Martyn Day Portrait

Martyn Day

Scottish National Party - Linlithgow and East Falkirk

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

(since December 2021)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Public Health and Primary Care)
7th Jan 2020 - 14th Dec 2021
European Scrutiny Committee
9th Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Petitions Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Public Accounts Commission
16th Nov 2017 - 9th Jul 2018
Public Accounts Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 9th Jul 2018
Petitions Committee
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Administration Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 17th May 2022
09:45
Health and Social Care Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The impact of body image on mental and physical health
17 May 2022, 9:45 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Charles King, lived experience witness
At 10.15am: Oral evidence
Tam Fry - Chairman at National Obesity Forum
Dr Angela Meadows - Lecturer, Department of Psychology at University of Essex
Helen James - Founder at Nutriri
At 11.00am: Oral evidence
Gillian Keegan MP - Minister for Care and Mental Health at Department of Health and Social Care
Zoe Seager - Deputy Director of Mental Health Policy and Operations at Department of Health and Social Care
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 18th May 2022
14:00
Health and Social Care Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The future of General Practice
18 May 2022, 2 p.m.
At 2.15pm: Oral evidence
Dr Pauline Grant - General Practitioner at Cheviot Road Surgery
Dr Jacob Lee - General Practitioner at Horfield Health Centre
At 3.00pm: Oral evidence
Professor Steinar Hunskår - Professor of Primary Care at University of Bergen
Dr Rebecca Rosen - Senior Fellow at Nuffield Trust
Dr Kate Sidaway-Lee - Research Fellow at St Leonard's Medical Practice
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 24th May 2022
09:45
Department Event
Tuesday 14th June 2022
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (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 42 Scottish National Party No votes vs 0 Scottish National Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 306 Noes - 215
Speeches
Tuesday 26th April 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
1. What recent assessment her Department has made of the human rights situation in Rwanda.
Written Answers
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Sleep
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the State of the Market Report …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 8th December 2021
The Scottish Italian Awards 2021 and Liberta, Bathgate
That this House congratulates Liberta Restaurant in Bathgate on being named Scotland’s Best Family Business at the 8th annual Scottish …
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Energy Pricing Bill 2021-22
A Bill to prohibit the practice of offering preferential energy tariffs to new customers compared to existing customers; to place …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 17th January 2022
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Ipsos MORI, 3 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, for surveys:
EDM signed
Tuesday 10th May 2022
Disability Benefit Assessments and the Health & Disability Green Paper
That this House notes that Department for Work and Pensions statistics show that of the 1.5 million Incapacity Benefit claimants …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 16th June 2020
Automatic Electoral Registration Bill 2019-21
A Bill to impose certain duties upon Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the accuracy, completeness and utility of electoral registers; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Martyn Day has voted in 316 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Martyn Day Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(40 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(18 debate interactions)
Sajid Javid (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(15 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(80 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Martyn Day's debates

Linlithgow and East Falkirk 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 Linlithgow and East Falkirk signature proportion
Petitions with most Linlithgow and East Falkirk signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government needs to change the law so laboratory animals are included in the Animal Welfare Act. Laboratory animals are currently not protected by the Act and are therefore victims of 'unnecessary suffering' (see section 4 of the Act: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/section/4).

Make it illegal for any employer to mandate vaccination for its employees. This should apply to all public sector (including the NHS, armed forces, care workers), third sector and all private sector.

We would like the Government to ban all animal testing UK, including for the development of cosmetics, household products and medicines. Alternatives need to be actively funded. Many products that are tested on animals end up not being suitable for humans. Animal testing is outmoded and should end.

The Government must recognise the urgent need to use animal-free science and publish a clear and ambitious action plan with timetables and milestones to drive the phase-out of animal experiments. As well as preventing animal suffering, this will benefit public health and business.

We ask Government to significantly increase targeted research funding for motor neurone disease (MND).

A new investment of £50m over 5 years could kickstart a pioneering MND Research Institute.

This would lead to better, faster and more definitive research outcomes and hope for those with MND.

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

The Government should allow golf courses to remain open during the second lockdown, and any future restrictions. Shops and clubhouses can close, but courses should be allowed to remain open, with social distancing in place.

Urgent call for the government to close all nurseries and early years settings in light of the new lockdown to protect early years staff.

Consider keeping gyms open during lockdown because so many people have mental health and stress and they need something to do to take their mind off it closing all fitness facilities can affect us pretty badly.

We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.

We're also calling for government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.

The Coronavirus Act grants potentially dangerous powers including to detain some persons indefinitely, to take biological samples, and to give directions about dead bodies. Powers last up to 2 years with 6 monthly reviews, and lockdown powers could prevent protests against measures.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

The Government must make a public statement on the #kissanprotests & press freedoms.

India is the worlds largest democracy & democratic engagement and freedom of the press are fundamental rights and a positive step towards creating a India that works for all.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.


Latest EDMs signed by Martyn Day

10th May 2022
Martyn Day signed this EDM on Tuesday 10th May 2022

Roza Salih's election as a Councillor in Scotland

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House celebrates the huge achievement of Roza Salih, a Kurdish-born, Scottish human rights activist and campaigner who has become the first former refugee to be elected as a local councillor in Scotland; congratulates Roza on her election on May 6 2022 to serve as a councillor for the …
26 signatures
(Most recent: 16 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 23
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Independent: 1
28th March 2022
Martyn Day signed this EDM on Tuesday 10th May 2022

Disability Benefit Assessments and the Health & Disability Green Paper

Tabled by: Marsha De Cordova (Labour - Battersea)
That this House notes that Department for Work and Pensions statistics show that of the 1.5 million Incapacity Benefit claimants who were assessed for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) up until June 2019, 268,000 were found Fit for Work, a proportion of18 per cent, that between 2013-2020, only 66,000 out of …
88 signatures
(Most recent: 10 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 38
Scottish National Party: 27
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Martyn Day's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Martyn Day, 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.


Martyn Day has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Martyn Day

Monday 25th April 2022

1 Bill introduced by Martyn Day


A Bill to prohibit the practice of offering preferential energy tariffs to new customers compared to existing customers; to place further restrictions on energy pricing; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 21st June 2021

646 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
5 Other Department Questions
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she has taken to ensure her Department’s consultation on banning conversion therapy will prioritise the voices of survivors of those practices.

Any ban we bring forward must work for those who need it most, especially victims and survivors. We have already met with conversion therapy survivors, to hear about their experiences. We have committed to launching a consultation in September and this will be vital for ensuring the action we take is informed, effective and proportionate. I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of conversion therapy to respond to our consultation when it launches in September.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what research she has conducted on the health, economic, and social effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the LGBT+ community.

Government vigorously scrutinises research from a wide range of sources on the impact of Covid-19 on minority groups, including the LGBT population. We routinely monitor research by academics and other agencies published in this area.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will include improved data collection from LGBT+ employees as part of the LGBT+ Action Plan.

We understand that robust data collection can help employers to better understand the needs of their employees. The Office for National Statistics and the Government Statistical Service has developed monitoring standards for sexual orientation and gender identity. These standards are freely available and can be found on the ONS website.

In 2020, the Minister for Women and Equalities announced that the Equality Hub in the Cabinet Office will be embarking on the Government’s broadest and most comprehensive equality data project yet. The Equality Data Programme will gather data in order to understand the barriers that people from every background are facing across the UK.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to strengthen the protection against intersectional discrimination and enact section 14 of the Equality Act 2010.

We have no plans to implement the dual discrimination provision in the Act. We believe that current protections are adequate and that enactment would introduce unwelcome regulatory complexity and place new costly burdens on business and the public sector consequent on the introduction of a further 21 protected characteristics. In addition, an employee or service user may bring a discrimination claim under more than one ground, which the courts can then consider consecutively, where appropriate.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will publish guidance on inclusive language in relation to sexual minorities and gender identities in (a) Government reports, (b) official literature and (b) in-service delivery.

Terms and language regarding sexual orientation and gender identity are evolving rapidly and many terms may mean different things to different people.

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty, public authorities must, in all their functions, have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people with different protected characteristics, including when designing policies and delivering services. This is key to the Government’s commitment to delivering equality of opportunity for all and my officials in the Equality Hub provide advice to departments to assist with this.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2022 to Question 125579 on Infected Blood Compensation Framework Study, if the Government will expedite any recommendation that is made on interim payments to mitigate further hardship to the victims.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 24 February to PQ 125060.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to reduce paper usage in Government departments in light of the climate emergency.

The Government is proud to lead the world in ending our own contribution to climate change and we have achieved a lot on our road to net zero already.

Under the new Greening Government Commitments Framework for the 2021-25 period, the government committed to reducing paper use by at least 50% against the 2017-18 financial year baseline. The first Annual Report against the new Framework, covering the 2021-22 financial year, is due to be published later this year.

The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) and Government Digital Service (GDS) in the Cabinet Office lead a ‘digital by default’ approach to government services. As a result, thousands of government services are now mostly used online and most service users are no longer using a paper-version of a service.

Last year, CDDO added a new mandatory standard to the existing Technology Code of Practice on ‘Make your technology sustainable’, which implements the published Greening Government ICT and Digital Services Strategy (2020).

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the inquiry into the Government's handling of the covid-19 pandemic will include the Government's strategy to secure global access to vaccines and other pandemic health tools.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 will be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers and that it will begin its work in spring 2022. A chair will be appointed by the end of the year. More details about the inquiry, including its terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 30 March 2021 to Question 171522 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what the Government's timescale is for (a) developing and (b) introducing a covid-19 vaccine certificate scheme.

The Government committed to explore whether and how COVID-status certification might be used to reopen our economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety. As set out in the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021,’ the Government will set out its conclusions on the COVID-status Certification Review in advance of Step 4 of the Roadmap, in order to inform the safe reopening of society and the economy.

An update on the Roadmap Reviews was published on 5 April and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021-reviews-terms-of-reference/roadmap-reviews-update.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster further updated via a Written Ministerial Statement on 29 April 2021, which can be found below:

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-04-29/hcws947

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what digital architecture the Government plans to use to underpin the covid-19 vaccine certificate system.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ171522 on 23 March 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government's timescale is for introducing a covid-19 vaccine certificate scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to the previous response provided in PQ171522.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many migrants without settled status or indefinite leave to remain in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency earn less than £25,600 annually.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the guidelines on measuring and managing supplier performance provided in the Contract Management Standards; and if he would make a statement.

Details of the Contract Management Professional Standards, including a foreword by the then Civil Service Chief Executive, are published on GOV.UK and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/contract-management.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are employed by companies registered in the EU in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are registered as self-employed in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people under the age of 25 in (a) Scotland and (b) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency are employed on zero-hours contracts.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many small and medium-sized businesses in Linlithgow and East Falkirk placed a bid for a public contract in the last five years.

This information is not held centrally.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency are employed on zero-hours contracts; how many of those people are (a) aged between 16 and 24-years old and (b) women.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what life expectancy is for (a) men and (b) women in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in employment who are aged between (a) 50 to 59, (b) 60 to 69 and (c) over 70 years old.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have been employed on a full-time basis in Linlithgow and East Falkirk in each year since 2015.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people declared themselves as self-employed in each of the last three years in Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of people in employment which primarily requires working at night in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in the last 12 months.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of household debt in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in each year since 2015.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) women and (b) men working in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency earn less than £10 per hour.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people with learning difficulties and seeking work were unemployed in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in each year since 2010.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people aged 18 to 25 are classified as long-term unemployed in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to introduce the option of advance physical voting at elections.

There are no plans to make such a provision.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information his Department holds on the average debt of people aged 18 to 25 in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many EU nationals are resident in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much Government investment has been made in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in each year since 2010.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of the population can the gov.uk Verify identity assurance system identify in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

GOV.UK Verify enables individuals to prove who they are digitally and to access online government services safely and securely. Over 6.8 million accounts have been created on GOV.UK Verify since it went live in October 2014. The breakdown for the last five years is as follows:

  • 2014 - 1706

  • 2015: 526,164

  • 2016: 447,487

  • 2017: 753,782

  • 2018: 1,628,092

  • 2019: 2,194,816

  • 2020 (until 31 May): 1,294,337

The privacy-centric design of GOV.UK Verify means that it is not possible to provide a breakdown of users by constituency or region.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions the Government has paid small and medium-sized businesses more than 60 days after the invoice was received in each of the last five years.

This information is not held centrally.

We recognise that being paid promptly is often vital to SMEs to ensure their survival and growth. The government has a commitment to pay 90 per cent of valid and undisputed invoices from SMEs within 5 days and last financial year, we spent almost £2bn more than the previous year with SMEs. In its most recent published report (Q4 2019/20), Cabinet Office paid 88% of invoices in 5 days and 97% in 30 days.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many public procurement contracts were won by small and medium-sized businesses in Linlithgow and East Falkirk in the last five years.

This information is not held centrally.

We recognise that being paid promptly is often vital to SMEs to ensure their survival and growth. The government has a commitment to pay 90 per cent of valid and undisputed invoices from SMEs within 5 days and last financial year, we spent almost £2bn more than the previous year with SMEs. In its most recent published report (Q4 2019/20), Cabinet Office paid 88% of invoices in 5 days and 97% in 30 days.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of public procurement contracts have been awarded to small and medium-sized firms in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the last three years.

This information is not held centrally.

We recognise that being paid promptly is often vital to SMEs to ensure their survival and growth. The government has a commitment to pay 90 per cent of valid and undisputed invoices from SMEs within 5 days and last financial year, we spent almost £2bn more than the previous year with SMEs. In its most recent published report (Q4 2019/20), Cabinet Office paid 88% of invoices in 5 days and 97% in 30 days.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk who are unable to access the internet are not (a) disadvantaged as consumers and (b) denied access to government services.

The Government is committed to making sure that our online services are accessible to all citizens, and that an appropriate alternative channel is available where citizens are not online.

The Government offers support to those who need “assisted digital support” to use digital by default public services.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) individuals and (b) businesses registered for the Verify programme in each of the last five years.

GOV.UK Verify enables individuals to prove who they are digitally and to access online government services safely and securely. Over 6.8 million accounts have been created on GOV.UK Verify since it went live in October 2014. The breakdown for the last five years is as follows:

  • 2014 - 1706

  • 2015: 526,164

  • 2016: 447,487

  • 2017: 753,782

  • 2018: 1,628,092

  • 2019: 2,194,816

  • 2020 (until 31 May): 1,294,337

The privacy-centric design of GOV.UK Verify means that it is not possible to provide a breakdown of users by constituency or region.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average annual salary was for (a) BAME and (b) non-BAME employees in his Department in each of the last five years.

Further to the answer given to PQ 18715 on 21 February 2020, some general data on civil service pay broken down by declared ethnicity is available online at https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/workforce-and-business/public-sector-pay/civil-service-pay/latest.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many special advisors there were in each Government Department in each of the last five years; and what the cost of employing those advisors was.

Pursuant to Section 16 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, a report about special advisers, including the number and the cost, is prepared by the Cabinet Office and laid before Parliament on an annual basis. Reports dating back to 2010 are available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/special-adviser-data-releases-numbers-and-cost

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of his Department's employees are based in (a) London, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk Constituency.

At 31st May 2020, 6,786 (82.19%) of staff in the Cabinet Office were based in (a) London, 10 staff (0.12%) were based in (b) Scotland, and no Cabinet Office staff were based in (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk Constituency.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish a list of Scottish public appointments approved by Ministers in his Department in each of the last five years.

Public appointments to devolved bodies in Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Government.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with Ministers in the devolved Administrations on improving the level of voter registration; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost of supporting annual electoral registration was in each of the last 10 years.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the level of (a) voter personation and (b) electoral fraud taking place at the 2019 General Election.

This data is not held by the Cabinet Office. The Electoral Commission reports on electoral fraud.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many UK citizens resident overseas were (a) registered to vote, (b) successfully applied for absent voting and (c) voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what was the cost to the public purse of funding to help increase the electoral registration of young people in each of the last five years.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of funding to increase electoral registration of young people; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect covid-19 restrictions on voter registration levels; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many European Union citizens resident in the UK who are registered to vote in the European Parliament elections were turned away from polling stations at the European Parliament Elections in (a) 2009, (b) 2014 and (c) 2019.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent estimate the Government has made of the number of eligible people who are not on the electoral register in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) people (b) businesses and (c) organisations from (i) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (ii) Scotland and (iii) the UK that have received advice and support from the National Cyber Security Centre.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), supported by a £1.9 billion investment, is delivering transformational change, building new capabilities and intervening to protect the UK from cyber attacks. The NCSC works with a wide range of partners, including the devolved administrations, to provide advice and support to people, businesses, and organisations, and to raise cyber resilience across the whole of the UK.

The implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy requires collaborative action from all sectors of the UK including government, law enforcement, industry and academia. Cyber security experts are active across all these sectors in many different roles.

The Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January, estimates that there are approximately 43,000 cyber security experts working in cyber security related roles across UK cyber security firms.

We are working to address the shortage in cyber security experts and encourage computer science students, and those from other disciplines, to consider careers in cyber security. This includes inspiring and nurturing the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs, with over 55,000 young people having participated in our Cyber Discovery and Cyber First schemes, and working with the UK Cyber Security Council to further develop cyber security as a profession.

Since its creation in 2016, the NCSC has investigated over 2,000 significant incidents and published over 200 pieces of guidance. A total of 44,400 Cyber Essential certificates have been issued across the UK, including over 2,260 in Scotland.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of the population of (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency can the Verify system assure the identity of.

GOV.UK Verify enables individuals to prove who they are digitally and to access online government services safely and securely. Over 6.8 million accounts have been created on GOV.UK Verify since it went live in October 2014. The breakdown for the last five years is as follows:

  • 2014 - 1706

  • 2015: 526,164

  • 2016: 447,487

  • 2017: 753,782

  • 2018: 1,628,092

  • 2019: 2,194,816

  • 2020 (until 31 May): 1,294,337

The privacy-centric design of GOV.UK Verify means that it is not possible to provide a breakdown of users by constituency or region.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the National Cyber Security Programme has spent in each of the last five years.

I refer the Hon. member to the answers given to PQs 52225 and 53531 on 9 June 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions his Department has held with local authorities on cyber-security.

The Government is ensuring that local government receives regular advice and guidance relating to cyber security.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the design of ballot papers for people with impaired vision.

The Government has improved the design and accessibility of ballot papers and forms at elections and referendums. This involved public user-testing of the revised voting forms, including the ballot paper, poll cards and postal voting statements. The work took into account the findings in the Electoral Commission’s “Making your mark” report and made improvements to forms which voters use in order to make voting as accessible as possible.

In partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Government is taking action to further improve the support provided at the polling station to voters with sight loss. This has included the testing of a tactile audio device to allow the voter to access candidate information, and, at the 12 December General Election, encouraging Returning Officers to allow the use of smartphones with specially designed apps for reading documents and video magnifiers to help them cast their vote.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals on House of Lords reform in the current Parliament.

The House of Lords has a key role in scrutinising the executive and as a revising chamber. It is important that the way it is constituted reflects that role and the primacy of the House of Commons as the elected chamber.

The Conservative manifesto committed to looking at the role of the Lords, but any reform needs careful consideration. We do not want to do so in a piecemeal way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce the amount of manual processing on paper it carries out and (b) make those processes digital.

The Cabinet Office does not carry out significant manual processing on paper.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of (a) the cost to the public purse of administering the 2019 General Election and (b) the amount that accrued to the public purse as a result of candidates losing their deposits at that election.

The cost of administering the 2019 General Election will not be known until all Returning Officers’ expenses claims relating to that poll have been settled.

£622,500 was accrued to the public purse as a result of 1,245 candidates losing their deposit.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of cyber security experts (a) required to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy and (b) currently working in the UK; and what steps the Government is taking to encourage people studying computer science to pursue careers in cyber security.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), supported by a £1.9 billion investment, is delivering transformational change, building new capabilities and intervening to protect the UK from cyber attacks. The NCSC works with a wide range of partners, including the devolved administrations, to provide advice and support to people, businesses, and organisations, and to raise cyber resilience across the whole of the UK.

The implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy requires collaborative action from all sectors of the UK including government, law enforcement, industry and academia. Cyber security experts are active across all these sectors in many different roles.

The Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January, estimates that there are approximately 43,000 cyber security experts working in cyber security related roles across UK cyber security firms.

We are working to address the shortage in cyber security experts and encourage computer science students, and those from other disciplines, to consider careers in cyber security. This includes inspiring and nurturing the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs, with over 55,000 young people having participated in our Cyber Discovery and Cyber First schemes, and working with the UK Cyber Security Council to further develop cyber security as a profession.

Since its creation in 2016, the NCSC has investigated over 2,000 significant incidents and published over 200 pieces of guidance. A total of 44,400 Cyber Essential certificates have been issued across the UK, including over 2,260 in Scotland.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of proportional voting systems; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a single transferable vote system for future UK elections.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing compulsory voting at elections.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many eligible electors were not registered to vote at UK general elections in (a) 2015, (b) 2017 and (c) 2019; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what cross-departmental reviews his Department is undertaking; and what the extent and level of engagement is with the devolved Administrations on each of those reviews.

Details of Government policy including external reviews are announced in the normal way. Government ministers and officials work closely with the devolved administrations on a wide range of relevant issues. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of the process of collective agreement between departmental ministers are not normally disclosed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to reduce the age for eligibility to vote in elections to 16.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of options to introduce an automatic system of electoral registration for all eligible citizens; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will introduce a process to enable people to check their electoral registration status online.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making future general election days a national holiday; and what estimate he has made of the potential effect of such a step on levels of voter participation.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how his Department is engaging and co-ordinating policy with other Government departments to ensure that (a) co-ordinated, (b) holistic and (c) person-centred support is provided to (i) shielded and (ii) non-shielded vulnerable people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 41549 on 6 May 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that Government Departments are providing co-ordinated support to (a) shielded and (b) non-shielded vulnerable people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Four ministerial implementation committees focusing on health, public sector preparedness, economy, and our international response, have been established to coordinate, prioritise, and respond to the pandemic.

