Martyn Day Portrait

Martyn Day

Scottish National Party - Linlithgow and East Falkirk

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Public Health and Primary Care)

(since January 2020)
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


Oral Question
Monday 20th September 2021
14:30
Ministry of Defence
Topical Question No. 10
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
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Oral Question
Tuesday 21st September 2021
11:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Topical Question No. 6
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
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Department Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Oct 2021, 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.
Scheduled Event
Friday 22nd October 2021
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Energy Pricing Bill: Second Reading
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Department Event
Friday 19th November 2021
09:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
19 Nov 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill: Second Reading
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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
Monday 7th June 2021
Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 45 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 0 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 263 Noes - 364
Speeches
Thursday 16th September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

T4. When last in power, the Taliban destroyed 70% of the artifacts in the National Museum of Afghanistan, including many …

Written Answers
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the (a) availability and …
Early Day Motions
Monday 28th June 2021
Death of Jim Walker MBE
That this House recognises the life and? work of Jim Walker, MBE, former local councillor in his beloved Bathgate for …
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 26th July 2021
1. Employment and earnings
8 July 2021, received £275 from Ipsos MORI, 3 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, for a survey. Hours: 1.5 …
EDM signed
Friday 10th September 2021
Israel Arms Trade (Prohibition) Bill
This House notes that the UK Government has authorised hundreds of millions of pounds worth of arms sales to Israel …
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 206 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)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(16 debate interactions)
Caroline Dinenage (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(48 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(13 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(10 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Martyn Day has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
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 most Linlithgow and East Falkirk signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

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

8th September 2021
Martyn Day signed this EDM on Friday 10th September 2021

40th anniversary of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Glasgow

Tabled by: Patrick Grady (Scottish National Party - Glasgow North)
That this House congratulates the leadership and community of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Otago Street, Glasgow, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary; notes that that anniversary was celebrated at a special event at the Gurdwara on 29 August 2021; thanks all those associated with the Gurdwara who …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 10 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 16
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Labour: 1
8th July 2021
Martyn Day signed this EDM on Friday 10th September 2021

Israel Arms Trade (Prohibition) Bill

Tabled by: Richard Burgon (Labour - Leeds East)
This House notes that the UK Government has authorised hundreds of millions of pounds worth of arms sales to Israel between 2016 and 2020; believes that the UK Government should end these arms sales as part of efforts to end Israel's militarized repression of Palestinians, violations of international law and …
46 signatures
(Most recent: 14 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 20
Scottish National Party: 17
Independent: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alba Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1
Green Party: 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

Martyn Day has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

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
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 22nd October 2021
Order Paper number: 5
(Possibly be Debated)

489 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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Paymaster General
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
Paymaster General
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has for a covid-19 vaccine certificate scheme that will be accessible in (a) online and (b) offline formats.

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

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
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
Paymaster General
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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
Paymaster General
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 (Cabinet Office)
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
Paymaster General
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
Paymaster General
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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
Paymaster General
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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 (Cabinet Office)
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
Paymaster General
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
Paymaster General
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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
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, 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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 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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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%.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Assistant Whip
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.


Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (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 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.

Matt Warman
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 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.

Matt Warman
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, 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.

Matt Warman
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, 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.

Matt Warman
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 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
Assistant Whip
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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’.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
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 (Department for Education)
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 (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 (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 (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 (Education)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
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 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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 International Trade)
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.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
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

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
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.

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.

9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the (a) availability and (b) reliability of electric car charging points.

Government and industry have supported the installation of over 25,000 publicly available charging devices including more than 4,700 rapid devices. On average, over 500 new chargers are being added to the UK’s road network each month. A recent study found that the UK now has more rapid chargers every 100 miles of key strategic road than any country in Europe. In November 2020, we announced we will invest £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years for rapid chargepoints and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

By 2023, we aim to have at least six high powered, open access chargepoints at motorway service areas in England, with some larger sites having ten to twelve. By 2030, we are planning for there to be around 2,500 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads, and, by 2035, we expect the number to increase to around 6,000. Government is working with the private sector to deliver this wherever possible.

For example, there are plans for further investment into the Electric Highway along the Strategic Road Network giving drivers more confidence when making longer journeys. GRIDSERVE are undertaking a programme of upgrades to the existing hardware, which will include the option to pay by contactless methods at the chargepoint and they are on track to complete upgrades to all existing 50kW chargers before the end of the year. Tesla also recently confirmed plans to open the Tesla Supercharger network up to vehicles from other manufacturers. The government has welcomed these developments.

For motorists who do not have access to off-street parking, the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. The ORCS has supported 49 different local authorities to install over 1,400 chargepoints. A further 88 local authorities have also been awarded grant funding, providing more than 3,200 on-street public chargepoints with their installations yet to be completed. This year, £20 million is available under ORCS to ensure more local authorities and residents can benefit from the scheme. Government also committed at Spending Review the £90 million Local EV Infrastructure fund, to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes and local rapid hubs in England.

In Spring 2021 we consulted to improve the consumer experience at public chargepoints. We included a section to improve the reliability across the charging network to ensure that consumers can rely on chargepoints wherever they are travelling in the UK. We will publish our government response in Autumn and lay legislation in early 2022.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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 (Department for Transport)
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.

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.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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)
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

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 Work and Pensions)
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 Work and Pensions)
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.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 Work and Pensions)
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 Work and Pensions)
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, 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 of Health and Social Care)
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 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 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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
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 of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, 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.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 134504, on Coronavirus: Vaccination, tabled on 8 January 2021 by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of the 17 November 2020 to Question 112091 on Obesity, whether the views of (a) people with obesity (b) obesity patient organisations and (c) professional associations for healthcare professionals with a focus on obesity were considered by his Department during its development of plans for implementing the obesity strategy.

We have been careful to consider the views of wide range of stakeholders including individuals, professional bodies and experts from across the United Kingdom as we developed our plans for implementing the healthy weight strategy including in response to specific policy proposals.

Officials in the Department are in regular contact with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on United Kingdom-wide measures in our strategy, such as front of pack nutrition labelling on food and drink.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 December 2020 to Question 112092 on Obesity: Devolution, whether his Department has discussed, with a focus on obesity in the devolved nations, the delivery of UK-wide measures in the Government's 2020 obesity strategy with (a) patient and (b) professional organisations.

We have been careful to consider the views of wide range of stakeholders including individuals, professional bodies and experts from across the United Kingdom as we developed our plans for implementing the healthy weight strategy including in response to specific policy proposals.

Officials in the Department are in regular contact with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on United Kingdom-wide measures in our strategy, such as front of pack nutrition labelling on food and drink.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to work collaboratively with the devolved administrations in (a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland and (c) Wales on reducing the stigma associated with living with overweight or obesity.

We have been careful to consider the views of mental health charities and experts as we developed our plans for implementing the obesity strategy and have published impact assessments alongside each specific policy proposal. We will continue to engage with stakeholders.

Ministers and officials across Government work very closely on reducing obesity and implementing the measures set out in ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’. This includes ensuring the use of appropriate language across the United Kingdom when associated with unhealthy weight. Hence a preference to refer to a healthy weight strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of the 17 November 2020 to Question 112090 on Obesity: Mass Media, whether (a) he and (b) officials of his Department have had discussions with the (i) Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and (ii) officials of that Department on the effect of the media representation of obesity on the stigma associated with living with overweight or obesity.

We have been careful to consider the views of mental health charities and experts as we developed our plans for implementing the obesity strategy and have published impact assessments alongside each specific policy proposal. We will continue to engage with stakeholders.

Ministers and officials across Government work very closely on reducing obesity and implementing the measures set out in ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’. This includes ensuring the use of appropriate language across the United Kingdom when associated with unhealthy weight. Hence a preference to refer to a healthy weight strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of the 17 November 2020 to Question 112090 on Obesity: Mass Media, whether the Government plans to take steps to reduce the stigma associated with living with overweight or obesity.

We have been careful to consider the views of mental health charities and experts as we developed our plans for implementing the obesity strategy and have published impact assessments alongside each specific policy proposal. We will continue to engage with stakeholders.

Ministers and officials across Government work very closely on reducing obesity and implementing the measures set out in ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’. This includes ensuring the use of appropriate language across the United Kingdom when associated with unhealthy weight. Hence a preference to refer to a healthy weight strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of personal alarm pendants used by elderly and vulnerable people that will be affected by the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network.

