Matt Western Portrait

Matt Western

Labour - Warwick and Leamington

Opposition Whip (Commons)

(since February 2020)

There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Investing in Children and Young People
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 224 Noes - 0
Speeches
Monday 21st June 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

Research by the British Academy has shown that of the 10 fastest growing sectors in the UK economy, eight employ …

Written Answers
Wednesday 16th June 2021
UK Internal Trade: Northern Ireland
What assessment the Government has made of the potential benefits for frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 6th June 2019
LOCAL BUS DRIVERS' HOURS
That this House notes that bus drivers work nearly six hours more but are paid 20 per cent less per …
Bills
Wednesday 13th February 2019
Bus Drivers (Working Hours on Local Routes) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Mr Maurice Millward
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in …
EDM signed
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
GKN Automotive alternative plan
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 13th June 2018
Packaging (Extended Producer Responsibility) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Matt Western has voted in 297 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Matt Western Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Gareth Thomas (Labour (Co-op))
Shadow Minister (International Trade)
(20 debate interactions)
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Education
(17 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(16 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
HM Treasury
(31 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(30 debate contributions)
Department for International Trade
(26 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Matt Western's debates

Warwick and Leamington Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Warwick and Leamington signature proportion
Petitions with most Warwick and Leamington signatures
Matt Western has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Matt Western

22nd June 2021
Matt Western signed this EDM on Tuesday 22nd June 2021

GKN Automotive alternative plan

Tabled by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of over 500 highly skilled jobs and work transferred to continental Europe; notes that GKN’s origins trace back to the industrial revolution, with over 260 years of history that include making …
50 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jun 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 48
Independent: 2
14th January 2021
Matt Western signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Matt Western's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Matt Western, 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 Western has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Matt Western has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Matt Western


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to limit bus drivers on local routes to driving for no more than 56 hours in any one week and 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 13th February 2019
(Read Debate)

120 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
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what discussions he has had with the CPS on the capacity to deal with the increase in domestic violence cases during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is working closely with colleagues across the Criminal Justice System to ensure that these offences continue to be brought to justice. Cases are still being referred to the CPS for charging decisions, trials are being listed and domestic abuse cases are treated as a high priority.

The CPS has worked with police colleagues to introduce an Interim Charging Protocol to ensure that the most serious cases are prioritised effectively and put before the courts at the earliest opportunity. The CPS is committed to working closely with CJS partners and the third sector to make sure victims and witnesses remain at the heart of the process.

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to provide guidance on how local election counts can be made covid-secure, with particular reference to ensuring those who are observers attending the election counts can maintain social distancing while ensuring (a) scrutiny of the process and (b) the safety of officials and observers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 147911 on 9 February 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring that employers are aware that (a) international postgraduate students and (b) other international students studying remotely will still be eligible for a post-study work visa if their degree does not finish during the 2020-21 academic year.

BEIS is working closely with the Home Office and the Department for Education on visas, including the new Graduate route to attract and retain talent. Students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However, if students are required to either continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance or blended learning due to Covid-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they spent some time studying outside the UK, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

The Government have published guidance which covers these temporary concessions for students and student sponsors, and an introductory guide for employers that provides an overview of the new immigration system and the steps employers can take to prepare.

Successful applicants on the Graduate route, scheduled to be launched in summer 2021, will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households have applied for a free heat pump as part of the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project; and how many of those heat pumps have been installed to date.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK.

The Project has attracted over 4,500 expressions of interest since the three regional delivery partners were announced in Summer 2020. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – but as of Thursday 19 November 2020, 19 installations had been completed.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the biggest factor has been in households not installing a heat pump under the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – so it is too early to draw definitive conclusions.

As part of the project we will assess the reasons given by households for not progressing from survey to installation. We are also exploring where innovation can overcome any challenges through the Demonstration Project.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the estimated cost is of the energy efficiency retrofit requirements for households wishing to install a heat pump under the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – so it is too early to provide robust evidence on the cost of the energy efficiency retrofit requirements for households participating in the Project.

Under the Project, if any building upgrade measures are required then they are capped at £5,000 per property, except in exceptional circumstances, and this has not been a major impediment to homes participating in the Project to date. However, it is acknowledged that some homes with high heat demand and poor insulation, may require significant investment in energy efficiency measures to make them suitable for a heat pump. We are exploring where innovation can overcome this challenge through the Demonstration Project.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many heat pumps have been installed in off gas grid homes under the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK, but will focus largely on homes connected to the gas network.

The Project has a target that at least 85 per cent of heat pumps installed under this project will be in homes that currently use gas as their primary heating fuel. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – but as of Thursday 19 November 2020, 19 installations had been completed, all of which were in homes that previously used gas as their primary heating fuel.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with manufacturers on energy costs for businesses.

