Lyn Brown

Labour - West Ham

Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)

(since December 2021)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
10th Apr 2020 - 4th Dec 2021
Shadow Minister (Treasury)
12th Jan 2018 - 10th Apr 2020
Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)
14th Oct 2016 - 12th Jan 2018
Shadow Minister (Home Office)
18th Sep 2015 - 28th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)
7th Oct 2013 - 18th Sep 2015
Opposition Whip (Commons)
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2013
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2009 - 6th May 2010
Crossrail Bill
14th Nov 2007 - 18th Nov 2007
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
27th Jun 2006 - 15th Jan 2007
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
27th Jun 2006 - 15th Jan 2007
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee
5th Dec 2005 - 27th Jun 2006


Department Event
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Ministerial statement - Main Chamber
NI Protocol
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 21st June 2022
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
21 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 27th April 2022
Elections Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 153 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 306 Noes - 215
Speeches
Tuesday 26th April 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
This policy will do nothing to stop the boats. The Minister has spent the last few days talking up the …
Written Answers
Thursday 28th April 2022
Department for Work and Pensions: Stratford
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the closure of the Department of Work …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 15th December 2021
Child Criminal Exploitation Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make involvement in child criminal exploitation an aggravating factor in sentencing for drug supply, drug production, drug …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
One quarter share in a rental property in Ambleside, Cumbria: (i) and (ii). (Updated 26 July 2016)
EDM signed
Monday 25th October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …
Supported Legislation
House of Lords (Exclusion of Hereditary Peers) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lyn Brown has voted in 387 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Lyn Brown 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.

View all Lyn Brown's debates

West Ham Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest West Ham signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses by the Nigerian police.


Latest EDMs signed by Lyn Brown

23rd September 2021
Lyn Brown signed this EDM on Monday 25th October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 97
Scottish National Party: 16
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
9th June 2021
Lyn Brown signed this EDM on Thursday 10th June 2021

Racism in football

Tabled by: Clive Lewis (Labour - Norwich South)
That this House applauds England football manager Gareth Southgate and his players for their principled opposition to racism; stands in solidarity with all football players and supporters who have been subjected to racism, while participating in the sport they love or in other areas of their life; recognises that those …
32 signatures
(Most recent: 24 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 20
Liberal Democrat: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Lyn Brown's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lyn Brown, 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.


Lyn Brown has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Lyn Brown

Monday 31st January 2022
Thursday 24th September 2020

1 Bill introduced by Lyn Brown


A Bill to make involvement in child criminal exploitation an aggravating factor in sentencing for drug supply, drug production, drug importation and money laundering offences; to make being a victim of child criminal exploitation a mitigating factor in sentencing for such offences; to establish reviews of sentencing guidelines in relation to the prevention of child criminal exploitation and criminal liability in relation to child criminal exploitation for organised criminal offenders; to amend the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to include a statutory definition of child criminal exploitation; to create a register of child criminal exploitation offenders; to place duties on public bodies to make plans to prevent, and collaborate in preventing, child criminal exploitation; to make provision about the reporting of the scale of child criminal exploitation and the inclusion of such exploitation in child, domestic, and offensive weapons homicide reviews; to require criminal justice agencies to publish information on their responses to child criminal exploitation; to make provision about the training of professionals in responding to child criminal exploitation; to make provision about the content and national oversight of local serious violence strategies in relation to child criminal exploitation; and for connected purposes.


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

1406 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
14 Other Department Questions
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the Government has undertaken research on the effect on people of having their sexuality or gender identity maliciously revealed without their consent; what steps she is taking to support people who have been affected by having their sexuality or gender identity revealed in that way; and whether the Government has plans to amend legislation to enable people who have had their sexuality or gender identity revealed in that way to seek justice.

We are clear that a person’s sexuality and gender identity is a personal issue, and fully support people’s right to privacy.

In certain circumstances, maliciously revealing a person’s sexual orientation or gender reassignment status without their consent could be found to be harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 also provides robust protection for trans people with a Gender Recognition Certificate from unwanted disclosure of their gender history, making it a criminal offence for anyone who has acquired information about a Gender Recognition Certificate holder’s gender history in an official capacity to disclose that information to anyone else, save for in a small number of exempted contexts.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what information she holds on the process that was used for the production of planned EHRC guidance for schools on how to support trans children over the past five years; and what plans the EHRC has to publish such guidance in the next year.

We recognise that appropriately supporting all children in schools can involve balancing complex and sensitive matters. The Government continues to work across departments and with the LGBT sector to better understand these issues and how best we can support schools. The Secretary of State for Education has recently written to the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to accept her offer of advice as they determine their next steps in this area and other equalities issues for schools.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the independent regulator for equality law and regularly issues guidance on areas of equality law that span across several sectors.

It is not unusual for regulators and the Government to engage on relevant issues nor for Government departments to issue guidance relevant to their specific briefs. In this specific instance, that approach will enable Department for Education sectoral expertise, on safeguarding for example, to be taken fully into account in any next steps.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the impact on (a) levels of trust in the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the part of the LGBTQ+ community and (b) public perceptions of the political independence of the Equality and Human Rights Commission of appointments made to the Commission in (i) 2020 and (ii) 2021.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is an independent public body, and makes its own decisions on how it exercises its functions and its relations with its stakeholders. All public appointments to the EHRC are made in line with the Governance Code on Public Appointments through fair and open competition.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2022 to Question 103515 on Building Safety Fund: Newham, for the 43 Building Safety Fund registrations submitted in relation to buildings in the West Ham constituency that remain under review, for how many days the earliest submitted such application has been under review.

The Registration window for the Building Safety Fund closed in July 2020. There are 45 registrations from the West Ham constituency where eligibility for the fund has yet to be verified. 14 registrations have provided no information so we have been unable to assess their eligibility, further information is required for 10 registrations, and 21 are currently being reviewed. The Department does not hold the information for how long registrations have been at each stage.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2022 to Question 103515 on Building Safety Fund: Newham, for what reason each of the 22 Building Safety Fund registrations submitted in relation to buildings in the West Ham constituency that have been found ineligible were found ineligible.

Each of the 22 Building Safety Fund registrations were found ineligible as the wall systems and cladding materials on these buildings did not meet the definition of an unsafe cladding system defined in the technical eligibility criteria for the Building Safety Fund.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the decision was made to organise a Government Equalities Office meeting with Core Issues Trust, who made that decision; and who attended that meeting.

The Equality Hub is engaging with a wide range of stakeholders who hold different views in relation to conversion therapy. The Core Issues Trust wrote to the Equality Hub asking a Minister to meet to discuss our efforts to ban conversion therapy, an invitation which was declined. Instead, Equality Hub officials met briefly with the group as part of their routine stakeholder engagement around the proposed ban.

The Government launched its consultation into how – not whether – to ban conversion therapy on Friday 29 October. This will close on Friday 10 December. I would encourage everyone with an interest in this area to submit a response.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Government's announcement on plans to ban conversion therapy of 11 May 2021, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that victims of conversion therapy have access to support to contribute to the Government’s consultation on banning conversion therapy.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. We will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy, the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to Government's announcement on plans to ban conversion therapy of 11 May 2021, when she plans to commission support services for victims of conversion therapy.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. We will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy, the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
7th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to encourage effective discussion on the role of grasslands in biodiversity protection and climate heating mitigation and adaptation at the upcoming COP26 summit.

Through our COP26 Nature Campaign, we are advancing work in four core areas; tackling the drivers of deforestation, promoting sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, mobilising increased and more targeted finance for nature, and driving political ambition on nature.

On Nature Day at COP26, we are creating several opportunities to drive international action on all areas of biodiversity, including grasslands. The UK’s top priority is to agree on a strong post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. We will be pushing countries to make ambitious commitments to curb the dual crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change. This will put us on a path to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and mitigate the climate crisis.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what representations she has received from LGBT+ civil service employees on the effect of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme on their employment experience.

This Government supports inclusive workplaces and believes that all LGBT people should be able to be themselves at work, so that they can do their best and achieve their full potential.

It is fundamental that everyone is able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Memberships of external schemes are kept under review, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what information her Department holds on employee satisfaction with the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme within Government departments that participate in that programme.

This Government supports inclusive workplaces and believes that all LGBT people should be able to be themselves at work, so that they can do their best and achieve their full potential.

It is fundamental that everyone is able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Memberships of external schemes are kept under review, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect of withdrawing Government departments from the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme on the Government's (a) reputation as an institution that upholds equality and diversity for LGBT+ employees, (b) international reputation for LGBT+ equality, (c) work to promote LGBT+ equality internationally and (d) adherence to equality law.

This Government supports inclusive workplaces and believes that all LGBT people should be able to be themselves at work, so that they can do their best and achieve their full potential.

It is fundamental that everyone is able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Memberships of external schemes are kept under review, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme on (a) recruitment and retention of LGBT+ employees, (b) well-being and productivity of LGBT+ employees, (c) positive work environments and (d) adherence to equality law of Government departments that have participated in that programme.

This Government supports inclusive workplaces and believes that all LGBT people should be able to be themselves at work, so that they can do their best and achieve their full potential.

It is fundamental that everyone is able to seize opportunities in the workplace without fear of discrimination or harassment.

Memberships of external schemes are kept under review, to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2022 to Question 102572, Bain and Company, if he will make an assessment of the potential risks to the (a) aims set out in the Government’s Integrated Review and (b) public perception of those aims, specifically of tackling (i) global corruption, (ii) illicit finance and (iii) the use of UK corporate structures in facilitating high-end money laundering, of continued participation in UK public procurement by Bain and Company.

Officials are engaging with Bain & Company better to understand the status of the findings in the recently published Zondo Commission reports and to seek appropriate assurances to the Government that Bain has taken steps to remedy any shortcomings identified therein.

The grounds for exclusion of organisations from bidding for Government contracts are set out in The Public Contracts Regulations 2015. These rules set out the circumstances in which bidders must, or may, be excluded from a public procurement process for a variety of criminal offences and in other specific situations. In all cases, individual departments and other public sector bodies are responsible for their own decisions on these matters, which apply only to the award of new contracts.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress has been made on determining the future of the National Covid Memorial Wall located on land on the Albert Embankment; what discussions the Government has had with St Thomas’ Hospital to clarify ownership of that land; and what steps the Government has taken to establish future responsibility for the memorial’s upkeep.

The Government recognises the need to commemorate those who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to mark and remember this period as one of immense struggle.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May the establishment of a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

We are aware of the call for the Memorial Wall to become a permanent national memorial. The UK Commission on Covid Commemoration, once established, will consider the appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives during the pandemic.

Discussions on the future of the Memorial Wall are being led by Lambeth London Borough Council.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend section 2(1)(c) of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

The entitlement of resident Commonwealth and Irish citizens to vote reflects our close historical ties with Commonwealth countries and the reciprocal arrangements UK has with Ireland. The Government has no plans to alter these rights.

In relation to relevant citizens of the Union, I refer the Hon member to the answer which I gave to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020.

The Scottish Parliament is responsible for the franchise for local elections in Scotland. The Welsh Assembly is responsible for the franchise for local elections in Wales.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the proposed restrictions on public bodies using their resources to support boycotts, divestment or sanctions against foreign countries or those who trade with them would prevent support of campaigns against UK trade involving companies linked to the military of Myanmar.

I refer the Hon. Member to the briefing notes on the Queen's Speech (p.133-134) published on 19 December 2019, which outline the Government's proposals:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-december-2019-background-briefing-notes

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the proposed restrictions on public institutions using their resources to support boycotts, divestment or sanctions against foreign countries or those who trade with them would prevent support of campaigns against UK trade involving firms linked with the persecution of the Uighur people in Xinjiang province, China.

I refer the Hon. Member to the briefing notes on the Queen's Speech (p.133-134) published on 19 December 2019, which outline the Government's proposals:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-december-2019-background-briefing-notes

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the proposed restrictions on public institutions using their resources to support boycotts, divestment or sanctions against foreign countries or those who trade with them would prevent support of campaigns against UK trade involving companies linked with police or security services that have been alleged to have committed human rights abuses in Hong Kong.

I refer the Hon. Member to the briefing notes on the Queen's Speech (p.133-134) published on 19 December 2019, which outline the Government's proposals:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-december-2019-background-briefing-notes

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to introduce a regulatory body for heat network providers with a role equivalent to that of Ofgem; and what steps he is taking to protect households reliant on heat networks from price increases in excess of the energy price cap.

Legislation will provide Ofgem regulatory powers to investigate and intervene on networks where prices for consumers appear to be disproportionate, if prices are significantly higher than those consumers would expect to pay if they were served by an alternative heating system.

All energy users are having to deal with rising energy costs, which have been caused by global factors. To help consumers, including those on heat networks, government have introduced support worth more than £9bn for vulnerable households, through initiatives such as the Energy Bill Rebate and the Household Support Fund adding to the help provided throughout winter 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of (a) the number of installed smart meters that are not on the national database, (b) the number of individuals being charged for electricity supplies on the basis of smart meters that are not on the national database, (c) the extent of improper billing by electricity suppliers on the basis of smart meters that are not on the national database and (d) what steps he is taking to ensure that all installed smart meters are recorded on the national database.

There is no national database for smart electricity or gas meter billing information. Billing is the responsibility of individual energy suppliers. Energy consumption is recorded and securely held by the meter whether smart or traditional. Energy suppliers access this data remotely or via manual meters reads for billing purposes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 23 April 2021 to Question 181214, in circumstances where the Valuation Office Agency failed to add a business to the Local Rating List in advance of 11 March 2020, as the result of an admitted administrative error on the part of the Agency, whether local authorities should (a) treat affected business applicants as if such errors had been rectified at the time a Business Support Grant was due to be issued and (b) be compensated for the additional cost of those applications.

As the question does not specify which grant scheme it relates to, I am responding under the assumption that it refers to the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) which were affected by the 11 March 2020 date.

Local Authorities were responsible for delivering grants to eligible businesses through these schemes, and they closed for applications on 28 August 2020. As stated in the Grant Funding Schemes guidance, businesses that were in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as of 11 March 2020 were in scope of the SBGF. Businesses in scope of the RHLGF were those that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March 2020, with properties that have a rateable value of under £51,000.

The guidance is clear that Local Authorities were not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the ratings list is subsequently amended retrospectively to 11 March 2020. However, Local Authorities had the discretion to depart from this if they knew that the record was incorrect - for example where it was factually clear to the Local Authority that the rating list was inaccurate on 11 March; but they were not obliged to do so.

We asked Local Authorities to close the SBGF and RHLGF schemes by 28 August 2020 and to ensure that, where any payments were still in process, they were completed by 30 September 2020. The only exceptions were those relating to a VOA / Ombudsman query, in which case payments could be made until 30 October. The 30 October date was negotiated to allow VOA queries to be resolved, but any that were not paid out by then are outside the scope of the schemes.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in circumstances where the Valuation Office Agency has made an error in valuation classifications for business rates purposes, whether local authorities should (a) treat affected business applicants as if such errors had been rectified at the time a covid-19 related grant was due to be issued and (b) be compensated for the additional cost of those applications.

As the question does not specify which grant scheme it relates to, I am responding under the assumption that it refers to Restart Grants which are the current primary business grant mechanism managed by local authorities.

Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after 1 April 2021 should be ignored for the purposes of eligibility. Local Authorities are not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the rating list is subsequently amended retrospectively to 1 April 2021. In cases where it was factually clear to the Local Authority on 1 April 2021 that the rating list was inaccurate on that date, Local Authorities may withhold the grant and/or award the grant based on their view of who would have been entitled to the grant had the list been accurate. This is entirely at the discretion of the Local Authority and only intended to prevent manifest errors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many employers have had enforcement action taken against them for retaliating against (a) employees and (b) other contracted workers for actions those workers have taken to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak.

It is critically important that the following people stay at home and self-isolate immediately: anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19, anyone who has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or their local authority, and anyone who has returned from abroad and is required to quarantine.

The Government has developed guidance on employment rights and self-isolation so that workers and employers are clear about their rights and obligations. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/if-you-need-to-self-isolate-or-cannot-attend-work-due-to-coronavirus.

In addition, anyone who is due to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home) must inform their employer that they are required to self-isolate. An individual can receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50 for not doing so.

It is an offence for an employer to knowingly allow a person who is required to self-isolate to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating. If an employer is reasonably believed to be in breach of this requirement, they may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.

Local Authorities provide written and verbal advice to businesses to enable them to comply with their obligations. Enforcement action is taken against employers who do not follow this advice and who do not take reasonable steps to ensure that their workers who must be self-isolating are not working from outside their home.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to (a) continue and (b) extend the scope of the Warm Home Discount scheme, after the current scheme finishes at the end of March 2021.

We will consult on a one-year extension of the current Warm Home Discount scheme later this year. We will also consider reform to improve the fuel poverty targeting of the scheme beyond 2022, and will consult on this in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the powers available to officials to ensure that prices charged by vendors for basic household goods do not rise unreasonably during temporary local shortages.

The Competition and Markets Authority issued a public statement on 5 March to reassure businesses and consumers that it is monitoring retail practices during the coronavirus outbreak and will take direct enforcement action, or advise the Government to take additional measures, if it is required.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the budget of the BBC World Service as part of the UK's efforts to counter Russian disinformation in African states.

The government strongly values the work of the BBC World Service and its independent and impartial broadcasting. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine means that BBC World Service channels are playing an increasingly valuable role in challenging disinformation emanating from the Kremlin.

The Secretary of State has made it clear to the BBC in her letter confirming the final licence fee settlement that it should continue to make a substantive investment from the licence fee into the World Service to ensure that it continues to effectively reflect the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world - in English and through its language services.

As set out in the Framework Agreement the BBC should continue to agree objectives, priorities and targets for the World Service with the Foreign Secretary, as well as the languages in which the World Service is to be provided, and any changes to these matters. The World Service’s Spending Review settlement for the period 2022 to 2025 from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be confirmed shortly.

In addition on 24th March the government announced an additional £4.1m of funding for the BBC World Service, to support its Ukrainian and Russian language services. We are not considering providing any further additional funding at this time.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support social enterprises affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the important social and economic contribution that social enterprises are making across the country.

Social enterprises continue to benefit from the unprecedented package of support made available by the government, including Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Many will also have benefited from government grants where they have been required to close non-essential retail.

In addition to cross economy measures the Government made available a £750 million package of funding, specifically for charities, social enterprises, along with unlocking an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts. This funding has helped over 13,000 organisations continue to deliver vital services for those most affected by the pandemic.

We continue to monitor sector health closely. The government is committed to working with social enterprise representatives to support a strong and resilient sector.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to provide additional funding through the School Games Organiser scheme for additional work with schools in 2021-22 to improve levels of pupil physical activity following the covid-19 outbreak.

Physical education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active, particularly during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The Department is working with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care on how to support better PE, sport and physical activity provision for all children and young people. This is part of our continuing work to deliver our joint school sport and activity action plan, published in 2019.

I can confirm that the School Games Organisers are now fully funded for the 2021/22 financial year. Funding beyond that point will be subject to future Government Spending Review decisions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of making an announcement on School Games Organiser funding with a short period remaining before the previous funding round will end on (a) the efficacy of programmes for pupil health and wellbeing, (b) additional costs for participant schools and (c) staff job security.

Physical education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active, particularly during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The Department is working with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care on how to support better PE, sport and physical activity provision for all children and young people. This is part of our continuing work to deliver our joint school sport and activity action plan, published in 2019.

I can confirm that the School Games Organisers are now fully funded for the 2021/22 financial year. Funding beyond that point will be subject to future Government Spending Review decisions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to announce School Games Organiser funding from October 2021.

Physical education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active, particularly during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The Department is working with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care on how to support better PE, sport and physical activity provision for all children and young people. This is part of our continuing work to deliver our joint school sport and activity action plan, published in 2019.

I can confirm that the School Games Organisers are now fully funded for the 2021/22 financial year. Funding beyond that point will be subject to future Government Spending Review decisions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing (a) a DBS checking process and (b) safeguarding guidance for e-sports coaching.

The government recognises the value of esports which has the potential to develop as an area of real national strength in the UK, building on our world-class video games, entertainment and sports sectors.

To deliver on this, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently hosted the first government roundtable with the esports industry, discussing a range of issues including the importance of safeguarding to ensure young people can engage with esports safely.

Safeguarding will be a key area of consideration as the government builds on the roundtable, developing plans over the next few months to support the growth of a safe and inclusive esports sector in the UK.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to publish guidance for schools on how to support trans children in 2022; and what contact his Department has had with the Equality and Human Rights Commission on previous plans for that guidance.

The department is continuing to work with others across government and in the sector to understand how we can support schools with these complex and sensitive matters.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has recently written to the Chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to accept her offer of advice and support as we determine our next steps in this area and across other equalities issues for schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will commit in the next six months to long-term funding for (a) physical education and (b) sport in schools.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 9 December 2021 to Question 86530.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the future of the primary PE and Sport Premium funding.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 9 December 2021 to Question 86530.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the funding of the School Games Organiser network beyond March 2022.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 9 December 2021 to Question 86530.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children known to children’s services teams in England and Wales have had child criminal exploitation noted as a risk factor in each of the past three years.

Information on the number of children known to children’s services teams in England, that have child criminal exploitation recorded as a factor at the end of assessment, is not yet collected centrally by the department.

Data on child criminal exploitation will be collected for the first time in the 2021 to 2022 children in need census and included in the associated statistics release, scheduled for publication at the end of October 2022. More information on the children in need census can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-in-need-census-2021-to-2022-guide.

Further information on the child criminal exploitation factor is included in the 'Additional guide on the factors identified at the end of assessment' document which is available under the subheading 'Factors identified at the end of assessment' here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/children-in-need-census.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report, Out of sight: Girls in the Children and Young People’s Secure Estate, published by Centre for Mental Health on 5 October 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the geographic spread of secure children’s home capacity to enable accommodation of children within a reasonable distance of home areas.

This report raises a number of important issues of concern to all those who are responsible for the care and provision of accommodation for girls within the secure estate.

The responsibility to ensure there is adequate secure welfare provision rests with local authorities as they have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of all children in their care.

The department has taken a number of steps to support local authorities in fulfilling this duty. The department established the Secure Welfare Coordination Unit in 2016 and continue to fund its work to help plan and coordinate welfare placements and to highlight capacity issues.

The department understands that local authorities sometimes find themselves in a position where the most appropriate placement is difficult to access, particularly for children with the most complex needs. That is why the government announced £24 million of investment to start a programme of work to support local authorities to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure children’s homes and will mean children can live closer to their families and support networks, addressing geographic disparities, in provision that meets their needs.

In addition, as part of this year’s Spending Review (SR), the government announced £259 million over the SR period to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure and open residential children’s homes. The department will announce more details on this funding shortly and the findings of the Centre for Mental Health’s report will be useful to inform the future design of the secure welfare estate.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report, Out of sight: Girls in the Children and Young People’s Secure Estate, published by Centre for Mental Health on 5 October 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of capacity in secure children’s homes to meet demand.

This report raises a number of important issues of concern to all those who are responsible for the care and provision of accommodation for girls within the secure estate.

The responsibility to ensure there is adequate secure welfare provision rests with local authorities as they have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of all children in their care.

The department has taken a number of steps to support local authorities in fulfilling this duty. The department established the Secure Welfare Coordination Unit in 2016 and continue to fund its work to help plan and coordinate welfare placements and to highlight capacity issues.

The department understands that local authorities sometimes find themselves in a position where the most appropriate placement is difficult to access, particularly for children with the most complex needs. That is why the government announced £24 million of investment to start a programme of work to support local authorities to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure children’s homes and will mean children can live closer to their families and support networks, addressing geographic disparities, in provision that meets their needs.

In addition, as part of this year’s Spending Review (SR), the government announced £259 million over the SR period to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure and open residential children’s homes. The department will announce more details on this funding shortly and the findings of the Centre for Mental Health’s report will be useful to inform the future design of the secure welfare estate.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress the Government has made on providing a sharia-compliant alternative student finance system.

I refer the hon. Member for West Ham to the answer I gave on 18 October 2021 to Question 53884.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for sixth form students.

We forecast future 16-19 year old student numbers and take into account population forecasts when considering the future need for education funding for 16-19 year olds. Future budgets for this education provision are being considered in the current Spending Review.

We have invested an extra £291 million in 16-19 education in the 2021-22 financial year. This is in addition to the £400 million awarded in the 2019 Spending Review, which was the biggest injection of funding into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010. This has allowed us to raise the base rate of funding for all providers of 16-19 education, including school sixth forms and sixth form colleges, from £4,000 in the 2019/20 academic year to £4,188 in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years, as well as to make further funding increases targeted on high value and high cost programmes.

This year, we have also made £83 million in capital funding available through the Post-16 Capacity Fund to support eligible post-16 providers to accommodate the upcoming increase in 16-19 year olds. Bids are currently being assessed and the outcome will be announced in due course.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to page 25 of the report, Higher Education awarding gaps and ethnicity in London: Going beyond BAME, published by AccessHE on 16 July 2021, what steps his Department is taking to tackle differences in higher education attainment by ethnic background.

It is vital that all young people entering higher education (HE) in the UK do so with the same opportunities as their peers to fully benefit from their chosen course of study.

Under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the Office for Students (OfS) has a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity for disadvantaged and traditionally under-represented groups. This includes non-continuation and attainment levels of students from those backgrounds.

The OfS has set itself and the HE sector targets to address longstanding inequalities, including to eliminate the gap in degree outcomes between white and black students.

On 11 March 2021 the OfS published the access and participation data dashboard, which is used to identify gaps in access, continuation, attainment, and progression, at English providers delivering undergraduate provision by different student characteristics. This is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/.

In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited onto courses that will deliver good outcomes. We have also asked that the OfS encourage universities to work with schools to meaningfully raise attainment in schools, as this is one of the strongest predictors of future participation in HE.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report, Higher Education awarding gaps and ethnicity in London: Going beyond BAME published by AccessHE on 16 July 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations made in that report.

It is vital that all young people entering higher education (HE) in the UK do so with the same opportunities as their peers to fully benefit from their chosen course of study.

Under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the Office for Students (OfS) has a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity for disadvantaged and traditionally under-represented groups. This includes non-continuation and attainment levels of students from those backgrounds.

The OfS has set itself and the HE sector targets to address longstanding inequalities, including to eliminate the gap in degree outcomes between white and black students. In 2019-20, there was a difference of 18.3% between the proportion of white and black students getting a 1st or 2:1. The OfS has plans to eliminate the unexplained gap in degree outcomes (1sts or 2:1s) between white students and black students by 2024-25, and to eliminate the absolute gap by 2030-31.

