training camp and Napier barracks have access to medical professionals and mental health support.

Our providers are trained to identify vulnerabilities and where safeguarding issues are identified the first responder will make an assessment to the level of risk and the next appropriate response to provide support.

Regular welfare checks are conducted on all service users, including behavioural monitoring of those who show signs of vulnerability and are not engaging with fellow service users and staff.

We work closely with our accommodation providers to ensure that all service users are aware of, and have access to, Migrant Help’s helpline. This is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if they need help, advice or guidance, including signposting to wider mental and medical health services.

The Home Office do not publish a breakdown of self-harm incidents relating to service users.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the scoping exercises which were used to assess the suitability of the Penally training camp in Pembrokeshire as a temporary accommodation site for asylum seekers in (a) 2015-2016 and (b) 2020.

Work to explore further options to accommodate asylum seekers in line with the Government’s statutory obligations included examining the potential to utilise MOD sites at short notice after engagement with officials from MOD. This scoping process identified?Penally?Training Camp and Napier Barracks.

The basic requirements for the Home Office were that the sites were capable of housing, safely and securely, on a temporary basis, large numbers of single adult male asylum seekers, that the sites were either available or could be vacated by the MOD at short notice, and that the accommodation provider, Clearsprings Ready Homes, could operate the sites safely and securely, providing for asylum seeker needs.

There are no records available regarding potential use of the site in 2015 – 2016. There are no plans to publish the scoping exercise.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with Secretary of State for Defence on the suitability of the Penally training camp as a site for temporary accommodation for asylum seekers in (a) 2015-2016 and (b) 2020.

Work to explore further options to accommodate asylum seekers in line with the Government’s statutory obligations included examining the potential to utilise MOD sites at short notice after engagement with officials from MOD. This scoping process identified?Penally?Training Camp and Napier Barracks.

The basic requirements for the Home Office were that the sites were capable of housing, safely and securely, on a temporary basis, large numbers of single adult male asylum seekers, that the sites were either available or could be vacated by the MOD at short notice, and that the accommodation provider, Clearsprings Ready Homes, could operate the sites safely and securely, providing for asylum seeker needs.

There are no records available regarding potential use of the site in 2015 – 2016. There are no plans to publish the scoping exercise.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether asylum seekers (a) have been or (b) will be transferred to the temporary Penally accommodation site from areas in England under tiers 2 or 3 covid-19 restrictions at the time of their transfer.

Asylum seekers have been transferred to Penally from tier 2 regions. Transfers have not been made in areas where tier 3 restrictions are in place.

All movements of asylum seekers are undertaken with due regard to regulations in place in both England and Wales.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the official categorisation is of the temporary accommodation sites for asylum seekers at (a) Penally training camp in Pembrokeshire and (b) Napier barracks in Kent.

The Home Office has a statutory obligation to provide support including accommodation to destitute asylum seekers whilst their claims are being considered.

In recent months, the asylum system has faced significant pressures and it has become necessary to source, and use, additional temporary accommodation, such as hotels, to ensure the Home Office can continue to meet its statutory obligations towards destitute asylum seekers.

Following an urgent scoping exercise, we identified further suitable and available accommodation and put it to use quickly. This now includes the use of two MOD sites in Kent and Pembrokeshire. The sites are being run by Clearsprings Ready Homes, one of the Home Office’s Accommodation Providers under our Asylum Accommodation and Support contracts.

The number of asylum applicants transferred out of Napier barracks and Penally training camp are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

However, the latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area, which includes those in hotel and wider government facilities. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how medical practitioners with an outstanding asylum claim of 12 months or more have not been allowed to work in their profession in 2020.

Medical practitioners with an asylum claim who have been waiting 12 months or more for a decision on that claim can already apply to work in the many important medical practitioner roles included on the Shortage Occupation List.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that medical practitioners seeking asylum whose claim is outstanding for 12 months or longer can work in their profession in the UK.

Medical practitioners with an asylum claim who have been waiting 12 months or more for a decision on that claim can already apply to work in the many important medical practitioner roles included on the Shortage Occupation List.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason an increasing number of asylum applicants are waiting longer for their claims to processed; and what steps she is taking to reduce the waiting time for applicants.

We are fixing a broken asylum system and creating a new one which will be fairer and firmer and compassionate towards those who need our help.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the length of time to process and asylum claim but we are determined to clear the backlog to help speed up decisions and prevent people becoming stuck in the system for long periods of time.

We are working to streamline cases and have already made significant progress in prioritising cases with acute vulnerability, those in receipt of the greatest level of support including, UASCs, and those that require a reconsideration.

Asylum Operations has developed a recovery plan focused on returning interviews and decisions back to pre-COVID-19 levels as soon as possible. We are also seeking to secure temporary resources to assist from within the Home Office and other government departments, along with other potential options.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum applicants have been transferred out of (a) Penally training camp and (b) Napier barracks, since September 2020.

The Home Office has a statutory obligation to provide support including accommodation to destitute asylum seekers whilst their claims are being considered.

In recent months, the asylum system has faced significant pressures and it has become necessary to source, and use, additional temporary accommodation, such as hotels, to ensure the Home Office can continue to meet its statutory obligations towards destitute asylum seekers.

Following an urgent scoping exercise, we identified further suitable and available accommodation and put it to use quickly. This now includes the use of two MOD sites in Kent and Pembrokeshire. The sites are being run by Clearsprings Ready Homes, one of the Home Office’s Accommodation Providers under our Asylum Accommodation and Support contracts.

The number of asylum applicants transferred out of Napier barracks and Penally training camp are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

However, the latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area, which includes those in hotel and wider government facilities. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish details of the scoping exercise which identified the Penally training camp in Pembrokeshire as a suitable site for temporary accommodation for asylum seekers.

Work to explore further options to accommodate asylum seekers in line with the Government’s statutory obligations included examining the potential to utilise MOD sites at short notice. This scoping process identified Penally Training Camp and Napier Barracks.

The basic requirements for the Home Office were that the sites were capable of housing, safely and securely, on a temporary basis, large numbers of single adult male asylum seekers, that the sites were either available or could be vacated by the MOD at short notice, and that the accommodation provider, Clearsprings Ready Homes, could operate the sites safely and securely, providing for asylum seeker needs.

There are no plans to publish the scoping exercise.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to asylum accommodation provided at the Penally training camp in Pembrokeshire, how many people there are per room; and how many and what types of bed there are in each room.

There are several different types of accommodation blocks at Penally.

The beds in the accommodation blocks consist of either a single bed or a sole use pod within a block. A pod comprises of 2 bunks (4 beds) separated by a lockable cabinet. Only 1 of the 4 beds in a pod is in use at any time.

The number of people varies according to block size and type however the numbers in each room is calculated to ensure that it is possible to adhere to COVID rules.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the temporary accommodation site for asylum seekers at Penally training camp in Pembrokeshire will be inspected by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has stated his intention to conduct an inspection in this area, but the timings are yet to be confirmed and formally notified to the Department.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has discussed with the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Penally training camp in Pembrokeshire had been regularly used as accommodation continuously during the winter months prior to its conversion as a temporary site for accommodating asylum seekers.