We are working closely with affected industries to support preparations for the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network. Through NHSX, this includes collaboration with sector representative bodies including the Technology Enabled Care Services Association (TSA). The TSA’s work in this area indicates there are approximately 1.7 million users of telecare who may be impacted.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will estimate the number of covid-19 vaccinations received by Haemato-oncology staff.

We are unable to estimate the numbers of vaccines given to individual groups of healthcare staff.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for the Innovative Medicines Fund to ensure (a) blood cancer patients and (b) other cancer patients can access treatments that would have been available through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund (IMF) are in development. We expect NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to lead an engagement exercise in early 2021. The design and operation of the IMF, including the size of the fund, will reflect the outcome of the engagement exercise and as such, it is too soon to comment on any proposals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of outcome-based payment for cancer medicines.

Outcome-based payment arrangements are one type of commercial flexibility that NHS England and NHS Improvement can choose to utilise when negotiating with pharmaceutical companies on new innovative cancer and non-cancer treatments.

The final NHS Commercial Framework for Medicines, which will be published shortly, outlines how commercial flexibilities can be negotiated to accommodate the unique circumstances of each topic the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is appraising, on a case-by-case basis.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will assess the approved covid-19 vaccines' level of protection for those who are vaccinated and registered as clinically vulnerable by monitoring antibody levels.

Public Health England (PHE) will be using existing surveillance systems and enhanced follow-up of cases to monitor how effective the vaccine is at protecting against a range of outcomes including infection, symptomatic disease, hospitalisations, mortality and onwards transmission.

There are a number of studies and surveillance systems that monitor rates of infection in the population through repeat respiratory swabs and blood tests to monitor the development of antibodies against the virus - antibodies due to infection can be distinguished from antibodies due to vaccination. PHE will monitor rates of infection in vaccinated individuals compared to unvaccinated individuals to understand how effective the vaccine is at preventing infection.

To monitor the effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing onwards transmission PHE will look at laboratory markers of infectiousness in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated cases and follow-up household contacts of cases to understand whether vaccination reduces onwards transmission within the household. The impact of the vaccination programme on COVID-19 activity at a population level will be monitored to understand the direct and indirect effectiveness of the vaccine.

Vaccine effectiveness will be monitored in different population groups to understand how the effectiveness varies by age, presence of other medical conditions and other factors. Surveillance systems will remain in place for the long-term to monitor how long protection lasts to inform the need for booster doses.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to strengthen the UK's tobacco control regime after the transition period.

The Government has introduced the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, ensuring that after the end of the transition period we continue to maintain our strong tobacco control legislation to address the harms from tobacco. Post-transition period, Great Britain will no longer have to comply with the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive and there will be opportunity to consider future regulatory changes to address the harms from tobacco. Any changes will be based on robust evidence and in the interests of public health.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission an independent, academic-led study into the issue of illicit tobacco smuggling in the UK to assess the scale of the potential role of major tobacco producers in that matter.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs are the responsible Government department leading on illicit tobacco and there are no current plans to commission a study but they will keep the need for further analysis under review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Spending Review 2020, what fiscal steps he is taking to ensure sufficient staff in the NHS to (a) diagnose and (b) treat the backlog of cancer patients resulting from the outbreak of covid-19.

The Spending Review 2020 provides £260 million to continue to grow the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, including continuing to take forward the cancer workforce plan phase one.

Full details on funding allocations towards NHS workforce budgets in 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 November 2020 to Question 108268 on Cannabis: Medical Treatment, what work his Department is undertaking with (a) NHS England, (b) NHS Improvement and (c) the National Institute of Health Research to develop a greater evidence base for cannabis-based medicinal products; and what the planned timeframe is for making progress in that area of medicine.

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has identified research on cannabis-based medicinal products as a priority and has issued two calls for research applications in this area.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the NIHR are developing a programme of two randomised controlled trials into early onset and genetic generalised epilepsy. These will compare Cannabidiol (CBD) only and CBD plus delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol containing medicines to placebo. The aim is to design safe and scientifically robust trials for adults and children with severe epilepsy, including those patients currently using cannabis-based medicinal products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on (a) broadening eligibility for the covid-19 pandemic-related visa extension for health workers to include (i) frontline NHS support workers and (ii) other people working in an NHS role, and (b) extending the duration of the existing one-year extension.

On 20 November 2020, the Home Secretary announced that frontline and other National Health Service workers’ whose Tier 2 (General) visas expire between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 will be entitled to a free, one-year extension. This measure includes doctors, nurses and paramedics amongst others and includes their dependents. The Government previously provided free visa extensions for health professionals that were due to expire between 31 March 2020 and 1 October 2020. This recent announcement means that this offer is extended to 31 March 2021.

This extension only covers those on Tier 2 (General) visas, rather than those on visas that give a generic right to work in the United Kingdom. The Government has ensured these individuals can benefit from the reimbursement scheme for the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to (a) Clinical Commissioning Groups and (b) local NHS providers on the introduction of new antimicrobials; and how this guidance supports the antimicrobial resistance five-year action plan.

Optimising the use of antimicrobials is central to the United Kingdom’s efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The UK’s five-year national action plan for AMR sets the ambition to reduce UK antimicrobial use in humans by 15% by 2024.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) supports stewardship of current and new antimicrobials through its Managing Common Infections antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for all care settings.

NICE also produces Evidence Summaries of the best available information on an antimicrobial to guide decision-making, both nationally within NHS England and NHS Improvement and locally, for example within a clinical commissioning group, a National Health Service trust, or across a local health economy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans are in place to ensure that the devolved nations can benefit from the initiatives in England to incentivise the development of new antimicrobials through innovative models for the evaluation and purchase of antimicrobials; and what the timeframe is for the roll-out of those initiatives.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and NHS England and NHS Improvement are undertaking work to develop and test an innovative model for the evaluation and purchase of antimicrobials that will help incentivise investment in these drugs. The model will initially be tested through application to two antimicrobial products to be selected through a competitive procurement exercise currently underway. Successful products will undergo adapted Health Technology Assessments throughout 2021, and contracts between suppliers and the NHS in England are anticipated to start from April 2022.

It will be important to evaluate the model thoroughly before considering changes to routine commissioning policy. The devolved administrations are important stakeholders to the project and we continue to work with them to ensure the model is suitable for contexts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to record the vaccination status of people who have received the covid-19 vaccine.

The careful and accurate recording of vaccination status is incredibly important both in terms of ensuring priority cohorts are offered the two doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccination and to ensure robust surveillance systems are in place to support patient safety.

The National Health Service National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) will be used as the national register of COVID-19 vaccinations. At the point that someone receives their COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccinating team will record it and this information will go onto the NIMS system and onto a patient’s general practitioner record.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department is using to assess the data security of health passports.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Rt hon. Michael Gove MP) is conducting a review of COVID-19 status certification and whether it could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. The review will inform the future policy of COVID-19 status certification, which would need to include what data security assessments may be required.

The Government will work closely with the National Cyber Security Centre and other partners including the Office of the National Data Guardian and the Information Commissioner's Office to seek their advice and expertise on how best to ensure that robust data security is in place.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to introduce health passports as part of its future covid-19 vaccine roll-out strategy.

Whilst deployment of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine would be a significant step forward, we do not yet know what impact this will have on the current wave of the pandemic. We first need to improve understanding of the any potential vaccine in order to fully understand the potential of health passports as part of our future COVID-19 vaccine roll-out-strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to tackle the stigma associated with living with obesity or overweight; and if he will make a statement.

The Department recognises the stigma associated with living with overweight and obesity. Our focus is on tackling the causes of obesity, improving diets and preventing ill health. We have been careful to consider the views of mental health charities and experts as we developed our plans for implementing the obesity strategy and we will continue to listen going forwards.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to work collaboratively with the administrations in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland to reduce the prevalence of obesity.

Ministers and officials in the Department have regular discussions with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on improving the health and wellbeing of the nation, including on reducing obesity. Discussions include domestic strategies and the delivery of United Kingdom-wide measures in our obesity strategy, such as front of pack nutrition labelling on food and drink.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Scottish Government on their strategy to reduce the prevalence of obesity and the potential opportunities for mutual learning; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers and officials in the Department have regular discussions with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on improving the health and wellbeing of the nation, including on reducing obesity. Discussions include domestic strategies and the delivery of United Kingdom-wide measures in our obesity strategy, such as front of pack nutrition labelling on food and drink.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of media representation of obesity on the stigma associated with living with overweight or obesity.