On 11 March 2021 the OfS published the access and participation data dashboard, which is used to identify gaps in access, continuation, attainment, and progression at English providers delivering undergraduate provision by different student characteristics. This is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/.

In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited on to courses that will deliver good outcomes. We have also asked that the OfS encourage universities to work with schools to meaningfully raise the attainment in schools, because we know this is one of the strongest predictors of future participation in HE.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) financial and (b) academic effect on Higher Education students of the covid-19 outbreak in the 2020-21 academic year.

The government’s expectations are, and have been, very clear: Universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely.

The Office for Student (OfS), the higher education (HE) regulatory body, is taking the potential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on teaching and learning very seriously. It is actively monitoring providers to ensure that they maintain the quality of their provision, that students are supported and achieve good quality outcomes, that tuition is accessible to all and that HE providers have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year.

The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others that raise concerns about the quality of teaching on offer and requiring providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has any concerns, it will investigate further.

This government recognises that this academic year has been incredibly difficult for students. As a result of these exceptional circumstances, some students are facing financial hardship, with some incurring additional costs at their alternative address. Officials are working hard with the sector to continue to monitor the situation and explore potential approaches to supporting students, particularly from disadvantaged groups.

We have made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers in the 2020/21 academic year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to their students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. Support can include help for students, including international students and postgraduates, facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location or assistance to help students access teaching remotely.

This is in addition to the £256 million of government-funded student premium funding already available to HE providers to draw on for this academic year, 2020/21. We know that not all students will face financial hardship. The current measures aim to target support for students in greatest need. The government continues to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

The OfS required HE providers to return information on disbursement of hardship funding as part of the monitoring of its use. I have been liaising with the OfS on the analysis of those returns.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce the PE and sport premium funding for 2021-22.

The Department is aware of the importance of giving schools as much notice as possible of future funding. We will confirm arrangements for the Primary physical education and sport premium for the 2021/22 academic year as soon as possible.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of making an announcement on PE and sport premium funding with a short period remaining before the start of the 2021-22 school year on (a) the efficacy of programmes for pupil health and wellbeing, (b) additional costs for participant schools and (c) staff job security.

The Department is aware of the importance of giving schools as much notice as possible of future funding. We will confirm arrangements for the Primary physical education and sport premium for the 2021/22 academic year as soon as possible.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he plans to provide funding through the 2021-22 PE and sport premium for additional work with schools in 2021-22 to improve levels of pupil physical activity following the covid-19 outbreak.

The physical education (PE) and sport premium can be used by primary schools to develop or add to their PE, sport, and physical activity provision, and to build capacity and capability within the school. This includes providing additional opportunities for pupils to be physically active to help with recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department has ensured that schools have flexibility to use PE and sport premium from last year where their ability to make provision was limited by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is currently considering arrangements for the Primary PE and sport premium for the 2021/22 academic year and will confirm the position as soon as possible.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential that the statement on the effectiveness and safety of transparent face coverings in the guidance for schools on mask wearing during the covid-19 outbreak may discourage some teaching staff from using such masks.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the merits of including reasonable adjustments for (a) deaf pupils and (b) other pupils who rely on lipreading or facial expressions within the guidance for schools on mask wearing during the covid-19 outbreak alongside the guidance on exemptions.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that school staff are familiar with the guidelines concerning exemptions to mask wearing during the covid-19 outbreak for (a) deaf pupils and (b) other pupils who rely on lipreading or facial expressions for communication.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the effect of new guidance on mask wearing in schools during the covid-19 outbreak on (a) pupils who are deaf and (b) other pupils who rely on lipreading or facial expressions for communication.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. This guidance explains the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Individuals working with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate are exempt from wearing a face covering in environments where they are normally required.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated as necessary.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is available for families that are paying for student accommodation that is unoccupied due to the covid-19 outbreak.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we welcome the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need to stay away from their term-time address. The government urges universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government has been clear in published guidance that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

This guidance is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this financial year.

Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. I also made clear in my 2 February 2021 guidance to the OfS that the funding should be available to help students that have already applied for hardship funding previously but now need additional support. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the payment of fees for university accommodation that is unoccupied during the covid-19 outbreak on (a) families on low incomes and (b) single parent families.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we welcome the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need to stay away from their term-time address. The government urges universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government has been clear in published guidance that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

This guidance is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this financial year.

Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. I also made clear in my 2 February 2021 guidance to the OfS that the funding should be available to help students that have already applied for hardship funding previously but now need additional support. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of paying for student accommodation that is unoccupied during the covid-19 outbreak on the finances of deprived families.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we welcome the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need to stay away from their term-time address. The government urges universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government has been clear in published guidance that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

This guidance is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this financial year.

Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. I also made clear in my 2 February 2021 guidance to the OfS that the funding should be available to help students that have already applied for hardship funding previously but now need additional support. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the number of international students that are falling into rent arrears as a result of financial difficulties associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the number of international students who have used food banks as a result of financial difficulties associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Migrants’ Rights Network report of 10 August 2020, entitled The Effects of Covid-19 on Tier 4 International Students, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the hardship experienced by many international students on the UK’s international reputation for education.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Migrants’ Rights Network report of the 10 August 2020, entitled The Effects of Covid-19 on Tier 4 International Students, what support tier 4 international students are eligible for.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has put in place many measures to support individuals impacted by financial hardship, including international students. These measures include protection for renters from eviction, safety net support from local authorities regardless of immigration status, as well as a series of bespoke visa concessions for international students to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19. The government keeps these concessions under review and will not hesitate to act where further support is needed. £3.2 billion has been allocated to local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to support vulnerable groups, irrespective of their immigration status.

The department has also made available an additional £70 million of hardship funding for higher education students in England for this financial year. Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available for providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international. This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education (HE) providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

I have been clear that student welfare remains one of my top priorities and the department has worked closely with the HE sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to increase communications and messaging around hardship for students; I recently discussed this with a number of sector representatives at a taskforce meeting.

I would encourage all students, wherever they are learning, who need assistance to reach out to their HE provider’s student support and welfare teams as soon as possible, as these services are likely to be an important source of support. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing student welfare and mental health services and have adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable. For example, over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them to expand, and international students can also utilise Student Space – a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – which has been funded by up to £3 million by the Office for Students.

The department does not hold data on the number of international students in rent arrears. We believe that some international students in need of support may not be contacting their universities to ask for assistance if they find themselves experiencing hardship. I have written to international students directly, providing information regarding the support available for mental health, wellbeing, and hardship at this time, and have asked the sector to further raise awareness and encourage international students to seek assistance as necessary.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students, and the government has implemented several concessions to support visa holders. If an international student needs to request access to hardship funds through their provider due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, they can be confident that they can express these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions has he had with universities on (a) levels of financial support for students (b) communication of available support to students, (c) the support available to those tier 4 international students not eligible for Government assistance, (d) mental health services and (e) rent relief on student accommodation.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the higher education (HE) sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to ensure that students are given appropriate support. I routinely engage the sector on our plans and have drawn on the expertise of the HE Taskforce of various sector representatives to challenge and inform our decision making.

On 22 February, I wrote to students outlining what my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s announcement on return to educational settings meant for HE. The letter is available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/d0d32f33-6efd-42f9-b75d-6b2204ac81dc/letter-to-students_minister-donelan_22022021.pdf. As stated in the letter, we made available an additional £70 million of funding for student hardship. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. This funding is available for HE providers to distribute to a wide range of students, including international students. Support might include help for students who are unable to work due to COVID-19 and to help students access teaching remotely. This is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding providers are able to draw on this academic year towards student hardship and mental health support.

Whilst the government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation, HE providers can draw on hardship funds to support students facing financial difficulties due to accommodation fees. The government encourages all accommodation providers to be as flexible as possible. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. We encourage universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart. Where students remain in their university accommodation, HE providers should continue to make sure they are well looked after and supported. Universities UK have published a checklist for providers to support students who are required to self-isolate, which can be accessed here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2020/uuk-checklist-support-self-isolating-students.pdf.

It is vitally important that universities continue to make sure that students feel as supported as possible and I encourage providers to regularly communicate with students about the support available to them. Providers should pay particular regard to the specific needs of certain groups during this period, including international students, who will require access to welfare and mental health support and essential services. I wrote to international students in December 2020 regarding tier 4 restrictions, and the letter is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/01c8a0f7-6799-43e8-aa95-d60552fb6d44/minister-donelan-letter-clarifying-student-travel-in-light-of-tier-4.pdf.

We have informed students via a range of communication channels, including student-facing media, such as: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/949100/Minister_Donelan_Letter_to_Students_on_January_Returns.pdf and: https://twitter.com/michelledonelan/status/1363972520077049857/photo/1.

We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges during this time, and many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services. We have worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS), providing up to £3 million to fund the mental health platform Student Space. We have also asked the OfS to allocate an additional £15 million towards student mental health, through proposed reforms to strategic priorities grant funding.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department’s property company LocatED’s plans to develop 259 Plaistow Road in Newham, London, how many and what proportion of the homes proposed to be built will be for (a) social rent, (b) 80 per cent of market rent, (c) market rent, (d) shared ownership, (e) leasehold sale and (f) other forms of sale or rent.

The Department and LocatED are consulting with the London Borough of Newham and the Local Planning Authority on the delivery of School 21 Plaistow, a secondary free school project. The number of new homes and housing mix is currently under review and will be finalised during the planning determination period.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish guidance instructing schools not to include specific brands or types of face covering in their uniform policies for non-medical reasons.

On 26 August 2020, the Department revised its guidance on face coverings in schools and colleges following a new statement by the World Health Organisation on 21 August. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, from 1 September, in areas of national government intervention, in schools where year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and pupils when moving around indoors, for example in corridors and communal areas, where social distancing cannot be safely managed. Nationwide, all schools have the discretion to require staff, visitors and pupils (in year 7 and above) to wear face coverings in indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed, if they believe that it is right in their particular circumstances. Based on current evidence and the measures that schools are already putting in place, as well as the negative impact on communication and teaching, face coverings are not necessary in the classroom.

The guidance points to Department for Health and Social Care advice on face coverings but does not specify a type or style of face covering. It sets out that it is reasonable to assume that staff and young people will have access to face coverings due to their increasing use in wider society, and notes that Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of homicides of people aged 16-24 have been followed by (a) a serious case review, (b) a child safeguarding practice review, (c) an independent investigation report and (d) a safeguarding adult review in each of the last four years.

The information requested is not held by the Department for Education.

Local authorities are statutorily obliged to inform the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel of all incidents of serious harm or death of a child under 18 years old where abuse and neglect is known or suspected. The National Panel shares this data with the Department for Education.

Information collected and held by the department does not distinguish ‘homicide’ as a reporting category.

The attached table sets out over the last 4 years: the number of child deaths notified as serious incidents, the number of Serious Case Reviews that local areas have stated will be initiated and the number of local child Safeguarding Practice Reviews that local areas have stated will be initiated.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to reduce UK coastal sea pollution.

The UK Government is committed to leading efforts to protect the marine environment, including from pollution.

The UK Marine Strategy Part 3, published in December 2015, sets out a comprehensive list of actions the UK Government is taking to reduce contaminant concentrations in the marine environment. We are currently updating the document and aim to publish an updated UK Marine Strategy Part 3 in 2022, outlining the programmes of measures that will continue to move us towards Good Environmental Status in our seas. Existing measures include various pollution reduction requirements for emissions and discharges from industry, and measures for coastal waters that are set out in the River Basin Management Plans.

The Government has made tackling harm from storm overflows a priority and we are the first Government to take concerted action to tackle this historic infrastructure issue. Earlier this year the Government published a new draft set of strategic priorities for the water industry's financial regulator, Ofwat. In this publication, the Government set out its expectation that water companies take steps to "significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows."  The Environment Act then placed this direction on a statutory footing, setting a duty for water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from Storm Overflows. Defra intends to set out the level of ambition expected by this in due course.

The UK Government is also tackling pollution from waste at its source. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to significantly reduce, and where possible to prevent, all kinds of marine plastic pollution.

Given the trans-boundary nature of the marine environment, we work closely with other countries to tackle pollution, such as with those who share our seas through the OSPAR Convention. The UK also contributes to and implements the obligations of several global initiatives, including the London Protocol and the London Convention, to protect the marine environment from mercury, persistent organic pollutants, hazardous wastes, hazardous chemicals, pesticides and marine litter and their impact on our precious marine spaces.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, further to the Answer of 19 July to Question 30326, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of the 30% recycled plastic content criterion in the plastic packaging tax with the Government's commitment to all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025.

The world-leading Plastic Packaging Tax that is set to be introduced in April 2022 will increase demand for recycled plastic by encouraging the use of recycled plastic content in the manufacture of plastic packaging, addressing concerns raised by stakeholders that a lack of market demand for recycled plastics has held back recycling.

Our proposed collection and packaging reforms that will help us work towards our milestone of all plastic packaging placed on the UK market being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025 are complementary to the tax. These include a Deposit Return Scheme for beverage containers, a requirement for a core set of materials to be collected from households and businesses for recycling and extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. Packaging EPR will incentivise producers to make better design choices and to use plastic packaging that can be recycled or re-used. Collectively, these proposals will increase the supply of good-quality material for recycling, including for plastic packaging with recycled content. We have recently closed consultations on each and are analysing the responses and evidence submitted by consultees.

Our work towards achieving our plastic packaging commitment and the Plastics Packaging Tax are complementary measures and hence further assessment of the compatibility of the 30% recycled plastic content criterion and the commitment is not needed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect and restore grasslands in the UK.

Species-rich grasslands are vital for biodiversity and their retention and management can play an important part in safeguarding carbon stores. Domestic biodiversity policy is devolved in the UK and so this response relates to England only.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step change in ambition for nature, and we are already putting in place new legislation and new investment to meet this ambition. Our Environment Bill requires a new, historic legally binding target to be set to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. A domestic 2030 species target will not only benefit our species but the actions necessary to deliver it will also help to drive wider environmental improvements.

The Bill also introduces Local Nature Recovery Strategies which will identify priorities and opportunities for nature recovery and help drive investment and action to expand, improve and connect habitats, including grasslands, and establish a Nature Recovery Network.

We are committed to protecting 30% of our land for biodiversity. Our Sites of Special Scientific Interest protect our most important grasslands, and provide a wide range of other benefits including flood control, water purification, and carbon storage.

We are introducing three new environmental land management schemes which will support farmers and land managers to deliver a range of environmental benefits. These schemes will reward sustainable farming practices, reducing carbon emissions, creating and preserving habitat, including grasslands, and making landscape-scale environmental changes.

We have also invested in nature restoration to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change and to safeguard green jobs, for example through our £80m Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Plantlife’s ‘Meadow Makers’ project, which was awarded over £700,000 in the first round, is restoring 500 hectares of species-rich grassland at 100+ sites across seven landscapes.

The Government will publish a Green Paper before the end of the year which will set out our approach to driving nature recovery in England and provide the primary vehicle for developing and engaging on our future plans and proposals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of unregulated horse breeding in the UK; and whether he plans to bring forward (a) legislative or (b) regulatory proposals on tackling equine overbreeding.

To promote responsible ownership, there is clear guidance available to educate and remind horse owners of their responsibilities to provide for the welfare needs of their animal. The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids makes clear that you should consider buying or rehoming a youngster before taking the decision to breed. The foal’s individual future must also be considered before breeding from your equine, and the code highlights the UK’s overpopulation problem at the time of publication. The Code can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/700200/horses-welfare-codes-of-practice-april2018.pdf

Further information on responsible breeding is available to the public, including World Horse Welfare’s “Need to Breed” initiative which can be found here: https://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/advice/management/do-you-need-to-breed.

The Government considers that the key issue at stake here is how well equines are cared for after they have been born, and existing protections address this. We continue to engage closely with key stakeholders in the equine sector about these issues. The Government currently has no plans to introduce additional legislation or regulation specifically relating to breeding levels themselves.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the proposed annual reduction of plastic waste that may result from the introduction of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

An impact assessment was published alongside our second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Our research in the assessment suggested that for an All-in DRS (which includes all sizes of drinks containers up to 3l) with an 85% return rate of in-scope containers, there would be an annual reduction of 34,493 tonnes of plastic waste in 2024 increasing to 58,007 tonnes by 2033.

Our recent consultation set out options for the scope of DRS including size of drinks containers that could be included. The amount of reduction in plastic waste will of course vary depending on the precise scope of a DRS and potential return rates, which will be reflected in our government response and final impact assessment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including other single-use materials in the planned deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

We have recently closed a second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the consultation, with a view to publishing a government response in due course. The government response will include a final decision on the scope and materials to be included in the deposit return scheme. An impact assessment for the introduction of the scheme will also be published.

Any packaging materials not included within the scope of a deposit return scheme will be included under the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime to ensure equitable treatment of packaging materials, which would then be collected through kerbside recycling collections.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take in response to (a) air pollution, (b) resident objections, (c) physical health impacts and (d) mental health impacts linked to gasworks redevelopment sites.

Local Planning Authorities are responsible for issuing planning consents for the redevelopment of brownfield land. The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that development sites should be suitable for its proposed use taking account of ground conditions and any risks arising from land contamination. This includes risks arising from former activities such as gasworks. The Framework is also clear that new development should be appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment.

Certain remediation activities on former gasworks sites (such as treatment of contaminated soils and groundwater) require a mobile treatment permit under the Environmental Permitting Regime. These permits are issued by the Environment Agency (EA), which regulates emissions from the treatment activities (e.g. air pollution, odour, noise).

Before treatment commences, the operator must submit an application to the EA to deploy the mobile plant to site. This application must include site specific information to show how the operator will:

  • control pollution from the treatment process and
  • control and manage emissions to avoid pollution to the environment and harm to human health.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the General License for Bird Gatherings will be reinstated by his Department.

From 21 April 2021, certain bird gatherings can take place in Great Britain provided the organisers notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency at least seven days before the event and that they meet the requirements of the General Licence. This includes markets, shows, sales, exhibitions of pigeons, budgerigars, canaries, parrots, cockatiels and birds of prey. Some low risk pigeon racing is also permitted. Gatherings of ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys or game birds whether kept commercially as poultry, as pets or for other purposes remain banned. Poultry gatherings will be kept under review.

For a full list of what is permitted see the guidance for bird gatherings on gov.uk. Definitive requirements are set out in the published General Licence for the relevant administration (England, Wales and Scotland).

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations he has made to his EU counterparts on the effect of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/692 on cross-Channel pigeon racing.

Changes to EU law from 21 April 2021 affect the movements of certain live animals. As a consequence of this change, racing pigeons are considered to be in scope of the definition of ‘captive birds’ and the requirements for imports into the EU would apply. These include export certification and a period of quarantine prior to export to the EU.

Defra has sought technical clarification from the European Commission on the new rules as they apply to movements of racing pigeons, including how an EU derogation for racing pigeons might be granted, and we are actively seeking a response.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on cross-Channel pigeon racing.

Changes to EU law from 21 April 2021 affect the movements of certain live animals. As a consequence of this change, racing pigeons are considered to be in scope of the definition of ‘captive birds’ and the requirements for imports into the EU would apply. These include export certification and a period of quarantine prior to export to the EU.

Defra has sought technical clarification from the European Commission on the new rules as they apply to movements of racing pigeons, including how an EU derogation for racing pigeons might be granted, and we are actively seeking a response.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of food waste of the guidance on serving alcohol only with a substantial meal.

Defra has not made an assessment of the impact of food waste levels as a result of this policy. However, we continue to support the hospitality sector to make sure good food is not wasted.

Since 2018 we have supported the surplus redistribution sector with over £11 million of grants to make sure they have the infrastructure to get good food, including from the hospitality sector, to those who have a need. We are also supporting WRAP and its brokerage work bringing businesses together with suitable food redistributors.

We are also directly helping hospitality businesses to waste less. The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is open to the hospitality sector and sets out a series of milestones to Target, Measure and Act on their waste including the provision of sector specific tools to measure their waste. This programme is supported by the Guardians of Grub campaign which aims at empowering employees to waste less in its provision of advice, guidance and support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing policies to ensure that food served as a substantial meal with alcohol is not wasted.

Defra has not made an assessment of the impact of food waste levels as a result of this policy. However, we continue to support the hospitality sector to make sure good food is not wasted.

Since 2018 we have supported the surplus redistribution sector with over £11 million of grants to make sure they have the infrastructure to get good food, including from the hospitality sector, to those who have a need. We are also supporting WRAP and its brokerage work bringing businesses together with suitable food redistributors.

We are also directly helping hospitality businesses to waste less. The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is open to the hospitality sector and sets out a series of milestones to Target, Measure and Act on their waste including the provision of sector specific tools to measure their waste. This programme is supported by the Guardians of Grub campaign which aims at empowering employees to waste less in its provision of advice, guidance and support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse is of each badger cull zone; and what estimate she has made of the economic cost-benefit of each of those areas to date; and if she will make a statement.

Bovine TB is one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK and the disease costs the public over £100 million a year, with the cost to the farming industry around £50 million a year.

The Government badger cull costs are published annually on the GOV.UK website and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-government-badger-control-costs.

The 2019 costs are still being calculated and will be published later this year. Costs are not broken down by cull zone.

The most recent badger control policy value for money analysis, carried out in 2019, estimates the Net Present Value i.e. the monetised benefits of Badger Control over 11 years at £1.08 million per area.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-badger-control-policy-value-for-money-analysis.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to continue expanding the boundary of the minimum infected area in Cumbria in the event that the Animal and Plant Health Agency continues finding badgers outside that area which are infected with TB; and if she will make a statement.

In Area 32-Cumbria the cull area is made up of two parts, the minimum infected area and the outer cull area. The minimum infected area is based on:

  1. the location of the infected badgers, associated farms and contiguous breakdown areas, plus a radius of the estimated average social group territory based on main sett distribution; and

  1. the location of another farm with a TB breakdown very strongly suspected on epidemiological grounds to be badger related.

Therefore the boundary could be expanded if evidence shows that infected badgers are found outside the boundary, as it was in 2019.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reasons the original planning for the minimum infected area (MIA) in Cumbria did not include barriers to prevent badgers from passing to and from the MIA; and if she will make a statement.

Natural barriers to badger movement were used, as far as practical, for the outer boundary of Area 32 to minimise the risk of possible perturbation effects. Area 32 is made up of two parts, the minimum infected area and the outer cull area. The outer cull area acts as a buffer between the minimum infected area, where the majority of infection is located, and those outside of the cull area.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of a buffer zone around the minimum infected area in Cumbria for the vaccination of badgers, and if she will make a statement.

A ‘buffer zone’ currently operates around the minimum infected area in Area 32-Cumbria; this is referred to as the outer cull area (OCA). Both the minimum infected area and the outer cull area together make up the intervention area.

The OCA is based on estimated average badger social group territory size surrounding the minimum infected area, to take into account the possibility that infection may have already spread in the badger population. The boundary was adjusted to adhere to natural barriers to badger movement as far as practical to minimise the risk of possible perturbation effects.

The results of testing of badgers from the 2019 cull are still being analysed. When completed they will inform decisions as to what type of badger control method should be applied in 2020.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many Animal and Plant Health Agency assurance checks are conducted in each badger cull zone to determine the numbers of active setts in those areas (a) before and (b) after annual culls take place; and if she will make a statement.

All cull companies are instructed to carry out a thorough sett survey programme in the spring before each cull in their area. Animal and Plant Health Agency surveyors then carry out a Quality Assurance check on at least 5% of the land parcels at random in areas between their first and second cull.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many deer are shot in England and Wales each year; how many of those deer are shot cleanly the first time; and how many need to be dispatched with a second or further shot; and if she will make a statement.

Defra does not hold this data regarding the culling of deer. The Deer Act 1991 provides a robust framework for the protection of deer, including the welfare of shot deer.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent evidence her Department has of the effect of invasive non-native species since the publication the 2010 technical report entitled The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species on Great Britain by Frances Williams et al.

The evidence that invasive species are having an ever greater impact on biodiversity, globally and domestically, is undeniable. The 2019 Environmental Audit Committe report, developed using a wide range of evidence sources, highlighted the risks these species pose to native biodiversity. It also called for greater levels of prevention, management, control and public awareness regarding invasive species and their negative effects on the environment.

Defra is also in receipt of the 2019 UN global assessment report on biodiversity which concluded that “the numbers of invasive species per country have risen by around 70 per cent since 1970” and that “invasive non-native species have contributed to 40 per cent of the animal extinctions that have happened in the last 400 years and are the biggest threat to biodiversity on islands”. Defra is aware that the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services found that invasive species were one of the top five direct drivers for changes to nature and were included in a list with climate change and pollution.

Reports such as “The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species on Great Britain” remain highly relevant, as the impact of invasive non-native species (INNS) has not decreased since the report was published. Defra recently however commissioned a scoping study aimed at documenting the current evidence in relation to the ecosystem service impacts of INNS in the UK. This study[1] sought to determine the feasibility of expanding on the 2010 report by estimating natural capital costs incurred by INNS, alongside the direct economic costs which the 2010 report focused upon.

[1] Scoping study: ecosystem services and natural capital costs of invasive non-native species in the UK - BE0162 http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=1&ProjectID=20315

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what consultations her Department has undertaken on the implementation of the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019.

Defra has undertaken two formal consultations relating to the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019. They were: “Invasive Non-native Species: Tackling Invasive Non-native Species – A new enforcement regime” and “Management measures for widely spread Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in England and Wales”. These consultations ran from from 9 January 2018 to 3 April 2018 and 18 July 2019 to 12 September 2019 respectively.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will amend the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 to permit the licensing of vet practices and wildlife hospitals to release grey squirrels in areas where they pose no risk to native squirrel populations.

Releasing grey squirrels back into the environment, even in areas away from red squirrels, would encourage a wide range of further negative impacts associated with this species towards other native species, forestry assets and national parks.

The release of grey squirrels can only be allowed as a management measure under the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 if it contributes to the population control, eradication or containment of the species. The Government will, therefore, not be updating this Order to permit the release of grey squirrels by veterinary practices or wildlife hospitals. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not allow grey squirrels to be kept or released. The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order, which came into effect on 1 December 2019, thus brought England in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Any grey squirrel that requires medical attention can be taken to a licensed facility where it can remain for the rest of its natural life.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to her Department's press release entitled, UK will step up efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030, published in October 2019, whether preventable (a) HIV acquisitions and (b) AIDS related deaths will be included in those priorities.