All accommodation provided is required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped, and to comply with relevant national or local housing legislation. These standards apply to all accommodation used by the Home Office including the Ministry of Defence site in Pembrokeshire.

There are electric wall heaters in place in all accommodation blocks and communal areas within Penally.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what type of heating facilities are in place at the Penally training camp in Pembrokeshire; and what assessment her Department has made of their adequacy.

All accommodation provided is required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped, and to comply with relevant national or local housing legislation. These standards apply to all accommodation used by the Home Office including the Ministry of Defence site in Pembrokeshire.

There are electric wall heaters in place in all accommodation blocks and communal areas within Penally.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of accommodation at (a) Napier Barracks in Folkestone and (b) Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire.

The Home Office has sought Public Health advice on how we can make best use of this accommodation, working within the constraints of the configuration, whilst minimising risks from Covid-19.

Risk mitigations include limiting occupancy in dormitories ensuring a minimum distance between beds of at least 2 metres. This is complemented by a range of additional safety measures including increased cleaning of surfaces, availability of hand sanitisers, a track and trace system and communications with residents around covid-19 control measures. Asylum seekers will have the same access to testing as the general population.

The Home Office’s contractor?has an outbreak management plan which will be enacted if we experience an outbreak.?

The Government demands the highest standards from contractors and their accommodation and monitor them closely to ensure this is maintained. All accommodation provided is required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped, and to comply with relevant national or local housing legislation. These standards apply to all accommodation used by the Home Office including the Ministry of Defence sites in Pembrokeshire and Folkestone.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the conditions at Penally training camp on the potential for an outbreak of covid-19 in that facility.

The Home Office has sought Public Health advice on how we can make best use of this accommodation, working within the constraints of the configuration, whilst minimising risks from Covid-19.

Risk mitigations include limiting occupancy in dormitories ensuring a minimum distance between beds of at least 2 metres. This is complemented by a range of additional safety measures including increased cleaning of surfaces, availability of hand sanitisers, a track and trace system and communications with residents around covid-19 control measures. Asylum seekers will have the same access to testing as the general population.

The Home Office’s contractor?has an outbreak management plan which will be enacted if we experience an outbreak.?

The Government demands the highest standards from contractors and their accommodation and monitor them closely to ensure this is maintained. All accommodation provided is required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped, and to comply with relevant national or local housing legislation. These standards apply to all accommodation used by the Home Office including the Ministry of Defence sites in Pembrokeshire and Folkestone.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of (a) the health of asylum seekers housed at the Penally training camp site and (b) the effect of that site on their health; and what steps she will take with the Welsh Government to protect and maintain the health and safety of the people housed in that camp.

All asylum seekers are subject to an initial screening process by UK Visas and Immigration, which includes health and safeguarding checks. Further checks are also made, to confirm suitability for transfer to the accommodation. On site, accommodation provider staff are available at all times should health concerns arise, with healthcare arrangements in place, linked to local NHS provision.

Additionally, all asylum seekers have access to the Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help offers support and guidance to vulnerable migrants.

AIRE asylum services provide free independent advice, guidance and information on the asylum process, accommodation, financial support, finding legal representation and any other asylum related matters. AIRE run a national helpline that is free and accessible to all asylum seekers in the UK.

We remain in regular contact and committed to working with the Welsh Government and relevant health bodies in respect of the accommodation of asylum seekers at Penally.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations she has received on Farrukh Sair and his application for indefinite leave to remain; and what estimate she has made of the number of NHS workers who have been refused indefinite leave to remain in the last five years.

It is not appropriate for me to comment on individual cases.

The Home Office has no published data to answer this question. The information is not readily available nor held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much additional funding will be allocated in the next Spending Review to the National Automatic Number Plate Recognition Service (NAS); how much overspend has occurred in the programme to date; how many missed deadlines have occurred in the programme to date; what plans she has to ensure public confidence in the delivery of the NAS; and what recent assessment she has made of the effect of that performance on the operation of the police services.

The National Automatic Number Plate Recognition Service (NAS) is a national system replacing the current National ANPR Data Centre (NADC), used by Police Forces to interrogate ANPR data.

The department has submitted a bid to HMT as part of the spending review process and we are in active discussions about the amount of money that we should be investing in the National ANPR Service (NAS), both centrally and out to individual forces. We have shared with the Treasury the full cost of NAS and its potential replacement for the forthcoming year and for subsequent years, including what will flow centrally and what will flow through individual forces. We expect a decision on the funding settlement from HMT this month.

Programme costs are separated into 3 categories; first the cost of building and rolling out the NAS infrastructure, software and any related changes to the force systems; second costs for the programme team and; third the cost to maintain NAS system and its legacy system, National ANPR data centre (NADC). The costs for delivering the new NAS system is by far the most significant and, subject to commercial negotiation, the annual cost of NAS service following the commercial negotiations is likely to amount to c. £15 million per year and takes into account the costs of keeping legacy systems in place until the Minimal viable product (MVP) is delivered in Spring 2021 and programme costs. The negotiation has achieved future years reduction on service costs which benefit policing long term.

The current programme overspend is approximately £6.9m for this financial year and considers the costs of delivering the MVP and any programme costs. The additional in year costs are to focus on delivering the critical MVP, but an overall reduction in service costs has been achieved over the lifetime of the new contract presently being negotiated.

The programme set itself an original target of transitioning all users from the current NADC system and legacy local systems by Autumn 2020. We are now targeting a MVP in Spring 2021 with the legacy NADC system being retired in Spring 2022 once all forces have been transitioned across to NAS. Since the award of the G-Cloud contact in 2018 to the current delivery partner there have been 3 key releases to date. The current release is forecast to be 7 months later than originally planned.

Both during and since the programme reset in May 2016, where a review of the critical objectives of the programme that were set April 2015, it has undergone extensive assurance both internally within the department and externally through Cabinet Office, GDS and HMT.

The programme continues to build confidence in the delivery of the NAS through regular engagement with our Programme User Group and it’s subgroups, as well as, weekly update meetings with the NPCC ANPR Portfolio Change Lead. Programme teams also manage regular contact with forces and LEAS to provide updates in addition to weekly briefing notes to provide updates and progress. The SRO is in discussion with the ANPR Portfolio Lead about establishing a group of senior police representatives to manage the NAS roadmap into the future.

The Department remains committed to completing the delivery of NAS, realising the benefits of NAS and delivering police effectiveness and operational efficiency savings. These include cashable reduction in running costs through the decommissioning of legacy systems and a wide range of broader benefits such as reducing the time to identify a vehicles of interest, public time savings, improved searches and better intelligence sharing.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department's biometric programme; what (a) overspend and (b) underspend that programme generated in the latest period for which figures are available; what plans she has to help ensure public confidence in the development of biometrics; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the performance of the biometric programme on the operation of police services.

The biometric systems within the scope of the HOB Programme, IDENT1 (storing the Police fingerprint collection) and the National DNA database, are used on a daily basis by Police Forces and are fundamental to their operations.

