Liz Twist Portrait

Liz Twist

Labour - Blaydon

Opposition Whip (Commons)

(since February 2020)
European Statutory Instruments Committee
18th Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee of Privileges
25th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Standards
25th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Privileges
25th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
European Statutory Instruments
18th Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Petitions Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 20th May 2019


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 20th September 2021
14:30
Scottish Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Public broadcasting in Scotland
20 Sep 2021, 2:30 p.m.
At 3.00pm: Oral evidence
Alex Mahon - Chief Executive at Channel 4
Deborah Dunnett - Commissioning Editor at Channel 4
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Alan Clements - Managing Director at Two Rivers Media
Jane Muirhead - Managing Director at Raise the Roof Productions
Nicole Kleeman - Managing Director at Firecrest Films
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Monday 20th September 2021
16:00
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
was Teller for the Ayes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

I thank the Minister for that response. Will he join me in welcoming the Welsh Labour Government’s £20 million commitment …

Written Answers
Monday 13th September 2021
NHS: Overtime
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the (a) amount …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 17th June 2020
Cessation of Production and Redundancies at De La Rue Gateshead
That this House deplores De La Rue’s proposal to cease banknote production at their facility in Gateshead; regrets the Government's …
Bills
Tuesday 14th July 2020
Disabled Facilities Grants (Review) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to review the Disabled Facilities Grants system; and for connected purposes.
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th February 2021
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from YouGov, 50 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8RT, for surveys. Unless stated otherwise, all fees paid direct to Blaydon …
EDM signed
Monday 1st April 2019
PAY FOR CIVIL SERVANTS
That this House believes that civil servants perform an essential role in the functioning of British democracy and the delivery …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021
A Bill to impose duties on certain education and training providers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Liz Twist has voted in 264 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Liz Twist 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(39 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(32 debate interactions)
Johnny Mercer (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(65 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(53 debate contributions)
Home Office
(33 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(18 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Liz Twist's debates

Blaydon 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.


Latest EDMs signed by Liz Twist

17th June 2020
Liz Twist signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 17th June 2020

Cessation of Production and Redundancies at De La Rue Gateshead

Tabled by: Liz Twist (Labour - Blaydon)
That this House deplores De La Rue’s proposal to cease banknote production at their facility in Gateshead; regrets the Government's award of the passport printing contract to an overseas company; is concerned about putting 255 highly-skilled workers at risk of redundancy in addition to 170 posts made redundant in 2019; …
16 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jul 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 15
Scottish National Party: 1
5th March 2019
Liz Twist signed this EDM on Monday 1st April 2019

PAY FOR CIVIL SERVANTS

Tabled by: Daniel Zeichner (Labour - Cambridge)
That this House believes that civil servants perform an essential role in the functioning of British democracy and the delivery of our public services especially as the UK renegotiates our relationship with the European Union; notes that public servants covered by the Cabinet Office and Treasury's civil service pay guidance …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Jun 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 24
Liberal Democrat: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Liz Twist's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Liz Twist, 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 Twist has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Liz Twist has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Liz Twist


A Bill to require the Secretary of State to review the Disabled Facilities Grants system; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 14th July 2020
(Read Debate)

116 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
2 Other Department Questions
10th Feb 2021
What steps she is taking to tackle inequality during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that COVID-19 is impacting people in different ways, as I noted in my first quarterly report to the Prime Minister. Addressing these disparities is a priority for the whole Government. Our economic response is protecting people right across society – saving jobs, keeping businesses afloat and ensuring those most impacted have the support they need.

We are also working hard through local networks to ensure key information reaches all segments of society – for example through investing in our £23 million Community Champions scheme.

We’re seeing very positive developments in our vaccine roll-out – as recognised recently by the Bank of England. It’s vital the vaccine programme reaches all parts of our community and we have established a National Equalities Board to ensure that happens.

The Government is determined that our recovery from this virus will build back fairer for everyone.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jan 2021
What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on reducing economic inequality and poverty.

I have regular engagement with ministerial colleagues across Government on a range of equality and progression issues. Throughout this pandemic, we have sought to protect jobs and incomes by spending billions on strengthening welfare support. Our long-term ambition is to level up across the UK, helping people back into work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of work in tackling poverty.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) procurement policies have been applied and (b) invitations to tender have been submitted in respect of Government contracts with (i) Serco and (ii) other private companies being used in the response to the covid-19 outrbreak.

Details of central government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Royal National Institute for Blind People's report entitled Turned out 2019, published October 2020, what plans he has to ensure blind and partially sighted people can receive their poll cards in preferred formats.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has already been working with the RNIB to improve the voting process for voters with sight loss.

It is important for security purposes that a physical poll card is sent to every elector at the property where they are registered, but we have already considered how electoral information might additionally be made available in more accessible format for those who request it.

Returning Officers already publish details of candidates in the order they will appear on the ballot paper online. We will work with partners in the electoral sector to ensure this information is accessible.

The Government will continue to work with the RNIB, the Electoral Commission and other relevant organisations to make blind and partially sighted voters aware of the support available to them at the polling station, and to consider what additional support could be provided to help blind and partially sighted people to vote including by post.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to publish the names of candidates and their order on the ballot paper in advance, online and in local election offices to allow blind and partially sighted people to know in advance where they wish to place their vote on the ballot paper.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has already been working with the RNIB to improve the voting process for voters with sight loss.

It is important for security purposes that a physical poll card is sent to every elector at the property where they are registered, but we have already considered how electoral information might additionally be made available in more accessible format for those who request it.

Returning Officers already publish details of candidates in the order they will appear on the ballot paper online. We will work with partners in the electoral sector to ensure this information is accessible.

The Government will continue to work with the RNIB, the Electoral Commission and other relevant organisations to make blind and partially sighted voters aware of the support available to them at the polling station, and to consider what additional support could be provided to help blind and partially sighted people to vote including by post.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance the Government has issued to local authorities on whether physiotherapy clinics that share premises with businesses that are not permitted to operate during the covid-19 lockdown should be required to close.

Healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, can continue operating under the National Lockdown regulations. Where a clinic is based in premises that is required to close, for example a gym, it will be a commercial decision for the gym owner to decide whether the physiotherapists can continue to practice there.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether safety duties relating to content that is harmful to adults announced as part of the Online Safety Bill in the Queen's Speech 2021 will include content on and related to (a) suicide and (b) self-harm.

Under the new legal duty of care, in-scope companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content and activity online. This includes illegal content which encourages or incites suicide online, with all companies expected to take swift and effective action against such content.

In addition, companies whose services have high-risk functionalities and which have the largest audiences will also be required to take action on content which is legal but which may cause harm to adults such as material which relates to self-harm or suicide. These companies will need to set out in clear terms and conditions what is acceptable on their services, and enforce those terms and conditions consistently and transparently.

We are also ensuring that criminal law is fit for purpose to account for harmful and dangerous communications online. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has sponsored a Law Commission review of harmful online communications. As part of this review, the Government has also asked the Law Commission to examine how the criminal law will address the encouragement or assistance of self harm. We know there is a strong case for making this sort of appalling content illegal. The Law Commission have consulted on their proposed reforms and will produce final recommendations by summer 2021.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2021
What plans he has to provide additional financial support to the civil and voluntary sector during the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

The £750 million sector funding package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work and support our national response to the pandemic.

In addition, the Government continues to make a package of support available across the economy to enable organisations to get through the months ahead. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which continues to be a lifeline to a multitude of organisations.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of his Department working with the Department for Health and Social Care to improve voluntary sector provision for young people who self-harm, as recommended by the Samaritans in their October 2020 report entitled Pushed from pillar to post: Improving the availability and quality of support after self-harm in England.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has overall policy responsibility for children and young people’s mental health.

While DCMS has made no assessment on this specific issue, we are aware of the detrimental impact Covid-19 has had on young people’s mental health.

Officials and Ministers regularly engage with young people, including through our Youth Steering Group and events hosted by the youth sector. In recent conversations young people have highlighted the impact Covid-19 has had on mental wellbeing and loneliness.

A total of £4.7 million from the Government’s £750 million Charities package went to support mental health charities, including support for young people’s mental health.

In addition to this, the Department for Health and Social Care provided £6 million to the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund, which has supported over 130 charities to date.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of fan representation on football club boards.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected.

The Government’s Expert Working Group on football supporter ownership and engagement in 2016 set out a number of recommendations to encourage greater engagement between supporters and those that run their club, while also helping to remove barriers to supporter ownership.