Ending new HIV infections and preventing AIDS-related deaths is a critical part of the UK government’s renewed focus on ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns, and children by 2030.

The UK is a world leader in efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. Last year the UK made a £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the 6th replenishment covering 2020 to 2022. This supports the commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. In 2018 alone, the Global Fund provided 18.9 million people with treatment in 2018 and protected nearly 700,000 babies from being infected by their mothers.

We are working to expand access to treatment, while reducing new infections, particularly among adolescent girls, women, and other marginalised populations, who face stigma and discrimination.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department categorises all deaths following HIV infection as preventable; and how those deaths are recognised in her Department's policies on ending preventable deaths.

Ending new HIV infections and preventing AIDS-related deaths is a critical part of the UK government’s renewed focus on ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns, and children by 2030.

The UK is a world leader in efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. Last year the UK made a £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the 6th replenishment covering 2020 to 2022. This supports the commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. In 2018 alone, the Global Fund provided 18.9 million people with treatment in 2018 and protected nearly 700,000 babies from being infected by their mothers.

We are working to expand access to treatment, while reducing new infections, particularly among adolescent girls, women, and other marginalised populations, who face stigma and discrimination.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps his Department has taken to help tackle the (a) humanitarian crisis, (b) effects of aerial bombardment, (c) mass internal displacement during winter conditions and (d) destruction of medical and educational facilities in Idlib, Northern Syria.

We are gravely concerned about escalating Syrian Regime and Russian military action and its humanitarian impact in Idlib. As of 6 February, the UN reports that 586,000 people have been displaced since 1 December 2019 and many more are at risk of imminent further displacement.

This financial year DFID has already allocated £103 million to organisations delivering aid cross-border from Turkey primarily into North West Syria, including Idlib. This has helped to provide hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people with food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare including psychosocial support.

Given the rapidly deteriorating conditions in North West Syria, we have put options in place to increase our funding further to address the pressing needs of those displaced by the conflict. We have provided funding to response partners including the UN to preposition essential supplies to support innocent families and civilians displaced by conflict and are supporting all our partners to respond to this humanitarian crisis.

I visited Turkey on 5-6 February and discussed the crisis in North West Syria with UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs, as well as with Turkish authorities. DFID partners on the ground are working tirelessly to provide aid to those affected by the military offensive. We continue to provide education assistance and support healthcare facilities affected by the recent violence.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The UK’s strong support for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the African Union’s most ambitious regional economic integration initiative, was highlighted by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AfCFTA Secretariat and the UK. This was the first of its kind with a non-African country. As a non-binding MoU, it will not be published. However, it will provide the UK and the AfCFTA Secretariat a framework for partnership on implementation of the agreement, trade facilitation and investment.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to Strategic export controls: licensing statistics: 1 April to 30 June 2021, Table E, what each of the military licences granted for export to Ethiopia related to in each of the last five years.

Information on all military licences granted for export to Ethiopia over the last five years is available on GOV.UK, from the strategic export controls licensing statistics annual reports, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data-annual-reports.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to protect the jobs of workers for P&O Ferries.

Whilst the crewing of ships is a commercial decision, the methods used by P&O Ferries in relation to the sacking of the crews of their vessels are intolerable. I am deeply concerned over reports that in moving against workers so rapidly, P&O Ferries may not have followed the correct and legal processes, and my Rt Hon Friend the Transport Secretary has therefore asked the Insolvency Service to look at the notification requirements and to consider if further action is appropriate.

The Transport Secretary has written to P&O Ferries to tell them to negotiate and engage with unions. We will work closely with counterparts in the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that workers are being signposted to the most relevant support and will continue to explore what other actions can be taken.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much public money has been given to P&O Ferries in each of the last five years.

In 2020, the Government bought approximately £11.4M of capacity from P&O Ferries under the Government-Secured Freight Capacity (GSFC) scheme. P&O Ferries also received £4.4M under the 2020 Public Service Obligation (PSO) scheme for the continuation of specified routes. This was on the basis of audited costs and included no allowance for profit.

In addition, P&O made extensive use of the furlough scheme, with over 1,000 staff on furlough at one point.

Given the considerable support P&O Ferries has received from the taxpayer, the Transport Secretary has instructed officials to review all contracts the Government currently has with both P&O Ferries and DP World.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to protect workers rights at P&O Ferries.

The Secretary of State has written to the chief executive of P&O Ferries to express his anger over their handling of the situation and urge him to engage with the seafarers affected to rectify his decision.

I also spoke to the CEO on Thursday 17 March to express my concern and anger at the manner in which they have treated their loyal, hard working seafarers. I will continue to engage with P&O Ferries throughout this situation and have insisted P&O Ferries support those affected.

The Department for Work and Pensions have reached out to P&O Ferries employees to offer assistance and a number of schemes can be accessed. The Home Office, other transport operators and local employers are also offering support within their respective organisations.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the ultimate ownership of the yacht, PHI, moored in Canary Wharf, London.

The Government acted quickly to put shipping sanctions in place in order to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine. We are working closely with partner organisations to ensure that those sanctions are fully and correctly enforced for all ships which may be in scope.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason South Africa is on the red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions; and if he will publish the (a) data and (b) evidential basis on which South Africa has been retained on the red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions.

South Africa was removed from the red list at 4am on Monday 11 October.

Decisions on red list assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account Joint Biosecurity Centre risk assessments of countries and territories, alongside wider public health factors. A summary of the Joint Biosecurity Centre methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

Key data used to support decision to remove South Africa from red list on 11 October has been published on gov.uk

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the impact of e-scooter trials on (a) blind and partially sighted and (b) deaf and hard of hearing pedestrians.

The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. This evaluation includes a range of data sources and approaches including data sharing arrangements with operators, surveys, interviews and focus groups with users and non-users and interviews with key local and national stakeholders. A final report will be published in spring 2022. Any future rules for e-scooters may not be exactly the same as the rules in trials, but they will be based on the evidence gathered.

I have met with the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group last year, to discuss e-scooters and our local trials. Membership of this group includes representatives from: Age UK, Scope, Alzheimer’s Society, National Autistic Society, Disability Rights UK, DPTAC, Guide Dogs and Leonard Cheshire. Since then I have hosted four e-scooter roundtable discussions - the most recent on 7 June - attended by several groups that represent the interests of disabled people and older people to update them on the progress of the trials and listen to their concerns.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of skills shortages in the transport sector on the effectiveness of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

On TRU, Network Rail has developed an operating model which utilises two separate alliances on the east and west of the Transpennine route. These aim to tap into the best capability from rail and construction to mitigate the risks of skill shortages.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he has made an assessment of the potential merits of taking steps to improve the hygiene and social distancing capacity of the Transpennine Rail upgrade in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The business case for the Transpennine Rail Upgrade is being developed. Steps to improve hygiene and social distancing will be fully considered as part of the delivery of the programme. In the interim the rail industry will continue to actively encourage passengers to socially distance, manage passenger flows and increase cleaning regimes.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that there are effective links between (a) the High Speed Rail One network, (b) the planned High Speed Rail Two network and (c) Stratford International station.

The Secretary of State commissioned the HS1 Connectivity Study Report in 2015 which considered a wide range of high speed rail and conventional rail options to link High Speed 2 (HS2) with High Speed 1 (HS1) at St Pancras International and Stratford International stations. No suitable option could be identified that delivered value for money for the tax payer due to the complexity in construction, excessive costs and the level of disruption it would cause.

The Department for Transport is working with HS2 Ltd, Camden Council, Transport for London and other local stakeholders to enhance non-rail connectivity between the HS2 station at Euston and the HS1 station at St Pancras as part of the planned wider redevelopment of the Euston area.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to plans for High Speed Rail Two, whether he plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of adding Stratford International as an operating station to the High Speed Rail One route.

There are no plans to add Stratford International as an operating station on the HS2 network. The Department considered Stratford International in the initial HS2 station selection process, however, it was not taken forward as it was not considered to release the same level of benefits to onward connectivity and passenger journey times as the planned HS2 London stations.

The Department for Transport also considered a number of rail and tunnel link options between HS2 and HS1, including a long tunnel connecting Stratford International station and Old Oak Common. However, these were rejected on the basis of excessive cost and disruption.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the feasibility of the proposed 2031 opening date for High Speed Rail Two.

We have recently published the second HS2 Parliamentary report with an update provided on potential Covid-related impacts on Phase One. HS2 Ltd is currently re-planning its schedule for Phase One to mitigate slower than planned progress on construction, including verified impacts from Covid-19. However, this will not impact the projected Delivery into Service date range of 2029-2033.

The full impact of Covid-19 on cost and schedule continues to be assessed, including work to disaggregate Covid-19 impacts from other cost and schedule impacts on the programme.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of skills shortages in the transport sector on the effectiveness of High Speed Rail Two.

The Department commissioned the National Skills Academy for Rail in January 2021 to provide data on skills shortages across transport modes. Skills shortages were identified in infrastructure construction, rail, freight and logistics. The Department is now working, in collaboration with industry partners, stakeholders, other Government departments and public bodies (including HS2 Ltd), to identify mitigations and ensure it addresses the challenges facing both the transport industry and the wider economy.

HS2 Ltd has also developed a Skills, Employment and Education strategy, that focuses on securing the skills and labour required to build HS2, and leave a legacy of a highly-skilled and diverse workforce. Underlying this strategy are labour and skills forecasting data and analysis which provide an assessment of potential mismatches between HS2 labour and skills requirements and their availability. Reforecast data is expected to be published later this year.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of High Speed Rail 2 on congestion at central London stations.

The impacts on central London stations (and all London stations including Stratford International) were reviewed as part of the AP3 Euston scheme for the Bill in September 2015. The Transport assessment to this set out the cross-London rail impacts for the design year of 2041 in section 3.5*. It should be noted that Stratford International was not identified as having any substantial change in use at that time.

As neither HS2 Ltd nor the Department believe the impact of HS2 will cause a material change to the underlying long-term usage of the London rail network, the analysis does not currently need updating.

*https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/460749/SES2___AP3_ES_Volume_5_Transport_Assessment__TR-001-000__Part_2.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of High Speed Rail Two on traffic volumes at Stratford International station.

The impacts on central London stations (and all London stations including Stratford International) were reviewed as part of the AP3 Euston scheme for the Bill in September 2015. The Transport assessment to this set out the cross-London rail impacts for the design year of 2041 in section 3.5*. It should be noted that Stratford International was not identified as having any substantial change in use at that time.

As neither HS2 Ltd nor the Department believe the impact of HS2 will cause a material change to the underlying long-term usage of the London rail network, the analysis does not currently need updating.

*https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/460749/SES2___AP3_ES_Volume_5_Transport_Assessment__TR-001-000__Part_2.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the environmental impact of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

As with all rail upgrades, our evaluation of the options made through the business case process will consider the long-term benefit of the scheme in terms of its contribution to the Government’s commitment to decarbonize the economy by 2050. Environmental Impact Assessments for the construction itself will be undertaken in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the value for money of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

We are currently evaluating a range of different options for the TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) which will be selected later this year, informed by the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands. The value for money of each option varies and it is therefore not possible to be specific at this stage.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the completion date of the Transpennine Rail upgrade.

We are currently evaluating a range of different options for the TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) which will be selected later this year, informed by the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands. These options range in their delivery date dependent on the option which is eventually chosen.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to make a new assessment of the value for money of the Transpennine Rail upgrade in response to potential estimated revisions to the take-up of public transport as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are undertaking analysis in support of the next business case for the TransPennine Route Upgrade which we expect to complete later this year. This will consider different post-COVID-19 demand scenarios.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of newly qualified forklift operators.

The Government does not record the numbers of newly qualified forklift operators.

The training for materials handling equipment, including forklift trucks, is an option within the Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship but is not required to complete the apprenticeship. There have been 5,093 Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship starts in the last five years.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends level of the pass rate for LGV driver practical tests.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due to re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 LGV tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of people newly passing an LGV driver practical test.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due to re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 LGV tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number and proportion of EU nationals who are qualified LGV drivers.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not collect data on the nationality of those taking an LGV driving test.

Logistics UK estimate that there were around 25,000 EU nationals working as LGV drivers in the UK in 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number and proportion of EU nationals newly qualifying as LGV drivers.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not collect data on the nationality of those taking an LGV driving test.

Logistics UK estimate that there were around 25,000 EU nationals working as LGV drivers in the UK in 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK having left the EU on (a) freedom of movement and (b) interoperability of transport skills qualifications in the transport sector.

Free movement between the UK and the European Union ended on 31 December 2020 and on 1 January 2021, and the UK implemented a points-based immigration system that prioritises skills and talent over where a person comes from.

The UK and the EU have agreed a framework for the recognition of professional qualifications between the Parties which is based on the EU’s recent free trade agreements. It makes improvements on those agreements, which are designed to make the system more flexible and easier for regulatory authorities to use. EU driving licence holders residing in the UK will be able to exchange their licence without the need for a re-test. They can use their EU licence as long as it is valid, subject to UK licence renewal requirements. Certificates of professional competence for drivers and transport managers issued by EU Member States remain valid for use in the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of qualified LGV drivers claiming jobseeker’s allowance.

The number of LGV drivers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in February 2021 was 80, down 11 per cent from a year ago. The number of qualified LGV drivers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has historically been low, reflecting the ongoing LGV driver shortages in the logistics industry.

Departmental officials are working with colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to ensure that qualified LGV drivers are able to move back into work as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have newly passed an LGV driver practical test in each of the last five years.

The number of LGV driver practical test passes in each of the last five years are:

2015/16

39,000

2016/17

44,346

2017/18

40,808

2018/19

43,065

2019/20

41,434

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency publishes the statistics for all driving tests on Gov.uk

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the proportion of people holding driving qualifications who are (a) women and (b) from each Census 2021 ethnicity group.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not hold this data.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have newly qualified as forklift operators in each of the last five years.

The Government does not record the numbers of newly qualified forklift operators.

The training for materials handling equipment, including forklift trucks, is an option within the Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship but is not required to complete the apprenticeship. There have been 5,093 Supply Chain Warehouse Operative apprenticeship starts in the last five years.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have newly qualified as LGV drivers in each of the last five years.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of people newly qualifying as LGV drivers.

Prior to the pandemic more than 40,000 drivers passed their LGV test each year over the last four years. The restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has affected the ability for new drivers to take their LGV driving test.

LGV driver training and testing is due re-start on 12 April as the current restrictions are lifted. When tests resume DVSA plan to conduct 2,800 to 3,000 tests per week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have (a) applied for a Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeship, (b) started a Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeship and (c) successfully completed a Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeship in each of the last five years.

There have been 4,889 starts for the Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship standard in the five years to October 2020.

We are working with the industry to develop a suite of apprenticeships which will enable the logistics sector to make the most of the Apprenticeship Levy funding available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in (a) the number of applications for Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeships, (b) the number of starts for Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeships and (c) the number of successful completions of Driving Goods Vehicles apprenticeships.

There have been 4,889 starts for the Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship standard in the five years to October 2020.

We are working with the industry to develop a suite of apprenticeships which will enable the logistics sector to make the most of the Apprenticeship Levy funding available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of skills shortages in the logistics sector in the occupations of (a) transport management, (b) mechanics, (c) technicians, (d) LGV drivers, (e) storage management, (f) elementary storage occupations, (g) importers and exporters.

The labour shortages in the sector are longstanding. There has been no recent systematic assessment by the department of the extent of the skills shortage. Assessments have been made by Logistics UK.

We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to ensure that jobseekers can find employment or training in the industry as quickly as possible.

We are also working with the Department for Education in supporting the logistics sector make the most of the opportunities provided through the apprenticeship levy.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent representations he has received from (a) members of the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce and (b) other sector stakeholders on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on transport sector skills shortages.

In 2016, the Government set ambitions through the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy (TISS) to increase apprenticeships in road and rail client bodies to help address skills shortages in the transport sector, ensuring that the transport sector has the capacity and capability to deliver planned investment and to increase diversity.

Over the past four years, the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT) has worked to identify skills shortages across the transport sector. To understand the likely impact of changes to migration policy post-Brexit, STAT responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s Call for Evidence on Salary Thresholds (2019) and the Shortage Occupation List (2017 and (2020). This included employer led evidence of the potential impacts of Brexit on the transport industry.

The Department has received representations from sector stakeholders including Logistics UK which publishes an annual Skills and Employment Report and a monthly Logistics Performance Tracker. The Road Haulage Association also continue to make representations to government.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what conclusions were reached on the causes of ethnic disparities in maternal mortality, following the roundtable of 2 September 2020.

At the roundtable on 2 September, leading experts in the field clarified that underlying health conditions and comorbidities largely explain ethnic disparities in maternal mortality rates.

Maternity experts also linked this to a reluctance by some women from minority backgrounds to attend routine appointments and check-ups where many of these conditions are typically identified.

The government continues to work with maternal health practitioners and ethnic minority women to drive positive actions and interventions in this area so that our actions can benefit more women. This includes the recently launched NHS campaign ‘Help us Help You’, informing pregnant women about the importance of attending check-ups, and providing reassurance that the NHS is there to see them safely.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the covid-19 social distancing measures implemented by Great Western Rail.

The Department issues guidance to transport organisations in England to help them understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers. It outlines measures to assess and address the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Department published updated guidance on 5 November:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

The guidance makes clear that it does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and that it is important that businesses and employers continue to comply with their existing obligations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what penalties are applicable to train companies in the event that they fail to facilitate adequate covid-19 social distancing measures.

We have issued comprehensive guidance on the steps transport operators should take to assess and address the risks of coronavirus in the transport sector across England. While we strongly advise passengers to practice social distancing to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we acknowledge that this might not always be possible. We have been working closely with operators to ensure appropriate procedures are in place and that they are clearly communicated to passengers. Some stations have natural ‘pinch-points’, which makes maintaining social distancing difficult. Passengers are urged to use the whole length of the train to board, avoid travelling at busy times and follow government guidance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing legal obligations for train operators to ensure that customers are able to socially distance on their services during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have issued comprehensive guidance on the steps transport operators should take to assess and address the risks of coronavirus in the transport sector across England. While we strongly advise passengers to practice social distancing to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we acknowledge that this might not always be possible. We have been working closely with operators to ensure appropriate procedures are in place and that they are clearly communicated to passengers. Some stations have natural ‘pinch-points’, which makes maintaining social distancing difficult. Passengers are urged to use the whole length of the train to board, avoid travelling at busy times and follow government guidance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits for (a) reducing the risk of covid-19 transmission and (b) consumer welfare of mandating that airlines seat groups of people who are travelling together are seated closely together during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has published guidance specifically for both aviation operators and for air passengers on safer travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. This operator guidance maps out the measures airlines can take to protect passengers and staff on board aircraft, and includes advice on hygiene measures, face coverings, and social distancing in the aircraft setting. On the specific issue of seating passengers travelling in a group together, the guidance states ‘where possible and where mass and balance allow, enable social distancing among passengers of different households or support bubbles, where relevant.’

The Government expects all airlines to manage the risks of coronavirus as far as possible in order to provide safer workplaces and services for workers and passengers. For further information, the operator guidance is available to view at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-aviation-guidance-for-operators

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make a comparative assessment of the terms of support offered to similar SME leaseholders by (a) Network Rail, (b) Transport for London and (c) the Arch Company to protect those SMEs during the covid-19 outbreak.

Network Rail has offered SME commercial estate tenants a three-month zero-rent period between April and June 2020.

In deciding on this course of action, Network Rail worked to understand the offers of support proposed by those in similar situations, including the Arch Company and Transport for London.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ceasing food services on trains while ensuring that all food service staff are retained on full pay during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our priority is to ensure the safety of both employees and passengers, as well as the ongoing provision of passenger and freight services. Operators and their suppliers, including those to whom catering is subcontracted, are working to resource trains appropriately, protect staff wellbeing and provide essential services for those who must travel, such as key workers who may have accessibility requirements. On-board catering services should cease, unless it is possible to serve pre-packed food that requires minimal contact. Catering staff can and have been deployed to do other tasks on our railways.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the closure of the Department of Work and Pensions’ London Stratford Jubilee House office, when she expects one on one conversations about the impact of the move on staff with protected characteristics to take place between staff and managers at Stratford Jubilee House; and whether any concerns about the impact on staff with protected characteristics raised during one on one conversations with managers will be addressed early enough to mitigate any disproportionate impacts.

As part of the Department’s plans to reshape how, when and where the Department works, which will result in a smaller, greener and better estate, we plan to move colleagues and services from London Stratford, Jubilee House to Ilford, Wentworth House which is approximately 7.6 miles away. Impacted colleagues are currently having one-to-one discussions with local leaders where their individual circumstances, including any potential impact for those with protected characteristics are discussed and potential options considered. For those colleagues who are unable to move to Ilford, Wentworth House, redeployment within DWP or other Government Departments will be the priority.

The Department is making every effort to fully support staff through this process. As a responsible employer, the Department will make provision for redundancies as necessary. However, this will be a last resort after all efforts to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues, either within DWP or other Government Departments in the area, have been exhausted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the closure of the Department of Work and Pensions’ London Stratford Jubilee House office, how many (a) job losses and (b) compulsory redundancies are expected as a result of that closure.

As part of the Department’s plans to reshape how, when and where the Department works, which will result in a smaller, greener and better estate, we plan to move colleagues and services from London Stratford, Jubilee House to Ilford, Wentworth House which is approximately 7.6 miles away. Impacted colleagues are currently having one-to-one discussions with local leaders where their individual circumstances, including any potential impact for those with protected characteristics are discussed and potential options considered. For those colleagues who are unable to move to Ilford, Wentworth House, redeployment within DWP or other Government Departments will be the priority.

The Department is making every effort to fully support staff through this process. As a responsible employer, the Department will make provision for redundancies as necessary. However, this will be a last resort after all efforts to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues, either within DWP or other Government Departments in the area, have been exhausted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to an investigation into the DWP's handling of Ms U’s migration to Employment and Support Allowance, published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on 13 January 2022, what information her Department holds on the number of the 118,000 claimants ​who have not received compensation following departmental errors over benefit payments who are resident in (a) West Ham and (b) Newham.

The Department published an update on the exercise to correct past ESA underpayments on Gov.uk on 8 July 2021. This reported that as of 1 June 2021, of the 600,000 cases checked, 118,000 arrears payments have been made totalling £613 million. This report showed the numbers of cases paid arrears at a national level only as the data was not available at sub-national level at that time. The Department is investigating the feasibility of providing this analysis at a constituency level.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Trussell Trust’s publication, Keep The Lifeline: The Trussell Trust briefing on the £20 cut to Universal Credit published by the Trussell Trust on the 8th September 2021, what steps she plans to take to ensure that people in receipt of universal credit can meet their basic needs when the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit is removed.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes through a range of measures, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

In April this year, we increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. We are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children are benefitting from a range of support, including healthy and nutritious meals as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report, What will the end of the Universal Credit uplift mean for areas of poor health?, published by the Health Foundation on 10 September 2021, if she will make an assessment of the impact of the planned removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit on healthy life expectancy in areas where healthy life expectancy is relatively low.

No. The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of the COVID support package worth £407 billion.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. Now the economy is reopening and as we continue to progress with our recovery our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Child Action Poverty Group report, Universal Credit: What Needs to Change published in July 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations in that report.

We are aware of the report, and we constantly keep our policies and systems under review.

Universal Credit is a modern, flexible benefit responding effectively to economic conditions, providing a safety net for millions in the wake of the pandemic. In 2021/22 we will spend over £111bn on working age welfare, equivalent to 4.9% of GDP (GB).

The temporary uplift was part of a support package that has lasted beyond the end of restrictions. Our focus now is on our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the report, Falling Through the Net, by the Child Poverty Action Group, published on 22 June 2021.

The Department is committed to providing the best possible support for all Universal Credit (UC) claimants to meet their individual circumstances. Jobcentre and Service Centre staff undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality service to all claimants. Staff receive on-going learning in their roles and have access to guidance which is refreshed at regular intervals.

Every care is taken to prevent incorrect payments being made and to ensure that benefits are paid to the correct recipient; we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim. The vast majority of benefit expenditure is paid correctly, with front line staff working hard to prevent overpayments from occurring. We are constantly improving our processes and continue to invest in the use of data and analytics to identify fraud and error.

Following the introduction of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act, all overpayments of UC and new style benefits paid in excess of entitlement are recoverable. The Department seeks to recover benefit overpayments without creating undue financial hardship, and any person who does experience such hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate of repayment it may be possible to negotiate a lower repayment rate.

It is Government policy that individuals granted pre-settled status have the same access to benefits as they did prior to the introduction of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). They will satisfy the right to reside element of the Habitual Residence Test and can access benefits if they are exercising a qualifying right to reside, such as a worker or self-employed person, and are habitually resident in the UK. As the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is appealing the case mentioned in the report, it would be inappropriate to comment any further

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce the time between a British passport holder (a) applying for and (b) receiving a National Insurance number.

The Department has recently developed a digital service which enables employment inspired National Insurance Number (NINo) applications to be made on-line, removing the need for the majority of applicants to attend a face to face appointment.

Due to the suspension last year of the employment inspired NINo service, because of Covid 19 restrictions, demand for the NINo service is extremely high. The average time taken to process applications, including British Passport holders, is around 10/12 weeks. The Department is currently recruiting and training additional staff to reduce these waiting times.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to continue support for vulnerable children and families provided by the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

The Government is committed to helping people with the cost of living and providing a safety net for those that need it and has injected billions into the welfare system for those most in need. The Covid Winter Grant Scheme was introduced to provide Local Authorities in England with funding to support vulnerable households with the costs of food, heating and water bills, in response to the pandemic. The funding was intended to provide additional support throughout the challenging winter period to those most in need. This will now be extended until the 16 April 2021 to support families as restrictions are gradually lifted.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what targets the Crime and Justice Task Force has set for her Department.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to make her Department's dedicated phone line for prison leavers a permanent programme after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has taken a predominantly digital approach to providing and delivering services associated with Universal Credit, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system. This allows our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support through different channels.

For vulnerable people our telephone lines were also available, including a line for prison leavers. Measures brought in during covid-19 are under constant review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the plans for a new private hospital called Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital to be located within NHS St Bartholomew's Hospital premises, if he will make an assessment of the reasons why NHS Hospital Trusts are leasing out premises to private providers rather than expanding NHS services to meet local demand.

Under the National Health Service Act 2006, NHS trusts can raise additional income from marketing spare capacity resulting from a hospital’s non-core functions. The use of income generation schemes has played an important role in supporting NHS services for some time and has enabled investment in infrastructure and services.