HOB is delivering new capabilities that the Police are using to support their operations, and these have been well received. This includes Strategic Mobile capability, the ability for Police Forces to share DNA and fingerprint data with EU Member States under the Prüm Decisions, and HOB will very soon be delivering a replacement DNA Database which will be an important development for Policing and the Criminal Justice community.

In July the Home Office Biometrics (HOB) Programme completed its annual refresh of the Programme Business Case, which was approved by the Home Office Portfolio Investment Committee and subsequently submitted to the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. With regards to the HOB budget, an underspend of £1m was declared for financial year 2019/20.

HOB continues to involve Policing in all areas of the programme and provides regular updates on progress through a variety of forums and with the oversight and regulatory bodies for biometrics (for example the Biometrics Commissioner and Forensics Science Regulator). The programme also provides advice to the Permanent Secretary and Ministers with regular updates on the programme.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much additional funding will be allocated in the next Spending Review to the National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP); what the overspend is on the programme to date; how many deadlines the programme has missed to date; what plans she has to ensure confidence in the delivery of the NLEDP; and what assessment she has made of the effect of that programme on the effectiveness of policing.

The National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP) is replacing the Police National Computer (PNC) and Police National Database (PND) with the Law Enforcement Data Service (LEDS).

The department has submitted a bid to HMT as part of the Spending Review which is ongoing.

The programme overspend is currently £45M. This excludes costs associated with risk and optimism bias.

The programme had expected to transition all users of PNC to LEDS by December 2021 and decommission PNC by June 2022. The programme is now targeting the transition of PNC users to LEDS by June 2023 and the decommission of PNC by December 2023.

The programme had expected to transition all users of PND to LEDS by June 2023 and decommission PND by December 2023. The programme is now targeting the transition of PND users to LEDS by September 2024 and the decommission of PND by March 2025.

The programme is exploring options for how the replacement of PNC and PND could potentially be delivered sooner.

The confidence in the delivery of LEDS is increasing with the implementation of a LEDS pilot service to 7 Police Forces allowing them to access Driving Licence Images at the roadside by Police issued mobile devices. The programme is planning for a wider roll-out of this capability from April 2021 onwards.

NLEDP has well documented benefits into how LEDS can support policing through efficiency and effectiveness savings. For example, since the LEDS pilot service went live it saves up to 66% of police time when performing a roadside identity check. The programme has also invested significant effort into reviewing the use of data, not just technology. The programme has completed a Data Protection Impact Assessment, consulted upon a new Parliamentary Code for LEDS data and established an independent group of privacy bodies to critique our work on data.

The programme has undergone extensive assurance, both internally within the department and externally throughout Cabinet Office and HMT. The programme has also recently appointed an External Review Team, with full support from senior Police Chiefs, which will review the full scope, remit and approach of the programme. Outcomes from this review will be agreed and taken forward with full co-operation of Home Office, Police Chiefs and Police IT Leads. This review will conclude in April 2021 with full involvement of Cabinet Office and Treasury.

The Department remains committed to completing the delivery of NLEDP, realising the benefits of LEDS and delivering police effectiveness and efficiency savings. These include cashable reduction in running costs and a wide range of broader benefits such as reducing the time to identify a person of interest, public time savings, improved searches and reduced training overheads.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much additional technology funding will be made available in the next Spending Review for the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP); how much the overspend is on that programme to date; how many deadlines that programme has missed to date; what plans she has made to ensure confidence in the delivery of the ESMCP; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the delay of the delivery of the ESMCP on public services.

The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) is replacing the current Airwave radio system, used by the emergency services, with the Emergency Services Network which runs over the commercial EE network with priority and pre-emption for emergency service users.

The Spending Review is ongoing and it would be wrong to prejudge the outcome.

Programme costs are separated into 3 categories; first the cost of building and rolling out the new ESN system; second costs borne locally by users for things like devices and accessories that they’ll need to use the ESN, and; third the cost to maintain Airwave until ESN has been adopted by all users and Airwave can be switched off. The costs for maintaining Airwave are by far the most significant and, subject to commercial negotiation, the annual cost of extending Airwave beyond the current contract end date of December 2022, is likely to be in excess of £450m per annum, taking into account local Airwave costs.

The programme set itself an original target of transitioning all users from the current Airwave system onto the ESN and switching Airwave off by December 2019. We are now targeting an Airwave switch off date no later than 2025. The investment case for the programme remains positive even with this later Airwave switch off timescale.

Both during and since the programme reset in 2018, it has undergone extensive assurance both internally within the department and externally through Cabinet Office and HMT. The programme has also been scrutinised by the National Audit Office and Parliament (Public Accounts Committee and Home Affairs Select Committee). An Independent Assurance Panel chaired by a Non-Executive Director from HMRC and made up of several industry experts also regularly assures the programme and provides advice to the Permanent Secretary and Ministers. I, (Home Secretary) receive regular updates on the programme.

The Department remains committed to completing delivery of the ESN and switching off Airwave as quickly as possible. We stand by our commitment to the Emergency Services that we will only transition from Airwave to ESN when it is operationally safe to do so. In the meantime, Airwave continues to provide a resilient service.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the (a) vulnerable person resettlement scheme to date; and what plans she has for future resettlement schemes after the UK leaves EU.

Through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), we have worked closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to identify and resettle refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict who are in need of protection. Since the VPRS was expanded in September 2015, more than 19,750 refugees have found protection in the UK through this route and we are now close to meeting our full commitment. The Home Office continuously reviews the operation of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and uses feedback from delivery partners, stakeholders and refugees to better understand the outcomes of the refugees we resettle and to drive improvement to our processes.


In June 2019, the Government reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to refugee resettlement by announcing a new, global UK Resettlement Scheme. While we hoped to have both met our commitment to resettle 20,000 vulnerable refugees through the VPRS, and started the new scheme earlier this year, the unprecedented restrictions and pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has meant this has not yet been possible. We are evaluating how to respond to these ongoing restrictions and pressures, but we expect to resume refugee resettlement activity when safe.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to resume refugee resettlement schemes.

In June 2019, the Government reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to refugee resettlement by announcing a new, global UK Resettlement Scheme. We had anticipated – prior to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) – that this scheme would have begun in the second quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, we remain unable to undertake resettlement activity at this stage due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

We are evaluating how to respond given these restrictions and pressures, but we expect to resume refugee resettlement activity when safe. Our plans for restarting depend on a variety of factors, including the lifting of restrictions imposed by the governments of host refugee countries, local authority and central government capacity, and recovery of the asylum system from the impact of COVID-19.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the Government's policy is on accepting more refugees through the resettlement scheme each year.

In June 2019, the Government reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to refugee resettlement by announcing a new, global UK Resettlement Scheme. We had anticipated – prior to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) – that this scheme would have begun in the second quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, we remain unable to undertake resettlement activity at this stage due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

We are evaluating how to respond given these restrictions and pressures, but we expect to resume refugee resettlement activity when safe. Our plans for restarting depend on a variety of factors, including the lifting of restrictions imposed by the governments of host refugee countries, local authority and central government capacity, and recovery of the asylum system from the impact of COVID-19.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect that different visa arrangements for EU citizens visiting the UK, and UK citizens visiting the EU after the transition period will have on offshore sailors.