Whilst the Group was broadly supportive of the idea of supporter directors on club boards in principle, it believed that strong, structured dialogue with a representative group of supporters is a more inclusive way of ensuring supporters are informed and able to hold club owners and senior executives to account. The Premier League and English Football League now require clubs to meet with supporters at least twice a year to discuss strategic issues, giving fans the opportunity to shape the direction of the club.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to bring forward regulations under section 93 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 to impose requirements on providers of on-demand programme services for the purpose of ensuring that their services are accessible to people with disabilities affecting their sight or hearing or both.

As part of a digitally inclusive society, television content should be accessible for all UK audiences. This is why, as part of the implementation process of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the Government asked Ofcom to provide recommendations on how legislation could make on demand services more accessible. Ofcom published its report in December 2018 and since then my Department has been working with Ofcom to develop the legislative framework for future requirements.

It is important to ensure that any legislation introduced is proportionate while making more content accessible to consumers. As a result, in November 2019 my officials wrote to Ofcom requesting that they complete a further targeted consultation to provide recommendations on specific aspects of the scheme.

Ofcom are now developing this second consultation which they intend to publish in early 2020 and will report back to DCMS later this year. After we have reviewed Ofcom’s recommendations, we will then set out next steps.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make a statement on the ways in which early years provision will feature as part of the covid-19 catch-up recovery strategy; and how opportunities for play will be (a) encouraged, (b) supported and (c) facilitated.

On 2 June 2021, as part of the government’s announcement on providing an additional £1.4 billon for education recovery, we announced a £153 million investment for high-quality professional development for early years practitioners. This includes new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development, and physical and emotional development for the youngest children, of which play is an important part. This is in addition to the £18 million announced in February 2021 and the £9 million announced in June 2020 to support early language development for children in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The package will build on our early years foundation stage reforms, which support more effective early years curriculum and assessment, and reducing unnecessary assessment paperwork, so that practitioners and teachers can spend more time engaging children in rich activities, including through play, to support their learning.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2021
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for disadvantaged pupils.

All children have had their education disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, but it is likely that disadvantaged and vulnerable groups will have been hardest hit.

Since 2011 we have spent more than £20 billion to provide Pupil Premium funding for school leaders to use, based on the needs of their disadvantaged pupils. Between 2011 and 2019, the attainment gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils narrowed by 13% at age 11 and 9% at age 16.

On top of this funding, we increased core schools funding by £2.6 billion last year and are increasing core schools funding by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20.

In addition, over the past year we have made three major interventions to support education recovery, totalling over £3 billion additional spend: £1 billion in June 2020, a further £700 million in February 2021 and our latest £1.4 billion package announced in June 2021.

Recovery programmes have been designed to allow early years, school and college leaders the flexibility to support those pupils most in need, including the most disadvantaged. The latest announcement expands our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have a significant impact for disadvantaged children, high quality tutoring and great teaching.

We are providing over £1.5 billion for tutoring programmes, including an expansion of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), an ambitious scheme that supports schools to access targeted tutoring intervention for disadvantaged pupils who have missed out on learning due to school closures. We will also provide greater flexibility to schools to make it easier for them to take on local tutors or use existing staff to supplement those employed through the NTP. This new blended offer ensures that the NTP works for all disadvantaged children, giving schools the flexibility to choose what type of approach best suits their needs and those of individual pupils.

The £302 million Recovery Premium has been weighted so that schools with more disadvantaged pupils receive more funding and includes £22 million to scale up proven approaches to reduce the attainment gap.

We have also invested more than £400 million to provide internet access and over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children with complex needs that require aerosol generating procedures (AGP) have not been able to return to school as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if his Department will work with Public Health England on guidance to urgently ensure a safe return to school for all children.

We are aware of a small number of children with complex needs, including those that require Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs), who have found it harder to return to schools. We are working with families, education settings, health services and local authorities to ensure that they are able to attend safely as soon as possible.

We published the Safe Working Guidance to help support schools in keeping everyone safe, including those children with complex medical needs who require AGPs and the staff carrying out the procedures. We are trying to give the best possible guidance to schools while recognising that every school setting is different. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

The department has worked closely with Public Health England and stakeholders to publish guidance based on a ‘system of controls’ which, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This includes guidance on the specific protective measures needed to undertake AGPs in education settings to manage risk effectively. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

The guidance on undertaking AGPs in education settings, including where use of a designated room is not possible, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

We have heard examples of good practice locally and are working with Public Health England and NHS England to establish whether any changes to the guidance or further information about practice principles are needed.

The Departments SEND and NHS England Adviser teams are working with local areas affected by this situation to determine whether further local measures can be put in place to secure pupils’ return to school. It is important that schools communicate clearly with parents on progress towards supporting children who need AGPs to return to school safely and provide remote education and support if they are unable to do so.

We do not hold data on the number of schools that do not have a separate room to undertake AGPs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Public Health England consulted with schools on the guidance on aerosol generating procedures (AGP); and if his Department will work with Public Health England to provide guidance to schools who cannot comply with measures to have a separate room to undertake AGP so that children are not prevented from going to school.

We are aware of a small number of children with complex needs, including those that require Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs), who have found it harder to return to schools. We are working with families, education settings, health services and local authorities to ensure that they are able to attend safely as soon as possible.

We published the Safe Working Guidance to help support schools in keeping everyone safe, including those children with complex medical needs who require AGPs and the staff carrying out the procedures. We are trying to give the best possible guidance to schools while recognising that every school setting is different. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

The department has worked closely with Public Health England and stakeholders to publish guidance based on a ‘system of controls’ which, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This includes guidance on the specific protective measures needed to undertake AGPs in education settings to manage risk effectively. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

The guidance on undertaking AGPs in education settings, including where use of a designated room is not possible, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

We have heard examples of good practice locally and are working with Public Health England and NHS England to establish whether any changes to the guidance or further information about practice principles are needed.

The Departments SEND and NHS England Adviser teams are working with local areas affected by this situation to determine whether further local measures can be put in place to secure pupils’ return to school. It is important that schools communicate clearly with parents on progress towards supporting children who need AGPs to return to school safely and provide remote education and support if they are unable to do so.

We do not hold data on the number of schools that do not have a separate room to undertake AGPs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools do not have the facilities to allow children with complex needs that require aerosol generating procedures to return to school; and what steps he is taking to support those schools to ensure that all children can return to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware of a small number of children with complex needs, including those that require Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs), who have found it harder to return to schools. We are working with families, education settings, health services and local authorities to ensure that they are able to attend safely as soon as possible.

We published the Safe Working Guidance to help support schools in keeping everyone safe, including those children with complex medical needs who require AGPs and the staff carrying out the procedures. We are trying to give the best possible guidance to schools while recognising that every school setting is different. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

The department has worked closely with Public Health England and stakeholders to publish guidance based on a ‘system of controls’ which, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This includes guidance on the specific protective measures needed to undertake AGPs in education settings to manage risk effectively. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

The guidance on undertaking AGPs in education settings, including where use of a designated room is not possible, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

We have heard examples of good practice locally and are working with Public Health England and NHS England to establish whether any changes to the guidance or further information about practice principles are needed.

The Departments SEND and NHS England Adviser teams are working with local areas affected by this situation to determine whether further local measures can be put in place to secure pupils’ return to school. It is important that schools communicate clearly with parents on progress towards supporting children who need AGPs to return to school safely and provide remote education and support if they are unable to do so.

We do not hold data on the number of schools that do not have a separate room to undertake AGPs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to provide additional mental health support for students in response to covid-19 restrictions.

Protecting all students', domestic and international, mental health and wellbeing continues to be a priority for this government. The disruption and uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted all age groups, but particularly young people who are making transitions during this time.

Higher education providers are best placed to identify and address the needs of their particular student body as well as how to develop the services needed. Many providers have boosted their existing welfare and counselling services to ensure support services can be accessed, which is particularly important for those students having to self-isolate or who are affected by local restrictions.

Student Space, funded with £3 million from the Office for Students (OfS), provides dedicated support services (phone and text) for students and a collaborative online platform to help students access vital mental health and wellbeing resources. The platform bridges gaps in support for students arising from the outbreak and is designed to work alongside existing services.

The government has recently provided over £9 million to leading mental health charities to help them expand and reach those most in need. In addition, NHS mental health trusts are ensuring 24/7 access to crisis telephone lines to support people of all ages.