Such schemes should not interfere with the delivery of services to patients in line with required standards. NHS bodies must ensure that commitments to these schemes do not divert significant management resources or otherwise prejudice the delivery of core services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the rate of refusals by NHS Hospital Trusts to requests by GPs for two-week emergency cancer referrals (a) across England, (b) for Hospital Trusts in the London region and (c) for Barts NHS Health Trust.

This information is not collected centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the equality of access to a hospital of choice through the NHS e-Referral Service (a) across England, (b) for Hospital Trusts in the London region and (c) for Barts NHS Health Trust, by (i) geography of residence, (ii) ethnicity and (iii) deprivation.

No assessment has been made. The National Health Service e-Referral Service (e-RS) does not record data on ethnicity and deprivation. Where appropriate, general practitioners (GPs) should include relevant sensitive patient information within the clinical referral information shared with the chosen provider to support the referral. The referring GP is responsible for ensuring that all options offered to patients are appropriate for their clinical, social and accessibility needs. The e-RS records data on the source of the referral, including the patient’s post code. This data is available to regional NHS commissioners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions his Department has held with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence regarding a review into fertility guidelines.

Departmental officials have met with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to discuss the review of the guidelines. Officials have also attended workshops with NICE and stakeholders to discuss the scope of the fertility guidelines review.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that people eligible for antiviral treatments against covid-19 on the basis of significant vulnerability will be able to access (a) timely and (b) free covid-19 (i) lateral flow and (ii) PCR tests after 31 March 2022.

From 1 April 2022, free asymptomatic testing will be available for a number of at-risk groups. We are currently developing options to support those eligible for antiviral treatments against COVID-19 on the basis of significant vulnerability.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Report to the Trust Board: 19 January 2022, published by Barts Health NHS Trust on 19 January 2022, if he will make an assessment of the impact on patient safety of delays to the completion of fire safety works at Newham Hospital.

There are no plans to make such an assessment. The London Fire Brigade is working with the Trust to ensure their facilities remain safe.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Report to the Trust Board: 19 January 2022, published by Barts Health NHS Trust on 19 January 2022, if he will make an assessment of the impact on patient safety of delays to the completion of fire safety works at Newham Hospital relating to the availability of NHS capital funding.

Patient safety in hospitals is a top priority for this Government. The London Fire Brigade is working with Barts Health NHS Trust to ensure their facilities remain safe.

National Health Service organisations are locally responsible for prioritising the funding of investment in their facilities, with additional funding available from the Department if required.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Request for direction on independent sector contracting from NHS England Chief Executive Officer to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, published on 12 January 2022, what assessment he has made of the long-term impact on (a) staff availability to the NHS, (b) public trust and confidence in the NHS and (c) potential health inequalities linked to increased access to high-quality care of those with the means to pay for access to independent health services of the payments made to the independent health sector referred to in that letter.

The national contracts agreed between NHS England and independent sector providers are short-term measures aimed to support the National Health Service’s response to the spread of the Omicron variant until 31 March 2022. We do not believe these arrangements will have any significant long-term negative impact on staff availability to the NHS or potential health inequalities.

The arrangements provide additional surge capacity to prevent NHS services from being overwhelmed and to ensure the recovery of elective care can continue. The public can be confident that all those requiring emergency or urgent treatment can continue to receive it.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to work with large employers to enable direct access to covid-19 vaccination in the workplace in areas with persistently low relative levels of vaccine uptake.

We have no specific plans to do so. There are now hundreds of walk-in sites and the opening hours of vaccination sites have been extended to seven days a week. General practitioners and pharmacies have also been asked to increase their provision of vaccination services, including in areas of lower uptake.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that adults with caring responsibilities can access covid-19 vaccination with no additional impact on their care costs and minimal impacts on their time.

Priority access for COVID-19 vaccinations has been provided for carers and those they care for. In phase one of the vaccination programme, carers were included in priority cohorts four and six invited for vaccination in January and February 2021. In December 2021, the National Health Service directed vaccination centres to allow priority queuing at walk-in centres for carers and those they care for.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason otherwise eligible people who received two vaccinations with an MHRA-approved vaccine in third countries are considered ineligible for a NHS vaccine booster, and what steps he is taking to enable people in this group to maintain their protection against covid-19 whilst in the UK.

If an individual has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in a third country, they will be eligible to receive a booster vaccination, provided they meet the eligibility criteria of the rest of the population. On 29 November, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, it was announced that all eligible adults aged 18 years old and over will be offered a booster vaccine by the end of January 2022.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to pages 16 to 28 of the report entitled Towards True Universal Care: Reforming the NHS Charging System Report, published by the Institute for Public Policy Research on 22 November 2021, what steps he plans to take to tackle the issues noted in that report.

The Government believes that it is right that people who do not live in the United Kingdom on a lawful, settled basis help contribute towards treatment costs. Therefore, we have implemented a system of charging overseas visitors that is fair and proportionate, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure that the Charging Regulations are properly applied.

The Department regularly reviews the Charging Regulations, with consideration for their equity and impact on vulnerable groups, using a range of evidence and reports by organisations such as the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). We are committed to improving the support, guidance, and advice provided to trusts on the issues raised by the IPPR’s report. We are taking steps to further protect vulnerable groups by raising awareness of exemptions from charge and improving guidance and training for the National Health Service on identifying patients who are genuinely without funds.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Towards True Universal Care: Reforming the NHS Charging System published by the Institute for Public Policy Research on 22 November 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the equity of the NHS charging system.

The Government believes that it is right that people who do not live in the United Kingdom on a lawful, settled basis help contribute towards treatment costs. Therefore, we have implemented a system of charging overseas visitors that is fair and proportionate, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure that the Charging Regulations are properly applied.

The Department regularly reviews the Charging Regulations, with consideration for their equity and impact on vulnerable groups, using a range of evidence and reports by organisations such as the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). We are committed to improving the support, guidance, and advice provided to trusts on the issues raised by the IPPR’s report. We are taking steps to further protect vulnerable groups by raising awareness of exemptions from charge and improving guidance and training for the National Health Service on identifying patients who are genuinely without funds.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Towards True Universal Care: Reforming the NHS Charging System, published by the Institute for Public Policy Research on 22 November 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing the (a) options for reform on page 38 and (b) recommendations on 39 of that report.

The Government believes that it is right that people who do not live in the United Kingdom on a lawful, settled basis help contribute towards treatment costs. Therefore, we have implemented a system of charging overseas visitors that is fair and proportionate, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure that the Charging Regulations are properly applied.

The Department regularly reviews the Charging Regulations, with consideration for their equity and impact on vulnerable groups, using a range of evidence and reports by organisations such as the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). We are committed to improving the support, guidance, and advice provided to trusts on the issues raised by the IPPR’s report. We are taking steps to further protect vulnerable groups by raising awareness of exemptions from charge and improving guidance and training for the National Health Service on identifying patients who are genuinely without funds.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that current UK residents previously vaccinated in Germany with MHRA-approved vaccines, regardless of nationality, are treated in the same way as those vaccinated in the UK.

Vaccines administered in Germany can be recorded in vaccination records and displayed in the NHS COVID Pass. This allows individuals resident in England but vaccinated in Germany to demonstrate their status and avoid self-isolation regulations in the same way as those vaccinated under the United Kingdom programme.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HMICFRS report, A joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, published on 17 November 2021, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for group therapies for people with mental health problems in prisons in England and Wales.

NHS England and NHS Improvement undertook a comprehensive mental health needs analysis was undertaken during summer 2021. It is expected to provide information about the current mental health needs of prisoners as well as the staffing skill mix and resources required to meet these needs. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect to publish the outcomes from this analysis by April 2022.

NHS England and NHS Improvement acknowledge there will continue to be restrictions on accessing group therapies until prisons move into stage one of the COVID-19 recovery regime.

Local recovery plans are in place to address the mental health and well-being of prisoners, which will include both individual and group therapy depending on restrictions. In the interim, telemedicine and digital platforms have been developed to support prisoners’ ongoing mental health and wellbeing across the prison estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HMICFRS report, A joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, published on 17 November 2021, what recent assessment he has made of trends in waiting times for group therapies for people with mental health problems in prisons in England and Wales.

NHS England and NHS Improvement undertook a comprehensive mental health needs analysis was undertaken during summer 2021. It is expected to provide information about the current mental health needs of prisoners as well as the staffing skill mix and resources required to meet these needs. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect to publish the outcomes from this analysis by April 2022.

NHS England and NHS Improvement acknowledge there will continue to be restrictions on accessing group therapies until prisons move into stage one of the COVID-19 recovery regime.

Local recovery plans are in place to address the mental health and well-being of prisoners, which will include both individual and group therapy depending on restrictions. In the interim, telemedicine and digital platforms have been developed to support prisoners’ ongoing mental health and wellbeing across the prison estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) tourism, (b) businesses and (c) family lives of the restrictions on travel to third countries for those who cannot demonstrate they have had a third booster vaccination if evidence of such vaccinations cannot be provided within the NHS Covid Pass.

From 19 November, the NHS COVID Pass can be used to demonstrate proof of a booster or third dose for outbound international travel and is available through the NHS App and on NHS.UK. Booster vaccinations are not required for domestic certification in England.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing evidence of third booster vaccinations within the NHS Covid Pass; and whether he plans to implement that policy.

There are currently no plans to record booster vaccinations in the NHS COVID Pass. Booster vaccinations are not required for domestic certification in England. We recognise that some countries are altering their vaccination requirements, therefore we are keeping this under review.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timescale is for North East London Health and Care Partnership to be allocated an adequate supply of covid-19 vaccine booster doses for (a) immunosuppressed patients and (b) other patients eligible for a covid-19 vaccine booster dose.

Vaccination sites order the vaccines they require to meet their clinic schedules. There are adequate quantities of vaccine for allocation across England and to date, over 99% of deliveries have been made on time and in full.

There are currently several hundred thousand doses for booster vaccination across the three North and East London integrated care systems - East London Health and Care Partnership, North London Partners in Health and Care and North West London Health and Care Partnership. This provides sufficient supply for each of the approximately 300 vaccination sites in these areas.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether North East London Health and Care Partnership has a list of (a) immunosuppressed patients and (b) other patients eligible for a covid-19 vaccine booster dose; and when eligible patients will begin to be contacted about receiving their vaccine booster dose.

North East London Health and Care Partnership has a list of immunosuppressed patients, and other patients eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. General practitioner practices use this list to contact patients for COVID-19 vaccinations, in coordination with primary care colleagues and acute consultants.

Every eligible adult in England aged 18 years old and over has now been contacted and offered a COVID-19 booster vaccination, including immunosuppressed patients.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much was spent on purchasing bed capacity in private sector hospitals for each hospital Trust in London in each of the last 18 months.

National contracts were used to secure all appropriate inpatient capacity across England, which came to an end on 31 March 2021. However, these contracts related to hospital capacity, not bed capacity. Total spend on hospital capacity and health services from private sector providers from March 2020 to March 2021 is not currently available as these contracts are undergoing a reconciliation exercise. It is expected that this will be completed by the end of 2021/22. However, information is being collated at independent provider level, rather than by specific area or region. From 1 April 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement returned to local commissioning arrangements and as such this information is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which private sector hospital capacity in London is being used to create extra capacity in the NHS.

No recent assessment has been made. While national contracts were used to secure appropriate inpatient capacity and other resource in England, on 31 March 2021 these contracts came to an end. From 1 April 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement returned to local commissioning arrangements and as such this information is not held centrally.

We have announced £2 billion this year through the Elective Recovery Fund and £8 billion in the following three years to tackle the elective backlog. This will enable National Health Service commissioners and trusts to secure the capacity required locally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of NHS hospital beds per capita for each hospital Trust in England.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) GPs per capita and (b) GP working hours per capita for each hospital Trust in England.

The information requested is not collected centrally, as general practice workforce data is not available by hospital trust.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Wandsworth, published on 21 October 2021, what steps he plans to take to increase mental healthcare resources at HMP Wandsworth in response to the increase in mental health issues.

The service delivery model HMP Wandsworth has been reviewed and an assessment and liaison function is being established within the mental health team. While additional mental health practitioners are recruited, the wider mental health team is providing an assessment, liaison and case management function. This has enabled a review to ensure that referrals into mental health services are dealt with responsively with clear governance and oversight.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are maintaining oversight of these service developments and a number of governance mechanisms are in place to ensure appropriate monitoring and evaluation. These include a monthly Quality and Performance Board, regular site visits, attendance at the prison Local Delivery Board and regular meetings between commissioners and the lead healthcare provider at operational and strategic level.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he plans to take to improve planning of hospital services to meet the high and specialised needs of prisoners being admitted to hospitals in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are ensuring prison screening programmes are re-established and effective access to external treatment pathways is made available through telemedicine or in person hospital attendance.

In order to improve the understanding of existing medical conditions and needs of those entering the secure estate, such as drug use, mental health and alcohol-related disorders, NHS England and NHS Improvement are reviewing and updating the reception screening tool across the adult secure estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, if he will make a statement on progress in health care for prisoners made since the publication of Locked out? Prisoners' use of hospital care by the Nuffield Trust on 26 February 2020.

As a signatory to the National Partnership Agreement for Prison Healthcare, the Department is committed to working with the Ministry of Justice, HM Prison and Probation Service, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the UK Health Security Agency to ensure safe, legal, and effective care that improves health outcomes and reduces health inequalities for prisoners.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he is taking to increase access to outpatient services via remote consultations in prisons in England; and what assessment he has made of the barriers to increased use of remote consultations in prisons in England.

To increase access to outpatient services, all secure and detained sites in England have now received the equipment to facilitate Telemedicine appointments within their establishment. Regions are working to establish connections with their tertiary and secondary health care partners to reduce the need to move a patient to sites external to the prison for a healthcare appointment.

No formal assessment has been made of the barriers to increased use of remote consultations in prisons in England. However, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw region is running a pilot connecting five prisons to one hospital trust for telemedicine appointments and has successfully implemented a clinical assessment and treatment service clinic using the telemedicine solution. Learning from this pilot is being rolled out across the English regions and other regions are now setting up similar services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continues to work with other providers of services such as mental health organisations, probation services, voluntary community and social enterprise organisations, and liaison and diversion services to promote the use of telemedicine across the estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he is taking to improve the collection of ethnicity data for prisoners using healthcare services in England.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) prison health data system ‘SystmOne’ already collects and holds ethnicity data for prisoners. NHSEI regularly review the data fields to ensure they are accurate and appropriate and provide quality audits and reports for internal use by commissioners.

From 2022 clinical records will work across a General Practitioner (GP) to GP system which will support a swift reconciliation of client data including ethnicity, as people transfer from community services into custodial settings and from custody back into the community.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what steps he is taking to support (a) research into and (b) monitoring of avoidable health outcomes for prisoners.

The Department is funding, through the National Institute for Health Research, the ‘Understanding the scale and nature of avoidable harm in prison healthcare’ research project. This aims to identify the scale of avoidable harm in prison healthcare and understand which policies or processes could minimise the risk of this in the future. The project is currently due to complete in May 2023.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s health and justice and health and inequalities teams are considering how the national Core20PLUS5 health inequalities survey for National Health Service professionals could be applied to prison settings. This will contribute to the monitoring and reduction of differences in health outcomes across priority areas such as maternal health, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and early cancer detection. In addition, the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcomes and Death will undertake a review of natural cause deaths of people who died whilst detained in prison.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Justice on the impact on health and social care services and budgets in England of (a) prisoner missed appointments, (b) high rates of injuries and (c) high rates of poisoning among prisoners.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Justice meet regularly to discuss health services for people in prison. Officials from both Departments continue to work together to improve healthcare services and outcomes for all people in custody.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Justice on the adequacy of prisoner escort capacity in England for enabling (a) a good standard of healthcare access for prisoners and (b) efficient provision of healthcare services.

We have regular discussions with the Ministry of Justice on a range issues related to the provision of healthcare services in prisons.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Injustice? Towards a better understanding of health care access challenges for prisoners, published by Nuffield Trust on 21 October 2021, if he will work with colleagues in the Ministry of Justice to enable the publication of regular data on (a) prisoners’ health care use and (b) how that compares to use by the general population.

We have no specific plans to do so. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement collect health information in the prison health data system which is regularly reviewed and analysed to improve healthcare services for prisoners. Where possible, comparisons will data for the general population will made.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to administer covid-19 vaccine booster doses alongside flu vaccines to those eligible in prisons in England.

Flu and COVID-19 booster vaccines are ordered by and delivered directly to prison healthcare teams in the same way as vaccination services in the community. The prison healthcare team will offer and administer the vaccines to eligible patients. Each establishment will decide on the best approach dependent on their facilities as to whether their clinics administer both the flu and COVID-19 booster vaccinations at the same time or separately.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the London Ambulance Service Estates Vision, published in 2019, if he will make an assessment of any potential detriment to the access to healthcare of (a) critically ill and (b) disabled people in Newham of the closures of ambulance stations planned by the London Ambulance Service.

No such estimate has been made. The London Ambulance Service (LAS) advises that it is at an early stage in developing its estates a strategy, including understanding how any changes would impact on the care patients receive. The LAS will engage with the public and stakeholders on any proposed changes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the London Ambulance Service Estates Vision, published in 2019, what estimate he has made of any impact on the (a) mean and (b) median ambulance response times to addresses in Newham of the closures of ambulance stations planned by the London Ambulance Service.

No such estimate has been made. The London Ambulance Service (LAS) advises that it is at an early stage in developing its estates a strategy, including understanding how any changes would impact on the care patients receive. The LAS will engage with the public and stakeholders on any proposed changes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) breaches of current standards and guidelines on electroconvulsive therapy the Care Quality Commission has identified in each of the last 10 years and (b) practitioners of electroconvulsive therapy have had their license to practice (i) restricted or (ii) removed in each of the last 10 years.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) do not hold data centrally on the number of breaches related to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The CQC’s records also do not separately identify records of breaches or other regulatory action related to ECT specifically. The General Medical Council (GMC) is the regulator of all medical doctors practising in the United Kingdom (UK). Its role is to set and enforce the standards all doctors must adhere to and it is responsible for ensuring that medical practitioners have the necessary skills and knowledge to join the UK medical register.

The GMC does not have data readily available on practitioners of ECT who have had their licence to practise restricted or removed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Electroconvulsive Therapy Accreditation Service (ECTAS) requires member (a) practitioners and (b) clinics to meet its accreditation standards in order to continue operating as members; and what role ECTAS has in providing information to the Care Quality Commission on adherence to standards and guidelines on electroconvulsive therapy.

The Electroconvulsive Therapy Accreditation Service (ECTAS) is an organisation of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and arrangements for participation are a matter for the College. The Care Quality Commission may consider ECTAS accreditation as part of the evidence used in its regulation. However, it does not receive details of the accreditation process or of members within the scheme.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many adult prisoners in England and Wales had received a (a) first and (b) second covid vaccination as at 19 July 2021.

As of 19 July 2021, 90% of prisons in England offered a first dose to their adult population. 99% of prisons had also offered both doses to those in Phase One priority cohorts 1-9.

Unvaccinated prisoners awaiting a first dose offer by this date were those newly admitted to sites, however many of them would have already been offered the vaccine in the community or in a previous prison.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collate weekly data showing the number of vaccinated adult prisoners there are in the prisons in England. As per the data from Friday 23 July (which included those who received their first or second dose on Monday 19 July), 43,276 had received a first dose and 23,819 had received a second dose.

As of 28 July 2021, all eligible adult prisoners in England were offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

As health is a devolved matter, any data specific to Wales would be a matter for their respective devolved administration.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether all adult prisoners in England and Wales had been offered a first covid-19 vaccination as at 19 July 2021.

As of 19 July 2021, 90% of prisons in England offered a first dose to their adult population. 99% of prisons had also offered both doses to those in Phase One priority cohorts 1-9.

Unvaccinated prisoners awaiting a first dose offer by this date were those newly admitted to sites, however many of them would have already been offered the vaccine in the community or in a previous prison.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collate weekly data showing the number of vaccinated adult prisoners there are in the prisons in England. As per the data from Friday 23 July (which included those who received their first or second dose on Monday 19 July), 43,276 had received a first dose and 23,819 had received a second dose.

As of 28 July 2021, all eligible adult prisoners in England were offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

As health is a devolved matter, any data specific to Wales would be a matter for their respective devolved administration.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to (a) Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression: A Review of the Quality of ECT versus Sham ECT Trials and Meta-Analyses, published by Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry on 2 April 2020, and (b) A second independent audit of electroconvulsive therapy in England, 2019: Usage, demographics, consent, and adherence to guidelines and legislation, published by Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice on 16 March 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing the use of electroconvulsive therapy in cases of depression.

We have no plans to do so. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for assessing the safety and efficacy of treatments. NICE provides guidelines on when doctors should consider using electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) based on the available clinical evidence. Its guidance ‘Depression in adults: recognition and management’, includes recommendations on when ECT could be considered a treatment option for complex and severe depression. The Department expects commissioners and providers of services to pay due regard to these guidelines, which are kept under regular review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure financial transparency of primary care providers to clinical commissioning groups, including on partner incomes.

It is a contractual requirement for general practitioner (GP) practices to publish the mean earnings of partners, salaried GPs and any locum who has worked in the practice for over six months.

GPs and partners with total National Health Service earnings above £150,000 per annum will be required to report those earnings by submitting self-declarations annually. The pay threshold at which earnings will have to be reported will change annually with inflation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help improve employee satisfaction in the social care sector.

The Department is working with the social care sector to improve employee satisfaction through supporting wellbeing and increasing recognition for staff. To support the wellbeing of social care workers, we have worked alongside the National Health Service and other organisations to provide a package of emotional, psychological and practical resources for the workforce. This includes support helplines, guidance, bereavement resources and a bespoke package of support for registered managers.

We have also identified carers, paid and unpaid, as essential workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to give them much-needed acknowledgment of their critical role in keeping people safe and supported.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help improve the affordability of social care.

We are committed to reforming the adult social care system, including the provision of affordable personalised care and will bring forward proposals in 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled The future of prison mental health care in England, published by Centre for Mental Health on 25 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing recommendations (a) three, (b) four, (c) five, (d) six, and (e) seven of that report.

There are no plans to carry out any formal assessment. However, the report made a number of recommendations which are being taken into account as appropriate though existing aligned programmes of work being undertaken by the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled The future of prison mental health care in England, published by Centre for Mental Health on 25 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of that report.

There are no plans to carry out any formal assessment. However, the report made a number of recommendations which are being taken into account as appropriate though existing aligned programmes of work being undertaken by the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Carpenters Practice Inspection report, published by the Care Quality Commission on 26 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect on access to quality NHS primary care of any disruption resulting from the sale of GP practices to for profit providers.

Regardless of whether the contract holder is an individual, a partnership, or an organisation, all contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation and standards. We have no plans to make a further assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Carpenters Practice inspection report, published by the Care Quality Commission on 26 June 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect on (a) patient safety, (b) effective leadership, (c) good governance and (d) high quality sustainable care of sale of GP practices to for profit providers.

Regardless of whether the contract holder is an individual, a partnership, or an organisation, all contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation and standards. We have no plans to make a further assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many sarcoma patients were diagnosed at stage I and II by (a) soft tissue sarcoma excluding GIST, (b) bone sarcoma, (c) Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumours (GIST) in each of the last five years.

Data on the number of patients diagnosed with sarcoma at stage I and II by each of these cancer cell types is not available in the format requested. Statistics on sarcoma are not published by stage at diagnosis because the subdivision of the small numbers of cases leads to unreliable estimates of incidence rates and trends.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to (a) pages 22 to 23 of Public Health England's COVID-19 - SARS-CoV-2 Green Book Chapter 14a, published on 7 May 2021, and (b) the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's Information for Healthcare Professionals on COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, 4.4, published on 15 April 2021, whether he has made an assessment of whether (i) previous experience of thrombosis and (ii) the presence of thrombophilia such as antiphospholipid syndrome should be treated as contraindications for (A) Pfizer/BioNTech, (B) Oxford/AstraZeneca, (C) Moderna and (D) Janssen Covid-19 vaccination in relation to risks of vaccine–induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has undertaken a thorough review into reports of an extremely rare specific type of blood clot in the brain in the United Kingdom, following vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It is also considering other types of blood clots alongside low platelet levels. No risk factors for this unusual type of clotting disorder have been identified although the MHRA is continuing to monitor the emerging data.

There is no evidence those with a history of common types of thrombosis are more at risk of developing rare blood clots with low platelets after vaccination. Therefore, the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in individuals with a history of these conditions is not currently a contraindication. Individuals with past clotting episodes without low platelets and those diagnosed with thrombophilia remain at risk of COVID-19 disease and should be vaccinated with any of the available vaccines. However, as a precautionary measure, administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine in patients with a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or antiphospholipid syndrome should only be considered when the benefit outweighs any potential risks and use is contraindicated in those who have experienced major clots with low platelets after any COVID-19 vaccine or after exposure to heparin.

These rare events have also been reported in other countries with the Janssen vaccine. However, no predisposing risk factors have been identified. The available evidence does not suggest an increased risk of these rare events following administration of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to (a) research, (b) clinical trials and (c) psychological support services to help improve outcomes for patients with covid-19 vaccine–induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR is supporting a relevant study on mechanisms of immunothrombosis in Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT). Findings from this study are available at the following link:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2021.102662

There are currently no clinical trials specifically looking at VITT in the United Kingdom. As the largest public funder of health and care research, the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including COVID-19 vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis.

We are investing an additional £110 million to expand adult mental health services including psychological and talking therapies and £111 million to increase the mental health workforce support patients with conditions such as COVID-19 VITT.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of developing a diagnostic pathway for patients with respiratory symptoms.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have already invested £2 million to fund the establishment of Respiratory Clinical Networks to support the delivery of the objectives set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and provide clinical leadership to respiratory services in managing the current and on-going demand posed by COVID-19.

A priority area for respiratory services in the Long Term Plan is spirometry and this will be supported through the 13 respiratory clinical networks and the national team. The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for 2021/22 includes improved respiratory indicators. The QOF will measure patients with a clinical diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on or after 1 April 2021 whose diagnosis has been confirmed by a quality-assured post-bronchodilator spirometry test.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate funding to the roll-out of NHS diagnostic hubs for patients with respiratory symptoms.