From 1 January 2021, we will introduce the UK’s points-based system.

EU citizens wishing to work in the UK or within the UK’s territorial waters will need to apply for a visa under the new system.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to amend the immigration rules to ensure that Welsh language skills are awarded equal points as English.

We recognise the rich and unique contribution the Welsh Language makes to our United Kingdom as a whole.

We are assessing the potential merits of amending the Immigration Rules to include recognition of Welsh Language Skills in our immigration system and will provide our conclusion in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to ensure that (a) Asylum Support rates receive a £20 covid-related uplift in line with universal credit and (b) backdate that uplift to March 2020; and if she will make it her policy to reinstate asylum support to at least 70 per cent of mainstream income support.

We have been reviewing the level of the cash allowances provided to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, as we do each year to ensure that they remain capable of meeting their essential living needs.

As a result of this work, the standard allowance has been raised to £39.60 per week from £37.75 per week, an increase of around 5%. This increase is significantly higher than the current general rate of inflation, which Office of National Statistics data shows was only 0.5% in the 12 months period to May.

The level of the allowance is not linked to social security benefits.

In addition to the allowance, we also provide free accommodation, with utilities and council tax paid for and there is free access to the NHS and free access to education for their children.

The UK has a generous record in supporting asylum seekers. Last year, we made around 20,000 grants of asylum or protection (one of the higher figures in Europe), as well as offered protection to 3,000 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – the highest number of any country in Europe. In addition, we have directly resettled around 20,000 people from the most dangerous areas of the world (especially Syrians) in the UK over the last 5 years. Finally, we spend around £14 billion per year in Overseas Aid, helping millions of people around the world. This is the highest amount of any country in Europe and we are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% of GNI Overseas Aid target

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to protect sex workers during the covid-19 outbreak; what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of decriminalising sex work and introducing a moratorium on raids, arrests and prosecutions during that outbreak; and what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on (a) financial, (b) welfare, (c) housing and (d) healthcare support for sex workers.

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government’s priority is to protect those selling sex from harm and exploitation and target those who exploit vulnerable people involved in sex work and prostitution. We continue to work closely with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to ensure current legislation achieves these aims.

We have no plans to introduce a moratorium. Local areas and police forces are best placed to identify and respond to issues related to sex work. They are supported in this by National Police Chiefs Council guidance which rightly prioritises the safety of sex workers over enforcement action.

Though the Government is aware of different legislative approaches to sex work and prostitution, we have not seen unequivocal evidence that decriminalisation is the best way to reduce harm and exploitation.

We understand that those who are vulnerable and involved in selling sex can face a number of challenges that affect their ability to access services particularly during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government has published guidance on accessing services such as those for health, sexual violence, modern slavery and domestic abuse. Existing specialist support services continue to be available to those seeking help. We are also providing £76m to charities and organisations throughout the country to support victims of modern slavery, sexual violence and domestic abuse. Of this, the Ministry of Justice is providing £10m to support sexual violence services through Covid 19 pressures. A further £3m per annum until 2022 will also be invested in the recruitment of more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors across the country.

We have also taken swift action to ensure we continue to deliver essential services and support for victims of modern slavery enabled sexual exploitation during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will provide £1.73 million of funding for charities, announced by the Chancellor last month, to provide emergency support to victims of modern slavery. We also announced on 6 April 2020 that all individuals in accommodation support provided by the Victim Care Contract will not be required to move on for the next three months.

In terms of financial and welfare support, the Government is providing support to those who are self-employed and have lost income due to Covid-19. Those affected may be eligible to claim a grant though the Covid-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme. The Government is committed to providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in society and recognises that access to regular financial support is vital. We have made changes to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system. We have temporarily relaxed the application of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed Universal Credit claimants affected by the impact of Covid-19, for the duration of the outbreak.

The Government has put in place measures to support those experiencing homelessness during Covid-19. The Secretary of State for Housing announced a total of £3.2 billion of additional funding for Local Government to help them respond to Covid-19 pressures across services they deliver. This includes increasing support for services such as housing to help the most vulnerable.

Healthcare services remain open including general practice, drug and alcohol, and sexual health services. Whilst they have reduced face to face appointments, some services are able to see urgent, priority or vulnerable clients (including sex workers) seeking support where necessary.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish guidance on which frontline workers are eligible to receive an automatic one-year visa extension if their visa is due to expire before 1 October 2020.

Details of the automatic visa extension, and other immigration changes relating to COVID-19 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-immigration-and-borders.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of (a) suspending no recourse to public funds conditions and (b) providing a specific support package for people with no recourse to public funds during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments to support people, including migrants with no recourse to public funds, through this crisis. We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Migrants with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes can apply to have the NRPF restriction lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if there has been a change in their financial circumstances. The Home Office has recently digitised the application form to make sure it is accessible for those who need to remain at home, and I can assure you that the applications are being dealt with swiftly and compassionately.

Many of the wide-ranging Covid-19 measures the government has put in place are not public funds and therefore are available to migrants with no recourse to public funds (NRPF). We therefore do not believe it is necessary to suspend the NRPF condition.

The Coronavirus job retention scheme, self-employment income support and statutory sick pay are not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Contribution-based benefits are also not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Additionally, measures we have brought forward such as rent and mortgage protections are not considered public funds and can be accessed by migrants with leave to remain.

Local authorities may also provide basic safety net support if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question.

In addition, the Government has made in excess of £3.2bn of funding available to local authorities in England and additional funding under the Barnett formula to the devolved administrations to enable them to respond to Covid-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, including services helping the most vulnerable.

More information on the support available to migrants, including those with NRPF, can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-get-support-if-youre-a-migrant-living-in-the-uk.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department (a) has taken and (b) will take to ensure adequate supplies of soap and hand sanitizer at immigration removal centres.

The safety and health of people in the detention estate is of the utmost importance. We are following all Public Health England guidance on COVID-19 and have robust contingency plans in place, including measures such as protective isolation.

Basic hygiene is a key part of tackling COVID-19. Handwashing facilities are available in all immigration removal centres and we are working closely with suppliers to ensure we have an adequate supply of soap and cleaning materials. In addition, each centre has posters and leaflets to inform staff and detainees about the importance of handwashing and social distancing to minimise the risk from COVID-19. Detainees are also able to speak to staff directly for advice on the protective measures in place.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the cost will be of the visa application process for migrants seeking to enter the UK after January 2021.

The UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Policy Statement published on 19 February sets out how we will fulfil our commitment to the British public and take back control of our borders.

People coming to the UK from any country in the world for the purpose of work or study, other than some short-term business visitors and short-term students, will need to obtain a visa for which they will pay a fee. A list of current fees can be found via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-fees-transparency-data

The Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) is predominately funded by its users. It is right those who use it contribute to its cost, thereby reducing the burden on the UK taxpayer.