The Department recognises the stigma associated with living with overweight and obesity. Our focus is on tackling the causes of obesity, improving diets and preventing ill health. We have been careful to consider the views of mental health charities and experts as we developed our plans for implementing the obesity strategy and we will continue to listen going forwards.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage companies to (a) increase collection of high-quality evidence through randomised control trials and (b) pursue regulatory approval for cannabis-based medicinal products.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to establish clinical trials to develop the evidence base to support further commissioning decisions for cannabis-based medicinal products (CBPMs).

The NIHR has identified research on cannabis-based medicinal products as a priority and has issued two calls to encourage high quality research proposals in this area. Industry also needs to step up and invest in robust clinical trials to improve understanding of how patients might benefit from these products.

CBPMs are subject to the same licensing rules as other medicines, and the medicines regulator will assess any applications from manufacturers to determine the quality, safety and efficacy of a medicine.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) randomised control trials and (b) other research have been done into the medical potential of cannabis in the UK since November 2018.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds and supports research on the medicinal benefits of cannabis. This includes six randomised controlled trials, one of which is jointly funded by the Medical Research Council. The NIHR also funds three further studies on medicinal benefits of cannabis and supports another through the Clinical Research Network. Details of studies can be found on the NIHR Open Data website at the following link:

https://nihr.opendatasoft.com/pages/homepage/

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has also supported research on the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, with much of the research in this area being funded by UKRI’s Medical Research Council.

The Economic and Social Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have small portfolios of research with some of those projects also being related to the medical use of cannabis. All UKRI funded research can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what lessons have been learnt on clinical trial recruitment during the covid-19 pandemic; and what plans he has to apply those learnings in his Department’s approach to new medicines more widely.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is taking several steps to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and will apply these learnings in its future approach to clinical research. The NIHR has conducted a lessons learned exercise and is now developing a ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ for a response to a future emergency which requires a rapid and co-ordinated response from the system, and will also draw upon these lessons to identify and recommend changes to business as usual practice. To complement this, the NIHR regularly reviews the progress and performance of nationally prioritised COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research studies, and insights are used to inform the continuous improvement of prioritisation, placement, set up and delivery of other COVID-19 studies.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to consult on updates to tobacco and related products legislation.

The Government has a commitment to undertake a Post Implementation Review of both the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016 and The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 by 20 May 2021.

To form part of this review the Department will launch a public consultation by the end of the year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which body is responsible for the regulation of novel nicotine products.

The Department is the responsible Government Department for The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. This regulation covers the relevant tobacco and nicotine related products within it.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the safety of tobacco-free nicotine pouches.

No assessment of the safety of tobacco-free nicotine pouches has been made by the Department. These products are not covered under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 but by The General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether young people under 18 will be able to receive the covid-19 vaccination; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise Government on prioritisation at a population level. Based on scientific analysis and modelling data, the JCVI will advise on which cohorts of the United Kingdom’s population will be eligible for vaccination, should a safe and effective vaccine be found. This will depend on factors such as the properties of the vaccine, those most at need (including frontline health and social care workers) and the unique medical circumstances of individuals.

The committee’s interim advice is that the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk. Further work is being undertaken to understand more about the groups most at risk of serious disease and death from COVID-19 infection. Any advice will need to be modified depending on the characteristics of the vaccines, when these become available.

We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as we continue to plan for a vaccination campaign.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the target of diagnosing 75 per cent of cancers early by 2028, what plans he has to ensure that diagnosis rates of sarcomas meet that target.

Improving early diagnosis of cancer is a top priority for the National Health Service, especially to help boost one-year and five-year survival rates in the future. That is why of one of the core ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan is to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028, which would be up from the current rate of around 50%. The early diagnosis ambition includes rare and less common cancers, such as sarcoma cancer, but individual ambitions have not been set for different tumour types. However, success cannot realistically be achieved without making progress on cancers such as sarcoma.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, priority has been given to those Long Term Plan commitments that also support recovery, such as establishing Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs). As of October 2020, 45 RDCs were live across England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve (a) one-year and (b) five-year survival rates for people with sarcoma.

Improving early diagnosis of cancer is a top priority for the National Health Service, especially to help boost one-year and five-year survival rates in the future. That is why of one of the core ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan is to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028, which would be up from the current rate of around 50%. The early diagnosis ambition includes rare and less common cancers, such as sarcoma cancer, but individual ambitions have not been set for different tumour types. However, success cannot realistically be achieved without making progress on cancers such as sarcoma.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, priority has been given to those Long Term Plan commitments that also support recovery, such as establishing Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs). As of October 2020, 45 RDCs were live across England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to reduce the number of people with sarcoma waiting more than six months for a diagnosis.

Healthcare providers have been asked to ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic capacity in COVID-19 secure environments through the use of independent sector facilities and the development of Community Diagnostic Hubs and Rapid Diagnostic Centres. Endoscopy capacity is being restored to normal levels, and the capacity of surgical hubs is being expanded to meet demand.

The National Health Service has continued to provide urgent and emergency services, including the diagnosis of cancers, throughout the outbreak and has run the ‘Open for Business’ media campaign to encourage people with potentially serious health issues, such as cancer, to continue to seek medical advice and attend essential appointments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that primary healthcare professionals are trained to spot (a) sarcoma and (b) other less common cancers.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated referral guidelines for suspected cancer in June 2015. This was estimated to save up to 5,000 lives a year, with general practitioners urged to think of cancer sooner and lower the referral threshold for tests.

Health professionals and the organisations that employ them are expected to take NICE guidance into account when deciding what treatments to give people.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve early diagnosis of sarcoma in children and young people.

NHS England and NHS Improvement, through their Children’s and Young People’s Cancer Clinical Reference Group, is establishing Operational Delivery Networks (ODNs) to enable clinicians to lead and improve cancer pathways for children and young people with cancer, ensuring timely referral and diagnosis.

The recent publication of the 2020 Patient Survey report by the Bone Cancer Research Trust will assist ODNs with this task and the commencement of a clinical trial is supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement, as recommended, to establish the reasons behind and the consequences of delayed diagnosis.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase public awareness of (a) sarcoma and (b) other less common cancers.

Public Health England in partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, launched a new cancer campaign in October 2020 encouraging people aged over 50 who are experiencing persistent symptoms which are indicative of a broad range of cancers to contact their general practitioner. Campaign resources are available to view at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/113-help-us

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the labelling information on calorie and nutrition on alcoholic drinks.

The Government has worked with the alcohol industry to ensure that alcohol labels reflect the Chief Medical Officer’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines for drinks produced after 1 September 2019. The industry has committed to comply with this requirement.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published on 27 July, we are committed to consult before the end of the year on our intention to make companies provide calorie labelling on all pre-packaged alcohol they sell. The consultation will also cover introducing calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks sold in the out of home sector, for example bought on draught or by the glass.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) quality, (b) currency and (c) UK-relevance of labelling information on alcoholic drinks.

The Government has worked with the alcohol industry to ensure that alcohol labels reflect the Chief Medical Officer’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines for drinks produced after 1 September 2019. The industry has committed to comply with this requirement.

Through ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published on 27 July, we are committed to consult before the end of the year on our intention to make companies provide calorie labelling on all pre-packaged alcohol they sell. The consultation will also cover introducing calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks sold in the out of home sector, for example bought on draught or by the glass.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to meet the needs of people living with blood cancer who are classed as vulnerable during the covid-19 outbreak due to their increased risk of severe disease with covid-19 infection.

Support and information for all cancer patients, including blood cancer patients, is provided through four personalised care interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments;

- Health and wellbeing information and support (including nutritional advice and psychological support);

- End of treatment summaries, that provide symptom management information; and

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

As outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented by 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support is continuing by telephone, video, online or by post if face to face appointments and group sessions have not been possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of diagnoses there will be for (a) leukaemia, (b) myeloma and (c) lymphoma in England over the next 10 years; and what plans he is putting in place to respond to that estimated number of diagnoses.

No such estimate has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will meet with representatives from the blood cancer community to discuss the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on patient (a) care and (b) treatment.