For 2021/22, £325 million of capital funding has been allocated for diagnostic services. Discussions on how funding will be allocated are ongoing, including the establishment of community diagnostic hubs (CDHs). Diagnostics for respiratory conditions are part of the proposed ‘core’ services to be provided by CDHs. Pending the funding allocation, plans for mobilisation of CDHs from across England are currently under review and we anticipate some early adopter sites to provide services from summer 2021 with further CDHs opening in autumn.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what is the median time to a first diagnostic a) x-ray, b) CT scan, and c) spirometry test, where a serious lung condition is suspected, for each hospital Trust in England, for each of the last five years.

The data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what is the median time to a first appointment with a specialist respiratory consultant when a serious lung condition is suspected, for each hospital Trust in England, for each of the last five years.

The data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what is the median time to a diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis, from first presentation to a GP with respiratory symptoms, for each hospital Trust in England, for each of the last five years.

The information is not collected in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on prognoses for chronic lung conditions that arise following a covid-19 infection.

It is not yet clear what the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus, including those with chronic lung conditions. The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus, including symptom severity and duration, long term effects and how best to support recovery.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on waiting times for respiratory diagnostic appointments.

Community Diagnostic Hubs will create additional capacity for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms which will support efforts to reduce waiting times. Elective waiting lists, including for those with respiratory symptoms, are managed at system and trust level with digital solutions available to ensure the most clinically urgent patients are managed first. In addition, £1 billion has been made available to the National Health Service in 2021/22 to support the recovery of elective activity.

While we have made no official assessment, the NHS is taking steps to restore services and improve waiting times as a priority, including services for respiratory patients. In May, the NHS announced a £160 million accelerator initiative to rapidly trial further innovations and interventions to boost activity across all elective services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve waiting times for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.

Community Diagnostic Hubs will create additional capacity for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms which will support efforts to reduce waiting times. Elective waiting lists, including for those with respiratory symptoms, are managed at system and trust level with digital solutions available to ensure the most clinically urgent patients are managed first. In addition, £1 billion has been made available to the National Health Service in 2021/22 to support the recovery of elective activity.

While we have made no official assessment, the NHS is taking steps to restore services and improve waiting times as a priority, including services for respiratory patients. In May, the NHS announced a £160 million accelerator initiative to rapidly trial further innovations and interventions to boost activity across all elective services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) funding and (b) other support his Department is providing to research into chronic lung conditions caused by covid-19 infection.

The Government recognises that chronic health conditions, including chronic lung conditions, may result from a COVID-19 infection and that there is a need to invest in research to better understand these conditions and how to effectively support affected individuals. The National Institute for Health Research, with UK Research and Innovation, has funded a post-hospitalisation study to understand and improve long-term health outcomes for people hospitalised with COVID-19 and four research studies specifically looking at the long-term effects of COVID-19, in non-hospitalised individuals with funding totalling £18.5 million. In addition, a second £20 million ‘long’ COVID-19 research call is currently underway.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Outcome Evaluation of the National Model for Liaison and Diversion, published by RAND Europe in April 2021, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations to (a) increase capacity for onward referrals from Liaison and Diversion services and (b) develop approaches to support people who have multiple vulnerabilities but are not currently eligible for referral because no single vulnerability meets a required therapeutic threshold.

The Departmental funded evaluation of Liaison and Diversion services, published by RAND, found that these services are successfully engaging with a range of service users with diverse and often overlapping vulnerabilities. The evaluation has shown that the Liaison and Diversion model is successful in increasing referrals to mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services and diversion from custodial sentences.  The Department will be working across Government to further analyse the report’s findings and identify opportunities to build on this successful model.

We remain focussed on our NHS Long Term Plan commitments including those to expand access to community mental health services for adults with serious mental illness, including those individuals with the most complex needs. This will help maximise the effectiveness of Liaison and Diversion services by increasing capacity for onward referrals and improving support available for individuals with multiple vulnerabilities.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Outcome Evaluation of the National Model for Liaison and Diversion, published by RAND Europe in April 2021, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations to (a) increase capacity for onward referrals from Liaison and Diversion services and (b) develop approaches to support people who have multiple vulnerabilities but are not currently eligible for referral because no single vulnerability meets a required therapeutic threshold.

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

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on mental health of restrictions on (a) pigeon racing gatherings and (b) cross-Channel pigeon races.

No such assessment has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of women in police custody who have been screened by Liaison and Diversion services.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of women in police custody screened by Liaison and Diversion services were found to have mental ill-health in the most recent period for which data is available.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 10 of the Liaison and Diversion Standard Service Specification 2019, published on 20th November 2019, what steps he is taking to monitor adherence with the commitments for all services to (a) develop a gender specific female pathway to holistically address the specific needs of women in the criminal justice system, (b) nominate a dedicated female practitioner and (c) offer all females who come into custody a choice of gender for their practitioner or support time recovery worker who will provide a gender sensitive approach to screening and support effective onward referrals to gender specific services.

Dedicated female practitioner leads were nominated for each Liaison and Diversion Service in 2018. In 2019 self-report questionnaires were issued to all Liaison and Diversion Female Pathway Leads to assess progress made against developing effective female pathways. Having analysed the returns, bespoke advice was offered to providers.

In November 2020 NHS England delivered a virtual Maternal and Perinatal Pathway Workshop to commissioners and providers of Liaison and Diversion services. NHS England regional Health and Justice commissioning teams monitor Liaison and Diversion providers performance against the service specification requirements to ensure that they are delivering a gender specific approach within Liaison and Diversion Services and that they have effective pathways in place for onward referrals to gender specific community based services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2021 to Question 138422 and the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 154909, if he will publish recent data on the vaccination rates for (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users and (d) prisoners.

We do not currently centrally hold data on the vaccination rates for directly employed prison staff, non-directly employed people who work within prisons or probation staff.

As of 19 April 2021 we have administered 23,281 first doses to prisoners eligible for vaccination during phase one. This represents an estimated 85% of eligible prisoners. In addition, 780 prisoners have received second doses which is 3.4% of the first dose total and includes some prisoners having a second dose in prison after a first dose in the community.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by Empowering People Inspiring Change, The impact of lockdown to physical health, published in March 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of (a) communications with patients and (b) access to healthcare is maintained in prisons and youth custody facilities in England and Wales.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of communication programmes were initiated across the English secure and detained estate, including prisons and youth offender institutions, with the support of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service including using prison television broadcasts to address COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care. Prison radio continues to feature programmes providing general medical information for patients in prisons delivered by clinical providers and a number of articles have been written for the prison magazine, Inside Times, as well as general notifications, such as leaflets translated into a number of languages posted across individual sites.

General practitioner and nurse-led services have continued to be present within all prisons in England. In response to COVID-19, telemedicine has been deployed at speed across the estate, enabling video calling for primary care, secondary care and mental health appointments within dedicated healthcare facilities. The provision of health services to those in public sector prisons in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Government.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report on a scrutiny visit to HMP Long Lartin, published on 16 March 2021, what steps he will take to prevent waits to see a GP of (a) more than 12 months and (b) other long periods.

Following the HM Inspector of Prisons’ report, we understand that a number of changes have been made to processes to ensure patients in the prison are able to see a general practitioner in a timely way, including clinical triage of patients placed on waiting lists based on need and a single point of administrative contact who will report when any patient has exceeded an appropriate wait time. Patients will also be able to refer themselves to healthcare services appropriately, in a timely manner and with any necessary support to enable them to communicate their needs. Officers will receive an introduction to the healthcare service as part of their induction and patients will receive this as part of their reception/transfer in.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Questions 138422 and 154909 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, for what reasons third sector organisations have already received that information; and when he plans to respond to those Questions, tabled by the hon. Member for West Ham.

The information requested is not collected centrally. If third sector organisations have received this information, this may have been provided locally.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Written Questions 138422 and 154909.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether pharmacy staff are required to wear a face covering while serving customers.

The Face Covering Regulations require that workers in retail, hospitality and leisure venues wear a face covering where they come or are likely to come into contact with members of the public. Pharmacies are included in these requirements so both staff and members of the public must wear a face covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users, (d) prisoners over the age of 80, (e) prisoners over the age of 75, (f) prisoners over the age of 70 and (g) clinically extremely vulnerable prisoners have received a first dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 19 February 2021.

The information is not currently centrally held in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what targets the Crime and Justice Task Force has set for his Department.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees and how often they have met is not normally shared publicly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of no regular social security income for people who have no recourse to public funds on the likelihood of those people (a) requesting a covid-19 test as per Government advice and (b) self-isolating due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We introduced the Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) scheme to support those where financial concerns can make it difficult to self-isolate.

We continue to work closely with the 314 local authorities in England to monitor the efficacy and payments made under the TTSP scheme. The discretionary element of TTSP is specifically designed to address the needs of people on low incomes, including those with no recourse to public funds, who need financial support for self-isolation and to encourage greater uptake of testing and to undertake self-isolation. We have provided an additional £20 million a month to extend the current scheme beyond 31 March into the summer.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS England A&E Attendances and Emergency Admissions 2020-21 data for January 2021, what assessment he has made of geographical disparities in the number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours in A&Es after a decision has been made to admit them; and what estimate he has made of the number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours in A&Es after a decision has been made to admit them in Barts Health Trust.

The following table provides data on the number of patients spending more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission in January 2021, by National Health Service region and Barts Health Trust.

Number of patients spending more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission

NHS England East of England

246

NHS England London

1,534

NHS England Midlands

405

NHS England North East and Yorkshire

59

NHS England North West

405

NHS England South East

141

NHS England South West

1,019

Barts Health NHS Trust

376

It should be noted that Barts Health NHS Trust data is not comparable with other hospitals as it has three hospitals with major emergency departments within the Trust.

COVID-19 rates in London were higher compared to the rest of the country in January.

The increased number of 12-hour trolley waits seen in January 2021 reflects the extreme demand for beds in the system at this time, with delays reported due to awaiting COVID-19 test results, reduced bed stock due to social distancing and intensive treatment unit capacity expansion and reconfiguration of beds to meet COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 demand.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of ethnic disparities in the rates of (a) application for a covid-19 self-isolation support payment and (b) receipt of such payment.

The Department is currently working with local authorities to gather information on the operation and impact of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, including an assessment of the ethnicity of those applying for and receiving the payments. The results of the assessment and information covering any ethnic disparities will be published in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP surgeries in Newham are owned by UK subsidiaries of (a) for-profit and (b) other private healthcare companies based in the US.

All general practitioner (GP) practices are private businesses that are paid by the National Health Service to provide a health service to their registered patients. Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) holds details of the type of each GP contract holder in Newham, but not details of the full cooperate structure of the limited companies that hold contracts. Newham CCG does not directly contract with any private healthcare companies based in the United States.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2021 to Question 150736, if he will make an assessment of potential merits of publishing an evaluation of the benefits of wing-based primary care in prisons including (a) an identification of examples of excellence and (b) recommendations relating to the future model of healthcare after covid-19 restrictions are ended.

There are currently no plans to make such an assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of people for whom ineligibility for (a) self-isolation support payments and (b) sick pay has been a barrier to self-isolation during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have made no such estimate. The Government continues to work closely with the 314 local authorities in England to monitor the efficacy and payments made under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

The scheme is now being extended to the summer and funding to local authorities to make discretionary payments to people facing hardship is being increased to £20 million a month, to ensure local authorities can continue to make payments and support people on low incomes to stay at home and self-isolate when required to do so.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the (a) fall in the proportion of young people in treatment in secure settings reporting problems with NPS since 2015-16 and (b) increase in the proportion of young people in treatment in secure settings reporting problems with opiates since 2015-16.

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the commissioning of substance misuse services within secure and detained settings. In addition to structured treatment, unstructured treatment is also provided which can include harm reduction advice, brief interventions, mutual aid groups and signposting and information. This is not reported in National Drug Treatment Monitoring System data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the decrease since 2015-16 in the number of adults in secure settings (a) starting substance misuse treatment and (b) in substance misuse treatment.

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the commissioning of substance misuse services within secure and detained settings. In addition to structured treatment, unstructured treatment is also provided which can include harm reduction advice, brief interventions, mutual aid groups and signposting and information. This is not reported in National Drug Treatment Monitoring System data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020: report, published on 28 January 2021, what plans he has to reduce regional inequalities in the proportion of adults with a substance misuse treatment need who successfully engage in community-based structured treatment following release from prison.

The Government recently announced an additional £80 million of funding in 2021/22 to enhance drug treatment services, including increasing the number of treatment places for prison leavers and offenders across England. This will improve access to community treatment for adults and young people following their release from a secure setting.

In addition, the NHS Long Term Plan introduced a new RECONNECT service which works with people before they leave prison and helps them to make the transition to community-based services. Of the new £80 million funding, £2.5 million will be invested in an enhanced RECONNECT service. This will support offenders with complex needs to engage with and get the right treatment from substance misuse and other services, for up to a year after release. The enhanced service will target those aged 18 to 24 years old.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what plans he has to increase the proportions of (a) adults and (b) young people starting substance misuse treatment in the community following release from a secure setting.

The Government recently announced an additional £80 million of funding in 2021/22 to enhance drug treatment services, including increasing the number of treatment places for prison leavers and offenders across England. This will improve access to community treatment for adults and young people following their release from a secure setting.

In addition, the NHS Long Term Plan introduced a new RECONNECT service which works with people before they leave prison and helps them to make the transition to community-based services. Of the new £80 million funding, £2.5 million will be invested in an enhanced RECONNECT service. This will support offenders with complex needs to engage with and get the right treatment from substance misuse and other services, for up to a year after release. The enhanced service will target those aged 18 to 24 years old.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the (a) decrease in the proportion of young people completing substance misuse treatment in secure settings and( b) increase in the proportion of young people declining substance misuse treatment.

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the commissioning of substance misuse services within secure and detained settings. In addition to structured treatment, unstructured treatment is also provided which can include harm reduction advice, brief interventions, mutual aid groups and signposting and information. This is not reported in National Drug Treatment Monitoring System data.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of funding the provision of hepatitis C diagnostic testing machines to prisons to (a) reduce the time between testing and treatment, (b) reduce the need for liver transplants, (c) make progress towards the elimination of hepatitis C and (d) related factors.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have offered testing machines extensively to trusts who lead the diagnosis and treatment pathways, including those in prisons. Some prisons have taken up the offer, while others already achieve excellent rates of testing with other methods.

Furthermore, the High Intensity Test and Treat (HITT) programme have been implemented in prisons. HITTs involve partner services working together to offer testing to every person in prison on a short period of time. Those who are found to be positive are fast-tracked onto treatment, with a deadline of less than two weeks. The aim of the HITTs is the test at least 95% of the prison population, leaving prisons in a good place to achieve micro-elimination of Hepatitis C. Whilst these projects were disrupted during lockdown periods, several HITTs were able to take place during 2020.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned prisoner peer support schemes, run by the Hepatitis C Trust. The peers provide information about Hepatitis C to those at risk and work to engage with each individual on their own terms and encouraging and support individuals in testing.

Progress is being made towards the elimination of hepatitis C. Over 57,000 people have benefitted from new drugs which cure hepatitis C being made available on the National Health Service over the last few years. Up to 95% of those with a reported response to the treatment have been cured. Furthermore, death registrations for hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease and cancer fell by 20% between 2015 and 2018, exceeding the 10% reduction by 2020 World Health Organization target. This is a direct result of the investment in hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prisons have machines capable of running diagnostic tests for Hepatitis C on site in England and Wales.

All 112 prisons in England have access to hepatitis C diagnosis. Local authorities decide which method is utilised to achieve diagnosis. This is usually either a ‘point of care’ antibody test, a dry blood spot test or onsite PCR testing machines. Prisons may also have access to other diagnostic kit such as portable fibroscanners, to assess liver cirrhosis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have offered ‘point of care’ PCR testing machines to every trust leading hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment pathways, including prisons. NHS England and NHS Improvement also offer the option of taking machines into 30 prisons per year as a part of the ‘High Intensity Test & Treat’ programme, to supplement reception screening.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the efficacy of prison diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C of (a) short sentence lengths, (b) short periods spent in prison on remand, (c) short recalls to prison and (d) the use of prisons as a place of safety.

Prisons in England use an ‘opt-out’ testing offer to diagnose hepatitis C infection. Testing is offered either at reception into prison or within 72 hours at the more extensive healthcare assessment. Individuals can be diagnosed, referred to a virtual consultation with the specialist treatment team and start treatment within days. Hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment for prisoners on a short sentence and remand will, to an extent, rely upon the prisoner rate of uptake for offered tests.

For those who start but do not complete treatment, medicines can be provided to take out on release and a ‘Follow Me’ facility can be used to ensure patients remain engaged with their treatment. Prisoners on short recalls are unlikely to start treatment within a one to two-week period. However, they will receive the opt-out testing offer and referral processes are in place for those individuals testing positive. If individuals are already diagnosed and/or have started treatment, this can be continued through case management between prison health and the trust specialist treatment team.

Prisons should not be used as a place of safety as alternative provision is available and more suitable for people who need to be kept safe.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of publishing an evaluation of the benefits of wing-based primary care in prisons, including (a) an identification of examples of excellence, and (b) recommendations relating to the future model of healthcare after covid-19 restrictions are ended.

No such assessment has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on estimating the volume of wastage of covid-19 vaccines resulting from restrictions on the re-use of vaccines allocated to prisoners not being permitted to be re-used for prison staff.

Data on wastage of vaccination doses is not currently available. Work is ongoing across the vaccination programme to standardise and increase the information available for management purposes. However, no vaccines should be wasted.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that where vaccine remains unused following an offer of vaccination to those in detained settings, such vaccine could reasonably be offered to prison officers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is national policy that unused covid-19 vaccines within a batch allocated to prisoners in a prison setting may be used to vaccinate prison staff in that prison.

On 11 March 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that any left-over vaccine that cannot be used on detainees should be used for prison officers. This is increasingly unlikely given the numbers of detainees now eligible for the vaccine as the programme continues. However, in cases where vaccine remains unused following an offer of vaccination to those in detained settings, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been asked to consider offering those vaccines to prison officers, in order to minimise wastage in delivery of the programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the proportion of (a) women, (b) young people and (c) men leaving custody that are connected with a GP in their local area.

This information is not held centrally. For those leaving custody, general practitioner registration should be arranged prior to release.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish weekly data on the numbers and proportion of (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users and (d) prisoners within each vaccine priority group when that priority group becomes eligible for vaccination who have received a (i) first dose of a covid-19 vaccine and (ii) full dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

The information requested is not currently held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) directly employed prison staff, (b) non-directly employed people who work within prisons, (c) probation staff who have direct contact with service users and (d) prisoners over the age of 80 have received a first dose of a covid-19 vaccine as at 15 January 2021.

The information is not collected in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local NHS providers on the (a) ending of and (b) process of emergence from the covid-19 lockdown that began on 6 January 2021.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with National Health Service providers on a wide range of issues relating to the current national restrictions.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to include an assessment of NHS staff capacity in decision-making on the ending of the covid-19 lockdown that began on 6 January 2021.

National Health Service capacity is monitored by NHS England, while Public Health England publishes monitoring data on capacity at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

The Government will take a cautious approach to easing lockdown and will be guided by the data. Of the four tests to facilitate decision-making around the easing of lockdown, two relate to NHS capacity; evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; and evidence that infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to (a) monitor the effect of the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown on NHS capacity and (b) include findings from that monitoring in decision-making on the (i) ending of and (ii) process of emergence from the lockdown.

National Health Service capacity is monitored by NHS England, while Public Health England publishes monitoring data on capacity at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

The Government will take a cautious approach to easing lockdown and will be guided by the data. Of the four tests to facilitate decision-making around the easing of lockdown, two relate to NHS capacity; evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; and evidence that infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff in London have had their leave cancelled during (a) December 2020 and (b) January 2021 to date.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Taking regular annual leave is important to support staff retention, health and wellbeing and patient safety. Employers have a duty of care to staff to ensure staff have reasonable opportunities to take annual leave to rest and recuperate and, whenever possible, leave requests should be approved. However, the National Health Service is continuing to face challenges as it responds to the pandemic, so there is less flexibility as to when leave can be taken. Employers across the NHS are working hard to maximise available workforce capacity, including use of bank staff and returners to maintain quality of care as far as possible and enable staff to take leave. The NHS People Plan published in July 2020 includes a commitment to enhanced occupational and mental health support for NHS staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of cancelling leave for NHS staff on (a) their mental and physical health, (b) their well-being, (c) staff retention and (d) patient safety.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Taking regular annual leave is important to support staff retention, health and wellbeing and patient safety. Employers have a duty of care to staff to ensure staff have reasonable opportunities to take annual leave to rest and recuperate and, whenever possible, leave requests should be approved. However, the National Health Service is continuing to face challenges as it responds to the pandemic, so there is less flexibility as to when leave can be taken. Employers across the NHS are working hard to maximise available workforce capacity, including use of bank staff and returners to maintain quality of care as far as possible and enable staff to take leave. The NHS People Plan published in July 2020 includes a commitment to enhanced occupational and mental health support for NHS staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what conclusions were reached on further actions that can be taken to tackle ethnic disparities in maternal mortality, following the roundtable of 2 September 2020.

Following the roundtable on 2 September, officials in the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit are supporting the Department of Health and Social Care in driving positive actions through a number of interventions on maternal mortality from an equalities perspective.

For example, NHS England and Improvement are introducing a funded and comprehensive national support offer which will be mobilised later this year. This will require Local Maternity Services to work towards achieving the ambition that 75% of Black and Asian women receive continuity of care by 2024.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 2020-21 National Tariff Payment System Annex D: Guidance on best practice tariffs, section 15.2, paragraph 196, whether the 2021-22 National Tariff Payment System will include a higher price for outpatient hysteroscopy procedures than for ordinary and day-case elective admissions.

NHS England sets day case and outpatient tariffs for a range of procedures where expert clinical consensus is that this may be appropriate. In the case of hysteroscopy procedures there is a single price.

NHS England recognises that few hysteroscopy cases are reported as outpatient procedures and that most are reported as day cases or inpatient cases. NHS England has raised this issue with the NHS Digital-led Expert Reference Group that covers this clinical area. Expert Reference Groups are led by clinicians nominated by their Royal Colleges to agree currency design changes and provide their views about whether the prices relativities are correct. The Expert Reference Group for this clinical area advises that the same price is set for all forms of diagnostic hysteroscopy procedures under Healthcare Resource Group codes MA31Z-MA34Z.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received about barriers to covid-19 (a) testing and (b) vaccination resulting from (i) requirements to produce photo ID and (ii) language about such requirements in the terms and conditions of booking.

A search of the Department’s Ministerial correspondence database shows that there are approximately 4,817 cases which either contain the term ‘testing’ or ‘vaccination’. In order to determine whether these are representations concerning identification could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a three-year investment programme agreed in 2017 with the London Fire Service to upgrade fire safety in Barts NHS Trust was delayed as a result of limits on capital funding available to the Trust.

The Department has provided emergency funding to Barts NHS Trust, including £6.1 million in 2019-20 for fire safety works. A significant portion has been carried out and work is scheduled to March 2022, with work designed to ensure clinical services can continue during construction work.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Patient Safety, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, of 24 September 2020, Official Report, column 1243, when the Women’s Health Agenda is next planned to meet; and whether the issue of painful hysteroscopy is on the agenda for that meeting.

The Women’s Health Agenda is not a formal group and there are no meetings of the Women’s Health Agenda planned.

However, we are committed to considering the issue of painful hysteroscopies as part of our ongoing work on women’s health and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is currently reviewing the guideline regarding out-patient hysteroscopy, which has an explicit focus on minimising pain and optimising the woman’s experience.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for the effectiveness of his payment scheme for people in the highest covid-19 risk areas to self-isolate of the ineligibility to those payments of people with no recourse to public funds.

The Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 was introduced on 28 September, to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by National Health Service Test and Trace and will lose income as a result.

The standard eligibility criteria include receipt of Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

Local authorities can make a £500 discretionary payment to those who are not in receipt of any of the above benefits but meet the other eligibility criteria and will face financial hardship as a result of having to self-isolate. Depending on their individual circumstances, people who have no recourse to public funds may be eligible for a discretionary payment.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 3 July 2020 to Questions 61685 and 61686 on Prisoners' Transfers: Mentally Disordered Offenders, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on transfer times for prisoners to secure hospitals for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Prisoners eligible for transfer to National Health Service psychiatric units should be moved out of prison as quickly as possible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to revise the Department’s good practice guidance (2011) ‘Transfer and remission of adult prisoners under the Mental Health Act 1983 good practice guidance 2019’. The aim is to facilitate timely access to appropriate treatment under the Mental Health Act and reduce unnecessary delays based on clinical need.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have undertaken extensive public consultation on revisions to the guidance and had planned to publish the final version by spring 2020. The publication process has been delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic but NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to proceed towards publication as quickly as possible.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 3 July 2020 to Questions 61685 and 61686 on Prisoners' Transfers: Mentally Disordered Offenders, what plans the Government has to improve transfer times for prisoners to secure hospitals for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Prisoners eligible for transfer to National Health Service psychiatric units should be moved out of prison as quickly as possible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to revise the Department’s good practice guidance (2011) ‘Transfer and remission of adult prisoners under the Mental Health Act 1983 good practice guidance 2019’. The aim is to facilitate timely access to appropriate treatment under the Mental Health Act and reduce unnecessary delays based on clinical need.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have undertaken extensive public consultation on revisions to the guidance and had planned to publish the final version by spring 2020. The publication process has been delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic but NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to proceed towards publication as quickly as possible.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government response to Recommendation 9b of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs report on Custody-Community Transitions, published in October 2019, when the RAND Europe evaluation of the impact of Liaison and Diversion services in the criminal justice system including re-offending and levels of diversion from the criminal justice system into treatment will be published.

The report is currently being peer reviewed and will be published in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of women and girls who are new entrants to a custodial facility in England and Wales and who have (a) been offered and (b) have taken up the offer of a pregnancy test.

Every woman who arrives at a prison in England is offered a pregnancy test on reception if they meet the eligibility criteria. Women can refuse to have a pregnancy test but if they do the subject is revisited with them as they settle into prison.

The take up of these tests is not nationally collected. We are unable to tell how many women take up the offer of the test as this information would sit on the patients’ notes.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the paper entitled, Healthcare access for children and families on the move and migrants, published in BMJ Pediatrics Open on 13 April 2020.

As part of its ongoing policy responsibilities, the Department is considering the Charging Regulations in relation to the most vulnerable in society, including children and migrant pregnant women and new mothers. This includes ensuring the evidence base is sufficient and up to date where necessary and consideration of relevant legal duties, such as the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The Department has no plans to suspend the Charging Regulations or to launch an independent review of their impact.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the publication entitled, Patients not passports: migrants’ access to healthcare during the coronavirus crisis, published by Medact, Migrants Organise, and The New Economics Foundation in June 2020.