We keep our fees for immigration and nationality applications under review and ensure they are within the parameters agreed with HM Treasury and Parliament, as set out in Section 68 (9) of the Immigration Act 2014.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the level of English language competency is that migrants are expected to reach to be eligible to work in the UK; and what criteria her Department uses to measure that competency.

We require individuals coming under existing immigration routes to demonstrate an appropriate level of English. Currently, for skilled workers, this is currently set at intermediate (B1) level. Applicants can meet this requirement if they:

  • pass a Secure English Language Test at an approved test centre;
  • are a medical professional who has passed an English Language assessment for their professional registration in the UK;
  • hold a degree qualification which was taught in English;
  • are a national of a majority English-speaking country; or
  • have shown that they meet the requirement in a previous immigration application.

Having a suitable English language requirement is crucial to ensuring people coming to live, work and study in the UK are able to integrate into society. Future requirements will broadly reflect current arrangements.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has conducted an impact assessment of the potential short-term effects of the Government's immigration policy on the Welsh economy.

The Government published “The UK’s Points-Based System: Policy Statement” on 19 February, follwing the report of independent Migration Advisory Committee in January.

The Migration Advisory Committee advised against regional variations, hence we will deliver a system which works for the whole of the UK.

In delivering on its manifesto commitments for a Austrialian style new points-based system, the Government has considered relevant views, evidence, and analysis. We will also keep labour market data under careful scrutiny.

The Home Office will publish further detail on the points-based system in due course and will continue to engage with stakeholders across Wales on it.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will place in the Library a copy of the media buying brief for the 2021 A Soldier is a Soldier army recruitment campaign.

The Media Buying Brief for the 2021 Army recruitment campaign, "A Soldier is a Soldier" will be placed in the Library of the House shortly. It is currently being reviewed for any commercial sensitivities.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will place in the Library a copy of the media buying brief for the 2021 army recruitment campaign, Fail. Learn. Win.

The Media Buying Brief for the 2021 Army recruitment campaign, "Fail. Learn. Win" will be placed in the Library of the House shortly. It is currently being reviewed for any commercial sensitivities.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many recruits at the Army Foundation College have been unable to complete their training during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether any recruits have been dismissed from the army as a result of not being able to take up training.

The full training programme at the Army Foundation College (Harrogate) (AFC(H)) continued throughout the pandemic, implementing the necessary Force Health Protection measures as outlined by Public Health England.

A small number of junior soldiers, (less than ten) have experienced delays to their training due to the COVID-19 outbreak. No recruits have been dismissed or have been unable to take up their training at the ACF(H).

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many junior soldiers at the Army Foundation College on the (a) short and (b) long course have enrolled on a Level 3 BTEC course while at that college.

Between September 2019 - September 2020, a total of 330 Junior Soldiers have enrolled on the Level 3 BTEC Course whilst at AFC Harrogate. By Course:

Short courses (2 intakes) – 142

Long Course (1 intake) – 188

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to Answer of 7 October to Questions 98730, 98731, 98732, if he will provide the information requested by the financial year of inflow.

The information requested by the hon. Member can be found in the attached table.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many soldiers who enlisted in the financial year 2016-17 who were (a) under and (b) over the age of 18 at enlistment dropped out of the army before completing their Phase Two training.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor, (Anne Marie-Trevelyan), gave her on 30 January 2020, to Question 8412.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many soldiers who enlisted in the financial year 2017-18 who were (a) under and (b) over the age of 18 at enlistment dropped out of the army before completing their Phase Two training.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor, (Anne Marie-Trevelyan), gave her on 30 January 2020, to Question 8412.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the career destinations were of recruits who enlisted at the Army Foundation College but dropped out before completing Phase Two training in each of the last five years for which data is available.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr Lloyd Russell- Moyle) on 27 February 2020 to Question 19893.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Answer of 9 September 2019 to Question on Armed Forces: Schools, if he will provide the figures for the number of visits by representatives from the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force made to schools and colleges in (i) Wales, (ii) Scotland, (iii) England and (iv) Northern Ireland in the financial years (A) 2017-18 and (B) 2018-19.

The Armed Forces only visit schools and colleges when they have been invited to support activities. No visits to schools by the Armed Forces are directly linked to recruitment, other than specific careers/jobs fairs which generally involve a range of employers. While presentations may be given highlighting the careers available in the Armed Forces, no pupil is able to make a commitment to become a recruit in the Armed Forces during the course of a visit. The visits cover a range of activities such as career events, citizenship talks, science and maths challenges and other indoor or outdoor exercises. The purpose of the visit is always agreed in advance.

The requested information is provided in the following table:

Country

Year

Royal Navy

Army

Royal Air Force

Wales

2017-18

110

70

157

2018-19

147

217

64

Scotland

2017-18

159

372

463

2018-19

237

399

519

England

2017-18

2,448

1,988

1,774

2018-19

3,187

2,296

1,686

Northern Ireland

2017-18

114

292

18

2018-19

138

396

63

Notes: Army figures relate to Financial Years. Royal Navy and Royal Air Force figures relate to Academic Years.

Figures are single Service estimates.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many soldiers who enlisted aged (a) under 18 and (b) 18 or over in financial year (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, and (iii) 2017-18 dropped out of the army before completing their phase two training.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer the then Minister for the Armed Forces, (Anne-Marie Trevelyan) gave on 30 January 2020, to Question 8412.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many soldiers who enlisted aged (a) under 18 and (b) 18 or over dropped out of the army before completing their phase two training in the (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17 and (iii) 2017-18 financial years.

The requested information is provided below:

Untrained Regular Soldiers Outflow from 1st April 2015 to 1st April 2018 Split by Age on Enlistment

Number of untrained Regular soldiers outflow split by age group on enlistment

Financial Year of Outflow

Total

Under 18

18 and above

Total

5,650

1,650

3,860

2015-2016

2,020

550

1,470

2016-2017

1,840

540

1,300

2017-2018

1,790

570

1,220

Source: Defence Statistics (Army)

Notes/Caveats:

The figures are for the Regular Army, excluding Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve Service and Mobilised Reserves.

Untrained outflow refers to personnel who left the Regular Army before completing their trade training (phase 2).

Personnel outflow more than once in the last five financial years is counted as a separate outflow. Age on enlistment is similarly separately counted.

Age on enlistment is calculated using date of birth and entry date. There are known problems with the entry date information extracted from JPA which is supposed to reflect their 'current entry date' but if personnel have transferred to the Army from another Service, served under an alternative assignment type (e.g. reserve forces), are re-entrants or have transferred from Other Ranks to Officers, their entry date may correspond to any of these events.

The figures are for outflow of untrained Regular soldiers broken down by financial years. This table has been compiled based on the year of outflow rather than the year of inflow used as the base for previous publication.

For presentation purpose, figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in "5" have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Totals and sub-totals have been rounded separately and so may not appear to be the sum of their parts.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many applicants for enlistment into the Army were aged (a) under 18 and (b) 18 or over in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.

Data is not available prior to 2013-14 as it was not collated centrally and so is unreliable.