Shielding of the extremely vulnerable - those who suffer from the most serious underlying health conditions - is one of the Government’s top priorities. This work is being led by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The Communities Secretary outlined some of this support recently and details are available here (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/communities-secretarys-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-2-may-2020--2)

In terms of our work to support other vulnerable people, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster outlined some of this work to the House of Commons last week, details of which are available here https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-04-28/debates/6B80ADC6-5AE0-404A-BF91-3924FAD111CE/PublicServices.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's Response to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2019–21, Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, published on 29 June 2021, HC 386, What his timescale is for ensuring that Mineworker’s pensions are paid and scheme members receive their full entitlement.

The Government guarantee ensures that all members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme receive their full entitlement.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how the Better Regulation Executive oversees the regulatory framework for approving nutritional borderline substances.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) approves and recommends borderline substances supplied by the NHS. The Committee's recommendations are listed in the Borderline Substance list in the Drug Tariff (Part XV).

The regulatory framework for approving nutritional borderline substances is out of scope of the Better Regulation Framework which oversee regulatory measures that relate to the regulation of business activity.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with representatives from energy suppliers to ensure eligible customers are still able to access the warm home discount once their previous energy supplier has ceased trading.

When an energy supplier leaves the market, in almost all cases, Ofgem appoints a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) to take over its customers. SoLRs are not obliged to provide the Warm Home Discount to transferred customers; however, all SoLRs have honoured this obligation in the past and the Government would expect that any future SoLRs would continue to honour these obligations. The Warm Home Discount is one of the factors that Ofgem considers when appointing a SoLR. In rare cases, the Special Administration Regime (SAR) process may be a more appropriate option to protect customers of large energy suppliers. Warm Home Discount recipients are unaffected during the SAR process.

The Government concluded a consultation on the future scheme last summer. Under the proposals, the vast majority of households would receive their rebates automatically, without having to apply. This would make it easier for SoLRs to make the Warm Home Discount rebate payments to newly transferred customers. BEIS will publish the Government’s response to the consultation in the spring, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many eligible customers (a) have and (b) have not been able to access the warm home discount after being moved to a new energy supplier after their previous energy supplier ceased trading.

When an energy supplier leaves the market, in almost all cases, Ofgem appoints a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) to take over its customers. SoLRs are not obliged to provide the Warm Home Discount to transferred customers; however, all SoLRs have honoured this obligation in the past and the Government would expect that any future SoLRs would continue to honour these obligations. In rare cases, the Special Administration Regime (SAR) process may be a more appropriate option to protect customers of large energy suppliers. Warm Home Discount recipients are unaffected during the SAR process.

The Government concluded a consultation on the future scheme last summer. Under the proposals, the vast majority of households would receive their rebates automatically, without having to apply. This would make it easier for SoLRs to make the Warm Home Discount rebate payments to newly transferred customers. BEIS will publish the Government’s response to the consultation in the spring, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many tonnes of CO2 will be emitted each year by the (a) transportation and (b) burning of wood pellets imported to the UK for use in bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) energy schemes.

The Government does not hold this information

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of potential merits of introducing additional regulations for the parcel delivery sector to ensure a minimum of standard of service.

The Government remains committed to an affordable and accessible postal service for all users. Under its universal service obligation, Royal Mail offers a letter and parcel service for the same price and to the same delivery standards to anywhere in the UK.

Ofcom, as the UK’s designated independent regulator of postal services, is currently consulting on the future regulatory framework for post, including parcel operators outside of the universal service obligation, and plans to issue a statement in Summer 2022.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to work with private industry to raise people's awareness of the risks associated with the purchase of counterfeit goods in the run up to Christmas 2021.

The Intellectual Property Office works with industry, law enforcement and government partners to raise the awareness to consumers of the social, economic and personal risks posed by counterfeit goods. It is presently working with Local Authority Trading Standards teams to support their seasonal campaigns highlighting the dangers of purchasing counterfeit goods this Christmas.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has had discussions with the Office for Product Safety and Standards on safeguarding children from the sale of unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the UK market. This includes retailers selling toys via online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which is within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is taking forward a programme of work to help ensure the safety of products sold online. Where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements, OPSS works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. Since April 2021, OPSS interventions have led to the withdrawal of more than 10,000 unsafe products, including toys, previously listed and available in the UK via online marketplaces.

In addition, OPSS continues to run regular campaigns to improve consumer awareness of safety issues, including a Christmas Toys product safety information campaign which will run from 15th November 2021 until 17th December 2021.

OPSS is also currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure it remains robust and is future-proofed so that it continues to protect consumers while enabling businesses to safely innovate and grow. This includes reviewing the impact of the changes brought by eCommerce to the product safety framework to ensure that there is appropriate accountability and clear responsibilities throughout the supply chain. The Government has analysed submissions to the product safety review Call for Evidence and is now finalising its response, which will be published in due course. We will consider a full range of options to address the challenges identified by stakeholders and any proposals for legislative change would be subject to public consultation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will undertake an assessment of the potential merits of imposing a contractual duty of care on online marketplaces to ensure that the products they allow to be listed for sale are fit for purpose and meet regulatory requirements.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the UK market. This includes retailers selling toys via online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which is within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is taking forward a programme of work to help ensure the safety of products sold online. Where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements, OPSS works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. Since April 2021, OPSS interventions have led to the withdrawal of more than 10,000 unsafe products, including toys, previously listed and available in the UK via online marketplaces.

In addition, OPSS continues to run regular campaigns to improve consumer awareness of safety issues, including a Christmas Toys product safety information campaign which will run from 15th November 2021 until 17th December 2021.

OPSS is also currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure it remains robust and is future-proofed so that it continues to protect consumers while enabling businesses to safely innovate and grow. This includes reviewing the impact of the changes brought by eCommerce to the product safety framework to ensure that there is appropriate accountability and clear responsibilities throughout the supply chain. The Government has analysed submissions to the product safety review Call for Evidence and is now finalising its response, which will be published in due course. We will consider a full range of options to address the challenges identified by stakeholders and any proposals for legislative change would be subject to public consultation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to regulate the (a) listing and (b) sale of unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the UK market. This includes retailers selling toys via online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which is within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is taking forward a programme of work to help ensure the safety of products sold online. Where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements, OPSS works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. Since April 2021, OPSS interventions have led to the withdrawal of more than 10,000 unsafe products, including toys, previously listed and available in the UK via online marketplaces.

In addition, OPSS continues to run regular campaigns to improve consumer awareness of safety issues, including a Christmas Toys product safety information campaign which will run from 15th November 2021 until 17th December 2021.

OPSS is also currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure it remains robust and is future-proofed so that it continues to protect consumers while enabling businesses to safely innovate and grow. This includes reviewing the impact of the changes brought by eCommerce to the product safety framework to ensure that there is appropriate accountability and clear responsibilities throughout the supply chain. The Government has analysed submissions to the product safety review Call for Evidence and is now finalising its response, which will be published in due course. We will consider a full range of options to address the challenges identified by stakeholders and any proposals for legislative change would be subject to public consultation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support Trading Standards Scotland after the UK's departure from the EU.

The Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP), of which the department and Trading Standards Scotland are members, regularly meet to discuss consumer protection issues. The CPP brings together consumer protection organisations from across the UK jointly to identify and prioritise areas where there is greatest risk of harm to consumers and to agree and coordinate collective action to tackle detriment, making use of all available tools at the disposal of each member. This includes any EU Exit related issues.

In addition, BEIS officials hold regular discussions with Trading Standards Scotland to identify challenges any emerging areas of consumer harm.

In July 2021, the Department published the Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy consultation. The Department is currently analysing the responses and will respond to the consultation in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for the enforcement of trading standards following the impact of the (a) UK's departure from the EU and (b) recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales are responsible for local Trading Standards services. Local authorities are independent from central government and are responsible for determining their resourcing priorities in accordance with the needs of the local electorate. The budget process of the Scottish and Welsh Governments results in the determination of the local government finance settlement which sets out the government grant. The Department for the Economy funds the Trading Standards Service in Northern Ireland.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to undertake a review of the enforcement powers of (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

Local Trading Standards Services are funded solely by local authorities, which are independent from central government. These authorities are responsible for determining their spending priorities and they are accountable to their local electorate. Funding is not ringfenced, so local authorities make decisions according to their individual needs.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will provide additional funding to (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

Local Trading Standards Services are funded solely by local authorities, which are independent from central government. These authorities are responsible for determining their spending priorities and they are accountable to their local electorate. Funding is not ringfenced, so local authorities make decisions according to their individual needs.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland on tackling unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) works closely with colleagues in local authority trading standards services to take action where products, including toys, are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements. This work includes sharing intelligence with the National Trading Standards regional intelligence network and Trading Standards Scotland, as well as working directly with the local authorities that have enforcement responsibilities for product safety, including at the ports.

OPSS is currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure consumers continue to be protected and that businesses are able to safely innovate and grow. As part of the review, officials have engaged with representatives from trading standards from across the UK, including Scotland. Representatives from trading standards have recently taken part in six roundtable events, which included reporting their experience of enforcement issues with online marketplaces. We will continue to engage with them and a wide range of other stakeholders as the review progresses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to undertake a review of the enforcement powers of (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will provide additional funding to (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for the enforcement of trading standards.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support Trading Standards Scotland.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland on tackling unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) works closely with colleagues in local authority trading standards services to take action where products, including toys, are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements. This work includes sharing intelligence with the National Trading Standards regional intelligence network and Trading Standards Scotland, as well as working directly with the local authorities that have enforcement responsibilities for product safety, including at the ports.

OPSS is currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure consumers continue to be protected and that businesses are able to safely innovate and grow. As part of the review, officials have engaged with representatives from trading standards from across the UK, including Scotland. Representatives from trading standards have recently taken part in six roundtable events, which included reporting their experience of enforcement issues with online marketplaces. We will continue to engage with them and a wide range of other stakeholders as the review progresses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to work with the devolved nations in respect of the delivery of its Life Sciences Vision.

The Life Sciences Vision is UK-wide and aims to increase the health, wealth and resilience for all four nations of the United Kingdom. The Government worked closely with the devolved administrations and stakeholders from all parts of the UK in developing the Vision, to ensure that it reflected the strengths and opportunities of the whole UK.

We will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations as we implement the Vision. BEIS officials are in regular contact with their devolved counterparts.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the Government's potential role in the collapse of the AEA Technology pension scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The State cannot be held liable for the value of private sector pension schemes. Affected individuals are covered by Pension Protection Fund compensation arrangements. This has not changed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the uptake has been of funding from the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund to date.

Since the Medicines & Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund (MDMTF) launched on 7 April this year, we have seen a high level of interest from the sector with a total of 80 registrations visible on the online application portal as of 11th June 2021. The application deadline for the MDMTF is not until 30 June. Once received, applications will be appraised before grant offers are made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) agency workers and (b) other workers are treated fairly, respectfully and that their rights are protected.

The Government is committed to protecting and enhancing workers’ rights, including for agency workers. In the past year the Government has taken a variety of actions to support workers. These include increasing the National Living Wage for around 2 million workers, extending eligibility for the minimum wage to thousands of seafarers, enabling workers to carry over more annual leave due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ensured that those made redundant after a period of furlough do not lose out on redundancy pay, increasing the reference period employers use to calculate holiday pay to improve seasonal workers’ wages, and ensuring that prospective parents who are furloughed do not lose out on maternity pay entitlements and other forms of parental pay.

The Government has also introduced additional protections for agency workers. From 6 April 2020 the Government banned the use of ‘Swedish Derogation’ contracts, ensuring agency workers cannot opt out of their right to equal pay with permanent counterparts after the twelve-week qualifying period in the same role with the same hirer. We have also introduced the requirement for employment businesses to give new agency workers a Key Information Document to improve transparency around pay. The Government has also committed to extend the remit of the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate, which enforces agency workers’ rights, so that they can investigate relevant complaints involving umbrella companies and seek compliance from them. EAS has also doubled the number of frontline inspector roles.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support industrial decarbonisation now that the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Initiative has closed to new applicants.

The Government is committed to supporting industry with the ambitious decarbonisation needed to deliver on the Net Zero target. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published in March, explains our approach

We will align the UK Emissions Trading Scheme cap to be consistent with Net Zero, and are considering mechanisms to further strengthen the UK ETS and the Climate Change Agreements scheme. We are also investing in decarbonisation technologies through the £1bn CCUS Infrastructure Fund, £289m Industrial Energy Transformation Fund and £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund. We continue to develop business models to incentivise industrial CCUS and low-carbon hydrogen. We will also propose new measures to support the growth of the market for low carbon products.

The NDRHI closed to new applicants on 31st March 2021. However, several hundred projects will continue to be built, with commissioning deadlines of 31st March 2022.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support the development and roll-out of (a) bioenergy with carbon capture and storage and (b) other negative emissions technologies.

The Government’s priority is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities and adapt to those impacts that are unavoidable.

Negative emissions from technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) may be required to balance residual emissions from some of the most difficult to decarbonise sectors, such as agriculture and aviation. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommend deploying BECCS in the UK at a potential rate of 53 MtCO2/yr by 2050.

Through the Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure Fund, the UK Government will provide at least £800 million pounds to establish carbon capture and storage in at least two UK clusters, one by the mid-2020s and another by 2030.

We are taking action to support innovation and strengthen our understanding of GGRs before moving forward with deployment. In June 2020, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister committed up to £100 million funding to research and develop Direct Air Capture technologies in the UK. As part of this, BEIS launched phase 1 of the Direct Air Capture and other GGRs innovation competition in November, which seeks to support the development of GGR technologies to help them achieve commercialisation.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with Ofgem on potential reform of the the Transmission Network Use of System charging system.

The transmission network charging regime is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator. Transmission charges are set to reflect the costs which generators and demand customers in different locations impose on the transmission network. For Scotland, it means that generators generally pay higher charges than elsewhere, as they are further from demand centres, whilst Scottish consumers benefit from lower transmission charges than elsewhere. This ‘user pays’ approach helps to ensure efficient network use and keeps costs down for all end-consumers.

Ofgem is undertaking a package of reforms which, amongst other things, are intended to enable decarbonisation at lowest cost to consumers. An important element of this reform package is the Access and Forward-Looking Charges Review, which includes consideration of some aspects of transmission charging arrangements. Ofgem plans to consult on proposals in 2021, and the Department is in close touch with Ofgem to understand the implications for helping to achieve net zero targets, as well as minimising consumer costs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make a comparative assessment of the equity of the connection costs for wind projects in (a) Scotland and (b) elsewhere in Great Britain through the transmission network charging regime.

The transmission network charging regime is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator. Transmission charges are set to reflect the costs which generators and demand customers in different locations impose on the transmission network. For Scotland, it means that generators generally pay higher charges than elsewhere, as they are further from demand centres, whilst Scottish consumers benefit from lower transmission charges than elsewhere. This ‘user pays’ approach helps to ensure efficient network use and keeps costs down for all end-consumers.

Ofgem is undertaking a package of reforms which, amongst other things, are intended to enable decarbonisation at lowest cost to consumers. An important element of this reform package is the Access and Forward-Looking Charges Review, which includes consideration of some aspects of transmission charging arrangements. Ofgem plans to consult on proposals in 2021, and the Department is in close touch with Ofgem to understand the implications for helping to achieve net zero targets, as well as minimising consumer costs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential risk to UK net zero targets of not reforming the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charging system, which places a premium on wind farms based upon postcode rather than project viability.

The transmission network charging regime is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator. Transmission charges are set to reflect the costs which generators and demand customers in different locations impose on the transmission network. For Scotland, it means that generators generally pay higher charges than elsewhere, as they are further from demand centres, whilst Scottish consumers benefit from lower transmission charges than elsewhere. This ‘user pays’ approach helps to ensure efficient network use and keeps costs down for all end-consumers.

Ofgem is undertaking a package of reforms which, amongst other things, are intended to enable decarbonisation at lowest cost to consumers. An important element of this reform package is the Access and Forward-Looking Charges Review, which includes consideration of some aspects of transmission charging arrangements. Ofgem plans to consult on proposals in 2021, and the Department is in close touch with Ofgem to understand the implications for helping to achieve net zero targets, as well as minimising consumer costs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the amount of biomass feedstocks produced domestically in the UK.

In the Government’s response to Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) latest annual progress report to Parliament, we announced that we will publish a new Biomass Strategy in 2022.

This will review what amount of sustainable biomass could be available to the UK, and how this resource could be best utilised across the economy to help achieve our net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.

The Strategy will also assess the UK’s current biomass sustainability standards, which are already some of the world’s most stringent, to see where and how we can improve them even further.

As part of the strategy development, we will be launching a “Call for Evidence” on the role of biomass to help achieve zero, enabling interested stakeholders to contribute their views on biomass.

In addition, the Department will shortly be launching a £4m Biomass Feedstocks Innovation programme, investigating productivity innovations for domestic biomass supply.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has for further UK-wide decarbonisation policies when the non-domestic renewable heat incentive comes to an end in March 2021.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take to reduce emissions from buildings.

In addition, from April to July 2020, the Department consulted on “Future support for low carbon heat”, setting out proposals for future schemes to follow the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). A government response to this consultation will be published shortly.

As part of this consultation In April 2020 we detailed proposals for the Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS). This scheme will by provide tariff support for biomethane produced via anaerobic digestion and injected into the gas grid, and is due to open to applicants for four years in Autumn 2021.

Also included was the Clean Heat Grant (CHG), which will launch in April 2022. The CHG will be targeted at households and small non-domestic buildings, to enable the installation of heat pumps and, in limited circumstances, biomass, to provide space and water heating.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2021 to Question 143010, on Wind Power, what support has been provided to Ofgem to facilitate onshore wind's capacity to contribute to the Government’s net-zero emissions target.

Renewable electricity generation, including onshore wind, will play a key role in achieving Net Zero. Onshore wind projects can bid into the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference scheme, known as CfDs, which opens later this year. CfDs give greater certainty and stability of revenues to electricity generators by reducing their exposure to volatile wholesale prices, while protecting consumers from paying for higher costs when electricity prices are high. This will mean new onshore wind projects are developed, with the potential to provide clean energy into the network for years to come. Ofgem is responsible for ensuring the electricity network has sufficient capacity to allow for the growth in electricity generation and demand expected as we move to Net Zero, including provision for new and existing wind assets. While this a matter for the independent energy regulator, Government supports Ofgem in its work to create a stable regulatory environment to ensure Net Zero investment at lowest cost.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Government plans to bring forward an employment Bill.

The Government intends to bring forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows. We remain committed to delivering legislation that ensures we have an employment framework that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government plans to take to support (a) employers and (b) employees to develop flexible working practices for all people once the covid-19 outbreak has concluded.

The Government has a made clear commitment to encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to. A consultation will be issued in due course.

I have also written to the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to commission a further 18 months’ work from the Flexible Working Taskforce to help inform the Government’s thinking as we develop new policies and navigate the impact of COVID-19 on how we work. The Taskforce can help to take forward the best of what has been learned through the pandemic and help support workers and employers to adapt to new ways of working on a more permanent basis.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Department plans to launch its consultation on making flexible working the default.

The Government has a made clear commitment to encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to. A consultation will be issued in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish its response to the Ethnicity pay reporting consultation which closed on 11 January 2019.

In 2018/19, the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond to the consultation as soon as we can.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on ensuring that networks throughout the UK receive adequate funding to maximise the capacity of onshore wind to contribute to the Government net-zero emissions target.

Funding for electricity networks to ensure they have appropriate capacity for new and existing wind assets is set out by Ofgem as the energy regulator. This is managed through the price control process, including the Strategic Wider Works arrangements for delivery of large onshore electricity transmission projects. Whilst the Government has no direct role in this process, we support the energy networks, Ofgem and other parties in facilitating the sustained growth in onshore wind needed over the next decade to help achieve our aims for net zero emissions by 2050 and to contribute to the green industrial revolution.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Post Office Subsidy will be allocated.

Through the November 2020 Spending Review a total of £227m of funding has been allocated to the Post Office to extend the network subsidy by £50 million and to provide £177 million to invest in the future of the network. This will ensure that post offices in every corner of the country, including our vital rural branches, can keep providing essential services for the people that rely on them – now and in the future.

The subsidy is for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 and funds will be dispersed to Post Office during that period. The Government sets a number of criteria on the Post Office, including performance obligations, as detailed within the Entrustment Letter and Framework Document.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria will be used in allocating the Post Office Subsidy and if it will be published.

Through the November 2020 Spending Review a total of £227m of funding has been allocated to the Post Office to extend the network subsidy by £50 million and to provide £177 million to invest in the future of the network. This will ensure that post offices in every corner of the country, including our vital rural branches, can keep providing essential services for the people that rely on them – now and in the future.

The subsidy is for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 and funds will be dispersed to Post Office during that period. Government sets a number of criteria on the Post Office, including performance obligations, as detailed within the Entrustment Letter and Framework Document.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the net zero strategy will be published; and whether that strategy will include reductions in emissions necessary for meeting the UK’s 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution.

We will publish the Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26. We will build on my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper, as well as upcoming plans in key sectors such as the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Heat and Buildings Strategy.

The UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution is ambitious and demonstrates our continued leadership in tackling climate change. Our Net Zero Strategy will be a comprehensive plan for decarbonising sectors across the economy, both to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and meet our interim targets, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK.

We are building on the strong foundations we have established in decarbonising our economy; our ambitious manifesto commitments; and announcements from the Prime Minister and my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer of measures to cut emissions as we build back better in our economic recovery from COVID-19.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of further investment in tidal stream and wave technology and project developers as part of the Government's strategy to reach Net Zero by 2050.

