Matt Vickers Portrait

Matt Vickers

Conservative - Stockton South

Justice Committee
15th Mar 2022 - 27th Jun 2022
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
19th Oct 2021 - 21st Jun 2022
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
2nd Mar 2020 - 16th Jan 2021


Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 7th July 2022
11:30
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
7 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 7th July 2022
14:00
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
7 Jul 2022, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 12th July 2022
09:25
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
12 Jul 2022, 9:25 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 12th July 2022
11:00
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 12th July 2022
14:00
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
12 Jul 2022, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 13th July 2022
09:15
Home Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Work of the Home Secretary
13 Jul 2022, 9:15 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Rt Hon Priti Patel MP - Home Secretary at Home Office
Matthew Rycroft CBE - Permanent Secretary at Home Office
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 14th July 2022
11:30
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
14 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 14th July 2022
14:00
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
14 Jul 2022, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 14th July 2022
15:00
Division Votes
Tuesday 5th July 2022
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (Ninth sitting)
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 9 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 5 Noes - 9
Speeches
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
9. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on improving Union connectivity.
Written Answers
Wednesday 6th July 2022
Research: Finance
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 19th April 2022
1. Employment and earnings
7 April 2022, received £100 for a survey completed in April 2022. Hours: 20 mins. Fee donated to charity. (Registered …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Matt Vickers has voted in 493 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
22 Jun 2022 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 61 Conservative No votes vs 106 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 70
View All Matt Vickers Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

View all Matt Vickers's debates

Stockton South Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Every year across the UK, millions of farmed animals are kept in cages, unable to express their natural behaviours and experiencing huge suffering. These inhumane systems cannot be the future of British farming. The UK Government must legislate to ‘End the Cage Age’ for all farmed animals.

We demand the Government restore England’s publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by reversing all privatising legislation, ending ongoing PFI contracts, and scrapping plans for Integrated Care Systems and for-profit US-style ‘managed care’.

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

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

The right to peaceful assembly and protest are fundamental principles of any democracy and the proposed part of this bill that gives the police new powers to tackle disruptive peaceful protests should be removed from The Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.


Latest EDMs signed by Matt Vickers

Matt Vickers has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Matt Vickers, 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.


Matt Vickers has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Matt Vickers

Tuesday 7th June 2022
Thursday 28th October 2021

Matt Vickers has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Matt Vickers has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


300 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
4 Other Department Questions
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the role of technology in levelling up British high streets and the independent retail sector.

Regenerating our high streets and town centres is essential to this Government’s commitment to level up the country. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we continue to help our local economies by supporting town centres and high streets to innovate, evolve and thrive.

Government has already committed billions of pounds to support economic growth and regeneration for high streets. Regeneration and Town Centres is one of the three bidding themes used in the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which has recently opened its second round. We would welcome any applications related to using technology to level up high streets across the UK. This is in addition to the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, which includes support for 101 Town Deals and 72 Future High Streets Fund projects.

Beyond substantial funding offers, Government is providing support to local leadership with the High Streets Task Force. Over five years this is providing hands-on support to 152 local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and to connect local areas to relevant experts.

The retail sector is innovative. Technology, innovation and levelling up are key themes for the industry-led Retail Sector Council in considering their sector’s strategic issues.

23rd May 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to help reduce regional inequality.

This Government’s central mission is to level up the UK and break the link between geography and destiny so that no matter where you live, you have the same life chances. Our landmark Levelling Up White Paper, published in February, sets out how we will address regional disparities across the UK, put more money in the pockets of those who need it most, and transform the UK economy by generating higher paid jobs and new investment.

To support this, we are delivering the Equality Data Programme, which is the Government’s biggest and broadest review of the equality challenges we face, including geographic and socio-economic barriers to opportunity.

The work of the Social Mobility Commission is also central to the Government’s commitment to levelling up opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. We have bolstered the Commission by recruiting Katharine Birbalsingh as its new Chair and Alun Francis as Deputy Chair, and giving the Commission more leverage to influence other government departments.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to (a) prioritise brown field development over the use of green field sites and (b) ensure that natural habitats and biodiversity are protected when any development commences.

This Government strongly encourages the re-use of brownfield land. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that planning policies and decisions should give substantial weight to the value of using suitable brownfield land within settlements. We have introduced a number of planning reforms, which include: uplifting local housing need in the top 20 most populated cities, successfully requiring every local authority to publish a register of local brownfield land suitable for housing, introducing “Permission in Principle” to speed-up housing-led development on land included in brownfield registers, and revising Permitted Development and Use Class rules to help make best use of existing buildings.

The NPPF is clear that the planning system should contribute to, and enhance, the natural and local environment by providing net gains where possible. Local authorities should set out in their development plans a positive strategy for the conservation of the natural environment. Planning Practice Guidance explains how to implement national policy on conserving and enhancing biodiversity, ecosystems and green infrastructure. Furthermore, the Environment Act’s new requirements for biodiversity net gain will begin commencement from 2023, meaning most types of new development will deliver improvements of 10 per cent or more for biodiversity.

7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the oral contribution of the former Secretary of State of 11 January 2021, Official Report, column 131-132WH, what progress has been made on implementing the recommendations on leasehold reform referred to in that oral contribution; and what steps his Department is taking to tackle the imposition of unregulated fees on freehold homes.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and making sure that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service.

The former Secretary of State (Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP) announced ambitious reforms covering enfranchisement valuation, 990-year leases, removing the retirement exemption from zero ground rent measures and commonhold on 7 January. This was followed by a Statement in Parliament from the former Secretary of State on 11 January.

The announcement is part of Government’s response to the Law Commission’s reports and we will respond to their remaining recommendations on enfranchisement, commonhold and right to manage in due course.

The Government has since established the “Commonhold Council” as a partnership of industry, homeowners and Government that will help prepare consumers and the market for widespread take-up of commonhold.

We have also introduced the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill, currently in Parliament. The Ground Rent Bill is the first of major two-part legislation to reform the leasehold system in this Parliament. We aim to legislate further on wider reforms within this Parliament.

The Government also intends to give freeholders on private and mixed tenure estates equivalent rights to leaseholders to challenge the reasonableness of estate rentcharges, as well as a right to apply to the First-tier Tribunal to appoint a new manager to manage the provision of services. In addition, we will ensure that where a freeholder pays a rentcharge, the rentcharge owner is not able to take possession or grant a lease on the property where the rentcharge remains unpaid for a short period of time. We will translate these measures into law when parliamentary time allows.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the performance of the Crown Prosecution Service in (a) London South, (b) London North, (c) East of England, (d) Yorkshire and Humberside and (e) Wessex.

Since February, Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) have published reports on the performance of 5 CPS Areas: London South, London North, East of England, Yorkshire and Humberside, and Wessex.

Despite the pressures of the pandemic, the reports found improvement had been made in all the Areas. In the two London Areas, increasing caseloads and challenges in recruitment were both acknowledged by HMCPSI. However, inspectors noted that both Areas added value in aspects of their work with victims and witnesses.

In East of England and Wessex, inspectors praised both Areas for their joint working with other criminal justice agencies and found quality decision-making around disclosure of unused material.

The Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) team in Yorkshire and Humberside were commended for seeking appropriate orders to protect complainants, witnesses and the public and consulting with witnesses in RASSO cases.

Although inspectors highlighted where improvements could be made, there were aspects of strength for all the Areas, which reflects the determination of the CPS to drive improvements.

16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment has she made of the ability of the CPS to effectively prosecute cases of stalking and coercive behaviour.

This Government takes stalking and coercive behaviour very seriously. Since the implementation of legislation, the number of stalking and coercive behaviour cases brought to court has increased year on year.

To further improve the handling of these important cases the CPS has committed to key actions in the VAWG strategy and has recently published an updated programme of work on Domestic Abuse to help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes, helping to secure justice in every possible case.

16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to ensure that correspondence sent by the CPS to victims of crime is suitable in tone and content.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) fully recognises the importance of clear and open explanations of its decision-making, especially to victims of crime. The CPS’ Victim Communication and Liaison scheme ensures that timely letters are sent to victims when a significant decision has been made on their case. These letters have recently been revised to increase clarity of language, empathy and to introduce signposting to sources of information on the role of the CPS within the criminal justice system and victims’ rights.

The CPS recognises that it still needs to improve in its communication with victims and commissioned last year a significant piece of research to better understand victims’ needs. It is using those findings, together with stakeholder engagement, to inform its future work on improving their communications with victims.

16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to improve prosecution rates for (a) fraud and (b) other economic crime.

In the last financial year, the Serious Fraud Office prosecuted two corporates, recovered over £45m in proceeds of crime and agreed three Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Between February 2022 and January 2023, the SFO has eight trials; 23 people have been charged with criminality worth over £550m.

The Law Officers meet regularly with senior officials at the Serious Fraud Office to discuss strategy and funding; through these meetings, as well as regular engagement between my Office and the Serious Fraud Office, I am confident that the organisation has the resource required for those trials.

The Government is committed to tackling fraud and economic crime, and the 10-year Fraud Strategy that will be published this year will set out plans to address the threat of fraud including the prosecution of fraudsters.

The majority of Serious Fraud Office cases already pass the ‘no case to answer’ stage. This is when the Judge rules that the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient, the trial will proceed to enable a jury to consider its verdict. It is not within the gift of the Serious Fraud Office, or the Government, to influence this.

In addition to the Fraud Strategy, the Serious Fraud Office received a funding uplift in the 2021 Spending Review, which included £4.4m over three years to invest in technology. This investment will complement the wider work that they are doing to reduce case lengths over the same period. This will have a positive impact on the SFO’s capacity to tackle serious economic crime.

16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment has she made of the Serious Fraud Office's capacity to tackle serious economic crime in 2022-23.

In the last financial year, the Serious Fraud Office prosecuted two corporates, recovered over £45m in proceeds of crime and agreed three Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Between February 2022 and January 2023, the SFO has eight trials; 23 people have been charged with criminality worth over £550m.

The Law Officers meet regularly with senior officials at the Serious Fraud Office to discuss strategy and funding; through these meetings, as well as regular engagement between my Office and the Serious Fraud Office, I am confident that the organisation has the resource required for those trials.

The Government is committed to tackling fraud and economic crime, and the 10-year Fraud Strategy that will be published this year will set out plans to address the threat of fraud including the prosecution of fraudsters.

The majority of Serious Fraud Office cases already pass the ‘no case to answer’ stage. This is when the Judge rules that the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient, the trial will proceed to enable a jury to consider its verdict. It is not within the gift of the Serious Fraud Office, or the Government, to influence this.

In addition to the Fraud Strategy, the Serious Fraud Office received a funding uplift in the 2021 Spending Review, which included £4.4m over three years to invest in technology. This investment will complement the wider work that they are doing to reduce case lengths over the same period. This will have a positive impact on the SFO’s capacity to tackle serious economic crime.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase R&D spending in the UK.

The Government is providing the fastest ever sustained uplift in R&D funding, reaching £20 billion per annum by the end of the SR period – £5 billion more than 2021/22 with HM Treasury committed to £22bn in 2026/7 as part of our commitment to the target of UK economy-wide R&D investment reaching 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

In order to achieve 2.4% by 2027, we are mapping out the current private and public R&D investment by sector and modelling options for securing the necessary private sector investment, using a combination of policy tools across the R&D ecosystem – from innovation accelerators to the catapults, catalyst funds, and a range of fiscal incentives including R&D tax credits, the patient capital review, scale up capital taskforce, pension fund reforms and post-Brexit regulatory reform.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support Ukrainian scientists and researchers in the UK.

The UK stands in solidarity with Ukraine, and we are assisting those who have been displaced and disrupted by this illegal invasion, including researchers and scientists.

We have announced the Researchers at Risk Fellowship Programme, which will support Ukrainian researchers fleeing the conflict, as well as those already in the UK who are unable to return home. The ‘Researchers at Risk’ programme, which launched in March 2022, was initially allocated £3m and a further £9.8 million of funding was announced on 28 June. With this funding more than 130 Ukrainian academics will be brought to, and supported in, the UK.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress he has made on formalising the UK’s association with Horizon Europe.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central on 27 April 2022 to Question 156445.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the development of new low-carbon technologies in the UK.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 25th May 2022 to Question 3766.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the (a) development and (b) delivery of (i) new and (ii) advanced nuclear power in the UK.

The Government intends to take one project to Final Investment Decision (FID) this Parliament and future projects in the next Parliament, subject to value for money and relevant approvals.

The Government will set up Great British Nuclear later this year, which will help projects through every stage of the development process and develop a resilient pipeline of new builds. The Government is working with industry to scope its functions and has appointed Simon Bowen as industry advisory on the scoping of the organisation.

The Future Nuclear Enabling Fund was launched in May 2022, which will provide targeted support to address barriers to entry to the nuclear market.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the UK’s oil and gas sector.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 25 May 2022 to Question 3769.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the manufacturing sector in the UK.

Manufacturing is a bedrock of our country’s resilience and there is significant work underway to strengthen our industrial base, including substantial funding for projects in important sub-sectors such as aerospace, automotive and life sciences. Furthermore, we have committed over £150 million of taxpayer subsidy for Made Smarter, the national industrial digitalisation programme to help UK manufacturers to capitalise on new digital technologies.

Later this year we will launch the UK’s new manufacturing investment prospectus so we can promote the UK as the destination of choice for investment in manufacturing and help the sector make the most of what support is already available.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase research and development spending.

The Government is providing the fastest ever sustained uplift in R&D funding, reaching £20 billion per annum by the end of the SR period – £5 billion more than 2021/22. We remain committed to the target of UK economy-wide R&D investment reaching 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

As the custodian of the R&D system, BEIS received its largest ever R&D budget at SR21 with £39.8bn over the SR period. We have now set out how funding will be allocated across our partner organisations over the next three years. Details of funding for specific programmes will be agreed by BEIS and partner organisations and set out in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress he has made on the UK’s application to associate to Horizon Europe.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central on 27 April 2022 to Question 156445.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to deliver new and advanced nuclear power in the UK.

The Government intends to take one project to Final Investment Decision (FID) this Parliament and two projects in the next Parliament, subject to value for money, approvals and technology readiness/maturity.

The Government will set up a new flagship body - ‘Great British Nuclear’ - to develop a resilient pipeline of projects. The Government appointed Simon Bowen to lead and help drive forward government proposals for a new Great British Nuclear vehicle.

On the 13th of May 2022, the Government launched the £120million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, which will provide targeted support to address barriers to entry to the nuclear market, with a Request for Information.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the generation of offshore wind in the UK.

The British Energy Security Strategy increased the ambition for offshore wind to up to 50GW by 2030 and outlined the Government’s commitment to accelerating deployment, reducing the consenting time for wind farms from up to four years to one year.

Generation of offshore wind is supported through the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. The Fourth CfD Allocation Round is underway, and the Fifth Round will open in March 2023 – the first in a series of annual CfD auctions.

The Government has also announced up to £320 million to support offshore wind ports and factories.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the UK’s oil and gas sector.

The North Sea Transition Deal sets out how the Government is working with the offshore oil and gas industry in partnership to achieve a managed energy transition, which leaves no-one behind.

In April, the Government published the British Energy Security Strategy, setting out plans to support the North Sea as a foundation of our energy security, This includes plans for the North Sea Transition Authority to launch another licensing round in the autumn, taking into account the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint and the need for energy security; as well as Gas and Oil New Project Regulatory Accelerators.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support new low carbon technologies.

The Government articulated its plans for increasing low carbon power generation in the British Energy Security Strategy. The Strategy spans renewables, nuclear and hydrogen and will help drive up to £100 billion of investment by 2030. The Strategy set an ambition for new nuclear power of up to 24GW by 2050, with a ‘Great British Nuclear Vehicle’ established to develop a pipeline of projects. On renewables, the Government is accelerating annual Contracts for Difference auctions from 2023 to support deployment. For offshore wind, the Strategy sets a new 50GW by 2030 ambition, alongside plans to reduce consent time for projects.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to enhance workers’ rights.

We are proud there are now more employees on the payroll than ever before, and we will continue to build a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy that delivers on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work.

Over the past year, we have proven our commitment to supporting workers across the UK, including raising the national living wage in April 2022 to its highest rate yet, to help with the cost of living.

We remain committed to making progress and on 9 May we announced our intention to bring forward legislation which will widen the ban on exclusivity clauses, which restrict staff from working for multiple employers, to contracts where the guaranteed weekly income is equivalent to or below the Lower Earnings Limit of £123 a week.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress his Department has made on securing business investment in the UK.

In April, we launched the £1.4bn Global Britain Investment Fund, which provides grant support to encourage internationally mobile companies to invest in the UK. This will ensure highly productive firms providing high skilled, high paying jobs invest in the UK bringing prosperity and economic growth.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK businesses benefit from the UK leaving the EU.

This Government is committed to growing the UK’s economy by making the most of our Brexit freedoms and lightening the regulatory burden to boost UK businesses. The Brexit Freedoms Bill will enable law inherited from the EU to be changed more easily to suit the UK and the Government intends to prioritise areas where reform can deliver the greatest economic gain, aiming to cut £1 billion of business costs from retained EU red tape.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will reform our public procurement regime so that more small and medium-sized businesses benefit and is committed to delivering regulatory reforms proposed by Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform within this parliament.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the financial impact of inflation on small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Office for Budget Responsibility, in their March 2022 forecast, expects GDP to grow by 3.8% in 2022. Further details can be found in the OBR’s latest Economic and Fiscal Outlook published in March 2022: https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2022/.

The Government is providing a range of support to help with the cost of living. As announced on 23 March, the Government is cutting fuel duty for 12 months, doubling the Household Support Fund with an extra £500m, zero-rating VAT on energy-saving materials, and aligning National Insurance and Income Tax starting thresholds from July 2022 so people will be able to earn £12,570 a year without paying any Income Tax or National Insurance.

This builds on existing support, including business rates relief worth £7 billion over five years and the package of support announced on 3 February to help households with rising energy bills worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support investment in UK manufacturing.

The UK is one of the largest manufacturing nations, ranked 9th globally by output, and manufacturing contributed £173 billion of GVA to the UK economy in 2020. The sector plays a vital role in the UK economy through innovating (accounting for 61% of all business expenditure for UK research and development), exports (46% of total UK exports) and job creation (supporting 2.6 million jobs).

As such, the Government recognises the importance of UK manufacturing and is committed to its continued development as a strong, vibrant and diverse sector. Although decisions about investments and job creation are ultimately a matter for individual private enterprise, the Government is providing funding for strategically important manufacturing subsectors through the Global Britain Investment Fund: leveraging billions across the renewables supply chain; backing Britain’s automotive sector through new Gigafactories; and onshoring new offshore wind manufacturing to the UK.

Furthermore, we continue to focus on improving the long-term competitiveness and productivity of manufacturing by investing in research & development, skills and support for digital technology through initiatives such as Made Smarter, Help to Grow and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

In addition, the Government is encouraging companies to invest in productivity-enhancing plant and machinery. Manufacturing businesses can benefit from the super-deduction, which allows companies to claim 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments, as well as the extension to the Annual Investment Allowance to 31 March 2023 at its higher level of £1 million.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the war in Ukraine on research collaboration with Russian institutions.

The Government has announced that it will not support any new publicly funded research collaborations with Russia. Existing research projects with Russian involvement are paused. I have commissioned an assessment, on top of the existing and strong due diligence processes of UK public research funders, to isolate and freeze activities which benefit the Russian regime.

The Government is also funding a £3 million package of support for Ukrainian researchers at risk.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of off-shore wind to the security of the UK’s energy supply.

Offshore wind will play a key role in helping the UK decarbonise its power system by 2035, achieving net zero and providing secure, domestically generated energy. The UK currently has 11GW installed, generating enough electricity to power every home in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland twice over, with a further 8.5GW in construction. The Government has an ambitious target of 40GW by 2030 including 1GW of floating wind. The Government also anticipates further rapid expansion of both fixed and floating offshore wind through the 2030s and beyond. The Government will publish a British Energy Security Strategy shortly, which will set out how the UK will become more self-sufficient and reduce reliance on imported oil and gas.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of sanctions on Russia on Government plans to phase out use of hydrocarbons imported from Russia in the UK’s energy supply.

On 8th March, the Government announced a plan to phase out the import of Russian oil products by the end of the year. Phasing this out by the end of the year gives enough time to adjust supply chains. More than two thirds of all road fuel comes from domestic production here in the UK and Russia produces just a fraction of the oil imported into the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of trends in the level of investment in renewables on reducing household energy bills.

The Government has seen the cost of renewable technologies reduce, most notably offshore wind. As more renewable energy is added to the system, household electricity bills will be less affected by fluctuations in volatile global gas prices.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas.

The UK is a significant producer of both crude oil and petroleum products.

Unlike other countries in Europe, the UK is not dependent on Russian gas supply. The UK is able to meet the vast majority of supply through domestic production and reliable imports from Norway. Less than 4% of British gas consumption comes from Russia.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this Government. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly discusses this with G7 and EU partners.

The current volatility in global oil and gas prices only underscores the importance of building strong, home-grown renewables sectors and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, including Russian hydrocarbons.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the contribution of North Sea oil and gas to energy security.

The Government is committed to the UK offshore oil and gas sector, which continues to keep people warm, fuel their cars and strengthen the country’s energy security.

UK-produced gas met nearly half of the UK’s domestic gas consumption in 2020. The North Sea Transition Deal recognises the important role that gas will play as the UK economy transitions from one based on fossil fuels towards one based on clean energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to assist homeowners in (a) grade two listed and (b) other protected properties to make upgrades to their homes to be more energy efficient.

There are a number of Government schemes to support low-income households improve the energy efficiency of their homes, including the £787 million Local Authority Delivery Scheme and the £1.1 billion Home Upgrade Grant.

Growing the market for Green Finance is a priority for Government to help support homeowners not eligible for grants with the upfront costs of improvement. The £1.8m Green Home Finance Innovation Fund, which will be completed by March 2022, is a key early step in supporting the lending community to design, develop and pilot green mortgage products for homeowners.

A follow-up £10 million Green Home Finance Accelerator programme will launch this summer with the aim of supporting lenders to develop a wider range of green lending products for homeowners. This could include products for owners of harder to treat properties, including historic buildings.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether feed-in-tariff payments for solar panels will increase in alignment with the increase in energy prices.

Support under the Feed in Tariff scheme is not related to the retail price of electricity. The methodology used to set the tariffs considers the technology costs and electricity generation expectations rather than the retail price of electricity. The scheme rewards generation, provides a guaranteed price and market for exports as well as savings on imports.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the growth of the hydrogen sector in the UK.

The Government detailed the key steps needed to deliver the ambition for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 in its Hydrogen Strategy, published in August 2021.