We have asked providers to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of students during this period and have enabled them to use funding, worth up to £23 million per month from April to July this year and £256 million for the academic year 2020/21 starting from August, to go towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on safe home visits for students at Christmas 2020.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has regularly discussed the reopening of higher education (HE) providers with his Cabinet colleagues, including with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The arrangements for the end of the autumn term were discussed on Monday 28 September.

As the Secretary of State for Education announced to the House on Tuesday 29 September, the department is working with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones, if they choose to do so. Where students choose to stay in their university accommodation over Christmas, universities should continue making sure that they are safe and well looked after. The department will work with universities to publish guidance on students returning home safely at Christmas, shortly.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in HE is always our priority, and the government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying at HE providers in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support the families of pupils eligible for free school meals in Blaydon constituency during the school summer holidays in 2020.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 23 June 2020 to Question 54195.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many hours of training each teacher will receive to deliver the new Relationships education, relationships and sex curriculum.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high-quality teaching of relationships education, relationships and sex education, and health education.

Many schools are already teaching aspects of these subjects as part of their sex and relationships education provision or their personal, social, health and economic education programme. Schools have flexibility to determine how to deliver the new content, in the context of a broad and balanced curriculum.

To support schools in their preparations, the Department is investing in a central package to help all schools to increase the confidence and quality of their teaching practice. We are currently developing a new online service featuring innovative training materials, case studies and support to access resources. This will be available from April 2020 with additional content added through the summer term, covering all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance. We will also publish an implementation guide which will be provided to all schools as part of this service, and face-to-face training will be available for schools that need additional support.

The Department is currently working with lead teachers, non-specialist teachers, schools and subject experts to develop this central programme of support to help ensure it meets the needs of schools and teachers. It will complement the wide range of training opportunities that are being provided by local authorities and sector organisations.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether content on domestic abuse will be included in the new Relationships education, relationships and sex curriculum.

The Department wants to support all children and young people to be happy, healthy and safe. Through the new subjects of relationships, sex and health education, we want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.

These subjects will help in ensuring all young people, at age appropriate points, know the signs of unhealthy or abusive relationships, and that violence in relationships and domestic abuse is unlawful and never acceptable. Throughout these subjects there is a focus on ensuring pupils know how to get further support.

The guidance can be accessed via the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/relationships-and-sex-education-and-health-education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to provide long-term investment certainty for water companies to assist them in playing a greater role in delivering on the Government’s environmental objectives.

The Government is consulting on a draft strategic policy statement for Ofwat. This will set priorities for the economic regulator in the following areas:

  • Protecting and enhancing the environment – including supporting delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan, net zero, nature-based solutions and catchment approaches by water companies,
  • Delivering a more resilient water sector; and
  • Serving and protecting customers, including those who are vulnerable.

The consultation for the strategic policy statement can be accessed via the link here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/water-industry-governments-strategic-policy-statement-for-ofwat

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling the use of catchment approaches and nature-based solutions by water companies in delivering their regulated obligations in the forthcoming Strategic Policy Statement to Ofwat.

The Government is consulting on a draft strategic policy statement for Ofwat. This will set priorities for the economic regulator in the following areas:

  • Protecting and enhancing the environment – including supporting delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan, net zero, nature-based solutions and catchment approaches by water companies,
  • Delivering a more resilient water sector; and
  • Serving and protecting customers, including those who are vulnerable.

The consultation for the strategic policy statement can be accessed via the link here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/water-industry-governments-strategic-policy-statement-for-ofwat

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of mandating Ofwat to incentivise long-term outcomes on (a) net-zero and (b) the delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan through the forthcoming strategic policy statement.

The Government is consulting on a draft strategic policy statement for Ofwat. This will set priorities for the economic regulator in the following areas:

  • Protecting and enhancing the environment – including supporting delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan, net zero, nature-based solutions and catchment approaches by water companies,
  • Delivering a more resilient water sector; and
  • Serving and protecting customers, including those who are vulnerable.

The consultation for the strategic policy statement can be accessed via the link here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/water-industry-governments-strategic-policy-statement-for-ofwat

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reconcile (a) low average bills, (b) the need to support vulnerable customers and (c) other short-term deliverables in the water industry with long-term investment needs to deliver on net-zero commitments and environmental objectives.

(a) Ofwat, the independent economic regulator, is responsible for ensuring that water companies charge fair prices and deliver quality services, through a process called the Price Review.

(b) All water companies offer reduced bills for eligible customers via the WaterSure scheme and social tariffs. Water companies also offer a range of other financial support measures such as payment holidays, bill matching and advice on debt management and water efficiency. Last October, Defra commissioned the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) to review the effectiveness of existing support schemes in water to ensure they are fit for purpose now and in the future. Defra is working with CCW and industry to explore CCW’s recommendations (see Independent Affordability Review | CCW (ccwater.org.uk)) further.

(c) As part of Ofwat's 2019 Price Review process, water companies have set out their investment needs and associated costs up to 2024/2025. The Government has set its future expectations for Ofwat in a new strategic policy statement ( The government's strategic priorities for Ofwat: draft for consultation (defra.gov.uk)) which sets out the significant Government ambitions on the environment and climate change, and how the water industry should contribute to that work.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take to ensure that people in Great Britain who use assistance dogs do not face hardship as a result of new administrative requirements when they travel to Northern Ireland.

The health and documentary requirements for pet travel to the EU are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. There are no derogations for assistance dogs under the legal framework of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

We will continue to press the European Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for pet owners and 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.

The Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to explore means to streamline pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland recognising the high standards of animal health that we share. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has also written to the European Vice-President seeking to ensure that an agreement can be made to address the barriers imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

In the meantime, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland has recently published guidance on a pragmatic enforcement approach to pets entering from Great Britain. Northern Ireland-based pets and assistance dogs returning to Northern Ireland from Great Britain can continue to use a Northern Ireland-issued EU Pet Passport to re-enter Northern Ireland and will not need an animal health certificate. Pets and assistance dogs entering from Great Britain will not be subject to routine checks until July 2021. Current guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on DAERA's NIDirect website.

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 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

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help protect the hen harrier from extinction.

The Government is committed to securing the long-term future of the hen harrier as a breeding bird in England. The Hen Harrier Action Plan sets out what will be done to increase hen harrier populations in England and includes measures to stop illegal persecution. The long-term plan was published in January 2016 and we believe that it remains the best way to safeguard the hen harrier in England. A copy of the plan is available at:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491818/hen-harrier-action-plan-england-2016.pdf.

Natural England has recorded the best year for hen harrier breeding in England since Natural England’s hen harrier recovery project was established in 2002. Illegal persecution of raptors such as the hen harrier is one of the UK's wildlife crime priorities. There are strong penalties in place for offences committed against birds of prey and other wildlife. Those convicted of committing an offence can face an unlimited fine and/or a six-month custodial sentence.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to review regulation of driven grouse shooting to help protect (a) hen harriers and (b) other birds of prey.

The Government recognises the conservation and economic benefits that shooting sports bring to rural communities.

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. There are strong penalties in place for offences committed against birds of prey and other wildlife; significant sanctions are available to judges to hand down to those convicted of wildlife crimes. Most wildlife crimes carry up to an unlimited fine and/or a six-month custodial sentence.

To address concerns about illegal killing of birds of prey, senior government and enforcement officers have identified raptor persecution as a national wildlife crime priority. Since 2016 Defra has contributed approximately £165,000 annually to the National Wildlife Crime Unit that monitors and gathers intelligence on wildlife crime, including raptor persecution, and aids police forces in their investigations when required.

We are committed to securing the long-term future of the hen harrier as a breeding bird in England. The Hen Harrier Action Plan sets out what will be done to increase hen harrier populations in England and includes measures to stop illegal persecution. The long-term plan was published in January 2016 and we believe that it remains the best way to safeguard the hen harrier in England. A copy of the plan is available at: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491818/henharrier-action-plan-england-2016.pdf

Whilst the Government has no current plans to carry out a review of the management of grouse moors, we recognise that it is vital that wildlife and habitats are respected and protected, and that the law is observed. We will continue to work to ensure a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship between shooting and conservation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will prioritise the installation of tactile paving at all mainline rail stations.

Platform edge tactiles are part of the scope for more than 100 accessible routes due to be installed under our Access for All programme by 2024. In addition, whenever the industry installs, replaces or renews platform infrastructure they are required to install tactiles.