The Government recently ran a Call for Evidence inviting views on what scope there is for marine technologies across the UK, including examining what additional support could move technologies towards commercialisation. This concluded on 30th September 2020 and we are currently reviewing the responses received.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of refining the pot structure of the Contracts for Difference round to include a reserved amount of funding for marine projects to compete for.

In November, the Government confirmed changes to the pot structure for the Contracts for Difference scheme to introduce a new, third pot for offshore wind ahead of the fourth Allocation Round scheduled to take place in late 2021. The Government considers this approach will allow auction parameters to be set across pots in a way which better reflects project characteristics. Wave and tidal stream projects remain eligible to compete in pot 2 for CfD auctions. We will publish specific allocation round parameters in advance of the next auction; typically, five to six months in advance. This will include the details of whether any technology-specific minima will apply.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the APPG for Marine Energy on the UK Marine Energy Council’s submission to the Department for BEIS: Call for Evidence.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently met with the APPG for Marine Energy to discuss broadly the Marine Energy Council’s proposals for potential support for marine energy technologies.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of supporting the introduction of an Innovation Power Purchase Agreement to allow early stage technologies reach commercial readiness.

BEIS officials continue to engage with wave and tidal stream developers to understand their cost-reduction trajectories, where those savings are likely to be found and, importantly in light of declining costs for other renewables, whether there may be a rationale for funding arrangements outside of the CFD.

The Marine Energy Council is also looking at alternative funding models for early tidal array deployment outside the Levy Control Framework, which they refer to as the Innovation Power Purchase Agreement (IPPA). However, given that the IPPA is based on a tax measure which is the responsibility of HMT, it would be for Treasury ministers to decide on the desirability of such an instrument.

BEIS also supports the progress of early-stage technologies to commercial readiness through the £505 million Energy Innovation Programme. The Programme includes:

  • The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund (EEF) is a competitive grant funding scheme to support SMEs in the development and demonstration of state-of-the-art disruptive technologies, products and processes. Since 2012 the EEF has invested around £72 million of grant money in over 156 companies leveraging over £100m in private investment.
  • £20 million investment in a new venture capital fund: the Clean Growth Fund. The HMG investment is matched pound for pound by private sector investment and the Fund Manager has ambition for the Clean Growth Fund to reach £100 million by autumn 2021.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 109389 on Toys and Games: Safety, whether the review of the Product Safety framework includes (a) ensuring that consumers receive warranties from the online marketplace on the quality and fitness for purpose of the products purchased via their platforms and (b) liability for unsafe toys and games being sold via their platforms.

The review of the UK’s Product Safety framework being led by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is focused on the safety of products and liability for them and will not review regulation of unfair or misleading trading practices. It is essential that the framework of laws which protect consumers from unsafe products are fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow.

The review will take account of new technologies and business models including those used by online marketplaces. In carrying out the review OPSS will engage widely with consumer and business representatives and others with an interest in the framework.

The Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015 provides statutory rights to consumers in respect of satisfactory quality or for goods to fit their description. Guarantees and warranties form a binding contract between the party offering them and the consumer and under UK law, are not required to be given, but are benefits in addition to consumers’ rights under the CRA.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 67591 on Warm Home Discount Scheme, if he will increase the amount of the Warm Home Discount to improve that scheme's targeting of fuel poverty beyond 2022.

On 14 October, we published a consultation on the extension of the Warm Home Discount scheme until March 2022. Should the Government decide to extend the scheme further, we plan to consult on reforms to improve the fuel poverty targeting.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the IP Crime Group’s finding in its IP Crime and Enforcement Report that cigarettes and tobacco products were the most reported counterfeit goods in the UK in 2019-20.

The IP Crime Report highlights that cigarettes and tobacco products were the products most investigated by Trading Standards in 2019-20. However, the IP Crime Report does highlight many operational successes by Trading Standards in removing illicit cigarettes and tobacco products from sale. The Intellectual Property Office also carried out a significant number of investigations into illicit cigarettes and tobacco products.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory.

In 2018/19 the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond to the consultation in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to introduce additional regulation to (a) require and (b) support businesses to report ethnicity pay gaps.

In 2018/19 the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond to the consultation in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much electricity would be generated by the £1.26 billion of Renewable Obligation Certificates which biomass for electricity receives if the money was redirected to (a) offshore wind, (b) onshore wind and (c) solar; and will he make a statement.

Generating stations under the Renewables Obligation scheme receive support for up to 20 or 25 years, depending on when they accredited. As they have a statutory right to their existing support, as set out in the scheme’s implementing legislation, it would be inappropriate to redirect that support to other technologies.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to accredit more lenders to the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

In order to offer the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), finance providers must be accredited by the Government-owned British Business Bank. Accrediting new lenders for the BBLS is a priority for the Bank. It is working at pace to accredit more lenders to further extend the scheme’s reach and provide more choice for businesses.

The Bank has put substantial additional resources in place to create a streamlined process to help onboard new lenders seeking accreditation.

There are currently 23 accredited lenders for the BBLS.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support micro businesses in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Our aim is to make the UK the best place to start, scale up and grow a business and the Government is helping small businesses across the whole of the UK access the finance and support they need to succeed.

The British Business Bank’s (BBB) programmes are currently supporting over £7.4 billion of finance to over 93,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK. Since launching in 2012, the BBB Start-Up Loans programme has issued over 3,500 loans in Scotland, averaging £7,200 each and worth over £25m in total. This includes 102 Start-Up Loans totalling £607,358 to companies in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

In addition to its lending and investment activity, BBB’s online Finance Hub helps business owners to find the right finance options for their needs.

Government has taken further steps in recent years to support the growth of small businesses across the UK, including cutting corporation tax to 19 per cent and increasing the employment allowance from £2,000 to £3,000 to benefit around 1m businesses. Reforms and reliefs to business rates, are worth £13 billion over the next five years.

All businesses in Scotland, including your constituency may use the Scottish Government’s dedicated website to find out about and access business support via https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/ or by telephone: 0300 303 0660. (Monday to Friday, 09:30am to 5:30pm.)

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate she has made of the number of households in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency that were affected by fuel poverty in each year since 2015.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and BEIS does not make estimates of households in fuel poverty for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the prohibition under regulation 6A(1) of The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 to include minimum payment surcharges by retail merchants to their customers as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Business are generally free to set out acceptable terms of payment from consumers.

For most retail payments, the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations ban merchants from charging a fee in addition to the advertised price of a transaction on the basis of a consumer’s choice of payment instrument (for example, consumer credit or debit cards, or e-money). The cases in which surcharges are banned are set out in regulation 6A(1). The Government is examining a range of ways to support businesses and consumers in these difficult times, but there are no plans to review this legislation at present.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency have received income under the feed-in tariff in the last five years for which figures are available.

There are 2616 domestic homes in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency registered for feed-in tariff payments in Ofgem’s Central FIT register.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK have prepayment meters; and what the change in the number of such meters was in each of those areas over the last five years.

The latest Ofgem data on Prepayment Meters (PPM) shows that there are 4.3 million customers using PPM meters, which represents around 15% of all customers in Great Britain.

Neither Ofgem nor the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy routinely collect regional PPM customer numbers However, in 2017 BIES collected a one off local authority area breakdown, which showed there were 460,529 PPM customers in Scotland, 14,008 PPM customers in the Falkirk Council local authority area and 13,143 for the West Lothian Council local authority area. This data does not include customers who pay for their gas using a PPM as this data has not been compiled, however there are fewer gas PPMs as a whole in the market.

The number of Prepayment Meter accounts in the GB energy market over the last five years has remained around 4.5 million. There has, however been an increase in competition in the PPM market over the past five years with PPM specialists providing greater choice for consumers beyond the six large suppliers. A cap on PPM prices was introduced in April 2017 and remains in force.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households are classified as fuel poor in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and BEIS does not make estimates of households in fuel poverty for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment the Commission has made of the level of risk of spreading covid-19 as a result of hon. Members touching the despatch boxes and table during physical voting on 2 June 2020; and if he would make a statement.

The House authorities on behalf of the Commission has carried out all risk assessments as required under the Working safely during coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance. This identifies the key risks and control measures which have been introduced to allow people to work safely on the parliamentary estate during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Through the development of cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures the risk from touching any surface should be minimised and measures have been put in place to ensure hand washing facilities and / or hand sanitiser is available across the estate. These have also been placed at both entry points to the chamber.

Enhanced cleaning of the despatch box has continued at all times the House sits to further minimise any potential risk.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce the amount of manual processing on paper it carries out and (b) make those processes digital.

The Department has a case management offering, which allows staff to leverage technology to improve processes. The aim is to increase automation while reducing operational costs and manual processes. Where manual processes still exist, the Department seeks to use technology to reduce them further.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will suspend wrongful trading laws during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the difficulties faced by directors in making decisions about the future viability of their companies in these times of extreme uncertainty, and that the wrongful trading provisions impact on those decisions. The Government is urgently considering a range of measures which aim to help businesses wherever possible where the Covid-19 outbreak is the cause of their financial difficulties.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that residential customers of power companies who are (a) in self-isolation and (b) economically inactive as a result of covid-19 are able to afford an adequate level of gas and electricity supply during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government announced on 19 March that we have secured a voluntary agreement with domestic energy supply companies to support customers impacted by Covid-19.

Under the terms of this agreement, energy suppliers will seek to identify and prioritise customers at risk, support customers who are impacted financially, and support prepayment meter customers to stay on supply.

The support offered will be based on the individual circumstances of the customer and the systems, processes and capability of the supply company. It could include extending discretionary or friendly credit, or sending out a pre-loaded top up card for prepay customers who are unable to leave home to top up.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to ensure that supplies of (a) hand sanitiser and (b) face masks are not rapidly depleted by panic buying as a result of covid-19.

The UK is well prepared for this type of outbreak; we are taking all necessary precautions to protect the public, including engaging with industry and the business community to discuss their preparedness planning. We will continue to work closely with sectors, companies, and business representative organisations to ensure we are fully aware of the issues and impacts businesses are facing and how we can best provide support.

In order to help the industry respond to Covid-19, the Government has announced that it will work with local authorities to extend the hours in which deliveries can be made to supermarkets and other food retailers. This will allow retailers to increase the frequency of their deliveries and move stock more quickly from warehouses to shelves.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Mar 2020
What support he is providing to help businesses in Scotland prepare for the introduction of import controls on EU goods from 2021.

We are working with the Scottish Government to ensure businesses can take full advantage of the new opportunities presented in January 2021.

We have provided over £130 million to the Scottish Government in EU exit allocations, and through HMRC’s customs grant scheme, £34 million has been made available to UK businesses to support trader readiness.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment the Government has made of trends in the level of pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace; and if she will make a statement.

The Government recognises the importance of tackling pregnancy and maternity discrimination. That is why we committed in our Manifesto to reform redundancy law so companies cannot discriminate against women after they have returned from maternity leave.

The Government is currently undertaking the Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey which surveys over 3,000 parents across Great Britain to understand leave and employment decisions when they have a baby, this includes a question on whether a parent experienced any discrimination at work.

The Government will undertake further research into pregnancy and maternity related discrimination when the current package of interventions has had time to take effect.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with broadcasters on the potential merits of free to view broadcast of international rugby matches involving (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales.

I refer to my previous answer of 19 November 2021 that the Department has discussions regularly with broadcasters on a range of matters including those related to the broadcasting of Sport.

The Listed Events regime is designed to ensure that sporting events of national significance are accessible to as wide an audience as possible by ensuring that coverage of certain sports are offered to free-to-air broadcasters. Currently, matches in the Rugby World Cup finals tournament and Six Nations Rugby matches involving home countries are designated on the listed events regime under Group B. This means that they are protected for delayed coverage and/or highlights packages on free-to-air television but it does not preclude these events from being broadcast live on free-to-air television.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with broadcasters on the potential merits of free to view broadcast of international football matches involving (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales.

The Department has discussions regularly with broadcasters on a range of matters including those related to the broadcasting of Sport.

The Listed Events regime is designed to ensure that sporting events of national significance are accessible to as wide an audience as possible by ensuring that coverage of certain sports are offered to free-to-air broadcasters. Currently, international football matches for the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament and the European Football Championships Finals Tournament are designated on the listed events regime under Group A - where full live coverage must be offered for free-to-air broadcast. This includes the matches of the home countries that have qualified for the event.

We believe that the current Listed Events regime works well and strikes an appropriate balance between retaining free-to-air sports events for the public while allowing rights holders to negotiate agreements in the best interests of their sport.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 October 2021 to Question 57186 on Broadband: Standards, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of embedding an official broadband speed standard of measurement in Ofcom’s Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice, to ensure internet service providers deliver a standardised supply to consumers.

Standards for measuring broadband speeds as a part of the Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice are a matter for Ofcom as the independent regulator for the sector.

In November 2020, significant changes to Ofcom’s Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice came into effect which require providers who have signed up to provide customers with ‘live sync speeds’. This means people and businesses should receive more accurate information about the capabilities of their individual lines before they enter their contract.

In addition, Ofcom is conducting a review of the codes and aims to publish its findings by the end of the year. This will include an assessment of how well Ofcom believes the current code of practice is working.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has plans to promote knowledge on the environmental impact of storing unnecessary data.

As outlined in the National Data Strategy, better data use and data-driven innovation will be vital to solving some of today’s biggest challenges, including the UK’s transition to Net Zero through driving emissions reductions across sectors. At the same time as seizing this opportunity we know that we must remain vigilant to the environmental consequences of increased data use.

Through the National Data Strategy Forum workstream on Net Zero, we will continue to highlight the environmental impact of data use as well as champion how the better use of data can support our Net Zero ambitions.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an assessment of the carbon cost of storing data online.

As outlined in the National Data Strategy, better data use and data-driven innovation will be vital to solving some of today’s biggest challenges, including the UK’s transition to Net Zero through driving emissions reductions across sectors. At the same time as seizing this opportunity we know that we must remain vigilant to the environmental consequences of increased data use.

Data centres are acknowledged as one of many contributing factors to ICT emissions, along with TV, Networks, and User Devices, although experts disagree over the sector’s precise contribution. To this end, as part of the National Data Strategy Forum, I recently hosted a roundtable with data centre providers to understand the steps they are taking to reduce their carbon emissions including through the commitments outlined in the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pledge.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of ending gambling sponsorship in sport.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. This closed on 31 March and received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing operators to advertise and engage in sponsorship arrangements. We are currently considering all evidence carefully and no decisions have been made. A white paper will be published in due course.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications of research by Oxford and Warwick Universities, entitled The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published in March 2021, for the Government's Review of the Gambling Act 2005.

As set out in response to the Oral Question in the House of Lords on 20th April, the government views the paper by Dr Naomi Muggleton and others which looks at the correlation between gambling spend and financial indicators of wellbeing as a useful contribution to the evidence base. We are considering its findings carefully as part of our ongoing Review of the Gambling Act 2005, alongside the responses to our call for evidence which closed at the end of March. We aim to publish a white paper outlining our conclusions and policy proposals by the end of the year.

2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will use the Review of the Gambling Act to ensure that the Gambling Commission can access all essential new and emerging evidence in its ongoing review into Remote Customer Interaction.

The Gambling Commission’s consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction closed on 9 February and received over 13,000 responses. The Commission is reviewing the evidence carefully and intends to publish a full report in the summer. An interim update can be found at the following link:
https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news/article/update-on-remote-customer-interaction-consultation

The government’s Review of the Gambling Act is ongoing and we received 16,000 responses to our call for evidence. We have shared key submissions with the Gambling Commission, including on remote customer interaction.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to tackle online homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

The government is committed to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, including the spread of such content online. On 12 May 2021, we published the draft Online Safety Bill, which sets out new expectations on companies to keep their users safe online. Under a new legal duty of care, in-scope companies, including social media, will need to tackle misogynistic, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic content and activity that is illegal, if it is on their services.

In addition, companies with the largest audiences and with high-risk features will need to assess the risk to adults of legal but harmful content on their services. They must also set clear terms and conditions stating what legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will have to do this for both priority harms which the government will set out in secondary legislation and for any emerging harms they identify in their risk assessments.

These duties will apply to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate speech, which do not meet the threshold of a criminal offence. Companies will need to enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently, and could face enforcement action if they do not. All companies in scope will be required to have effective and accessible user reporting and redress mechanisms.

21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the potential merits of expanding the scope of the proposed online safety Bill to tackle online scams and fraud.

The Online Safety Bill was developed jointly by DCMS and the Home Office, involving close cooperation at Ministerial and official level.

The government is deeply concerned about the growth and scale of online fraud. The Online Safety Bill, published on the 12th May, will therefore require companies in scope of regulation to take action to tackle fraud, where it is facilitated through user-generated content (for example by social media posts) or via search results. We expect the regulatory framework to have a particular impact on specific types of fraud, such as romance scams, which are estimated to cost over £60 million a year and cause significant psychological harm to victims.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 179071 on Gambling: Advertising, for what reason adverts that promote bingo or lotteries are allowed to be broadcast on television before 9.00pm.

As set out in answer to Question 179071, all gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Adverts must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people, and the Committees of Advertising Practice recently concluded a consultation on proposals to amend the advertising codes to further limit the potential for adverts to appeal to these groups.

The broadcast advertising codes make clear that adverts for commercial gambling and lotteries must not be shown during or adjacent to television programmes directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children. Gambling adverts on television are also subject to a pre-broadcast clearance regime to ensure they comply with advertising codes. Adverts for most gambling products are not broadcast before 9pm under the voluntary Industry Group for Responsible Gambling code; however this restriction does not apply to products such as bingo and lotteries that were permitted to advertise prior to the Gambling Act 2005.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise. The review will not look at advertising relating to the National Lottery, which is regulated under a separate framework, the National Lottery Act 1993. Evidence from the latest (2018) Health Survey for England shows that problem gambling rates for National Lottery draw-based games were 0.9% and Scratchcards were 1.4%.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 187228 on Gambling: Internet, what the Gambling Commission’s timescale is for publishing an interim update on progress and next steps in relation to its consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction.

The Gambling Commission’s consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction closed on 9 February and received over 13,000 responses. The Commission is reviewing that evidence and will publish an interim update on progress and to set out next steps in due course.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, what discussions his Department has had with relevant stakeholders on changes in the level of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, what representations his Department has received on changes in the level of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, what information his Department holds on changes in the level of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, if he will make an assessment of trends in the amount of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the media representation of obesity on the stigma associated with living with overweight or obesity.

The Government’s ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ sets out an ambitious strategy for reducing obesity and includes ensuring the use of appropriate language when associated with unhealthy weight.

In January The Minister of State for Digital and Culture provided evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee concerning how media representations can contribute to poor body image. Ministers and officials in my department are committed to reviewing this issue as part of the Online Advertising Programme Review, later this year.

My department also works closely with the Advertising Standards Authority to ensure advertising presenting misleading, exaggerated and irresponsible content is taken down. In 2019 the Advertising Standards Association enhanced their standards through the inclusion of a new rule prohibiting negative gender stereotypes. Ads which pressure the audience to conform to an idealised gender-stereotypical body shape or physical features are likely to breach this rule.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the amount of gambling advertising that is broadcast on television has increased since March 2020.

The Chief Medical Officer is clear that being physically active is important to long-term health and crucial for keeping people healthy. Sports and physical activity, including the use of gyms, have been shown to treat, manage and prevent a range of conditions including heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stress, depression or anxiety. It can also bring communities together and tackle issues such as loneliness. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise throughout the national and the local tiered restrictions.

Sport England’s Active Lives Adult and Children surveys provide information not only on activity levels but also on social outcomes such as physical and mental wellbeing too. The latest reports can be found here.

Furthermore, last month Sport England published its new strategy Uniting the Movement which sets out their 10 year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. The strategy seeks to tackle the inequalities we have seen in sport and physical activity and provide opportunities to people and communities that have traditionally been left behind, helping to remove barriers to activity.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. Step 2 will take place no earlier than 12 April and as part of this indoor leisure (including gyms) for individual use will reopen. Step 3 will take place no earlier than 17 May and as part of this exercise classes can resume. This will be subject to social contact limits.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to ensure that forthcoming legislative proposals on preventing children's exposure to pornographic content online apply equally to all pornographic websites accessible by children.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. Under our proposals, social media, websites, apps and other services which host user-generated content or facilitate online user interaction (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming) will be subject to a duty of care, giving them new responsibilities towards their users. The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography.

We expect companies to use age assurance or age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing services which pose the highest risk of harm to children, such as online pornography. We are working closely with stakeholders across industry to establish the right conditions for the market to deliver age assurance and age verification technical solutions ahead of the legislative requirements coming into force.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the content labelling provisions on sites hosting user-generated content such as YouTube; and if he will ask platforms to ensure the effectiveness of their content labelling.

The regulation of video sharing platforms by Ofcom came into force on 1 November 2020. UK-established video sharing platforms must now take appropriate measures to protect the public, including minors, from illegal content and harmful material. Although Youtube is not in scope of UK regulation, as its European headquarters is not in the UK, UK-established video sharing platforms may adopt content labelling as an appropriate measure. However they are not obliged to do so.

Under the future online harms regulatory framework, which will be introduced in the online safety legislation that we will be bringing forward later this year, all companies in scope of the new framework will need to have appropriate systems and processes in place to protect users. Any instances of advertising on sites hosting user-generated content, such as YouTube, must be obviously identifiable to meet the provisions of the regulator, the Advertising Standards Association.

DCMS will review how online advertising is regulated later in the year, to ensure standards about the placement and content of advertising can be effectively applied and enforced online so that consumers have limited exposure to harmful or misleading advertising.