The Hydrogen Strategy set out almost £1 billion of government funding for hydrogen and other low carbon technologies, including a £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.  The Government has since announced the Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to provide £100million funding for up to 250MW of initial electrolytic hydrogen projects allocated in 2023, with a further allocation round in 2024 and plans to announce a funding envelope for up to 1GW of CCUS-enabled hydrogen in 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the UK’s manufacturing sector.

The UK is one of the largest manufacturing nations, ranked 9th globally by output, and manufacturing contributed £173 billion of GVA to the UK economy in 2020. The sector plays a vital role in the UK economy through innovating (accounting for 61% of all business expenditure for UK research and development), exports (46% of total UK exports) and job creation (supporting 2.6 million jobs).

As such, the Government recognises the importance of UK manufacturing and is committed to its continued development as a strong, vibrant and diverse sector. Although decisions about investments and job creation are ultimately a matter for individual private enterprise, the Government has provided funding for strategically important manufacturing subsectors: leveraging billions across the renewables supply chain; backing Britain’s automotive sector through new Gigafactories; and onshoring new offshore wind manufacturing to the UK.

Furthermore, we continue to focus on improving the long-term competitiveness and productivity of manufacturing by investing in research & development, skills and support for digital technology through initiatives such as Made Smarter, Help to Grow and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

In addition, the Government is encouraging companies to invest in productivity-enhancing plant and machinery. Manufacturing businesses can benefit from the super-deduction, which allows companies to claim 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments, as well as the extension to the Annual Investment Allowance to 31 March 2023 at its higher level of £1 million.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effects that the covid-19 Plan B measures will have on small businesses; and what steps his Department is taking to limit the impacts those restrictions may have on businesses.

The Government’s Plan B has been designed to help control the spread of the virus whilst avoiding unduly damaging economic and social restrictions. Our £400bn COVID support package will continue to help businesses into spring next year. This includes the Recovery Loan scheme, Additional Restrictions Grants and protection from eviction.

We will continue to respond proportionately to the changing path of the virus, as we have done since the start of the pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of (a) public and (b) private research and development funding in the North East.

The 2021 Spending Review sees record levels of investment in the UK’s world-leading research base with public spending on Research & Development (R&D) increasing by £5 billion per annum to £20 billion in 2024-25. The substantial uplift to research and science funding will not only allow the UK to build on our core strengths but will also provide opportunities to grow research and innovation investment across the entire country.

UKRI currently funds over 570 active science and research projects in the North East of England with a value of over £660 million. More specifically, the Government has already committed over £93.6 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund funding to organisations registered in the North East, which has leveraged an additional £41.8 million co-investment from non-public sources.

The Innovation Strategy, published in July, signalled how we would embed innovation across the country to level up the UK. We will create the right policy environment and send clear signals to unlock business investment in innovation and boost the private sector investment we need to achieve the 2.4% target by 2027 including in the North East. Making the most of R&D in places around the UK remains a key government priority and the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper will set out the plan for doing this.

UKRI are also publishing detailed breakdowns of their funding data at a regional level annually to increase transparency of how places benefit from R&D funding. Latest available data is at: https://www.ukri.org/our-work/what-we-have-funded/regional-distribution-of-funding/2018-to-2019-regional-distribution-of-funding/#contents-list.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the criteria are for businesses to access the Government’s Help to Grow: management scheme.

The Help to Grow: Management programme is open to senior business leaders with between 5 to 249 employees that have been trading for over 1 year. Applications are welcome from businesses across all sectors, including social enterprises.

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 the criteria are for businesses to access the Government’s Help to Grow: digital scheme.

Through Help to Grow: Digital, the Government will launch a new online platform this Autumn where businesses can access advice on software that could help them save time and money, and a voucher to reduce the costs of buying that software. Over the next 3 years, 100 000 eligible SMEs could benefit from a voucher providing up to a 50% discount (worth up to £5,000) to adopt approved productivity enhancing software.

The voucher is expected to be available to UK businesses that have more than 5 and fewer than 249 employees, that have been trading for more than 12 months, and that are purchasing the discounted software for the first time.

The programme will launch in Autumn 2021 and eligible businesses are encouraged to register their interest at https://helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/.

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 the criteria are for businesses to access the £375 million Government funding to help scale-up the most innovative, research and development intensive businesses.

Future Fund: Breakthrough is a new £375m UK-wide programme that will encourage private investors to co-invest alongside government in high-growth, innovative firms that have received prior equity investment. The programme will launch in the early summer of 2021 and will support the growth of UK-based, R&D intensive companies.

Detailed eligibility criteria will be published once the programme is open for applications.

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 businesses will be regarded as non-essential businesses and allowed to access the Restart Grants.

Local Authorities are responsible for determining if a business qualifies as non-essential and therefore eligible for the Restart Grant payment. A non-essential retail business can be defined as a business that is used mainly or wholly for the purposes of retail sale or hire of goods or services by the public, where the primary purpose of products or services provided are not necessary to the health and well-being of the public.

Local Authorities may use the following criteria to assess whether a business is eligible for a grant under this threshold:

  • Businesses offering in-person non-essential retail to the general public.
  • Businesses that were likely to have been required to cease their retail operation in the January 2021 lockdown.
  • Businesses that had retail services restricted during January lockdown.
  • Businesses that sell directly to consumers.

Local Authorities are advised to use their local expertise to evaluate the eligibility of a claim. If a business does not qualify for the Restart Grant further support is available through the Additional Restrictions Grant, a discretionary scheme. Local Authorities are free to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by restrictions or who do not qualify under the mandatory schemes.

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 the criteria are for businesses to access the full Restart Grant of £6,000.

A non-essential retail business may be eligible for Stand One of the Restart Grant Scheme, receiving payments of up to £6,000. A non-essential retail business can be defined as a business that is used mainly or wholly for the purposes of retail sale or hire of goods or services by the public, where the primary purpose of products or services provided are not necessary to the health and well-being of the public.

Local Authorities may use the following criteria to assess whether a business is eligible for a grant under this threshold:

  • Businesses offering in-person non-essential retail to the general public.
  • Businesses that were likely to have been required to cease their retail operation in the January 2021 lockdown.
  • Businesses that had retail services restricted during January lockdown.
  • Businesses that sell directly to consumers.

For those business who qualify as non-essential retail the following thresholds apply:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under: £2,667;
  • For properties with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000: £4,000;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over: £6,000.

Local Authorities are responsible for the administration of Restart Grants and determining eligibility.

Further information on eligibility for the Restart Grant can be found at GOV.UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971363/restart-grant-la-guidance.pdf.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether hair salons are permitted to open during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 for the sole purpose of performing hair replacement system services.

The business closures guidance states that hair salons must close during the national lockdown. However, personal care services provided for essential medical and health needs, which cannot be deferred, may continue such as cosmetic treatments associated with cancer treatment. In that case, the safer working guidance on close contact services should be followed.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to simplify the applications process for the Green Homes Grant scheme.

We have provided updated guidance to both installers and homeowners, so they are clear on the information needed for the scheme administrator to approve an application, for example around providing quotes. We have already made improvements based on feedback received and are working closely with the scheme administrator to identify further improvements and support increasing the numbers of vouchers to be issued. However, applications must be thoroughly checked for compliance with the scheme rules to help ensure value for money, consumer protection, and detect malpractice.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment her Department has made of the role of technology in creating a more accessible retail experience for British consumers.

Our forthcoming Digital Strategy will set out our ambitions for harnessing the power of digital technologies to the benefit of our economy and society as a whole. The strategy will highlight that digital technologies, through innovation, can drive better services across various sectors.

The Government believes that there are great gains to be made through the adoption of digital technologies across all sectors. According to ONS data, SMEs which use two or more business management technologies demonstrate productivity gains of up to 25%. That is why last year we announced our Help to Grow scheme which provides financial incentives for increased digital adoption by SMEs.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress her Department has made in tackling fraudulent online advertisements.

We introduced the Online Safety Bill to Parliament on 17 March. Through the Bill, the largest tech companies will need to take robust action to tackle fraud, including fraudulent online advertisements. This will ensure that people using the largest platforms are protected from scams, and ensure these services do not profit from illegal activity.

We have also launched a consultation on proposals for wider reform of online advertising regulations, including the role of the online advertising ecosystem in relation to fraud.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help deliver full-fibre and gigabit-capable broadband to every home and business across the UK by 2025.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible. Our target is a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025, but this is not the limit of our ambitions and we will continue to work closely with the industry to get close to complete gigabit coverage as quickly as we can thereafter.

We are investing £5 billion so hard-to-reach areas can get ultra-reliable gigabit speeds, have already upgraded 600,000 premises, and in three years national coverage has rocketed from six per cent to 66 per cent.

We are making excellent progress on Project Gigabit. Broadband providers have so far been invited to bid for Project Gigabit contracts worth up to £292 million to upgrade up to 187,000 premises across Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland, Cambridgeshire, North Dorset and West Cornwall - with initial work expected to commence later this year.

Up to 2.5 million premises are included in the Project Gigabit procurement pipeline within England, with further details published in our latest Project Gigabit Delivery Plan.

In addition to our procurement pipeline, we are investing up to £210 million in the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to support rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. To date, more than 63,500 households and small to medium businesses have benefited from an upgrade through the voucher scheme.

We are also providing funding of up to £110 million to connect up to 7,000 rural public buildings like schools, GP surgeries and libraries, which will act as hubs for connecting nearby homes and businesses.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps her Department has taken to help improve broadband and mobile phone coverage in rural areas.

We are investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit to provide reliable, lightning-fast, future-proofed connectivity in areas not covered by commercial delivery. Project Gigabit is central to how we level up, future-proofing connectivity for decades to come and ensuring no-one is left behind.

We have already upgraded 600,000 premises to gigabit-capable broadband, and in three years national gigabit coverage has rocketed from six per cent to 66 per cent.

Procurements under Project Gigabit are now under way in a number of regions across the country to extend this further. Up to 2.5million hard-to-reach premises have been announced as within scope for gigabit procurements and up to £210 million in vouchers is available to help communities that are not in line for commercial or publicly-funded projects right now.

The Government also recognises the frustration arising from the impact poor mobile coverage has on communities, particularly in rural areas. That is why we agreed a deal with the mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network programme. This agreement will see the government and industry jointly invest over £1 billion to increase 4G mobile coverage to 95% UK geography by the end of the programme. It will improve coverage for an extra 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads tackling not-spots and reduce the divide in connectivity between urban and rural areas.

The four mobile network operators have already commenced work on the first element of the programme, which is funded by industry, and work is already under way and on track to eliminate the majority of partial not-spots - areas of the UK where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all operators - by mid-2024.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to increase access to the arts across England.

The Government is committed to the development of an arts and cultural sector that is representative of modern society and in which there are no barriers to participation. The Secretary of State has named increasing access to arts and culture across the whole country as one of her top priorities for the department.

In February, DCMS instructed Arts Council England (ACE) to enable a £75 million boost to culture and creativity outside of London between 2022 and 2025. As part of this funding, DCMS and ACE have identified 109 Levelling Up for Culture Places where additional investment will be focused. This support will galvanise the potential of the people in these areas that have previously not had sufficient attention and investment. The aim is to generate more opportunities for people across the whole country, and provide better access to cultural activities.

As outlined in Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy, all UK Arts Councils alongside the British Film Institute are currently working on a UK wide access scheme for disabled, d/Deaf, neurodivergent people or those that have other access needs. We want this scheme to work alongside existing infrastructure to find a way of best serving audiences and the sector. As part of the very early stages of this process, Arts Council England are inviting people who have access needs when attending arts events to take part in focus groups.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support the tourism industry throughout the North East.

In January this year I chaired the first Inter-Ministerial Group on the Visitor Economy, where we discussed how the visitor economy could support the levelling up agenda. We are now running a ‘Policy Sprint’ to look at how we can turn that into reality by maximising opportunities for the North East of England. The overall aim is to deliver genuine impact in the region and beyond, and provide long term growth by realising the potential of the Visitor Economy to level up the North East.

VisitEngland’s current domestic campaign ‘Escape the Everyday’ features Newcastle and York as two of the highlighted cities. The ‘Escape the Everyday’ campaign encourages the “pre-nester”(18-34 year old) audience to book an English city break this spring.

We also launched the second round of the Escape the Everyday Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Recovery Marketing Fund in February, providing the opportunity for DMOs across England to apply for grant funding to deliver local marketing activities.

VisitBritain’s business events team work closely with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and has provided recent support to them in the form of free participation at MeetGB, free promotion on a virtual platform to promote the region to international association organisers, attendance at VB’s City Sustainability roundtable and providing them access to apply to the Business Events Growth Programme for International events.

VisitBritain’s business support team has engaged with the North East during a variety of events and programmes including the ‘Taking England to the World Education Programme’, a ‘Business Support Roadshow’ and the North East Tourism Awards, which were run by NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

VisitBritain has also hosted international travel trade buyers on educational visits across Britain, including four buyers from the Nordics Group who visited Newcastle and Northumberland. A variety of suppliers from the North East attended ExploreGB Virtual, including: Durham Cathedral, Hadrian's Wall Holidays, the Sandman Hotel Group and Alnwick Castle and Gardens.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps her Department has taken to support local libraries and regional museums.

On 12 March the Arts Minister announced the public libraries, museums, galleries and cultural venues across the country that will benefit from £48 million of funding - part of the Cultural Investment Fund - to improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations, and power economic growth through culture.

This includes:

  • investing £5 million in 25 library services through the Libraries Improvement Fund (LIF) to upgrade their buildings and technology, to enable them to be resilient and equipped to meet the changing needs of local communities; and

  • £18.8 million through the Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) to help fund museum and local authority infrastructure projects and urgent maintenance works.

Through the Cultural Investment Fund we will invest up to a further £128.4 million of capital investment in innovative cultural and creative projects, libraries, and museums across the country over the Spending Review period (22/23 - 24/25), predominantly outside London. Earlier this month, we announced £48 million of investment through the Cultural Investment Fund, of which nearly £10 million was made for the North East, backing five projects.

DCMS also supports regional museums through a variety of core and project funding through Arts Council England and other Arms Length Bodies, tax relief opportunities, and other direct support such as the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, the latest round of which was launched on 17 March this year.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help support grassroots sport.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health and all generations and communities should be able to enjoy the health, wellbeing, social and other benefits of being active.

Since the government launched its sports strategy, Sporting Future in 2015, we have achieved a huge amount. Sport England has allocated over £1.5 billion to nearly 5,000 grassroots organisations across the UK. Sport England has also published its new ten year strategy which focuses on driving up activity levels and helping to improve physical and mental health.

In 2020 alone, Sport England distributed over £340 million of Exchequer and Lottery funding to support the development of grassroots sport in England, in addition to £100 million through the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

The Prime Minister has committed to delivering the grassroots pitches every community needs and this has already resulted in an investment of £25 million by the government to upgrade and improve facilities across the UK this year. At the Spending Review, a further £205 million was pledged over the next three years, targeted at the communities most in need, with the aim of increasing participation in sport among under-represented groups, as part of the government’s levelling up plans. This was in addition to a £30 million package to renovate 4,500 park tennis courts across the country.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help prevent Russia and Belarus participating in international sporting events.

On Thursday 3 March, the Secretary of State and I convened a summit with 24 international ministerial counterparts - or senior representatives on their behalf - to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the response of international sport.

The summit followed bilateral meetings that I held with counterparts from Canada, Poland and Germany.

Following the international summit, a joint statement was signed by 37 nations and published on Tuesday 8 March, affirming the position outlined below:

  • Russia and Belarus should not be permitted to host, bid for or be awarded any international sporting events.

  • Individual athletes selected by Russia and Belarus, administrators and teams representing the Russian or Belarusian state should be banned from competing in other countries, including those representing bodies, cities or brands that are effectively representing Russia or Belarus, such as major football clubs.

  • Wherever possible, appropriate actions should be taken to limit sponsorship and other financial support from entities with links to the Russian or Belarusian states.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

I am delighted that my Department is supporting Buckingham Palace in delivering celebrations to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s seventy years of service.

This includes government funding to support the major ceremonial events taking place in London; a Platinum Jubilee website with guidance on how the public can get involved; and an online map of Jubilee events across the UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help prevent children accessing legal content online that may be harmful to them.

Protecting children online is a key objective of the Online Safety Bill, which the government introduced to Parliament on 17 March 2022.

Providers in scope of the legislation will need to assess whether their service is likely to be accessed by children and, if so, deliver additional protections for them. Safety measures will need to protect children from content and activity which is legal but harmful to them such as pornography and bullying. If sites fail in their duties under the Bill, they will be subject to tough enforcement action by Ofcom.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps her Department has taken to help tackle harms that can be caused by problem gambling.

We are currently conducting a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure gambling regulation is fit for the digital age. This builds on action by the government and the Gambling Commission to strengthen protections in recent years including cutting the stake on gaming machines in betting shops, banning gambling on credit cards, mandating operator participation in the national online self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP, tightening restrictions on VIP schemes, making online slots safer by design and raising the minimum age of sale of National Lottery games.

In 2019, DCMS secured a commitment from industry to contribute £100m over four years to problem gambling treatment. NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are also continuing work to improve and expand specialist treatment services, with up to 15 new NHS clinics set to open by 2023/24. Since 2020, children have been taught about the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt, as part of the statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum in England.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how the proposed Single Customer View (CSV) to monitor customer activity of those who use internet betting platforms will be regulated to ensure that gamblers who make a profit are not unjustly registered as problem gamblers; and whether she has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on additional costs that may be caused by SCV to the levy and racing industry.

The Gambling Commission has made clear from the outset that the single customer view is only intended to facilitate data sharing for safer gambling purposes. It has worked closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office to understand how a single customer view can be delivered in compliance with all relevant data protection requirements. The project is currently entering a pilot stage with GAMSTOP, which operates the national online self-exclusion scheme, as technical provider.

The Government and the Commission will monitor the progress of the trials closely, and further information will be published in due course. The Gambling Commission’s most recent update surrounding progress and next steps can be found here.

We are considering impact at the appropriate stages for all policies in our Gambling White Paper which we will publish in the coming weeks.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he is providing to the (a) events, (b) hospitality and (c) nightlife industries which are unable to open as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the events, hospitality and nightlife industries have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Businesses can continue to access the Government’s UK wide support package. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As the Chancellor announced on 24 September, we are also offering affected businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes.

We continue to engage with stakeholders - including through the Visitor Economy Working Group, the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, and meetings with representatives of the night time economy - to monitor the situation facing companies across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to publish a timescale for the renewal of the National Lottery licence.

The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Gambling Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

The Gambling Commission is providing regular updates on progress with the competition on the 4NLC website at https://www.4nlc.com/home.aspx.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much National Lottery funding has been allocated to each constituency; and what projects have received that funding in each of the last three years.

Information on National Lottery funding awards up to January 2018 is held on a publicly available database which allows searches to be made for good cause grants in each constituency within specific timeframes.

We expect to update the database with grant information from January 2018 to March 2020 later this Spring.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to deliver the Lifelong Loan Entitlement by 2025.

The Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) will be accessible from 2025, providing individuals with a loan entitlement the equivalent of four years of post-18 education (£37,000 in today’s fees), to use over their lifetime. The government has already introduced key legislation as part of the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022.

As part of the pathway towards the LLE, the department will also stimulate the provision of high-quality higher technical education (at levels 4 and 5). We have introduced pilots to inform future flexible and modular provision.

From the start of the 2022/23 academic year, the department will be trialling loan-funded access to tuition fees for certain short courses at levels 4-6 at a number of providers across England. This will help us build and test towards the LLE and will allow students to study and build up the skills they need more flexibly.

The government published a consultation on the Lifelong Loan Entitlement which concluded on 6 May. We are carefully considering the contributions and will publish our response in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the quality of higher education courses.

We want all students, regardless of their background, to benefit from high quality world-leading higher education. The government is committed to tackling low-quality courses and ensuring that students and the taxpayer see returns on their investment and receive value-for-money.

We are taking forward significant regulatory reform with the Office for Students (OfS) to introduce a more rigorous and effective quality regime. This includes, for the first time, setting stringent minimum numerical thresholds for student outcomes, and the introduction in May 2022 of revised conditions of registration.

In March 2022, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and I made clear to the OfS that the government expects the OfS to step up its investigation activities through the implementation of a visible and effective on-site ‘boots on the ground’ inspections regime to be followed by robust regulatory action wherever that is appropriate. In cases where low and unacceptable quality is confirmed, regulatory action could include the imposition of formal sanctions including financial penalties and, ultimately, the suspension or removal from the OfS register, and with it access to student finance.

In addition, we have consulted on the introduction of targeted student number controls to prevent the growth of low-quality courses with poor outcomes. The consultation has now closed and we are considering the views submitted, which we will respond to in due course.

We have made clear our firm view that students must be able to expect high-quality teaching that includes face-to-face education. I wrote to Vice-Chancellors on 4 May 2022 setting out my expectation that, now the government has removed all restrictions on in-person teaching, all students should be receiving a comparable amount of in-person teaching to before the pandemic and that providers should be transparent about the sort of teaching students can expect.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to attract and retain high quality teachers.

There are now more than 461,000 (FTE) teachers working in state-funded schools across the country to inspire the next generation of young people. Over 37,000 new trainee teachers were recruited to start training in the 2021/22 academic year, showing that teaching continues to be an attractive profession.

At the heart of the Schools White Paper’s vision to boost literacy and numeracy outcomes is the need for an excellent teacher for every child. The department aims to continue attracting and retaining the highly skilled teachers that every child needs. To do this, the department is taking action to improve teacher recruitment and retention by transforming the training and support we provide, not only to attract more people into teaching but to encourage them to stay and thrive in the profession.

The department is creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers, to bring teaching into line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy, and medicine. Underpinning this is the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework. Together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the department's priority is to help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers so every child in every classroom in every school gets the best start in life. Teachers and school leaders at all levels can now benefit from an updated suite of National Professional Qualifications. Aimed at those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across trusts, these professional development programmes are now free to access for those eligible to apply.

These measures will create a golden thread running from ITT through to school leadership, rooting teacher and leader development in the best available evidence.

To support the recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in subjects that are harder to recruit for, the government has put in place a range of measures, including bursaries worth £24,000 tax-free and scholarships worth £26,000 tax-free. This will encourage talented trainees for key subjects such as chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics. Additionally, we have announced a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax-free for maths, physics, chemistry, and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who choose to work in disadvantaged schools, including in Education Investment Areas (EIAs). This will support the recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in these subjects and in the schools and areas that need them most.

The government also remain committed to increasing teacher starting salaries to £30,000 to make teaching an attractive graduate option.