The Government is committed to minimising energy costs for businesses to ensure our economy remains strong and competitive. Details of meetings held by Ministers in the Department are recorded in our transparency data, which is published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of households within £100 of being classed as fuel poor.

The number of households currently classed as fuel poor for whom a reduction of £100 in their modelled fuel costs would remove them from being classed as fuel poor, in the latest available year, was 703,000.

The number of households currently not classed as fuel poor for whom an increase of £100 in their modelled fuel costs would classify them as fuel poor, in the latest available year, was 919,000.

These figures are based on the 2018 fuel poverty dataset that is derived based on the English Housing Survey.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of UK households that use (a) oil and (b) LPG for their heating and hot water requirements.

There are 1.9m households in the UK using oil and LPG as their main heating fuel and hot water requirements. We estimate that 1.7m use Oil and 220k use LPG.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of UK non-domestic properties that use (a) oil and (b) LPG for their space heating and hot water requirements.

The Department estimates that approximately 5%, by floor area, of the 1.8m non-domestic properties in England and Wales use oil or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) for space heating and hot water (4% oil, 1% LPG). This is based on the Business Energy Efficiency Survey (published 2016) which covers England and Wales. We do not have sufficient data to make this assessment for non-domestic properties in Scotland and Northern Ireland where heat policy is mostly devolved. The Department is continuing to build its evidence base for non-domestic buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the average cost for homes off the gas grid to move from EPC band (a) E, (b) F and (c) G to band C; and if he will make a statement.

The most complete modelling of these costs we have is for households who were on low-incomes in 2018. This is based on the English Housing Survey. Due to small samples, the estimate for band F and G have been combined.

The modelled costs of improving the average home which is off the gas grid to band C are:

From band E

£12,300

From band F & G

£18,900

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the potential per property cost for installation of (a) loft insulation, (b) cavity wall insulation, (c) solid wall insulation and (d) double glazing for non-insulated properties.

An assessment of typical costs for these measures in different property architypes can be found in our 2017 publication, ‘Domestic cost assumptions – what does it cost to retrofit homes?’:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-cost-assumptions-what-does-it-cost-to-retrofit-homes.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the the average cost per KwH of energy used by his Department generated from (a) natural gas, (b) oil, (c) LPG, (d) electric direct heat and (e) air source heat pump.

The average costs per kWh for the Department have been taken from 2019/20 invoices for our headquarters building at 1 Victoria Street, London and are shown in the table below.

The Department does not use LPG and does not currently have an air source heat pump at 1 Victoria Street.

Natural gas

Oil

Electric direct heat

£/kWh fuel

£0.04/kWh

£0.06/kWh

£0.13/kWh

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of off-gas grid households affected by fuel poverty.

The number of fuel poor households not connected to the gas grid in England, in the latest available year (2018), was 495,000, as seen in table 10 of the Fuel Poverty statistics detailed tables (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fuel-poverty-detailed-tables-2020).

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to limit repairs being carried out to existing oil boilers.

In the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the government committed to phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating systems in buildings off the gas grid during the 2020s. As we develop policy to deliver this commitment we are engaging with industry to consider how we can best ensure that oil boilers are replaced with low carbon heating systems, rather than being repaired endlessly, so that we can meet our net zero obligations. We are considering the extent to which Building Regulations can help drive this change and we will consult on proposals for decarbonising off gas grid buildings in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his officials have had with industry representatives on limiting repairs being carried out to existing oil boilers.

In the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the government committed to phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating systems in buildings off the gas grid during the 2020s. As we develop policy to deliver this commitment we are engaging with industry to consider how we can best ensure that oil boilers are replaced with low carbon heating systems, rather than being repaired endlessly, so that we can meet our net zero obligations. We are considering the extent to which Building Regulations can help drive this change and we will consult on proposals for decarbonising off gas grid buildings in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to use future Building Regulations to prevent end-of-life oil boilers being replaced by condensing oil boilers.

In the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the government committed to phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating systems in buildings off the gas grid during the 2020s. As we develop policy to deliver this commitment we are engaging with industry to consider how we can best ensure that oil boilers are replaced with low carbon heating systems, rather than being repaired endlessly, so that we can meet our net zero obligations. We are considering the extent to which Building Regulations can help drive this change and we will consult on proposals for decarbonising off gas grid buildings in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) oil and (b) LPG Aga appliances that are fitted in UK homes.

There are 1.9m households in the UK using oil and LPG as their main heating fuel and hot water requirements. We estimate that 1.7m use Oil and 220k use LPG.

The Department does not have information on the number of (a) oil and (b) LPG Aga appliances that are fitted in UK homes.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to review the date for the reopening of (a) massage therapist, (b) reflexology and (c) other therapeutic services as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We’ve now provided other close contact services like massage therapists, reflexologists and other therapeutic services in England except Leicester with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

We need to be confident services are able to reopen in a COVID-secure way for the staff and customers. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and our guidance has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle late payments to small businesses.