Applications received to join the British Army from 1 April 2013 – 30 March 2019 are in the table below.

Recruiting Year

Under18 Applications

Over18 Applications

2013-14

14,910

74,666

2014-15

19,207

100,249

2015-16

17,876

96,678

2016-17

23,706

153,233

2017-18

21,288

114,381

2018-19

24,978

122,197

  • This data has been provided from a single service source rather than official statistics produced by Defence Statistics. This is because Defence Statistics do not start to record an individual until they attend their first day of basic training.

  • In order to generate the response, application data has been extracted at the earliest point an application is generated. This means that for the purpose of this question, if an individual generates multiple applications, they will be counted as multiple separate applications.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many applicants to enlist in the army did not end up doing so; and for what reason, in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.

Data is not available prior to 2013-14 as it was not collated centrally and so is unreliable.

Number of Applicants that did not end up joining the British Army between 1 April 2013 and 30 March 2019 are in the table below

Recruiting Year

Total withdrawn or rejected in pipeline

Main reason for the “withdrawal/rejection” in pipeline

2013-14

58,419

Candidate Voluntarily disengaging from the process

2014-15

79,114

Candidate Voluntarily disengaging from the process

2015-16

77,055

Candidate Voluntarily disengaging from the process

2016-17

120,314

Candidate Voluntarily disengaging from the process

2017-18

80,357

Candidate Voluntarily disengaging from the process

2018-19

116,312

Candidate Voluntarily disengaging from the process

  • This data has been provided from a single service source rather than official statistics produced by Defence Statistics. This is because Defence Statistics do not start to record individuals until they attend their first day of basic training.
  • Applications include all streams, including Commonwealth, Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS) and re-joiner.
  • Rejections/withdrawals are from all streams, including Commonwealth, MPGS and re-joiners.
  • In principle, a rejection arises when a candidate falls short of the required eligibility/assessment, whereas a withdrawal arises due to candidate choice.
  • Of the reasons for a candidate to withdraw/be rejected, the candidate ‘voluntarily disengaging from the process’ was the most common factor.
  • Candidates can voluntarily disengage from the process at any stage of the pipeline. There are circa 500 possible reasons candidates can provide for doing so.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Answer of 7 October 2019 to Question 293678 on the Junior Entry Review, if he will place in the Library a copy of the Junior Entry Review Market Research final report, dated April 2018, referenced in the Junior Entry Review.

A copy of the Junior Entry Review Market Research final report will be placed in the Library of the House shortly. It is currently being reviewed for commercial and personal data sensitivities.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many incidents of (a) irresponsible and (b) reckless flying have been reported (a) on the Machynlleth Loop and (b) in Wales in each of the last five years; and what steps he is taking to ensure that pilots behave appropriately and responsibly.

The information is not held in the format requested.

The Defence Flying Complaints Investigations Team (DFCIT) is charged with investigating instances of military low flying complaints reported by members of the public. The table below gives the number of investigations undertaken for the whole of Wales and the number of occasions that were identified as a breach of flying regulations.

Year

2017

2018

2019

Number of Investigations

10

12

4

Number of Breaches

0

1

0

All RAF pilots receive extensive training to ensure they operate in accordance with the appropriate low flying regulations and this training is re-emphasised throughout their careers. These stringent regulations are in place in order to protect the public, our aircrew and aircraft. All aspects of flight safety are kept under continuous review. Aircrew are not permitted to carry out manoeuvres beyond their proven capabilities, or those of the aircraft. All our pilots are constantly assessed to ensure that high standards of professionalism are maintained.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will place in the Library a copy of the media buying brief for the 2020 army recruitment campaign.

The Media Buying Brief for the 2020 Army recruitment campaign will be placed in the Library of the House shortly. It is currently being reviewed for any commercial sensitivities.

The Army's 2020 campaign is designed to highlight how being in the Army gives personnel a strong sense of self-belief and confidence that few other careers can. Early indications are that this campaign has been received well, with strong early January application numbers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
17th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 9 February 2021 to Question 149308, what the most recent figures are for the number of (a) prison officers and (b) other staff members at (i) HMP Berwyn and (ii) other prisons in Wales who are Welsh speaking.

HMPPS do not gather official statistics about the number of Welsh speaking staff in prisons. Equalities Leads in Wales have not repeated the informal exercise to collect local information since the responding to the question on 9 February 2021.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 7 September 2020 to Question 82218 on Prisoners' Release: Wales, what was the accommodation status of people who had an origin address in Wales and left prison in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021.

The latest available information is shown in the table below.

Offenders released in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 by Accommodation on Release, where the offender had an original address in Wales.

Jan - Dec 2020

Jan - Mar 2021

Settled Accommodation

1561

340

Other Housed

511

115

Bail/Probation Accommodation

325

68

Homeless, Not Rough Sleeping

226

37

Rough Sleeping

36

4

Unknown

870

134

(1) A release is defined as a release from prison where the prisoner has finished serving the custodial term of their sentence(s) and excludes:

  • Persons submitted to custody for non-payment of fine
  • Releases to hospital
  • Deported prisoners from Home Office Immigration Removal Centres
  • Releases following recall after release on licence, except occasions where; (i) where the offender has committed a new offence and is committed to custody for a new sentence and the subsequent release date falls after the sentence expiry date of the original sentence, or (ii) where upon release the offender is subject to the licence condition of the new custodial sentence.

(2) Where an offender was released multiple times within the same period only the last such release was counted.

  • Settled Accommodation: (i) Any accommodation that provides a permanent independent housing solution including: As a house holder/owner; Rental Accommodation (Tenant) – private or social rental; Living with Friends and Family (Settled) - the person can reside in that home and is able to return to that home; or living with a friend with a bedroom available for the person’s use and access to domestic facilities; a caravan or boat that is viewed by the Person as their permanent home. (ii) Supported Housing - regardless of the duration of residency. (iii) Long Term Residential Healthcare.
  • Other Housed: Refers to individuals living in transient/temporary accommodation that does not provide a long-term solution to housing need. This was previously known as “Other unsettled accommodation”
  • Bail/Probation Accommodation: Includes probation Approved Premises (AP), Bail Accommodation Support Services (BASS) accommodation, Community Accommodation Services (CAS3), and accommodation provided by the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Service.
  • Homeless – not rough sleeping: The individual does not have any accommodation they are entitled to occupy, or they have accommodation they are entitled to occupy but they cannot be reasonably expected to occupy it for any reason. Either: the individual occupies a property with no legal authority or permission to do so; Or the individual may reside in night shelters, emergency hostels, direct access hostels or campsites.
  • Rough Sleeping: The individual does not have any accommodation they are entitled to occupy, or they have accommodation they are entitled to occupy but they cannot be reasonably expected to occupy it for any reason. The individual sleeps in open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments) or in other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats or stations).
  • Unknown: The accommodation status is unknown (either because the status is awaiting assessment, or no status is recorded, or there are multiple statuses, or due to other errors in the record, or there was no match between NOMIS and Delius)
  • Offenders were considered to have an original address in Wales based on the first of their most recent stated Home Address, Reception Address, Discharge Address, Court Address, or Next of Kin Address. Less than 1% of releases did not have any address information recorded, and have been excluded from this analysis.
Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases of covid-19 have been recorded among inmates at each prison in Wales in each month since 1 October 2021.