I have asked Network Rail to work up a costed plan for a wider roll out of tactiles for stations where tactiles are not being delivered under another programme.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding will be made available for the acceleration of the installation of tactile paving at mainline rail stations.

Platform edge tactiles are part of the scope for more than 100 accessible routes due to be installed under our Access for All programme by 2024. In addition, whenever the industry installs, replaces or renews platform infrastructure they are required to install tactiles.

I have asked Network Rail to work up a costed plan for a wider roll out of tactiles for stations where tactiles are not being delivered under another programme.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to take immediate action against Airlines that fail to comply with consumer rights legislation during the covid-19 pandemic.

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

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

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to provide funding for the Tyne and Wear Metro after the end of the Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant in June 2020.

A further £29 million was announced by the Transport Secretary on 23 May to increase tram and light rail services across the country so that people who need to travel, including critical workers in the NHS, can do so safely. The Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (NEXUS) is estimated to receive £7.6 million of that funding for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to help tackle financial shortfalls in Nexus’ funding for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

A further £29 million was announced by the Transport Secretary on 23 May to increase tram and light rail services across the country so that people who need to travel, including critical workers in the NHS, can do so safely. The Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (NEXUS) is estimated to receive £7.6 million of that funding for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the economic benefits of assisting people with severe asthma to participate fully in the labour market.

The Government recognises the important economic contribution of disabled people in the labour market and is committed to seeing 1 million more disabled people in work. DWP delivers a range of programmes to support disabled people, including those with severe asthma, to stay in or move into work.

These include the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support, Access to Work, Disability Confident and initiatives in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services and Individual Placement and Support.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 21 April 2021 to Question 179362, if she will make an assessment of the causes of inequality in pay and job prospects for people with severe asthma.

Analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that disabled employees are generally under-represented in higher skilled and typically higher paying occupation groups, while they are over-represented in lower-skilled and lower paying occupations when compared to non-disabled employees. Disabled workers are also less likely to move into and be in work, as well as more likely to move out of work.

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith is currently leading a commission looking at how DWP, wider Government and employers can best support people to progress out of low pay, especially for those groups more likely to be in persistent low pay, such as disabled workers.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everybody, including people with asthma, has equal access to employment opportunities and offers a range of support to help disabled people to stay in or move into work.

In 2019, the Government consulted on ways to support and encourage employers to minimise the risk of ill-health related job loss among their employees in Health is Everyone's Business: proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss. Our response is due shortly.

The Government will also publish a National Strategy for Disabled People which will focus on issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life, including employment.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference Demos' report entitled the economic cost of uncontrolled asthma, published February 2021, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that people with asthma are able to stay in work.

The Government is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities and health conditions are able to stay in work and offers a range of support. Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant scheme administered by Jobcentre Plus (JCP). The scheme facilitates recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers by contributing towards covering the costs of employment –related support above the level of reasonable adjustment. The scheme can fund up to £60,700 worth of flexible, personalised support per person per year.

In 2019, the Government consulted on ways to support and encourage employers to minimise the risk of ill-health related job loss among their employees in Health is Everyone's Business. Our response is due shortly.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children have received the £20 per week uplift in universal credit standard allowance payments in Blaydon in each month since that uplift was introduced.

The available information on the number of households with children with Universal Credit in payment, by parliamentary constituency, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure the maintenance of the triple lock on pensions in the 2019 Parliament.

The Government is committed to ensuring that older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and the State Pension is the foundation of state support for older people.

In April 2020, both the basic and new State Pensions (excluding protected payments) increased by 3.9%, in line with average earnings. The full yearly basic State Pension is worth over £1,900 more in 2020/21 than it was in 2010.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives from (a) NICE and (b) NHS England on the potential merits for rare disease patients of the proposed changes to accepting greater uncertainty, as set out in NICE’s ongoing review of its methods and processes.

The Department regularly discuss a range of issues with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, including NICE’s methods review. However, NICE is an independent body and is responsible for its own methods and processes.

NICE has consulted on a range of proposals although it is too soon to comment on the changes that may be implemented. However, NICE expects to consult on the draft programme manual in the summer, with implementation of the changes from early 2022. NICE and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working together on the development of proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund. We expect NHS England and NHS Improvement and NICE to lead an engagement exercise later this year. A detailed timescale for this will be confirmed in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of how the Innovative Medicines Fund and NICE Methods and Process Review can together improve access to new medicines for patients with rare diseases.

The Department regularly discuss a range of issues with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, including NICE’s methods review. However, NICE is an independent body and is responsible for its own methods and processes.

NICE has consulted on a range of proposals although it is too soon to comment on the changes that may be implemented. However, NICE expects to consult on the draft programme manual in the summer, with implementation of the changes from early 2022. NICE and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working together on the development of proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund. We expect NHS England and NHS Improvement and NICE to lead an engagement exercise later this year. A detailed timescale for this will be confirmed in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of potential changes to NICE’s methods and processes to improve access to new medicines for patients with rare diseases.

The Department regularly discuss a range of issues with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, including NICE’s methods review. However, NICE is an independent body and is responsible for its own methods and processes.

NICE has consulted on a range of proposals although it is too soon to comment on the changes that may be implemented. However, NICE expects to consult on the draft programme manual in the summer, with implementation of the changes from early 2022. NICE and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working together on the development of proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund. We expect NHS England and NHS Improvement and NICE to lead an engagement exercise later this year. A detailed timescale for this will be confirmed in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the (a) amount of overtime worked and (b) cost of that overtime worked by NHS staff throughout the course of the covid-19 outbreak.

The amount of overtime worked is not held centrally. The total value of overtime worked by National Health Service staff working in the hospital and community health sector between March 2020 and December 2020 is £1,340 million.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2021
What recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

All recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully. The Government will respond in full to the report later this year.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Asthma UK’s report entitled Asthma Care in a Crisis, Annual Asthma Survey 2020, if he will take steps to help ensure that people who are most at risk of having an asthma attack are prioritised and seen face-to-face when clinically necessary.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s Rapid Guidance on severe asthma during the pandemic recommend using technology to reduce in-person appointments.

NHS England’s letter of 13 May 2021 outlined that patients and clinicians have a choice of consultation mode. Patients’ input into this choice should be sought and practices should respect preferences for face to face care unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/B0497-GP-access-letter-May-2021-FINAL.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to restore normal levels of respiratory care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement asked general practice to restore activity to usual levels where clinically appropriate and reach out proactively to clinically vulnerable patients and those whose care may have been delayed.

The cardiovascular disease and respiratory programme focussed its work in 2020/21 on the response to COVID-19 and has spent £5.5 million to support the response to the disease, including work on ‘long COVID-19’. This included bringing forward the implementation of respiratory clinical networks by one year. The networks are vital in promoting an integrated approach to respiratory care during COVID-19, in parallel with supporting delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan’s priorities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 179363, what steps his Department is taking to expedite guidance on medicines that have taken longer than the 90 days to receive final guidance from NICE; and whether his Department has plans to prioritise appraisals of medicines for clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

The 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access commits the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to publishing recommendations on all newly licensed treatments within 90 days of marketing authorisation wherever possible.

NICE may not always be able to meet this timescale for individual topics for a range of reasons, including where companies request a longer appraisal timescale. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, NICE adapted its priorities to support the health and care system at a time of unprecedented pressure. This involved pausing the publication of topics that were not COVID-19 related or regarded as therapeutically critical during the period of March to June 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the finding in the report published in February 2021 by Demos entitled Potential Limited that uncontrolled asthma is linked to a £2 billion loss each year to the economy due to lower pay.

No such assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the finding in the report published in February 2021 by Demos entitled Potential Limited that people in work who suffer from uncontrolled asthma earn around £3,000 less per year than the average adult.

No such assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding by Asthma UK that one in every five severe asthma patients receive a referral, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients with severe asthma receive timely referrals to specialist care.

Information on patients who were first made aware of their severe asthma via shielding letters is not held centrally. However, respiratory disease is a national clinical priority in the NHS Long Term Plan. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working in close partnership with patients and partners, including the British Lung Foundation, and are developing and implementing policy on provisions of respiratory services in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) programme supported by the severe asthma toolkit, is increasing treatment adherence, biologic choice, optimising multidisciplinary teams and has been shared widely with the severe asthma clinical community. The AAC programme for severe asthma biologics has increased uptake of asthma drugs including ones covered by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s Technology Appraisals where it has been identified that there is suboptimal uptake.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that patients who were first made aware of their severe asthma via shielding letters received in 2020 have been seen in a specialist asthma clinic.