Teacher retention is key to ensuring effective teacher supply and quality, and we are taking action to support teachers to stay in the profession and thrive. The department has published a range of resources to help address teacher workload and wellbeing and support schools to introduce flexible working practices.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech in universities.

This government believes that freedom of speech and academic freedom are fundamental pillars of our higher education (HE) system and that protecting these principles should be a priority for universities.

That is why the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill was introduced on 12 May 2021. The Bill will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties and directly address gaps within the existing law. This includes the fact there is no clear way of enforcing the current law when a HE provider breaches it as well as applying the duties directly to students’ unions and constituent colleges including those at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The Bill introduces a role on the Office for Students board, with responsibility for overseeing its strengthened duties to promote freedom of speech and investigate where potential breaches of the duties occur.

The changes will introduce clear consequences for breaches of the new duties and ensure that these principles are upheld.

The Bill will reach the Report Stage in the House of Commons shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the transparency and consistency in university advertising.

This government believes in greater transparency from higher education (HE) providers so that prospective students can inform their decision making with meaningful comparisons between different providers and courses.

I have announced that all universities and other registered HE providers should prominently display their completion rates and progression to graduate jobs on every advert, whether that is online, on a billboard or in their prospectus – just as every advertisement for a loan must clearly state the annual percentage rate. I am working with the sector on this matter and expect to publish guidance next month.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support pupils who fall behind in maths and English.

The recent Schools White Paper (SWP) set out a vision for a system that helps every child to fulfil their potential by ensuring they receive the right support, founded on world class literacy and numeracy.

The department’s ambition, by 2030, is that 90% of primary school children will achieve expected standards in reading, writing and maths. The SWP also sets an ambition that the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in maths increases from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

Key to achieving these is providing targeted support for every child that needs it and we have made a pledge to parents that all schools will regularly assess their children to identify if they have fallen behind in English or maths, provide them with timely and evidence-based support if necessary, and keep parents informed on their progress.

To help schools in providing timely and evidence-based support to pupils who have fallen behind in English and maths, the SWP makes the following commitments:

  • National Tutoring Programme (NTP): evidence shows effective tutoring can make a big difference to those that have fallen behind. The department has invested £1 billion to establish the NTP, which will deliver up to 6 million tutoring packages by 2024
  • Education Endowment Foundation (EEF): the department will re-endow the EEF with at least £100 million, lasting for at least the next decade. This will ensure that schools will continue to have access to the most recent, very best evidence on ‘what works’
  • Accelerator Fund: the department will also provide over £55 million to develop and scale-up the best-evidenced literacy and numeracy interventions
  • Guidance on ‘what works’: the department has made it easier for schools to access the best evidence of 'what works' by introducing a menu of recommended evidence-based approaches. Further guidance on targeted support will be set out in due course

The department recognises that great teaching, high standards of behaviour and attendance, a strong curriculum, and a stronger school system will also have a key part to play in helping children to reach their potential in English and maths.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to invest in education in low performing areas.

Overall, core schools funding is increasing by £4 billion in the 2022/23 academic year, a 7% increase in cash terms per pupil from 2021/22. This includes an increase in mainstream school funding for 5-16 year olds of £2.5 billion, which is equivalent to an average 5.8% cash increase, or an average of £300 per pupil.

The low prior attainment factor in the national funding formula (NFF) supports low attainment areas by providing more funding for schools whose pupils are likely to need more help to catch up with their peers. We have allocated 6.7% of the total NFF to low prior attainment in 2022/23.

As the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and recent Schools White Paper outline, the government is committed to levelling up education standards and increasing capacity in the parts of the country that need this most. The first part of this journey will see investment in 55 Education Investment Areas. These are in the places where outcomes in literacy and numeracy are the poorest and there is the most urgent need for improvement. In these areas we will focus our support for schools not making necessary improvement and trust growth, as well as offering the Levelling Up premium, worth up to £3,000, to eligible teachers in disadvantaged schools and supporting improved digital connectivity through the Connect the Classroom programme.

The department will also be making additional intensive investment in a subset of 24 Priority Education Investment Areas, to address entrenched underperformance, including in literacy and numeracy, in areas with some of the highest rates of disadvantage in the country. This includes around £40 million of additional funding, which will be provided for bespoke interventions to address local needs, such as addressing high absence rates.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure political impartiality in schools.

The law is clear that schools must remain politically impartial. Schools must not promote partisan political views and should ensure the balanced treatment of political issues. Schools are free to teach about political issues and, of course, play an important role in supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and to be prepared for life in modern Britain. However, it is important that schools uphold their duties with regard to political impartiality. To support school staff in understanding their legal duties in this area, the department has worked with the sector to publish clear and comprehensive guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/political-impartiality-in-schools.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that schools are a safe environment for pupils.

Well-maintained, safe buildings are essential to support high-quality education, which is why investing in the estate is a priority for the department. We have significantly improved our understanding of the condition of the school estate through the Condition Data Collection programme, which allows effective targeting of funding where it is needed most.

Local authorities, academy trusts and school governing bodies are responsible for ensuring buildings are well-maintained, safe, and compliant with relevant regulations. The department supports the sector through capital funding, delivering major rebuilding programmes, and providing extensive guidance and support.

The department provides annual capital funding to schools, and those responsible for school buildings, to improve and maintain the condition of the estate, based on local knowledge of building issues and priorities. Since 2015, over £13 billion of condition funding has been allocated, including £1.8 billion committed in the 2022/23 financial year.

In addition to annual capital allocations, the School Rebuilding Programme will deliver rebuilding and refurbishment projects at 500 schools over the next decade, transforming education for hundreds of thousands of pupils. The first 100 schools to benefit from the programme were announced in 2021, and the department expects to announce up to 300 more schools this year. The latest round of nominations closed in March, and responsible bodies were able to submit evidence of severe need or potential safety issues, which will be prioritised by the programme.

The department is also helping to improve practice and safe management of buildings by providing extensive guidance, advice, and tools on effective estate management, including specific safety issues, such as asbestos.

The department has also recently revised its statutory guidance, ‘keeping children safe in education’, which provides a strong safeguarding framework for schools. This guidance along with revision of the ‘searching, screening and confiscation’ guidance, and the forthcoming updated ‘behaviour in school’ guidance, will support schools to create a safe environment for pupils.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to limit student loan interest payments.

The government has not yet decided on what interest rates will be applied to student loans from September 2022. The department will be considering all options over the coming months and will confirm in due course the rates to apply from 1 September.

Changes to student loan interest rates will not increase monthly student loan repayments. Monthly repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold and do not change based on interest rates or the amount borrowed. If income is below the relevant repayment threshold, or a borrower is not earning, then they do not have to make repayments at all. Any outstanding debt, including interest accrued, is written off after the loan term ends (or in case of death or disability) at no detriment to the borrower. There are no commercial loans that offer this level of protection.

The government, by law, must cap maximum student loan rates to ensure the interest rate charged on the loan is in line with market rates for comparable unsecured personal loans. The government monitors student loan rates against the Bank of England’s data series for the effective interest rates on new and existing unsecured personal loans.

We announced in February that we will be reducing interest rates for new borrowers and so, from academic year 2023/24, new graduates will not, in real terms, repay more than they borrow. Alongside our wider reforms, this will help to make sure that students from all walks of life can continue to receive the highest-quality education from our world-leading HE sector.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote T-Levels.

The department wants as many young people as possible to benefit from T Levels, the new gold standard qualifications in technical education. In January this year, we launched our ‘Get the Jump’ campaign, which helps 14-19-year-olds explore their education and training options, and spotlights T Levels, apprenticeships, traineeships and higher technical qualifications in particular. We are working closely with the Careers and Enterprise Company, Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme, academy trusts and other representative bodies to ensure that teachers and careers leaders have the information and resources they need to communicate the benefits of T Levels to their students. In addition, this August will see the first T Levels results day and there are a number of activities planned to celebrate and promote the achievements of the first cohort of T Level students, both regionally and around social media to signpost students to the dedicated T Levels website.

Our ‘Join the Skills Revolution’ campaign promotes the government’s training and employment schemes, including T Levels, to employers. We are also engaging directly with employers to raise awareness of T Levels and promote industry placements, and we have established a T Level employer ambassador network so that employers can promote T Levels within their industry networks.

Both campaigns make use of a wide range of channels, including the use of social media to get through to young people, parents and employers.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support children in education who have foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

The government is committed to pupils with medical conditions, including foetal alcohol syndrome, being properly supported at school so that they have full access to education.

In 2014, the government introduced a new duty on schools to support pupils with all medical conditions and has published statutory guidance on this for schools and others. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.

The guidance does not specify which medical conditions should be supported in schools. Instead, it focuses on how to meet the needs of each individual child and how their medical condition impacts on school life.

All schools are required to identify and address the special educational needs of the pupils they support, and to make sure that a child or young person gets the support they need.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle rising levels of anti-Semitic abuse on university campuses.

The government is clear that antisemitism is abhorrent, and we expect higher education (HE) providers to be at the forefront of tackling the challenge of it.

The department has pushed for several years for greater action from HE providers in addressing antisemitism. This has included encouraging institutions to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, in order to have clarity of what constitutes antisemitic behavior. This in turn enables providers to better understand and recognise incidences of antisemitism and take action to address them.

As part of this work, the former Secretary of State for Education wrote out to all HE providers urging adoption of the IHRA definition, stating that we would consider further action if institutions did not adopt. A follow-up letter was sent in May 2021, reinforcing the government's expectation that providers adopt the IHRA definition, stressing the even greater importance of doing so in light of an increased number of antisemitic incidents recorded as a result of the conflict in the Middle East.

In response to this, on 10 November 2021, the Office for Students published a list of providers who have adopted the definition. I am pleased to report good progress in the last year, an increase from around 30 to over 200 providers having adopted. This includes the vast majority of universities. I will continue to urge all providers to adopt.

Adoption of the IHRA definition is only a first step towards ridding HE of antisemitism. I want to be very clear that, while the government considers that adoption of the definition is crucial, it is not enough on its own. I will continue to work with the sector to ensure it better understands antisemitism and does more to end it. I intend to bring together key stakeholders from the sector to examine what more can be done to make Jewish students and staff feel safe on campus.

I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure it is eradicated from our world-leading providers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help local authorities (a) identify, (b) assess and (c) support young carers.

The Children and Families Act 2014, amended the Children Act 1989 to place a duty on local authorities to assess the needs of young carers. The duties have remained in place throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Local authorities must ensure young carers are identified and referred to appropriate support if needed, and that the young carers are not taking on excessive or inappropriate care and support responsibilities. This provision works alongside those for assessing adults in the Care Act 2014, to enable whole family approaches to assessment and support.

On 7 September 2021, we announced investment of an additional £5.4 billion over three years in social care, which includes a commitment to take steps so that unpaid carers have support, advice and respite fulfilling the goals of the Care Act 2014. We will work with the sector, including unpaid carers to develop more detail on our plans and publish further detail in a White Paper for reform later this year. We have also provided councils with access to over £1 billion of additional funding for social care in the 2021/22 financial year. This will support councils to maintain care services while keeping up with rising demand and recovering from the impact of COVID-19.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to monitor and publish data on the average (a) food orders by schools supported through the National School Breakfast Programme and (b) proportion of students on roll that take up the offer of breakfast provision in the 2021-22 academic year.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next two years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to learn.

The focus of the programme is to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas. Throughout the contract we will be working with our provider, Family Action, to monitor different aspects of the programme including the ordering patterns from schools, participation rates among children, and the benefits the programme is having on pupils who are attending. We will consider the best opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which schools in Stockton South constituency will be supported by the new National School Breakfast Programme tender during the academic year 2021-2022.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next two years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to learn.

The focus of the programme is to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas. Schools’ eligibility for the programme is based on the Income deprivation affecting children index (IDACI) – a nationally recognised indicator of need – to ensure provision is directed where it is most needed. Schools will be eligible for the programme if they have 50% or more pupils within bands A-F of the IDACI scale.

The enrolment process for schools joining the programme is currently ongoing, and we have seen a strong interest so far from eligible schools since we invited the expressions of interest. Schools are currently still able to apply to join the programme. As we are still registering schools for the programme, it is too early to publish a list of participating schools. However, we will consider the best opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help schools improve (a) canteens, (b) playgrounds and (c) other facilities.

The Department allocates condition funding each year to schools and those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the condition of their estates, including canteens, playgrounds and other facilities. We have allocated £11.3 billion in condition funding since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed in this financial year. As part of that, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has been allocated over £1.3 million this financial year to invest in improving the condition of its schools. Allocations are informed by consistent data on the condition of the school estate.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, ten-year School Rebuilding Programme in June 2020, which will replace poor condition school buildings with modern, energy efficient designs. We have announced the first 50 schools to benefit, as part of a commitment to 500 rebuilding projects over the next decade. We expect to confirm a further 50 projects this year and plan to consult on the approach to prioritising future projects later in 2021.

In addition, the existing Priority Schools Building Programme has been rebuilding or refurbishing buildings in poor condition at over 500 schools across England.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the financial stability of early years providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government understands the importance of childcare, which is why we are planning to spend over £3.6 billion on our free early education entitlements in 2020-21.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a testing and disruptive time for all parts of society and the economy, including for the early years sector. We recognise the risk to providers’ financial viability that is caused by changing levels of parental demand.

We are providing extra stability and reassurance to nurseries and childminders that are open by ‘block-buying’ childcare places for the rest of this year at the level that we would have funded before the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of how many children are attending.

On top of that, nurseries, childminders and pre-schools can claim for various other forms of business support, including for the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self Employment Income Support Schemes.

To provide additional support to firms to keep employees as demand returns, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced the Job Retention Bonus. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers for each employee who was ever furloughed, has been continuously employed until 31 January 2021 and is still employed by the same employer as of 31 January 2021.

Around £60 million per year of supplementary funding is also being provided to local authorities to enable them to protect maintained nursery schools’ funding. We announced on 24 August that we will continue to provide this for the whole of the 2020-21 academic year.

We will continue to work closely with both local authorities and the early years sector organisations to monitor the impact of the outbreak on the sector.

Future funding for the sector will be considered in the next Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that university students receive value for money from student fees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the challenges facing students and supports them in their desire to continue receiving the best possible learning experience from our higher education providers. This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, has committed to protecting students throughout the present crisis and has produced guidance on practical ways in which students can complete their studies whilst ensuring quality and standards are upheld. This guidance is clear that standards must be maintained - further details are available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-quality-and-standards-during-coronavirus-pandemic/. The government is also working closely with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education to ensure students continue to leave university with qualifications that have real value, reflect their hard work and allow people to progress.

We have seen some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality online learning being delivered by higher education providers across the country and the sector is working hard to provide learning materials for the summer and autumn terms. Our priority now is to maintain the integrity of higher education qualifications and the achievement of students’ learning aims. The government expects universities to continue delivering a high quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers will value.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees. In deciding to keep charging full fees, universities will of course want to ensure that they can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and which help students progress their qualifications. If providers are unable to facilitate good online tuition, then they should seek to avoid charging students for any additional terms they may need to undergo as a consequence – avoiding effectively charging them twice. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student.

If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers based in England or Wales can contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to ask them to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to level up rural areas.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the UK’s food security.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. This provides us with the resilience we need in the face of risks such as adverse weather, animal or crop disease, or transport and border disruption.

Our production to supply ratio remains high in comparison with historical levels. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) was published in December 2021. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work. The UKFSR covers food security in the widest sense from global food availability and sustainability to domestic supply chain resilience, household food security and food safety.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help support farmers with rising fertiliser costs.

Agricultural commodity prices are closely linked to global gas prices. Farmers are facing increased input costs, including for fertiliser, feed and fuel. We are monitoring the situation closely, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group. Defra is in regular contact with key industry figures including the National Farmers Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and key sector representatives.

The Government announced on 30 March a number of actions to help mitigate the current issues and support farmers and growers ahead of the next growing season. These included changes to statutory guidance to the Environment Agency on how they should implement the "Farming Rules for Water" to provide clarity to farmers on how they can use slurry and other manures during autumn and winter to meet agronomic needs; increased grants funding to help farmers and growers boost research and development; and a delay to changes to the use of urea by at least a year. When the urea restrictions are introduced, they will be related to the use of ammonia inhibitors rather than a complete ban.

We recognise that fertiliser pressures on the livestock and arable sectors may differ, particularly over the farming seasons. On 31 March, Minister Prentis hosted the first meeting of the Fertiliser Taskforce with key industry bodies to discuss potential mitigations to the challenges which global supply pressures are causing. Ministers will continue to meet with key industry bodies for further Fertiliser Taskforce sessions in the coming months, to help identify and mitigate potential risks.

Support in the form of guidance from fertiliser suppliers and agricultural organisations such as National Farmers Union can be found from various public sources. Defra is aware that AHDB have published many helpful public pieces of guidance, advice and webinar recordings on mitigating high fertiliser prices. They can be found on the AHDB website.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the fishing industry.

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help farmers invest in their businesses.

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the likelihood of the implementation of the dog abduction offence leading to an increase in the theft of other kept animals.

In response to concerns about a perceived increase in pet theft during covid restrictions, the Government set up the Pet Theft Taskforce to investigate. The Taskforce's recommendations included the creation of a new 'pet abduction' offence to recognise that pets are not mere items of property and to recognise the potential impact on their welfare when they are taken by strangers. The Taskforce gathered, researched and commissioned work to build a clear evidence base of the issue and worked with police, law enforcement, and experts to formulate recommendations. Any unintended consequences of introducing a new offence focused on the taking of pets were considered during the Taskforce. The Taskforce also recommended improving the evidence base on pet theft by ensuring cases are recorded in a consistent manner and readily identifiable within police force information management systems, and Defra is currently working with Home Office and Ministry of Justice to implement this recommendation.

The offence as currently drafted and debated at the Commons Committee stage of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill focuses on dogs, with enabling powers. The inclusion of the enabling powers means that the Secretary of State will be able to extend the offence to other species of companion animal in the future by making regulations. Any regulations would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. This means that both the House of Commons and the House of Lords would need to approve such an extension.

The Government listened closely to views expressed on this issue during Commons Committee stage, in particular whether cats should also be included with dogs at the outset, and the Government is currently considering this issue carefully.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to extend the dog abduction offence to all kept animals.

In response to concerns about a perceived increase in pet theft during covid restrictions, the Government set up the Pet Theft Taskforce to investigate. The Taskforce's recommendations included the creation of a new 'pet abduction' offence to recognise that pets are not mere items of property and to recognise the potential impact on their welfare when they are taken by strangers. The Taskforce gathered, researched and commissioned work to build a clear evidence base of the issue and worked with police, law enforcement, and experts to formulate recommendations. Any unintended consequences of introducing a new offence focused on the taking of pets were considered during the Taskforce. The Taskforce also recommended improving the evidence base on pet theft by ensuring cases are recorded in a consistent manner and readily identifiable within police force information management systems, and Defra is currently working with Home Office and Ministry of Justice to implement this recommendation.

The offence as currently drafted and debated at the Commons Committee stage of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill focuses on dogs, with enabling powers. The inclusion of the enabling powers means that the Secretary of State will be able to extend the offence to other species of companion animal in the future by making regulations. Any regulations would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. This means that both the House of Commons and the House of Lords would need to approve such an extension.

The Government listened closely to views expressed on this issue during Commons Committee stage, in particular whether cats should also be included with dogs at the outset, and the Government is currently considering this issue carefully.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support British farmers to access ammonium nitrate fertiliser and (b) ensure a steady supply of that fertiliser at a reasonable price following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and in the context of the export by Russia of that fertiliser.

Due to the increase in cost of natural gas across the globe, a key feedstock for the production of nitrogen-based fertiliser products including ammonium nitrate, the cost of production of these fertiliser types has increased significantly. It has also affected Europe and the global market with some fertiliser companies halting or reducing production due to high input costs, leading to some countries such as China reducing the export of some fertiliser products to protect their domestic demands.

The UK sources fertiliser from a wide range of countries and also produces fertiliser domestically, such as ammonium nitrate. Russia and Belarus account for only c. 10% of our direct fertiliser imports by value.

The situation and impacts on farmers in particular, and industry more widely, of current high fertiliser prices, are being monitored closely. We will continue to engage with industry and farmers to understand any potential pressures and options to mitigate any risks. We understand from industry intelligence that the vast majority of fertiliser needs for this planting season have been met.

There are nutrient management techniques and technologies that can be used alongside fertiliser products that help the efficacy of fertilisers and help maintain high yield and good quality produce. Support in the form of guidance from fertiliser suppliers and agricultural organisations such as National Farmers Union (NFU) can be found from various public sources. Defra is aware that the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board have published many helpful public pieces of guidance, advice and webinar recordings on mitigating high fertiliser prices.

Defra is in regular contact with key industry figures including the NFU, fertiliser producers and importers, and the key sector representative body for fertilisers, the Agricultural Industries Confederation. We are continuing to monitor the security and stability of fertiliser and other supply chains, and working closely with colleagues across Government and devolved administrations as well as industry figures to share knowledge and discuss all options available to tackle these issues. This will help inform how Defra and other industry bodies can best support farmers.

Defra is committed to promoting the use of less environmentally damaging fertilisers and better nutrient use efficiency. The current shortage of inorganic fertilisers provides an opportunity for farmers to continue exploring increasing their use of environmentally sustainable products and more efficient nutrient management methods.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with her Indian counterpart on increasing (a) trade with and (b) foreign direct investment from India.

The United Kingdom’s trading relationship with India was worth £24.3 billion in 2021 and we are already India’s top investment destination in Europe. A trade deal with India could take our trading relationship even further.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade recently met her counterpart, Indian Minister Goyal in London, to discuss the opportunities between both our countries.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK sanctions against Russia on reducing trade with that country.

In lockstep with allies, we continue to impose the largest, most severe economic sanctions Russia has faced.

Sanctions imposed by the UK and international partners are having damaging consequences for Putin’s ability to wage war, with around £275 billion – up to 60% of Russian foreign currency reserves – currently frozen.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office analysis shows Russia is heading for the deepest recession since the Soviet Union’s collapse, deeper than the 2008 global financial crisis. Estimates for Russia’s GDP in 2022 range from -8% to -15%, with the IMF forecasting the economy to continue shrinking a further 2.3% in 2023.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade with South American nations.

This year, we reached the final phase of the process to join the £9 trillion GDP Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc, which includes Chile and Peru.

Beyond trade agreements, we are working with regional partners to grow trade and open markets. British pork producers are now able to export to Chile, a market worth over £280 million in 2021 and, through initiatives like our annual roadshow, we are helping British businesses to seize opportunities in the region, like GlaxoSmithKline who are set to open a new vaccine distribution centre in Uruguay.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to reduce barriers to global trade for British businesses.