Information about the call for evidence can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/online-advertising-call-for-evidence/online-advertising-call-for-evidence

We will continue to engage with industry to encourage platforms to adopt appropriate content labelling.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of whether Netflix’s best practice adoption of trusted BBFC ratings has encouraged other major streaming services to also adopt the BBFC’s ratings; and if he will encourage those services to do so.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings.

While adoption of the BBFC’s age ratings by online platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their usage by Video on Demand platforms. We were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

With it being such a recent development, the Government has not made any specific assessment of the impact of Netflix’s actions upon other streaming services. We will of course continue to engage with industry to encourage other platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review in the coming years.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 77680, on Newspaper Press and Radio: Taxation, what assessment he has made of the merits of the Advertising Association's proposals for an advertising tax credit for local radio stations and news publications.

Supporting our world leading media businesses, such as Newspaper Press and Radio, is a key priority for this Government. Media businesses and freelancers across the country have now been able to take advantage of the unprecedented set of measures set up to support the economy and our media industry.

Conversations with stakeholders across Newspaper Press and Radio are ongoing and we will of course continue to engage with industry, and assess the merits of the government intervening where there is a strong case to do so.

This is a live issue for the government and one we will revisit once the budget has been confirmed.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to communicate the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network to (a) residential consumers and (b) businesses.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network on businesses in the UK.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the number of vulnerable people who will be affected by the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives from online gaming platform providers on their codes of conduct for online gaming; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers and officials regularly hold meetings and discussions with online gaming platform providers on a range of issues, including online safety. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Under new online safety legislation, all companies in scope will need to tackle illegal content on their platforms, and protect children accessing their services from harmful content and activity. Gaming platforms which host user-generated content or facilitate online interaction will need to take decisive action to protect users on their services, particularly children. For example, they will need to protect children from harmful user-generated content such as bullying.

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to support transmission cost relief for small commercial radio broadcasters.

The government fully recognises the vital role that small commercial radio stations have played during the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the provision of national and local news and information, as well as community engagement and entertainment. We are acutely aware of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on commercial radio revenues, and we are continuing to work with all parts of the radio industry to explore ways to support the ongoing sustainability of stations.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Arqiva on an additional relief package for small commercial radio broadcasters.

The government fully recognises the vital role that small commercial radio stations have played during the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the provision of national and local news and information, as well as community engagement and entertainment. We are acutely aware of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on commercial radio revenues, and we are continuing to work with all parts of the radio industry to explore ways to support the ongoing sustainability of stations.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to provide additional support for transmission costs to small commercial radio broadcasters.

The government fully recognises the vital role that small commercial radio stations have played during the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the provision of national and local news and information, as well as community engagement and entertainment. We are acutely aware of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on commercial radio revenues, and we are continuing to work with all parts of the radio industry to explore ways to support the ongoing sustainability of stations.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 54172 on Business and Government Departments: Cybercrime, how many such cyber security incidents were reported in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

In the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020 (data collected in 2019) it was reported that 46% of business and 26% of charities reported experiencing a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months. Figures for the last 4 years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.

Year

Businesses

Charities

2020

46%

26%

2019

32%

22%

2018

43%

19%

2017

46%

Data not collected

The survey aims to account for all the types of breaches or attacks that organisations might face including accidental breaches, as well intentional and recorded cyber attacks that did not get past an organisation’s defences. This only measures the breaches or attacks that organisations have themselves identified.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many successful cyber attacks took place against businesses in the UK in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

In the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020 (data collected in 2019) it was reported that 46% of business and 26% of charities reported experiencing a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months.

In 2020, it was reported that of those who experienced a cyber security incident, 19% of businesses and 25% of charities reported an incident having any negative outcome. Figures for the last four years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.

Year

Businesses

Charities

2020

19%

25%

2019

25%

21%

2018

34%

40%

2017

38%

41%


The Cyber Security Breaches survey aims to account for all the types of breaches or attacks that organisations might face. This includes accidental breaches, as well as ones perpetrated intentionally. It also includes recorded cyber attacks that did not necessarily get past an organisation’s defences (but attempted to do so). While the survey does not specifically identify successful cyber attacks, it does nevertheless isolate the cases that had a material outcome, such as a loss of money, assets or other data. This only measures the breaches or attacks that organisations have themselves identified.

Figures for the last 4 years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.


28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 54171 on Small Businesses: Cybercrime, what recent steps his Department has taken to promote the uptake of the Cyber Essentials Scheme in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Cyber Essentials is promoted nationally through partnerships with over 50 amplification partners, including regulatory bodies and trade associations. It is also required for all central government contracts. The government works with law enforcement to engage with local businesses through Regional Organised Crime Units, one of which is run by Police Scotland. Alongside this, Scotland’s Business Resilience Centre offers subsidised, bespoke cyber security advice to SMEs, including about Cyber Essentials certification. There are eight further Regional Cyber Resilience Centres throughout the UK.

The Government’s Cyber Aware campaign shows the public and small businesses how to take up secure online behaviours, including signposting businesses towards Cyber Essentials and other guidance and support.

Up to the end of August 2020, 50,421 Cyber Essentials certificates had been awarded to organisations, including 11,506 since the start of 2020.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 54171 on Small Businesses: Cybercrime, what recent steps his Department has taken to publicise the availability of the UK Government's Cyber Aware advice.

Cyber Aware is a cross-government campaign led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) with support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office. The campaign helps the public and small businesses take up behaviours to stay secure online. The most recent phase of the Cyber Aware campaign started in April 2020 with advice on how to stay secure online during the coronavirus crisis. The campaign included a range of paid-for digital advertising and social media activity, supported by further communications from the NCSC, DCMS and Home Office. In addition, the NCSC published a range of new guidance to help businesses stay secure, including advice on secure home working, secure use of video conferencing and advice on how to move a business online securely in response to the lockdown. Also launched as part of the campaign is the new Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) where the public can flag suspicious emails related to coronavirus or other matters. As of 31 August, the number of reports received stands at more than 2,330,000, with 9,315 scams and 22,237 malicious URLs removed as a result.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to help increase levels of revenue contributed through Gift Aid to support the civil society sector.

The Government is committed to supporting charities through Gift Aid; Gift Aid claimed by charities was worth around £1.3billion in 2018-19. Gift Aid already results in full tax relief on the tax paid on donations, with basic rate relief being claimed by the charity and higher rate relief being claimed by the taxpayer where relevant. Increasing the rate at which Gift Aid is paid would break the link with the basic rate of Income Tax paid on qualifying donations. Additionally, less than 20% of UK charities claim Gift Aid, so any increased payments linked to this tax relief would only benefit a small proportion of charities, with most being paid to a very small number of the very largest charities.

There is ongoing work between the Government and charities to improve eligible Gift Aid take-up and ensure that Gift Aid is fit for the future, and we understand the need to raise awareness among charities and donors of the benefits of Gift Aid.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the effect of the Channel 4 documentary entitled, Dispatches: The Truth about Traveller Crime, on relations between traveller and non traveller communities; and if he will make a statement.

I have not discussed this matter with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Like all other broadcasters, Channel 4 is editorially independent from the government, and is subject to independent regulation by Ofcom.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many superfast fixed broadband lines there were in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the latest year for which data is available.

Utilising Ofcom’s Connected Nations Data (Spring 2020), the constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk has 53,846 fixed broadband lines with speeds above 30Mbps available. This represents 95.7% of all premises within the constituency. It also shows that whilst that figure represents availability of at least 30Mbps, the average download speed is actually 62.1Mbps.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate the Government has made of the number of people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency who do not have access to the internet.

The House of Commons Library produces an analysis of Ofcom Connected Nations data at constituency level: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/science/technology/constituency-data-broadband-coverage-and-speeds/. For the constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk it shows that:

  • 91% of the constituency is classified as urban and 9% is rural.

  • Within urban areas, 0.2% of premises are unable to receive decent broadband whilst 97% can receive superfast broadband.

  • Within the rural areas, 10% of premises are unable to receive decent broadband whilst 83% can receive superfast broadband.

  • Decent broadband is classified by Ofcom as at least 10Mbps.

  • Superfast broadband is classified by Ofcom as at least 30Mbps.

  • The three areas with the poorest connectivity are Braes Villages, Carse & Grangemouth Old Town and Linlithgow South.

The Scottish Government is running the Reaching 100 (R100) programme to ensure that all premises in Scotland can access at least superfast speeds. In lieu of that, DCMS operates the UK-wide Rural Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which provides up to £1,500 for rural homes and up to £3,500 for rural small businesses/sole traders to contribute towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable connectivity. Furthermore, premises currently unable to receive at least 10Mbps could potentially qualify for the Universal Service Obligation (USO) which Ofcom launched in March 2020.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to promote digital inclusion in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency (a) in general and (b) for hard to reach groups who have never accessed online content.

Skills policy, including digital inclusion is a devolved matter. This is something that Scottish Ministers should be able to provide more information on.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help small and medium-sized enterprises protect themselves against cyber-attack.

Through the National Cyber Security Strategy the Government is helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the economy and society improve their digital security.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to help SMEs protect themselves, including promoting the uptake of the Cyber Essentials scheme through engagement with industry sectors and via police Regional Organised Crime Units, which engage with businesses locally.

The Cyber Aware campaign encourages the public and small businesses to take up secure online behaviours, including signposting businesses to guidance, such as the Small Business Guide, which helps firms protect themselves from the most common cyber attacks. The NCSC has also published a suite of guidance on home-working and digital business operations to support SMEs during the Covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS also is making sure SMEs have access to the skilled people they need, and the NCSC offers a free online training package, Top Tips for Staff.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of (a) small businesses, (b) large corporations and (c) Government departments and agencies reported breaches of cyber security in each of the last five years.

In 2020, 43% of micro businesses, 62% of small businesses and 75% of large businesses had identified cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. Figures for the last 4 years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.

Micro (1-9 staff)

Small (10-49 staff)

Large (250+ staff)

2020

43%

62%

75%

2019

28%

40%

61%

2018

40%

47%

72%

2017

38%

52%

68%

The survey aims to account for all the types of breaches or attacks that organisations might face including accidental breaches, as well intentional and recorded cyber attacks that did not get past an organisation’s defences. This only measures the breaches or attacks that organisations have themselves identified so the figures reported may underestimate the full extent of the problem.

The total number of cyber incidents affecting central government departments is not held centrally. However, since its creation in 2016 the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has continued to provide assistance to central government departments and agencies to secure their networks and develop their departmental security strategies. This includes the deployment of the NCSC’s Host-Based Capability tool to over 35,000 government devices in the past year, which helps to collect and analyse technical metadata to help government departments understand the threat they face, and ongoing engagement with government departments and agencies as part of the Active Cyber Defence service.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many (a) small and medium-sized enterprises and (b) other businesses have signed up to the Cyber Essentials Scheme.

A total of 44,443 Cyber Essentials certificates have been awarded to organisations. The breakdown is as follows:

Micro 9,559

Small 14,423

Medium 9,068

Large 7,116

Some of the older certificates do not have an organisation size recorded, which is why the combined total above does not add up to 44,443.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many businesses have enrolled on the Cyber Essentials Scheme in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

From 2016 until the end of April 2020, 26 Cyber Essentials certificates have been awarded to businesses in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency. This is an estimate, as there is incomplete location data for some historical certificate entries.

A total of 44,443 certificates have been awarded to organisations across the UK.

A search function to find organisations with Cyber Essentials certificates is available at www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberessentials/search.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate his Department has made of the contribution of the horseracing industry to the economy in (a) the UK, and (b) Scotland in each of the last five years.

The Government recognises the significant contribution that racing makes to British sporting culture and its particular importance to the British rural economy.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) estimates that British racing, the UK’s second largest sports-related industry, is worth £4.1 billion in annual expenditure to the British economy, directly employing over 20,000 people and supporting employment for tens of thousands more in predominantly rural areas, and generating over £350 million in taxation annually.


An economic impact study commissioned by Scottish Racing in 2016 found that the Scottish horseracing industry generated £302 million in revenues, sustains 3,430 jobs, and generates £30m of tax revenues per annum. Further detail is provided in Scottish Racing’s 2016 Annual Review: http://www.scottishracing.co.uk/annual-review/.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to promote Gaelic and Welsh language literature in the UK.

Culture is a devolved matter so promoting Gaelic and Welsh language literature in the UK is a matter for the relevant devolved administration.

DCMS does, however, work to support minority languages through its work on the creative industries strand of the British Irish Council. This includes working with devolved administrations to support minority languages, to share best practice, and to nurture more diverse UK audiences, including through minority language publications.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to discontinue plans for a Festival of Britain and reallocate funding allocated to that purpose to supporting entertainment businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department remains committed to delivering Festival 2022 which will showcase the UK’s unique strengths in creativity and innovation and celebrate our place in the world in the 21st century. Festival 2022 will be an opportunity to invest in DCMS sectors as commissioning is expected to start later this year.

In the meantime, the Government has already set out a package to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to meet with representatives of the Hacked Off group on legislative proposals to independently regulate newspapers (a) print and (b) online media.

The Government is committed to a free and independent media. DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues, and will consider any proposals put forward with regard to regulation of print and online media.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to roll-out gigabit broadband (a) in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency and (b) throughout Scotland.

The government has made good progress in the constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk, with over £50 million of central government funding allocated to the Rest of Scotland project area. As a result, superfast coverage in the constituency now stands at 97.3% - up from 46.5% in March 2012 and compares favourably to the UK average of 96.5%. Full fibre coverage stands at 11.8%, above the Scottish average figure of 8.8%. In total, the government has invested over £100 million in improving Scotland’s broadband infrastructure.

There are three government funded Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) projects taking place in Scotland - Tay Cities, Shetlands Council and Highlands Council. Almost £12 million of central government funding is being invested to upgrade public sector assets with gigabit-capable infrastructure. These upgrades will then stimulate the market to invest commercially in the surrounding communities.

The Scottish Borderlands area is also a priority for the government’s £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, which is upgrading public sector sites in rural areas with gigabit-capable networks. This programme also offers vouchers for rural customers, which can be used to contribute towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable infrastructure.

In addition, the government has pledged £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the most difficult to reach areas of the UK, including communities in Scotland.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that rural areas have access to new superfast broadband infrastructure.

The Government’s Superfast programme has invested more than £1.8bn of public money to provide over 96% of UK premises with access to superfast broadband. BDUK continues to work closely with Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations to deliver through the programme. This also includes identifying further premises in rural areas that do not yet have access to Superfast broadband.


This Government will also deliver on its promise to commit £5bn of public money to make sure the hardest to reach areas will be connected with gigabit-capable connectivity. With this funding, we can deliver world class connectivity in rural areas at the same time as it is deployed to our cities, to ensure that a connected, 21st century Britain is a reality for all communities across the UK.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to minimise (a) the digital divide and (b) digital exclusion particularly among older people.

The UK Government recognises the vital importance of digital skills at all levels - from the basic digital skills people need to make the most of being online, to the general digital skills increasingly needed in every job, through to the high level digital skills for the growing number of specialist digital roles across the economy. As nearly all future jobs will require digital skills we are taking action across the entire education and training pipeline.

The UK Government recognises that, although we live in an increasingly online world, a significant part of the population remains digitally excluded Government is committed to helping elderly people acquire basic digital skills as part of our broader strategy to reduce digital exclusion as outlined in the Digital Strategy.

Government is addressing the digital divide through a number of initiatives.

We are funding the Future Digital Inclusion programme delivered through Online Centres based in libraries and other community spaces. This supports some of the hardest to reach groups in society, including older people. Over the last five years, the programme has supported over 1.3 million adult learners to engage with digital technology and develop their basic digital skills in community settings.

Through its £400,000 Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund, the Government is supporting three pilot projects aimed at addressing the digital exclusion of older and disabled people. One pilot, led by Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service, is developing “smart homes” for elderly people to improve their digital skills, supported by their peers and younger ‘digital buddies’.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to include in the Online Harms Bill provisions to tackle the potential risk of problem gambling to children of online gaming.

As problem gambling is not commonly associated with user-generated content, we do not anticipate that it will be addressed through the Online Harms regulatory framework.

However, the government is aware of concerns that entertainment products, such as some video games, could encourage gambling-like behaviour. We have committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age, and to tackle issues surrounding loot boxes. We will announce further details in due course.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to reform the apprenticeship levy to allow it to be used to support different forms of training.

The Department for Education is responsible for apprenticeships policy in England only.

The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from all UK employers with a pay bill above £3 million. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland receive a share of levy funding and it is the responsibility of the devolved administrations to determine how they spend this share to fund and operate their apprenticeship programmes.

The apprenticeship levy underpins our reforms in England to raise apprenticeship quality and support employers to make a long-term, sustainable investment in the skills that they need to grow. Employers are able to use their levy funds to access high-quality apprenticeship training and assessment. We currently have no plans to review what apprenticeship levy funds can be spent on.

We have set out our plans to improve the working of the apprenticeship levy in England in our Skills for Jobs white paper. We are making apprenticeships more flexible so that they work better for employers from all sectors, and we are enabling large employers to make greater use of their levy funds by improving and simplifying the process of transferring funds to other employers, including small employers who do not pay the levy.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the remit of the proposed review of foster care legislation to include foster carer's employment status.

Foster Care in England’, the 2017 independent review of foster care, was clear that the current legislative framework is fit for purpose: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foster-care-in-england. The reviewers did not recommend a change to the current employment status of foster carers. Their assessment was consistent with that of the Education Select Committee in determining that whilst there could be improvement in the respect and value shown to foster carers, in recognition of the invaluable role they play in Children’s Social Care and the lives of some of our most vulnerable children, this would not necessarily be achieved by becoming employees of fostering agencies: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmeduc/340/340.pdf. As a result, we have no immediate intention to revise the foster care legislation to that effect.

In our response, ‘Foster Better Outcomes’ (2018), we committed to considering where changes could be made to the statutory guidance to strengthen and clarify issues around support for foster carers and to assess whether the National Minimum Standards for Foster Care should be replaced by Quality Standards: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fostering-better-outcomes. We are committed to undertaking this work and will engage fully with the sector when we do so.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission has made an assessment of the potential merits of hon. Members wearing face masks or face coverings upon return to physical Parliamentary proceedings; and if he will make a statement.

The Commission is led by the current Government advice on the use of face masks and coverings.

Advice from Public Health England has been considered which states that face coverings may be beneficial in places where it is hard to follow and maintain social distancing measures e.g. on public transport. Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions. As hon. Members can maintain social distancing and have easy access to handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser, it was concluded that face coverings were not necessary.

A review of this decision was carried out on 3 June and concluded that the advice did not need to be updated in line with current government guidance.

Although not considered necessary it is an MP’s choice if they do want to wear a face covering on the Parliamentary estate.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of potential changes in the number of university enrolments at Scottish universities among overseas (a) undergraduates and (b) postgraduates as a result of the implementation of the proposed immigration system.

EU and non-EU students make an invaluable contribution to the whole of the UK’s higher education sector, socially, culturally and financially. This is why the UK Government will continue to welcome international students, working towards the ambition set out in our International Education Strategy, to host 600,000 international students per year by 2030.

The latest Higher Education Statistics Agency data shows that there are 58,000 international students enrolled in Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), an increase of 7% from 2017/18. The number of EU-domiciled students enrolled at Scottish HEIs has remained relatively stable since 2017/18 (decreasing by 0.5%). The number of non-EU-domiciled students enrolled at Scottish HEIs has increased by 12% since 2017/18. Undergraduate and postgraduate students will be covered by the points-based immigration system. This will improve on the current system by simplifying and streamlining the student route for both students and sponsors.

To ensure the UK higher education sector remains internationally attractive, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced the new Graduate Route in September 2019. This will offer an opportunity for international students who have passed their degree to stay and work in the UK for two years post-study.

This announcement enables higher education providers to recruit for the 2020/21 academic year on the basis that their students will be eligible for the graduate route, and ensures that all existing students who meet the requirements, and have Tier 4 leave at the point that the route is introduced will be able to benefit. Education in Scotland is a devolved matter.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the potential effect of the Government's proposed immigration legislation on tertiary education.

The Department remains closely engaged with the Home Office around the future immigration system, its design and its impact on tertiary education.

Officials are involved in a number of cross-Whitehall meetings on system design, and attend the Education Sector Forum where the sector shares their views directly with the Home Office.

20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to introduce workers' rights and protections for foster carers who are classed as self-employed.

In England, the purpose of foster care is to provide children with the chance of a family life when they cannot be cared for by their birth parents.

Foster care is a devolved matter and the agreement that foster carers in England have with fostering service providers, including local authorities, sets out how they carry out their role. This is, however, not a contract of employment or a contract to perform work, which would be a necessary requirement for someone to be classed as either an employee or a worker.

The Children’s Act 1989 (Vol. 4: Fostering Services) and subsequent statutory guidance sets out strong safeguards to protect foster parents from unfair treatment, including the requirement for fostering services to have a complaints procedure, whistle blowing policy, and for foster parents to have the right to review by the Independent Review Mechanism. Fostering Better Outcomes (2018) sets out the government’s ambitions and commitments to improve the wider support available for foster parents in England. There are no plans to reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

In England, the purpose of foster care is to provide children with the chance of a family life when they cannot be cared for by their birth parents.

Foster care is a devolved matter and the agreement that foster carers in England have with fostering service providers, including local authorities, sets out how they carry out their role. This is, however, not a contract of employment or a contract to perform work, which would be a necessary requirement for someone to be classed as either an employee or a worker.

The Children’s Act 1989 (Vol. 4: Fostering Services) and subsequent statutory guidance sets out strong safeguards to protect foster parents from unfair treatment, including the requirement for fostering services to have a complaints procedure, whistle blowing policy, and for foster parents to have the right to review by the Independent Review Mechanism. Fostering Better Outcomes (2018) sets out the government’s ambitions and commitments to improve the wider support available for foster parents in England. There are no plans to reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason foster carers are classed as self-employed rather than employed.