Information on patients who were first made aware of their severe asthma via shielding letters is not held centrally. However, respiratory disease is a national clinical priority in the NHS Long Term Plan. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working in close partnership with patients and partners, including the British Lung Foundation, and are developing and implementing policy on provisions of respiratory services in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) programme supported by the severe asthma toolkit, is increasing treatment adherence, biologic choice, optimising multidisciplinary teams and has been shared widely with the severe asthma clinical community. The AAC programme for severe asthma biologics has increased uptake of asthma drugs including ones covered by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s Technology Appraisals where it has been identified that there is suboptimal uptake.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients with (a) severe asthma and (b) other conditions that place them at higher risk from covid-19 are able to access new medicines; and whether his Department has plans to prioritise appraisals for those medicines for review.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for providing evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service in England on whether medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. Wherever possible, NICE aims to publish final guidance for new medicines, including those used to treat patients with severe asthma and other high risk conditions, within 90 days of licensing. NHS commissioners are legally required to make funding available for treatments recommended by NICE, normally within three months of the publication of NICE’s final guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the (a) amount of overtime worked by NHS staff during the covid-19 outbreak to date and (b) expenditure on overtime worked by NHS staff during that timescale.

The amount of overtime worked is not held centrally. The total value of overtime worked by National Health Service staff working in the hospital and community health sector between March 2020 and September 2020 is £926.4 million.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has made of the implications for prioritisation in the next phase of the covid-19 vaccination programme of the 2020 findings of King’s College London that people with asthma may be at increased risk of hospitalisation and of developing long covid.

Adults with asthma which requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, will be vaccinated in phase one, priority group six which includes all individuals aged 16 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. Individuals with more severe asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, in which case they will be vaccinated in priority group four in phase one. All other adults aged 50 years old or above with asthma are being vaccinated within the phase one priority group associated with their age.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people with asthma not included in groups 4 and 6 are planned to be prioritised in the next phase of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

Adults with asthma which requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, will be vaccinated in phase one, priority group six which includes all individuals aged 16 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. Individuals with more severe asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, in which case they will be vaccinated in priority group four in phase one. All other adults aged 50 years old or above with asthma are being vaccinated within the phase one priority group associated with their age.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report on Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2019, published by the ONS on 2 February 2021, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of increasing alcohol duty.

Officials at the Department of Health and Social Care and HM Treasury have discussed alcohol duty and its impact on health in the context of the report and responses are currently being analysed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support (a) end of life care for people dying at home and (b) their family members during the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

A second national hospice grant of up to £125 million was provided until 31 March 2021 with provision to support 46,500 community contacts per day, which included supporting people at the end of their life within their own home. There are a range of resources available to support family members on providing end of life care in a variety of settings. This includes the end of life care toolkit for carers at home, created by the Helix Centre in conjunction with colleagues at the Central North West London NHS Trust which is available at the following link:

https://helixcentre.com/project-end-of-life-toolkit

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to NICE Clinical Guideline (NG101) Early and Locally Advanced Breast Cancer: Diagnosis and Management (2018), what steps he is taking to ensure that all people who have had treatment for breast cancer have a written care plan including the signs and symptoms to look for of metastatic breast cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets a clear ambition that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should have access to personalised care by 2021. This includes providing personalised care and support planning, and information to support health and wellbeing. The key signs and symptoms of cancer recurrence are included in an end of treatment summary.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are supporting staff to offer personalised care to people affected by cancer by promoting awareness and understanding of the personalised care interventions. This includes providing resources such as a handbook on personalised stratified follow up, a checklist on health and wellbeing information and support, webinars, and a collaborative online workspace for staff. Cancer Alliances are leading programmes of work to embed personalised care within local providers.

The latest public data from December 2019 show that 94% of trusts offered personalised care and supporting planning for breast cancer patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to recommendation 65 of the document, Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer 2015-2020, what progress his Department has made on providing information on potential markers of recurrence and metastatic breast cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan, which was published in January 2019 and followed on from the Cancer Taskforce Strategy, sets a clear ambition that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should have access to personalised care by 2021. The key signs and symptoms of cancer recurrence are included in an end of treatment summary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) comparative effectiveness against covid-19 of generic face coverings versus face masks with FFP3 protection and (b) potential merits of supplying FFP3 face masks to the general populace.

Public Health England (PHE) has studied the evidence on the efficacy of different types of face coverings, and some of these studies have compared face coverings with surgical masks, although not specifically FFP3s. This evidence, from laboratory studies, suggests that face coverings made of materials such as cotton and polyester materials might block droplets with a filtering efficiency similar to medical masks when folded in two or three layers. The PHE rapid review on this topic is available at the following link:

https://phe.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=5f043ca658db1188ffae74827fa650d9

FFP3s are classed as personal protective equipment (PPE), which is used by frontline health and social care workers in relevant settings. PHE has published guidance setting out who needs PPE and when, based on United Kingdom clinical expertise and World Health Organization standards. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of commissioning research to improve understanding of how to support people who self-harm without intending to take their own lives.

In 2017, we expanded the scope of the national suicide prevention strategy to include addressing self-harm as an issue in its own right, and we have funded the Multicentre Study of Self-harm – the most in-depth analysis and monitoring of self-harming trends in England.

The aim of the Multicentre Study’s work is to conduct a series of related studies on the epidemiology, causes, clinical management, outcome and prevention of self-harm.

The cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan includes a commitment to establish a wider mental health research programme to inform our thinking in many of the areas that may impact suicide and self-harm prevention. We continue to provide funding for research projects through the National Institute for Health Research including for suicide and self-harm prevention.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to work with NHS England to ensure that psychosocial assessments are undertaken for everyone who discloses self-harm (a) to their GP and (b) in any other clinical setting.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s clinical guideline ‘Self-harm in over 8s: long-term management (CG133)’ covers the initial management of self-harm and the provision of longer-term support for children and young people aged eight years and older and adults. It includes guidance on referring patients in primary and community care and in other specialist mental health settings for an assessment if presenting with a history of self-harm and a risk of repetition.

In the NHS Long Term Plan, we committed to establishing new models of integrated primary and community mental health care for adults and older adults with severe mental illnesses, with a new community-based offer explicitly including – among other elements – improved self-harm support. New models are currently being tested in 12 early implementer sites, and all areas are developing plans to expand and transform services from 2021/22.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in (a) Blaydon constituency and (b) England in each of the last five years.

Hospital trusts submit data for secondary breast cancer diagnoses through the Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD) or Cancer Waiting Times (CWT) data collection mechanisms. Data on the reported number of people diagnosed with secondary breast cancers in 2014-2017 in England are available in the following table. Data for 2018 will be published in November 2020.

Year

Diagnoses recorded in COSD

Diagnoses recorded in CWT

2017

4,754

6,739

2016

4,746

6,824

2015

4,218

6,808

2014

3,395

6,817

Notes:

  1. Source:

http://www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_type_and_topic_specific_work/topic_specific_work/recurrence

  1. Where a recurrence record has been reported by multiple trusts it will be included once per trust. This means the totals will include some double-counting of recurrences.
  2. Counts from COSD and CWT cannot be combined as there will duplication between the datasets.

The number of reported cases is accepted as being significantly below the estimated number of secondary breast cancers. The National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service is working closely with cancer charities to improve data collection and submission by hospital trusts, looking at how they can help improve completion rates and thus gain a better picture of the burden of recurrence and metastatic disease across the health service.

Data for secondary breast cancer diagnoses are not available at constituency level. Data on how many people diagnosed with secondary breast cancer who were diagnosed less than and more than five years after a diagnosis of primary breast cancer are not available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the mental health effects of restrictions on care home visits during the covid-19 outbreak on care home residents suffering from (a) Alzheimers and (b) dementia-related diseases.

We recognise the hardship visiting restrictions pose for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases.

We want to enable residents in care homes to have visits, while protecting them, other residents, staff and visitors from COVID-19. Clinical advice is clear that extra footfall in care homes increases risk. That is why we have published guidance to advise care homes on visiting during this period of new national restrictions, and how to reduce the risk. This guidance is intended to enable visiting, recognising the benefits to health and wellbeing of both residents and their loved ones.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when Professor Sir Mike Richard's report on diagnostic capacity across the NHS is planned to be published; and how that report will assess the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on NHS diagnostic capacity.