No immediate plans are in place to meeting with any members of the blood cancer community.

Support and information for all cancer patients, including blood cancer patients, is provided through four personalised care interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments;

- Health and wellbeing information and support (including nutritional advice and psychological support);

- End of treatment summaries, that provide symptom management information; and

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

As outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented by 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support should be continuing by telephone, video, online or by post if face to face appointments and group sessions have not been possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours in (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales in (i) 2014, (ii) 2015, (iii) 2016, (iv) 2017, (v) 2018 and (vi) 2019.

Data on gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are not available in the format requested.

The National Disease Registration Service in Public Health England collects data on cancers diagnosed in England. Not all cancer types and sites are included in all routine publications. The latest complete year of cancer incidence data is for 2018, available to view at the following link:

https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/

Data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the cancer registries in those jurisdictions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours in (a) 2014, (b) 2015, (c) 2016, (d) 2017, (e) 2018 and (f) 2019.

Data on gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are not available in the format requested.

The National Disease Registration Service in Public Health England collects data on cancers diagnosed in England. Not all cancer types and sites are included in all routine publications. The latest complete year of cancer incidence data is for 2018, available to view at the following link:

https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/

Data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the cancer registries in those jurisdictions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of recent research that found micro- and nano-plastics in human organs; and if he will make a statement.

Public Health England (PHE) has made no assessment of the implication of recent research which reports a method for detection of micro- and nano-plastics in human organs. The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is an independent scientific committee that provides advice to the Food Standards Agency, the Department of and other Government bodies on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals. COT is currently considering the potential risks from exposure to microplastics in general and a Committee statement will be published when finalised.

PHE has an active research program on the impact of microplastics on human health as part of the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU), Environmental Exposures and Health led by Imperial College London and PHE. The work from the HPRU will be reported in peer reviewed academic journals.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to uphold quality and safety standards following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has made preparations to amend medicines and medical devices regulations to make sure we have the strongest regulatory framework for medicines from day 1 after the end of the transition period, This will enable the MHRA to continue to have the appropriate oversight for medicines placed on the market, to maintain patient safety and be able to take action where necessary.

After the transition period, our aim is to make sure patients in the United Kingdom continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and medical devices. We want patients to be reassured that their safety will be protected through the strongest regulatory framework.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether an assessment has been made of links between bisphenol A and fertility problems in the UK.

Public Health England has not made an assessment of the links between bisphenol A and fertility problems in the United Kingdom.

Bisphenol A continues to be risk assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The Food Standards Agency agreed with the EFSA conclusion that bisphenol A currently poses no risk to health, based on dietary exposure.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the value of artificial intelligence to reading PET CT scans.

The National Health Service Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory is undertaking a discovery project to look at medical imaging, which will examine the value and benefit of the use of AI in medical imaging.

The potential for the application of AI methodologies to PET/CT imaging has been widely investigated in the research community. From the academic and commercial research performed to date, AI methodologies in PET/CT have been shown to provide benefit in, but not limited to: the improvement of image quality and lowering of CT dose delivered to the patient; lesion and disease detection; tumour segmentation; and in the prediction of disease recurrence.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of using artificial intelligence to read PET CT scans.

The National Health Service Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory is undertaking a discovery project to look at medical imaging, which will examine the value and benefit of the use of AI in medical imaging.

The potential for the application of AI methodologies to PET/CT imaging has been widely investigated in the research community. From the academic and commercial research performed to date, AI methodologies in PET/CT have been shown to provide benefit in, but not limited to: the improvement of image quality and lowering of CT dose delivered to the patient; lesion and disease detection; tumour segmentation; and in the prediction of disease recurrence.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to uphold quality and safety standards after the end of the transition period.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has made preparations to amend medicines and medical devices regulations to make sure we have the strongest regulatory framework for medicines from day 1 after the end of the transition period, This will enable the MHRA to continue to have the appropriate oversight for medicines placed on the market, to maintain patient safety and be able to take action where necessary.

After the transition period, our aim is to make sure patients in the United Kingdom continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and medical devices. We want patients to be reassured that their safety will be protected through the strongest regulatory framework.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with which (a) companies and (b) organisations Minsters of his Department have held discussions on health passports and their use in the Government’s covid-19 strategy.

A number of technology companies and other organisations have approached the Department regarding certification schemes or ‘health passports’. These include Mischon De Reya, Yoti, IBM and Google Venture.

In our response to any proposals, the Department has made clear that before considering whether certification linked to a test result (antibody or virus test) could ever be used to lessen or exempt individuals from specific measures, we need to be confident in our understanding of how the immune system responds to infection with the COVID-19 virus and how long that response lasts.

We need to be sure of what the science will allow us to do and what the policy on certification should be based on that evidence, before considering what technology could underpin any scheme.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason health passports have been excluded from the NHSX track and trace mobile app.

The Isle of Wight phase of the app, which completed in June, has provided valuable information that we will now take forward as we develop an app which supports the entire NHS Test and Trace service. We will only release it nationally when we are confident we have it right.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has incorporated health passports into its contingency planning for a second wave of covid-19 infections.

We first need to improve our understanding of the science around immunity in order to fully understand the potential of health passports or certification in our response to this pandemic.

In order to gain answers to critical questions regarding the strength and duration of any immunity following recovery from COVID-19, the United Kingdom Government is conducting some of the biggest studies in the world. This includes using lab-based tests to monitor the number of people that are presenting an antibody response and how this response changes over time.

The response to COVID-19 continues to be guided by the science.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many midwives work in NHS England by each EU nationality.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups, but not staff working in primary care, general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The following table shows the number of midwives as at December 2019, the latest available data from each European Union nationality, headcount.

Nationality

Midwives, Headcount

Austrian

11

Belgian

15

Bulgarian

27

Cypriot

1

Czech

17

Danish

19

Dutch

60

Estonian

4

Finnish

10

French

56

German

51

Greek

32

Hungarian

17

Irish

296

Italian

226

Latvian

5

Lithuanian

17

Maltese

2

Polish

118

Portuguese

45

Romanian

17

Slovak

11

Slovenian

1

Spanish

240

Swedish

22

All EU

1,329

United Kingdom

23,986

Rest of the World

448

All Unknowns

989

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many midwives from the EU are working in the NHS in the latest period for which data is available, broken down by each EU nationality.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups, but not staff working in primary care, general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The following table shows the number of midwives as at December 2019, the latest available data from each European Union nationality, headcount.

Nationality

Midwives, Headcount

Austrian

11

Belgian

15

Bulgarian

27

Cypriot

1

Czech

17

Danish

19

Dutch

60

Estonian

4

Finnish

10

French

56

German

51

Greek

32

Hungarian

17

Irish

296

Italian

226

Latvian

5

Lithuanian

17

Maltese

2

Polish

118

Portuguese

45

Romanian

17

Slovak

11

Slovenian

1

Spanish

240

Swedish

22

All EU

1,329

United Kingdom

23,986

Rest of the World

448

All Unknowns

989

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment has been made of the effectiveness of NICE’s methodology for assessing combination therapies.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) adapted its priorities to support the National Health Service, local authorities and the wider health and social care sector. In March, NICE paused the publication of topics that were not COVID-19-related or therapeutically critical to avoid distracting the NHS at a time of unprecedented pressure. However, on 1 June NICE began a phased restart of publishing guidance that had previously been paused.

All cancer appraisals were identified as being therapeutically critical and kept to their planned timelines. NICE is currently developing guidance on eight technologies for treating multiple myeloma and leukaemia, and the timescales for these are available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/search?om=[{%22gst%22:[%22In%20development%22]}]&ps=15&q=blood+cancer&sp=on

NICE is an independent body and is responsible for the methods it uses in developing its guidance. NICE is currently undertaking a review of its methods for health technology evaluation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what treatment options are available to patients with multiple myeloma who have become refractory to previous lines of therapy.

For patients who have received previous lines of treatment, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) currently recommends the following subsequent treatments in England:

- Daratumumab with bortezomib and dexamethasone (NICE TA573);

- Carfilzomib (NICE TA 457);

- Bortezomib (NICE TA 129); and

- Ixazomib with lenalidomide and dexamethasone (NICE TA505).