Regulations came into force on 29 January 2020 to add Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (now known as COVID-19) to Schedule 1 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015. This means there can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis, or treatment, of COVID-19. Patients that are known to be undergoing testing and treatment for coronavirus only are not subject to Home Office status checks.

This information has been widely communicated to NHS staff and the public, including a message published on Public Health England’s Migrant Health Guide, which has been translated into 40 languages.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Heath and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the capacity of the secure hospital system in England and Wales.

NHS England and NHS Improvement haveconducted a demand and capacity review of adult medium and low secure services to ensure they are in the right geographical location and delivering the right type of service in a timely way. This fed into the commitment to use National Health Service-led provider collaboratives to get appropriate, high quality secure care in place, which is being delivered as part of the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

For high secure services, NHS England and NHS Improvement are in the early stages of a similar demand and capacity review as part of strategic commissioning work. This has been delayed due to the COVID-19 restrictions but is expected to inform the workplan for the 2021-26 high secure demand and capacity plan.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with stakeholders to explore and model what impact COVID-19 might have on future demand and capacity in the adult secure estate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the paper entitled Secondary care clinicians and staff have a key role in delivering equivalence of care for prisoners: A qualitative study of prisoners’ experiences, published in The Lancet: EClinicalMedicine on 23 June 2020.

Offenders should have access to the same range and quality of healthcare services as people in the community.

Responsibility for the provision of health services in prisons sits with NHS England and NHS Improvement, which will no doubt want to take the findings of this report and any possible implications for the delivery of prison health services into account.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2020 to Question 54055 on Prisoners: Health Services, if he will make those assessments.

No assessment is necessary as secondary care services are not provided by primary care staff in prisons.

Primary care staff facilitate the use of remote/digital services to support consultations carried out by secondary care staff where people in prisons have not travelled to out-patient settings.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of transfers of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act took longer than the national guideline of 14 days in 2019.

Data on mental health transfers in prisons is only held at an aggregated level and it is not possible to determine median and percentile figures as this would require patient-level information.

Within adult prisons, 285 out of 979 (29.1%) transfers of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983 in 2019 occurred within 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what was the (a) median and (b) 90th percentile time taken for a transfer of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act in 2019.

Data on mental health transfers in prisons is only held at an aggregated level and it is not possible to determine median and percentile figures as this would require patient-level information.

Within adult prisons, 285 out of 979 (29.1%) transfers of a prisoner to a secure hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983 in 2019 occurred within 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the additional extent to which secondary care services for prisoners, including diagnostic fluid tests, are being performed by primary care staff within prisons due to the increasing use of remote outpatient consultations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what assessment he has made of the potential need to transfer resources allocated for these services to providers of healthcare within prisons.

We have made no such assessments. Primary care teams in prisons are working with their counterparts in secondary care to ensure people in prisons are able to access the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, including through telemedicine where appropriate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans NHS England has to protect patients with covid-19 from the increased risk in that group of potentially fatal venous thromboembolism.

As COVID-19 is a new disease, there is no high quality evidence to guide clinical management in protecting patients with the disease from the increased risk of thromboembolism. NHS England and NHS Improvement are urging clinicians to support research which may evaluate methods to prevent or reduce harm from thromboembolism in the context of COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are not planning to publish clinical guidance it commissioned in relation to venous thromboembolism in patients with COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement are engaging with other organisations and professional bodies and looking to them to publish the guidance as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NHS England plans to publish the expert clinical guidance that it commissioned on thrombosis and critical care for patients with covid-19 which was submitted for dissemination on 28 April 2020.

As COVID-19 is a new disease, there is no high quality evidence to guide clinical management in protecting patients with the disease from the increased risk of thromboembolism. NHS England and NHS Improvement are urging clinicians to support research which may evaluate methods to prevent or reduce harm from thromboembolism in the context of COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are not planning to publish clinical guidance it commissioned in relation to venous thromboembolism in patients with COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement are engaging with other organisations and professional bodies and looking to them to publish the guidance as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing Band 5 nurses to fill tracking and tracing roles to tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

Public Health England’s local health protection teams and local authority public health teams are an integral part of the contact tracing system. They will be supported by around 25,000 additional contact tracers, a mix of call handlers and health professionals. Health professional applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role will be considered. The post is not band specific.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many domiciliary care workers in the community were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much personal protective equipment his Department delivered to (a) care homes, (b) domiciliary care organisations, (c) district nurses, (d) NHS ambulance trusts and (e) GPs in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Since 25 February the Government has delivered over 2 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) across the health and social care system within England, plus tens of millions more will have been distributed by the devolved administrations. This PPE is for frontline staff at care homes, home care providers and hospices as well as to hospitals, ambulance trusts, general practitioner practices and pharmacists.

Over 143 million items of PPE have been made available to social care providers through wholesalers. In addition to this, to date we have authorised the release of over 139 million items of PPE to local resilience forums.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home residents were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The information is not available in the format requested. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 125,000 workers in care settings and over 118,000 care home residents have been tested through Departmental and Public Health England testing routes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) district nurses and (b) other community medics were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GPs were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many paramedics employed by NHS ambulance trusts were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The Department does not hold this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home employees were tested for covid-19 in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

The data is not held in the format requested. Since the start of the pandemic, over 198,000 workers in care settings and over 177,000 care home residents have been tested through Departmental and Public Health England testing routes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many relatives of care home employees were tested for covid-19 on the basis of being a relative of a care home employee in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Data on the number of relatives of care home employees that were tested on the basis of being a relative of a care home employee is not currently available or published in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many relatives of care home residents were tested for covid-19 on the basis of being a relative of a care home resident in each week from 2 March 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Data on the number of relatives of care home residents that were tested on the basis of being a relative of a care home resident is not currently available or published in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of prisoners who have assessed mental health needs that would normally receive a psychiatric healthcare response received that response during (a) March, (b) April and (c) May 2020 to date; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not available in the required format.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of prisoners who have assessed mental health needs that would normally receive a pharmaceutical prescription received that healthcare in (a) March, (b) April and (c) May 2020 to date; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not available in the required format.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether a (a) men’s prison, (b) women’s prison, or (c) young offender’s institution in England and Wales has failed to provide the level of healthcare staffing set out in the relevant local healthcare delivery plan since the covid-19 Operational Guidance – Exceptional Regime & Service Delivery was promulgated.

Healthcare services for prisons in England are commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

As of 18 May 2020, no sites were reporting staffing issues that would impact on their ability to manage their patients’ care.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data sharing agreement with Faculty Science Limited in relation to their work on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data sharing agreement with Palantir Technologies UK in relation to their work on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data protection impact assessment in respect of the work of Faculty Science Limited on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data protection impact assessment in respect of the work of Palantir Technologies UK on the covid-19 data platform.

NHS England is the data controller for data processed in the NHS Data Store. It has engaged individual analysts from different tech companies under honorary contracts to assist with modelling data from the NHS Data Store, some of which are employees of Faculty.

Palantir Technology UK is engaged by NHS England under contract as a data processor. As a data processor, the organisation does have access to the data but can only process it under instruction from NHS England. As such, a data sharing agreement is not required. The Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS Data Store is being published by NHS England in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that covid-19 tests undertaken at home are not counted for statistical purposes both when they are sent out and when they are returned and processed.

The Government receives a daily report on the number of COVID-19 home kits dispatched. This single, reliable figure is the only one used for external statistical processes. Home kits returned to the laboratories are uniquely identifiable and therefore not counted in the daily statistics for the number of COVID-19 tests processed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has received reports of (a) NHS Trusts and (b) other NHS bodies putting in place new restrictions on their staff speaking in public or to journalists about their concerns on the situation within their workplace since the outbreak of covid-19; and if he will make a statement

The Government supports the right of staff working in the National Health Service to speak up and raise concerns. Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services and should be a routine part of business in the NHS.

The Government has proactively encouraged NHS staff to raise concerns over recent years, and provided support by establishing an independent National Guardian to help drive positive cultural change across the NHS so that speaking up becomes business as usual.

NHS staff remain free to speak in a personal capacity about their work.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect on (a) NHS staff safety, (b) patient safety and (c) public trust of reports of restrictions by NHS bodies on staff members who wish to speak in public or to journalists about their concerns on the situation within their workplace during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government supports the right of staff working in the National Health Service to speak up and raise concerns. Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services and should be a routine part of business in the NHS.

The Government has proactively encouraged NHS staff to raise concerns over recent years, and provided support by establishing an independent National Guardian to help drive positive cultural change across the NHS so that speaking up becomes business as usual.

NHS staff remain free to speak in a personal capacity about their work.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the viability of reallocating funding to the production and distribution of additional medical devices to treat patients suffering severe covid-19 symptoms in advance of the infection rate peak; and if he will make a statement.

The Chancellor created a £5 billion contingency fund to ensure National Health Service and public services have the resources they need, including personal protective equipment and has been clear that the NHS will get whatever funding it needs to respond to the COVID-19.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the viability of reallocating funding to the production and distribution of additional personal protective equipment to treat patients suffering severe covid-19 symptoms in advance of the infection rate peak; and if he will make a statement.

The Chancellor created a £5 billion contingency fund to ensure National Health Service and public services have the resources they need, including personal protective equipment and has been clear that the NHS will get whatever funding it needs to respond to the COVID-19.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the current NHS (a) stock and (b) supply chain for medical devices required to treat patients with severe covid-19 infection symptoms.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with supply problems affecting all medical products and supplies, including medicines, medical devices and personal protective equipment regardless of the cause, and work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised.

A product supply response group has been set up to manage supply of products and to support any response to shortages required for the COVID-19 outbreak. The group is also considering the potential mid to long-term impacts of the outbreak globally. The Department is communicating with all stakeholders, including Royal Colleges, charities, patient groups, the NHS, the adult social care sector, and the devolved nations, and will continue to keep these stakeholders updated as the situation progresses.

Personal protective equipment has been issued to general practices since 9 March the packs include facemasks, aprons and gloves.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his department has made of the adequacy of current NHS (a) stock and (b) supply chain for personal protective equipment required to treat patients with covid-19.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with supply problems affecting all medical products and supplies, including medicines, medical devices and personal protective equipment regardless of the cause, and work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised.

A product supply response group has been set up to manage supply of products and to support any response to shortages required for the COVID-19 outbreak. The group is also considering the potential mid to long-term impacts of the outbreak globally. The Department is communicating with all stakeholders, including Royal Colleges, charities, patient groups, the NHS, the adult social care sector, and the devolved nations, and will continue to keep these stakeholders updated as the situation progresses.

Personal protective equipment has been issued to general practices since 9 March the packs include facemasks, aprons and gloves.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what powers he has to requisition privately-owned healthcare facilities in the event that more facilities are required for patients diagnosed with covid-19.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to increase capacity and resource within the National Health Service, adding around 8000 beds and 20,000 clinical staff. This will ensure that more facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to requisition privately-owned healthcare facilities in the event that more facilities are required for patients diagnosed with covid-19.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to increase capacity and resource within the National Health Service, adding around 8000 beds and 20,000 clinical staff. This will ensure that more facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to co-ordinate the conversion of hospital facilities into specialist areas to treat large numbers of patients needing intensive care as a result of covid-19, in advance of the infection rate peak.

NHS England has an operating Framework for Managing the Response to Pandemic Influenza. It sets out the roles, responsibilities and functions of NHS England in preparing for and responding to an influenza pandemic. It is intended to complement and support existing plans, policies and arrangements. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/nhs-england-pandmic-influenza-operating-framework-v2.pdf

Extensive advice and guidance on COVID-19 has already been produced by Public Health England (PHE), the National Health Service and others, some of which will be of direct relevance to people who misuse drugs and alcohol, and those in specialist treatment for drug or alcohol misuse and dependence. Additional targeted information is being provided in specific settings, including prisons and approved premises. These populations may have particular vulnerabilities and needs that are considered within this guidance, alongside other populations. PHE cascaded this information directly to local authority commissioners on 14 February 2020. The Government will continue to carefully monitor whether further resources need to be made available to protect this vulnerable cohort.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to construct temporary intensive care facilities prior to the peak of the covid-19 infection to treat people as a result of that infection.

NHS England has an operating Framework for Managing the Response to Pandemic Influenza. It sets out the roles, responsibilities and functions of NHS England in preparing for and responding to an influenza pandemic. It is intended to complement and support existing plans, policies and arrangements. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/nhs-england-pandmic-influenza-operating-framework-v2.pdf

Extensive advice and guidance on COVID-19 has already been produced by Public Health England (PHE), the National Health Service and others, some of which will be of direct relevance to people who misuse drugs and alcohol, and those in specialist treatment for drug or alcohol misuse and dependence. Additional targeted information is being provided in specific settings, including prisons and approved premises. These populations may have particular vulnerabilities and needs that are considered within this guidance, alongside other populations. PHE cascaded this information directly to local authority commissioners on 14 February 2020. The Government will continue to carefully monitor whether further resources need to be made available to protect this vulnerable cohort.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet with representatives of (a) the London Ambulance Service and (b) the Patients’ Forum for the London Ambulance Service to ensure that the London Ambulance Service is maintaining (i) effective transparency and (ii) an engaged consultative relationship with patient representative bodies.

The London Ambulance Service remains committed to working with patient representative groups and the wider public, to further improve the care it delivers for Londoners.

I will meet with the Ambulance Trust and the Patients’ Forum to discuss the continuation of their partnership.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of funding inequalities between areas on (a) NHS Newham clinical commissioning group, (b) North-East London sustainability and transformation partnership and (c) other areas as set out on the Royal College of Psychiatrists Mental Health Watch website.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan we have committed at least a further £2.3 billion a year to mental health services by 2023/24 meaning that spend on mental health will be growing faster than the overall National Health Service budget.

Based on core weighted population, an indicative allocation of £163.7m in clinical commissioning group (CCG) baseline investment and indicative allocation of £271.3 million in transformation funding will be made to North East London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership between 2019/20 to 2023/24, with Newham CCG modelled as receiving around 17.5% of this funding.

The Mental Health Investment Standard requires CCGs to increase the amount spent on mental health by at least as much as their overall budget increases. For the first time, in 2018/19 all CCGs met this level of investment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include outpatient hysteroscopy and the issue of uncontrolled pain for women on the agenda of a meeting of the Women's Health Taskforce for England within the next six months.

Outpatient Hysteroscopy is an important topic, and we are open to discussing it at a future meeting of the Women’s Health Taskforce. It is not currently on the agenda for the next Women’s Health Taskforce meeting.

6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if NHS Improvement will remove the financial incentive for outpatient hysteroscopy procedures within the proposed National Tariff Payment System 2020-21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the design of the National Tariff. Any changes to tariff are made following significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the sector. The final changes are consulted on alongside an assessment of the potential impact to providers and patients.

The current statutory consultation on the 2020/21 tariff is open until midnight on Wednesday 22 January. The document considers changes to outpatient tariffs to support the delivery of the Long Term Plan, including outpatient transformation.

Hysteroscopy is covered by the outpatient procedures best practice tariff (BPT). The aim of the BPT is to encourage procedures in an outpatient setting, where clinically appropriate. Outpatient procedures provide the patient with a quicker recovery, as well as allowing them to recuperate at home and get back to work and daily life sooner. The National Health Service in England does not collect data on the incidence of severe pain during hysteroscopy or women discouraged from taking up diagnostic hysteroscopy as a result of fear of severe pain due to the procedure.

6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the inclusion of a financial incentive for outpatient hysteroscopy procedures within the National Tariff Payment System on the incidence of (a) severe pain during hysteroscopy and (b) women discouraged from taking up diagnostic hysteroscopy as a result of fear of severe pain due to the procedure.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the design of the National Tariff. Any changes to tariff are made following significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the sector. The final changes are consulted on alongside an assessment of the potential impact to providers and patients.

The current statutory consultation on the 2020/21 tariff is open until midnight on Wednesday 22 January. The document considers changes to outpatient tariffs to support the delivery of the Long Term Plan, including outpatient transformation.

Hysteroscopy is covered by the outpatient procedures best practice tariff (BPT). The aim of the BPT is to encourage procedures in an outpatient setting, where clinically appropriate. Outpatient procedures provide the patient with a quicker recovery, as well as allowing them to recuperate at home and get back to work and daily life sooner. The National Health Service in England does not collect data on the incidence of severe pain during hysteroscopy or women discouraged from taking up diagnostic hysteroscopy as a result of fear of severe pain due to the procedure.

25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has plans to publish an Africa strategy; and what the status is of the Africa strategy within her Department.

The Integrated Review sets out the Government's approach to working with African countries. The Foreign Secretary has agreed a strategy to deliver on that approach in conjunction with other departments and agencies. We continue to share information on the implementation of our approach through various channels including speeches, visits, articles, and social media. For example, I set out our priorities in a speech at Chatham House on 14 December 2021 and during the oral evidence session of the International Relations and Defence Committee on 26 January. The vision is to build a network of liberty through partnerships with African countries, one that promotes British interests and leads to countries, and indeed the continent, being freer, safer, more prosperous, healthier and greener.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support (a) inclusiveness, (b) accountability, (c) human rights protections, (d) financial sustainability and (e) African Union and United Nations mandates for any regional intervention force that is created to address violence and abuses in the eastern regions of Democratic Republic of Congo.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to (a) support investigations into the killings in the Krink region of West Darfur, Sudan, on 24 April 2022, including reports of the complicity of Rapid Support Forces, and (b) help prevent further violence in that region.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to PM launches new initiative to take Green Industrial Revolution global, published on 1 November 2021, and HCWS779, made on 25 April 2022, for what reason the value of the guarantee to the African Development Bank has reduced from $2 billion equivalent to $1.6 billion equivalent.

In November 2021, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would provide a guarantee to the African Development Bank that would unlock up to $2 billion of additional climate finance for Africa.

Since November, the FCDO has been working with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) and Credit Rating Agencies to finalise the financial structure of the guarantee. The impact of the guarantee remains the same, with the guarantee expected to unlock up to $2 billion of climate finance for Africa. In the final structure, the FCDO will provide $1.6 billion of cover and ATI will provide $400 million of cover.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Geneva conference on drought in the Horn of Africa on 26 April 2022, whether her Department has plans to allocate additional funding to help prevent famine in that region.

The UK is deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa and welcomed the timely conference on drought in the region convened by the UN and the EU in Geneva on 26 April. In January, I announced a £17 million package of emergency humanitarian assistance to address critical needs in Ethiopia (£5 million), South Sudan (£3 million), Somalia (£8 million) and Kenya (£1 million). In February, a further £5.5 million of support was allocated for Somalia, and in March a further £1.6 million to support the drought response in Ethiopia. On 26 April, I announced a further £25 million in aid to provide vital services to almost a million people in Somalia, including food relief and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) support, as the country teeters on the brink of widespread famine.

Our response to the drought builds on long-established resilience building programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya this includes support to the Hunger Safety Programme, which has provided 600,000 people in drought prone areas with regular financial assistance alongside efforts to promote strengthened national disaster management capacity. In Ethiopia, the UK funded Productive Safety Net Programme has benefitted some 8 million people via financial welfare provision and community public works projects, which promote soil and water conservation. In Somalia the UK has been supporting over 220 rural communities through its multi-year resilience programme and in three large urban cities with durable solutions initiatives for internally displaced persons. These programmes, coupled with additional investments, have enabled the UK to reach nearly 8 million individuals as a part of its emergency humanitarian response.

The UK remains committed to promoting peace and security across the Horn of Africa.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for (a) long-term continental health system strengthening and (b) covid-19 recovery in Africa if plans for production of the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine in South Africa are ended as a result of a lack of orders.

Increased and diversified manufacturing of affordable, quality and effective vaccines will save lives, strengthen health services, and improve preparedness for future pandemics. COVID-19 vaccine availability has improved across Africa since late 2021. The UK is working with COVAX to increase coverage further in countries with weak health systems, prioritising the most vulnerable such as the elderly. We are supporting the Africa Centres for Disease Control's "Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing" by providing detailed market analysis on priority vaccines for the region, to inform manufacturers' and investors' planning. We have also provided technical support to develop business cases for vaccine production in South Africa, Senegal, and Morocco. Our approach contributes to sustainable vaccine manufacturing in the medium and longer term across Africa through commercially viable businesses operating within a well-developed ecosystem of skilled workers, innovative technology, and effective regulation.

The UK works with COVAX, WHO, Unicef and other partners in Africa to support strong and resilient national health systems. This includes improving public health functions such as surveillance, community engagement and vaccine confidence to prevent and prepare for future disease outbreaks and managing COVID-19 through integrating vaccination and access to tests and treatment as part of primary health care.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to her Department's press release entitled, UK launches £89 million Shule Bora education initiative in Tanzania, published on 4 April 2022, whether that £89 million replaces the unspent funds of £119,460,376 originally planned to be allocated to that project for the period from 3 March 2020 to 31 March 2026.

The significant impact of the pandemic on global economies, including the UK, forced us to take hard but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the overall amount we spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA) globally and in Tanzania. The original figure of £119 million published for the Shule Bora education initiative was reduced to £89 million. This remains a significant investment in the UK's commitment to supporting 12 years of quality education for all girls. The Shule Bora programme will reach over 4 million children in Tanzania and will help strengthen the impact of education investments. It is specifically focused on testing innovations in education, improving the overall quality of education and independently verifying results. The Foreign Secretary remains committed to restoring the overall budget across the FCDO for women and girls.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to We Will Erase You from This Land: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone published by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on 6 April 2022, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations of that report.

We note the report published on 6 April by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Its findings and other reports of widespread human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict are extremely worrying. These include mass detentions, extrajudicial killings, torture, sexual and gender-based violence. UK Ministers and senior officials have underscored to the warring parties - at the highest levels - their obligations towards civilians. The protection of all civilians needs to be prioritised, human rights respected and those responsible for human rights abuses and violations held to account.

At a Special Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on 17 December 2021, the UK supported and voted in favour of an EU-led resolution on Ethiopia which created an International Commission of Experts to investigate human rights abuses and violations committed during the conflict, and have pushed for this to be properly resourced. We urge all sides in the conflict to cooperate with this Commission of International Experts.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the government of Senegal on accountability for the death of Cheikh Wade and other protesters killed in March 2021.

The UK Government was concerned by the unrest and violence in Senegal during protests in March 2021 with reports of protesters being killed. The UK is committed to promoting the protection of freedom, democracy and human rights. We will continue to support inclusive politics and institutions in Senegal. Our Embassy in Dakar regularly engages on these issues and is working with local civil society organisations to support media freedom and access to information in Senegal, which is essential for contributing to democracy and an open society.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to reports that female protestors in Sudan have been subjected to rape and assault by Sudanese police and military personnel over recent months, what steps she will take to hold those responsible to account.

We raised our deep concern at reports of sexual violence against protesters in Sudan at a meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 March, and with Sudan's military leadership on 6 April. The use of violence against protestors, including sexual violence, must stop and I refer the Honourable Member to the answer of 4 April to question 147040 on issues of accountability.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) recent assessment she has made of human rights in Angola, (b) steps she is taking to support organisations advocating for accountability for abuses in that country and (c) representations she has made to the government of Angola in relation to accountability in relation to the deaths in Cafunfo in Lunda Norte province in January 2021.

The Government of Angola is working to improve its human rights record. On 20 April 2020, the Government approved a National Human Rights Strategy which is part of the Universal Periodic Review response and recommendations from the last two sessions of 2014 and 2020 of the UN Human Rights Council. The country's most significant, recent advances on Human Rights include the approval of a religious freedom law (Jan 2019), ratification of the UN Conventions Against Torture (UNCAT) and Racial Discrimination (CERD) and of the Optional Protocol on the Abolition of the Death Penalty (all deposited in Oct 2019). In October 2020, the Government approved a new Penal Code, which came into effect February 2021. The new Penal Code prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, granting to homosexual individuals the same liberties as any other Angolan citizen.

The British Ambassador joined like-minded partners in seeking clarification over the incident in Cafunfo in Lunda Sul province last year. Following an investigation by the Angolan authorities, shortfalls were identified in the crowd control strategies of the Angolan police force. Remedial training was provided by the authorities to avoid a repetition and ensure appropriate and proportionate action will be taken in future.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of reports that the governor of the Amhara region in Ethiopia has asked Russia to support the rebuilding of public infrastructure in that region.

We are aware of reports that the governor of Amhara region in Ethiopia has asked Russia for support in the rebuilding of public infrastructure. It is not clear whether such support will be forthcoming, and we will continue to monitor to assess the implications of this. We are clear that a full ceasefire in the north of Ethiopia as well as an inclusive national dialogue to address long-standing grievances are essential before reconstruction can begin.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to the government of Cameroon on enabling humanitarian access to the South-West and North-West regions of Cameroon for (a) Medecins Sans Frontieres and (b) other humanitarian NGOs.

The crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon has had tragic impacts on the lives of civilians. The UK has called for continued humanitarian access, and on 14 April, alongside the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Cameroon, and other UN Member States, we joined the launch of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). The HRP outlines how humanitarian actors will support 2.6 million people living in crisis areas with multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance.

Over the last five years, we have allocated over £21 million aid to Cameroon, which has included food supplies, sanitation, healthcare and social protection. This is supporting the World Food Programme and International Committee for the Red Cross to assist those affected in the North-West and South-West regions.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of (a) the impact on freedom of religion or belief in Nigeria of the sentencing of Mubarak Bala, the President of the Nigerian Humanist Association, for blasphemy and (b) procedural justice in that case; and if she has made any representations to authorities in Nigeria in relation to that case.

The UK Government is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. This is a longstanding human rights policy priority for the UK Government, and we look forward to hosting a global summit to promote FoRB later this year.

The UK Government has followed Mr Bala's case closely, and has raised his case on multiple occasions with the Nigerian authorities, including following his recent sentencing. We believe that the right of individuals to express opinions is essential to a free and open society. We are concerned by the severity and length of sentence received by Mr Bala at trial. The British High Commissioner has expressed these concerns to the Kano State Government and the Nigerian President's Chief of Staff. We will continue to follow developments in Mr Bala's case closely, and will continue to stress the importance of Mr Bala being treated in full accordance with his human rights, the rule of law, and the Nigerian constitutional right to freedom of religion or belief.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2022 to Question 98253 on Angola: Elections, what recent assessment she has made of the risks of violence by separatist organisations in the run-up to elections in Angola.