In England, the purpose of foster care is to provide children with the chance of a family life when they cannot be cared for by their birth parents.

Foster care is a devolved matter and the agreement that foster carers in England have with fostering service providers, including local authorities, sets out how they carry out their role. This is, however, not a contract of employment or a contract to perform work, which would be a necessary requirement for someone to be classed as either an employee or a worker.

The Children’s Act 1989 (Vol. 4: Fostering Services) and subsequent statutory guidance sets out strong safeguards to protect foster parents from unfair treatment, including the requirement for fostering services to have a complaints procedure, whistle blowing policy, and for foster parents to have the right to review by the Independent Review Mechanism. Fostering Better Outcomes (2018) sets out the government’s ambitions and commitments to improve the wider support available for foster parents in England. There are no plans to reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his plans his Department has to encourage the food processing and production industry to make food and drink packaging more accessible to people with sight loss.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies like NaviLens with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to work with companies to help improve the accessibility of packaging for people with sight loss.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies like NaviLens with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure people with sight loss have greater access to accessible packaging when shopping.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies like NaviLens with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to increase the intake of fibre in people's diet.

In the United Kingdom, the national food model, the Eatwell Guide, provides a visual representation of Government’s evidence-based recommendations for a healthy balanced diet. The guide depicts a healthy, balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables and higher fibre starchy carbohydrates.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of public-private partnership to increase fibre intake ss part of his Department’s forthcoming food strategy White Paper.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow. It will build on existing work across Government and identify new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more accessible for those across the UK. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to shift towards a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, whilst maintaining people's freedom of choice, including on their diet.

The Government's advice in the Eatwell Guide, which provides advice on how to have a healthier and more sustainable diet, recommends food that is high in fibre, fruit, and vegetables. Defra is committed to listening to opinions from stakeholders across the entirety of the food system. We actively encourage dialogues with a wide range of stakeholders to identify options to transform the food system and are keen to work closely with industry to deliver lasting change.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to (a) regulate the use of the term wholegrain food in food labelling and (b) incorporate whole grains or fibre into front of pack labelling.

The rules on the provision of food information to consumers, taken together with other requirements in food production, ensure that food is produced safely and labelled effectively in order for consumers to make informed choices on the food they buy and consume. Food information may not be misleading to consumers and where terms such as “wholegrain” are used, this must be justified by the choice of ingredients used and indicated on the ingredients list.

There may be an opportunity for use of the term “wholegrain” to be considered as part of a planned review of the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998. As part of the review, we will hold a public consultation and since many of the issues raised by stakeholders to date are technically complex we expect this review will need sufficient time to consider responses and agree the best way forward.

Between 30 July and 21 October 2020, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) held a four-nation consultation on front of pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL). As part of this consultation, DHSC invited views and evidence on whether updated dietary advice on fibre should be reflected on FOPNL.

The Government will publish a consultation response as soon as possible. If any changes are required, we will consult again on policy options.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 179265 on Catering: Regulation, whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals on allergen labelling in restaurant menus, similar to regulations on pre-packaged food under Natasha's law.

The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 No 1218 (known as ‘Natasha’s Law’) comes into force on 1 October this year.

These Regulations were consulted on widely and a range of options considered. The option that was decided upon provides a higher level of protection for people living with food hypersensitivity. The amendment Regulations mean that food known as ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food must be labelled with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergens emphasised, from 1 October 2021.

The Government has no plans at present to extend these regulations to cover mandatory ingredient labelling on restaurant menus. The Food Standards Agency, which leads on policy on food safety including food allergies, is open to understanding what is possible and practical in this area although any proposed changes will need to be evidence driven.

All businesses supplying food, whether prepacked, prepacked for direct sale or sold loose, must be able to provide accurate information on allergens to customers.

The Government has committed to review food labelling. This will include careful consideration of how food labelling might contribute to the outcomes of the National Food Strategy, which is looking in detail at creating a better food system.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to extend the Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations to cover all food prepared by food businesses.

The Government has no plans at present to extend the Food Information (Amendment)(England) Regulations 2019 to cover all food prepared by business. The Regulations were consulted on widely and a range of options considered. The option that was decided upon provides a higher level of protection for people living with food hypersensitivity. The amendment Regulations mean that food known as ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food must be labelled with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergens emphasised, from 1 October 2021.

All businesses supplying food, whether prepacked, prepacked for direct sale or sold loose, must be able to provide accurate information on allergens to customers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to co-ordinate its work with regulatory bodies on supporting the water industry in the roll-out of smart water meters to protect the sustainability of the UK’s water supply and reduce carbon emissions.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the role of smart water meters in (a) protecting the sustainability of the UK’s water supply and (b) reducing carbon emissions.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) there are sufficient incentives supporting the Water Industry to install smart water metering technology and (b) barriers to rollout of that technology are removed.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to bring forward legislative proposals to mandate the universal rollout of smart water meters.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to review the safety of cannabidiol-containing products sold to consumers.

Any food product containing Cannabidiol (CBD) is the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency. To bring industry into compliance with the Novel Foods Regulations, in February 2020 the Food Standards Agency announced a deadline of the end of March 2021 for businesses to have validated applications which will be submitted for risk assessment and any subsequent risk management considerations. This process will involve approval based upon dossiers (including safety data), submitted to and reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Novel Food Products.

In addition to this, the Committee on Toxicology has reviewed the available evidence on the safety on CBD in food. Its independent, expert advice was used to help set the current recommendations and consumption limits.

After the deadline any products not linked to a validated application will no longer be allowed to remain on the market and no new products have been allowed on the market since February 2020 without pre-market authorisation. CBD-containing food products are no different to other foods in that they are also subject to all other relevant food laws.

In Scotland, Food Standards Scotland has regulatory responsibility for CBD used in food products. Food Standards Scotland is working with local authorities and other partners to keep the safety of CBD food products currently on the market under review, and to ensure that products stating they contain this ingredient do so.

Cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) are not consumer products and are regulated separately. CBPMs must comply with the requirements of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and Humans Medicines Regulations 2012.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much money his Department has spent on researching the effect of electric shock collars on dog welfare in each year for which information is available.

Between 2007 and 2010 Defra spent £469,000 researching the effects of electric shock collars on dogs, conducting studies to assess the effect of pet training aids, specifically remote static pulse systems, on the welfare of domestic dogs. Between 2010 and 2011 the department spent a further £69,925 on the research, totalling £538,925. No other research on e-collars has been funded before or since the aforementioned years.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of dogs that have been trained with an electric shock collar in the last three years.

The department does not keep this information.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animal welfare organisations have made representations to his Department supporting a ban on electric shock collars in each year for which information is available.

The department does not keep this information. However I can state that in 2017 over 140 animal welfare organisations responded to our public consultation on the proposed ban for electronic training collars for cats and dogs in England.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will provide financial support to wholesalers to ensure the security of the food supply after the transition period.

Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of transition period planning on food supply. We are currently working alongside industry and across Government including with the Devolved Administrations to plan for the end of the year.

The Government introduced an unprecedented package of support for sectors and businesses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Bounce Back Loan scheme for SMEs.

We will continue to assess the support needs of the food industry to inform policy both in response to Covid-19 and the end of the transition period as we enter a new trading relationship with the EU.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the resilience of the food supply chain after the transition period.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We work closely with food retailers and the food industry to ensure that it is prepared for a range of scenarios. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply.

We are currently working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year. This includes responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, associated increases in absenteeism and preparations for the end of the Transition Period. The Government remains committed to negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK. Consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the food supply to the public and private care sectors of a free trade agreement not being reached with the EU before the end of the transition period.

Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of transition period planning on food supply. We are currently working alongside industry and across Government including with the devolved administrations to plan for the end of the year.

The Government remains committed to negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK.

My department is working closely with officials in DHSC, as the lead department for public sector food provision for the care sector, providing advice and supporting their engagement with their food suppliers. NHS England and DHSC are engaging with the supply chain for the care sector to ensure their suppliers are fully prepared for the end of the year.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ensure food supply is maintained in the event of a free trade agreement not being reached with the EU before the end of the transition period.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We work closely with food retailers and the food industry to ensure that it is prepared for a range of scenarios. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply.

We are currently working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year. This includes responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, associated increases in absenteeism and preparations for the end of the Transition Period. The Government remains committed to negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK. Consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of (a) the end of the transition period, (b) the covid-19 outbreak and (c) winter-related absenteeism on the food supply in the UK in winter 2020-21.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We work closely with food retailers and the food industry to ensure that it is prepared for a range of scenarios. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply.

We are currently working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year. This includes responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, associated increases in absenteeism and preparations for the end of the Transition Period. The Government remains committed to negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK. Consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of reports in the Guardian newspaper in its article entitled Nearly 30,000 tonnes of sewage sludge containing human waste to enter UK, published on 2 September 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Sludge Use in Agriculture Regulations provides controls that protect the environment and human health when these organic materials are spread to land.

The use of sewage sludge in agriculture is regulated by the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency has reviewed the risks and limitations of the regulatory framework and issued a bespoke landspreading mobile plant permit to handle sludge from the Netherlands.

Provided the use of sewage sludge is carried out in accordance with the relevant regulatory controls and good practice guidance is followed, the recycling of sewage sludge to land remains a safe activity.

We are working to implement the Environment Agency’s Sludge Strategy to bring sludge and septic tank sludge into the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations, by 2023. This will enable better management of the environmental impacts of landspreading sludge, and modernise the regulatory framework surrounding the treatment, storage and safe use of sludge.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an estimate has been made of the amount of (a) micro- and (b) nano-plastics contained in food packaging in the UK.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to ensure that (a) micro- and (b) nano-plastics used in products, such as (i) food packaging and (ii) mobile phones, are not harmful to human health.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many recycling plants in the UK accept and process (a) polycarbonate, (b) polyethylene, (c) polyethylene terephthalate and (d) bisphenol A; and where are they located.

Defra does not hold information on the number and location of recycling plants in the UK that process these materials. The Environment Agency maintains a list of accredited recycling plants in England and of these 64 are listed as accepting plastic waste to be sorted or recycled. Regulators in the devolved administrations maintain registers of plants in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For food contact purposes only polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are recycled in the UK. There are currently eight sites in England and one in Scotland that have applied for authorisation to recycle PET for use in food contact. There are a further two sites in England that have applied to recycle HDPE for this purpose.

Some plastics reprocessing sites are regulated at local authority level and information is not held centrally on these.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure manufacturers reduce micro- and nano-plastics in their processes.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on developing a comprehensive cross-border initiatives to reduce the amount of micro- and nano-plastics.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with supermarkets in the UK on providing clear labelling for the consumer on the origin of food.

Defra officials meet retail representatives regularly and frequently to discuss delivery of food labelling rules, including those on food origin, and this is a topic of interest for the regular F4 meetings between Defra Ministers and retailers and producers.

The UK maintains high standards of food label information, including on food origin labelling, through our legislation on the provision of food information to consumers. Consumers are now further protected by new rules applying from this year that require labels to inform consumers if the country or place of origin of the primary ingredient of a food is different to that of the origin stated, or implied, for the product as a whole. Our major retailers have been at the forefront over recent years in providing clear origin information on food to customers. Along with major manufacturers, they implemented a voluntary agreement, supported by Defra Ministers, on the origin of meat and dairy ingredients in food which has resulted in their meat and dairy products carrying accurate origin information for meat and dairy ingredients.

These rules will remain in place when the Transition Period ends on 31 December this year.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) support and (b) essential food supplies reach people who are housebound with disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

This is a devolved matter. We have set out below the actions that we have taken in England.

We know that a large number of disabled people continue to rely on friends, family and wider community support as they face difficulties accessing food.

Where that is not possible, there are a number of options available for people to access support. Individuals can request support from a volunteer via NHS Volunteer Responders, who can shop on their behalf.

We are working with local authorities, supermarkets and charities to ensure that vulnerable groups get the support they need to access food and other essential supplies. These organisations are able to sign-post people to commercial food delivery options, help them access priority supermarket delivery slots or refer them to the NHS Volunteer Responder programme.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) can also register for support online or via an automated helpline. As part of the registration process, we have asked individuals to indicate whether they have unmet basic care needs, such as social care and social contact needs. Local authorities are best placed to respond to these needs, and we are sharing data with them to ensure vulnerable individuals get the support they need while shielding.

The NHS has also made arrangements to have medicines delivered to CEV people's homes by local community pharmacies or their dispensing doctor, where no other person is able to collect the item from the pharmacy and deliver it to the patient.

Where people who are CEV have asked for help accessing food, they have been offered centrally provided food boxes and supermarkets have offered priority delivery slots. Boxes will continue until the end of July and seven supermarkets have confirmed that access to priority supermarket delivery slots will continue beyond the end of July for those already signed up for support.

We have also made available an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. Local authorities are already working hard to support those who are vulnerable and this additional funding will contribute to that work.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to Question 30861, tabled by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on 17 March 2020.

This is a devolved matter. We have set out below the actions that we have taken in England.

We know that a large number of disabled people continue to rely on friends, family and wider community support as they face difficulties accessing food.

Where that is not possible, there are a number of options available for people to access support. Individuals can request support from a volunteer via NHS Volunteer Responders, who can shop on their behalf.

We are working with local authorities, supermarkets and charities to ensure that vulnerable groups get the support they need to access food and other essential supplies. These organisations are able to sign-post people to commercial food delivery options, help them access priority supermarket delivery slots or refer them to the NHS Volunteer Responder programme.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) can also register for support online or via an automated helpline. As part of the registration process, we have asked individuals to indicate whether they have unmet basic care needs, such as social care and social contact needs. Local authorities are best placed to respond to these needs, and we are sharing data with them to ensure vulnerable individuals get the support they need while shielding.

The NHS has also made arrangements to have medicines delivered to CEV people's homes by local community pharmacies or their dispensing doctor, where no other person is able to collect the item from the pharmacy and deliver it to the patient.

Where people who are CEV have asked for help accessing food, they have been offered centrally provided food boxes and supermarkets have offered priority delivery slots. Boxes will continue until the end of July and seven supermarkets have confirmed that access to priority supermarket delivery slots will continue beyond the end of July for those already signed up for support.

We have also made available an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. Local authorities are already working hard to support those who are vulnerable and this additional funding will contribute to that work.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the 2019 National Infrastructure Commission call for evidence on the future of regulation, what steps he is taking to develop a long term strategy on the (a) running and (b) regulation of the water industry.

Water is devolved however Ofwat is the economic regulator for England and Wales. At Budget 2020 the Government welcomed the NIC's report 'Strategic investment and public confidence' and agrees with its primary finding that the UK's system of economic regulation is working well, but it may need updating in some areas to address 21st century challenges. The Government will respond in full to the study in due course.

Government and regulators continue to work with the industry to ensure a strategic approach to long term planning. Our Strategic Policy Statement to Ofwat sets out our long-term priorities for the sector, and how we expect the water companies to deliver for consumers and the environment. The three priorities are:

1) securing long-term resilience

2) protecting customers

3) making markets work

The current statement came into effect in 2017, and we are actively reviewing whether it remains fit for purpose.

In England, the Environment Agency, Ofwat and regional groups of companies are working together building on the existing water resource management planning process ensuring the industry invests in the right water supply infrastructure at the right time to meet future challenges. Similarly, the new Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans will ensure a long-term approach to wastewater treatment and drainage infrastructure.

Ofwat has published its future approach to regulation of the water sector in England and Wales, in its strategy, Time to Act Together, and established three strategic goals. These goals are to transform water companies' performance for customers, to meet long term challenges through partnership and collaboration and for companies to serve a wider public purpose by delivering more for customers, society and the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to establish a Food Standards Commission to regulate standards of food safety.

The UK Government will not compromise on our standards. Our manifesto is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. We remain firmly committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards outside the EU. The EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing EU food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, onto the UK statute book.

The UK’s food standards, for both domestic production and imports, are overseen by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. These are agencies and provide independent advice to the UK and Scottish governments. They will continue to do so in order to ensure that all food imports comply with the UK’s high safety standards. Decisions on these standards are a matter for the UK and will be made separately from any trade agreement.

The Government is keen to work closely with the National Farmers' Union and other key stakeholders across the food chain to understand the key concerns about the impact of new trade deals.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effect of a ban on the sale of disposable nappies on the Government's objective of eliminating all avoidable waste by 2050.

In general, the Government prefers to help people make the right choice, rather than banning items outright, and we have no plans to ban the sale of disposable nappies. We will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and consider the most appropriate policy response.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the accuracy of the labelling of disposable nappies in relation to the biodegradability of those nappies.

In line with our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies. We are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us to introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements, including labelling schemes that provide accurate information to consumers, to drive the market towards more resource efficient products.

We recognise that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impact of plastic, if they are disposed of in the right way. Responses to a call for evidence, published last year, will help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, and to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The responses are being analysed and a Government response will be published later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the environmental effect of installing UK-wide gigabit infrastructure.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit capable connectivity as soon as possible and is working up the detail of how this will be delivered.

For Government broadband contracts, the procurement process requires suppliers to consider ways of mitigating environmental impacts.

Where planning considerations are relevant, the National Planning Policy Framework in England states that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the local environment, including providing for net gains for biodiversity. The Framework also sets out the approach to be taken to support high quality communications. This states that where new sites are required, they should be sympathetically designed and camouflaged where appropriate.

This policy, and the outcome of any assessments which may be required through regulatory mechanisms such as Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment, will be taken into account in decision-making.

The devolved administrations are responsible for Environmental Impact Assessment regulations and Habitats Regulations Assessment in their jurisdiction.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what steps his Department plans to take to support UK companies contracted by the EU for work in relation to the Common Security and Defence Policy during the transition period of the UK leaving the EU.

DExEU has organised over 700 recorded engagements with business and civil society stakeholders from every sector of the British economy since July 2016 and to date DExEU Ministers have attended over 120 roundtable meetings on a wide range of topics. The Department continues to engage with businesses as we approach exit day on 31 January.

Additionally, the UK will continue to participate in programmes funded under the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until their closure. This means that the vast majority of programmes will continue to receive EU funding across the programme’s lifetime. In many cases, funding will continue until after 2020 and the end of the Implementation Period.

Government will continue to hold regular forums with intermediaries, trade associations and business organisations to support them through the transition period.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government is taking steps to allocate funding under the Global Fund's covid-19 Response Mechanism to ensure the effectiveness of ongoing programmes to tackle (a) TB, (b) HIV and (c) malaria.

The UK is a proud supporter of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. We are the second largest donor to the Sixth Replenishment, pledging up to £1.4 billion for 2020 - 2022 to fight HIV, TB, and malaria and support health systems, contributing to achievement of universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3 of “Good Health for All”. We support the Global Fund’s swift action to allow countries to re-programme or use savings from their current grants, and their rapid creation of the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM), which together have created up to £1 billion of flexibility for countries to respond to COVID-19 and its impacts on HIV, TB, malaria, and health systems.

This Government has already pledged up to £764 million of UK aid on responding to COVID-19 and we are taking our leadership role in global health very seriously. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world. We will continue to consider all options for our future support.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the devolved Administrations on the future composition of the Trade and Agriculture Commission.

My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade is in contact with relevant Cabinet colleagues with regard to the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC). The Government also works closely with the devolved administrations on all aspects of our trade policy and I have written to my counterparts seeking their views on the Commission.

The TAC will ensure that public and industry interests are protected in Britain’s agriculture trade policy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of a Bounce Back plan for the maritime sector.

The Department for International Trade is working closely with the Department of Transport to support the UK maritime sector as it seeks to recover from COVID-19. We do not plan to launch a Bounce Back plan.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment he has made of the effect of funding allocated to UK Trade and Investment on the level of foreign direct investment in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency since 2015.

According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2020, the UK’s level of FDI stock was over $2 trillion in 2019. This is more than France and Germany combined.

With respect to Scotland, support for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a joint responsibility of both DIT and the Scottish Government. The FDI results for Scotland reflect their joint efforts.

In the most recent figures, for the financial year 2018/19, the total recorded number of FDI projects in the UK was 1,782, with 57,625 associated new jobs. DIT supported 81% of those projects accounting for 51,863 jobs. In the same period, 126 projects were recorded in Scotland, with 3,346 new jobs created as a result. DIT recognises the value that more granular data breakdown could provide but does not currently have the ability to report beyond UK regional level.

Further historical data for recorded FDI projects can be seen below:

Measure

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

UK FDI Projects

2,213

2,265

2,072

1,782

Scotland FDI Projects

108

183

141

126

UK total jobs

115,974

107, 898

91,031

64,623

Scotland total jobs

5,905

8,597

9,287

4,469

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will make it his policy that the UK will not allow goods to be imported to the UK from countries who produce goods illegally in the (a) Palestinian Occupied Territories and (b) other territories under military occupation after the end of the transition period.

The UK does not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the settlements, as part of Israel. We are committed to maintaining our current approach on this issue. The Government does not believe that any form of anti-Israeli boycott would support the peace process.

The UK strongly supports the principle of free trade and the rule of law. The UK prohibits the importation of goods from certain countries including in accordance with its obligations under EU and multilateral sanctions regimes. A list of countries against which the UK currently imposes such import controls is available on gov.uk.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to prevent UK companies from trading with areas in other countries that are under illegal occupation.

The UK Government promotes trade within a rules-based international order. The UK continues to apply EU and UN sanctions and will look to carry over existing EU sanctions at the end of the Transition Period. A list of countries against which the UK imposes such controls is available on gov.uk.