For some patients, stem cell transplantation may also be considered, however, the treatment is very intensive and requires a good level of fitness.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NICE recommendations for newly licensed medicines for (a) blood cancer and (b) multiple myeloma are not delayed as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) adapted its priorities to support the National Health Service, local authorities and the wider health and social care sector. In March, NICE paused the publication of topics that were not COVID-19-related or therapeutically critical to avoid distracting the NHS at a time of unprecedented pressure. However, on 1 June NICE began a phased restart of publishing guidance that had previously been paused.

All cancer appraisals were identified as being therapeutically critical and kept to their planned timelines. NICE is currently developing guidance on eight technologies for treating multiple myeloma and leukaemia, and the timescales for these are available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/search?om=[{%22gst%22:[%22In%20development%22]}]&ps=15&q=blood+cancer&sp=on

NICE is an independent body and is responsible for the methods it uses in developing its guidance. NICE is currently undertaking a review of its methods for health technology evaluation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Public Health England review of the effect of covid-19 on BAME communities did not refer to (a) the high proportion of BAME healthcare workers who died from covid-19 and (b) the sociocultural circumstances of BAME victims which affected their exposure to covid-19; and what steps he plans to take to protect BAME communities from covid-19.

Public Health England (PHE) led a rapid review to better understand how different factors can impact on how people are affected by COVID-19. This includes analysis of ethnicity, deprivation, age, sex (male and female) and obesity, where surveillance data was available to PHE.

The review also referred to findings from other studies, where possible, including those analysing the deaths of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) National Health Service staff and sociocultural circumstances of BAME communities.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) will be taking forward work to better understand the drivers behind the report’s conclusions and interactions between different risk factors and consider where further data or analysis is needed. The Terms of Reference for that work can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-steps-for-work-on-covid-19-disparities-announced

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his Scottish Government counterpart on the heightened effect of covid-19 on BAME communities.

The Department is regularly in discussions with the devolved administrations at both ministerial and official level on a wide range of issues relating to COVID-19. COVID-19 presents a global challenge which requires a collaborative response. The Department will continue to work with the devolved administrations throughout the crisis and beyond.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to reduce the risk of suicide in middle-aged men on low incomes; and if he will make a statement.

The NHS Long Term Plan’s Mental Health Implementation Plan sets out our plans to invest £57 million in suicide prevention. This will see investment in all areas of the country by 2023/24 to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services. We have worked with NHS England to ensure that local areas use this funding to test approaches to reaching and engaging men.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy highlights men, and especially middle-aged and young men, as a group at high risk of suicide, and in January 2019, we published the first cross-Government suicide prevention workplan. It includes sections on tailoring prevention approaches towards reducing suicide risk in high-risk groups such as men.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made on the merits of establishing a Commissioner for Older People; and if he would make a statement.

The Government is committed to making this country one of the best places to grow old in.

Across the health and social care system in England there are already systems in place that are able to listen to the voices of older people and respond to their concerns, such as through Care Quality Commission Inspections, Healthwatch England and via the policy that all older and vulnerable people have a single named local general practitioner that can help them navigate health and care.

We have previously considered the merits of introducing an older people’s commissioner. However, we believe that the duties that would be covered by such a role are covered by work elsewhere in the system.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is collecting data on patients that have had their treatment options (a) changed and (b) paused as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that the effect of those changes are appropriately (i) tracked and (ii) recorded.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on health outcomes of (a) delayed and (b) cancelled treatments for patients with (i) multiple myeloma and (ii) other blood cancers during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published data on Friday 5 May 2020 showing that there has been no significant increase in excess mortality from cancers with a moderate survival rate between January to May 2020.

NHS England and NHS Improvement issued clear guidance that essential and urgent cancer treatments must continue. Local systems and Cancer Alliances were asked to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app is made accessible to people with sight loss.

We continue to work to ensure the National Health Service COVID-19 app is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We are committed to regular audits of the app by independent specialist assessors to conduct usability testing of the app, including dedicated research to solely focus on accessibility, as part of a wider strategy to ensure nobody is excluded. We have published an Accessibility Statement, which will be kept under review and updated as necessary.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to waive Health and Care Professions Council registration fees for all allied health professionals that are working in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the statutory independent regulator of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom and is responsible for operational matters concerning the discharge of its statutory duties. The GMC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £406 per year for a full registration with licence to practise.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator of Pharmacies, Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Great Britain. The GPhC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £121 for pharmacy technicians and £257 for pharmacists per year.

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the independent regulator of 15 professions in the United Kingdom, including paramedics, practitioner psychologists and occupational therapists. The HCPC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £90 per year.

There are no registration fees for any healthcare professionals joining the GMC, GPhC or HCPC temporary emergency registers.

We have no plans to subsidise the annual registration fees of existing GMC, GPhC and HCPC registrants. However, we recognise the incredible work that healthcare staff are doing to support the collective effort to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of this, we will be engaging with staff and employers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to waive General Pharmaceutical Council registration fees for (a) pharmacists and (b) pharmacy technicians that are working in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the statutory independent regulator of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom and is responsible for operational matters concerning the discharge of its statutory duties. The GMC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £406 per year for a full registration with licence to practise.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator of Pharmacies, Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Great Britain. The GPhC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £121 for pharmacy technicians and £257 for pharmacists per year.

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the independent regulator of 15 professions in the United Kingdom, including paramedics, practitioner psychologists and occupational therapists. The HCPC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £90 per year.

There are no registration fees for any healthcare professionals joining the GMC, GPhC or HCPC temporary emergency registers.

We have no plans to subsidise the annual registration fees of existing GMC, GPhC and HCPC registrants. However, we recognise the incredible work that healthcare staff are doing to support the collective effort to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of this, we will be engaging with staff and employers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to waive General Medical Council registration fees for doctors that are working in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the statutory independent regulator of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom and is responsible for operational matters concerning the discharge of its statutory duties. The GMC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £406 per year for a full registration with licence to practise.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator of Pharmacies, Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Great Britain. The GPhC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £121 for pharmacy technicians and £257 for pharmacists per year.

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the independent regulator of 15 professions in the United Kingdom, including paramedics, practitioner psychologists and occupational therapists. The HCPC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £90 per year.

There are no registration fees for any healthcare professionals joining the GMC, GPhC or HCPC temporary emergency registers.

We have no plans to subsidise the annual registration fees of existing GMC, GPhC and HCPC registrants. However, we recognise the incredible work that healthcare staff are doing to support the collective effort to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of this, we will be engaging with staff and employers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to waive Nursing and Midwifery Council registration fees for (a) nurses and (b) midwives that are working in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent regulator of nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom, and nursing associates in England. The NMC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £120 per year. There are no current plans to subsidise the annual registration fee for existing registrants.

The Department has been working closely with the NMC to support the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. On 30 March the NMC introduced a temporary register to increase the number of nurses and midwives available to respond to the pandemic. There is no registration fee for nurses and midwives joining the temporary register. The Department is in discussions with the NMC about the additional costs of implementing the temporary register.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local authorities which have enacted provisions contained within the Coronavirus Act 2020 to suspend statutory duties to provide care needs assessments continue to be (a) transparent with the public and (b) compliant with guidance issued by his Department.

The Department published guidance which states that the decision to enact the provisions contained within the Coronavirus Act 2020 should be communicated to all providers, service users and carers, and that the accessibility of communication to service users and carers should be considered. The Coronavirus Act 2020 gave the Secretary of State a power to direct local authorities to comply with this guidance and the Department will keep this under review.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requisitioning private hospitals to help tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

As announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on Saturday 21 March, the National Health Service has struck a deal with private hospitals to acquire thousands of extra beds, ventilators and medical staff to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

An extra 8,000 hospital beds across England, nearly 1,200 ventilators and almost 20,000 fully qualified staff are now available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for public information adverts on terrestrial television to advise the public during the covid-19 outbreak; and if will make a statement.

On 15 March, a new television advertising campaign was included in to official efforts to ensure the public is aware of the best way to limit and delay the spread of COVID-19.

As well as television, the campaign advice is featuring in newspapers and magazines, on drive-time radio, online and through social media and on billboards and large digital displays, including at bus stops.

Additionally, the Prime Minister is holding daily televised press conference to update the nation on the latest measures taken in the fight against COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase production and supply of medical ventilators; and if he will make a statement.