Legislation already exists under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, which sets out that payment terms between two businesses should not exceed 60 days, unless they are fair to both parties. Additionally, suppliers can claim statutory interest, and debt recovery costs, on invoices not paid within the agreed period or (if no period is agreed) within 30 days. It also establishes maximum 30-day payment terms for transactions with public authorities.

The Government is completely focussed on fulfilling our manifesto commitment to clamp down on late payment and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) to support small businesses who are least able to cover financial shortfalls and find temporary finance more difficult and more expensive to obtain.

The Government has transferred the administration of the Code to the Office of the SBC in March to unify prompt payment measures under one umbrella and we continue to consult on extending its powers. We have also taken a tough compliance approach to large companies who do not comply with the Payment Practices Reporting Duty and will use enforcement powers to prosecute those who do not comply where obliged.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people receive refunds from venues for weddings that have been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Under consumer law, consumers may be entitled to a refund within 14 days, depending on the nature of the contract in place. Where payments were made using a credit card, redress can be sought from the credit card company. Some businesses are also offering consumers alternative arrangements, which individuals are able to choose should they wish. The Government is engaging continually with business and consumer advocacy bodies to assess the impact of cancellations made in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the economic viability of the use of hydrogen-ready boilers in domestic heating.

Burning natural gas for heating accounts for a significant proportion of household carbon emissions. There is currently no clear consensus on the best approach to decarbonising heat at scale, and our December 2018 report on Clean Growth: Transforming Heating set out that using hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas, including for domestic heating, may play an important role.

BEIS is?currently?investing over £100m in hydrogen innovation. This includes Hy4Heat, a programme which aims to assess the safety and technical feasibility of hydrogen for heating in homes. This includes working with industry to develop prototype hydrogen appliances including hydrogen ready boilers and will evaluate their likely costs and performance upon completion of the programme in March 2021.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the domestic heating industry on the future role of hydrogen as a heating fuel.

Replacing natural gas in the gas grid with hydrogen may be an option which could contribute to decarbonising heat, along with other options including heat networks, electric heat pumps and biogas. The Government’s December 2018 report on Clean Growth: Transforming Heating concluded that there is currently no clear consensus on the best approach to decarbonising heat at scale and that further work is required on the hydrogen option to prove the safety and feasibility case and to better understand the costs and benefits.

The Department is working with the gas and heating industries, including representatives of the domestic heating sector, to ensure that all the R&D, testing and trialling work required to achieve this has been identified.

The Government is also spending up to £121m on hydrogen innovation, including £25m on the Hy4Heat programme which is investigating whether it is technically possible to replace methane with hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings and gas appliances.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to tackle the digital divide.

To tackle the digital divide and support connectivity we have worked with providers on social tariffs meaning low cost landline and broadband services for those on means-tested benefits.

DCMS has also launched the Digital Lifeline fund to provide devices, data and support to 5000 adults with learning disabilities. In addition, to boost skills, we have made digital qualifications to level 1 for adults free of charge.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether companies in the (a) events and exhibitions sectors and (b) sports stadia are eligible to access the Job Support Scheme for their employees due to restrictions on those sectors reopening during the covid-19 outbreak; and when his Department plans to publish further sector-specific guidance for the application of the Job Support Scheme to those sectors.

On 9 October the Chancellor announced a further expansion to the package of financial support available to businesses across the UK. This includes an expansion of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to cover 61.67% of wages for open businesses, an increase to self-employed grants, additional business grants, and an extension of the VAT reduction to 5%. This is an addition to the measures outlined on 24 September, which is intended to cover businesses closed by national and local restrictions. Individual businesses will need to evaluate the applicability of these schemes based on their own financial circumstance.

The Treasury has published a JSS policy paper (which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme) , giving further details on eligibility criteria, conditions and timescales for making claims under the JSS Open and the JSS Closed. Further guidance will be published shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to support the heritage and tourism sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the heritage and tourism sectors through this crisis.

Businesses and workers in these sectors can access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the recently extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Through VisitEngland, we announced a £1.3 million scheme to provide financial support to Destination Management Organisations at risk of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Historic England (HE) have made emergency funding available for the heritage sector. The NLHF’s £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund and HE’s £2 million Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund extend a safety net to a wide variety of heritage organisations struggling with financial losses and cash flow issues.

My Department’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce - which contains specific Heritage and Visitor Economy Working Groups - is developing guidance to help these sectors to safely reopen.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to support the performing arts sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has already announced an unprecedented package of measures in place to provide immediate and vital support to the cultural sector during this pandemic. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self Employment Support Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, business rates relief and cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

In order to further support the sustainability of the sector, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

£90 million is being made available to National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Creative People and Places (CPPs) lead organisations. £50 million will be made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council in order to maintain their survival through this crisis. Finally £20 million of financial support is being made available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

DCMS is engaging with other departments to support the economic response, by ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are understood.