The UK also routinely updates our guidance to British businesses on the Overseas Business Risk website. We advise British businesses to consider the British Government's view when considering their investments and activities in occupied territories. The UK promotes responsible corporate behaviour by UK companies operating, or considering operating, overseas.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many electric vehicles were registered in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the most recent period for which records are available.

At the end of September 2021, there were 408 battery electric vehicles licensed to an address in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, which comprised of 367 cars and 41 other vehicles.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of making insurance a legal requirement for cyclists.

Cyclists are encouraged, but not required, to take out some form of insurance, and many cyclists have insurance cover through their membership of cycling organisations. All cyclists are required to obey the rules of the road, and the fact that a cyclist is not insured does not prevent them from being liable for the consequences of their actions. The police, and ultimately the courts, can take into account all the circumstances of an incident and judge accordingly.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Maritime and Coastguard Agency received a call for help from any person aboard the boat carrying migrants that sank in the English Channel on 24 November 2021.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday 24 November 2021, the Coastguard received over 90 alerts from the English Channel area including 999 emergency calls. Every call was answered, assessed and acted upon, including the timely deployment of search and rescue resources where appropriate.

In response to calls received in the early hours of Wednesday 24 November 2021, Her Majesty’s Coastguard launched a search and rescue operation including UK Border Force, a UK Coastguard Helicopter and passing ships were asked to keep a lookout for small boats in the area. Three small boats were located and those onboard rescued. No other small boats or people in the water were identified in the search area.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of charging point operators on the potential merits of introducing a universal app for payment at electric car charging points.

We are committed to ensuring that consumers have a seamless experience when using the public EV charging network. We have regular engagement with chargepoint operators, other industry representatives and consumer groups to inform our approach. In Spring 2021, we consulted on measures to improve the consumer experience of public charging. The consultation focused on four key areas: making it easier to pay at a public chargepoint including streamlining use of apps for consumers; mandating a single payment metric to improve price transparency; improving the public network’s reliability; and opening public EV chargepoint data to enable consumers to locate chargepoints. Alongside this, my Department had a series of related engagement events with chargepoint operators, and representatives of other industry members and of consumer groups. These included discussions on the potential role of apps for payment. We are intending to publish the government response to the consultation in the autumn and to lay legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to inform the public of the benefits of electric powered vehicles.

On 9 September 2021 the Government published an informational leaflet addressing commonly held misconceptions and concerns regarding electric vehicles (EVs). This comes in addition to the Go Ultra Low initiative, which since launching in 2014 has seen Government collaborate with industry and other stakeholders to provide basic, practical advice for those considering making the switch to zero emission driving. The Government will continue to build on this work as EVs sales increase and become more commonplace on our roads.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Jun 2021
What recent discussions he has had with truck hauliers on the challenges facing that sector.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere and Employment Minister Mims Davies, Member for Mid Sussex, hosted a haulage industry roundtable on the driver shortage on 16 June.

This event follows a series of meetings between Government and industry regarding driver shortages, its impact on supply chains, and the work each can do to address this issue.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how the Government will ensure the interoperability of any vaccine certificate system with other similar national and international systems.

The Government recognises the importance of ensuring that any future vaccine certification system is interoperable and flexible enough to meet international standards. We are actively engaged both bilaterally with other states and multilaterally through organisations including the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support this work.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the cost to an individual of (a) becoming a qualified commercial pilot and (b) maintaining those qualifications to continue flying.

The current average costs of initial commercial pilot training is approximately £120,000. The minimum costs to keep this licence valid is to complete a Licence Proficiency Check (LPC) annually at about £1500-£2000 for the hire of the simulator and an examiner.

Government has committed to partnering with industry, educators and organisations to make pilot training more financially accessible for those who wish to pursue a career within the sector.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to tackle websites which charge excessive fees for helping drivers to renew their licence; and if he will make a statement.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) strongly advises drivers only to use Gov.Uk when applying for or renewing a driving licence.

The law allows third-party websites to offer a front-end application provision to some Government services and to set their own fees. These websites are overseen by OFCOM and the Phone Paid Service Authority (PSA). Websites that do not operate within the OFCOM and PSA guidelines, or which are misleading or malicious, can be removed from the internet by these organisations.

Where websites are found to be misleading or acting maliciously there are procedures in place which allow them to be taken down quickly. However, no action can be taken against sites that are operating within the rules even though they may charge fees for services that the DVLA provides more cheaply or free of charge.

Tighter guidelines for third party websites were introduced by OFCOM and the PSA in October 2019. The guidelines stipulate that all promotional material must be distinct in appearance from that of the organisation being sought by the consumer. Promotions must not use descriptions, colour, typeface, logos or marks which imitate, or may be perceived to imitate the organisation the consumer is seeking, nor should any official logos or marks of those organisations be used. Promotions are also prohibited from implying that the information being provided cannot be obtained elsewhere.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations made by Climate Assembly UK in their report entitled Path to net zero, published 10 September 2020, for the Government to invest in low carbon buses.

The Government is already committed to ensuring net zero carbon emissions in the transport system by 2050. That is why we are going further than the recommendations, investing in at least 4,000 Zero-Emission Buses (ZEBs) through the £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for regions outside London. This is on top of the £50 million to deliver Britain’s first all-electric bus town and £240 million since 2010 to support the move to lower emission buses. It will be important to account for all of this in the long-term National Bus Strategy we are developing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many electric vehicles were registered in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the most recent period for which records are available.

At the end of 2019, there were 147 battery electric vehicles licensed to addresses in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, which comprised of 127 cars and 20 other vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many registered car owners there were in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency for the most recent period for which records are available.

At the end of 2019, there were 59,322 licensed cars registered to an address in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has had discussions with representatives of British Airways on postponing its planned redundancies following the Government's announcement of an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector and its workers. However, we do not comment on discussions held with individual companies, as this information is commercially sensitive.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training on ensuring that people are able to undertake drink drive rehabilitation training during the covid-19 lockdown.

In line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has advised drink drive rehabilitation (DDR) course providers not to start any new classroom-based rehabilitation courses, until further notice. Offenders who have already taken the first, or first and second day of a three-day DDR course, can complete their course remotely on a suitable digital platform. The DVSA has been in discussions with representatives of the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training on this matter.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to align with EU policy requiring Alcolock built-in breathalysers to be fitted in all new motor cars from 2022; and if he will make a statement.

The EU General Safety Regulation mandates the fitment of “alcohol interlock installation facilitation” or the “interface” in new cars from 2022 and does not mandate the fixture of any specific device.

The Road Safety Statement 2019 included an action to commission research into the effectiveness of alcolocks to understand the feasibility of introducing them in the UK.

As part of our preparations for negotiations with the EU over our future relationship, we will be considering all aspects of applicable EU law. We will ensure that our high safety standards are maintained on UK roads, while considering opportunities that may arise from the UK’s exit from the EU.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Health is everyone's business consultation, whether the commitments made in that consultation will be fully funded; when progress towards those commitments will be made public; and if she will make a statement.

The UK Government committed to provide £1.3bn over the SR21 period for employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions in the Levelling-Up White Paper. This includes commitments set out in Health is Everyone’s Business. In addition, the White Paper committed to extend or expand other programmes which will help disabled people and people with health conditions get into or remain in work. These include the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support and employment support in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services across England.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2022 to Question 119710 on Children: Maintenance, what steps her Department is taking to revise the step by step procedural instructions and training given to Child Maintenance Service caseworkers, in the context of the number of Deduction from Earnings Orders, instead of Deduction from Earnings Requests, to the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Business Services having increased between 2018-19 and 2020-21.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has introduced Modular learning products to re-enforce the correct process to follow in applying a Deduction from Earnings Request (DER). In April 2021, as part of a broader System automation improvement, there were additional education and supporting products implemented to support correct decision making, including the correct use of DERs.

CMS uses Customer Insight to ensure it learns from customer experience and has used this in developing these products and building colleague conversations around adherence to procedures and the impact of not doing so.

In the context of DERs, collaborative working with Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a dedicated Forces Focal point secures regular feedback to direct specific colleague upskilling and manage customer service. CMS Forces Focal Point work closely with MOD’s Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC) and has responsibility for assuring correct implementation of DERs. This includes confirming if the Paying Parent is in receipt of full pay or if they deployed on Operations. This is designed to support the successful implementation of a DER.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the number of deductions of earnings orders, rather than deductions of earnings requests, being issued by the Child Maintenance Service to the Ministry of Defence's Defence Business Services.

Deduction from Earnings Orders (DEO) are applied as a method of payment where the Child Maintenance Service deducts maintenance directly from the Paying Parent’s wages. The DEO is primarily used to enforce payments but can be set up voluntarily. Deduction from Earnings Requests are similar to a Deduction from Earnings Order but used for Paying Parents who are serving members of the Armed Forces. The Child Maintenance Service can only request a deduction to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), unlike civilian employers they cannot order or enforce payment. MOD policy aims to comply with requests however if the Paying Parent is committed to operational duties MOD may suspend the collection of debt.

Child Maintenance Service takes action to ensure the correct method of payment is applied through identifying whether a Paying Parent is in the Armed Forces through its use of Real Team Information (RTI) Data taken from HMRC. This provides up to date information about Pay As You Earn income as the information submitted by employers online is displayed in RTI immediately. To ensure that the correct method of payment is used for a Paying Parent who is serving in the Armed Forces caseworkers are provided with step by step procedural instructions and training.

As at September 2021 Child Maintenance Service had 45,054 Deduction from Earnings Orders and 479 Deduction from Earnings Requests in operation. (source - Published stats – stat-xplore – CMS Paying Parents = method of payments).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many deductions of earnings orders were issued by the Child Maintenance Service to employers other than the Ministry of Defence for the purpose of collecting child maintenance in each of the last three years.

This information is not collated as part of normal business and is only available at disproportionate cost to the Department.

The Department publishes quarterly Child Maintenance Service (CMS) statistics, with the latest statistics available to the end of September 2021, here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-september-2021-experimental

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many deductions of earnings requests were issued by the Child Maintenance Service to the Ministry of Defence's Defence Business Services for the purpose of collecting child maintenance in each of the last three years.

This information is not collated as part of normal business and is only available at disproportionate cost to the Department.

The Department publishes quarterly Child Maintenance Service (CMS) statistics, with the latest statistics available to the end of September 2021, here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-september-2021-experimental

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken in the last 12 months to support those affected by (a) changes to state pension age for 1950s-born women and (b) the communication of those changes.

This Government is committed to providing a financial safety net for those who need it, including when they near or reach retirement. Support is available to those who are unable to work or are on a low income but are not eligible to pensioner benefits because of their age.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to mitigate the effect of state pension age changes on women born in the 1950s.

Raising State Pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years, dating back to 1993.

Parliament set out in successive Pensions Acts fair transitional arrangements when it introduced the changes to State Pension age. There are no plans for further transitional provisions.

Scotland has the powers under the Scotland Act 2016 to make additional discretionary payments should it wish to do so.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether officials in her Department have had recent discussions with representatives from the congenital adrenal hyperplasia community.

The Department has not had any recent meetings with representatives from the congenital adrenal hyperplasia community. We meet regularly with disabled people, people with health conditions and their representatives, to ensure their voices are put at the heart of policy making and service design. To support the Health and Disability Green Paper we are currently running public events in locations around the country to hear about people’s experiences with our services and to get their views on the Green Paper proposals. These are accompanied by a series of virtual public events for those who would prefer to engage with us in that way.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Child Maintenance Service is taking to ensure that (a) effect on children and (b) other relevant factors are considered when making child maintenance payment adjustments relating to non-resident parent increased pension contributions.

The Child Maintenance Service can consider whether pension contributions made by the non-resident parent are reasonable if the parent with care has sufficient grounds for a variation application, based on diversion of income. Pension contributions can then be compared to the non-resident parent’s personal circumstances, such as their age and income, to determine whether they should be considered excessive.

The Service will always try to ensure that the maintenance calculation accurately reflects the non-resident parent’s ability to pay child maintenance. If pension contributions could be considered to be affecting support given to the child, the Service will investigate and take action if appropriate.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria the Child Maintenance Service uses to determine whether pensions contributions made by non-resident parents are reasonable when deciding whether to make a child maintenance payment variation on grounds of diversion of income.

The Child Maintenance Service can consider whether pension contributions made by the non-resident parent are reasonable if the parent with care has sufficient grounds for a variation application, based on diversion of income. Pension contributions can then be compared to the non-resident parent’s personal circumstances, such as their age and income, to determine whether they should be considered excessive.

The Service will always try to ensure that the maintenance calculation accurately reflects the non-resident parent’s ability to pay child maintenance. If pension contributions could be considered to be affecting support given to the child, the Service will investigate and take action if appropriate.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help people affected by the collapse of the AEA Technology pension scheme.

On 7 July 2016 the AEA Technology (AEAT) pension scheme transferred to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The PPF is the statutory compensation scheme. It provides compensation to members of eligible defined benefit pension schemes where the sponsoring employer has become insolvent and the scheme is unable to secure its pension liabilities at least at PPF compensation levels.

AEAT scheme members who are over their scheme’s normal pension age (NPA) at the date that their employer became insolvent would receive 100 per cent of their accrued scheme benefits, as calculated at the date of employer insolvency. Those members under NPA at the date that the employer became insolvent would receive PPF compensation paid at 90 per cent of accrued scheme benefits, as calculated at the date of employer insolvency.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions officials in her Department have had with representatives of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on a potential investigation into the AEA Technology pension scheme.

There have been no meetings between Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officials and PHSO representatives regarding a potential investigation into the AEA Technology pension scheme. PHSO is an independent body accountable directly to Parliament, it would be inappropriate for DWP officials to influence its investigations.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of establishing an independent savings and pension commission to better ensure that pensions and savings policies (a) are fit for purpose and (b) avoid such instances as the collapse of the AEA Technology pension scheme.

No assessment has been made, but the Pension Protection Fund continue to provide statutory compensation where a sponsoring employer becomes insolvent.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many work capability assessment cases were overturned as a result of incorrect decisions made by outsourced assessment centres in the last six months.

Healthcare Professionals (HCP), who work in the assessment centres, produce reports on which Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) decisions, both for ESA and UC, are based. The decision itself is made by DWP staff not the HCP. Those decisions can be changed at both Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) and appeal.

Statistics on Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessment (WCA) outcomes are published quarterly. The latest figures covering the outcome of completed initial and repeat WCAs, including appeals decisions and mandatory reconsiderations, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employment-and-support-allowance-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessment

Additional breakdowns of the ESA WCA figures can be found at:

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

Guidance for users is available at:

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

Statistics on Work Capability Assessments for Universal Credit, including the outcome of MRs and appeals, are currently under development for future publication and have not previously been published as official statistics. We will issue them in due course as an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of holding external contractors liable for costs incurred when appeals against decisions made by Assessment Centres are upheld by tribunal.

Assessment Providers do not make decisions on benefit claims. Decision Makers in the Department for Work and Pensions make the decision using all available evidence including the recommendations of the Assessment Provider.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the average waiting time at welfare assessment centres in the most recent period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement.

I have interpreted your question to mean the average waiting time at Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Work Capability Assessment (WCA) assessment centres.

The department does not monitor the average waiting time at the assessment centres for claims to PIP.

The average waiting time at assessment centres for WCA in February 2020, was 14.9 minutes.

As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, all face to face assessments for health and disability benefits have been suspended in line with public health advice since March 2020. Where possible, paper based assessments are completed. However, the department has worked collaboratively with the health assessment providers and introduced telephone assessments. We have also introduced a trial of video assessments and once completed this will be evaluated and a decision made on the feasibility of wider roll-out.

Once face to face assessments are reinstated we will work closely with suppliers to improve waiting times, whilst maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will increase support for separated families who use the Child Maintenance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been clear in its commitment to support both paying and receiving parents in this difficult time.

To help reduce the short-term financial pressure that will be experienced by many paying parents, the time period for reconsidering a maintenance liability on the basis of a change in income was reduced from 12 weeks to 2 weeks and in response to a drop in income, the CMS had advised the paying parent to reduce their payments and then retrospectively amended the calculation for the period of low income.

In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, we are updating cases with notified changes. Where payments have been missed the Service is taking action to re-establish compliance and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that information about social security benefits which is updated in response to the covid-19 outbreak is made available in an accessible format for blind and partially sighted people.

DWP has published guidance on GOV.UK which explains what help is available to support citizens during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These guides are created in a way that supports accessibility for blind and partially sighted people through the most recent versions of accessibility software. Citizens can zoom in to see text, navigate using just a keyboard or by using speech recognition software. It is also possible to use a screen reader on the website.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many UK pensioners live in (a) EU countries, (b) Commonwealth countries and (c) elsewhere in the world.

The table below shows the number of pensioners in receipt of the UK State Pension living in the country groupings requested. Please note that residents in Cyprus and Malta appear in both the European Union and Commonwealth totals.

Country Group

Number of UK State Pensioners

European Union (excluding UK)

464,180

Commonwealth (excluding UK)

511,760

Rest of the world

211,100

Source: Stat Xplore Nov 2019.

Statistical disclosure control has been applied to this table to avoid the release of confidential data. Totals may not sum due to the disclosure control applied.

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse was of providing carer's allowance to people in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The cost of providing Carer’s Allowance in Great Britain was £2,883 million for the period 2018/19. Executive competence for Carer’s Allowance in Scotland was transferred to the Scottish Government on 3rd September 2018. This figure therefore includes Scottish data up until 3rd September 2018 only.

Carer’s Allowance is paid to people living in Scotland by DWP on behalf of the Scottish Government under an Agency Agreement. The Scottish Government is responsible for providing relevant data as such we cannot provide figures at either the Scotland or constituency level.

Information relating to benefit expenditure is published and available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2020

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many working households in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency were in receipt of housing benefit in the most recent year for which data is available.

Housing Benefit statistics by employment status and parliamentary constituency is published and available at:

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

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many working households in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency are classed as being in poverty in the most recent year for which data is available.

The national and regional statistics on the number of people living in working households in low income as set out in the annual ‘Households Below Average Income’ publication are not available at constituency level as the sample size would not be sufficient to produce robust estimates.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate the Government has made of the number of workless households in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Sub-regional estimates of workless households* are produced annually by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) using the Annual Population Survey (APS). The latest available statistics were published on 31 July 2019 and cover the period January to December 2018.

ONS do not publish Parliamentary constituency figures on workless households but they do produce local authority figures. Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency covers the eastern portion of the Falkirk local authority and the western portion of the West Lothian local authority area.

ONS estimate that between January to December 2018 there were approximately:

  • 8,000 (or 15.7%) workless households in Falkirk local authority; and
  • 8,000 (or 14.3%) workless households in West Lothian local authority.

These estimates are based on a sample of cases and therefore subject to sampling uncertainty.

ONS will publish updated figures for January-December 2019 on 29 July 2020 and will pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic which began in March 2020.

* A workless household is a household that contains at least one person aged 16 to 64, where no-one aged 16 or over is in employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment he has made of the security risk to hon. Members congregating in open areas of the parliamentary estate as a result of the arrangements for physical divisions during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Whilst the Commission does not comment in public on security matters, an assessment of the security risks to hon. Members was made before physical divisions resumed, with ongoing assessments also in place. The security of hon. Members is of the highest importance and suitable mitigations have been put in place to minimise any potential risks.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the amount of child maintenance arrears is in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

The total amount of arrears for Child Maintenance Service as of December 2019 in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency is £599,000.

New Compliance and Arrears powers which came in July 2019 have increased the departments enforcement powers, such as removal of driving licence to encourage parent to cooperate and pay the maintenance they owe.

As a result, as at November 2019 the compliance in overall Child Maintenance Service payments increased to an all-time high of 90.2%.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing to people aged 18 to 25 who are classified as long-term unemployed in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

We acknowledge that it is important that Jobcentres continue to support young people through the economic recovery post-COVID-19. They have already started to re-engage with new and existing claimants and are signposting them to appropriate support.

Anyone over the age of 18 can claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance if they have sufficient paid National Insurance contributions. Neither of those benefits is means-tested. Those on low incomes and with limited capital can claim Universal Credit or legacy Jobseeker’s Allowance.

For Universal Credit, New Claims Advances of up to 100% of potential entitlement are available within a few days if a claimant needs support during their first assessment period. Face-to-face checks for Universal Credit advances have been scrapped due to Covid-19, so people get the support they need despite COVID-19 restrictions. We have also increased the Standard Allowance for everyone by over £80 a month on top of the existing 1.7% (CPI) increase already announced. This additional increase means all claimants will be up to £1040 better off.

DWP is also engaging with a number of external stakeholders including the Youth Employment Group (set up by the Prince’s Trust, Youth Employment UK, the Institute for Employment Studies, the Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus) as well as continuing to work across Whitehall to develop appropriate support aimed at young people.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefit claimants have been sanctioned in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in each of the last five years.

The number of Universal Credit claimants who have been sanctioned is published quarterly. The latest figures for Universal Credit sanction rates are up to February 2020 and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/statistics

Geographical breakdowns of the figures can be found at:

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

Guidance for users is available at:

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

The number of Universal Credit claimants who have been sanctioned since 1 March 2020 will not be available until the next publication of these statistics in August 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional support and training her Department offers to unemployed people to help them to fill long-term vacancies in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

DWP offers significant support to unemployed people across Great Britain, through our network of Jobcentres. Since the start of June, our work coaches have made over a quarter of a million outbound customer support calls, each week. They are providing support on finding a job, help with retraining or skills advice, CV, job applications and access to the new vacancies we record every day, as well as signposting to our new Jobhelp website.

DWP are also using technology to host virtual jobfairs, working with employers to deliver online mentoring circles and facilitating sector based work academies.

We also work with partners to help customers access key provision. In Scotland this includes close working with Scottish Government to ensure customers can access the employability programme Fair Start Scotland. And in Falkirk Jobcentre customers are now able to access Fair Start Scotland from the first day of their qualifying benefit claim as part of a pilot with Scottish Government.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have used the services of jobcentre offices in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in each year since 2015.