Ventilator?machines are usually linked to patients in Intensive Care Units/Critical Care/High Dependency Units, although some patients may have them at home or use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines to assist with their breathing.

We are scaling up intensive care beds. NHS England is looking at National Health Service organisations critical care capacity - including the availability of additional facilities of independent sector providers.

It is also making sure that they have as much ventilation equipment as possible and, crucially, the skilled and trained people to use it.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of reusable nappies on childhood toilet training.

No such assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of disposable nappies on rates of diagnosis of bladder and bowel issues in children.

An assessment has not been made of the effect of disposable nappies on incidences of bladder and bowel issues in children.

Public Health England continues to monitor the issue.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure GPs are using the latest NICE cancer symptom guidance on diagnosing blood cancer symptoms.

Once the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) publishes clinical guidance, health professionals and the organisations that employ them are expected to take it into account when deciding what treatments are suitable for each patient.

NICE updated referral guidelines for suspected cancer published in June 2015 with general practitioners urged to think of cancer sooner and lower the referral threshold for tests.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) increase the adequacy of and (b) reduce the waiting time for the appraisal process for blood cancer patients to receive treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is committed to publishing guidance within 90 days of a new cancer drug receiving its licence. If NICE’s draft recommendation, which can be published before a licence is granted, is positive, NHS England will make funding available immediately from when the license becomes effective and before the final guidance is published. The forecasted mean time from a new cancer drug receiving its licence to published final guidance in 2020/21 is now 1.5 months, a reduction of 13.5 months from 2012/13.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish guidance for (a) medical professionals and (b) the public on access to medicines at the end of the transition period.

The United Kingdom has now left the European Union and entered a transition period, which will run until 31 December 2020. EU regulations on medicines, vaccines and medical devices will continue to apply to the UK throughout the transition period, during which we will negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU.

Both the EU and the UK are committed to agreeing a future partnership by the end of 2020 and are working to achieve this. It is in the interests of both the UK and the EU to agree a future partnership that keeps goods flowing, services provided, and business carried out as usual.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue to keep medical professionals and the public updated with relevant communications on medicines as the need arises.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will apply the precautionary principle to the roll out of 5G in the UK.

Public Health England provides advice on protection from exposure to the radio waves from telecommunications systems, including those providing 5G services.

PHE has published information about exposure to the radio waves from mobile phone base stations, including those for 5G networks which are at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health

These resources explain the extensive research that has been performed on exposure to radio waves, the conclusions that have been reached by expert groups which have examined the evidence at national and international levels, as well as the practical measures that are already in place to protect public health.

PHE is committed to monitoring the evidence applicable to 5G and other radio technologies, and to revising its advice, should that be necessary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of applying the precautionary principle to the introduction of 5G technology until further evidence of its safety to the public is available.

Public Health England provides advice on protection from exposure to the radio waves from telecommunications systems, including those providing 5G services.

PHE has published information about exposure to the radio waves from mobile phone base stations, including those for 5G networks which are at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health

These resources explain the extensive research that has been performed on exposure to radio waves, the conclusions that have been reached by expert groups which have examined the evidence at national and international levels, as well as the practical measures that are already in place to protect public health.

PHE is committed to monitoring the evidence applicable to 5G and other radio technologies, and to revising its advice, should that be necessary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle increasing hunger in Yemen as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and continued conflict.

The UK has committed £87 million to Yemen for 2021/22 which will address food insecurity and support nutrition. This includes feeding 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month and supporting 1.5 million of the most vulnerable households with additional cash assistance to allow them to buy food and basic supplies and support 400 health centres. Globally the UK has committed £548 million to COVAX, which has allocated 2.3 million vaccines to Yemen. We also continue to work with donors, the UN and NGOs to lobby the parties to lift access restrictions and ensure humanitarian aid reaches those who most need it in Yemen.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of reductions in the Official Development Assistance budget on his Department’s ability to tackle hunger and famine.

The UK economy is facing the worst economic contraction in over 300 years. Our borrowing is the highest it has been outside of wartime. Against this backdrop, we have been forced to prioritise public spending, including temporarily reducing the ODA spend from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. FCDO allocates our aid budget in accordance with UK strategic priorities, and to remain a force for good across the world. Our aid is targeted at the highest priority global challenges and the Foreign Secretary has been clear that poverty reduction remains at the heart of UK ODA.

The number of people requiring humanitarian assistance this year is at a record high, with acute food insecurity and malnutrition also rising. Preventing famine is a key priority for FCDO, as evidenced by the launch of the Foreign Secretary's Call to Action in September 2020. But this is not only about money. It is also about diplomatic action, smarter financing and more effective responses to crises. The UK will combine our funding with our diplomatic strength and world-leading aid expertise to protect people across the world from increasing risk of famine.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to scale up social protection in countries experiencing extreme levels of food insecurity.

FCDO recognises the vital role of social protection in boosting household food security and helping people to meet basic needs. We work with national governments to help them strengthen and scale up their social protection systems, including building systems that can flex to respond to shocks, to mitigate their impact on food security. For example, in Kenya the FCDO has routinely delivered cash transfers to nearly 600,000 people since 2013, and the programme is designed to scale up to an additional 1.62 million people during periods of drought. Since 2012, the Government of Kenya has co-financed these cash transfers.

The FCDO programme 'Better Assistance in Crises' is providing technical assistance and generating evidence on how social protection can help poor and vulnerable people better meet their basic needs in crises, including contexts of food insecurity. At the G7 meeting in May 2021, through the famine prevention and humanitarian crises compact, we committed to work with the World Bank to support existing and shock-responsive social protection systems in the most vulnerable and conflict-affected countries.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Jau Prison, what the evidential basis was for the UK Ambassador to Bahrain's statement that Jau Prison is a well-run facility with good medical provision and measures against covid-19 on 6 May 2021.

As stated in my answer of 9 June, the Ambassador and other international representatives visited Jau Prison on 3 May. The visit enabled our Ambassador to raise human rights matters, to see and assess the facilities and current conditions at Jau Prison first hand and to understand the measures implemented to counter Covid-19.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 26 April 2021 to Question 185465 on Bahrain: Political Prisoners, whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what representations he will make to his Bahraini counterpart on (a) inviting the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit and (b) allowing (i) Human Rights Watch, (ii) Amnesty International and (iii) other human rights organisations and monitoring bodies to enter Bahrain.

We regularly raise human rights matters with the Government of Bahrain and continue to encourage both the Government of Bahrain and the UN to engage with each other on human rights issues. We understand that the Government of Bahrain has taken steps to engage with the United Nations, and that the Ombudsman has reached out to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, noting that they are keen to work cooperatively on concerns raised. We support and encourage all such engagement.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 615 on Israel: Palestinians, what assessment his Department has made of the level of child casualties in the conflict in Gaza; and what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart to request the cessation of Israeli airstrikes in densely-populated civilian areas.

The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. Every effort must be made to avoid loss of life, especially that of children.

The Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 25 and 26 May for talks with senior leaders and reiterated the UK's firm commitment to the two-state solution as the best way to deliver Palestinian self-determination and ensure Israel's status as a Jewish, democratic state.

The UK has provided an initial $4.5 million of UK aid to UNRWA's emergency flash appeal, to help address immediate humanitarian needs.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will condemn the reported threats from the arrested Iranian diplomat Assadolah Assadi in Belgium to influence and subvert his trial on terrorism charges in that country.

We are aware of the trial of four Iranians in Belgium in relation to the 2018 plot against a conference in Paris. We are deeply concerned that an Iranian diplomat is one of those standing trial in connection with the incident and are actively monitoring media reports that the diplomat has threatened "retaliation" should he be convicted. The UK Government does not have access to the court documents on which these reports are based. While the legal process is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 October 2020 to Question 106362, how many projects delivered through the Integrated Activity Fund (a) were and (b) were not subject to an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessment in each of the financial years (i) 2016-17 and (ii) 2017-18.

I refer the Honourable Member to my response of 12 November to 113154.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 106364, how many projects were applied for by his Department under the Integrated Activity Fund in financial year (a) 2016-17, (b) 2017-18, (c) 2018-19 and (d) 2019-20; and what the (i) allocated budget and (ii) actual spending was for each project.

I refer the Honourable Member to my response of 12 November to 113156.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many projects were solely delivered to Bahrain under the Integrated Activity Fund in the (a) 2016-17 and (b) 2017-18 financial years.