DCMS will continue to work with this valuable sector to understand the difficulties it faces and help it access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the cost of quarantine for international students returning from covid-19 red countries.

I speak regularly with my counterparts across government about how various COVID-19 policies may affect students with a view to minimising burdens for students while maintaining public health, and I have remained in close contact with Department for Health and Social Care ministers responsible for the Managed Quarantine Service.

Hotel quarantine is in place to prevent the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 variants in the UK, and there is a need to have strict rules in place to prevent the vaccine effort from being undermined.

The costs of quarantine are borne by the traveller – these costs are the same for any individual arriving in the UK from, or via a red list country.

However, we have worked closely with the sector and colleagues across government to ensure that UK residents, including international students due to their visa status, that are facing significant financial hardship will have the opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking their managed quarantine hotel room. Travellers who access hardship will be referred to a government debt collection agency (“Qualco”), who will perform an independent financial assessment and determine an appropriate payment plan.

Any student who is experiencing financial hardship can speak with their provider about support. We have made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers in the 2020/21 academic year. This is in addition to the £256 million of government funded student premium funding already available to higher education providers to draw on for this academic year, 2020/21, and this support can include help for students, including international students and postgraduates. International students can be confident in expressing these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the evidence underpinning his Department’s guidance to local authorities to postpone Grammar School entry tests until November for 2021-22 entry.

It is unlikely that children will have performed at the best of their ability at the beginning of September this year and were likely to benefit from as much time back in education as possible before being assessed. Several studies have shown that disadvantaged children have been disproportionately affected by the period of school closure.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that children in higher income families spent more time on home education than those from poorer families and also had greater access to home teaching resources. The Education Endowment Foundation median estimate is that the attainment gap between children from economically deprived households and their peers could widen by 36% as a result of school closures. See here: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14848 and here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/EEF_(2020)_-_Impact_of_School_Closures_on_the_Attainment_Gap.pdf.

Our guidance is that, in these circumstances, it would be reasonable for tests to be moved back into late October, or to November if local admission co-ordination processes allow, but the decision rests with admission authorities.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of secondary schools in England have school based counselling services in place.

I refer the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington to the answer I gave on 8 October 2020 to 98985.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of test and trace systems to support schools to remain open to all pupils during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are continuing to improve the testing system, including by ensuring teaching staff can get priority access when they have symptoms. The Government is scaling up testing capacity even further to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

In order to protect schools, it is important head teachers continue to have access to timely support and advice. There is a new dedicated advice line to help schools to implement the most appropriate public health measures once a case is confirmed. A team of advisers will inform schools what action is needed in response to a positive case based on the latest public health advice, and work through a risk assessment.

It is vital that children and school staff only get a test if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, with the exception of those who have specifically been asked to do so by a clinician. The NHS Test and Trace system must stay focused on testing those with true symptoms of the virus.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an (a) assessment of the potential merits of and (b) estimate of the capital investment requirements for installing or improving ventilation systems in school buildings to reduce potential transmission of covid-19 during cold weather.

The Department has made no such assessment.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has advised that ventilation is in some circumstances an important factor in mitigating against the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The Department has therefore been working closely with a range of partners, including other government departments, school workforce unions, the Health and Safety Executive and the Chartered Institute of Building Services, as well as SAGE, to develop ventilation guidance for schools during the outbreak.

The guidance is expected to be published in the autumn term and will highlight the importance of balancing well ventilated spaces with comfortable environments. This can be achieved through a variety of measures including natural ventilation.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Solihull approach in improving children and adolescents’ wellbeing and mental health; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing training for people working in education on that approach.

We are aware of the work that is happening in Solihull to bring about improvements in children and adolescents’ wellbeing and mental health.

The Department for Education has established a joint programme with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England to oversee the delivery of the proposals set out in our Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services green paper. This includes the provision of mental health support teams (MHSTs) linked to groups of schools and colleges and the commitment to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England.

Different areas are necessarily taking different approaches to implementation based on their own circumstances. The evaluation of the programme will inform further roll-out and how areas can learn from each other. 59 MHSTs are already established in 25 areas across the country with an additional 123 teams being set up in 57 areas this year, including two teams in Birmingham and Solihull. This will mean that the approach in that area will be able to feed into wider practice.

We have already made available a range of training for education staff on supporting pupils and on joint working. This includes our Link Programme training for all schools and colleges to help frontline health and education professionals work together effectively, and a range of specific training to support an effective response to the issues faced by children and young people as a result of COVID-19. Expert webinars in July reached thousands of education and local service staff.