In the financial year 2020-21, we resolved over 200 trade barriers across 74 countries. Removing these barriers supports British businesses to trade globally, such as opening access to Indonesia’s cosmetics market that imports £374 million a year, and access to the US for British lamb that is estimated to be worth £37 million in first five years of trade.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK Export Finance in supporting UK businesses.

As advised in my response to the Honourable Member’s previous question (UIN 148424), during financial year 2020/21 UK Export Finance (UKEF) provided support of £12.3 billion to UK exporters selling to 77 countries around the world, supporting 549 companies directly (of whom 79% were small and medium sized enterprises), and thousands more indirectly in supply chains. During that year, UKEF supported around 107,000 UK jobs. UKEF provided £29 billion of support to UK exporters during the period 2016/17 to 2020/21.

UKEF was recently named the world’s best ECA at the International TFG Trade Awards 2022.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her US counterpart on reducing market barriers with the United States.

In the last 12 months the UK and US have worked together to deliver some major trade breakthroughs, such as resolving the long-running Large Civil Aircraft dispute and agreeing to terminate the Section 301 investigation and suspend tariffs relating to the Digital Services Tax. We have also secured the lifting of the long-standing US ban on the import of British beef and lamb.

Most recently, we successfully removed Section 232 tariffs on imports of UK steel and aluminium products. This will bring welcome relief to the UK steel and aluminium industries which support the jobs of around 80,000 people across the UK supply chain. In response the UK has suspended the rebalancing measures on imports of US products.

During the Trade Dialogues in Baltimore and Aberdeen, Ambassador Tai and Secretary of State Trevelyan agreed to work together to develop a roadmap for further UK US Trade, including further collaboration on reducing market barriers.

We have also recently signed our first state-level trade and economic development Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indiana, which will create a framework to discuss removal of barriers to trade and investment. We hope to sign more MOUs this year.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to increase foreign direct investment in the UK’s green industries.

In a speech on 18 May, the Secretary of State for International Trade set out the UK's ambitions to become a global leader on Green Trade, including through driving greater investment into green industries that will boost economic growth, strengthen supply chains and increase exports, whilst cutting emissions.

The Department has already taken major steps to build the UK’s green industrial base, including those detailed in my answer to the hon. Member for Stockton South on 19 April 2022 (UIN 148430), and my answer to the hon. Member for Hendon on 30 November 2021 (UIN 79334).

To build on successes to date, this Autumn the Department for International Trade, along with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, will host a Green Trade and Investment Expo in the North East of England, to showcase green investment opportunities, as well as promoting the UK’s climate solutions to overseas buyers.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of amending the UK’s trading relationship with Switzerland.

HM Government recognises the merits of strengthening our trading relationship with Switzerland and has kickstarted work on an enhanced trade deal.

While many British businesses currently benefit from tariff-free trade on goods, we want to do more for our world-leading services sector in particular, where we benefit from over £12 billion in exports to Switzerland annually. A new deal will seek to expand our relationship into industries of the future, including digital trade.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her US counterpart on reducing market barriers at state level in the US for the purpose of increasing trade with that country.

I have met with Governors and stakeholders from states across the US, including during a visit between 5 and 15 December 2021 and a virtual US visit at the beginning of February. Through these engagements I have been met with great interest in doing more with the UK.

We are exploring mechanisms for deepening our trade and cooperation with states including through Memoranda of Understanding. We are also engaging with professional bodies and regulators across the US to explore where we can reduce barriers, including through recognition of professional qualifications.

This will help deliver value to business and supporting our areas of shared interest, such as through levelling up and strengthening our existing ties.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK sanctions on Russia in reducing international trade with that country.

In coordination with our allies, we are introducing the largest and most severe economic sanctions that Russia has ever faced. The expected impact of trade sanctions are available alongside the relevant legislation: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2022/195/impacts. We do not speculate on future sanctions.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help UK exports reach Ukraine.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has expanded the Export Support Service to act as a single point of enquiry for businesses and traders with questions relating to the trading environment in Ukraine.

Any business that has question about trading with Ukraine can submit an online enquiry or call our helpline.

DIT will continue to support business and traders during this period. Having a dedicated export support team ready to help at the end of the phone will ensure business can access the information they need at any time.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to increase foreign direct investment in the UK’s green industries.

The Department, alongside the Office for Investment, drives green investment through several levers. Examples include the Clean Growth Campaign, which supports strategic investments into green supply chain capability and capacity, as well as the Investment Atlas, which promotes strategically important investment opportunities online, and our High Potential Opportunities programme, which highlights geography specific opportunities. We work to promote investment into green technologies across the UK, including opportunities in the Tees Valley into heat networks, carbon fibre, and biomanufacturing sectors.

In the period 18 November 2020 to 24 September 2021 the Department supported 46 investments linked to the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution. These projects had a combined capital expenditure of £2.6 billion and created 2,296 new jobs.

For further detail I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 30 November to Question UIN 79334.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to increase exports of digital services.

The UK is a services and digital superpower, the world’s second largest services exporter, and the fifth biggest exporter of digital tech services. The Department for International Trade (DIT) announced a refreshed cross-government Export Strategy: Made in UK, Sold to the World last autumn, which is business-focused and centred around a 12-Point Plan. By improving the capability and skills of exporters and internationalising key trading sectors like digital services in fast growing markets, this strategy will change the UK’s exporting culture and our ability to ‘sell to the world.’

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress her Department has made on securing UK membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On 18 February 2022 the UK reached a major milestone in our accession process. Japan, on behalf of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) members, announced that the UK can move onto the final phase of the accession process, market access negotiations. This means the UK has demonstrated to members of the partnership that it is a high-standards, fair trading economy.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to lift US tariffs on imports from the UK.

It is a government priority to make UK-US trade easier, quicker and more cost effective. The UK and US have worked together to remove harmful trade irritants, such as resolving the long-running Large Civil Aircraft dispute and agreeing to terminate the Section 301 investigation and suspend tariffs relating to the Digital Services Tax.

On 22 March, we secured an expansive removal of Section 232 tariffs on US imports of UK steel and aluminium. From 1 June, the US will remove the 25% and 10% additional duties on UK steel and aluminium respectively, up to a specified volume. This will bring welcome relief to the UK steel and aluminium industries which support the jobs of around 80,000 people across the UK supply chain.

This clears the way for us to focus on strengthening the UK-US trading relationship, for example through our recently launched UK US Joint Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK Export Finance in supporting UK businesses.

UK Export Finance’s (UKEF’s) mission is to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer. During financial year 2020/21, UKEF provided support of £12.3 billion to UK exporters selling to 77 countries around the world, supporting 549 companies directly (of whom 79% were small and medium sized enterprises), and thousands more indirectly in supply chains. UKEF has provided £29 billion of support to UK exporters in the last five financial years. The corresponding figures for 2021/22 will be published in due course in the next Annual Report and Accounts.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support UK manufacturing exports.

Last Autumn, the Department for International Trade (DIT) published the refreshed Export Strategy with an action-led 12-point plan to help exporters, including those in the manufacturing sector, to thrive in the global market and raise the UK’s exporting culture in the long-term. This includes initiatives such as the Export Support Service (ESS), the UK Export Academy, UK Export Finance, International Trade Advisers, and global networks. We are reaching out to businesses across all UK regions and nations to amplify exports opportunities for our manufacturers.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to reduce barriers to global trade for British businesses.

We have secured trade deals with 70 countries around the world, plus the EU, covering trade worth £772 billion in 2020.

In addition, we resolved over 200 trade barriers across 74 countries during the 2020/21 financial year - an increase of 20% on the previous year, securing access for wheat to be exported to Mexico, a market which imports approximately £900 million of wheat a year, and opening the Chilean market for British pork exports, estimated to be worth £20 million in the first five years of trade.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th May 2020
What steps she is taking to strengthen the UK's trade in medical research and development with Israel during the covid-19 pandemic.

UK and Israeli experts have been cooperating on the COVID-19 response in such areas as testing, clinical response, epidemiological management and the development of vaccines and treatments. We will continue to assist in identifying and supporting further areas of cooperation between the private and public sectors of both countries.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to sanction and detain Russian aircraft and sea vessels.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented level of sanctions on Russia to maximise economic pressure on Putin's regime. This includes far reaching transport sanctions that prohibit any aircraft or ship owned, controlled, registered, flagged, chartered or operated by a designated person or those connected with Russia from arriving, overflying or landing in the UK. To date, at least 28 vessels have knowingly been disrupted by these sanctions, and we have detained 3 aircraft and 1 superyacht.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the timescale for self-driving vehicles to be permitted on UK roads.

We expect self-driving vehicles to be permitted on the roads in two ways:

(1) commercially available self-driving systems, that can drive in certain circumstances and which require a responsible human in the vehicle (such as those compliant with the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) Regulation), will be deployed when a manufacturer brings a vehicle to market and it is approved; and

(2) self-driving passenger transport and logistics vehicles are also being trialled on the roads currently, and we anticipate progress towards the first deployment over the next 5 years.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support the decarbonisation of the shipping sector.

My department is supporting the decarbonisation of the UK Maritime sector through a two-pronged approach: R&D funding and investment; and a comprehensive policy and regulatory programme.

In March 2022, the DfT announced £206m for the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, (or UK SHORE) as part of the refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, marking the biggest UK government investment ever in the commercial maritime sector. In May 2022, we launched the first of a series of packages under UK SHORE, including a second Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

On the policy and regulatory side, we are delivering on commitments made in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan; will publish a summary of responses to a call for evidence on increasing the uptake of shore power shortly which will then be followed by a full consultation; and will be launching consultations on phasing out the sale of new non-zero emission vessels and the course to zero, this year.

We will also continue to build momentum towards the publication of a refreshed Clean Maritime Plan in 2023.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy of the Union Connectivity Review’s recommendations on strengthening transport links.

The Union Connectivity Review (UCR) was published on 26 November 2021. The UK Government is grateful to Sir Peter Hendy for his work and is considering his recommendations carefully, to identify the solutions that work best for the people of the UK. We expect to publish the UK government’s response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to support the launch of rockets and satellites from the UK.

The Government has bold spaceflight ambitions that we outlined in the National Space Strategy including achieving Europe’s first small satellite launch from the UK this year.

The Department for Transport has put in place the Space Industry Act 2018, the Space Industry Regulations 2021 and is funding the costs of the Civil Aviation Authority, which has been appointed as the spaceflight regulator. Our modern legal framework is internationally competitive - ensuring that new spaceflight activities regulated under these provisions are safe and provide the right opportunities for industry to support innovation and growth in the UK Space Sector.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve electric vehicle infrastructure in the UK.

Government has committed over £1.6 billion to support charging infrastructure at homes, on the street, in workplaces, destinations and along major roads. We have published a landmark electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure strategy setting out our plans to accelerate the rollout of a world-class charging network across the UK. Our strategy sets out our vision and commitments to make EV charging cheaper and more convenient than refuelling at a petrol station.

In addition, we have announced new regulations for public chargepoints to improve confidence in the charging network and make the user experience truly seamless. Drivers will benefit from simplified payment methods as well as the ability to compare prices and access real-time information about chargepoints. We will ensure there is a 99% reliability rate at rapid chargepoints. We will be introducing payment roaming to support the electrification of fleets. Chargepoints will need to have open data so that they are easy to find using maps and apps. We will lay legislation later this year.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of locating the national headquarters of Great British Railways in Stockton.

The Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) is currently overseeing a process to select a national headquarters for Great British Railways. 42 expressions of interest were received by the deadline of Wednesday 16 March 2022, from towns and cities across Great Britain, including one from Stockton-on-Tees. GBRTT are now assessing these using the published criteria.

A shortlist of the most suitable locations to go to an online consultative public vote will be announced in May. Ministers will then make a final decision on the headquarters location.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of involving abled and disabled non drivers involved in the development of driverless cars and their regulation in the UK.

The Department for Transport has ongoing research, analysis and public engagement programmes which seek to understand the opportunities associated with new transport technologies. Examples informing our view on the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles (SDVs) include:

  • 88% of all reported road accidents involved human error as a contributory factor (Reported Road Casualties GB Annual Report 2020), ​SDVs have the potential to make our roads safer by reducing human driver error.
  • The Connected Places Catapult forecast that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7 billion. This could in turn create 38,000 new skilled jobs.
  • A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders study found that 70% of people with disabilities feel their ability to travel how and when they want is restricted. The same survey found that 45% of people with disabilities would be likely to use a SDV today.

In addition, Government is funding world-leading projects to explore how SDVs can improve mobility for an ageing population (in Bristol) and visually impaired people (in Birmingham), including the world’s first 4D tactile display in an automated vehicle. Separately in 2019, Coventry’s Aurrigo partnered with Blind Veterans UK on the world’s first trial of self-driving pods with blind veterans (in Brighton).

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission (‘the Commissions’) recently published their recommendations for a legal framework for SDVs, and consulted widely on how to ensure SDVs are made accessible to disabled people as the recommendations were developed. The Commissions’ final recommendations include an advisory panel to guide the issuing of permits for passenger services, which would include representatives for disabled (and older) people. We are considering the Commissions’ final recommendations and will make a formal response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the possibility of having (a) differently-abled and (b) disabled non-drivers involved in the development of driverless cars and their regulation in the UK.

The Department for Transport has ongoing research, analysis and public engagement programmes which seek to understand the opportunities associated with new transport technologies. Examples informing our view on the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles (SDVs) include:

  • 88% of all reported road accidents involved human error as a contributory factor (Reported Road Casualties GB Annual Report 2020), ​SDVs have the potential to make our roads safer by reducing human driver error.
  • The Connected Places Catapult forecast that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7 billion. This could in turn create 38,000 new skilled jobs.
  • A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders study found that 70% of people with disabilities feel their ability to travel how and when they want is restricted. The same survey found that 45% of people with disabilities would be likely to use a SDV today.

In addition, Government is funding world-leading projects to explore how SDVs can improve mobility for an ageing population (in Bristol) and visually impaired people (in Birmingham), including the world’s first 4D tactile display in an automated vehicle. Separately in 2019, Coventry’s Aurrigo partnered with Blind Veterans UK on the world’s first trial of self-driving pods with blind veterans (in Brighton).

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission (‘the Commissions’) recently published their recommendations for a legal framework for SDVs, and consulted widely on how to ensure SDVs are made accessible to disabled people as the recommendations were developed. The Commissions’ final recommendations include an advisory panel to guide the issuing of permits for passenger services, which would include representatives for disabled (and older) people. We are considering the Commissions’ final recommendations and will make a formal response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing self-driving vehicles in the UK.

The Department for Transport has ongoing research, analysis and public engagement programmes which seek to understand the opportunities associated with new transport technologies. Examples informing our view on the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles (SDVs) include:

  • 88% of all reported road accidents involved human error as a contributory factor (Reported Road Casualties GB Annual Report 2020), ​SDVs have the potential to make our roads safer by reducing human driver error.
  • The Connected Places Catapult forecast that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7 billion. This could in turn create 38,000 new skilled jobs.
  • A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders study found that 70% of people with disabilities feel their ability to travel how and when they want is restricted. The same survey found that 45% of people with disabilities would be likely to use a SDV today.

In addition, Government is funding world-leading projects to explore how SDVs can improve mobility for an ageing population (in Bristol) and visually impaired people (in Birmingham), including the world’s first 4D tactile display in an automated vehicle. Separately in 2019, Coventry’s Aurrigo partnered with Blind Veterans UK on the world’s first trial of self-driving pods with blind veterans (in Brighton).

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission (‘the Commissions’) recently published their recommendations for a legal framework for SDVs, and consulted widely on how to ensure SDVs are made accessible to disabled people as the recommendations were developed. The Commissions’ final recommendations include an advisory panel to guide the issuing of permits for passenger services, which would include representatives for disabled (and older) people. We are considering the Commissions’ final recommendations and will make a formal response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the cost of electrifying all railway lines in (a) the North East and (b) England.

As set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the UK Government is committed to achieving a net zero railway by 2050. Achieving that will require a mix of battery trains, hydrogen trains and track electrification, not just wholesale electrification of the currently unelectrified network.

Electrification costs across the country can vary significantly depending on factors that include complexity and topography. We will continue to ensure that new schemes deliver value for money for taxpayers.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing hydrogen-powered trains.

In our Transport Decarbonisation Plan, we have committed to delivering a net zero rail network by 2050, with sustained carbon reductions in rail along the way. To help deliver the government’s net zero commitment, we will electrify most of the network and deploy battery and hydrogen trains on some lines, where it makes economic and operational sense.

The government is supporting the development of battery and hydrogen technology in rail through innovation funding and research. The outcome of this research will inform any assessment of the relevant merits of hydrogen, battery and electrification on the railway. Since the start of 2019, the Department has provided just over £4m of funding through Innovate UK-run First of a Kind competitions for new traction technologies that will help decarbonise the railway. This includes £750,000 to facilitate trials of the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train, HydroFLEX, which was showcased at COP 26.

In addition, Great Western Railway has signed a deal that will see the UK’s first battery-only train enter scheduled passenger service. The trial is supported by £2.15m funding from the Department for Transport's Rail Network Enhancement pipeline (RNEP).

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support disabled passengers on public transport.

The Department is committed to ensuring disabled passengers have the same access to transport as everyone else. We are working to deliver accessibility improvements across all modes of transport, as set out in the 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, 2021 National Disability Strategy and the 2021 Williams-Shapps Rail Review.

Recent initiatives include:

  • Launching the rail Passenger Assist App
  • Revising guidance documents on tactile paving and inclusive mobility
  • Providing funding for a range of initiatives such as Changing Places Toilets and improving accessibility at lifeline ports
  • Partnering with disability charity Scope to develop a Disabled Passenger Charter for buses, coaches, rail, taxis and private hire vehicles.

We also ran the #World of Difference element of the ‘Its Everyone’s Journey’ public awareness campaign to support disabled passengers using public transport, including those with non-visible conditions. We also continue to engage with key stakeholders through the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and Disability Ambassadors for Transport.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to restore previously closed rail lines.

In January 2020 the Government pledged £500 million for the Restoring Your Railway programme to deliver on our manifesto commitment to start reopening lines and stations to reconnect smaller communities, regenerate local economies and improve access to jobs, homes and education. We reopened the Dartmoor Line in November, the first line to be reinstated under the programme, and are supporting over 45 schemes at different stages of development with funding and advice.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to maintain signage for cyclists to ensure their safety.

The Department for Transport sets legislation, in this case the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, prescribing signs for cyclists. The deployment and maintenance of signing for cyclists to ensure their safety is the responsibility of local highway authorities.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to IR35 tax status on the shortage of HGV drivers.

The introduction of changes to the off-payroll working rules announced by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have been delayed until April 2021 to help businesses and individuals deal with the economic impact of COVID-19.

We will maintain a dialogue with the road haulage sector on this issue to assess whether the introduction has an impact on the HGV driver shortage.

22nd Oct 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the introduction of E10 fuel.

The Department consulted on proposals to introduce E10 in 2021.

There is no assessment that identified any Covid-19 impact on that timeline.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that travellers who booked holidays through (a) LoveHolidays and (b) On The Beach prior to the departure of those companies from ABTA have their bookings protected.

All travel agents trading in the UK must have an ATOL License and provide an ATOL certificate for holidays booked, regardless of their country of origin and regardless of ABTA membership. Consumers retain the same legal rights to a refund or a credit note for travel that is no longer possible. Where the travel agents are not liable to offer these, and FCDO guidance has changed, consumers should rely on their travel insurance.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure that travel firms operating out of the UK treat British holidaymakers equitably in the event that the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office advises holidaymakers against non-essential travel to a destination that those holidaymakers had make a booking to prior to that advice being released.

All travel agents trading in the UK must have an ATOL License and provide an ATOL certificate for holidays booked, regardless of their country of origin and regardless of ABTA membership. Consumers retain the same legal rights to a refund or a credit note for travel that is no longer possible. Where the travel agents are not liable to offer these, and FCDO guidance has changed, consumers should rely on their travel insurance.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the introduction of E10 on UK (a) carbon emissions and (b) air pollution.

The document “Introducing E10 Petrol: consultation”, published by the Department in March 2020, notes that a switch to E10 could cut overall transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, if it is combined with an increase to Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) targets. It also noted that we do not expect moving to E10 to deliver significant air quality benefits.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 May 2020 to Question 46196 on Biofuels, when his Department plans to publish its response to the Consultation on the Introduction of E10; and if he will publish that response before the House returns from recess in September 2020.

The Department aims to publish the Government response to our consultation on the introduction of E10, which closed in May, as early as possible this year.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2020 to Question 46196, on Biofuels: Public Consultation, if his Department will publish the (a) responses to the consultation received from the public and (b) the Government's response and next steps before the 2020 summer recess.

As is the normal practice the Department will publish a summary of all responses to the consultation. The Department is working hard to publish this summary, as part of the Government response setting out next steps, as early as possible this year. However, taking into account that the consultation only closed last month it will not possible to publish the Government response before summer recess.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what meetings he has held with and what representations he has received from stakeholders on his Department's consultation on the Introduction of E10; and if he will make a statement on the steps his Department plans to take during that consultation process.

The Department publishes details of ministers’ meetings with external organisations on a quarterly basis and this information is made available on data.gov.uk. The consultation “Introducing E10 petrol”, on proposals to introduce petrol with a higher bioethanol content, closed on 3 May 2020. The Department received responses from a wide range of stakeholders and is analysing the responses at pace. We plan to publish a Government response later this year, summarising the representations made and setting out next steps.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the bioethanol industry.

The Government is in regular contact with companies in the fuel supply chain, including UK bioethanol suppliers, to apprise them of the support available to businesses as part of the response to COVID-19. It is too early to make any formal assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the bioethanol sector but the Department for Transport regularly monitors and reviews the schemes it has in place to support the renewable transport fuels sector to ensure these deliver cost effective carbon savings.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), a certificate trading scheme, is continuing to support a market for renewable fuels, such as bioethanol. The Department is working as flexibly as possible to ensure that renewable transport fuel certificates are issued quickly to improve the cash flow of renewable transport fuels suppliers.

The Department has also just consulted on proposals to introduce petrol with a higher bioethanol content in 2021 and is analysing responses at pace. It is understood that these proposals could potentially provide an economic boost to UK bioethanol producers in addition to wider economic benefits for the UK. Indeed, the UK bioethanol sector has stepped up to the challenge presented by COVID-19, by amending their production procedures to supply ethanol to the cleaning and sanitizer market. The Government is grateful to the producers involved.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the use of E10 fuel on the UK's carbon emissions.