We are unable to provide the information requested on the number of people who have used the services of the jobcentres within the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in each year since 2015 as this information is not recorded.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) reduce the amount of manual processing on paper it carries out and (b) make those processes digital.

The Department is continually looking for opportunities to reduce the amount of manual processing with paper. As well as wider strategic digital transformation programmes such as our Health Transformation Programme, we also undertake more tactical activities introducing customer portals and the introduction of Robotic Process Automation. For local printing in isolation, we run a “Transforming Print, Paper and Post” programme identifying opportunities for colleagues to avoid printing within our offices.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy for the public purse to cover shortfalls in child maintenance payments to protect family income during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that the income of many separated parents is being impacted by the public health emergency and some receiving parents may receive less maintenance as a result of a paying parent’s drop in income.

No one should use this time as an excuse to avoid their child maintenance payments however where parents experience a change in income, we can review their case and check if the amount paid should change and they may be eligible for Universal Credit, contributory JSA or ESA.

The Government has been clear in its commitment to support those, including both paying and receiving parents, whose income drops as a result of the public health emergency and we have made a number changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These include increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year. People who need money urgently continue to be able to access up to a month’s Universal Credit advance upfront by applying online. In addition, Statutory Sick Pay now applies from day one, rather than the fourth day of illness. We are increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Taken together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of extending the eligibility criteria for new style Employment Support Allowance to include contributions to national insurance paid in the last three years that do not fall within the relevant income tax years.

There are no plans to extend the qualifying period for new style Employment and Support Allowance to include National Insurance contributions paid in the last three years that do not fall within the relevant income tax years.

The Government considers the current qualifying period looking at an individual's contribution record over the last two complete tax years to be a fair way of assessing entitlement.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to ratify International Labour Organization convention 190 on ending violence in the workplace; and if she will make a statement.

Violence and harassment at work are unacceptable and the government is committed to ensuring men and women are protected in the workplace. The Government strongly supported and welcomed the adoption of ILO Convention 190 on Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. My Department is currently taking the steps necessary to ensure full cross-Government consideration of ratification, including consulting the Devolved Administrations. Once this process has been completed, we will inform Parliament of the Governments intentions with regards to ratification.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department to provide additional funding to Citizens Advice Scotland to assist universal credit claimants to maintain their online claim.

Comprehensive support is available to claimants to use our digital service, however we recognise there will be occasions when people are unable to maintain their claim online, so telephone support is available. In these instances, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated in an alternative format, which is best suited to an individual’s circumstances.

The Department is committed to providing the best possible support for all our claimants, including the most vulnerable in society, in both making and maintaining their claim. Help to Claim delivered through Citizens Advice Scotland offers tailored, practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time.

The Department is assessing the performance and outcomes of the support delivered by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland through the Help to Claim pilot. We will share the decision about the future of Help to Claim beyond March 2020 in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many offline universal credit applications were made by constituents of Linlithgow and East Falkirk between January and December 2019.

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

Universal Credit is designed to be a ‘digital-first’ service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system, allowing our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support.

Although the Department offers comprehensive support for claimants to use our digital service, there will be occasions when people are unable to make their claim online, so telephone applications can be accepted. In these instances, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated in an alternative format, which is best suited to an individual’s circumstances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the State of the Market Report on Sleep published by Perrigo in November 2021, which found that 84 per cent of healthcare professionals surveyed believe sleep-related issues in the UK will become even more widespread in the next five years, whether his Department has plans to improve the public's knowledge of the (a) benefits of sleep and (b) potential impact of poor sleep on health.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities provides guidance and resources to support good sleep via Every Mind Matters, which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-health-issues/sleep/

We have committed to review the evidence on sleep and health, including the impact of sleep on health and the findings will be published in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will increase the annual budget of the National Institute for Health Research.

The Spending Review 2021 provides £5 billion for health-related research and development, with an increase of £605 million by 2024/25. This is shared between the National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR), Genomics England and the Office for Life Sciences. Planning for this funding is ongoing and budgets will be adjusted over the Spending Review period to meet priorities as they arise. However, the current allocation provides an increase in the NIHR’s budget of more than 40% by 2024/25.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to increase NHS staff’s access to protected time for research.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has prioritised engagement with the National Health Service workforce to support greater opportunities for research and deliver clinical research in the United Kingdom. ‘The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery’ published in March 2021 commits to create a positive culture for research in the NHS and develop a sustainable and supported research workforce, offering rewarding opportunities and careers for healthcare and research staff of all professional backgrounds.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits in terms of (a) safety, (b) compliance and (c) product quality of requiring suppliers of category II and III personal protective equipment to be formally registered.

We have no current plans to make a specific assessment. All personal protective equipment must adhere to standards set by the Market Surveillance Authorities. All items are assessed against technical standards and useability before release to health and social care services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase NHS staff’s access to protected time for research.

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

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to work with its devolved counterparts to adopt a whole-UK approach to tackle the health inequalities experienced by patients with sickle cell disease.

The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework outlined a national vision for improving the lives of those with rare diseases, including sickle cell disease. Each nation is currently developing action plans to implement the Framework.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the APPG for Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia’s Inquiry report entitled No One’s Listening, published on 15 November 2021, what steps his Department is taking to reduce regional variation in access to treatment and care for people living with sickle cell disease.

The Department will work with relevant organisations to consider the recommendations in the report. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Team have created Core20PLUS5 to support the reduction of health inequalities, with a focus on those living in areas of high deprivation and certain ethnic groups, such as black, Asian and ethnic minority groups where thalassemia and sickle cell disease is most common.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 112640 on Tobacco: Mortality Rates, if he will conduct a comparative assessment of the public health risks of snus in comparison to smoking tobacco.

The Department has no plans to conduct such an assessment. Snus is banned in the United Kingdom and we have no plans to introduce additional tobacco products to the market. Alternative tobacco-free products exist, such as nicotine pouches.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Clinical Commissioning Groups will be reporting data on the 2022/23 CCG2 CQUIN: Appropriate antibiotic prescribing for UTI in adults aged 16+ from 1 April 2022.

Individual providers of NHS services report on Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) incentive schemes to NHS England and NHS Improvement. This will include the 2022/23 CQUIN ‘Appropriate antibiotic prescribing for UTI in adults aged 16+’. However, CQUINs are not reported via clinical commissioning groups.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) make an assessment of the psychological impact of the covid-19 outbreak on blood cancer patients and (b) implement the collection of formal data to measure that impact.

We are committed to ensuring that all cancer patients have access to holistic needs assessments and personalised care interventions. This will ensure that care focuses on the individual whilst empowering them to self-manage where appropriate and to seek help when required. Data from Cancer Alliances in March 2021 showed that approximately 83% of all cancer multi-disciplinary teams had implemented personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments during the pandemic.

The are no current plans to implement the collection of formal data to measure the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on blood cancer patients. However, the National Health Service is collecting patient level data in relation to personalised care interventions to assess progress.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve outcomes for blood cancer patients in the context of the covid-19 induced (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment backlogs.

To support the recovery of elective services, we are allocating more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund made available to systems in 2021/22 to increase elective activity. We will address outcomes for patients, including those with blood cancer, through the delivery of nine million additional treatments and diagnostic procedures over the next three years and approximately 30% more elective activity by 2024/25 than pre-pandemic levels.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the needs of blood cancer patients are taken into account in the 10-Year Cancer Plan.

The current call for evidence will inform the development of the 10 Year Cancer Plan and ensure the needs of all cancer patients, including those with blood cancer, are considered.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve knowledge of blood cancer symptoms among GPs.

General practitioners (GPs) are responsible for ensuring their clinical knowledge remains updated and identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, such as guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, to ensure they can continue to provide high quality care to all patients.

Primary Care Networks are working with GP practices to implement the 2021/22 early cancer diagnosis service, to optimise suspected cancer referral practice, support earlier diagnosis of cancer and identify people before their cancer has progressed.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to improve reporting of blood cancer data to levels equal to that of solid tumours.

The National Disease Registration Service collects, analyses, publishes and shares data on cancer, rare diseases and congenital anomalies. Incidence, survival and prevalence rates and routes to diagnosis include data on haematological cancers. We are working with clinicians and charities to increase the level of detail in this data, to record all registered haematological cancers into a format where statistics can be produced.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the provision of end of life care provided in the community in response to Hospice UK’s estimate that almost 67,000 people have died at home since the start of the covid-19 pandemic without the right end of life care in place.

During the pandemic, over £400 million has been made available to hospices to increase additional capacity and enable patients to be discharged from hospitals. Palliative and end of life care (PEoLC) services are commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which are responsible for planning and commissioning of high-quality, cost-effective services that meet the needs of the local population. NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed seven PEoLC strategic clinical networks to work with CCGs to develop and implement sustainable commissioning models, including provision of services in the community where appropriate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to examine the (a) rise in deaths in private homes and (b) quality of end of life care that people have received since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

We continue to monitor the number of deaths in private homes and the quality of end of life care to understand the impact of the pandemic on palliative and end of life care provision.

NHS England and NHS Improvement review the quality of end of life care service provision through the National Audit of Care at the End of Life. Its most recent National Summary is expected to be published in summer 2022. The National Institute for Health Research has also commissioned research into the end-of-life care experiences of black people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances' pricing policy for medical nutrition products is; and whether this pricing policy is applied equally to all companies producing those products.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances pricing policy governs the pricing of all borderline substances listed in Part XV of the Drug Tariff. The terms of the policy are dependent on the type of product application. Type 1 applications relate to new formulations where there is no comparable product on the market and the applicant proposes a price. Type 2 applications are for formulations similar to formulations on the market and the applicant compares the price with those of similar formulations. Type 3 applications are for products on the market that the manufacturer wants to change or increase in price. Products can increase in price once every 12 months in line the current Retail Price Index (excluding mortgages) or an average of the preceding 12 months, whichever is higher. Manufacturers can apply for increases above this benchmark provided it can be evidenced that it will save money for the National Health Service. These terms apply equally to all manufacturers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 125318, tabled by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on 18 February 2022.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 125318.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations of The University of Manchester’s Building Utopia publication, whether his Department plans to work with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to incorporate social and health outcomes into physical regeneration, including the recently announced Levelling Up Parks Fund.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to support the development of evaluation plans for the Levelling Up Parks fund, which include health and social outcomes.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will meet to discuss the approval of Nuvaxovid prior to its next scheduled main meeting on the first Wednesday in June 2022.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation COVID-19 immunisation committee meets frequently, including to discuss any newly licensed vaccines by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2022 to Question 126896, on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what further evidence the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation requires to (a) make its recommendation and (b) mitigate risk for people who are unable to use current vaccines in the covid-19 programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will make a recommendation in due course. Based on the available evidence, the JCVI is currently considering how to address the needs of individuals who have been advised that they have a medical contraindication to the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question HL 5712 on Antimicrobials: Drug Resistance, what specialist leads have been appointed for infection prevention and control, diagnostics, and antimicrobial stewardship in NHS England regional teams.

The following posts have been appointed to the seven NHS England regions:

- Infection Prevention and Control Leads;

- Antimicrobial Stewardship Leads; and

- Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Clinical Leads.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 80403 on Hospitals: Infectious Diseases, whether a national manual for infection prevention by NHS England is scheduled to be published in March 2022.

Publication of the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual for England is expected by the end of March 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the NHS Patient Safety Team on proposals to remove the requirement of providers to reference guidance that relates to catheter-acquired urinary tract infections, as set out in the draft NHS Standard Contract consultation.

There have been no specific discussions. NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that the NHS Standard Contract for 2022/23 continues to require providers to have regard to all relevant national guidance, including from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and guidance related to catheter-acquired urinary tract infections.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Tackling antimicrobial resistance 2019–2024: The UK’s five-year national action plan, what progress has been made on the objective to halve healthcare associated Gram-negative blood stream infections; and if he will make a statement.

Due to the diverse nature of the underlying causes of these infections, achieving the target to halve healthcare-associated Gram-negative blood stream infections is very challenging. We have therefore commissioned modelling of clinical pathways of Gram-negative blood stream infection and the impact of various interventions, to consider whether the target should be adjusted and, if so, what an appropriate target may be.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the £44 billion of additional funding announced in the 2021 Spending Review he plans to allocate to mental health services.

Following the outcome of the 2021 Spending Review, spending plans for individual budgets in 2022/23 to 2024/25 inclusive are subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and will be finalised in due course. However, we are investing £300 million to eradicate mental health dormitories by 2024/25 and £150 million for improvements in the mental health estate. This includes investing in National Health Service mental health facilities linked to accident and emergency departments and enhancing patient safety in mental health units.

We are also investing £500 million over three years to transform Start for Life and family help services. Of this, £100 million has been allocated to infant and parent mental health services across 75 local authorities. This is in addition to the commitment to increase spending on mental health services in England by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 and £500 million provided in 2021/22 to address waiting times for mental health services and invest in the NHS workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is aware of NHS Grampian’s virtual support service; and whether he has had discussions with the Scottish health minister on that service.

We are not aware of this initiative by NHS Grampian. However, Departmental officials met recently with counterparts in the Scottish Government to share best practice on policies to improve mental health and wellbeing and will meet regularly to develop a new long-term strategy for mental health and wellbeing.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Health and Social Care Directorates of Scotland on sharing learning and best practice on improving the mental health of children and young people.

Departmental officials met recently with counterparts in the Scottish Government to share best practice on policies to improve mental health and wellbeing, including for children and young people. Officials will meet regularly to share information and learning as we develop a new long-term strategy for mental health and wellbeing in England.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer prior to the Spring Statement on (a) funding allocations for mental health services and (b) the provision of additional funding for mental health services in the context of increasing demand.

We have regular discussions with HM Treasury on a range of issues, including funding for mental health services. We have committed to increase spending on mental health services in real terms by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24. In each year of the current Spending Review period, spending on mental health services will increase as a share of the National Health Service budget.

We are also ensuring that clinical commissioning groups and integrated care boards once operational meet the Mental Health Investment Standard to allow spending on mental health to increase at least in line with the growth in overall funding allocations.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has with his counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the upcoming consultation on calorie labelling of alcoholic products.

Departmental officials are in regular contact with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on United Kingdom-wide measures in the healthy weight strategy, including calorie labelling of alcoholic products.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Sugar Content in Wine Revealed, published by the Alcohol Health Alliance on 16 February 2022, what plans his Department has for improving consumer knowledge on the potential health impacts of alcohol consumption.

We have committed to consult on whether to introduce mandatory calorie labelling on pre-packaged alcohol and alcohol sold in on-trade businesses such as pubs and restaurants in due course. As part of this consultation, we will also seek views on whether the provision of the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines on pre-packed alcohol labels should be mandatory or continue on a voluntary basis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve signposting to information on the symptoms of cardiovascular disease; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of creating a national hub for patient information on procedures as outlined in the ABHI Cardiovascular Health Check report.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made no assessment of the potential merits of developing a national cardiovascular disease strategy or creating a national hub for patient information. However, the NHS Long Term Plan committed to improve care and outcomes for individuals with cardiovascular disease. A national cardiovascular programme has been established, led by national clinical directors and national specialty advisors and supported by the development of local cardiac networks.

NHS.UK has a guide for patients on cardiovascular conditions, symptoms and treatments. Individual providers also have a responsibility to make patient information available regarding local services available.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to develop a national cardiovascular disease strategy as recommended in the ABHI Cardiovascular Health Check report.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made no assessment of the potential merits of developing a national cardiovascular disease strategy or creating a national hub for patient information. However, the NHS Long Term Plan committed to improve care and outcomes for individuals with cardiovascular disease. A national cardiovascular programme has been established, led by national clinical directors and national specialty advisors and supported by the development of local cardiac networks.

NHS.UK has a guide for patients on cardiovascular conditions, symptoms and treatments. Individual providers also have a responsibility to make patient information available regarding local services available.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help increase the level of early detection and diagnosis of cardiovascular disease in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

We continue to support the implementation of the NHS Health Check programme in England, which facilitates the prevention and early detection of cardiovascular disease. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regions and networks to increase access to the BNP blood test and echocardiography, with early adopter sites testing clinical pathways to improve the early detection and optimum management of heart failure.

The National Health Service continues to open 44 community diagnostic centres to increase the volume of diagnostic activity and reduce patient waiting times, which could deliver over one million additional scans and tests such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, X-ray, ultrasound and echocardiograms.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has confirmed the proposed themes for cardiac networks in England; and if he will make a statement.

A national cardiovascular programme has been established supported by the development of local cardiac networks. These networks take an evidenced-based approach to improvement, from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation through to end of life care. Cardiac networks have been asked to prioritise supporting their local systems to offer blood pressure checks at existing appointments including vaccine centres, pharmacies, as well as remote monitoring.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans for the Nuvaxovid vaccine to be available and distributed for use in the UK for the protection against covid-19.

On 3 February 2022, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency authorised Nuvaxovid (Novavax) for individuals over the age of 18 years old in the United Kingdom in line with official recommendations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will determine the potential for its use in the UK COVID-19 vaccination programme as the evidence becomes available in due course. Once the JCVI has considered the evidence, it will make an official recommendation to the Government.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February to Question 112640 on Tobacco: Mortality Rates, for what reason he has made no formal assessment of the adverse health risks of snus.

The Department has not undertaken its own formal review of snus as it is banned in the United Kingdom and we have no plans to introduce additional tobacco products to the market.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce Shingrix into the National Immunisation Programme, in line with JCVI recommendations, now that sufficient supply is available.

Shingrix has been offered to individuals with reduced immune response since September 2021, in line with recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. The Department is currently working with the UK Health Security Agency and the National Health Service to develop implementation plans to support the deployment of Shingrix more widely in the shingles programme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of application processing delays by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances on (a) patient choice for malnutrition products and (b) additional costs to the NHS.

The Department has made no assessment of the potential impact of application processing delays by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) on patient choice for malnutrition products and additional costs to the National Health Service.

Some ACBS functions were put on hold from 2 April 2020 to 1 August 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that period, the Committee continued work on all applications that were already being reviewed but did not accept new applications. Applications submitted but not being reviewed before the period were reviewed upon the service resuming.

Borderline substances indicated for the management of malnutrition and approved by the ACBS are listed in Part XV of the Drug Tariff, in which there are currently 209 products listed for the management of malnutrition.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there is an appeals process in place for applicants whose products are rejected by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances.

There is no formal appeals process in place for applicants.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) does not reject applications. Unsuccessful applicants are informed of further information the Committee requires to continue processing an application and they can reapply. In rare instances, an applicant may be informed of reasons that their product is not supported by the Committee for listing on Part XV of the Drug Tariff.

The Department started a project in 2019 to improve the ACBS application process. The work is being undertaken in partnership with the ACBS and the British Specialist Nutrition Association – the trade body for the medical nutrition industry. A key objective is to ensure fairer, more accurate, consistent, efficient and quicker decisions by the Committee. The working group last held a meeting on 10 February 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform to create a new regulatory framework for novel health foods and supplements to promote investment in the UK as a leader in the nutraceutical sector.

Lord Frost wrote to the Chair of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) on 16 September 2021 providing a full, area by area, response to the TIGRR recommendations.

The letter concluded, with regards to the recommendations for a new regulatory framework for novel health foods and supplements, that the United Kingdom already has in place the legislation and processes required for the regulation of such products. As such, there are no current plans to implement a new regulatory framework.

The Government will continue to watch the international development of the novel health foods and supplements market.

The letter can be read at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1018389/Letter_from_Lord_Frost_to_Sir_Iain_Duncan_Smith_on_the_Taskforce_on_Innovation__Growth_and_Regulatory_Reform.pdf

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of covid-19 vaccine take-up rates among migrants living in the UK, including people without formal immigration status.

No specific assessment has been made. A National Health Service or National Insurance number is not required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If an individual is not registered with a general practitioner, NHS regional teams and local systems will contact these individuals to ensure they are offered the vaccine. The ‘COVID-19: migrant health guide’ provides advice for healthcare practitioners on the health needs of migrant patients during the pandemic, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-migrant-health-guide

We have worked with NHS England to provide guidance to migrants to support them to make an informed decision on receiving the vaccine and to encourage uptake. Additionally, over £23 million has been provided to 60 councils and voluntary groups in areas of low vaccine uptake in England.

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, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of Tier 3 Weight Management Services in tackling rising levels of childhood obesity.

We are committed to ongoing evaluation of the impact of weight management services. The National Obesity Audit, due to be launched in 2022, will collect patient level information and analyse robust comparative data from the different types of services which support people to manage their weight. This will include assessment of the efficacy of children’s tier 3 weight management services.

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, how many patients are waiting for NHS Tier 3 and Tier 4 Weight Management Services; and what the average wait time is for those services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement does not routinely collect or publish data on the number of patients waiting for Tier 3 or 4 services or their average wait times; however, NHS England and NHS Improvement has sought data on this, which is currently being finalised.

The pandemic has delayed access to Tier 4 services, as with other elective surgeries, due to service providers being redeployed to support the COVID-19 response. NHS England and NHS Improvement has worked with Integrated Care Systems to develop regional recovery plans for Tier 3 and Tier 4 specialist weight management services. Funding has been provided to systems to support the implementation of these plans.

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, what plans his Department has to encourage an increase in GP referrals to medical weight loss clinics.

The government has invested £20.4 million in the Weight Management Enhanced Service in 2021/22, which supports general practitioners (GPs) to refer individuals to Weight Management Services. The Department have published training for primary care staff to become Healthy Weight Coaches, who facilitate conversations about weight, signpost and refer people to services, and offer support. We are also working closely with the Royal College of General Practitioners to understand how to further support GP referrals to weight management services.