The report, ‘Diagnostics: recovery and renewal’, was discussed at the NHS England and NHS Improvement public Board meeting on 1 October 2020. The report reflects the impact of COVID-19 on diagnostic provision and was published with the Board papers at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/BM2025Pu-item-5-diagnostics-recovery-and-renewal.pdf

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to update the Commissioning Guidance for Rehabilitation.

As part of the Government’s continued commitment to ensure high-quality, accessible rehabilitation services for patients, NHS England has commenced work on refreshing this guidance. This has included engagement with professional bodies’ clinicians, alongside many other stakeholders, societies and third sector organisations who represent the patient voice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the he is taking to provide the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation with the necessary information to add people living with rare and genetic conditions to the prioritised groups for access to a future covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and the JCVI sub-committee on COVID-19 are currently reviewing evidence on clinical risk factors associated with serious disease and mortality from COVID-19. Following a review of the evidence the Committee will develop advice on risk groups for any future COVID-19 vaccination programme. The minutes of JCVI committee meetings and statements on COVID-19 vaccination are available on the JCVI website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to recover the monetary cost of faulty personal protective equipment supplied from Turkey in May 2020.

Gowns and overalls were ordered by the Royal Free Trust from a new supplier in Turkey. Further supply from the manufacturer was held in country as it was already clear looking at the first batches that the quality was suspect and not suitable for use in the National Health Service.

Once the first batches were seen and the quality was identified as a concern, the United Kingdom Embassy team in Turkey and the Turkish Government helpfully stepped in and provided some Turkish Government-sourced gowns which met UK standards to make up the order.

Discussions are underway between the Royal Free Trust and the UK distributor to agree a refund or acceptable alternative product.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on student mental health of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

We recognise that there is the potential for an increase in demand for mental health services amongst students as a result of COVID-19.

We are working with the Department for Education, the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19, including on students.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) funding and (b) training his Department plans to provide to GPs on supporting women diagnosed with epilepsy and carrying out the Pregnancy Prevention Program.

It is a Care Quality Commission regulatory requirement for general practitioners to follow the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) guidance on valproate prescribing. The MHRA advises that ‘Valproate medicines must no longer be used in women or girls of childbearing potential unless a Pregnancy Prevention Programme is in place’.

In 2019/20 NHS England implemented a quality improvement module worth approximately £44 million nationally to encourage practices to improve their prescribing safety. This aimed to improve engagement with women of childbearing age being prescribed sodium valproate and pregnancy prevention for these patients.

The standard of medical training is the responsibility of the General Medical Council (GMC), which is an independent statutory body.?The GMC has the general function of promoting high standards of education and co-ordinating all stages of education to ensure that medical students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on home visits for students at Christmas 2020.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been working closely with the Department for Education to make sure students are safe at university. We understand that many students are keen to go home for Christmas and we are working together to ensure that they will have plenty of notice to make plans to do so, as announced by the Secretary of State for Education on Tuesday 29 September 2020.

We do not want to single out students for tougher restrictions than other members of society, as we all have our part to play in controlling this virus.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether GPs are required to (a) record and (b) report each instance when they have warned a female patient of the risks of prescribed valproate.

Within the terms of the valproate Pregnancy Prevention Programme, general practitioners (GPs) are required to identify all relevant women and girls in their practice who are taking valproate and refer them for specialist review annually. Specialists should review treatment and ensure that an Annual Risk Acknowledgement Form is signed by the prescriber and the patient and shared with the patient’s GP. GPs should check that the patient has a signed, up-to-date Annual Risk Acknowledgment Form each time a repeat prescription is issued. A GOV.UK toolkit on valproate use by women and girls is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/valproate-use-by-women-and-girls.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the GP-to-patient ratio for female patients aged 15 to 45 with epilepsy in Blaydon constituency.

Data on the general practitioner (GP) to patient ratio for female patients between the ages of 15 to 45 years old with epilepsy is not available at national or regional levels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Public Health England on testing (a) capacity and (b) allocations in the regions of England.

We allocate more testing to higher prevalence areas in line with the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s reporting. Allocation decisions are frequently and systematically reviewed to ensure we are using our testing where it can be most effective. We are working with Public Health England to manage the prioritisation process to ensure that we are able to provide appropriate testing for both outbreak management and surveillance purposes. We have exceeded our target of reaching 500,000 testing capacity by the end of October.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the ability of the NHS to increase the number of rehabilitation support staff to help the rehabilitation of people who have had covid-19.

NHS England recently announced that people suffering from longer term symptoms of COVID-19 will be offered specialist help at clinics across England.

A range of professionals, including physiotherapists, other specialists and general practitioners will all help assess, diagnose and treat thousands of sufferers who have reported ongoing symptoms. £10 million will be invested this year in additional local funding to help initiate and designate ‘long COVID-19’ clinics in every area across England, to complement existing primary, community and rehabilitation care.

As at May 2020 there are 2,548 (14.4%) more full-time equivalent (FTE) physiotherapists and 861 (23.7%) more FTE support staff to physiotherapists than in May 2015 to provide care to patients.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the additional number of physiotherapists and physiotherapy support workers required to support people who have had covid-19 to rehabilitate.

NHS England recently announced that people suffering from longer term symptoms of COVID-19 will be offered specialist help at clinics across England.

A range of professionals, including physiotherapists, other specialists and general practitioners will all help assess, diagnose and treat thousands of sufferers who have reported ongoing symptoms. £10 million will be invested this year in additional local funding to help initiate and designate ‘long COVID-19’ clinics in every area across England, to complement existing primary, community and rehabilitation care.

As at May 2020 there are 2,548 (14.4%) more full-time equivalent (FTE) physiotherapists and 861 (23.7%) more FTE support staff to physiotherapists than in May 2015 to provide care to patients.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to retain physiotherapists who have entered NHS employment temporarily during the covid-19 outbreak.

In total, 3,754 physiotherapists have joined the Health and Care Professions Council’s COVID-19 temporary register.

A recent survey of returners indicated that around 50% across all professions were interested in continuing to work in the health and social care system.

There are existing return to practice schemes designed to support physiotherapists who have been out of the workforce for a number of years to safely re-start their careers.

NHS England is working with the Department and other local employing organisations to consider a range of flexible options to make it easier for professionals including physiotherapists who are interested in re-joining the National Health Service workforce to do so.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to review the referral pathway to allow CA125 blood tests and ultrasound tests to be done at the same time, rather than sequentially, to diagnose and treat ovarian cancer.

There are currently no plans in place. The CA125 Blood test, followed by an ultrasound for raised CA125, is the current process recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs) are being rolled out across England as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. One of the key principles of RDCs is the coordination of testing, including implementation of multiple-same day testing to provide timely diagnosis of cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the correlation between loneliness and suicide, what steps his Department is taking to support mental health for people during the recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that social distancing, self-isolation and shielding are likely to have increased the risk of loneliness and mental health issues for some people.

Mental health services have remained open for business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering support digitally, over the phone and face to face where possible. We are working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to understand the specific impacts and to improve support for people experiencing these issues as we move into the ‘recovery’ phase.

From 2019/20, we are investing £57 million in suicide prevention through the NHS Long Term Plan. This will see investment in all areas of the country by 2023/24 to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services plan.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 59 of the Government's report of January 2017 entitled, Preventing suicide in England: Third progress report of the cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives, what progress NHS England has made on its plans to develop an evidence-based treatment pathway for self-harm for people of all ages as it committed to doing so for 2017-18 and 2018-19; and what the timetable is for that treatment pathway to come into existence.

The Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan, published January 2019, set out that NHS England is working with the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health to develop a framework for adult and older adult community mental health services, including for people who self-harm.

Following advice from members of NHS England’s Expert Reference Group, the framework replaced the planned pathways. It will consider the needs of people who self harm while being cared for in the community, giving due regard to existing National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on the longer-term management of people who self harm.

The Framework was published in September 2019 and is available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website.

For children and young people, the NHS Long Term Plan makes commitments to expand children and young people’s services to provide an enhanced crisis offer. This expansion includes further work to strengthen local pathways between community, crisis and inpatient services, which will improve the evidence based self-harm pathway.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the Exercise Cygnus report and its related documents.

The publication of the Exercise Cygnus report is currently subject to ongoing legal proceedings, so it would be inappropriate to comment at this point.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which recommendations made in the Exercise Cygnus report his Government plans to implement.