Biofuels, such as ethanol, have a lower impact on net CO2 emissions compared with fossil fuel derived petrol. In the consultation paper “E10 petrol, consumer protection and fuel pump labelling”, the Department noted that using bioethanol in place of fossil fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by around 65% for an equivalent volume of fossil fuel. As a result, increasing the proportion of bioethanol in petrol from 5 to 10% could reduce the CO2 emissions of a vehicle by around 2%. Recently, the Government has made significant progress in relation to policy on E10 and we will publish our response to the previous call for evidence on E10, as well as next steps, as soon as possible.

23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made on increasing the number of disabled people in work by one million between 2017 and 2027.

In 2017 the Government set a goal to see a million more disabled people in employment between 2017 and 2027. The latest figures released for Q1 (January to March) 2022 show that between Q1 2017 and Q1 2022 the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3m – meaning the goal has been met after five years.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people who have moved off Universal Credit and into work as a result of the Way to Work campaign.

As of 22 May, we estimate that at least 347,300 unemployed Universal Credit claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 22 May 2022.

This total figure is composed of our into work measure to the end of April (over 297,500) and our internal management information for up to 22 May (49,800). Figures are rounded to the nearest 100. These numbers will be higher than previously reported as it can take a number of weeks before all movements into work show in the data.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided in the interests of transparency and timeliness.

23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support more women over the age of 50 to return to the workplace.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by women aged 50 and over. Too many women feel forced either to leave work, reduce their hours, or take a step back in their careers because of the menopause. The Government will be responding shortly to the independent report on Menopause and the Workplace, commissioned from employer organisations who take part in the 50PLUS Roundtables, and which set out a series of recommendations for Government and employers. This will also examine the issues of Returners. The group will work collaboratively on a number of key issues outlining the evidence, barriers and recommendations.

The Restart Scheme is being delivered across England and Wales using 12 Contract Package Areas with providers working with employers, local government, and other partners to deliver tailored support for individuals, breaking down employment barriers that could be holding claimants back from finding work.

Alongside this, as part of the £500m Plan for Jobs expansion, we are funding a new enhanced support package for workers over the age of 50 to help them to stay in and return to work. This offer will ensure that older job seekers receive more intensive, tailored support as part of their Universal Credit claim and will give Work Coaches more time to spend with older job seekers who have recently become unemployed.

The 50PLUS Champions network also provides dedicated support to work coaches to enable them to effectively direct suitable support to claimants who are aged 50 and over.

23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help people understand their personal pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is currently introducing several initiatives to assist people in understanding their pensions.

The Stronger Nudge to pensions guidance regulations, coming into force on 01 June 2022, ensure no-one will be able to access their savings through pension freedoms without having received Pension Wise guidance or opted out. As part of this, schemes will offer to book of a Pension Wise appointment for the member as part of the application process, removing the inertia introduced by members having to book their own appointment.

From October this year, new regulations come into force that require defined contribution schemes used for automatic enrolment to send simpler, 2-page maximum, statements to members. These short, simpler statements will give savers the key information they need to be able to better engage with and understand their pensions. They will help people plan for the retirement they want.

DWP published a consultation on the draft regulations for Pensions Dashboards, which closed on 13 March 2022. Following publication of its response, expected this summer, the department will lay regulations for dashboards when parliamentary time allows. Pensions dashboards can help make accessing pensions information easier by empowering people to see what they have in their various pensions, including their State Pension, at the touch of a button on their smartphone, laptop or computer at home. This will put the saver in control and help reconnect people with their lost pension pots, transforming how people think and plan for their retirement.

DWP regulates for trust-based workplace pensions. Individual and other personal pensions within the contract-based market are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the level of fraud and error in the welfare system.

The Fraud Plan, Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System published 19 May 2022, sets out our plans for reducing the level of fraud and error in the welfare system by:

  • Investing in DWPs frontline counter-fraud professionals and data analytics, including recruiting 2,000 trained specialists to review over two million Universal Credit cases.
  • Creating new legal powers to investigate potential fraud and punish fraudsters (subject to legislation).
  • Bringing together the full force of public and private sectors to keep one step ahead.

The full document can be found on Welcome to GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

It sets out how we will invest £613m over the next three years in our frontline counter-fraud professionals and establish a brand-new team of trained specialists to conduct Targeted Case Reviews of Universal Credit claims, which will see us review 2 million cases over the next 5 years. This money represents a 75% increase in funding to combat fraud and error, taking our resourcing to £1.4bn over the next three years.

We estimate this investment will stop £2.0bn of loss in fraud and error during this time.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress her Department has made on the rollout of the Universal Credit programme.

We recently set out our revised approach to moving the remaining 2.6m households on legacy benefits over to Universal Credit by the end of 2024. This is available here: Completing the move to Universal Credit - Completing the move to Universal Credit - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

From 9th May, we started to issue a small number of migration notices in Bolton and Medway to claimants as part of a managed migration discovery exercise. This controlled approach will allow us to learn and iterate as we go so that we carefully build a service that both meets user needs and is sustainable in the longer term.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress her Department has made on allocating the Household Support Fund to local authorities.

Local Authorities have received their allocations from the £421m Household Support Fund extension for April – September 2022, alongside the grant determination and guidance. The allocations for Local Authorities for this period can be found here Household Support Fund (1 April 2022 to 30 September 2022): final guidance for county councils and unitary authorities in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Local Authorities have discretion on exactly how and when this funding is used within the scope set out, based on their assessment of local need. This funding is available now for use by Local Authorities until 30 September 2022.

From October 2022, Government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, bringing the total funding for this support to £1.5 billion. In England £421m will be used to further extend the Household Support Fund (October 2022 – March 2023).

Guidance and individual local authority indicative allocations for this further extension to the Household Support Fund will be announced in due course.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she plans to take to implement the British Sign Language Act 2022.

The British Sign Language Act 2022 gained Royal Assent in April 2022 and does three things:

  • It recognises British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain in its own right;
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to report on the promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language by ministerial departments.
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to issue guidance to ministerial departments on the general promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language across their public communications - such as public announcements, consultations, plans, strategy, social media and press conferences.

A BSL Advisory Board will be established to advise the government on the implementation of the BSL Act from the perspective of those who use BSL. The board will also advise on related matters such as how to increase the number of BSL interpreters. This board is a key first step in implementation of the Act, and it is anticipated that recruitment for the board will begin soon, with the first board meeting to be held in the Autumn.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many exempt accommodation premises there are in Stockton.

Providing the requested information would incur disproportionate costs to the Department.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many exempt accommodation premises there are in (a) Stockton, (b) Darlington, (c) Middlesbrough, (d) Redcar and (e) Hartlepool.

Providing the requested information would incur disproportionate costs to the Department.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department records instances of a person's National Insurance Number being used as a payment reference on benefits statements as a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation; and what steps her Department is taking to protect people's data.

The Department does not record instances of a person’s National Insurance Number (NINO) being used as a payment reference on benefits statement as a breach of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). DWP provide banks with a reference up to 18 characters which for most DWP Benefits incorporates the NINO. The Department is aware that banks use the information in the exact format provided to them by DWP, but ultimately how much of it appears on the customer’s statement is the responsibility of the bank.

It is also important to note that the use of the NINO in this way does not breach the Data Protection Act as customers are made aware on the claim forms that their NINO may be shown on bank / building society account statements when payments are made.

The Department takes the security of citizen data very seriously and its strategy is to treat it as an asset. We continue to embed data protection and security by design – ensuring we hold ourselves to the highest security and protection standards. The Department has a suite of security policies, supported by real time risk-based controls, procedures and education and awareness products to protect customer data from inappropriate access or disclosure to unauthorised third parties.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Plan For Jobs in supporting people into work.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 114984.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the progress of the Kickstart Scheme.

As of the 31st January 2022, over 130,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people and over 235,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply to through the scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout and after its implementation and will continue to evaluate the longer-term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month jobs.

Jobs made available and starts quoted here include some unfunded Kickstart jobs.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps work coaches are taking to get people who have been out of work for an extended period back into work.

DWP offers significant support to unemployed people across Great Britain to access employment opportunities through our network of Jobcentres. Our Work Coaches engage with claimants on the basis of their individual need to provide support on finding a job, help with retraining or skills advice, job applications and access to the new vacancies, as well as signposting to our Jobhelp website.

Through our Plan for Jobs, the Department is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers. Currently, support includes the Kickstart scheme, Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP), Job Entry Targeted Support and Restart. The Restart Scheme supports individuals who have been unemployed for at least 9 months and through regular, personalised support, providers work with participants to identify the best way to support them into sustained employment.

In addition, the Work and Heath Programme, and Intensive Personalised Employment Support, is available to support to support disabled people and people with long term health conditions, to enter and stay in work.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the progress of the work of Armed Forces Champions in job centres.

DWP’s network of 50 Armed Forces Champions and 11 Group Leads provide vital support to veterans and other members of the armed forces community, including providing additional help to get veterans in to work. Since the new model was introduced in April 2021 it has been well received by stakeholders.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on her consultation on Disability Workforce Reporting.

The consultation on disability workforce reporting for large employers, which is being led by the Disability Unit based in the Cabinet Office, was launched on 16 December 2021 and will close on 25 March 2022. The consultation is available at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/disability-workforce-reporting

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her priorities are for the next six months of the National Disability Strategy.

The National Disability Strategy (NDS), published in July 2021, sets out a wide range of tangible actions that will impact across the everyday lives of disabled people. From housing to transport, education to leisure and justice, to challenging the unhelpful perceptions of others. Delivery of the policies in the strategy is progressing well.

For example, DfE has invested over £8 billion in 2021/2022 on children and young people with complex needs, improving outcomes for disabled children. DWP is piloting an Adjustments Passport supporting disabled people in the transition to employment, and BEIS launched an online advice hub offering accessible information and advice on employment rights for disabled people.

Priorities over the next 6 months will be to continue to deliver on the commitments in the NDS and reporting on progress as we have previously committed to do.

In addition, this government is supporting the successful delivery of the British Sign Language Private Members Bill through the House of Commons and Lords to ​​recognise British Sign Language (BSL) as a language of Great Britain, with ultimately the objective of increasing access to BSL interpretation.

Alongside recognising British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain, we will:

  • establish a non-statutory advisory board of British Sign Language users to advise the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on BSL guidance
  • examine how to increase the number of British Sign Language interpreters
  • review the Access to Work scheme, which funds workplace adjustments, to ensure users of British Sign Language receive the support they need

I am committed to delivering the government’s aim to address the challenges faced by disabled people so that we continue to build back better, and fairer, for disabled people.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have been auto-enrolled in workplace pensions in Stockton South constituency since 2012.

Since 2012, 8,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and 1,460 employers have declared compliance.

This data is published by The Pensions Regulator each month:
https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support disabled people into the workforce.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in employment. These include the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, the Work and Health Programme, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advisers in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services.

Last year we published three major documents: Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper; the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation on minimising the risk of ill-health related job loss; and the National Disability Strategy. These together form our holistic approach and vision for supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to live independent lives.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has had discussions with people who are (a) receiving personal independence payments and (b) over the age of 65 on the provision of mobility vehicles.

Our Health and Disability Green Paper Shaping Future Support included a section on disabled people’s mobility needs, inviting people to share their views on whether the Department met their mobility needs. In the 18 months prior to the formal launch of the consultation, we ran a significant stakeholder engagement programme to ensure that the views of disabled people and their representatives shaped the content of the consultation. This saw MPs from across the political spectrum host organisations and individuals from their own constituencies.

We are currently reviewing over 4,500 responses from individuals, charities and other organisations who took part in the consultation, and will respond with a White Paper next year.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what formula her Department used to determine the funding given to each local authority from the Household Support Fund.

The government has allocated the Household Support Fund according to the population of each local authority, weighted by a function of the English Index of Multiple Deprivation. Taking account of deprivation, as well as population, reflects the fact that the scheme is aimed at vulnerable families and individuals who may struggle to afford the cost of essentials over the Winter.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have enrolled on the Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland, broken down by region, since its inception; and how many of those people have gained employment as a result of that programme.

Up to the end of April 2021 there have been 94,560 starts on the Job Entry: Targeted Support (JETS) scheme in England and Wales (launched 5 October 2020) and 3,795 starts on JETS Scotland (launched 25 January 2021).

By region:

JETS England & Wales

Total Starts

Central

9,790

North East

26,615

North West

8,470

Southern

12,925

Home Counties

8,630

Greater Manchester

6,160

Central London

5,415

West London

2,610

South London

2,305

Local London

6,315

Wales

5,325

Total England & Wales

94,560

JETS Scotland

3,795

Total

98,360

So far there have been 12,665 job outcomes in England and Wales, and 160 job outcomes for JETS Scotland (a job outcome is defined as when an individual achieves £1000 cumulative earnings within eight months of starting).

By region:

JETS England & Wales

Total employment Outcomes

Central

1,160

North East

3,600

North West

1,430

Southern

1,760

Home Counties

1,090

Greater Manchester

915

Central London

570

West London

360

South London

325

Local London

680

Wales

770

Total England & Wales

12,665

JETS Scotland

160

Total

12,825

It should be noted that JETS provides support for up to six months and many people who have started on the scheme will not yet have had time to achieve a job outcome.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart scheme jobs have been approved nationally to date.

As of the 6th May 2021, there are over 200,000 jobs approved on the Kickstart Scheme.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart scheme jobs have been (a) made available for young people to apply to and (b) started, (i) nationally, (ii) by region and (iii) by sector.

As of the 6th May 2021, over 108,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply for through the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Kickstart Scheme. This includes over 20,000 jobs started by young people.

There have been over 200,000 jobs approved by the scheme.

We are unable at present to provide data on the number of approved jobs by region, as at that stage in the process we do not hold information about the exact location of a job, only the head office of the employer. We do hold regional information on jobs made available for young people to apply for and for placements started, which is provided below.

The tables below show these figures split by location and sector, the data presented has been rounded according to DWP statistical rounding convention. Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Location

Jobs Advertised

Total Jobs Started

East Midlands

7,270

1,120

East of England

8,240

1,320

London

22,740

4,500

North East

4,560

960

North West

13,560

2,840

Scotland

7,540

1,770

South East

12,320

2,350

South West

7,670

1,440

Wales

6,020

1,000

West Midlands

10,030

1,850

Yorkshire and The Humber

8,310

1,580

Figures may not add up to provided totals due to rounding. 1,000 non-grant funded jobs are included in Jobs Advertised but not included under Jobs Started. Total jobs started includes those which have been completed or ended early.

Sector

Jobs Advertised

Total Jobs Started

Administration

27,950

5,370

Animal Care

480

160

Beauty & Wellbeing

740

150

Business & Finance

4,040

750

Computing, Technology & Digital

8,490

2,110

Construction & Trades

3,600

700

Creative & Media

8,420

2,180

Delivery & Storage

3,320

670

Emergency & Uniform Services

230

10

Engineering & Maintenance

3,900

470

Environment & Land

2,140

360

Government Services

290

30

Healthcare

4,360

570

Home Services

800

80

Hospitality & Food

7,530

1,030

Law & Legal

260

90

Managerial

830

120

Manufacturing

2,650

600

Retail & Sales

17,120

3,680

Science & Research

450

80

Social Care

2,880

270

Sports & Leisure

2,350

410

Teaching & Education

4,720

760

Transport

400

40

Travel & Tourism

310

40

Figures may not add up to provided totals due to rounding. 1,000 non-grant funded jobs are included in Jobs Advertised but not included under Jobs Started. Total jobs started includes those which have been completed or ended early.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what types of businesses will be able to access equity from pension funds under the new pension reforms; and what steps she plans to take to reach a decision on how much of a pension fund can be released for investment in businesses.

The government are committed to ensuring both that pension funds have the opportunities to invest in UK businesses as we build back better, and that this process is made easier and simpler. We believe this will benefit both individual pension scheme members and the wider UK economy.

Private equity and venture capital, including releasing equity to new and innovative British businesses, already can and does form part of a pension scheme’s investment strategy. Trustees are currently free to make these types of investments if they believe the balance of risk and return to be in the best interest of members.

Over the past 6 months, DWP has made real efforts to respond to trustees and make this process simpler and easier: DWP has published two consultations relating to this issue. Improving outcomes for members of defined contribution pension schemes: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-outcomes-for-members-of-defined-contribution-pension-schemes and, Incorporating performance fees within the charge cap: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/incorporating-performance-fees-within-the-charge-cap

The proposals included allowing schemes to smooth the incurrence of performance fees over multiple years to allow schemes greater flexibility to innovate their investment strategy whilst maintaining the important member protection that is the charge cap. We intend to bring forward regulations which seek to make investment in a wider range of assets easier for defined contribution schemes.

Through the consultation we also gathered evidence on the specific question of steps the Government can take to better enable these types of investments. The consultation closed on April 16th and we will publish a response in June.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to undertake a consultation on how pension rules will be reformed to allow funds to be used to make equity offerings for businesses.

The government are committed to ensuring both that pension funds have the opportunities to invest in UK businesses as we build back better, and that this process is made easier and simpler. We believe this will benefit both individual pension scheme members and the wider UK economy.

Private equity and venture capital, including releasing equity to new and innovative British businesses, already can and does form part of a pension scheme’s investment strategy. Trustees are currently free to make these types of investments if they believe the balance of risk and return to be in the best interest of members.

Over the past 6 months, DWP has made real efforts to respond to trustees and make this process simpler and easier: DWP has published two consultations relating to this issue. Improving outcomes for members of defined contribution pension schemes: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-outcomes-for-members-of-defined-contribution-pension-schemes and, Incorporating performance fees within the charge cap: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/incorporating-performance-fees-within-the-charge-cap

The proposals included allowing schemes to smooth the incurrence of performance fees over multiple years to allow schemes greater flexibility to innovate their investment strategy whilst maintaining the important member protection that is the charge cap. We intend to bring forward regulations which seek to make investment in a wider range of assets easier for defined contribution schemes.

Through the consultation we also gathered evidence on the specific question of steps the Government can take to better enable these types of investments. The consultation closed on April 16th and we will publish a response in June.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2021
What support her Department is providing to help people find new jobs during the covid-19 lockdown.

My Department has taken significant steps to ensure jobseekers continue to get the help they need throughout the pandemic. As well as recruiting thousands of new Work Coaches, our employment support programmes, including Job Finding Support and SWAPs offer both online and - when necessary and appropriate - face-to-face support in line with the latest guidance.

In addition, as part of the DWP Estates Expansion and Renewal Programme my Hon.Friend will already be aware that we have secured new premises for a JobCentre Plus in Stockton.

16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the provision of mental health support available for veterans.

NHS England has several bespoke services and initiatives to meet the needs of the armed forces community. This includes Op COURAGE and the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, which provides a mental health care pathway for veterans. Veterans benefit from personalised care plans and access to support and treatment. There have been over 20,000 referrals to Op COURAGE and in 2021, we committed an additional £2.7 million to further expand the service over the next three years. In addition, the Veterans Strategy Action Plan was published in January 2022, which aims to improve veterans’ health and wellbeing.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the efforts to (a) improve cancer services across the NHS and (b) find a lasting cure for cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to improve cancer services to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed at Stage 1 and 2 to 75% by 2028. This aims to ensure that an additional 55,000 people each year will survive cancer for at least five years after their diagnosis. We are currently analysing the responses submitted through the call for evidence to develop the 10 Year Cancer Plan, which will be published later this year. The Plan will provide further detail on how we will improve cancer services.

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). In 2020/21, the NIHR’s expenditure on cancer research was £73.5 million. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including treatments for cancer, and encourages researchers to submit high-quality research proposals in this area.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support patients with rare diseases.

The 2021 UK Rare Diseases Framework set out four priorities for improving the lives of people living with rare diseases: helping patients receive a faster final diagnosis; increasing awareness of rare diseases among healthcare professionals; better coordination of care; and improving access to specialist care, treatments and drugs. Each United Kingdom nation has committed to publishing an action plan by the end of 2022, outlining how the Framework will be implemented. England’s Rare Diseases Action Plan was published on 28 February 2022. The Plan was developed with partners across the health system and the rare disease community, setting out 16 actions for the four priorities. A second annual Action Plan will be published in 2023 to report on progress and proposing updated and new actions.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Ukrainians arriving in the UK are able to access healthcare services.

The Government has waived the Immigration Health Surcharge for those arriving in the United Kingdom on the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme and the Ukrainian Family Visa Scheme to ensure all Ukrainian nationals have free access to healthcare. The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement and other Government Departments to ensure that Ukrainian nationals are signposted to registering with general practitioners.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of fluoridation on children’s oral health.

The Department recently published ‘Water fluoridation: health monitoring report for England 2022’ which assessed the impact of water fluoridation on children’s oral health. The report found that in areas with a fluoridation scheme in place, five year olds were less likely to experience tooth decay and children and young people were less likely to be admitted to hospital to have decayed teeth removed than in areas without a scheme. These effects were seen at all levels of deprivation with children and young people in the most deprived areas benefitting the most. In the most deprived 20% of areas, the risk of experiencing tooth decay was found to be 25% lower in areas with a fluoridation scheme than in areas without.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of hormone replacement therapy for women.

We remain committed to reducing the cost of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions for those women who are not already exempt from prescription charges.

We will achieve this through an annual prescription prepayment certificate for HRT, which is due to be implemented from April 2023. This certificate will allow individuals to access the annual licensed HRT treatments they require for the cost of two single prescription items at £18.70.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on recruiting 50,000 nurses.

The latest available date shows that in January 2022, there are approximately 29,100 more nurses compared to September 2019. A programme has been established to improve retention and support return to practice, invest in and diversify the training pipeline and ethically recruit internationally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to maximise NHS capacity.

The National Health Service is expanding the use of virtual wards to safely care for patients at home and the use of independent sector capacity. Patient discharges are being maximised, including the provision of updated hospital discharge guidance for local areas.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ is investing £8 billion in the recovery of elective services over the next three years. We are allocating £2.3 billion to increase the number of community diagnostic centres to 160 by March 2025 and £1.5 billion to support elective recovery, including the ongoing deployment of surgical hubs. This will deliver the equivalent of approximately nine million more checks, scans and procedures and 30% more elective activity by 2024/25.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to expand the delivery of personalised healthcare.

The Department has committed to increasing personalisation and patient choice, with the aim of four million people benefiting from personalised care by March 2024. The My Planned Care platform has been launched to provide personalised information on waiting times by specialty and region. We are also ensuring patients are consistently offered choice on their own care at the point of referral and to patients with the longest waiting times through a national hub model. Perioperative care co-ordination teams have been established to develop personalised plans.