Feedback suggests that in order to be effective, training and support needs to be flexible and reflect local circumstances. With this in mind, we have worked with DHSC, Health Education England, Public Health England and key voluntary sector organisations, to launch Wellbeing for Education Return. This project, backed by £8 million, is training local experts to provide additional advice and resources for schools and colleges to help support pupil, student, parent and carer, and staff wellbeing, resilience and recovery in light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. The project includes flexibility to allow local authorities?to adapt training, resources and follow-up support to suit their local contexts and will build on existing local approaches to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will enable maintained nursery schools to access the School funding: exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) programme.

The government recognises that maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas.

All nurseries, including maintained nursery schools, are benefiting from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the COVID-19 outbreak. On 20 July, we set out our plans for funding local authorities and providers in the autumn term which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Unlike most state-funded schools, maintained nursery schools typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their total income. Therefore, they cannot claim for specific costs incurred due to COVID-19, but they can access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as set out in the published guidance available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Maintained nursery schools can also access free school meals vouchers via Edenred.

We are continuing to work with the early years sector to assess the support required to cope with the impact of COVID-19.

We remain committed to funding for maintained nursery schools in the longer term, with appropriate protections in place to accompany any reforms of that funding. Future funding will be considered as part of the next spending review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what Government funding has been allocated to Oak National Academy to provide online learning resources and digital lessons; and for what period of time that funding has been so allocated.

The Department has made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy for the summer term of this academic year and for the 2020-21 academic year to provide video lessons for Reception up to year 11.

The purpose of this funding is to enable Oak to provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision immediately in case of local lockdowns or self-isolation. This is time-limited funding which is being made available to Oak National Academy as an emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery period.

We have also published an updated list of high quality online educational resources, which have been assessed with the support of some of the country’s leading educational subject experts to help pupils to learn at home while they may not be able to attend their normal setting. The list includes resources in six priority areas including maths, English, science, PE, mental wellbeing and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), from early years to key stage 5, and which are currently available for free.

Resources published can be found using the link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his oral contribution of 9 June 2020, Official Report, column 180, when the 230,000 laptops for school pupils were ordered by his Department; and what schedule for delivery has been agreed with the supplier.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets. This order was placed on 19 April.

The Department is providing these devices in the shortest possible timeframe. Over 100,000 devices have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts and thousands of devices continue to be delivered each day. Laptops and tablets will continue to be delivered throughout June.

Computacenter is a supplier on a government framework. Computacenter has been contracted to provide laptops and tablets in order to meet the requirement for disadvantaged and vulnerable children across England to receive devices to support remote education and access to social care services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further details of the contract are publicly available: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e9047eeb-be82-4506-8a97-448ff0d73cfe.

As with all Government contracts, due diligence checks have been undertaken to assess the suitability of the supplier.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his oral contribution of 9 June 2020, Official Report, column 180, what the role of Computacentre is in distributing laptops to school pupils; on what basis that company was selected for that service; how much that company is being paid for that programme; and what checks his Department has conducted on that company's payment of tax in the UK.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets. This order was placed on 19 April.

The Department is providing these devices in the shortest possible timeframe. Over 100,000 devices have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts and thousands of devices continue to be delivered each day. Laptops and tablets will continue to be delivered throughout June.

Computacenter is a supplier on a government framework. Computacenter has been contracted to provide laptops and tablets in order to meet the requirement for disadvantaged and vulnerable children across England to receive devices to support remote education and access to social care services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further details of the contract are publicly available: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e9047eeb-be82-4506-8a97-448ff0d73cfe.

As with all Government contracts, due diligence checks have been undertaken to assess the suitability of the supplier.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to support farmers producing food for the domestic market.

From this year we will be offering new productivity support. Farmers will be able to apply for grants to help them invest in equipment and technology and boost their productivity under the Farming Investment Fund.

The Farm Resilience scheme will provide help for the first three years of the agricultural transition period to manage their businesses through the transition. It will ensure experts are on hand to provide any advice and support needed.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the effect of proposed planning reforms on rural communities.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on a range of matters affecting rural communities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government support for the dairy industry during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has continued to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain throughout this difficult period to assess the challenges facing the industry and to ensure that appropriate financial support is provided. The vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at or around the usual price. Approximately 5% of total milk production, however, goes to the service trade. A small proportion of farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a reduction in demand with the closure of food service. A small proportion of suppliers have therefore seen a reduction in demand. We have provided a range of support to help these affected farmers.

At the outset of the pandemic, the Government announced a number of emergency measures to support farmers, processors and retailers. These include designating the food sector as critical to the response, with people working in the production, processing, sale, distribution or delivery of food categorised as key workers, and granting derogations on drivers’ hours limitations.