An armed separatist movement, the Liberation Front for the Cabinda Enclave (FLEC), has been active in Angola's oil-rich northernmost province, Cabinda, since 1963. Angola demonstrated its ability to hold peaceful and democratic elections in 2017, however, and there is no evidence to suggest that this will not be repeated. HMG, along with other likeminded partners, is monitoring this and will continue to encourage the Government of Angola and its National Electoral Commission to implement strategies for an inclusive, fair and transparent election.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with (a) the International Organisation for Migration, (b) states neighbouring Rwanda and (c) the African Union in relation to the impacts of the Government’s plans to establish a migrant deportation policy with Rwanda; and what assessment she has made of the impact of the Government’s plans to establish a migrant deportation policy with Rwanda on perceptions of the UK across the continent of Africa.

Due to the need for discretion during sensitive policy, legal and financial negotiations, no discussions on the Migration and Economic Development Partnership were held with the International Organisation for Migration, States neighbouring Rwanda, or the African Union.

This new Migration and Economic Development Partnership is a world first and a major milestone in breaking the business model of people smuggling gangs. Rwanda and the United Kingdom are likeminded partners in their desire to tackle the global migration crisis and their track record in hosting refugees. There is a global responsibility to prioritise the safety and well-being of migrants, and Rwanda welcomes this partnership with the United Kingdom to host asylum seekers and migrants, and offer them legal pathways to residence. This is about ensuring that people are protected, respected, and empowered to further their own ambitions and settle permanently in Rwanda if they choose.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the government of Ethiopia on the benefits for humanitarian access of the reopening of other land routes into the Tigray region in addition to the Abala-Mekele route; and what assessment she has made of adherence to (a) the ceasefire and (b) commitments to the provision of humanitarian access by all parties to the conflict since 24 March 2022.

We continue to have active discussions in Ethiopia, with the Government of Ethiopia, Humanitarian Agencies and Regional Governments, on implementing the delivery of aid following the 24 March cessation of hostilities, and on exploring all routes to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance for Tigray. As I [Minister Ford] expressed in my statement of 1 April, the arrival of a humanitarian convoy in Tigrayan controlled areas on that day was a welcome development, but we need to see sustained humanitarian access to the region.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department is reviewing the contract between British International Investment (CDC) and DP World for port infrastructure projects in (a) Egypt, (b) Senegal and (c) Somaliland; and what assessment she has made of the impact of UK public funding for those projects on (1) workers’ rights and (2) the (A) inclusivity and (B) sustainability of development in those countries.

British International Investment's (BII) contract with DP World is not being considered as part of the review being undertaken by the Secretary of State for Transport of Government-held contracts with P&O Ferries or its parent, DP World, as BII operates at arm's length to the Government and all investment decisions by BII are made independently. BII's partnership with DP World is therefore not in scope for this HMG Review. The FCDO is not reviewing this contract as it adheres to the investment policy and policy for responsible investing that the FCDO has agreed with BII.

BII's Policy on Responsible Investing includes a focus on job quality, including the rights of workers and employees, is aligned to international best practice and sets out the approach to environment, social and governance (ESG) matters. All investments - including BII's investment partnership with DP World in Africa - are subject to these standards.

Africa has a sixth of the world's population, but accounts for just 4 per cent of global containerised shipping volumes. Ports are vital to the long-term prosperity of the continent. BII partnered with DP World to modernise and expand ports and logistics across Africa starting with three ports in Dakar, Sokhna and Berbera. Trade enabled through the three initial ports will improve access to vital goods for 35 million people and support 5 million jobs (138,000 created). By 2035, an estimated $51 billion in additional trade is forecast to pass through the ports, equivalent to 3 per cent of Senegal's GDP, 3 per cent of Egypt's GDP and 6 per cent of Somaliland's GDP.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of the governments of (a) Democratic Republic of the Congo, (b) Uganda, (c) Rwanda, (d) other states neighbouring the Democratic Republic of the Congo and (e) UN MONUSCO in relation to (i) recent violence within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and (ii) allegations of destabilising support for rebel groups within the Democratic Republic of the Congo by neighbouring states.

The security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is concerning. The UK is committed to supporting efforts to build stability and reduce violence in the country. In recent weeks our regional network has raised our concerns about the recent increase in violence, protection of civilians and increased movement of armed groups with the governments of DRC, Uganda and Rwanda, as well as the leadership of the UN Peacekeeping Mission, MONUSCO.

Our Heads of Mission to DRC and Rwanda have met with DRC President Tshisikedi and the acting Rwandan Foreign Minister respectively, and the Minister for Africa has met with the Ugandan Foreign Minister. At the UN Security Council on 29 March, we urged the Governments of DRC and Uganda to increase their coordination with MONUSCO, to ensure the protection of civilians and the safety and security of UN personnel and humanitarian workers. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and engage bilaterally to improve the security situation.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has for the (a) work of the Office for Conflict Stabilisation and Mediation and (b) future resourcing of the Conflict Stability and Security Fund.

On the work of the Office for Conflict Stabilisation and Mediation, we are witnessing a profound geopolitical shift following Russia's unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine. The FCDO is adapting its internal leadership arrangements and structures to ensure it is equipped to meet immediate and long-term global challenges. Implications for specific Directorates and teams are under review.

On the future resourcing of the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), the Spending Review 2021 provides a three-year settlement of £2.65 billion to the cross-government CSSF. The Fund is managed by the Cabinet Office and yearly allocations are signed off by the National Security Council.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the risk of a generalised breakdown of the 2018 peace deal in South Sudan; and what recent steps she has taken to support conflict resolution efforts in that country.

There have been recent reports of violence in South Sudan, including clashes between the two main Parties to the 2018 Peace Agreement. For now the Parties have stated that they remain committed to peace, but there remains a risk of miscalculation and further violence. On 23 March I [Minister Ford] urged all parties to de-escalate, condemning the violence and calling on the Government of South Sudan to exercise leadership and oversight of the nation's security forces. With our international partners we continue to deliver these messages and press the Parties to deliver their commitments. Through our Embassies and High Commissions we will also encourage the region, as guarantors of the Peace Agreement, to use their influence with the Parties to deliver peace.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Special Report 2021 FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to the Sudan, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 21 March 2022, what steps she is taking to prevent acute hunger in Sudan over the next six months.

We are concerned at the food insecurity situation in Sudan as highlighted by the 21 March Food and Agriculture Organization report. The World Food Programme (WFP) has subsequently estimated that up to 20 million people will face "emergency" or "crisis" levels of acute food insecurity in 2022. To help address this in 2021 we contributed £27 million to humanitarian assistance, via partners including the WFP, the UN-led Sudan Humanitarian Fund, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations. In 2021 our funding provided approximately 1.2 million people with lifesaving assistance (such as food, cash and voucher support, safe drinking water, shelter and sanitation), including providing over 500,000 vulnerable children with free school meals.

The overwhelming driver of current food insecurity in Sudan is the political and economic crisis. Since the military coup in October 2021, Ministers, British Embassy staff in Khartoum and senior FCDO officials have encouraged all Sudanese political actors to engage in the next phase of talks facilitated by the UN and African Union to resolve the crisis. This includes maintaining pressure on the military to engage in dialogue and deliver economic security; a message delivered on 3 March in meetings with Sudan's military leadership in Khartoum by senior FCDO officials.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the US sanctions on the Central Reserve Police of Sudan for its involvement in serious human rights abuses, announced on 21 March 2022, what steps she is taking to hold that organisation and other security service organisations in Sudan to account for serious human rights violations.

We remain concerned at the political crisis and continued violent repression of protesters in Sudan. The US is right to condemn Sudan's Central Reserve Police for their use of excessive use of force against protesters. We will continue to consider all options to maintain pressure on the Sudanese security forces, including the possibility of sanctions. We would not normally speculate about future sanctions targets as to do so could reduce their impact.

We continue to press the Sudanese military to allow peaceful protests, protect human rights and deliver accountability for past violations. This message was delivered directly by senior FCDO officials to Sudan's military leadership on 3 March in Khartoum.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has to (a) conduct and (b) publish impact assessments for changes to levels of UK funding for (a) global health, (b) climate heating response and (c) conflict prevention and resolution in the forthcoming International Development Strategy.

The FCDO conducts impact assessments as part of the annual business and country planning process, with reference to the UK's Public Sector Equality Duty (under the Equality Act 2010) and International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014. Official Development Assistance allocations, as part of the wider business and country planning process, will be strategically aligned with our future development direction as set out in the forthcoming International Development Strategy.

In line with practice across Government, the FCDO will not formally publish these impact assessments. As the Foreign Secretary has set out to Parliament, if we were to publish all impact assessments, it would discourage the candour of advice officials prepared. As we move through the project cycle, we will also continue to review the actual impact of our spending.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) global health, (b) climate heating response and (c) conflict prevention and resolution remain priorities (i) in the planed International Development Strategy and (ii) for her Department.

We will publish a new International Development Strategy in the Spring setting out our approach on these issues. This will include how we will deliver our health, climate change and conflict prevention commitments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with international counterparts on her plans for the International Development Strategy; and what assessment she has made of the impact on the UK's international reputation of her plans for that Strategy.

The International Development Strategy (IDS) will continue to position the UK as a leader on international development. Building on the extensive evidence and engagement underpinning the Integrated Review, the FCDO and other involved Departments are consulting and engaging with a wide range of global partners, NGOs, businesses, and experts on the themes and analysis underpinning the IDS. This has included roundtables with stakeholders led by my ministers and senior officials, and a Wilton Park workshop with external experts. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders in implementing the strategy, once published.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact on security in Ethiopia of the recent killing of workers near the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam site.

We are aware of various conflicting reports of an attack on the road to Guba in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region. There has been significant unrest in this region for some time and the FCDO already advise against all travel to Pawe, Guba, Dangur, Dibati, Bulen woredas in the Metekel zone of Benishangul-Gumuz, and against all but essential travel to the rest of Metekel zone.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of reports of increasing (a) air force and (b) naval cooperation between Russia and the coup authorities in Sudan.

We are aware of longstanding engagement between Russia and Sudan, including the agreement in principle for a Russian naval base in Port Sudan. I have regularly voiced UK concern at Russia's influence across Africa, which capitalises on instability for their own interests. This message has been relayed at the highest levels in Sudan.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the (a) immediate risk to life of attacks on civilians in the disputed Abyei region, including the towns of (i) Abyei and (ii) Agok, (b) roles of (A) Sudanese Armed Forces, (B) Misseriya militia, (C) Twic Dinka militias, (D) South Sudan People's Defence Forces and (D) Ngok Dinka militias in the ongoing violence; what representations she has made to authorities in the area including the leadership of UNISFA; and what steps she is taking to avoid escalation of that conflict.

We remain concerned at violence in Abyei. We continue to urge Sudan and South Sudan to reach a resolution on the final status of the region to help end the longstanding conflict and violence between different communities. We also frequently raise our concerns at the UN Security Council and have helped ensure that the UN peacekeeping mission (UNISFA) has a robust protection of civilians mandate. British embassy officials in Juba and Khartoum maintain regular contact with UNISFA, most recently sharing reports of potential violence in order to help understand conflict dynamics, and to prevent or respond to any attacks.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the risk of a coup in Gabon in 2022; and what steps she is taking to help ensure that free and fair elections can be held in that country.

We monitor developments in Gabon from our High Commission in Yaoundé (in Cameroon). We are aware of recent speculation in the British media about threats of a coup in Gabon. We will continue to monitor the situation closely. On elections, we stand ready to support the electoral process, working with international partners, including the EU and UN, in coordination with the Government of Gabon and call for all parties to engage constructively in the elections and uphold democratic principles including the rule of law.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent estimate she has made of the number of citizens of African states resident in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 who (a) remain in that country, (b) have left Ukraine and are taking refuge in nearby states, and (c) have left Ukraine and travelled to a state in which they have citizenship.

The UK Government has not made an assessment of the number of citizens of African states resident in Ukraine. As of 8 March, 2 million people are known to have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries, according to UNHCR [link: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine].

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March to Question 129089, (a) what proportions of the (i) 500,000 children under 5 estimated by UNICEF to be at risk of acute malnutrition and the (ii) 110,000 children under 5 estimated by UNICEF to be at risk of severe malnutrition will be aided by the funding already allocated by her Department, and (b) what support her Department is offering to projects to enable protection of (A) farmland, (B) replanting of crops, and (C) reforestation in southern Madagascar.

The UK is supporting an international multisector response to severe and prolonged drought in the south of Madagascar. Through the World Food Programme (WFP) our food assistance support is targeted at whole families with varying numbers of children per household. In total we are reaching 100,000 people in 20,000 households. Through UNICEF our support to health and nutrition is focused on building the knowledge and capacity of parents and care-givers to prevent malnutrition and is reaching 150,000 mothers and primary care givers.

We are also a major contributor to other multilateral partners and UN agencies such as the World Bank; the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who are working with the Government of Madagascar and local communities on important aspects of early recovery and resilience such as protecting farmland, replanting crops, and reforestation in the drought-affected south. Later this year we will launch DEFRA's £10 million Bio-Diverse Landscapes Fund to strengthen the sustainable management of nine forest protected areas throughout Madagascar, including in the south, over the next seven years.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support she is offering to the Government of Nigeria in relation to (a) the human rights implications of mass forced evictions and (b) effective practices of engagement with people living in areas targeted for redevelopment.

UN figures indicate over 2.5 million Nigerians have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict. The UK remains committed to working with Nigeria to respond to the causes and consequences of conflict. We have provided £425 million of humanitarian support in North East Nigeria since 2017, which has supported up to 1.5 million people. I held lengthy and detailed discussions with regional governors, and community and religious leaders, about the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria, including in the North East, during my recent visit to Nigeria.

We are concerned by recent closures of camps for displaced persons in Borno State which have relocated over 100,000 people. These people continue to be in need of humanitarian assistance and in some cases are moving to more insecure and ill-equipped locations. We have expressed our concern to Nigerian authorities at Federal and State levels, encouraging safe management of displacement that upholds global good practice. We are working closely with our partners on the ground and other diplomatic missions to monitor the situation and to promote sustainable approaches which ensures any movement is voluntary, safe, informed and dignified.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support she is providing to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to (a) enable judicial and security services to use mobile telecoms data to track kidnappers and enforce laws against kidnapping for ransom and (b) create effective regulatory relationships with mobile telecoms providers to help prevent their services from being used to facilitate kidnapping for ransom.

The UK does not provide any specific support to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo with regard to mobile telecoms. Our current bilateral assistance to DRC is £56.3 million, comprising £30.4 million for humanitarian activities, £17.4 million for health and education; £4.8 million for economic development; and £3.7 million for governance and stabilisation. The UK also supports the work carried out by the UN Peacekeeping Mission MONUSCO, who through supporting stability across the country also help reduce the scope for criminal acts such a kidnapping. In 2021/22, the UK will contribute approximately £45 million and three military staff officers to MONUSCO.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support she is offering to the Government of Chad on helping to ensure (a) a full investigation into and (b) accountability for the killing of journalist Evariste Djaï-Loramadji and other civilians on 9 February 2022.

The UK Government is aware of the death of journalist Evariste Djaï-Loramadji which took place during intercommunal violence in the village of Sandana on 9 February 2022. The UK encourages the Chadian Government to carry out a full investigation into the deaths of Evariste Djaï-Loramadji and civilians, and ensure that those responsible are held to account.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact on freedoms of (a) the press and (b) expression in Ghana of the treatment of (i) Kwabena Bobbie Ansah, (ii) Oheneba Boamah Bennie, (iii) Blessed Godsbrain Smart and (iv) Eric Nana Gyetuah.

The UK Government is committed to the promotion of media freedom and freedom of expression worldwide. Like the UK, Ghana is a member of the Media Freedom Coalition and has signed the media freedom global pledge. This commits Ghana to improving global media freedom and taking action where journalists and media organisations are at risk. Our High Commission in Accra is aware of the cases raised and will continue to monitor the situation and push for media freedom in our regular discussions with journalists, members of Parliament and Government officials.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Consultations on a political process for Sudan: an inclusive intra-Sudanese process on the way forward for democracy and peace, published by UNITAMS on 28 February 2022, what steps she plans to take to support rapid and peaceful progress towards civilian democratic rule in Sudan.

The UK and partners issued a statement on 2 March welcoming the UN report and the strong consensus it highlights on issues such as the need for a civilian cabinet, justice and accountability, and the role of women in the transition. Our statement made a clear call for all Sudanese political actors to engage in the next phase of talks to help achieve this. We will continue to advocate for such participation and to maintain pressure on the Sudanese military to engage to deliver the Sudanese people's demands for freedom, peace and justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Power Shift Africa report, entitled Adapt or Die: An analysis of African climate adaptation strategies, published on 25 February 2022.

The UK recognises how urgent and important it is to ensure countries most vulnerable to climate change, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa, are able to respond to the risks they face. At COP26 the UK committed £143.5 million to support African countries to adapt to the impact of extreme weather and changing climate.

The UK is fully committed to working with countries to honour the commitments made in the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26, including through the Glasgow-Sharm el Sheikh work programme to deliver on the Global Goal on Adaptation; developed countries' commitment to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025; and the Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage. This is in addition to the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use agreed at COP26, aiming to end deforestation by 2030 in Africa, supported by the Congo Basin Pledge, where 11 other donors in committing $1.5 billion for the protection of the Congo Basin Forests, and the land-mark $8.5 billion deal to support South Africa's just energy transition from coal with the UK, France, Germany, the US and the European Union - the first of its kind worldwide.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies on Sub-Saharan Africa of the second part of the UN IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report, entitled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, published on 27 February 2022.

The UK agrees with the IPCC that global action to adapt to the changing climate has been insufficient and recognises how urgent and important it is to ensure countries most vulnerable to climate change, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa, are able to respond to the risks they face.

At COP26 the UK committed £143.5 million to support African countries to adapt to the impact of extreme weather and changing climate. These include, amongst others, the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme to support African countries in designing and implementing transformational adaptation of their economies, supporting resilient water resources management through the Africa Regional Climate and Nature Programme, and the Climate Adaptation and Resilience research programme to inform development in a changing climate in Africa. This is in addition to the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use agreed at COP26, aiming to end deforestation by 2030 in Africa, supported by the Congo Basin Pledge, where 11 other donors in committing $1.5 billion for the protection of the Congo Basin Forests and the land-mark $8.5 billion deal to support South Africa's just energy transition from coal with the UK, France, Germany, the US and the European Union - the first of its kind worldwide.

This also includes £19.5 million for the Shock Response Programme in the Sahel, working with the World Bank to strengthen government social protection systems in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and support to the Centre for Disaster Protection to improve use of early warning systems and disaster risk financing. More recently we have completed a series of reports in partnership with the Met Office and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) to assess climate risks across regions in Sub-Saharan Africa to help embed consideration of climate risks across our work.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the acceptability of the announced three-year transition period prior to elections in Burkina Faso following the coup of January 2022; and what steps she is taking to engage with (a) partner countries in the region, (b) ECOWAS and (c) the African Union following that announcement.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer of 2 March 2022 to question 127412 with regards to the situation in Burkina Faso. We are monitoring the political and security situation closely, and working with partners, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, to encourage continued dialogue around a mutually acceptable timeframe for elections.

I set out the UK's continued support for regional mediation efforts by ECOWAS in a meeting with ECOWAS President, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, in Abuja on 22 February. I also discussed the situation in Burkina Faso with Ghana's Foreign Minister, Shirley Botchwey, in Accra on 24 February.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of responsibility for the attack on the offices of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde in Guinea-Bissau on 26 February 2022.

The UK Government was pleased to see calm restored in Guinea-Bissau following the attempted coup d'etat on 1 February. We are aware of reports of an attack on the offices of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, and continue to monitor the situation from our Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. Those responsible for violence must be held to account.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her US counterpart on potential individual sanctions on people in Somalia suspected of obstructing the timeliness, freedom, or fairness of elections taking place in that country.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer of 10 January 2022 to question 98238 with regards to the political situation in Somalia. The UK continues to work with the US and other international partners to promote stability in Somalia, including to encourage rapid completion of the electoral process. The UK takes account of the full range of policy tools at our disposal to promote these goals, protect human rights and discourage challenges to peace, security and electoral processes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the comments of Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, commander of the land-based armed forces of Uganda, on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We are very concerned about the comments made by Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Our High Commission in Kampala is working closely with the Government of Uganda on the response to the Ukraine crisis. Deputy Foreign Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, issued a public statement stating that Kainerugaba's comments were not in line with the Government policy. We will continue to encourage the international community to unite on Putin's callous actions. Putin's war of choice is based on a series of lies. Russia continues to use disinformation to attempt to justify its military action against Ukraine. In total, more than 100 different stories promoting unfounded claims around pre-texts for invasion were identified being disseminated by Kremlin-controlled media in February. This is a transparent attempt at disinformation and to provide a pretext for military action.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to (a) monitor and (b) support the progress of the Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria.

The UK Government was deeply concerned by violence during the #EndSARS protests. We continue to monitor progress of the judicial panels of inquiry and have publicly reiterated the importance of transparency and accountability. We have also called for the transparent publication of all reports and stressed the importance of ensuring all alleged incidents of brutality by the security services are investigated fully, and the need for anyone found responsible to be held to account. We continue to call on the Nigerian police to uphold human rights and the rule of law in all operations and the UK Government will continue to follow all developments closely.

We continue to advocate for, and support, security sector reform in Nigeria. I visited Nigeria in February, and discussed the importance of human rights in my meetings with the Federal Government of Nigeria. During the recent UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership (S&DP) Dialogue, we hosted a Human Rights forum, at which the UK agreed future cooperation with Nigeria on topics including: human rights and policing; human rights in conflict, including compliance from security forces; and women, peace and security.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2022 to Question 117762, Nigeria: Development Aid, (a) which organisations will deliver the human rights training on sexual and gender-based violence to (i) the military in Nigeria and (ii) the police in Nigeria, and (b) what is the estimated number of (i) police officers and (ii) military personnel who will be given the training in Nigeria by the end of 2022.

The UK's Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF)-funded human rights training on sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria will be delivered by the Centre for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC); the British Defence Section (BDS); the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); and the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Regional Stabilisation Facility. Figures are only available for 2021-2022; we estimate that over 650 police officers and over 3000 military personnel will receive training from CIVIC, UNDP and BDS by the end of the year. Additional military personnel will receive the ICRC delivered International Humanitarian Law/human rights training, which is integrated into British-military training courses run by Operation Turus.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to work with partner countries neighbouring Ukraine to help ensure that citizens of African states resident in Ukraine (a) are able to seek refuge and (b) are not subject to discrimination; and what support she is offering to African states making coordinated efforts to evacuate their citizens from Ukraine.

Over 2 million people have left Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion and more will do so as long as President Putin continues his reprehensible and needless attack. We are concerned about credible reports of discrimination against people of African, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds amongst those seeking to leave Ukraine. The UK is committed to the principle of non-discrimination on any grounds, including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or race. We have pledged £395 million of aid, which includes £220 million of humanitarian assistance and deployed UK humanitarian experts to support Ukraine's neighbours, who are receiving and supporting refugees fleeing Ukraine, through providing logistics advice and analysis of needs on the ground.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of (a) the proposals for reform set out in the report entitled Facilitating progress towards SDG2: Zero Hunger, published by Chatham House on 15 February 2022 and (b) the proposals on improving transparency in the selection process of leaders of the three UN Rome-based agencies by (i) creating a code of conduct for the election process and (ii) holding public events for leadership candidates to answer questions from key stakeholders.

We agree that the three Rome UN agencies have a critical role within the international architecture in achieving food security and improving nutrition, but that their collective potential is not being fully realised. The UK has led efforts at UN system-wide reform and has worked closely with other Member States on better collaboration between agencies for greater effectiveness and efficiency. The UK has been at the heart of ongoing reforms described in the Chatham House paper on introducing more transparent and merit-based procedures for selecting agency heads in Rome. These have included the introduction of hearings with candidates in IFAD and FAO. We welcomed Chatham House's contribution to public events prior to the last elections in those agencies and look forward to their continued engagement.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the level of risk of a further coup in Sudan.

We remain concerned at the political crisis, instability and continued violent repression of protesters in Sudan following the military coup in October 2021. Sudan has a long history of extra-constitutional changes of government, often instigated by elements of the military, but our focus is on supporting the UN facilitated talks that aim to see a negotiated end to the crisis and a return to the path to democracy. Ministers, British Embassy staff in Khartoum and senior FCDO officials continue to call on all Sudanese actors, particularly the military, to engage in talks and deliver the Sudanese people's demands for freedom, peace and justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of (a) working conditions and (b) adherence to International Labour Organisation standards in relation to people in African countries contracted to provide content moderation services to global digital companies.

Digital technologies offer the potential to deliver bigger, faster, more transformative social and economic impact for all. We work to advise partner countries on inclusive and responsible digital transformation approaches. However, our Africa-related programming does not invest in global digital companies that contract local people to provide content moderation services. The FCDO is committed to delivering more and better jobs - seeking to improve job quality progressively and raise standards - both in Africa and in the wider world, in line with the ILO's decent work agenda and standards. The UK has ratified all of the ILO's Core Conventions underpinning the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The UK engages with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on country compliance with international labour standards actively as a permanent member of the ILO Governing Body and at the International Labour Conference (ILC). The ILC Committee on the Application of Standards is integral to the ILO's supervisory system and the UK encourages all countries to abide by high labour standards.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will (a) raise the cases of journalists Amir Aman Kiyaro, Thomas Engida and Temerat Negara with the Ethiopian authorities and (b) take steps to support the Government of Ethiopia in protecting journalists from punitive measures.

I raised the issue of large-scale detentions in Ethiopia with Minister for Justice Gedion on 20 January. We welcome recent releases, but now need to see due process afforded to those that remain in detention.

We run programmes in Ethiopia that support the media environment, and will to continue to engage in support of Media Freedom.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to the Government of Mozambique on the disappearance of journalist Ibraimo Abú Mbaruco in 2020.

The UK is concerned by the disappearance of journalist Ibraimo Abu Mbaruco in Cabo Delgado on 7 April 2020. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon raised this issue with President Nyusi and reiterated calls for an investigation into his disappearance. Journalists play a critical role, and must be free to carry out their work without fear of violence. The UK is working with partners in government and civil society to promote media freedom in Mozambique, including through supporting a December 2021 conference on the topic of investigative journalism to protect human rights in Cabo Delgado.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what projects her Department is funding through its Human Rights and Democracy Programme Fund to work on remedy procedures for human rights abuses by businesses operating in African countries as of 28 February 2022.