In 2019, the Personalised Care Group published the action plan ‘Universal Personalised Care: Implementing the Comprehensive Model’, which brings together six components: personal health budgets; personalised care and support; enabling choice; social prescribing and community-based support; supported self-management; and shared decision making.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the backlog in elective care following the covid-19 outbreak.

In February 2022, the National Health Service published ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ which sets out how the NHS will recover and expand elective services over the next three years. We are investing more than £8 billion for elective care from 2022 to 2025, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund made available to systems in 2021 to increase elective activity and tackle long waiting lists. This funding aims to deliver the equivalent of approximately nine million more checks, scans and procedures and by 2024/25, deliver 30% more elective activity compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The 2021 Spending Review announced a further £5.9 billion to support the recovery of elective services, diagnostics and technology. This includes £2.3 billion to establish 160 community diagnostic centres by 2025 to provide additional capacity for clinical tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and computerised tomography scans.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to provide medical support to Ukraine.

The Government has donated more than 5.2 million medical items to Ukraine, including 380,000 packs of vital medicines, 220,000 wound packs and intensive care equipment.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for business costs of temporarily suspending regulations on products high in fat, salt and sugar.

The impact assessments for restricting promotions and further advertising restrictions for products high in fat, salt or sugar show a positive net present value for each policy, showing that the health benefits outweigh the costs to business and the Government. Any pause to the regulations would delay the health benefits we expect these policies to deliver.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken in response to the Independent Hospital Food Review, published in October 2020, to enable easier access by NHS staff to more nutritious food.

A three-year plan ‘Great Food, Good Health’, led by NHS England and NHS Improvement, is implementing the remaining recommendations from the Hospital Food Review. NHS England and NHS Improvement have established an expert group of clinicians, dieticians and caterers and revised NHS Food and Drink Standards have been developed. The Standards will reflect that there should be an improved consistency of healthy and nutritious, hot and cold food and drink, 24 hours a day in healthcare sites and how this could be provided.

The Health and Care Bill includes a clause which permits the adoption of secondary legislation to implement national standards for food and drink in National Health Service hospitals.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to extend the roll out of the HPV vaccine to those aged up to 16 years old.

Girls and women born after 1 September 1991 and boys born after 1 September 2006 are already eligible for the vaccine until the age of 25 years old and can access a ‘catch-up’ vaccination through their general practitioner.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is for people seeking a diagnosis of autism; and what steps the Government plans to take to (a) reduce that time and (b) ensure that children can access care for autism.

It is not possible at present to calculate an average waiting time for an autism diagnosis. The current autism diagnosis waiting times data collection and reporting by NHS Digital is experimental and focuses on the percentage of people receiving a first appointment for an autism assessment within a given timeframe. The latest data release in December 2021 suggests that in Quarter 1 2021/22, 12% of reported referrals for suspected autism had a first appointment recorded within the recommended 13 weeks.

To tackle waiting times for an autism diagnosis, we are investing £13 million in 2021/22. Of this, NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided £7 million to local areas to test and implement timely, quality autism diagnosis and post-diagnosis pathways for children and young people.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to change covid-19 restrictions for visitors within hospitals.

Providers are expected to facilitate visits wherever possible and to do so in a way which manages infection risks. Visiting policies are ordinarily at the discretion of National Health Service trusts and other NHS bodies to make an assessment based on the local prevalence of COVID-19 and the specific design of facilities. National guidance encourages providers to actively find ways to ensure visiting can take place. NHS England keeps this guidance under regular review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of what will constitute a meal deal for the purposes of the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations.

Offers commonly referred to as 'meal deals' or "dine in for two", are out of scope of volume price promotion restrictions, where foods are promoted as intending to be consumed together.

The "relevant special offer" definition provided in the Regulations deals with meal deals (which may include items of specified food) which are generally targeted as lunch options for adults to consume on the go that day or "dine in for 2" type offers that are reducing the cost of "complete" meals for multiple people, rather than being stockpiled at home; and they aim to reduce the cost of a single meal.

The Regulations refer to these offers as a "relevant special offer" which means an offer of a discounted price is permitted for multiple items promoted as intended to be consumed together as, or as part of, a single meal by one person or by two or more people together (as, for example, in “meal deal” or “dine in for two” offers). However, all specified food, whether part of a meal deal or not, cannot be placed in restricted locations.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, when his Department plans to update and publish the nutrient profile model (NPM) technical guidance so that companies can accurately calculate the NPM scores; and whether his Department plans to provide a standardised online calculator for that matter.

The Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM) Technical Guidance can be used by companies to calculate the NPM values of their products accurately. The Department continues to have conversations with stakeholders on the NPM Technical Guidance in advance of the location and volume promotions regulations coming into force in October 2022. We recognise that industry want a tool to assist compliance and are looking into more ways to support businesses and enforcement bodies to calculate NPM scores.

The NPM 2004/5 Technical Guidance is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216094/dh_123492.pdf

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt regulations, where liability will sit for products on online delivery platforms.

Retailers who are qualifying businesses are responsible for ensuring any contracts in place with an online delivery platform make clear that the law must be followed. They must also ensure that the products they sell are compliant with the location and price promotion restrictions on these types of platforms, where they remain responsible for this food being offered for sale.

Although retailers are responsible for the sale of their products online, online aggregators may also have such a responsibility. This could arise for example, when aggregators advertise, promote or facilitate the sale of products on behalf of a trader. A court will consider each case on its facts when considering if the actions of online delivery platforms and aggregators have led or contributed to a breach of the Regulations.

In areas where both the new online advertising and promotions restrictions may overlap, for example if a company has paid for advertising of an identifiable high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) product displayed in an area restricted under the promotions regulations (such as on a retail home page, check-out page or page not intentionally opened by the consumer), the retailer or aggregator will be liable for the breach of promotions Regulations. It is also possible that the frontline regulator of the advertising restrictions may also find the advertiser liable in breach of advertising Regulations. However, as liability differs between the restrictions, we do not anticipate a scenario where an individual will be sanctioned twice for a single breach.

The promotion Regulations act independently of the existing CAP codes. If a piece of content is in scope of the promotions restrictions and potentially in breach of the UK Advertising Codes and this comes to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority then it will refer the matter to the relevant enforcement authorities. Compliance with the promotions Regulations takes precedence over the non-statutory UK Advertising Codes.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high far, salt and sugar products regulations, how the online promotion rules will interplay with the (a) new online advertising rules and (b) existing CAP codes.

Retailers who are qualifying businesses are responsible for ensuring any contracts in place with an online delivery platform make clear that the law must be followed. They must also ensure that the products they sell are compliant with the location and price promotion restrictions on these types of platforms, where they remain responsible for this food being offered for sale.

Although retailers are responsible for the sale of their products online, online aggregators may also have such a responsibility. This could arise for example, when aggregators advertise, promote or facilitate the sale of products on behalf of a trader. A court will consider each case on its facts when considering if the actions of online delivery platforms and aggregators have led or contributed to a breach of the Regulations.

In areas where both the new online advertising and promotions restrictions may overlap, for example if a company has paid for advertising of an identifiable high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) product displayed in an area restricted under the promotions regulations (such as on a retail home page, check-out page or page not intentionally opened by the consumer), the retailer or aggregator will be liable for the breach of promotions Regulations. It is also possible that the frontline regulator of the advertising restrictions may also find the advertiser liable in breach of advertising Regulations. However, as liability differs between the restrictions, we do not anticipate a scenario where an individual will be sanctioned twice for a single breach.

The promotion Regulations act independently of the existing CAP codes. If a piece of content is in scope of the promotions restrictions and potentially in breach of the UK Advertising Codes and this comes to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority then it will refer the matter to the relevant enforcement authorities. Compliance with the promotions Regulations takes precedence over the non-statutory UK Advertising Codes.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, what the definition of a customer route through store is; and whether that definition affects the inclusion of end of aisles.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, what the definition is an aisle for the purpose of in aisle exemption within 2m of a designated queuing area and within 2m of a checkout facility.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, whether HFSS products are permitted to be displayed where a premise has a dedicated exit.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, what the definition is of covered external areas in regard to store entrances and the entrance space calculation.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, whether seating areas are planned to count towards relevant floor space calculations.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt products regulations, how concessions are being determined; and what the definition of primary responsibility of a concession in store is.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt regulations, whether enforcement of those regulations will be led by (a) Trading Standards, (b) Environmental Health Officers or (c) both.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the size of a business for the purpose of new High Fat, Sugar and Salt guidelines refers to number of employees in that business in (a) England, (b) the UK or (c) globally.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of further clarifying whether non-specified product formats are in or out of scope of the regulations.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations and the determination of the size of a business, whether the number of employees includes those registered within England, the UK or globally.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, whether retailers will have an additional sell-through period for products with on pack promotions past October 2023.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, whether those regulations only apply to businesses registered in England or to all businesses selling food and delivering in England.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to regulations on high fat, salt and sugar products, what the definition of a specialist retailer is.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the funding announced in the Spending Review 2021 will be allocated to training new staff for key cancer professions.

Following the outcome of the Spending Review 2021, spending plans for individual budgets for 2022/23 to 2024/25 inclusive, including for training the cancer workforce, will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 vaccine requirements for staff in healthcare environments on levels of staffing in dentistry.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for York Central (Rachael Maskell MP) on 18 January 2022 to Question 100611.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure patients are able to access NHS dentists; and what progress has been made on ensuring a full return to face-to-face GP appointments.

An additional £50 million in funding for National Health Service (NHS) dentistry has been made available for the remainder of the financial year to give more patients access to dental care and help tackle the dental backlog. The available appointments will be targeted first at those most in need of urgent dental treatment, vulnerable groups and children.

The Department continues to work closely with NHS England to maximise the number of patients that can be seen safely in dental practices, with an expectation set for NHS dental practices that they will deliver 85% of their contracted activity in quarter four 2021/22.

General Practices (GPs) have remained open throughout the pandemic, offering face to face appointments. They have been asked to prioritise vaccinations and emergency care until the end of the booster campaign We expect patients to experience the same high quality of care regardless of how they access their GP surgery.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that care home visitations are able to take place (a) in a safe manner and (b) with minimal restrictions to residents or their families in the context of the spread of the omicron covid-19 variant.

We expect care homes to ask visitors to take steps including booking appointments, taking a test on the day of their visit, wearing a mask throughout the visit and washing their hands thoroughly on arrival. This is in addition to having received COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster doses, when invited. Care homes are asked to develop a dynamic risk assessment for how visits are managed, including consideration of infection prevention and control measures and ventilation.

All care home residents are able to nominate an essential care giver, who can visit during a COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, residents can nominate up to three visitors for regular visits inside the care home, including in residents’ rooms, and additional measures have been put in place to protect residents and staff from incursion of infection following visits out of the care home, such as increased testing.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all walk-in covid-19 vaccine centres are adequately supplied with covid-19 vaccine doses; and what steps he is taking to ensure that appointments are not required at those centres.

All sites, including walk in COVID-19 vaccination centres, order their own vaccine supply via the online National Health Service (NHS) Foundry ordering platform in-line with anticipated supply requirements for the week ahead.

Orders are placed against the maximum limitations set by NHS systems and regions to ensure that there is an equitable split of vaccines across each region in England and to avoid oversupply. Where supply is required above maximum limitations, this can be requested and approved. Orders are then approved at a system and regional level before being processed by the national team for distribution.

The national team can also choose to push stock out, but this would only be for a short period, and as an exception in response to a significant change in Government policy, such as the Omicron booster surge currently in place.

We are working across the devolved administrations to ensure the vaccine programme is rolled out as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) leads on the supply management function of the COVID-19 vaccine programme. Each devolved Government receives regular supply updates from the VTF and are updated as soon as new schedules are available.

Appointments are not required at walk-in COVID-19 vaccination centres.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that delivery of day two covid-19 PCR tests are not affected by the disruption to postal services over the Christmas period.

For day two polymerase chain reaction tests, the UK Health Security Agency worked with delivery partners to ensure that this service was available over the Christmas period. Contingency plans were also in place to cope with any adverse weather conditions. Where tests are purchased from private test providers, the delivery of the service, including appropriate logistics and contingency planning around disruption, is the responsibility of the private provider.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support those with severe trypanophobia accessing the covid-19 vaccine; and what steps he is taking to support exemptions for that group.

COVID-19 vaccinators have received appropriate training to make sure individuals attending a vaccination appointment feel safe. NHS England and NHS Improvement recommend that individuals with a needle phobia contact the vaccination centre prior to attendance, to determine what mitigations they have for such patients and if any special arrangements could be made to help the recipient feel more comfortable.

Individuals can apply for a medical exemption by calling the NHS COVID Pass service on 119. The possible reasons for exemptions are limited, such as severe allergies to all currently available vaccines. Clinical judgement will then be used to determine whether an individual is exempt from vaccination or not.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce ambulance waiting times.

National Health Service ambulance trusts are being supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement to reduce ambulance waiting times. This includes through monitoring and support through the National Ambulance Coordination Centre and an extra £55 million to increase staff numbers ahead of the winter, to recruit more 999 call handlers and clinicians to work in control rooms and frontline staffing capacity.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of (a) people with learning disabilities and (b) autistic people detained in inpatient mental health hospitals in England.

In 2021/22, we are investing more than £90 million for community support and to facilitate the discharge of people with a learning disability and autistic people.

The cross-Government Building the Right Support Delivery Board is responsible for progress in reducing the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in mental health inpatient settings, through oversight of relevant activities and by commissioning specific workstreams. The Board is overseeing development of an Action Plan, which will complement the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to achieve at least a 50% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people who are inpatients in mental health hospitals by 2023/24.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate international travel for British citizens resident in European countries that are administering only one dose of a two-dose vaccination programme to those who have previously been infected by covid-19.

British citizens resident in European countries will be eligible to use the European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate if they have been vaccinated in that country. Some EU Member States issue a certificate for individuals with one dose of a vaccine and recent recovery from COVID-19. However, at the United Kingdom border, we can only accept a full course of vaccination as meeting the definition of fully vaccinated and therefore exempting a traveller from self-isolation and reduced testing. This is based on the higher levels of health protection offered from a full course of vaccination and advice from public health experts.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce rates of stillbirth and neonatal deaths and (b) address racial inequalities in stillbirths and neonatal deaths; and if his Department will launch an inquiry into the rates of stillbirth and neonatal death among Asian and Asian British babies.

The Department has funded the National Health Service to implement a range of initiatives to reduce stillbirths and neonatal rates, including the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle which standardises five evidence-based elements of care demonstrated to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths; reducing smoking in pregnancy; risk assessment, prevention and surveillance of pregnancies at risk of fetal growth restriction; raising awareness of reduced fetal movement; effective fetal monitoring during labour and reducing pre-term birth. There has been a 25% reduction in the stillbirth rate and a 29% reduction in the neonatal mortality rate for babies born after 24 weeks gestation since 2010.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘Equity and Equality: Guidance for Local Maternity Systems’ on 6 September. This guidance asks Local Maternity Systems (LMS) to produce an analysis on health outcomes by 30 November 2021 and an action plan for mothers and babies from minority ethnic and other backgrounds. The guidance is supported by £6.8 million for LMS to implement these plans and targeted and enhanced continuity of carer. LMS are being asked to include four interventions to prevent avoidable deaths of babies in their action plans:

- targeted and enhanced continuity of carer for 75% of women from black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups by 2024 and additional midwifery time to support women from the most deprived areas;

- smoke-free pregnancy pathways for mothers and their partners;

- breastfeeding strategies to improve breastfeeding rates for women living in the most deprived areas; and

- culturally-sensitive genetics services for consanguineous couples.

A confidential enquiry into perinatal deaths of Black/Black British babies is currently being undertaken by the MBRRACE-UK Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme. The Department has no current plans to concurrently establish an inquiry into the rates of stillbirth and neonatal deaths among Asian and Asian British babies.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to introduce PSA blood tests to detect and help prevent prostate cancer in line with action already taken out during chemotherapy sessions.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for men over the age of 50 years old is already available through general practitioner (GP) surgeries as part of the prostate cancer risk management programme. Tests can be arranged through the National Health Service for men aged 50 years old and over who decide to have their PSA levels tested after consultation with their GP.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what research his Department (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on myeloma in 2018-19; at what cost to the public purse; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of research on myeloma in each of the next three financial years.

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The following table shows research commissioned by the NIHR into myeloma cancer in 2018-19.

Award title

Total award budget

Improving the monitoring and treatment of multiple myeloma patients by comparing cellular and serological markers of minimal residual disease

£211,519

A research evaluation into myeloma cancer in 2018-19 is not available in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The following table shows estimated costs for research projects into myeloma in 2021/22 and 2022/23.

Year

2021/22

2022/23

Total expenditure

£251,547

£89,254

The estimates for 2023/24 onwards are not currently available as forecast spend is based on payments for contracted project awards. We expect to receive fundable applications within the next two years. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including myeloma. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR do not allocate funding for specific disease areas.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's timetable is for the implementation of the dementia moonshot.

The Government is committed to supporting research into dementia and to delivering a moonshot. Later in 2021, we will bring forward a new dementia strategy to set out our plans for dementia research, care, support and awareness in England for future years.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has change the NHS target for dentistry contracts announced on 1 January 2021 during the 2021 England national covid-19 lockdown.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have set a 45% dental activity target. This target is based upon clinical advice and modelling from the office of the Chief Dental Officer and has taken into consideration robust adherence to infection prevention and control guidance and social distancing requirements. Furthermore, data on the percentages of activity dental practices have achieved to date supports the view that the target can be safely attainable.

NHS commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate and the reinstatement of shielding during the national lockdown. There are currently no plans to review or change the unit of dental activity targets for January to March 2021.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure covid-19 vaccine targets will be met.

By 15 February we aim to have offered a first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) as follows:

- all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers;

- everyone over the age of 70 years old;

- all frontline health and social care workers; and

- those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

As of 29 January, over 7 million of the most vulnerable people in the United Kingdom had received their first jab and there are now over 2,700 sites across the UK offering vaccines to those at risk by age and clinical priority. In England, 96% of the population is within 10 miles of a vaccine service and by the end of January, everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination service. In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department provides to parents of children told to self-isolate for fourteen days as a result of another person in their class bubble testing positive for covid-19.

Where someone needs to self-isolate because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been exposed to the virus through close recent contact with someone who has tested positive, NHS Test and Trace helps to make sure that they or, in the case of children, their parents or guardians know how to access local support through their local authority.

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme, developed by NHS England in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service, is also available to help support people in England who need it, including those who are self-isolating. NHS Volunteer Responders carry out simple, one-off non-medical tasks to support people who need help, for instance in accessing essentials.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients with pancreatic cancer receive treatment as quickly as possible.

Increasing the number of cancers that are diagnosed earlier is a top priority for the National Health Service. The NHS Long Term Plan sets an ambition to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028, up from the current rate of just over 50%. To achieve this ambition, we will need to improve the stage of diagnosis for all cancers, including pancreatic cancer.

To deliver on this ambition, NHS England and NHS Improvement are setting up Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs) which bring together diagnostic equipment and expertise to streamline diagnostic services for cancer. RDCs are focusing on cancers that generate non-specific symptoms and are harder to diagnose, such as pancreatic cancer.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

In 2017, Public Health England (PHE) ran a Be Clear on Cancer pilot campaign in the East and West Midlands which focussed on a range of abdominal symptoms, such as diarrhoea, bloating and discomfort that can be indicative of several cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Further information on the pilot is available at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/16-be-clear-on-cancer/Abdominal%20Symptoms%20Regional%20Pilot

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the safety of face-to-face GP surgery appointments as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

On 1 August the Government changed the National Health Service incident level from Level 4 (national) to Level 3 (regional) due to the COVID-19 demand on the NHS, after the Chief Medical Officers and the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre downgraded the United Kingdom’s overall COVID-19 alert level in June. As a result, on 31 August NHS England and NHS Improvement issued guidance stating that general practitioner (GP) practices must offer face-to-face appointments at surgeries and continue to use remote triage, video, online and telephone consultations where appropriate – whilst also considering those unable to access or engage with digital services.

The Government and the devolved administrations have published clear guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment for health and social care workers, including GPs. This has been written and reviewed by all four UK public health bodies and informed by NHS infection prevention and control experts. The guidance is consistent with World Health Organization guidance for protecting health and social care workers from COVID-19 and should allow the safe recommencement of regular face-to-face GP appointments.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people (a) with mental health issues and (b) who have not been able to access that support during the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time. NHS community, talking therapies and children and young people’s services have deployed innovative digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support.

We have previously issued tailored guidance to help people deal with their mental health and wellbeing on GOV.UK and are promoting this through the ‘Every Mind Matters’ website. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS mental health providers have established all-age 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines.

As part of wider NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance concerning the restoration of non-COVID-19 services, mental health services have been asked to proactively review all patients on community mental health teams’ caseloads and increase therapeutic activity and supportive interventions to prevent relapse or escalation of mental health needs for people with severe mental illness in the community.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP surgeries have offered online video appointments since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak.

Data provided by NHSX, based on information received from suppliers indicates that 6,369 general practices in England, or 94% of the total, had video consultation capabilities as at 11 May 2020.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether there has been a change in the price of medicines and drugs for the NHS and pharmacists since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access and the statutory scheme for branded medicines.

For unbranded generic medicines the Department relies on competition to keep prices down. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. In an international market this ensures that when demand is high and supply is low, prices in the United Kingdom can increase to help secure the availability of medicines for UK patients.

We continuously monitor overall movements in changes in prices of medicines through various methods including data from suppliers using the provisions in the Health Service Products (Provision and Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2018. However, it is too early to assess the full financial impact on the National Health Service and pharmacies in light of COVID-19.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of financial sanctions imposed by the Government on the Russian regime following the invasion of Ukraine.

We have now sanctioned over 1000 individuals, and over 100 businesses since Putin's invasion of Ukraine. This includes oligarchs worth £117 billion. We have also implemented freezes on 18 of Russia's major banks with global assets worth £940 billion. In conjunction with our partners, we have supported the removal seven banks from SWIFT and frozen over 60% of Russian Central Bank reserves, worth £275 billion.

The full effects of our sanctions will take time to materialise, but these targeted measures are severely restricting Russia's access to finance. They also make it harder for Russia to source imports from around the world, which have fallen by 40% since the invasion, resulting in disruption to Russia's supply chains. Russia is heading for the deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union, deeper than the 2008 global financial crisis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of diplomatic British support for Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy has stated that the only way to halt the war is through diplomacy. The UK supports this view and Ukraine's desire for a just negotiated outcome that ensures a full Russian withdrawal, respects Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and deters Russia from future aggression. The UK calls upon Russia to halt its illegal war and to engage in genuine and meaningful negotiations. The Foreign Secretary continues to lead the diplomatic effort, regularly meeting and speaking with Foreign Minister counterparts, including the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, G7 and NATO Foreign Ministers.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on support for Ukraine.