We do not disclose information related to individual Integrated Activity Fund projects to maintain the confidence and confidentiality of our Gulf partners.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113155, how many of the 15 projects and programmes referred to were subjected to an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessment.

I refer the Honourable member to my response of 12 November to question 113154.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 106364 on Overseas Aid: Gulf States, how many projects were applied for by his Department under the Integrated Activity Fund in the financial years (a) 2016-17, (b) 2017-18, (c) 2018-19 and (d) 2019-20; and what the (i) allocated budget and (ii) actual spending was for each of those projects in each of those financial years.

We do not disclose information related to individual IAF projects to maintain the confidence and confidentiality of our Gulf partners.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 106366 on Overseas Aid, how many projects were solely delivered in (a) Bahrain, (b) Saudi Arabia, (c) Kuwait, (d) UAE (e) Oman and (f) Qatar under the Integrated Activity Fund for the financial year 2017-18.

15 projects and programmes were delivered solely in these individual countries.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2020 to Question 102833 on Saudi Arabia: Overseas Aid, what the names are of the funding streams through which the Government implements projects that involve working with organisations in Saudi Arabia; and how much funding was provided by those funding streams in each of the last four financial years.

A number of funding streams are available to implement projects in Saudi Arabia. Collecting information on each funding stream available across Government will take more time; it is therefore not possible to provide this information in the time available. Once my officials have collected the information, I will write to the Honourable Member with further details.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 October 2020 to Question 106362 on Overseas Aid, how many projects delivered through the Integrated Activity Fund (a) were and (b) were not subject to an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessment in each of the financial years (i) 2016-17 and (ii) 2017-18.

Details of Overseas Security and Justice Assessments for those years is not held centrally.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on reports of Turkey’s involvement in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Turkish Foreign Minister Çavusoglu on 19 October and both agreed the need for an urgent de-escalation and a return to substantive negotiations. The Defence Secretary visited Ankara on 5-6 October and stressed the need for immediate de-escalation. We continue to encourage all external parties and friends of both states to redouble their efforts in support of an end to hostilities and to refrain from taking actions that may exacerbate the crisis. We support the efforts of the Minsk Group, of which Turkey is a member, to facilitate an end to the conflict.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Emirati counterpart on the political prisoner Mohammed al-Roken.

We are aware of reports concerning the detention of Mohammed al-Roken and are monitoring his case closely. The UK urges all countries to comply with their human rights obligations. Our close relationship with the United Arab Emirates allows us to discuss important issues such as human rights. We consistently underline the importance of political freedoms globally. This includes respect for the right to peaceful protest, the rule of law, and freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. We continue to raise concerns about individual cases regularly. Where the UK has cause for concern, we raise these concerns at official and Ministerial level.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to decision of Bahrain’s Court of Cassation to uphold the death sentences of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa on 13 July 2020 if he will (a) make representations to the Government of Bahrain and (b) make a public appeal to the King of Bahrain for those sentences to be set aside.

We are deeply concerned that the death penalty verdicts imposed on Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa by Bahrain's Court of Cassation have been upheld. Lord Ahmad, who is the Minister of State responsible for human rights, reinforced this position in his tweet of 14 July. We have raised both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the decision by Bahrain’s highest court to uphold the death sentences of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa on 13 July 2020, whether Shiekh Mohamed Bin Ali Alkhalifa has received training (a) in the UK or (b) funded by the UK Government.

We do not comment on whether individuals have received UK funded training.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in the Government of Bahrain on the (a) imminent risk of execution of death row inmate Husain Abdullah Khalil Rashid and (b) reports of violations in relation to his human rights (i) in advance of and (ii) during his trial.

We have raised the case of Hussein Abdullah Khalil Rashid at a senior level with the Government of Bahrain.

The Government of Bahrain is fully aware that the UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, in all circumstances. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in the constitution of Bahrain; we continue to encourage the Government of Bahrain to follow due process in all cases and meet its international and domestic human rights commitments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Polish counterpart on LGBTQ+ rights in that country.

The UK is implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination and committed to promoting and protecting the rights and freedoms of LGBT people in all circumstances. Our Embassy in Warsaw is working actively on this agenda and is engaged in dialogue on it with both civil society and government.

The Embassy has established itself as one of the diplomatic missions in Warsaw that is most active on the LGBT agenda. During last year's Pride season, it brought the diplomatic community in Warsaw together to endorse a joint letter expressing support for LGBT equality and respect for human rights. Over 50 diplomatic missions signed. The Embassy flies the Rainbow flag annually for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and flew it again over the weekend of 20/21 June as part of its activity to promote Pride Month.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much his Department spent from the Integrated Activity Fund for activities conducted by the College of Policing during financial year (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20.

The Integrated Activity Fund spent £21,145.23 in 2019/20 on activities delivered by the College of Policing administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. There was no expenditure in 2018/19.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the expenditure was from the Integrated Activity Fund for activities conducted by the College of Policing in the financial years (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20.

The Integrated Activity Fund spent £21,145.23 in 2019/20 on activities delivered by the College of Policing administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. There was no expenditure in 2018/19.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2020 to Question 14741 on Gulf States: Overseas Aid, and with reference to the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims’s assessment of Bahrain’s Special Investigations Unit’s (SIU) investigation into torture allegations filed by Husain Moosa, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Integrated Activity Fund in meeting its objectives in relation to training programmes for the SIU.

The British Government takes note of a number of sources of information on Bahrain, including publications and statements from Non-Governmental Organisations, when assessing performance and progress. On the question of our assessment of Integrated Activity Fund activity with the Special Investigations Unit, I refer the Honourable Member to my response of 11 February to question 11506.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 5454 on Gulf States: Overseas Aid, how many project or programme activities have been funded by the Integrated Activity Fund solely for Bahrain during the financial years (a) 2018- 19 and (b) 2019-20; which Government departments applied for that funding to implement those project or programme activities; and how much money from the public purse was allocated from the Integrated Activity Fund to those project or programme activities.

I refer the Honourable Member to my response of 16 June 2020 to question 57298.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2020 to Question 14741 on Gulf States: Overseas Aid and with reference to the findings of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims’s assessment of Bahrain’s Special Investigations Unit’s (SIU) investigation into torture allegations filed by Husain Moosa which found that investigation to be inadequate and not compliant with international standards, if he will make an assessment of the extent to which the SIU's training programmes in receipt of Integrated Activity Fund (IAF) funding are on track to deliver the outcomes expected of IAF funded programmes.

The British Government takes note of a number of sources of information on Bahrain, including publications and statements from Non-Governmental Organisations, when assessing performance and progress. On the question of our assessment of Integrated Activity Fund activity with the Special Investigations Unit, I refer the Honourable Member to my response of 11 February to question 11506.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25129 on Bahrain: Huddersfield University, whether her Department was consulted by the University of Huddersfield on or subsequent to their establishment of an MSc in Security Science reserved for students at Bahrain's Royal Academy of Policing.

There have been no consultations between HMG and the University of Huddersfield about its provision of an MSc in Security Science exclusively to students at the Royal Academy of Policing.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25129, whether his Department was consulted by the University of Huddersfield on or subsequent to the establishment of an MSc in Security Science reserved for students at Bahrain's Royal Academy of Policing.

There have been no consultations between HMG and the University of Huddersfield about its provision of an MSc in Security Science exclusively to students at the Royal Academy of Policing.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 5454 on Gulf States: Overseas Aid, how many projects and programme activities have been funded by the Integrated Activity Fund solely for Bahrain during (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20; which Departments applied for the funding to implement those projects and programme activities; and how much money was spent from the Integrated Activity Fund on those projects and programme activities.

Overall spend from the Integrated Activity Fund (IAF) in 2018/19 financial year was £17 million, and £12 million in 2019/20. The IAF funded activity in all six Gulf Cooperation Council states: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Many of the projects and programme activities were delivered regionally, and final expenditure is subject to Departmental audits.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what (a) financial and (b) other support the Government plans to provide to UK nationals stranded overseas and unable to return to the UK as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Following the change to date for answer of this PQ, I submitted a response by email on 26 March, with the following response.The Table Office have agreed this approach.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides information on what to do and who to contact if British nationals require financial assistance abroad: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-assistance-abroad/financial-assistance-abroad. We are helping to reduce travel costs by encouraging airlines to have maximum flexibility on changing return tickets. Where people are in real need, our consular teams will work with them to consider their options and, as a last resort, offer an emergency loan. We have also published advice for British nationals who do not have immediate departure options available to them: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#if-youre-abroad-and-you-want-to-return-to-the-uk.