The Government accepted all the recommendations from Exercise Cygnus. The lessons identified from Exercise Cygnus have been incorporated into an ongoing programme of work on our pandemic flu response plans.

The lessons learned from Exercise Cygnus continue to be considered by the Government and a range of stakeholders, including expert advisory groups and local emergency planners. We continue to work across Government and with key stakeholders to develop coordinated multi-sector response plans for a future influenza pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to monitor oral corticosteroid use by asthma patients who have not been able to access specialist respiratory services during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence COVID-19 rapid guideline on severe asthma provides guidance on the use of oral corticosteroids and starting or continuing on biological treatments, which aim to minimise oral corticosteroid exposure, for people with severe asthma during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guideline is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng166

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to (a) monitor and (b) tackle over-reliance by asthma patients on reliever inhalers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The monitoring and prescribing of asthma medication are performed in accordance with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to manage the condition. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng80/chapter/Recommendations#self-management

The NHS England and NHS Improvement clinical guide for the management of respiratory patients during the COVID-19 pandemic states that the majority of community respiratory services should be switched to telephone or virtual consultation. Routine annual reviews should continue virtually to reassure patients and ensure they are happy with their management plans to avoid hospital attendance. The clinical guide is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0063-Specialty-guide-_Respiratory-and-Coronavirus-_v1_26-March.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to tackle over-reliance on short-acting beta-agonists (SABAs) by asthma patients.

Respiratory disease is a clinical priority of the NHS Long Term Plan, acknowledging medicines optimisation as a key intervention for people with respiratory disease. Pharmacists in primary care networks will also undertake a range of medicine reviews, including educating patients on the correct use of inhalers.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework ensures all practices establish and maintain a register of patients with an asthma diagnosis in accordance with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department provides to the health profession on treating (a) pregnant women and (b) unborn children for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Guidance on the management of treatment of pregnant women and unborn children for carbon monoxide poisoning is provided and accessible to healthcare professionals on TOXBASE and the United Kingdom Teratology Information Service (UKTIS) website.

If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, the initial management is the same as for a non-pregnant patient and consists of identifying and removing the patient from the source of exposure, followed by administration of high concentration oxygen. The patient’s carboxyhaemoglobin concentration should be measured initially and monitored. Treatment may need to be continued for longer in pregnant patients compared to a non-pregnant patient.

It is advised that all cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in pregnancy are discussed with the UKTIS.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect (a) unborn children and (b) infants from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide gas can damage an unborn baby. Babies exposed to carbon monoxide during pregnancy are at risk of a low birth weight; stillbirth; death that occurs within the first four weeks of birth; and behavioural problems.

Women are tested for the presence of carbon monoxide at the antenatal booking appointment and as appropriate throughout pregnancy to identify smokers, or those exposed to tobacco smoke, and offer them a referral for support from a trained stop smoking advisor. Carbon monoxide testing may also highlight a household problem and the need to take measures to prevent further exposure.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of carbon monoxide poisoning during pregnancy on the unborn child; and if he will make a statement.

Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide gas can damage an unborn baby. Babies exposed to carbon monoxide during pregnancy are at risk of a low birth weight; stillbirth; death that occurs within the first four weeks of birth; and behavioural problems.

Women are tested for the presence of carbon monoxide at the antenatal booking appointment and as appropriate throughout pregnancy to identify smokers, or those exposed to tobacco smoke, and offer them a referral for support from a trained stop smoking advisor. Carbon monoxide testing may also highlight a household problem and the need to take measures to prevent further exposure.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that accessible Government advice on covid-19 is provided to people (a) who use British Sign Language as their primary language and (b) with hearing loss.

All guidance, statements and public information released by the Government are readily available to read online. Information on COVID-19 from Public Health England and the Department is translated into British Sign Language videos can be found at the following link:

https://www.signhealth.org.uk/

In addition to this, the Chancellor has advised that the National Health Service will get whatever resources it needs to cope with a COVID-19 epidemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure NHS compliance with the Accessible Information Standard in the event that more NHS services are delivered online and by phone because of the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England has undertaken significant communications activities to raise awareness of the Accessible Information Standard with organisations required to implement and follow it, including National Health Service trusts. A range of resources have been made available to support effective implementation and compliance. Conformance with the Standard is a specific legal duty – as set out in section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It is also a requirement of the NHS Standard Contract.

In developing the Standard, we have worked alongside a number of partners, including the Care Quality Commission, who have stated that they will be looking at how services implement the Accessible Information Standard as part of their inspections.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote alternative methods for contacting 111 for people with hearing loss through (a) GPs and (b) other healthcare professionals.

The National Health Service produces a range of materials to promote the NHS 111 service (including ways for deaf people to access the service), which are available to all healthcare professionals. NHS England also engages with a wide number of charities and third-party organisations to promote NHS 111 to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

A deaf or hard of hearing person can speak to NHS 111 through a British Sign Language interpreting service. Relay UK is also available for people who have difficulty communicating or hearing whilst the online NHS 111 service can also be accessed if medical advice is required.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will ensure that informative videos on covid-19 are provided with (a) British Sign Language interpretation and (b) subtitles.

All guidance, statements and public information released by the Government are readily available to read online information on COVID-19 from Public Health England and the Department is translated into British Sign Language videos can be found at the following link:

https://www.signhealth.org.uk/

In addition to this, the Chancellor has advised that, the National Health Service will get whatever resources it needs to cope with a coronavirus epidemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the NHS 111 British Sign Language service has sufficient capacity to handle calls in the event of a covid-19 outbreak.

All guidance, statements and public information released by the Government are readily available to read online information on COVID-19 from Public Health England and the Department is translated into British Sign Language videos can be found at the following link:

https://www.signhealth.org.uk/

In addition to this, the Chancellor has advised that, the National Health Service will get whatever resources it needs to cope with a coronavirus epidemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will ensure that public health information provided by (a) Ministers and (b) the Chief Medical Officer is delivered with a British Sign Language interpreter present.

All guidance, statements and public information released by the Government are readily available to read online.

Information on COVID-19 from Public Health England and the Department is translated into British Sign Language. Videos can be found at the following link:

https://www.signhealth.org.uk/

NHS England operates an accessible information standard which sets out a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the start date for the consultation on accessible housing.

We have been working across government on accessible housing provision and will consult shortly on options to raise accessibility standards in new homes.

The consultation will consider making higher accessibility standards mandatory, recognising the importance of suitable homes for older and disabled people.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on their Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government is working closely with international partners to deliver a robust and coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the G7, G20 and other fora, and has been advocating for economic resilience and recovery to be at the heart of this approach. With India, the UK pressed for the G20 Action Plan that agreed a package of measures to mitigate the economic impact on the worst affected countries, including through debt relief. On 30 September, during the UN General Assembly, the Foreign Secretary co-hosted "Accelerating the End of the COVID-19 Pandemic" with the UN Secretary General, WHO Director General and Health Minister of South Africa. This event brought together world leaders, UN agencies, scientists, pharmaceutical companies and donors to pledge additional support and agree new ways of working together in the international fight against COVID. The Foreign Secretary also visited Vietnam and South Korea from 28 September to 1 October, where he discu ssed the UK's leading role in supporting global efforts to develop and equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines. On 21 September, the Foreign Secretary and Canadian Minister Karina Gould co-chaired a meeting of the informal Development Ministers' Contact Group on COVID-19. The group includes members from the G7 and Five Eyes, plus Sweden and Norway.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Italian counterpart on that Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Secretary last discussed the Italian Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic with Foreign Minister Di Maio on 25 June. Our embassy in Rome is in constant contact with Italian officials in order to monitor the situation and seek opportunities to share best practices, and senior UK scientific advisers and health officials have also been in regular contact with their Italian counterparts since the start of the pandemic. On 1-3 October, a delegation of British ministers including Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch MP and FCDO Minister for the Pacific and Environment Lord Goldsmith, met with their counterparts in Italy at the Pontignano Conference. They discussed our respective governments' response to the pandemic and how the UK and Italy can continue to work together.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many meetings officials in his Department have had on alcohol duty with representatives of the (a) alcohol industry and (b) public health organisations in each of the last six months.

Treasury Ministers and officials regularly meet with representatives of the alcohol industry, and public health stakeholders, to discuss alcohol duty and related issues, including the health impacts of alcohol as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many meetings Ministers in his Department have had on alcohol duty with representatives of the (a) alcohol industry and (b) public health organisations in each of the last six months.