The information requested is shown in the table below.

Number of prisoners tested positive for COVID-19 at each prison in Wales each month from 1 October 2021.

Values of 1 and 2 are confidential (c) to prevent disclosure of individuals. As of 30th April 2022:

Prison

Oct21

Nov21

Dec21

Jan22

Feb22

Mar22

Apr22

Berwyn

4

(c)

87

145

47

15

28

Cardiff

48

14

17

238

34

76

72

Parc

15

50

129

132

108

52

15

Swansea

3

3

57

19

7

83

26

Usk/Prescoed

(c)

3

3

23

4

15

113

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the accommodation status of prison leavers was who had an origin address in Wales (a) 2020 (b) 2021.

This information is not held centrally.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he made of the total cost of reoffending in Wales per year since 2020.

The specific information requested is not available and producing the information could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

We do know, however, that the estimated economic and social cost of reoffending in England and Wales is approximately £18.1 billion per year.

That is why the Prisons Strategy White Paper, published in December 2021, sets out this Government’s ambitious plans to reduce reoffending. We will spend £200 million a year by 2024-25 to improve prison leavers’ access to accommodation, employment support and substance misuse treatment and further measures for early intervention to tackle youth offending.

This builds on investments in 2021, when we spent £70m to tackle drivers of reoffending, including to keep prison leavers off the streets.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been (a) charged and (b) prosecuted under the Vagrancy Act 1824 in each police force area in Wales each year since 2012.

The Government accepts that the Vagrancy Act 1824 is outdated and has recently consulted on proposed replacement legislation for the Act. The Act will be repealed with delayed commencement under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are working on replacement legislation.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions for offences under the Vagrancy Act 1824, by police force area, for 2017 to 2021, available in the ‘Outcomes by Offence’ data tool, which can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1076459/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2021-v2.xlsx.

The same information back to 2013 is available in the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code’ data tool, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1063892/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2020-revised.xlsx.

Please see the attached table for the number of prosecutions by police force areas in Wales for 2012.

In the data tool linked above, you can use the ‘Offence code’ filter to select the offences of interest. The following is a list of offences that fall within the Vagrancy Act 1824:

  • 10431 – Resisting or obstructing a constable in execution of duty - offences under the Vagrancy Act 1824
  • 18200 – Wandering abroad or being in any street etc to beg or gather alms or causing or procuring any child so to do
  • 18300 – Wandering abroad and lodging in any barn, outhouse, deserted or unoccupied building, etc. or in the open air, etc.
  • 18501 – Being on enclosed premises for an unlawful purpose
  • 18801 – Any petty chapman or peddler trading without a licence
  • 18805 – Collecting alms or endeavouring to procure charitable contributions by fraudulent pretence

To isolate data for each police force area in Wales, use the ‘Police force area’ filter to select:

  • North Wales
  • South Wales
  • Dyfed-Powys
  • Gwent

The Ministry of Justice does not hold information on charges given.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many Probation Service staff, who retired in the past 12 months, are currently employed as agency staff in the service; and what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of these staff.

The cost of agency staff for the month of April 2022, by probation region, is set out in the following table:

Region

Total Spend £

East Midlands

60,959

East of England

164,061

Greater Manchester

51,305

Kent, Surrey and Sussex

139,953

London

367,628

North East

39,419

North West

55,299

South Central

70,315

South West

46,626

Wales

14,523

West Midlands

116,020

Yorkshire and the Humber

52,778

The overall Spending Review settlement continues investment in probation services and provides significant wider investment in new initiatives to reduce reoffending and beat crime. The funding secured for the next 3 years of the spending review (April 22 – March 25) has seen an additional £155m made permanent in the baseline.

The Probation Service recruited a total of 1,007 trainees in 2020/21; we committed to recruiting a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2021/2022 and we met this target, recruiting 1,518 in total. The Probation Service will also recruit a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2022/23. In addition, we are recruiting around 500 additional unpaid work supervisors, Probation Service Officers (PSOs) and case administrators.

The number of agency staff employed changes from day to day: it would not be possible to collate regional or national totals without incurring disproportionate cost.

We do not hold information on the number of retired staff working as agency staff. This is considered to be the personal information of these agency staff and is therefore not requested.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of agency staff working in the Probation Service, broken down by region.

The cost of agency staff for the month of April 2022, by probation region, is set out in the following table:

Region

Total Spend £

East Midlands

60,959

East of England

164,061

Greater Manchester

51,305

Kent, Surrey and Sussex

139,953

London

367,628

North East

39,419

North West

55,299

South Central

70,315

South West

46,626

Wales

14,523

West Midlands

116,020

Yorkshire and the Humber

52,778

The overall Spending Review settlement continues investment in probation services and provides significant wider investment in new initiatives to reduce reoffending and beat crime. The funding secured for the next 3 years of the spending review (April 22 – March 25) has seen an additional £155m made permanent in the baseline.

The Probation Service recruited a total of 1,007 trainees in 2020/21; we committed to recruiting a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2021/2022 and we met this target, recruiting 1,518 in total. The Probation Service will also recruit a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2022/23. In addition, we are recruiting around 500 additional unpaid work supervisors, Probation Service Officers (PSOs) and case administrators.

The number of agency staff employed changes from day to day: it would not be possible to collate regional or national totals without incurring disproportionate cost.

We do not hold information on the number of retired staff working as agency staff. This is considered to be the personal information of these agency staff and is therefore not requested.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many agency staff are currently working in the Probation Service by region.

The cost of agency staff for the month of April 2022, by probation region, is set out in the following table:

Region

Total Spend £

East Midlands

60,959

East of England

164,061

Greater Manchester

51,305

Kent, Surrey and Sussex

139,953

London

367,628

North East

39,419

North West

55,299

South Central

70,315

South West

46,626

Wales

14,523

West Midlands

116,020

Yorkshire and the Humber

52,778

The overall Spending Review settlement continues investment in probation services and provides significant wider investment in new initiatives to reduce reoffending and beat crime. The funding secured for the next 3 years of the spending review (April 22 – March 25) has seen an additional £155m made permanent in the baseline.

The Probation Service recruited a total of 1,007 trainees in 2020/21; we committed to recruiting a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2021/2022 and we met this target, recruiting 1,518 in total. The Probation Service will also recruit a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2022/23. In addition, we are recruiting around 500 additional unpaid work supervisors, Probation Service Officers (PSOs) and case administrators.

The number of agency staff employed changes from day to day: it would not be possible to collate regional or national totals without incurring disproportionate cost.

We do not hold information on the number of retired staff working as agency staff. This is considered to be the personal information of these agency staff and is therefore not requested.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many vacancies there are in the Probation Service, by region, as of 26 May 2022.