The Foreign Secretary continues to ensure the UK is playing a leading role in driving the international response to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, regularly meeting and speaking with Foreign Minister counterparts, including the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, G7 Foreign Ministers and NATO Foreign Ministers. In particular, we are working with international partners to support Ukraine across a range of areas, including military, economic, and humanitarian. We will continue to support the Ukrainian government in the face of this assault on their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps she is taking to help support preparations for the rebuilding of Ukraine.

The UK is fully behind Ukraine's vision for rebuilding a sovereign, prosperous, democratic nation that is stronger than before Putin's invasion. The Ukrainian Government has established a National Recovery Council, which will develop its National Recovery Plan, to be announced at the Ukraine Recovery Conference at Lugano, Switzerland, 4-5 July. We are working with the Council to develop our support. We will be guided by Ukraine's priorities in harnessing the best of UK development, business and civil society capabilities in support of its recovery and reconstruction. The UK's total financial support for Ukraine so far stands at some $3.6 billion, including military, humanitarian and fiscal support.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to provide finance to (a) low- and (b) middle-income countries.

As set out in the recently published International Development Strategy, we will allocate aid where it is most needed and effective, use aid to bring in more money to development, and amplify this with the ideas that cost little but go far.

The majority of our Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be channelled towards low-income countries where there is a clear commitment to progress. These countries are the least able to finance their development through taxes, borrowing or investment. We will continue to support the global goal of providing at least 0.2% of our Gross National Income (GNI) to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

We will work more with Middle-Income Countries (MICs) who are central to the achievement of global commitments. In these contexts, we will bring together investment, trade, expertise, technology, science and diplomacy to drive long term reform and change, working in partnership with host governments and citizens. We will draw on ODA only as necessary in MICs.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help support the human rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

We continue to make clear to mainland Chinese and Hong Kong authorities our strong opposition to the National Security Law, which is being used to curtail freedoms, punish dissent and shrink the space for opposition, free press and civil society.

On 7 February, we and Media Freedom Coalition partners issued a statement calling out the Hong Kong authorities' suppression of human rights, freedom of speech and free flow and exchange of opinions and information that further undermine confidence in Hong Kong's international reputation.

As set out in the latest Six-Monthly Report published on the 31 March, the UK will continue to speak out when China breaches its legally binding agreements and when it breaks its promises to the people of Hong Kong. We urge China to honour their international commitments, including the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her G7 counterparts on strengthening European security.

The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs maintains regular contact with her G7 counterparts. In the past month, she has had discussions on strengthening European security with foreign ministers from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs. On 7 April, she attended the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting with her G7 counterparts to discuss the response to Russia's war against Ukraine.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Foreign Secretary continues to lead the diplomatic effort, regularly meeting and speaking with Foreign Minister counterparts, including the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, G7 Foreign Ministers and NATO Foreign Ministers.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps her Department is taking to support Ukraine.

The Foreign Secretary continues to lead the diplomatic effort, regularly meeting and speaking with Foreign Minister counterparts, including the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, G7 Foreign Ministers and NATO Foreign Ministers.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help safeguard democracy across eastern Europe.

The UK will defend democracy at the frontier of freedom in Eastern and Central Europe as part of a Network of Liberty. We are strengthening our partnerships in the region, including on trade and technology and supporting transparent, accountable political processes through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, OSCE and other institutions. On 7 April, the Foreign Secretary met with NATO Foreign Ministers and affirmed our commitment to defend and deter threats to alliance members in Eastern and Central Europe.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to strengthen the UK’s economic and security relationship with India.

In May last year, the UK and India committed to strengthening our relationship through a new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and a 2030 Roadmap which, comprising five pillars and more than 100 lines of activity, reflects the breadth of UK-India relations. Our economic and security relationship is set to grow further still following visits to India by the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister in March and April, which deepened trade and defence cooperation.

During the Foreign Secretary's visit to India on 31 March, she discussed, with India's Minister of External Affairs Dr Jaishankar, the importance of democracies working together to deter aggressors and strengthen global security in the wake of the ongoing conflict and humanitarian situation in Ukraine. The visit also focussed on deepening defence-related trade and co-operation between our two countries. The Foreign Secretary also visited Delhi and Mumbai on 22-23 October 2021, where discussions focused on technology and infrastructure cooperation with India, alongside forging stronger UK-India security and defence links. The Prime Minister's visit to India in April focused on the UK and India's strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership, and drove forward progress on the Free Trade Agreement negotiations launched earlier this year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support women and girls in Afghanistan.

The Government is committed upholding the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan; educated, empowered women will contribute to economic development as well as peace and stability. We continue to raise rights of women and girls in our political engagement with the Taliban. We have made clear our condemnation of the Taliban's 23 March decision not to re-open girls secondary schools, including through statements from the G7+, women foreign ministers and the UN Security Council, and we continue to press the Taliban to ensure that women play a full, equal role in national life.

As the Foreign Secretary said on 31 March, at least 50% of those we reach with our aid should be women and girls. The Foreign Secretary has announced £286 million of aid for Afghanistan this financial year and we are funding child protection support and supporting access to gender-based violence services. Ministers and officials regularly meet Afghan women to discuss our support; most recently, on 24 March Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia, held a roundtable with a diverse group of Afghan women leaders.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy.

We have implemented the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen. Sanctions imposed by the UK and its international partners are having deep and damaging consequences for Putin's ability to wage war, with £275 billion - 60% of Russian foreign currency reserves - currently frozen. It is estimated that Russia's GDP will fall by between 8.5 and 15 per cent.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department plans to take steps to ensure the safety and protection of Aiden Aslin, also known as CossackGundi or Johnny, a British citizen and Ukrainian marine, recently captured following the fall of Mariupol.

We are aware of the detention of two British nationals, including Aiden Aslin, who have been fighting as part of the Ukraine Armed Forces. We are in contact with their families to support them. The UK Government condemns the exploitation of prisoners of war for political purposes and calls on the Kremlin to treat all prisoners of war humanely, in accordance with the requirements of international humanitarian law. All members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are entitled to be treated as prisoners of war in line with the Geneva Convention.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) unilateral and (b) multilateral steps the Government is taking to reduce tensions on the Poland-Belarus border.

As the Foreign Secretary wrote on 14 November, the situation at the Polish border marks the latest step by the Lukashenko regime to undermine regional security. He is using desperate migrants as pawns in his bid to create instability and to cling on to power regardless of the human cost. We have made clear to the Belarusian authorities, including through their Ambassador to the UK, that this harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop. We were pleased to send a small team of personnel to provide engineering support to ease pressure at the border. The Foreign Secretary discussed the situation with her Polish counterpart on 16 November, reiterating the UK's support and solidarity with Poland. We continue to work closely with international partners, including through the OSCE, NATO and the G7.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
26th Oct 2021
What recent assessment she has made of the human rights situation in Kashmir.

We recognise there are human rights concerns in both India-administered-Kashmir and Pakistan-administered-Kashmir and have raised these concerns with both governments. The continued use of some temporary restrictions is worrying: we are clear on the importance of rights being respected. The UK welcomes reports that some detainees have been released and calls for all remaining political detainees to be released. The UK condemns recent killings of civilians in Kashmir.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) political and (b) human rights situation in Kashmir.

It is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution on Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. We recognise that there are human rights concerns in both India-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. We encourage all states to ensure domestic laws are in line with international standards. Any allegation of human rights violation or abuse is deeply concerning and must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently. We are in regular contact with the governments of India and Pakistan, with whom we discuss Kashmir.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial services sector to increase its competitiveness.

In his Mansion House statement in July 2021, the Chancellor set out the Government’s vision for an open, competitive, green, and technologically advanced financial services sector.

A sweeping set of reforms to sharpen the UK’s competitive advantage in financial services is already underway. As set out in the Queen's Speech on 10 May, the upcoming Financial Services and Markets Bill will deliver on these commitments by implementing the outcomes of the Future Regulatory Framework (FRF) Review as well as a series of important initiatives underpinning the Government’s ambitious vision for the financial services sector.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress he has made towards making the UK an attractive place for cryptocurrency companies to operate.

The Government set out at Fintech Week our firm ambition to make Britain a global hub for cryptoasset technology and investment. The Government wants to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country. And the Government has announced a number of reforms which will see the regulation and aspects of tax treatment of cryptoassets evolve – our clear message to cryptoasset firms is that the UK is open for business.

These include committing to consult on a future regulatory regime later this year; legislating to bring stablecoins into payments regulation; setting up a ministerial-chaired Cryptoasset Engagement Group, bringing together key figures in industry; working with the Royal Mint to create a Non-Fungible Token; and exploring ways of enhancing the competitiveness of the UK tax system to encourage further development of the cryptoasset market in the UK.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he plans to take to help UK businesses maintain effective supply chains.

Many economies around the world are currently facing supply chain disruptions. This is due to a combination of global factors, including the strong recovery from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The Government understands the pressure that this is placing on UK businesses, and we are in regular contact with business groups and suppliers about the challenges they are facing.

Where problems are global in nature, we will work with international partners to maintain effective supply chains and build greater resilience into trade networks. And in extraordinary circumstances, Government has helped domestically. For example, we have supported the haulage industry through HGV driver shortages and eased pressures on the movement of goods into and out of the UK. This package of support includes £32.5m support for improved lorry park facilities, to aid with retention in the sector.

However, we should also recognise that Government intervention is often not the solution to supply chain issues. Where supply faces constraints government spending can merely add further to price pressures rather than resolve then. Furthermore, businesses should not be perpetually reliant on taxpayer support and should adjust their business models in response to market pressures. For example, in the case of HGV drivers, better pay and conditions are required in the long-term and the private sector has a role to deliver this.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the rise in the cost of living, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of business rate reform.

The Government concluded the review of the business rates system and published their final report as part of Autumn Budget 2021. The Review set out significant new measures, worth £7 billion over the next 5 years, to reduce the burden of business rates on firms, including a freeze in the multiplier, new support for improvements and green technology, and further relief for high street businesses. The Government are also committing to more frequent revaluations, which represents fundamental reform of the system, and will ensure that liabilities are more responsive to changing market conditions.

The announcements made at Autumn Budget 2021 build on over £16 billion of business rates support already provided to the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors throughout the pandemic, including a business rates holiday for 2020-21 and a scheme worth £6 billion in 2021-22.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to tackle the flow of Russian money and assets through the UK economy.

Money obtained through corruption or criminality, including that linked to Russia is not welcome in the UK, and the Government is taking concerted action to combat the threat of illicit finance from source to destination.

In recent years, the Government published a landmark public-private partnership Economic Crime Plan. The Plan outlines a comprehensive national response to economic crime and sets out 52 actions being taken by both the public and private sectors to ensure the UK cannot be abused for economic crime. The private and public sector is making measurable progress in delivering the Economic Crime Plan and are on course to deliver 49 of the 52 actions set out in the Plan.

The Government is also bringing forward significant investment to tackle economic crime; the combination of last year’s Spending Review settlement and private sector contributions through the Economic Crime (AML) Levy will provide economic crime funding totalling around £400 million over the next three years.

Most recently, following the Prime Minister’s announcement in February, the Government has brought forward the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act to crack down further on dirty money and corrupt elites in the UK. The Act:

  • Introduces a “Register of Overseas Entities Beneficial Ownership of UK property” to tackle foreign criminals using UK property to launder money.
  • Reforms our Unexplained Wealth Orders regime, to remove key barriers and help target more corrupt elites.
  • Strengthens the Treasury’s ability to take action against sanctions breaches.

This is not all. The Government is working at pace to introduce a new dedicated Kleptocracy cell in the National Crime Agency. This will grow operational capability to combat serious and organised crime targeting corrupt elites through their hidden UK assets hidden; targeting the professional enablers of these corrupt elites; and supporting cross-government sanctions delivery and enforcement.

Finally, the Government has announced published details of further upcoming legislation to clamp down on money-laundering and illicit finance. This will include fundamental reform of Companies House, enhanced information sharing powers and new powers to seize crypto assets finance.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate the Government has made of the relative cost of production for (a) wine, (b) beer, (c) cider and (d) spirits.

The Treasury considers production costs complex to estimate, as different businesses will have different business models, impacting production costs. Officials have received data from some stakeholders who have chosen to share this information, however given the commercial sensitivity of it, the Government is not in a position to share it publicly.

A consultation on the alcohol duty review ran from 27 October to 30 January, and the Treasury is now in the process of analysing responses. We will continue to monitor the economic impact of our reforms, and welcome feedback from stakeholders on this point.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made in levelling up all regions of the UK.

The Government published its Levelling Up White Paper earlier this month. It sets out our missions as part of a decade long plan to see the potential of every corner of the United Kingdom fulfilled.

It builds on the funding allocated at the Spending Review, for example boosting investment in skills training with a total of £3.8 billion in skills by 2024-25, transforming local transport networks with £5.7 billion investment in five-year consolidated transport settlements for eight city regions in England, including Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region, and supporting local infrastructure through the first round of the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which saw 12 places in the North West receive £232 million in funding.

It also provides further detail on the £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund, helping people to access new opportunities in places in need.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to encourage regional growth across the UK.

The Government published its Levelling Up White Paper earlier this month. It sets out our missions as part of a decade long plan to see the potential of every corner of the United Kingdom fulfilled.

Encouraging regional growth is a key part of our ambition to level up opportunities right across the UK. The Levelling Up White Paper builds on funding allocated at the Spending Review, including ensuring small and medium sized enterprises across the UK can access the finance they need including through British Business Bank programme such as the Start Up Loans scheme and the Regional Angels Fund, and launching the new £1.4bn Global Britain Investment Fund to ensure that economic opportunities are spread more evenly across the UK by supporting investment in the UK’s life sciences, offshore wind and automotive manufacturing sectors.

To improve infrastructure for everyday life, the Spending Review also announced the first 105 places to receive support for regeneration from the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, alongside unprecedented investment of £5.7bn in five-year consolidated transport settlements for eight city regions.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial services sector’s competitiveness.

In his Mansion House statement last July, the Chancellor set out the Government’s vision for an open, competitive, green, and technologically advanced financial services sector.

A sweeping set of reforms to sharpen the UK’s competitive advantage in financial services is already underway. In November, the Government published the second consultation in its Future Regulatory Framework Review. This provides a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that, having left the EU, the UK establishes a coherent, agile, and internationally respected approach to financial services regulation that is right for the UK.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to increase wages and support the lowest-income households.

The National Living Wage is increasing by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 and over in April 2022, which will benefit more than 2 million workers. This means an increase of over £1,000 to the annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage and keeps us on track to our target to end low pay by 2024-25.

We have taken further decisive action to make work pay by cutting the Universal Credit taper rate from 63p to 55p and increasing Universal Credit work allowances by £500 per annum. Taken together, this is a tax cut worth around £1,000 a year for around two million low paid households.

The Government recently announced the ‘Way to Work’ campaign to get 500,000 jobseekers into jobs by the end of June. We know work is the best way for people to get on, to improve their lives and support their families because people on benefits are at least £6,000 better off in full time work.

Through the Plan for Jobs, the Government is also investing £99m in a new In Work Progression offer from April 2022, which will mean more people in work on Universal Credit will be able to access individualised Work Coach support to help them progress and increase their earnings.

The Government is also committed to helping low-income families with the cost of living, including providing £500m for a Household Support Fund to help vulnerable households with costs for essentials such as food, clothing and utilities over the Winter.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to encourage businesses to invest.

Under the super-deduction, from April 2021 until the end of March 2023, companies can claim a 130% capital allowance on qualifying plant and machinery investments. It is the biggest two-year business tax cut in modern British history.

At Budget, the Government announced that the temporary £1 million Annual Investment Allowance level would be extended until the end of March 2023.

These measures provide more upfront support to help businesses across the UK invest and grow.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to help the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

In December, Government announced a £1bn package of support for businesses impacted by the Omicron variant. This included grants worth up to £6,000 for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

These measures are just the latest action we have taken to safeguard businesses and jobs and are in addition to:

  • business rates relief meaning that the majority of businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will see a 75% reduction in their business rates bill across the entire financial year and a new 50% capped business rates relief next financial year;
  • a 12.5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism;
  • access to finance for SMEs through the Recovery Loan Scheme to June; and
  • Bounce Back Loan repayment flexibility, with borrowers having the option to take a 6 month repayment holiday, three 6 month interest only periods or extend their loan to 10 years, which almost halves the monthly payment.

Thanks to the Government’s decisive action to implement balanced and proportionate measures in response to the Omicron variant, Cabinet has decided to return to Plan A in England. This means the economy will get back to operating freely and businesses can recover more quickly.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support public services.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer that I gave on 3 February to the Hon Member for Crewe and Nantwich: UIN 114989.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to manage the public finances effectively.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer that I gave on 3 February to the Hon Member for Crewe and Nantwich: UIN 114988.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made on supporting people to upskill and change career paths.

The Treasury is working to support people to upskill and change career paths.

At the Spending Review, young people and adults benefitted from the biggest long-term settlement for post-16 education in England since 2015. The government is investing a total over the Parliament of £3.8bn in skills by 2024-25, equivalent to a cash increase of 42% (26% in real terms) compared to 2019-20.

Spending Review 2021 delivered on the government’s commitment to invest an additional £500m per annum (£2.5bn total) in adult skills through the National Skills Fund, including continuing to offer free Level 3 courses for adults aged over 19 in high value subjects. This substantially boosts retraining opportunities for adults and will level up basic skills.

We are also quadrupling the current annual scale of skills bootcamps over the SR period. Employers work with providers to deliver short courses to develop occupational skills, with participants guaranteed a job interview on completion. Bootcamps offer an opportunity for all adults to reskill and change career paths.

SR21 also announced ‘Multiply’ – the Government’s new programme to level up adult numeracy. £560m across the SR period will give people the opportunity to develop their numeracy skills, funded from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Local areas will be allocated funding to deliver interventions from a menu of options including: delivering flexible Functional Skills courses to fit around adults’ lives; supporting adult to build their confidence with numbers; working with employers to deliver innovative workplace-based numeracy programmes. Getting numeracy skills is one of the most valuable things we can do to help people get on: getting Level 2 numeracy increases wages by an average of 14% after seven years, compared to 4% for Level 2 literacy.

Apprenticeships are the government’s premier in-work training offer, providing learners of all ages and at all stages of their careers the opportunity to learn new skills, retrain or upskill. There are over 640 high-quality apprenticeship standards available at levels 2 (GCSE equivalent) to 7 (Master’s degree equivalent), including in ‘in demand’ sectors such as logistics, digital, and health and social care, allowing learners to both build on existing learning and explore new career directions. Higher-level apprenticeships can be an important stepping-stone to achieving these aims. Spending Review 2021 announced the first increase to apprenticeship funding since 2019, with funding rising to £2.7bn by 2024-25.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made on supporting young people into high-skilled jobs.

The Treasury is working to support young people into high-skilled jobs.

Spending Review 2021 delivered the biggest long-term settlement for post-16 education in England since 2015. It delivered on the government’s commitment to invest an additional £500m per annum (£2.5bn total) in adult skills through the National Skills Fund, including continuing to offer free Level 3 courses for adults aged over 19 in high value subjects, quadrupling the current annual scale of skills bootcamps and delivering 24,000 traineeships for 16-24-year-olds a year.

These actions will help young people access high-quality training suitable to their needs and career goals.

For 16-19 education, Spending Review 2021 doubles the investment we made through Spending Reviews 2019 and 2020, giving young people more money for the high value subjects that matter most for their future careers. In addition, we have invested further in T Levels, which offer young people the opportunity to experience a mix of classroom learning and on-the-job training via an industry placement.

Apprenticeships are the government’s premier in-work training offer, providing learners of all ages and at all stages of their careers the opportunity to learn new skills, retrain or upskill. In academic year 2020/21, almost 50% of apprenticeship starts were by under 25s. Spending Review 2021 announced the first increase to apprenticeship funding since 2019, with funding rising to £2.7bn by 2024-25.

In addition to this Government’s support for post-16 education and apprenticeships, over 122,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people across Great Britain. Kickstart gives young people the chance to build their confidence and skills in the workplace, and to gain experience that will improve their chances of finding long-term, sustainable work. As well as Kickstart, DWP’s Youth Offer provides a guaranteed foundation of support to young people on Universal Credit in the Intensive Work Search group, ensuring they can access the right support, education or training to support their work and career ambitions.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on businesses of the increase in the business rates multiplier in England since 1990.

The business rates multiplier was frozen in 2021-22. Additionally, at Autumn Budget 2021, the Chancellor announced the decision to freeze the multiplier for 2022-23, a tax cut worth £4.6 billion over the next 5 years. This will support all ratepayers, large and small, meaning bills are 3 per cent lower than without the freeze.

A restaurant chain with 400 restaurants with a rateable value of £45,000 each will receive support worth around £1,350,000, or 3 per cent of their rates liability over the next 5 years.

Cutting the standard business rates multiplier to their 1990 levels of 35p in 2022-23 would cost an estimated £9 billion annually, with costs rising every year to over £11 billion per year by 2030. A cut of 1p to the multiplier in 2022-23 would cost around £600 million.

The revenue forgone for a cut of this scale would be highly significant. For instance, £10 billion of revenue is equivalent to around 20 per cent of 2021-22 local government Core Spending Power. Raising the equivalent funding elsewhere in the tax system would require an increase of around 1.5 percentage points to the standard rate of VAT.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the cost of the downwards phasing of business rates transitional relief on retail businesses since the last revaluation in 2017.

At Autumn Budget 2021, the Government announced a one-year extension to Transitional Relief, restricting bill increases to 15 per cent for small properties (up to £20k Rateable Values (RVs)) and 25 per cent for medium properties (up to £100,000 RVs), subject to subsidy control limits.

The Government recognises that Transitional Relief arrangements, particularly ‘downward caps’, can mean some bills take longer to reach their new level. These ‘downward caps’ pay for protection for businesses seeing large increases in their bills.

The extension of Transitional Relief and the Supporting Small Business Scheme in 2022-23 for small and medium businesses will save businesses an estimated £30 million, protecting small businesses from significant bill increases.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to help make insurance coverage more accessible to low-income households.

The Government wants to ensure that people, regardless of their background or income, have access to useful and affordable financial products and services.

There are wider initiatives that low-income households will benefit from when accessing insurance. For example, from 1 January 2022, new FCA rules for home and motor insurance will require insurers to offer renewing customers a price that is no higher than they would pay as a new customer.

Additionally, since 2012, the Government has engaged in a voluntary signposting agreement with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) for motor and travel insurance. Where an insurer or insurance broker cannot offer cover due to upper age limits on their policies, it will refer the customer to another insurer who can provide cover, or an appropriate signposting service.