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, what plans he has to fund new Tier 3 Weight Management Clinics for (a) adults and (b) children.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is investing £3 million in 2021/22 and a further £6 million in 2022/23 to mobilise 15 new Tier 3 clinics for children and young people. These services will provide holistic support to manage complications from severe obesity.

This is in addition to £4 million of new funding for 2021/22 to support the expansion of adult specialist weight management services and bariatric surgeries, including working with Integrated Care Systems to map the existing provision of services.

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, when the National Obesity Audit will be published; and what assessment the Audit will make of the effectiveness of Tier 3 weight management services.

The National Obesity Audit (NOA) will launch in the first quarter of this year, at which point tier 3 weight management services will be able to submit data to the NOA. The NOA will seek to collect data and inform on demographics, comorbidities, access to and outcomes from services.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2021 to Question 84415 on Oral Tobacco: Health Hazards, if he will publish his Department's assessment on the risks of adverse health outcomes caused by snus.

There is no available data related to the mortality rate as a result of the use of cigarettes or for Swedish snus. The Department has made no formal assessment of adverse health outcomes caused by snus. However, there is evidence of increased all-cause mortality among snus users although this is lower than for tobacco smokers. Snus use also has cardiovascular risks.

We are exploring a range of proposals to reduce the harms caused by smoking as part of the forthcoming tobacco control plan. This will not include proposals to introduce additional tobacco products into the market, such as oral tobacco.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2021 to Question 84415 on Oral Tobacco: Health Hazards, what the mortality rate is per 100,000 users as a result of the use of (a) cigarettes and (b) Swedish snus.

There is no available data related to the mortality rate as a result of the use of cigarettes or for Swedish snus. The Department has made no formal assessment of adverse health outcomes caused by snus. However, there is evidence of increased all-cause mortality among snus users although this is lower than for tobacco smokers. Snus use also has cardiovascular risks.

We are exploring a range of proposals to reduce the harms caused by smoking as part of the forthcoming tobacco control plan. This will not include proposals to introduce additional tobacco products into the market, such as oral tobacco.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the statutory regulation of clinical technologists following publication of the IPEM briefing paper entitled A new regulatory framework for clinical technologists in October 2021.

We have no current plans to regulate clinical technologists. However, we keep the list of professions subject to statutory regulation under review. On 6 January 2022, we launched a public consultation on the criteria for determining when statutory regulation of a healthcare profession is appropriate. The consultation is open until 31 March 2022 and we will consider its findings in due course.

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, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the recent IPEM briefing paper entitled A new regulatory framework for clinical technologists and the matter of the potential risk of patient harm by medical professionals who are not statutorily regulated.

We have no current plans to regulate clinical technologists. However, we keep the list of professions subject to statutory regulation under review. On 6 January 2022, we launched a public consultation on the criteria for determining when statutory regulation of a healthcare profession is appropriate. The consultation is open until 31 March 2022 and we will consider its findings in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress is being made on the approval of Novavax for use in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is unable to comment on products not approved for use in the United Kingdom due to commercial and market sensitivities. We are therefore unable to provide a timetable for the approval of the Novavax vaccine. Any route to approval of new vaccine treatments will be subject to the developer seeking regulatory approval from the MHRA. As with all other COVID-19 vaccines, the MHRA will ensure a thorough and expedited assessment of its safety and efficacy before any authorisation.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to assess immunogenicity for future vaccines to ensure that people who are immunosuppressed are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Immunogenicity for future vaccines cannot be assessed until vaccines are tested in clinical trials. All vaccines must first be assessed for safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. It is the responsibility of vaccine manufacturers to include immunosuppressed individuals and assess immunogenicity in clinical trials.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with (a) invasive pneumococcal disease and (b) other underlying health conditions receive their flu vaccination in addition to their covid-19 booster vaccination.

National guidance on influenza vaccination recommends that if an individual is acutely unwell, immunisation may be postponed until they have fully recovered. Patients unwell with invasive pneumococcal disease would typically have any influenza vaccine that they were due to receive deferred until recovery. Those considered to be in risk groups for invasive pneumococcal disease may also be eligible for a flu vaccine.

To encourage uptake, NHS England and NHS Improvement have recommissioned the national call and recall service for the 2021/22 season. This service will complement local mechanisms to target groups of eligible individuals, informing them of their eligibility and inviting them to make an appointment for their flu vaccination.

The ‘Boost Your Immunity This Winter’ campaign launched in October included targeted communications for those with underlying health conditions to raise awareness of the risks of flu and COVID-19 and their eligibility for the vaccinations as the best protection from serious illness.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 19 November 2021 to Question 72542, if his Department will make an assessment of the relative risks of alternatives to smoking such as e-cigarettes and snus.

Although they are not risk free, we do promote the role that e-cigarettes can play in smoking cessation, whilst managing the risks to non-smokers and young people.
Oral tobacco, including snus, is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. There is evidence that oral tobacco products can contain carcinogenic substances which increases the risk of adverse health effects. Whilst the risks of adverse health outcomes caused by snus are far lower than smoking, it remains the Government’s policy to help people to quit all forms of tobacco use.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to introduce further measures to encourage the reformulation of food and drink products to reduce the level of (a) sugar, (b) salt and (c) calories in those products; and if he will make a statement.

The final sugar reduction progress report on reformulation is due to be published early in 2022. Next steps, which may include further measures, are being considered. Expert advice will continue to be provided to the Government, including an assessment of the voluntary approach on sugar, salt and calories.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations of the report entitled Turning the Tide: A 10-year Healthy Weight Strategy published by the Obesity Health Alliance in September 2021; and if he will make a statement.

We welcome the Obesity Health Alliance’s report which makes a valuable contribution to the debate, endorsing policies we are taking forward on food and drink labelling, promotions and advertising. The forthcoming Government food strategy, to be published in early 2022, will set out the next steps in our approach.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government's policies on tackling obesity; what recent discussions he has had with health representatives in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland on the effectiveness of those policies; and if he will make a statement.

Since the publication of chapter one of the Childhood Obesity Plan in 2016, the average sugar content of drinks subject to the Soft Drinks Industry Levy decreased by 43.7% between 2015 and 2019. There has been approximately a 13% reduction of sugar in breakfast cereals, yogurts and fromage frais.

We have introduced legislation on mandatory out-of-home calorie labelling for large restaurants, cafes and takeaways; restrictions on the promotion of less healthy foods by location and volume price in store and online; and restrictions on the advertising of less healthy foods on TV before 9pm and via online paid for advertising. We have also invested £100 million in healthy weight programmes including the expansion of weight management services and incentives. Officials in the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities are in regular contact with the devolved administrations on measures in our healthy weight strategy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 19 November 2021 to Question 72543, on Oral Tobacco, what the serious adverse health outcomes caused by snus are; and how those risks compare with the risks associated with smoking.

Oral tobacco, including snus, is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. There is evidence that oral tobacco products can contain carcinogenic substances which increases the risk of adverse health effects. This includes an increased risk of oesophageal and pancreatic cancer, high blood pressure, increased mortality in the aftermath of a heart attack or stroke and type 2 diabetes. While the risks of adverse health outcomes caused by snus are far lower than smoking, it remains the Government’s policy to help people to quit all forms of tobacco use.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15th November 2021 to Question 66237 on Catheters: Urinary Tract Infections, whether the national manual for infection prevention will be subject to consultation.

The inaugural chapters were developed using an England-wide consensus group consisting of infection prevention and control experts. These chapters are now subject wider consultation with the consensus group and regional infection prevention leads in England.

While a specific date has not yet been confirmed, we anticipate the manual will be published in March 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 November 2021 to Question 66237 on Catheters: Urinary Tract Infections, what his timelines is for the delivery of the national manual for infection prevention.

The inaugural chapters were developed using an England-wide consensus group consisting of infection prevention and control experts. These chapters are now subject wider consultation with the consensus group and regional infection prevention leads in England.

While a specific date has not yet been confirmed, we anticipate the manual will be published in March 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make a statement on The Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet in September 2017 which reported no evidence of harm caused by long-term use of snus for any health outcome.

The Department continues to monitor the international evidence on harms from tobacco, including snus. A report by The Norwegian Institute of Public Health published in 2019 reports that the use of Swedish snus may increase the risks of some serious adverse health outcomes and some less serious adverse health outcomes. The report is available at the following link:

https://www.fhi.no/en/publ/2019/health-risks-from-snus-use2/

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he would publish the data his Department holds on the average level of TSNA carcinogens found in (a) cigarettes, (b) heated tobacco, (c) e-cigarettes and (d) snus made according to the Gothiatek standard.

The Department does not hold data on the average level of TSNA carcinogens found in cigarettes, heated tobacco, e-cigarettes or snus.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of training opportunities for new nursing staff in (a) cancer nursing and (b) other specialisms.

The Department has not made any recent assessment. Individual employers are responsible for ensuring they have sufficient numbers of staff trained to meet their local needs and who are competent to carry out their role.

Health Education England supports the learning of the National Health Service workforce through their Workforce Transformation and Development and Continuing Professional Development funding. This provides opportunities for eligible nurses, midwives and allied healthcare professionals to continue their learning and development in their chosen career pathway or specialist areas of practice. This will include education programmes for cancer nurses, district nurses, general practice nurses. The Government has also made available £1,000 for each nurse in the NHS in England to support their Continuing Professional Development over a three year period.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the additional funding allocated to the NHS in the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 will be allocated to fund cancer nurse specialists.

The Spending Review 2020 provided £260 million to continue to grow our National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. This included £52 million in 2021/2022 for Health Education England to further invest in the cancer and diagnostics workforce, including offering training grants for 250 nurses wishing to become cancer clinical nurse specialists and for an additional 100 nurses wishing to become chemotherapy nurses.

The Spending Review 2021 delivers a three-year settlement from 2022/2023 to 2024/2025 inclusive. A three-year settlement provides greater certainty on funding and supports longer term planning and investment in the workforce in England.

Following the outcome of the Spending Review 2021, spending plans for individual budgets for 2022/2023 to 2024/2025 inclusive, including for training cancer nurse specialists, will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what fiscal steps he is taking to fund training opportunities for cancer nurse specialists.

The Spending Review 2020 provided £260 million to continue to grow our National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. This included £52 million in 2021/2022 for Health Education England to further invest in the cancer and diagnostics workforce, including offering training grants for 250 nurses wishing to become cancer clinical nurse specialists and for an additional 100 nurses wishing to become chemotherapy nurses.

The Spending Review 2021 delivers a three-year settlement from 2022/2023 to 2024/2025 inclusive. A three-year settlement provides greater certainty on funding and supports longer term planning and investment in the workforce in England.

Following the outcome of the Spending Review 2021, spending plans for individual budgets for 2022/2023 to 2024/2025 inclusive, including for training cancer nurse specialists, will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support for personalised cancer care he plans to put in place under the NHS Long-Term Plan.

The National Health Service (NHS) Long Term Plan states that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should receive a Personalised Care and Support Plan based on holistic needs assessment, end of treatment summaries and health and wellbeing information and support, including for mental health needs.

Cancer Alliances are leading programmes of work to embed these personalised care interventions within local providers. NHS England and Improvement is supporting staff to offer personalised care to people affected by cancer by promoting awareness and understanding of the interventions and how to improve their quality. This includes providing resources such as a handbook on personalised stratified follow up, a checklist on health and wellbeing information and support, and sharing of best practice.

In addition, the revised Cancer Care Review requirements for General Practitioner (GP) practices mean patients’ holistic support needs will be assessed twice in their first year after diagnosis. This requirement encourages GP practices to have early and supportive conversations with cancer patients about their needs and ensure patients are aware of what help is available in the community.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce the number of catheter associated urinary tract infections acquired by patients in hospital.

NHS England is currently developing a national manual for infection prevention to outline standard precautions to prevent all infections, including those caused by urinary catheters. This will build on existing standard infection control precautions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to replace the NHS Safety Thermometer with an equivalent system to track patient safety in NHS hospitals and community facilities.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have no plans to replace the National Health Service Safety Thermometer. The data generated from the thermometer has been shown to be not fit for current purposes and alternative data is available from other existing sources.

For falls prevention, pressure ulcer prevention, venous thromboembolism and catheter associated urinary tract infections, there is a well-established National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance or equivalent guidelines providing the best evidence on how to reduce harm. Such guidance is supported by a range of national audits and improvement capacity building, including support for measurement for improvement and new sources of patient safety data provided by Model Health Systems.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the management of urinary catheters in (a) NHS hospitals and (b) the community.

In 2019, the National Health Service published tools developed for hospitals and community settings as part of the antimicrobial resistance programme. The 2021/2022 programme supports integrated care systems to use Right Care data packs to plan and implement appropriate interventions, including the management of urinary catheters in these settings.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring Integrated Care Systems to record the number of catheter associated urinary tract infections acquired by patients in (a) hospital care and (b) the community.

The United Kingdom Health Security Agency undertakes surveillance of bloodstream infections in hospital and community settings, including information on the infection source through National Health Service acute trusts, which will be part of the Integrated Care Systems, reporting infection cases. If a urinary source is identified, further information is requested around urinary catheterisation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to require NHS hospitals to record the date of catheterisation as part of a patient's care record.

Recording the date of catheterisation is part of professional record keeping within health and social care. Medical and nursing professions have outlined standards for record keeping in the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code and the General Medical Council’s good medical practice. NHS England has published guidance and tools to support record keeping and there are plans to enhance these resources through the use of digital media.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
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 US's Food and Drug Administration decision to give snus the status of a reduced risk product in the United States.

The Department has made no assessment. The sale of oral tobacco is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. The Department continues to monitor developments in tobacco use across the world. Evidence shows that the consumption of any tobacco product is harmful and it is the Government’s policy to help people quit tobacco.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
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 causes of the fall in smoking among young women in Norway since the year 2000 from 30 per cent. to 1 per cent.

The Department continues to monitor developments in tobacco use across the world. Whilst rates of smoking have decreased amongst young women in Norway, overall levels of tobacco use have remained stable. Evidence shows that the consumption of any tobacco product is harmful. We will continue to promote the use of nicotine replacement therapy and e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 33279, tabled by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on 14 July 2021.

I refer the hon Member to the answer of 20 October to Question 33279.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve NHS treatment provision for patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

NHS England is working with local hospitals through clinical network arrangements to improve service provision and ensure care is close to where patients reside. NHS England commissions paediatric and adult services for patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, with specialist paediatric endocrinology services providing the diagnosis and management of children and young people

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of expanding clinical research capacity in primary care settings; and what plans he has to support GPs in delivering clinical research for complex conditions such as diabetes.

On 23 March 2021 we published the vision for the future of United Kingdom clinical research delivery. This aims to create a digitally enabled and pro-innovation clinical research environment, which is more efficient, resilient and has research embedded across all health and care settings, including primary care, as a core part of effective patient care. As set out in our phase one implementation plan, published on 23 June 2021, we are expanding flexible workforce and delivery models for primary care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR offers a package of support and training for clinical research delivery in primary care and the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s Primary Care Research Strategy aims to increase the capacity of general practitioner (GP) practices to engage in research and support and incentivise GPs to deliver clinical research.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 33283, tabled by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on 14 July 2021.

I refer the Rt hon. Member to the answer of 19 August to Question 33283.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 33282, tabled by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on 14 July 2021.

I refer the Rt hon. Member to the answer of 19 August to Question 33282.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 vaccinations have been delivered through community pharmacies to date; and if he will publish each of the top 10 community pharmacy contractors which have delivered the highest number of covid-19 vaccinations to date.

As at 14 September 2021, over 11.1 million people have received their COVID-19 vaccination at a community pharmacy. We are unable to provide data on the number of vaccinations delivered by individual community pharmacy contractors to protect the security of those sites.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 21 to Question 21930 on Coronavirus: Screening, on what evidence the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency based its decision to extend the re-purposed Innova lateral flow tests until 28 August 2021.

NHS Test and Trace have taken on the role of legal manufacturer of the self-tests which have been given a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Exceptional Use Authorisation (EUA) for the purpose of detection of COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals as part of the national testing programme. As a legal manufacturer, NHS Test and Trace are required to have a Quality Management System (QMS) in place. The QMS is separate to that of Innova Medical Group in the United States of America (USA) and ensures that tests being used in the United Kingdom (UK) are subject to appropriate controls.

On becoming aware of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety notice issued on 10 June, in line with our normal processes the MHRA immediately asked NHS Test and Trace to investigate whether the UK could be affected by any of the concerns raised by FDA. The MHRA considered the information supplied by NHS Test and Trace and were satisfied of the limited applicability of the FDA’s actions in the USA to the products supplied in the UK by NHS Test and Trace and their proposed actions to mitigate risks from these issues.

The Department has recently published full information and data on the performance of lateral flow tests in the UK which demonstrates that the tests have a high level of accuracy and sensitivity, and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lateral-flow-device-performance-data

The MHRA has extended the EUA to Test and Trace until 28 August 2021. The duration of an EUA can differ for a number of reasons; in this instance a shorter extension was considered appropriate. This does not preclude the EUA from potential further extensions if requested. The relatively short extension allows us to keep the situation under review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis was for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to conclude that the concerns raised by the US Food and Drug Administration on the NHS rebranded Innova lateral flow tests did not apply to the UK market.

NHS Test and Trace have taken on the role of legal manufacturer of the self-tests which have been given a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Exceptional Use Authorisation (EUA) for the purpose of detection of COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals as part of the national testing programme. As a legal manufacturer, NHS Test and Trace are required to have a Quality Management System (QMS) in place. The QMS is separate to that of Innova Medical Group in the United States of America (USA) and ensures that tests being used in the United Kingdom (UK) are subject to appropriate controls.

On becoming aware of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety notice issued on 10 June, in line with our normal processes the MHRA immediately asked NHS Test and Trace to investigate whether the UK could be affected by any of the concerns raised by FDA. The MHRA considered the information supplied by NHS Test and Trace and were satisfied of the limited applicability of the FDA’s actions in the USA to the products supplied in the UK by NHS Test and Trace and their proposed actions to mitigate risks from these issues.

The Department has recently published full information and data on the performance of lateral flow tests in the UK which demonstrates that the tests have a high level of accuracy and sensitivity, and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lateral-flow-device-performance-data

The MHRA has extended the EUA to Test and Trace until 28 August 2021. The duration of an EUA can differ for a number of reasons; in this instance a shorter extension was considered appropriate. This does not preclude the EUA from potential further extensions if requested. The relatively short extension allows us to keep the situation under review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Prime Minister's statement in the coronavirus briefing of 10 February 2021 on reimbursing community pharmacies, when he plans to convert into grants the advanced payments given to community pharmacies to support them with covid-19-related costs.

The Department has no plans to do so. We have recently reached an agreement with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee that pharmacy contractors can now claim for additional costs incurred between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021. The increased advance payments of £370 million will be recovered between October 2021 to March 2022 following payment of claims for additional COVID-19 costs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 21 to Question 24270 on Coronavirus: Screening, what percentage of tests in the 2020 Innova lateral flow test evaluation showed accuracy in picking up viral antigens in (a) symptomatic and (b) asymptomatic individuals.

Findings from the evaluation in 2020 showed similar proportions of viral antigen detected by the Innova lateral flow device of 76.7% in asymptomatic and 78.7% in symptomatic individuals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for a consultation on proposals for the roll-out of a hub-and-spoke dispensing model across community pharmacy.

The Department is currently engaging with stakeholders to develop clear and practical models that will form the basis of a consultation. A date for consultation has not been confirmed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 June 2021 to Question 8721 on Cereals, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) the Whole Grain Initiative’s definition of whole grains and (b) using that definition to support dietary guidance on the consumption of whole grains.

Public Health England has not made a specific assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 June 2021 to Question 8721 on Cereals, what plans his Department has to increase the daily intake of fibre in adults.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s (SACN’s) Carbohydrates and Health report included an assessment of the relationship between dietary fibre and whole grains intake and cardio-metabolic, colo-rectal and oral health outcomes. Based on the SACN’s findings that increasing dietary fibre intake would reduce the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer, the Government recommends that children and adults should increase their daily fibre intake through a variety of food sources. These recommendations are reflected in the United Kingdom’s national food model, the Eatwell Guide, and the five a day programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 June 2021 to Question 8721 on Cereals, what plans his Department has to increase the daily intake of fibre in children.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s (SACN’s) Carbohydrates and Health report included an assessment of the relationship between dietary fibre and whole grains intake and cardio-metabolic, colo-rectal and oral health outcomes. Based on the SACN’s findings that increasing dietary fibre intake would reduce the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer, the Government recommends that children and adults should increase their daily fibre intake through a variety of food sources. These recommendations are reflected in the United Kingdom’s national food model, the Eatwell Guide, and the five a day programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring restaurants to make reasonable adjustments to their food when a customer discloses that they have a serious allergy.

All food businesses are under a legal obligation to provide information on the presence of the 14 major allergens in food and this information can be provided in a variety of ways. Where a customer declares an allergy, the business should adjust their offering or indicate where this would not be possible so that the customer is able to make a safe and informed choice.

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 Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 187279, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the provision of personal protective equipment free of charge to the care sector beyond March 2022.

There are no plans to extend the offer of free personal protective equipment beyond March 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the sustainability of personal protective equipment supply chains until they are able to resume charging for the supply of PPE to the care sector.

The extension of free personal protective equipment (PPE) until March 2022 provides clarity and certainty for health, social care and public sector workforces and wholesalers and supports planning. It also provides stability of supply while we transition to a longer-term model for PPE.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of his policy of free personal protective equipment for the care sector until the end of March 2022 on care sector supply chains.

The extension of free personal protective equipment (PPE) until March 2022 provides clarity and certainty for health, social care and public sector workforces and wholesalers and supports planning. It also provides stability of supply while we transition to a longer-term model for PPE.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)