The difference between required staffing and staff in post in the Probation Service, by region, as of 31st March is:

Difference

East Midlands Probation Service

-97

East of England Probation Service

-129

Greater Manchester Probation Service

-41

Kent, Surrey and Sussex Probation Service

-230

London Probation Service

-283

North East Probation Service

55

North West Probation Service

-31

South Central Probation Service

-118

South West Probation Service

-137

Wales Probation Service

33

West Midlands Probation Service

-6

Yorkshire and the Humber Probation Service

-123

Probation Service Total

-1,106

The overall Spending Review settlement continues investment in probation services and provides significant wider investment in new initiatives to reduce reoffending and beat crime. The funding secured for the next 3 years of the spending review (April 22 – March 25) has seen an additional £155m made permanent in the baseline.

The Probation Service recruited a total of 1,007 trainees in 2020/21; we committed to recruiting a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2021/2022 and we met this target, recruiting 1,518 in total. The Probation Service will also recruit a further 1,500 trainee probation officers in 2022/23. In addition, we are recruiting around 500 additional unpaid work supervisors, Probation Service Officers (PSOs) and case administrators.

Source: HMPPS Single Operating Platform, Required Staffing database and Workforce planning returns.

Note: Difference is a proxy for vacancies. Negative figures indicate staff in post is less than required staff level

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department's contract with OCS to provide security staff on the HMCTS estate contains provisions relating to staff pay.

Our contract sets out the certain provisions relating OCS staff pay. The relevant provisions are available on contracts finder by following the link: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/2bea0732-afb6-4948-a502-bb1594c396c9.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 28 March 2022 to Question 144981, Prisons: Labour Turnover, what the leaving rates for (a) Band 2, and (b) Band 3 to 4 operational prison staff are in each of the past five years, broken down by region.

Leaving Rates by Grade are given in the HMPPS Workforce Bulletin – latest version is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/her-majestys-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-december-2021.

Information on leaving rates by grades is published in Table 11. Information on leaving rates by region is published in table 10, however this is only for “main” grades (band 3-5 officers, OSG, probation officers).

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the contract notice of 31 August 2021 for Youth Education Service Provision, on what date she plans to announce the new supplier of that provision.

The department is completing a competitive tender exercise for the education contracts in public Young Offender Institutions in England. Once confirmed we will announce the new suppliers of the provision.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether Prison Education Framework contracts include an annual uplift in payments to prison education providers.

Contractual clauses are in place setting a mechanism for potential adjustments to charges. This information was published as part of the tender process, the supporting documents for which can be accessed via the following link: https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:61049-2018:HTML:EN:HTML&tabId=1&tabLang=en.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 28 March 2022 to Question 144980, Prisons: Education, how many meetings his officials in his Department has held with representatives of relevant trade unions on the Prisoner Education Service.

We are delivering a Prisoner Education Service within this Parliament to raise prisoners’ levels of numeracy, literacy, skills and qualifications with the aim of helping them secure jobs or apprenticeships on their release. To do this, we must give prisons the tools they need to succeed. We will invest in digital infrastructure, more training that delivers the skills employers need, more education experts to support Governors and improved support for prisoners with additional learning needs.

To deliver this vision, we are currently running a series of engagement events, drawing on the expertise of stakeholders across the education and justice sectors.

HMPPS holds regular meetings with its recognised trade unions to share information and invite feedback on operational developments and proposals. As prison education staff are not employed by HMPPS, their union representatives are not part of these regular consultations. We have engaged with these representatives, however, as part of our wider engagement activity.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 28 March 2022 to Question 144981 on Prisons: Labour Turnover, what the relevant leaving rates are for non-directly employed prison staff.

This information is not held centrally. All staffing matters for contractors working in prisons, including leaving rates, are the responsibility of those contract providers. There is no requirement in the contracts to agree such matters with the Ministry of Justice.

Providers of contracted services play an important role in the prison estate and we continue to monitor them to ensure they maintain safe, decent and secure prisons.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent progress his Department has made on the development of the Prisoner Education Service; and when he expects that service to be launched.

We set out plans in the Prisons Strategy White Paper to deliver a Prisoner Education Service that will raise levels of offender numeracy, literacy, skills and qualifications over the course of their custody, with the aim of securing jobs or apprenticeships after they leave custody.

As the first phase of this work, we are:

- Introducing new KPIs on education attendance and progress in English and maths to drive improved performance;

- Testing new Education Work and Skills Specialist roles and support managers for prisoners with additional learning needs in a small number of prisons with plans to roll out further over the next two years;

- Developing new digital content and expanding the use of secure laptops so more prisoners can study from their cells;

- Changing the law to enable prisoners to undertake apprenticeships for the first time.

On 22 March, we issued a Prior Information Notice on HMPPS’s public website to start the process of market engagement with a wide range of providers in preparation for new contracts to provide education services in prisons.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department is consulting with (a) prison educators, (b) prison education providers and (c) relevant trade unions on the Prisoner Education Service.

We set out plans in the Prisons Strategy White Paper to deliver a Prisoner Education Service that will raise levels of offender numeracy, literacy, skills and qualifications over the course of their custody, with the aim of securing jobs or apprenticeships after they leave custody.

As part of this work we have, and will continue to engage with prison educators, providers and relevant trade unions.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) HMPPS and (b) non-directly employed prison staff tested positive for covid-19 between March 2020 and December 2021.

Data on the number of both directly and indirectly employed HMPPS staff, testing positive for Covid-19 is provided on GOV.UK as part of the HMPPS workforce quarterly series. Figures for non-directly employed staff, however, will include some non-prison staff. The most recent release was published 17 February and covers the period to the end of January 2022. It can be accessed via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/her-majestys-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-december-2021.

Our strategy for managing Covid-19 in prisons continues to be guided by our National Framework, which sets out the basis for decisions on the necessary level of Covid controls over time. We also work closely with the UK Health Security Agency and have continued to adjust Covid controls in prisons as the risk has changed during the pandemic. We will transition prisons off the National Framework when it becomes safe to do so.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many covid-19 RIDDOR reports involving (a) HMPPS, and (b) non-directly employed prison staff were submitted to the Health and Safety Executive between March 2020 and December 2021.

HMPPS has applied the guidance criteria provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about the reporting of any work-related employee Covid cases under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). There have been no incidents which meet the criteria as defined by HSE in relation to directly or non-directly employed staff, therefore no such cases have been reported by HMPPS.

Our strategy for managing Covid-19 in prisons continues to be guided by our National Framework, which sets out the basis for decisions on the necessary level of Covid controls over time. We also work closely with the UK Health Security Agency and have continued to adjust Covid controls in prisons as the risk has changed during the pandemic. We will transition prisons off the National Framework when it becomes safe to do so.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the most recent retention rates are for prison (a) officers, (b) educators, (c) instructors, (d) healthcare staff, (e) chaplains, (f) facility management staff and (g) other staff, by region.

HMPPS does not have a standard definition of ‘retention rates’ however we do publish information on leaving rates which can be used as a proxy. The leaving rate is the number of staff who have left the department in the previous 12 months divided by the average number of people in post over the same period of time. Figures for leaving rates requested can be found in the accompanying Excel file.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Mar 2022