In addition, to support milk producers, the Government announced on 17 April a temporary easing of some elements of competition law to make it easier for the dairy industry to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. This Statutory Instrument was laid on 1 May and applies retrospectively from 1 April.

On 6 May we announced a new scheme specifically to provide support to eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May because of coronavirus disruptions. This will provide farmers with funding of up to £10,000 each to cover 70% of their lost income during the qualifying period, enabling them to continue to operate and to sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Defra and the devolved administrations are also jointly contributing towards financing the new £1 million campaign by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Dairy UK to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign is highlighting the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis.

Our Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme is available to farmers, milk buyers and processors. Responding to industry feedback on this scheme, Defra held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme, which applies to businesses operating in agriculture, ensures that the smallest businesses can access loans up to £50,000. To give lenders the confidence they need, we have provided them with a 100% guarantee on each loan and will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder (SMP) and butter continues to be available in the UK. Alongside this we have also ensured the availability to UK dairy processors of private storage aid for cheese, butter and SMP. These measures will help to underpin prices, providing a floor in the market by reducing the volume of product coming on to the market.

We will continue to engage with the dairy industry throughout this period of disruption to monitor the impact of the range of financial and other measures we have implemented, ensuring that the sector continues to have the support that it needs.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to (a) introduce penalty points for roadside littering and (b) bring forward legislative proposals to require delivery and haulage companies to equip vehicles with bins for use by employees.

It is a criminal offence to throw down, drop or otherwise deposit litter, whether from a vehicle or otherwise. It is up to employers to determine whether they need to provide specific equipment or facilities to their employees to enable them to comply with the law.

With effect from April 2018, we have introduced new powers enabling councils in England (outside London) to issue civil fixed penalties of between £65 to £150 to the keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown. Councils in London already had similar powers. This enables them to take action against the offence, even when the precise offender cannot be identified beyond reasonable doubt.

We have no plans to introduce penalty points (endorsements) for littering offences, nor to require employers to provide bins in vehicles.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which local authorities have been awarded an air quality grant for 2019 to 2020; and how much each local authority has been awarded.

The Air Quality Grant Scheme is competitive and a total value of £2 million is available to award to successful English local authorities. The 2019 grant awards are currently under evaluation and decisions will be finalised in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the current level of UK aid spending on gender equality within humanitarian and development programming will be protected when her Department is merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The UK is committed to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on development, which is enshrined in law. This means the aid budget increases when the UK economy grows and decreases if the economy shrinks. The economy is expected to shrink this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and all government departments are working through how their plans need to change in the light of this. No decision has been taken, but we are considering the full range of our work. Given the expected fall in GNI this year, aid spending is under review across all departments. Any decisions on spending aid will be taken by the ministerial team in the new department, overseen by the Foreign Secretary and drawing on the expertise of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office staff.

The UK International Development (Gender Equality) Act makes consideration of gender equality in all UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) a legal requirement. Advancing gender equality and women’s rights will remain a priority for this government.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of UK aid will support the world’s least developed countries after her Department merges with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The UK meets the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of spending 0.15% to 0.20% of Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In 2018 (the latest year for which we have published National Statistics), LDCs received approximately £4.7 billion (32%) of UK ODA. This is equivalent to 0.22% of the UK’s GNI. The current Spending Period ends in March 2021, and therefore no budgets are allocated to any department beyond this year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with her counterparts overseas on raising financial support for developing nations to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus outbreak is the biggest global crisis in a generation. This calls for decisive and co-ordinated action to respond to the global health, economic and humanitarian implications, especially to support the poorest and most vulnerable.

The UK is playing a leading role in galvanising international action and unlocking timely financial support – both direct UK support and through the UN and the wider multilateral system. The UK is also using its voice and influence in key international forums such as the G7 and G20 - for example, helping secure agreement in the G20 to suspend all debt repayments for the poorest and most vulnerable countries until the end of 2020. The Secretary of State and I also work closely with our counterparts in other major donor countries including the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia to encourage funds to be made available as quickly as possible to where the risks and needs are greatest.

The UK is bringing others with us to raise much-needed financial support. For example, at the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June world leaders, foundations, the private sector and civil society pledged $8.8 billion to help Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to address the short and long-term challenges posed by the pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that developing countries have access to covid-19 testing.

The UK is at the forefront of global research focussed on the development of potential COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments, and is providing aid to organisations central to the global response. This includes DFID’s £23 million investment in the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, a global non-profit organisation driving innovation in developing and delivering tests to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations, including for COVID-19. The UK’s £75 million investment in the World Health Organization is supporting the organisation’s key role in providing technical support to countries to establish COVID-19 testing strategies and capacity.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a zero emissions vehicle mandate for manufactures to produce, import or sell new electric vehicles.