Treasury Ministers and officials regularly meet with representatives of the alcohol industry, and public health stakeholders, to discuss alcohol duty and related issues, including the health impacts of alcohol as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many meetings he has had with representatives (a) of the alcohol industry and (b) from public health organisations to discuss alcohol duty in the last six months.

Treasury Ministers and officials regularly meet with representatives of the alcohol industry, and public health stakeholders, to discuss alcohol duty and related issues, including the health impacts of alcohol as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support is available for single parents who cannot work from home and whose children are instructed to self-isolate without having a positive covid-19 test.

The Government has committed to an unprecedented package of support for individuals through this difficult time. This includes the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Job Support Scheme, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, as well as injecting an additional £9 billion into the welfare system according to Office for Budget Responsibility estimates.

If an employee earns average weekly earnings of at least £120 per week, they will be eligible for SSP if they are self-isolating under Government guidance and cannot work from home. This includes parents living in the same households as children self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19. The Government has changed the rules so that SSP is now payable from day 1, not day 4, for COVID-19 cases.

Parents of children who are self-isolating under Government guidance may be eligible for “new style” contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they are ineligible for SSP and unable to work from home. The Government has made it easier for people to claim by removing the seven-day waiting period which means people can get support from day one.

The welfare system is best placed to provide support for those not eligible for SSP. This group will benefit from changes to the welfare system to support the most vulnerable. These changes include a £20 per week increase to the UC standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1 billion increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many families with children have received the £20 per week uplift in working tax credit basic element payments in Blaydon in each month since it was introduced.

The latest available information on the number of families with children receiving Working Tax Credit at the parliamentary constituency level is for April 2020. In April 2020, the number of families with children receiving Working Tax Credit in Blaydon was 1,000.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-provisional-awards-geographical-analyses-december-2013.

Information on following months is not readily available. The next update to this publication will provide statistics relating to December 2020 and will be available in January 2021.

Final annual information on families with children receiving Working Tax Credits is published once a year and updated each July.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-finalised-annual-awards-2018-to-2019.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the time frame is for the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s review of community-based support.

To understand the complex landscape for community-based support, in the Government’s further response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 214), published on 3 March, we indicated that the Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape over 2020/21.

The Government also indicated that we must better understand the existing routes by which support services are commissioned and funded and establish best practice within services in order to ensure quality provision. The precise scope and timing of the review is a matter for the independent Commissioner. I understand, however, that the review is expected to take some 12 months.

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation. I would like us to look more into data in the coming months.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the scope is of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s review of community-based support.

To understand the complex landscape for community-based support, in the Government’s further response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 214), published on 3 March, we indicated that the Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape over 2020/21.

The Government also indicated that we must better understand the existing routes by which support services are commissioned and funded and establish best practice within services in order to ensure quality provision. The precise scope and timing of the review is a matter for the independent Commissioner. I understand, however, that the review is expected to take some 12 months.

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation. I would like us to look more into data in the coming months.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will estimate the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation and would not qualify for statutory support as set out in clause 53 of the Domestic Abuse Bill.

To understand the complex landscape for community-based support, in the Government’s further response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 214), published on 3 March, we indicated that the Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape over 2020/21.

The Government also indicated that we must better understand the existing routes by which support services are commissioned and funded and establish best practice within services in order to ensure quality provision. The precise scope and timing of the review is a matter for the independent Commissioner. I understand, however, that the review is expected to take some 12 months.

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation. I would like us to look more into data in the coming months.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) frontline practitioners and (b) public bodies adopting the definition of domestic abuse in the Domestic Abuse Bill take account of the needs of children affected by domestic abuse.

While the definition of “domestic abuse” in clause 1 of the Domestic Abuse Bill applies for the purposes of the Bill, we expect the definition to be adopted more generally, for example by public authorities and frontline practitioners.

As provided for in clause 66(2)(b), the statutory guidance which will accompany the Bill will recognise the effect of domestic abuse on children. The guidance will outline the range of impacts domestic abuse can have on children, as well as appropriate support and referral mechanisms. We will ensure that the guidance is widely publicised.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a ring-fenced grant to assist local authorities in meeting their statutory duty to provide short breaks and respite for seriously ill children.

Supporting the most vulnerable children and young people, and local authorities in maintaining their statutory services, continues to be a key priority for this Government.

The Spending Review 2020 confirmed that the Core Spending Power of local authorities will rise by 4.6% in cash terms from £49.0 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, which is a real terms increase. This real-terms increase builds on the largest year-on-year increase in spending power in a decade and recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain children’s services, including their statutory duty to assess the social care needs of seriously ill children and young people, and to provide respite care where necessary.

The Government has also given over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of Covid-19 spending pressures. This unprecedented level of funding is un-ringfenced in recognition that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet service pressures in their local area, including for children and young people.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
11th Jan 2021
What steps he is taking to help ensure the provision of accessible homes for older and disabled people.

By April 2022, the Government will have invested over £4 billion through the Disabled Facilities Grant, which will have funded adaptations to almost 400,000 homes since 2010.

In addition, 10 per cent of units delivered under the new Affordable Homes Programme will be used to increase the supply of specialist or supported housing.

Our current planning rules mean councils must consider the needs of older people and those with disabilities when planning new homes, and the Government recently consulted on options that include introducing higher mandatory accessibility standards for all new homes.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what additional protections for nature will result from the reforms to the planning system set out in the Planning for the Future White Paper.

In Planning for the Future we proposed a quicker and simpler framework for assessing environmental effects: one which does not compromise on environmental standards, and indeed encourages opportunities for environmental enhancements to be identified and pursued early in the development process. Proposals will leave an inheritance of environmental improvements with environmental assets protected, more green spaces provided, more sustainable development supported and new homes that are more energy efficient.

Though we are still considering the responses to the White Paper consultation, I can assure you that legal protection for landscape, habitat and wildlife will remain in force, and reforms will support the implementation of the proposals in the Environment Bill, including the commitment to a 10 per cent biodiversity net gain requirement. Consultation on the White Paper closed on 29 October 2020. The Government will publish its response following consideration of all the feedback received.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that local communities are consulted on the environmental impact of the proposed developments for (a) growth and (b) renewal zones outlined in the Planning for the Future White Paper.

Our proposals are designed to put effective community engagement at the heart of planning. The current planning system has a poor record in this area, with information that is hard to find, and difficult to understand.

By taking a digital-first approach to modernise the planning process, we can use new tools and platforms to make it easier for people to understand what is being proposed, and to feed their views into the system at the right time. This will help ensure local people can have real influence over both the location and design of development, and have a meaningful say over its environmental implications.

They will be able to do this both at the plan-making stage – when the important decisions are being made about the scale and location of growth – and as the details of proposed developments come forward. We have proposed a quicker, simpler framework for assessing environmental effects to support this: one which will be easier for communities to engage with, while protecting what matters and leaving an inheritance of environmental improvement.

We are grateful for the many responses received to these proposals. They are being analysed at present, and we will take them into account as we consider how to move forward.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to prevent covid-19 related evictions following the lifting of the eviction ban.

The stay on possession proceedings has been extended until 20 September 2020, meaning that in total no tenant can have been legally evicted for 6 months at the height of the pandemic.

Legislation has been introduced that means, from 29 August 2020, landlords must give tenants six months’ notice before they can evict in most circumstances, apart from the most egregious cases such as incidents of anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators. This will be in force until 31 March 2021.

In addition, new court rules, which will come into force on 20 September, will mean landlords will need to set out in their claim any relevant information about a tenant’s circumstances, including information on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Where this information is not provided, judges will have the ability to adjourn proceedings.

We will keep these measures under review?and decisions?will continue?to be guided by the latest public health advice.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Jun 2021
What assessment he has made of the effect of Budget 2021 on the ability of the Northern Ireland Executive to reduce NHS waiting times in Northern Ireland.

It is clear that waiting times in Northern Ireland are too long and the Executive has committed to the transformation of the health service and tackling waiting times.

Naturally, the Executive’s focus over the last year has been on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. But, as we now recover from the pandemic, I know the Executive will want to build back better and I welcome the fact that the Executive’s Health Minister yesterday set out his plan to tackle these waiting times by 2026. That is why it is important we continue to see the Executive in place to deliver for all the people of Northern Ireland.

In support of this, the UK Government is providing substantial funding to enable the Executive to deliver excellent public services, with £15.6bn provided in 2021/22. This is in addition to £445m explicitly to support the transformation of public services from NDNA and Confidence and Supply.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)