The Government also continues to engage closely with the sector, including the insurtech sector, on products available in the market to ensure that consumers can benefit from a wide range of products suited to their needs.

8th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what (a) retail, (b) hospitality and (c) leisure properties will be eligible for the temporary business rates relief as announced in the Autumn Budget 2021.

Guidance setting out eligibility for the 2022-23 retail, hospitality and leisure relief will be published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in due course.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what heat networks will be eligible for the 100 per cent business rates relief as announced in the Autumn Budget 2021.

Further details on the eligibility for the improvement relief, heat networks relief, and green plant and machinery exemptions will be set out in a technical consultation later this year.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plant and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation and storage will be eligible for the targeted business rate exemptions as announced in the Autumn Budget 2021.

Further details on the eligibility for the improvement relief, heat networks relief, and green plant and machinery exemptions will be set out in a technical consultation later this year.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what rateable value-increasing improvements to existing properties will be eligible for the 100 per cent improvement relief, as announced in the Autumn Budget 2021.

Further details on the eligibility for the improvement relief, heat networks relief, and green plant and machinery exemptions will be set out in a technical consultation later this year.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the procedures by which the UK Infrastructure Bank will be allocated the £12 billion of equity and debt capital.

The Government published further details on the design of the UK Infrastructure Bank alongside Budget in March. This can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/policy-design-of-the-uk-infrastructure-bank.

In total, the Bank will have £22 billion of financial capacity to deliver on its objectives:

  • £5 billion will be made available as equity from HM Treasury
  • the Bank will also be able to borrow up to £7 billion from a government credit facility administered by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and also private markets.
  • of its £12 billion of equity and debt capital, £4 billion will be allocated to local authority lending, providing a significant commitment to this wing of its operations
  • the Bank will have initial authority to issue up to £10 billion of guarantees, as the Bank takes on responsibility for the UK Guarantee Scheme, with more available subject to review

The Bank will have significant flexibility as to when it draws down its equity capital and be able to borrow up to £1.5bn a year. The Government will publish a framework document ahead of the Bank’s launch, setting out further details on governance and the relationship with government.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plant and machinery will qualify for the super-deduction.

All new main rate plant and machinery is eligible for the super-deduction, save assets purchased for leasing. HM Treasury have published more detail in the super-deduction factsheet, available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/967202/Super_deduction_factsheet.pdf.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether indoor cleaning companies will be given financial compensation for bookings that have been cancelled due to covid-19 restrictions.

The Government recognises the disruption that the necessary restrictions to protect public health have had on businesses across the UK. That is why we have provided one of the most comprehensive packages of support globally.

Indoor cleaning companies and other businesses who cannot trade or have suffered reduced demand can access the government backed loan schemes, which are open until 31 March 2021, and both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme remain open until the 30 April 2021. The Government has also provided a total of £1.6 billion of discretionary funding to local authorities in England to enable them to provide grants to local businesses who have been affected by restrictions.

The Government is continuing to collect evidence on the impact of the pandemic on businesses to ensure the support provided is appropriate.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support the hospitality sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government understands that this is a very challenging time for the UK’s hospitality sector and night-time businesses, and recognises that the hospitality sector has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Throughout the crisis the Government’s priority has been to protect lives and livelihoods. The Government is delivering support to this sector and these businesses through:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which has supported 1.4 million jobs across the hospitality sector and has been extended until the end of April 2021.
  • Cash grants of up to £3,000 for businesses forced to close. In addition, the Government has announced one-off top up grants worth £4 billion for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property. The Government expect over 600,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure business premises in England to benefit from these grants. Previously, the Small Business Grant Fund; Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund; and the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund all provided around a million business properties with over £11.6 billion worth of grants.
  • Local Authorities (in England) have been given an additional £500 million of discretionary funding to support their local businesses. This builds on the £1.1 billion discretionary funding which local authorities in England have already received to support their local economies and help businesses impacted.
  • An additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ who missed out on business during the busy Christmas period.
  • A VAT deferral ‘New Payment Scheme’ whereby businesses which deferred their VAT due between March and June until March 2021 will have the option of making 11 payments spread throughout the year rather than one lump sum.
  • Access to affordable, Government-backed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBLS) for larger firms, along with the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises.
  • A reduced rate of VAT (5 per cent) to goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sectors.
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England, saving around 350,000 ratepayers a combined £10 billion.

The Government is continuing to collect evidence on the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality industry and work with businesses and representative groups to ensure that support provided is right for this industry and the economy as a whole.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to help reduce the recreational use and abuse of nitrous oxide.

The Government takes the supply of substances for their psychoactive effect seriously. There are legitimate uses for nitrous oxide, such as in medicine, dentistry and as a propellant for whipped cream canisters, but those who supply nitrous oxide who know, or who are reckless as to whether, it will be used for its psychoactive effect may be subject to a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

On 3 September, the Government asked the independent statutory advisory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, to provide an updated assessment of the harms of nitrous oxide, including whether it should be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The ACMD is independent of Government and provides a broad range of recommendations, including advice on legislative changes. The Government will consider the ACMD’s advice carefully before deciding how to proceed.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she Department has taken to help control the sale of nitrous oxide.

The Government takes the supply of substances for their psychoactive effect seriously. There are legitimate uses for nitrous oxide, such as in medicine, dentistry and as a propellant for whipped cream canisters, but those who supply nitrous oxide who know, or who are reckless as to whether, it will be used for its psychoactive effect may be subject to a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

On 3 September, the Government asked the independent statutory advisory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, to provide an updated assessment of the harms of nitrous oxide, including whether it should be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The ACMD is independent of Government and provides a broad range of recommendations, including advice on legislative changes. The Government will consider the ACMD’s advice carefully before deciding how to proceed.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the of the impact of retail-related crime on the mental health of victims.

We recognise the significant and long-lasting impact retail crime can have on its victims. We are continuing to work closely with the retail sector and the police through the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to ensure the response to retail crime is as robust as it can be. We are also working closely with the police-led National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) to understand the crimes affecting businesses, including the retail sector, and help ensure businesses and police are working effectively together to tackle crime.

The NRCSG has been working with retailers to develop resources to make it easier for employers to report crimes and provide appropriate support to employees who are victims of these crimes, in particular violence and abuse towards shop workers. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle the level of retail-related crime.

We recognise the significant and long-lasting impact retail crime can have on its victims. We are continuing to work closely with the retail sector and the police through the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to ensure the response to retail crime is as robust as it can be. We are also working closely with the police-led National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) to understand the crimes affecting businesses, including the retail sector, and help ensure businesses and police are working effectively together to tackle crime.

The NRCSG has been working with retailers to develop resources to make it easier for employers to report crimes and provide appropriate support to employees who are victims of these crimes, in particular violence and abuse towards shop workers. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to facilitate the deportation of foreign criminals.

The Government is clear foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.

We make every effort to ensure that a Foreign National Offender’s (FNO) removal by deportation coincides, as far as possible, with their release from prison on completion of sentence. Since January 2019 we have removed 8,441 FNOs and since April 2020, we have utilised over 99 charter flights to deport FNOs and other immigration offenders to countries across Europe and around the rest of the world.

The Home Office operates the Facilitated Return Scheme (FRS) which offers non-European Economic Area FNOs the opportunity to volunteer to return to their country of origin early. From 1 April 2021, this has been extended to allow more FNOs to benefit from reintegration support which will lead to an increase in take up and the speedier removal of FNOs accepted onto the scheme, including any immediate qualifying family members.

Our New Plan for Immigration will make it easier to remove foreign criminals and those with no right to be in the UK and keep our citizens safe. The Nationality and Borders Bill will extend the period an FNO can be removed from prison under the early removal scheme (ERS) from a maximum of 9 months to 12 months, providing the minimum requisite period has been served. The Bill will also streamline the appeals process by introducing an expanded one stop process aimed at reducing the extent to which people can frustrate removals through sequential or unmeritorious claims, appeals or legal action. The Bill will also create a new power to impose visa penalties on countries who do not cooperate with the UK on the removal of their nationals who do not have a right to be in the UK.

Further information can be found in the New Plan for Immigration Policy Statement and the factsheet Nationality and Borders Bill: - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help reduce incidents of antisocial behaviour.

The Government is committed to tackling and preventing anti-social behaviour (ASB). We know the serious impact that ASB has on both individuals and communities.

We have provided the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to all forms of ASB through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. These powers are deliberately local in nature, and it is for local agencies to determine whether their use is appropriate in the specific circumstances.

In January of this year, the Home Office updated statutory guidance to support local agencies to make effective use of these powers. In July the Beating Crime Plan laid out the Government’s plan for tackling crime and its commitment to working with local agencies and partners to drive down anti-social behaviour using the full range of powers and tools in the 2014 Act.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to further tackle the misuse of nitrous oxide.

The Government takes the supply of substances for their psychoactive effect very seriously. There are legitimate uses for nitrous oxide, such as in medicine, dentistry and as a propellant for whipped cream canisters, but those who supply nitrous oxide who know, or who are reckless as to whether, it will be used for its psychoactive effect may be subject to a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. On 3 September, the Government asked the independent statutory advisory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, to provide an updated assessment of the harms of nitrous oxide and the adequacy of controls.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many cases of assaults against pharmacists were reported in each region in each of the last six months.

The Home Office collects data relating to violence against retail staff within the ‘Commercial Victimisation Survey’ (CVS) but the latest estimates are from the 2018 CVS. This includes information on assaults and threats experienced by staff working in Wholesale and Retail premises, but these figures cannot be broken down specifically for pharmacists.

The Government recognises the damaging impact that crime can have on victims, businesses, and the wider community. Pharmacies provide vital services to our communities and it is important that they should be free to trade without fear of crime or disorder, particularly in these unprecedented times. I am working closely with the police and industry to continue to monitor these types of incidents during this challenging period.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the number of British troops deployed as part of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence.

In order to strengthen NATO's deterrence and defence posture, increase interoperability with our Allies, and reinforce our bilateral relationships, the UK has played a leading role in NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) since its inception, acting as framework nation in Estonia, and contributing to the US-led deployment in Poland. As part of the UK's multi-domain and coordinated response to Russia's unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, the Prime Minister announced last month that, alongside other deployments in support of Allies, the UK would temporarily double its presence in Estonia to brigade strength. The Ministry of Defence keeps the UK's defence posture under constant review.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of including in armed forces urban training environments (a) high rise buildings, (b) multi-story car parks and (c) other features found in modern cities to represent the modern operating environment.

The Army has various interventions in place to assist them in adapting to fight in an urban environment. For several years now, the Army has been conducting the Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) on an annual basis, which is an established series of exercises and wargames, focussing specifically on operating in the urban environment.

In April 2022, the Army is introducing the Experimentation and Trials Group (ETG) which will comprise of a headquarters, a next generation combat team and five trials and development units. Informed by a comprehensive training needs analysis, the ETG will include an urban centre of excellence with a small team dedicated to urban warfare trials and experiments.

The Army also utilises a Unit Based Virtual Trainer (UBVT) which is able to recreate complex urban environments, including the infrastructure mentioned within your question. The software is built around commercial gaming software and replicates, in detail, all of the Army's platforms and weapons.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to help improve the ability of the Army to fight effectively in urban environments.

The Army has various interventions in place to assist them in adapting to fight in an urban environment. For several years now, the Army has been conducting the Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) on an annual basis, which is an established series of exercises and wargames, focussing specifically on operating in the urban environment.

In April 2022, the Army is introducing the Experimentation and Trials Group (ETG) which will comprise of a headquarters, a next generation combat team and five trials and development units. Informed by a comprehensive training needs analysis, the ETG will include an urban centre of excellence with a small team dedicated to urban warfare trials and experiments.

The Army also utilises a Unit Based Virtual Trainer (UBVT) which is able to recreate complex urban environments, including the infrastructure mentioned within your question. The software is built around commercial gaming software and replicates, in detail, all of the Army's platforms and weapons.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he has taken to increase the number of deployable divisions in the Army.

The British Army has two deployable divisions: 1st (UK) Division and 3rd (UK) Division. Whilst there are no plans to increase the number of deployable divisions in the British Army, under the Future Soldier programme the Army will modernise the divisions to ensure they are fit for purpose to counter the threats of today and the future.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent progress he has made the AJAX armoured fighting vehicle programme.

The Department continues to work with General Dynamics to identify solutions to the noise and vibration problems on Ajax vehicles.

Trials and testing of modifications proposed by General Dynamics to resolve these issues are ongoing. The data from these trials will then need to be analysed to determine whether the proposed modifications are effective.

I will update the House on these results in due course.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of whether changes to the nutritional content of ration packs provided to the armed forces are required.

Defence recognises that good nutrition is fundamental to the health, wellbeing, and operational effectiveness of Service Personnel and are continually working to improve the nutritional content in ration packs.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to reform the parole system.

The Root and Branch Review of the Parole System was published on 30 March 2022 and set out a number of reforms to the parole system. Key reforms include: refining the statutory release test and adding criteria which Parole Board panels must consider; creating a ‘top-tier’ of the most serious offenders, who will be subject to increased ministerial oversight, including the ability of the Secretary of State to refuse their release; and increasing the number of panel members with law enforcement experience, mandating that these members sit on ‘top-tier’ cases. We will legislate for these proposals as soon as parliamentary time allows.

We have already implemented a tougher test and increased ministerial oversight when considering the most serious offenders for a move to open prison conditions. In addition, a Statutory Instrument has recently been laid in Parliament, which will amend the Parole Board Rules to allow for some parole hearings to be heard in public. It will also provide for the Secretary of State to present the Parole Board with a single view on the suitability of a prisoner for release, which will allow for ministers to put in their view to the Board in the most serious cases. All of these measures aim to enhance public protection and improve confidence in the parole system.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department has made on updating the Human Rights Act.

The Bill of Rights received its first reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday 22 June 2022. This follows the consideration of over 12,800 response to the Government’s consultation, which closed on 19 April 2022. The Bill delivers on the Government’s manifesto commitment to ‘[…] update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.’. Our reforms will curtail the abuses of human rights, restore some common sense to our justice system, and ensure that our human rights framework meets the needs of the society it serves.

James Cartlidge
Assistant Whip
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to modernise the courts system.

We are investing £1.3bn to transform the justice system, introducing 21st Century technology and online services to increase access to justice, improve efficiency and modernise the courts.

We have already delivered eight digital services, allowing people to apply online for cases in immigration and asylum, divorce, probate, civil money claims, benefit decision appeals in the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, and local authority child welfare applications in the Family Court. We are also rolling out a new digital system in the criminal courts which gives all parties involved in criminal cases access to case information and enabling magistrates' courts to handle minor offences in a quicker and easier way.

Having supported the rapid deployment of video-enabled court and tribunal hearings building on the early work of the programme, we are releasing a bespoke video hearings service, enabling fully remote and hybrid hearings to take place across all jurisdictions. Parties to cases and lawyers are able to attend hearings remotely where appropriate, saving time, effort and cost.

Reform is on track to complete in 2023 and will deliver further digitisation of services before closure. This will include delivering services for adoption, the Employment Tribunal, and other tribunals covering case types including special educational needs and mental health.

The digital reforms and simplified services are removing simple cases from court, cutting down unnecessary paperwork and helping some of the most vulnerable people facing difficult situations get justice as quickly as possible. This is also critical to enabling us to recover workloads in courts and tribunals which are still experiencing impacts from the pandemic.

James Cartlidge
Assistant Whip
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to support victims of rape and sexual abuse.

This government is determined to make streets safer for women and girls. We have published a draft Victims Bill to ensure victims get the support they are entitled to and have increased the funding for victim and witness support services to £192 million by 2024/25 - more than quadruple the level in 2009/10 and an uplift of 92% on core budgets in 2020/21. We are extending the time limit for victims of domestic abuse to seek justice and have taken action to protect women from harassment when they are breastfeeding in a public place.

Last year, we published the End to End Rape Review report and action plan with our plan to transform the way the criminal justice system responds to rape. Since publication, we have made significant progress in delivering actions to change the system for the better. We are beginning to see positive increases in the number of referrals of adult rape cases being made from the police to the CPS, and the number of charges as a result. Rape cases referred by the police to the CPS have increased in the last quarter of 2021 by 76% from the quarterly average in 2019, when the Rape Review was commissioned. Rape cases charged by the CPS in the last quarter of 2021 have also increased by 38% from the quarterly average in 2019. Rape convictions in 2021 were up by 67% on 2020. We will continue to use our cross-system governance structures to drive this change and take further actions where necessary.

We have identified 8 key levers to delivery changes across all aspects of the Criminal Justice System:

o Establishing suspect-focused rape investigations – known as Operation Soteria – across five police forces, and will expand to 14 more by September, with a national rollout completed by June 2023.

o Boosting the number of police officers, and specialist rape and sexual offences roles within the CPS, so that they have the capacity and capability to investigate rape cases more effectively. The CPS have committed to increasing their rape and serious sexual offences workforce by 194 – from 433 – by the end of March 2023.

o Working with police forces to make sure that victims’ mobile phones are only examined where necessary, and only retained for short periods of time where they are.

o Improving the timeliness and proportionality of requests for material from third parties during investigations. The government has launched a consultation to gather more insight, evidence and data on current issues, and to work to ensure police and CPS requests for third party material are made appropriately, and the Attorney General has also published revised guidelines to better direct investigators and prosecutors only to access information relevant to a case.

o Expanding pre-recorded cross-examination (Section 28) for victims of sexual violence and modern slavery in Crown Courts nationwide– with this vital measure now available in almost half of all Crown Courts (37 locations). The Government is committed to rolling it out nationwide by September

o Expanding Crown Court capacity continues, with a £477 million investment over the next three years to reduce the Crown Court backlog and how long victims have to wait for trials.

o Expanding support for victims. This includes creating a national 24/7 support line for victims of rape and sexual abuse, so that every victim can access support whenever and wherever they need it. And we are using additional ringfenced funding to increase the number of Independent Sexual and Domestic Violence Advisors (ISVAs and IDVAs) by 300, to over 1000 by 2024/25 - a 43 percent increase over the next three years.

o Criminal Justice System delivery data dashboard: We are publishing the CJS delivery data dashboard quarterly for adult rape which brings together local data from across the system in one place for the first time, allowing us to increase transparency, increase understanding of the justice system and support collaboration, especially at a local level.

Alongside our progress update last week, we announced a pilot of enhanced specialist sexual violence support in the Crown Court. This is aimed squarely at doing better by rape victims, giving them the support they need to stay engaged in the process and get the justice they deserve. We are committed to going further and pushing harder on our actions so that we can drive bigger impacts, deliver wider system change and crucially, deliver justice for victims of rape and sexual abuse.

23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department has made in creating new prison places.

We have already delivered over 3,100 additional prison places through a combination of refurbishments, installing temporary accommodation, repurposing the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre back into a prison and the opening of HMP Five Wells earlier this year.

23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to support the International Criminal Court.

In March, the UK led efforts to expedite an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the situation in Ukraine through the largest state party referral in the history of the ICC, which is now backed by 42 allies.

To support the ICC investigation, the UK is providing a comprehensive package of assistance which includes a financial contribution of £1 million from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (in addition to the UK’s annual contribution), and technical expertise from UK military, police and legal experts.

We are now working with our international partners to ensure that the ICC has all it needs to progress the investigation rapidly to see those responsible prosecuted and held accountable for war crimes committed in Ukraine.

James Cartlidge
Assistant Whip
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to support the International Criminal Court with its investigation into possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The UK is providing the International Criminal Court (ICC) with a comprehensive package of assistance which includes a financial contribution of £1 million from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, and technical expertise from UK military, police and legal experts.

The Metropolitan Police has launched a public appeal to identify those who may have evidence or be witnesses to war crimes, and it has been collecting and preserving evidence relating to war crimes in Ukraine in support of international investigations.

We are also working with our international partners to ensure that any war crimes committed in Ukraine are investigated rapidly, and that those responsible are prosecuted and held accountable.

James Cartlidge
Assistant Whip
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many Approved Premises there are in (a) Stockton, (b) Darlington, (c) Middlesbrough, (d) Redcar and (e) Hartlepool.

There are two Approved Premises in Middlesbrough but none in the surrounding areas of Stockton, Darlington, Redcar or Hartlepool.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Prisons Drug Strategy in (a) reducing the availability of drugs in prisons and (b) providing effective drug rehabilitation support to prisoners.

Since publishing the Prison Drug Strategy in April 2019, we have implemented a range of evidence-based programmes to help restrict supply, reduce demand, and build recovery from substance misuse at a local and national level.

Through the Security Investment Programme, we have invested £100 million to tackle crime in prisons, including stopping the supply of drugs. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of incidents where drugs were found in prisons decreased by 6%. We are also focused on ensuring our prisons support meaningful recovery, with Incentivised Substance Free Living wings in 15 prisons encouraging prisoners to live drug free, and the Drug Recovery Prison at HMP Holme House using innovative whole prison approach to restricting supply and engaging prisoners in treatment.

26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to improve support for victims of fraud.

In April 2021, the new Code of Practice came into force setting out the key rights of victims of crime, including the right of referral to specific support services. This may include referral to specialist support services for victims of fraud.

In 2021/22, the MoJ is providing £150.5m for victim and witness support services. This will support victims of all crime types, including victims of fraud.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of ongoing negotiations with the EU on peace in Northern Ireland.

Political differences in Northern Ireland, as throughout the whole United Kingdom, should be resolved peacefully and not used as an excuse for violence. The Government is clear that the Protocol's fundamental purpose is to uphold the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions - yet it is clear that it is undermining them all. Maintaining peace and stability in Northern Ireland, and protecting the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement will always be our top priority. We continue to focus on finding solutions to these issues and our preference remains a negotiated solution with the EU. The need for solutions is urgent.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to help ensure Northern Ireland's place in the Union.

This Government is steadfastly committed to Northern Ireland’s integral place in the United Kingdom, and will never be neutral on the Union. We will continue to strengthen the Union by making Northern Ireland a better place to live and work for all parts of the community, and by building a stronger, more shared and inclusive society.

The Government firmly believes that the Union is strongest when all its people can see and feel its benefits in their everyday lives, and that is why we will continue to work tirelessly to deliver for Northern Ireland just as we are seeking to level up every part of this United Kingdom.

This is demonstrated through our commitment to invest over £3.5 billion across Northern Ireland via the New Deal for NI, City Deals, PEACE Plus and the financial package laid out in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, and our support for skills, communities and local infrastructure.

The Government also continues to work with partners to ensure Northern Ireland’s future is safe and secure, that there is equality of opportunity for all its people and to ensure an open and tolerant society for the benefit of everyone.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)