The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, published in November 2020, brought forward the end of sale date of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030. It also announced that a Green Paper would be published later this year to consider the regulatory options available to deliver these phase out dates and support supply of electric vehicles to the UK market.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to phase out the (a) EV Homecharge Scheme and (b) Workplace Charging Scheme after 2022.

At the Spending Review in November last year the Government allocated £275 million over four years to extend support for charge point installation at homes, workplaces and on-street locations, while reforming these schemes so that they target difficult parts of the market such as leaseholders and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over the coming years the EVHS will be transformed to target people in rented and leasehold accommodation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of reducing the rate of VAT for charging electric vehicles on street to the rate for charging them at home.

The Transport Secretary has regular and ongoing discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as other Ministerial colleagues, about a wide range of issues regarding supporting the electric vehicle market. Any proposed changes to the VAT system is ultimately a matter for HM Treasury.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Education on making school curriculum time available for cycle training and the promotion of cycling and walking to school.

The Government is committed to making Bikeability training available to all schoolchildren by the end of this Parliament, and is providing £2 million of support this financial year for a programme to encourage more children to walk to school. The Government’s statutory guidance to schools on Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) says that pupils should know the importance of building regular exercise into daily and weekly routines and how to achieve this, for example by walking or cycling to school. The Department continues to discuss this and other matters with the Department for Education.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the outcome of the Williams Rail Review.

The Government is committed to transforming our railways and building on Keith Williams’ evidence-based priorities. We want to create a railway that puts passengers first, delivers better value for money and supports the nation’s recovery from Covid-19.

Covid-19 struck when the Williams Rail Review was in its final stages. The priorities that Keith set out remain the right ones; we are working with him now to consider how best to deliver reform in light of these unique challenges.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether bus operators are required to (a) report accidents and (b) adopt confidential reporting systems under the public service vehicle operator licensing system; and whether he plans to amend that system in relation to bus safety.

It is a legislative duty for the holder of a public service vehicle operator’s licence to report to the Secretary of State as soon as is practicable, any failure or damage of a nature calculated to affect the safety of occupants of the public service vehicle or of persons using the road incurred by a public service vehicle owned by the holder.

There is also a statutory requirement for road traffic incidents on public roads involving injury to be reported to the police. This is not specific to public service vehicles.

The Government has no plans to require public service vehicle operators to adopt a confidential reporting system.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of the new zero carbon buses will (a) be electric and (b) run on hydrogen; and how much funding will be made available for (i) charge points and (ii) hydrogen stations.

The Prime Minster announced £5 billion of new funding to boost bus and cycling links on 10 February, including at least 4,000 new zero emission buses to make greener travel the convenient option, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero ambitions. The details of the programmes, including which technologies are eligible and how funding will be distributed, will be announced in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
What recent assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of unemployment.

Latest ONS Labour Market data puts the unemployment level in the West Midlands region at 145,000.

Due to the Pandemic, the rate has risen nationally and DWP is working closely across government and with external organisations and local partners to ensure a tailored local response for communities.

We are recruiting additional Work Coaches in our Jobcentres who are supporting new and existing claimants into work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of reducing universal credit and working tax credit by £20 a week in April 2021 on (a) working age and (b) child poverty.

The Government introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates as a temporary measure for the 20/21 tax year.

Future decisions on spending will be made by the Chancellor at the next appropriate fiscal event, and Parliament will be updated accordingly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial support her Department provides for extremely clinically vulnerable people advised by their health care teams to continue shielding during the covid-19 outbreak beyond 1 August 2020 and as a consequence are unable to work.

Where an individual is notified by their doctor or health service to continue to shield in cases of local lockdown and where shielding guidance is reinstated, they will be eligible for ESA or SSP. If an individual is no longer required to shield they may still be entitled to ESA or SSP where they are sick, or self-isolating and meet the eligibility conditions. People can also apply for Universal Credit.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service in enforcing payments for resident parents during the covid-19 outbreak.

Where payments have been missed we have asked parents to report the changes via the self-service portal.

In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, we will update cases with notified changes as soon as possible. Where payments have been missed the Service will take action to re-establish compliance and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued.

No one will get away with giving false information. Those found to be abusing the system can be subjected to the full extent of our enforcement powers and the Child Maintenance Service will pursue these, where appropriate.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of increasing legacy benefits in line with the increase in universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak.

No such assessment has been made. The Government has announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic.

We estimate that 2.5 million households receiving Universal Credit will benefit straight away from the increase in the standard allowance rates which was announced on 20 March, and which is additional to the planned annual uprating. New claimants who have either become unemployed, or whose earnings or work hours have decreased because of the outbreak, will benefit too; subject to their eligibility.

We have also made a number of changes to legacy and other working age benefits in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including increasing certain entitlements, such as Local Housing Allowance. Up-to-date information about the employment and benefits support available, including Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, New style Jobseeker's Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance, can be found here: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/.