We are working closely with local authorities, commercial airlines and other diplomatic missions to enable British people to get home. Our consular team is working around the clock to provide support, advice and information. The situation is fast moving, and our advice at this time is for British nationals to secure safe accommodation and to speak to their tour operator, airline and insurance company to discuss the options available to them. Consular teams are continuing to support British people who are experiencing disruption. We are working intensively with the Governments of those countries that have closed their borders to people travelling to and from the UK, to enable airlines to bring back British people to the UK, if that is what they want. We are providing direct support to individuals through our contact centre and consular teams, but call volumes are high. In light of the rapidly changing situation, we urge all travellers to sign up for our travel advice alert service. We will keep the situation under review and remain in contact with the airline operators and authorities overseas to facilitate return travel.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of different models for providing people with access to cash.

The Government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people and businesses across the UK, including those who may be on low incomes or vulnerable. That is why at the March 2020 Budget, the Government committed to legislating to protect access to cash and ensuring that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the longer term.

On 1 July 2021, the Government published the Access to Cash Consultation, seeking views on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. The consultation will be open until 23 September and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.

Under the Government’s proposals, firms would be able to use a range of solutions – including existing facilities - to provide access for the purpose of meeting geographic requirements, provided that they are judged to be delivering reasonable access by the responsible regulator.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has conducted a cost/benefit analysis of the potential merits of providing access to cash through cashback without purchase.

The Government’s view is that cashback without a purchase has the potential to be a valuable facility to cash users, and play an important role in the UK’s cash infrastructure. That is why the Government made legislative changes to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses as part of the Financial Services Act 2021. The financial services industry is already seeking to take advantage of these changes to the benefit of cash users; working with retailers to get this service rolled out to local communities.

The Government does not intend to mandate the provision of cashback without a purchase, which could impose associated costs on business.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of UK banks on the adequacy of the process for new small businesses to open business bank accounts.

Decisions about what products are offered to individual businesses remain commercial decisions for banks and building societies. It would be inappropriate for the Government to intervene in the processes that accompany such commercial decisions. However, the Government has always been clear - throughout the pandemic - that lenders should remain open to new customers where it is operationally feasible for them to do so.

As you may be aware, the largest UK banks [NatWest, Lloyds, Santander, Barclays, HSBC and Metro bank] wrote to the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) on 24th May 2021 to publicly reaffirm their commitment to making bank account services available to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of UK banks on the potential merits of enabling new small business owners to submit personal documentation in lieu of formal business contracts or proof of income.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been unprecedented demand for banking services, this accompanied with working restrictions due to social distancing has meant banks have faced significant capacity pressures which has limited their ability to meet demand for their services. Banks are doing all they can to meet this demand in these difficult circumstances, and the Government has always been clear that lenders should open to new customers where it is operationally possible for them to do so.

I sympathise with businesses opening their businesses during the pandemic, but decisions about which documentation is required from individual businesses remain commercial decisions for banks and building societies. It would be inappropriate for the Government to intervene in these decisions.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the adequacy of procedures for new small businesses attempting to open a business bank account including the requirement to submit documentation not readily available, such as formal business contracts.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been unprecedented demand for banking services, this accompanied with working restrictions due to social distancing has meant banks have faced significant capacity pressures which has limited their ability to meet demand for their services. Banks are doing all they can to meet this demand in these difficult circumstances, and the Government has always been clear that lenders should open to new customers where it is operationally possible for them to do so.

I sympathise with businesses opening their businesses during the pandemic, but decisions about which documentation is required from individual businesses remain commercial decisions for banks and building societies. It would be inappropriate for the Government to intervene in these decisions.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 26 March 2021 to Question 170688 on Child Benefit, if he will make it his policy to align the threshold for payment of the High Income Child Benefit Charge in the tax year 2021-22 with the threshold at which people become higher rate taxpayers.

The Government is committed to managing the public finances in a disciplined and responsible way by targeting support where it is most needed. The adjusted net income threshold of £50,000 used in the administration of the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) only affects a small minority of those with comparatively high incomes. The Government therefore believes that the current threshold for HICBC remains the best option at present. As with all elements of tax policy, the Government keeps this under review as part of the annual Budget process.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 155212, on Child Benefit, how his Department will reconcile basic rate taxpayers being affected by the High Income Child Benefit Charge in the upcoming tax year.

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) is a tax charge which applies to anyone with an income of over £50,000 who gets Child Benefit, or whose partner gets it. The charge increases gradually for those with incomes between £50,000 and £60,000 and is equal to one per cent of a family’s Child Benefit for every extra £100 of income that is over £50,000 each year. Where income exceeds £60,000, the tax charge is equal to the amount payable in Child Benefit.

In order to ensure that people pay the correct tax charge, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) need to know both the amount of Child Benefit received and the total taxable income. A Self-Assessment tax return is the only means of establishing this, and avoids using estimates of income which could result in too little, or too much, tax being paid.

HMRC have taken considerable steps to raise awareness of HICBC. They use a wide array of channels to reach those who may be liable to pay HICBC and there is a prominent message about HICBC on the Child Benefit claim form.

In addition, where HMRC hold all the relevant information, they write to parents who may have become liable for HICBC, explaining what they need to do to pay the charge when it is due and avoid penalties.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 155212, on Child Benefit, what estimate his Department has made of the number of basic rate taxpayers that will be affected by the High Income Child Benefit Charge in the 2021-22 tax year.

The information requested could only be made available at disproportionate cost.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of raising the threshold of the high income child benefit charge from the financial year 2021-22 in line with the increase in the higher rate income tax threshold for basic rate taxpayers.

As with all elements of tax policy, the Government keeps the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) threshold under review. At present, the adjusted net income threshold of £50,000 only affects a small minority of those with comparatively high incomes. The Government therefore believes that the current threshold for HICBC remains the best option.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing advertising tax credit outlined in the Advertising Association's industry modelling on tax revenues.

The Government keeps all tax policy under review and regularly receives proposals for sector-specific tax reliefs. When considering any new tax reliefs, HM Treasury must ensure they provide support to businesses across the economy and represent good value for money for the taxpayer.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing an advertising tax credit as part of the longer-term covid-19 economic recovery plan to (a) help stimulate consumer spending and (b) channel investment into specific categories of media.

The Government keeps all tax policy under review and regularly receives proposals for sector-specific tax reliefs. When considering any new tax reliefs, HM Treasury must ensure they provide support to businesses across the economy and represent good value for money for the taxpayer.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will expand the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to include employees who were employed on a payroll notified to HMRC after 30 October 2020.

For all eligibility decisions under CJRS, the Government must balance the need to support as many jobs as possible with the need to protect the scheme from fraud.

Under the CJRS extension, an employer can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. The use of RTI allows HMRC to verify claims in the most efficient and timely way, ensuring payments can be made quickly while reducing the risk of fraud. Without the use of RTI returns it would be difficult to verify claims without significant additional checks, which would delay payment for genuine claims.

The 30 October 2020 cut-off date allowed as many people as possible to be included by going right up to the day before the announcement, while balancing the risk of fraud that existed as soon as the scheme became public. Extending the cut-off date further would have significantly increased the risk of abuse because claims could not be confidently verified against the risk of fraud by using the data after this point.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the findings of Dame Elizabeth Gloster's report, The LCF Review and Raj Parker's report, The Connaught Review, if he will commission an independent inquiry into the FCA; and if he will make a statement.

As set out in my Written Ministerial Statement on 17 December 2020 the Government welcomes the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) commitment to implement all of Dame Elizabeth’s and Mr Parker’s recommendations, and to address the issues and concerns identified in full. The FCA’s responses to both reports detail the changes they have made over several years and commits to accelerate this ongoing programme of reform through their Transformation Programme.

The FCA will report publicly on the progress of its Transformation Programme until such time as the recommendations from both reviews have been substantially implemented, as set out in the FCA CEO’s letter to me on 17 December 2020 which is available on gov.uk.

The Treasury will be engaging closely with the FCA to monitor implementation of the recommendations.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)