Through International Programme funding (formerly the Human Rights and Democracy Programme Fund) the FCDO is supporting the Security and Human Rights Implementation Mechanism (SHRIM), a multi-donor fund committed to improving business, security and human rights through the implementation of international initiatives in fragile contexts. In financial year 2021/22, UK funding to the SHRIM supported projects focussed on the extractives and private security sectors. In the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya this focused on private security sector governance. In Nigeria, the project supported government engagement with communities and established dialogue with companies. In Mozambique, the project supported the creation of a National Working Group on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights to provide a forum for dialogue and joint resolution of business, security, and human rights concerns. The projects have helped strengthen multi-stakeholder capacities to monitor and promote the respect for human rights.

In addition, the Rule of Law Expertise UK (ROLE UK) programme, working in partnership with the East Africa Law Society (EALS) is promoting sustainable, inclusive and responsible business practices across the region.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the (a) levels of uptake and (b) progress towards implementation of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers in sub-Saharan African and Sahelian states.

Compliance with the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICoC) is monitored by the International Code of Conduct Association for Security Providers (ICoCA). The FCDO supports ICoCA through a seat on the ICOCA Governing Board, alongside two civil society board members from Nigeria and Kenya. Eight of the top ten countries with the most ICOCA members including affiliate Private Security Companies (PSC) are in Sub-Saharan African and Sahelian states. In order these are Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana.

During the pandemic, ICOCA maintained engagement in the region through virtual means, which led to the creation of a Montreux Document Forum/ICOCA Membership Working Group in Nigeria. Pre-pandemic, ICOCA outreach and field missions to Kenya and Tanzania generated interest from PSC companies and their clients as did ICOCA's visit to South Sudan (November 2021), supported by the FCDO funded ICOCA procurement guide. FCDO funding also delivered training for PSCs on Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan had the second, third and fifth largest number of PSC staff respectively to complete the PSEA training.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2022 to Question 117758 on India: Rape, on which date she last raised the matter of criminalising marital rape with the Government of India.

Our network of High Commissions across India work to promote gender equality and tackle gender-based violence. The issue of criminalising marital rape is currently with the courts in India, and it is right to respect Indian court processes. The British High Commission in New Delhi will continue to follow this closely, while recognising that legal amendments are a matter for India.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies on development and humanitarian assistance in Africa of potential increases in food prices caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

The devastation being caused in Ukraine has implications globally. This is being seen in the rising prices of staple foods at a time when there is already concerning levels of food insecurity in many countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. These ongoing issues are largely caused by structural problems, conflicts, climate shocks and economic impacts of Covid-19. The FCDO will continue to prioritise humanitarian assistance and in particular prevent famines wherever possible.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to support the Government of Mozambique in (a) protecting the lives of (i) human rights defenders and (ii) journalists and (b) delivering accountability for extrajudicial killings.

We regularly discuss the importance of human rights with the Government of Mozambique, and are clear that all allegations of human rights abuses and violations must be investigated, and those responsible brought to justice. We are supporting implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in Mozambique, working with government, civil society and the private sector to promote a community-focused approach to security, and minimize the risks of human rights abuses. In December 2021 the UK supported a conference on the topic of investigative journalism to protect human rights in Cabo Delgado.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support the Government of Nigeria on the prevention of child marriage.

The UK Government is committed to empowering and protecting women and girls, including by supporting efforts to end the harmful practice of child marriage. Our programmes and advocacy in Nigeria continue to support efforts to improve the lives of women and girls, in areas including education, social protection, health, addressing gender-based violence, and economic empowerment. UK ODA has supported education in 11 states, reaching over 8 million children since 2009, and supported over 1 million additional girls to access schooling in six states since 2012. I was pleased to be able to discuss UK ODA support to Nigeria during my visit to Nigeria last month, where I held meetings with the Vice President, Foreign Minister and several State Governors.

As an example, our basic education programme, Partnership for Learning for All in Nigeria (PLANE), has a community engagement component that will support efforts to enable and improve learning for marginalised children (particularly girls). The programme will support interventions which encourage the postponement of marriage and childbearing. It will also work with a range of community stakeholders, such as traditional and community leaders, to address the social norms around early marriage.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the findings in the report, Sexual IPV and non-partner rape of female sex workers: Findings of a cross-sectional community-centric national study in South Africa, published by SSM - Mental Health in December 2021, what recent support she has offered to the Government of South Africa to address the reported high levels of (a) rape and (b) other physical assault by police officers against female sex workers in that country.

The UK shares President Ramaphosa's grave concerns about the level of gender-based violence in South Africa. That is why we provided £1.3 million to South Africa's COVID19 Solidarity Fund to support 321 community-based organisations to respond to gender-based violence during the pandemic. At the end of 2021 the UK announced a contribution of £500,000 to South Africa's private sector-led Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund (GBVF Fund), which was launched in February 2021 and is also supporting the work of Women's Rights Organisations in this area. The GBVF Fund aims to help deliver the 2020 National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which includes support for vulnerable groups such as sex workers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to UK boosts access to finance for women-owned businesses and clean energy projects in Nigeria, published on 21 February 2022, what data she plans to publish in relation to the impact of the financing facility with First Bank of Nigeria.

Half of all adults in Nigeria lack access to finance. The investment of CDC Group - British International Investment (BII) from 4 April - in First Bank of Nigeria aims to address the limited access to capital faced by underbanked groups in the country. This will include directing funding to women-owned and led businesses as well as to local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). For investments with a specific gender lens, BII applies the 2X criteria, a global benchmark for what it means to 'invest in women'. Impact data on the financing facility with First Bank of Nigeria will be published in summer 2022, around the same time as the CDC 2021 Annual Review.

Information on all of BII's investments is published annually on its website (available https://www.cdcgroup.com/en/our-impact/search-results/). In addition, details of the impact of BII's investments are included in its Annual Review. The latest Annual Review is also available on the CDC website (https://www.cdcgroup.com/en/annual-review-2020/).

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of steps that could be taken to enable financial support for the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement in Sudan without supporting the coup authorities.

If implemented the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) is an important tool to help Sudan address decades of conflict and marginalisation. This is however, bound to Sudan's wider democratic transition; for example power-sharing arrangements, security reforms and the composition of the transitional government, which was removed following the coup. As such, we continue to encourage all political actors to engage in dialogue and return to the democratic transition.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Investigation: European Group Likely Manipulated Twitter Conversations in Kenya About Reproductive Rights, Health, published by the Mozilla Foundation on 22 February 2022, what representations she is making to developed nation partner states on the need to prevent organisations in their countries from engaging in social media manipulation or disinformation campaigns in (a) least developed and (b) developing states; and what assessment she has made of whether UK-based organisations are engaging in similar activities in (i) Kenya or (ii) other least developed or developing states in Africa.

As part of our diplomatic engagement, HMG works closely with partners and allies in sub-Saharan Africa to increase awareness of and build resilience to disinformation. In Kenya, the British High Commission is working to understand the nature of the wider threat and its impacts. This includes targeted research led by British and Kenyan academics on social media disinformation and hate speech, as well as support to local organisations to monitor disinformation and build resilience to it. The British High Commissioner has also established dialogue with social media platforms (META, Google and Twitter) and facilitated networking with the Kenyan media and civil society. The research is beginning to identify non-Kenyan organisations that may be active in Kenya. To date we have not identified any UK based organisations engaging in such activities in Kenya.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the finding on page 200 of Tony's Chocolonely's annual report for 2021-22, that 1,701 cases of child labour were found among cooperatives in the brand's supply chain, what steps her Department is taking to assist the Governments of (a) Ghana and (b) Côte d'Ivoire in supporting families in those countries to prevent child labour.

Whilst the cocoa industry is important for the Ghanaian and Ivorian economies and supports the livelihood of millions of farming households, reports of children engaged in hazardous child labour remain very concerning. The UK welcomes both countries' continued commitments to this. These include Ghana's provision of information on the number of child trafficking cases investigated, prosecuted and convicted, and Côte d'Ivoire's First Lady's efforts to address child labour. The UK is a key supporter of the Cocoa Forest Initiative, a joint partnership with Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, as well as 35 cocoa and chocolate companies, which aims to achieve a more sustainable cocoa sector.

HMG remains committed to improving traceability in the cocoa sector, so that British consumers can make more informed choices. We are partnering with Mondelez International and Fairtrade through the Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility increase the resilience of cocoa farmers and their families to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to accelerate income diversification. HMG has also pledged support ahead of the Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in May, in order to galvanise action towards Sustainable Development Goal 8.7.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to the Government of Tanzania in relation to (a) the impact on freedom of the press of that country's Media Services Act 2016 and (b) ensuring that independent media outlets can operate freely.

The UK is a strong advocate of media freedom in Tanzania. We raise our concerns with the Government of Tanzania, both on legislation and where individual journalists are prevented from freely reporting or publishing. The UK is actively providing support to civil society and media in Tanzania through our Accountability in Tanzania 2 programme, including support to organisations directly contributing to the debate on reform of the Media Services Act. The UK welcomes the recent announcement of a review of the Media Services Act 2016 by the Government of Tanzania. We also welcome the recent lifting of bans on a number of newspapers, in line with a judgement by the East African Court of Justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo in protecting (a) human rights defenders from threats and intimidation, (b) the lives of human rights defenders and (c) the life of human rights defender, Dieudonné Tshimpidimbua.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including the consistently high number of abuses and violations and the restriction of civil and political rights. We expressed our concerns about repression of journalists, human rights defenders, and civil society actors at the 48th UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in October 2021. We are following the arrest and sentencing of members of Lutte Pour Le Changement (LUCHA) and continue to raise the importance of free, peaceful democratic activism with our counterparts in DRC. The UK supports the work carried out by the UN Peacekeeping Mission MONUSCO, to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence. In 2021/22, the UK will contribute approximately £45 million and three military staff officers to MONUSCO, who contribute to the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO). UNJHRO continue to implement protection mechanisms for human rights defenders and journalists. In 2021, 762 cases of threats and human rights violations against beneficiaries were addressed, including 595 human rights defenders.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo in relation to the arrest and detention of (a) members of the organisation Lutte Pour Le Changement and (b) other human rights defenders.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including the consistently high number of abuses and violations and the restriction of civil and political rights. We expressed our concerns about repression of journalists, human rights defenders, and civil society actors at the 48th UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in October 2021. We are following the arrest and sentencing of members of Lutte Pour Le Changement (LUCHA) and continue to raise the importance of free, peaceful democratic activism with our counterparts in DRC. The UK supports the work carried out by the UN Peacekeeping Mission MONUSCO, to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence. In 2021/22, the UK will contribute approximately £45 million and three military staff officers to MONUSCO, who contribute to the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO). UNJHRO continue to implement protection mechanisms for human rights defenders and journalists. In 2021, 762 cases of threats and human rights violations against beneficiaries were addressed, including 595 human rights defenders.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support she is offering to the Government of Kenya to tackle violence against women and girls perpetrated by police and state security forces.

In 2021-22, the UK has allocated £3.1 million (£9 million over the past 3 years) towards delivering accountable security and justice services to Kenyans and reducing conflict, insecurity and violence against women and girls. UK financial support and political lobbying has helped secure: the launch of Kenya's second National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to strengthen women's agency and participation in the country's peace and security; high-level commitment by the Kenyan police to an integrated Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) policy framework; and the establishment of a Gender Directorate within the National Police Service.

During my visit to Kenya on 17-18 January I met representatives of women's organisations from across the country to hear about their concerns around the upcoming elections. The UK has supported the National Police Service to develop guidelines to support professional and accountable police practice (including in SGBV management) during elections and trained 310 frontline officers on gender and conflict sensitive police response and public order management. We are also providing additional support for women's access to justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support the ratification of the African Union’s African Disability Protocol.

The UK welcomes initiatives across the African continent to uphold and extend the rights of people with disabilities, including the African Union's (AU) adoption of its African Disability Protocol. Ratification of the protocol is a matter for individual AU member states.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Central African Republic Situation Report, published by UN OCHA on 21 February 2022, what steps she is taking to support humanitarian agencies in meeting the needs of people affected by violence in the area of Ippy; and what steps she is taking to prevent the use of explosive ordnance in the Central African Republic.

We support the assessment report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and are concerned by the violence in the Ippy area. I refer the Honourable Member to my answer of 15 December 2021 to question 90376 with regard to the situation in CAR. Ending violence and building security is a clear priority in CAR. The UK continues to work closely with international partners to support efforts to bring stability to the country.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support (a) ECOWAS and (b) the African Union in relation to the inclusion of criteria relating to accountability and justice for (i) victims of the 2009 Conakry stadium massacre and (ii) victims of other past violations by state military and security service actors in Guinea, in the process for the lifting of sanctions and the normalisation of relations with Guinea.

The UK Government has repeatedly supported calls for those responsible for the 2009 Conakry stadium massacre to be brought to justice. We maintain sanctions against five individuals accused of involvement in the stadium massacre. We welcome the work of The Global Survivors Fund and its Guinean partners in designing a reparation project to provide survivors with psychological, medical and financial support. We continue to monitor the situation and engage with international and regional partners, including through our Embassy in Conakry.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to UK boosts access to finance for women-owned businesses and clean energy projects in Nigeria, published on 21 February 2022, in what way the £10 million finance through Infracredit to unlock institutional investment into off-grid clean energy projects in Nigeria will be structured; what return is expected on that funding; and what assessment her Department has made of the potential risks and merits of providing that finance.

The £10 million concessional UKAid will be used to leverage pension fund and insurance money into a series of energy access developmental projects e.g. minigrids, cold hubs and clean cooking which align with Nigeria's and the UK's climate commitments at COP26. Decarbonisation and energy access can only be achieved by leveraging this institutional capital. There is a target ratio of at least 50 percent institutional or commercial capital in each investment. The UK's funding is debt and returnable by the investee companies to the trust fund, with a lower interest rate and the UK money potentially being first loss. This concessional finance makes it viable for the institutional funders to join. It will be used only in those projects which InfraCredit's investment committee determine are acceptable from a risk and cost perspective and which meet the dedicated UK adviser's assessment of developmental impact. External consultants will assess the performance of the UK initiative twice a year, with funded projects reporting on energy access, megawatt installed and private finance mobilised in line with the International Climate Finance methodologies. A Business Case addendum covering this has been approved by HMG Nigeria's Delivery board and is published on DevTracker. An economic cost benefit analysis has been done for the £10 million spend and a detailed investment agreement is in place with InfraCredit.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she plans to support the continued work of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan; and if she will make a statement.

The UK has been a firm and consistent supporter for the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan as an essential part of monitoring the situation and delivering improvements. We continue to urge the Government of South Sudan to tackle human rights violations and to implement their commitments, including through implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement. At the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) we will lead efforts to maintain human rights scrutiny and support for South Sudan, including through the work of the Commission on Human Rights. The UK will also use the HRC session to press for robust monitoring and reporting on the situation in South Sudan to continue, as part of understanding the scale of the challenge and need for international attention and support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to the government of South Sudan on press freedom following the detention of journalists covering a media briefing by legislators on 22 February 2022.

We are concerned by the detention of eight journalists and civil society activists during a press conference hosted by a Member of Parliament in Juba on 22 February. Freedom of expression has an essential role to play in the establishment of peace and stability in South Sudan. We engage with the Government of South Sudan to urge them to protect human rights and to ensure that journalists, human rights activists and civil society are free to operate without fear of retribution. We regularly raise the importance of freedom of expression both publicly and privately. In support of the UK's Media Freedom Campaign we also provide assistance to journalists, including those detained or harassed by the government, and media associations in South Sudan.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she plans to increase the scale of the Work and Opportunities for Women Programme in 2022.

The UK Government will continue to prioritise women and girls across all our foreign and development work. No decisions on funding for specific organisations or programmes in 2022/23 have yet been made to date as we are currently completing a review of future priorities in the light of the Spending Review settlement. Decisions on allocations will be published in the summer as part of the Annual Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to the Federal Government of Somalia on the treatment by (a) civil and (b) military judicial institutions of children who have been abused as soldiers by militant groups.

The UK supports child protection services in Somalia through partners such as UNICEF. In 2021, UK funding supported community-based awareness raising for approximately 30,000 people, to strengthen the protective environment for children and women. Through the British Embassy in Mogadishu, the UK has raised its concerns about the vulnerabilities of children in armed conflict in Somalia and, at the UNICEF-led Group of Friends of Children Affected by Armed Conflict (CAAC) meeting in late 2021, underlined the need for a proactive approach towards protection. The UK has also engaged Somalia's Ministry of Education on policy and guidelines for implementation of Somalia's commitment to the Safe Schools Declaration. This policy will soon go to Parliament for ratification, and outlines actions to provide safe spaces where child victims of attacks on schools or recruitment by armed forces can receive legal, medical and psychological support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to FCDO's Work and Opportunities for Women Programme, published on 21 March 2018, what evaluation her Department has made of the impact and value for public money of (a) the innovations in informal land tenure awareness, rights and security for the economic empowerment of informal women workers in Delhi and Patna project, (b) the accelerating national progress toward achieving equality in unpaid care and domestic work and promoting women’s economic empowerment project and (c) the home-based Workers Organizing for Economic Empowerment project.

The Work and Opportunities for Women (WOW) Programme is the FCDO's flagship central programme on women's economic empowerment. Work has included partnerships with private businesses and work with grassroots organisations.

The FCDO's annual reviews have found that its performance has fully met expectations including in advancing women's land tenure security in Patna and Delhi. Initiatives have included launching housing finance and livelihood regeneration loans, providing financial literacy and digital training modules; and improving conditions of home based workers in Africa and South Asia. WoW's published reports 'The Double Day' and 'Unpaid and unrecognised: How business can realise the benefits of tackling women's invisible labour' contribute valuable knowledge to businesses on unequal and unpaid work and care. To date (since 2016 ) WOW has reached over 100,000 women across South Asia and Africa, providing them with improved access to higher productivity and higher return jobs; more diversified roles and improved working conditions in global value chains.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she plans to supplement humanitarian support provided in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Batsirai following Tropical Cyclone Emnati in Madagascar.

The UK has allocated £1,000,000 in humanitarian funding to support the response to the cyclone and tropical storm. This money is allocated through UNICEF and also a contribution to a Red Cross Emergency Appeal. Ahead of these weather events we have shared data and expertise from the UK Met Office, allowing partners to better prepare.

The UK is also a contributor to several pooled funding mechanisms which have made allocations to the cyclone response in Madagascar, including the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (approx. £600,000), the Start Network (£635,000) and the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (approximately £1,800,000).

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure the adequacy of support by the UK and partners for peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help prevent the involvement of (a) the Wagner Group and (b) other Russian state-backed operations.

The UK is committed to supporting efforts to build stability and reduce violence in DRC. In 2021/22, the UK will contribute approximately £45 million and three military staff officers to the UN Peacekeeping Mission, MONUSCO. MONUSCO works to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel, and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to address conflict for example through stabilisation support and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed groups. The DRC Government retains ultimate responsibility for security and stability, and we regularly discuss the importance of ensuring coherence, transparency, accountability and protection of civilians in security operations. The UK remains deeply concerned by the destabilising role the Russian mercenary group, Wagner, is playing in Africa. As I have said previously, the Wagner Group is a driver of conflict and capitalises on instability for its own interests, as we have seen in other countries affected by conflict such as Libya and the Central African Republic. Wagner does not offer long-term security answers in Africa.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies on engagement with the coup authorities in Sudan of the visit of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo to Moscow in February 2022.

We are aware of longstanding engagement between Russia and Sudan, including support to the military authorities. I have regularly voiced UK concern at Russia's influence across Africa, which capitalises on instability for their own interests. As such we are concerned by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo's recent visit to Moscow.

Since the October 2021 coup, FCDO officials have engaged with all parties to encourage dialogue, demonstrate support for the democratic transition and an end to human rights abuses. The UK will continue to do so and, with our international partners, maintain pressure on the Sudanese military to deliver the Sudanese people's demands for freedom, peace and justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she plans to take to support the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention with its planned transition to become a public health agency with greater administrative autonomy from the African Union Commission by July 2022.

The UK is supporting the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) by providing financial and technical assistance. We have provided £20 million to the African Union (AU)/Africa CDC's Covid-19 response fund. The UK Public Health Security Agency (UKPHSA) has one full time adviser embedded in Africa CDC and the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team has four technical experts working remotely with Africa CDC to support the AU's COVID-19 response. In addition, the DHSC/UKPHSA New Variant Assessment Platform is providing technical support to build Africa CDC's genomic sequencing capability as a regional centre for genomic sequencing. The UK is also providing technical assistance to support the AU/Africa CDC's Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing to implement a roadmap for African vaccine manufacturing. I plan to meet the Director of Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong, again later this month and will discuss UK support to Africa CDC and its transition to an autonomous Health Agency.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference the sixth European Union - African Union Summit statement, entitled A Joint Vision for 2030, on 18 February, what steps her Department is taking to support the African Union in its efforts to tackle illicit financial flows.

We have a regular dialogue with the African Union (AU) about tackling illicit financial flows. This aims to ensure complementarity between their activity on illicit financial flows in Africa and the UK strategy set out in the Economic Crime Plan. The FCDO provides support and advice to host Governments, the private sector, and civil society across the continent - working both through UN agencies and through a network of Countering Illicit Finance Policy Advisors in key financial centres in Africa. At the request of host Governments, the HMT Technical Assistance Unit supports Financial Intelligence Units with building anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism capacity in Official Development Assistance eligible countries in response to recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The National Crime Agency provides capacity building in host Governments by supporting case work and mentoring on issues related to economic crime and corruption.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department plans to take steps at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council to work with other state members to help tackle the human rights crisis in Cameroon on the need for (a) accountability for attacks by separatist fighters on teachers and school children, (b) accountability for attacks on civilians by government forces and (c) an end to attacks on members of the LGBTQ+ community by government security forces; and if she will make a statement.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon, including the disturbing reports of human rights abuses and violations by both armed separatists and the security forces.

We work with international partners, including France and the United States, to raise the crisis in multilateral fora. At the UN Human Rights Council in September, the UK called for an end to violence and impartial investigations to hold the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses to account. We continue to regularly raise specific human rights concerns with the Government of Cameroon. We also urge the Government to remain engaged with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she is taking steps to help ensure that Africa remains free of circulating wild-type poliovirus following the discovery of a case in Malawi in February 2022.

As part of the response to this the recently detected case in Malawi, Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) will vaccinate 22 million children across 4 countries to boost population immunity and prevent the spread of the virus. They are also increasing surveillance capacity in the region to detect any further cases. In addition to our longstanding support at a global level to GPEI, the UK is a strong partner to the Malawi Health Sector, including through our health systems strengthening programme which has a component aimed at building preparedness and response to health shocks such as disease outbreaks.

We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will work with GPEI, the Malawi Ministry of Health and partners on the ground to ensure a timely and thorough response to this outbreak and we await the findings of the investigation into this case.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to the Rwandan Government on the requirement for a credible and independent investigation into the death of Kizito Mihigo on 13 February 2020.

The UK has expressed concerns about the circumstances of the death of Kizito Mihigo in February 2020 both in public and in private, and urged a prompt, independent and transparent investigation by the Rwandan authorities. During the UN's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights in Rwanda in 2021, the UK Government also recommended that Rwanda conduct transparent, credible and independent investigations into allegations of human rights violations, including deaths in custody. We discuss these issues with the Government of Rwanda through our High Commission in Kigali and at Ministerial level, most recently in January 2022. The UK encourages Rwanda to uphold and champion Commonwealth values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with Sudanese authorities on the protection of (a) the life of Amiera Osman and (b) other women's rights activists and c) women's rights activists from arbitrary arrested.

Women were a major driver behind the 2019 protests that fought so bravely for democracy. I met a number of inspirational women leaders, social reformers and entrepreneurs during a visit to Sudan in October 2021. The UK continues to stand with them and are concerned by continued violent repression of Sudanese protesters and civil society, including women. While we are pleased at the news that Amiera Osman has been released, she should not have been detained in the first place. Since the coup, we have consistently called for an end to all arbitrary detentions and human rights violations, and for Sudanese people to be able to protest without fear of violence. This includes statements the Foreign Secretary and I have made, and at UN Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council and G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting. With our international partners we will continue to show our support for a return to the democratic transition and maintain pressure on the Sudanese military to deliver people's demands for freedom, peace and justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Somalia Drought Situation Report No. 4, published by UN OCHA on 20 February 2022, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the increase in the number of people (a) internally displaced and (b) affected by the severe drought between December 2021 and February 2022.

The UK has provided an additional £14.5 million to respond to the extreme drought in Somalia in 2022, which is targeted at those in urgent need, including those who have been displaced. UK officials continue to work with the international community and Government of Somalia to deliver a scaled-up response to increasing needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department plans to take steps at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council to press for greater human rights protections and accountability in (a) Ethiopia and (b) Sudan; and if she will make a statement.

The protection of all civilians needs to be prioritised, human rights respected and those responsible for human rights abuses and violations held to account. At a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 17 December 2021, we supported and voted in favour of an EU-led resolution on Ethiopia which created an International Commission of Experts. This included a mandate to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law committed in Ethiopia, by all parties to the conflict.

We continue to call for justice and accountability for the victims of human rights abuses and violations, including through the International Commission of Experts and the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce set up by the Ethiopian Government. The 49th HRC Session will also hear the initial findings of the UN Expert on Human Rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng, who was mandated to report on the situation in Sudan since the coup, following UK leadership to secure an HRC resolution on Sudan in November 2021. As part of these discussions we will continue to call for accountability for violations and abuses and maintain pressure on the Sudanese military to protect human rights. We will also continue to engage fully in the ongoing UN-facilitated talks to reach a solution that leads to the restoration of civilian-led government, and meet the demands of the people of Sudan for freedom, peace and justice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Update Situation Report, published by UN OCHA on 17 February 2022, what recent steps she has taken to enable humanitarian partners in the Tigray region of Ethiopia to access fuel to enable delivery of supplies across the region.

The situation report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) dated 17 February 2022 makes clear the critical shortage of fuel and other essential commodities in Tigray and consequently how relief operations across the region have come to a standstill.

Since the start of the conflict in early November 2021 the UK has been consistent in calling for unfettered humanitarian access so that life-saving supplies as well as fuel can be delivered. On my visit to Addis Ababa on 20 January 2022 I discussed the clear need for an urgent improvement in humanitarian access with the Government of Ethiopia, including in my meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. All parties to the conflict must facilitate free and unrestricted access for humanitarian goods and personnel in-line with international humanitarian law.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)