It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off.

However, claimants should check their eligibility before applying to Universal Credit as legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation plans to complete its review into the inclusion of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine in the childhood vaccination programme.

In 2010, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation found that offering a universal varicella vaccination programme against chickenpox would not be cost effective and may increase the risk of severe disease and complications in adulthood, both from chickenpox and shingles.

The varicella/zoster subcommittee has kept this under review. In February 2019 the subcommittee commissioned modellers to re-run the economic modelling with new quality-adjusted life year data and discount rates. This work was paused during the pandemic and will recommence in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including the chickenpox vaccination in the childhood vaccination programme.

The decision to offer a chickenpox vaccine to all children in the United Kingdom is under ongoing review by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The JCVI has previously advised that offering a universal varicella or chickenpox vaccination programme would not be cost-effective and is highly likely to increase the risk of severe disease and complications in adulthood, both from chickenpox and shingles.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contracts his Department has signed with private companies relating to the running of a new high throughput laboratory in Leamington Spa.

The Royal Leamington Spa laboratory will be run by the Department which will hold supply contracts for resourcing, equipment, machinery, facilities and waste management. These contracts will be published on the Governments Contract Finder website.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the South African variant of covid-19 can be identified through processing available at the Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory.

The tests processed at Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory will detect the South African variant as a SARS-CoV-2 RNA Positive result. Once SARS-CoV-2 RNA is positive, these samples are sent away to the Sanger Institute for sequencing to identify whether they are the South African or any other variant.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish weekly data on (a) the number of people vaccinated for covid-19 by (i) constituency and (ii) lower local authority level and (b) the proportion of people vaccinated for covid-19 in each Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority group by (A) constituency and (B) lower local authority level.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish daily data on the total first and second doses given to date by region. NHS England and NHS Improvement also release a weekly publication of vaccination data including the number of people vaccinated by both constituency and lower local authority level. The weekly publications also include the proportion of people vaccinated for COVID-19 across a range of cohorts and geographies and population estimates are provided for the majority of the data. This data is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost was of the construction of the Nightingale Hospital Birmingham; how many patients it has admitted; and what plans he has for its use in the weeks ahead.

Information on the costs of the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham are not available because they are commercially confidential.

As at 8 December 2020, no patients have been admitted to the hospital because the additional capacity has not yet been required. However, the hospital remains on stand-by ready to play whatever role is needed in the months to come. Local clinical leaders are working to determine how this is done whilst considering the needs of all patients requiring National Health Service care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what scientific evidence underpins the public health decision to limit the number of guests in attendance at humanist wedding ceremonies to six guests, whilst permitting 15 guests at wedding ceremonies of other beliefs and religious denominations.

Humanist wedding ceremonies can take place at this time with 15 people present, as well as for the legal solemnisation of the marriage.

We understand the unique significance that weddings hold in people’s lives but, by their nature they are events that bring families and friends together. For this reason, only up to 15 people can attend a wedding. We will keep this under review.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) care providers and (b) local authorities on home carers receiving pay for the time that they spend (i) travelling between clients and (ii) changing into personal protective equipment between visits.

All social care workers must be paid at least the national minimum wage or national living wage for the time that they work. Time spent caring for clients, travelling to appointments, and waiting to start the appointment should be included in the pay calculation. Time spent between appointments donning and doffing personal protective equipment should also be included in the calculation. Further guidance on what counts as working time is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/minimum-wage-different-types-work

We have now made £3.7 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care. The Infection Control Fund, set up in May 2020, is being extended until March 2021, with an extra £546 million for the care sector to take key steps to improve infection prevention and control.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the percentage of NHS staff who have contracted covid-19.

We do not have the information in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the income of medical research charities; and what steps he is taking to address the shortfall in UK medical research funding.

Medical research charities are an integral part of our world-leading life sciences sector. The Department is closely liaising with the Association of Medical Research Charities, as well as individual charities, to understand the impact of the pandemic on this sector and identify how best the Government and charities can work together to ensure that patients continue benefiting from charity-funded research.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to extend whole care home covid-19 testing to elderly residents and social care staff in sheltered accommodation facilities and retirement villages.

Expansion of testing is based on relative priorities and available testing capacity. We are not expanding regular asymptomatic testing to this group at this time.

We initially prioritised testing for care homes that specialise in caring for older people and those living with dementia in line with Public Health England and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies advice, as they are at higher risk of adverse consequences if they get the disease.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of companies that have signed personal protective equipment contracts with his Department that have subsequently had those orders delayed by the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

The Department does hold the data in the format required. Over 30 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been ordered by the Department from over 175 United Kingdom-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply in the coming months. We have a robust process which ensures that orders are of high quality standard, meet commercial due diligence and checked for risk and fraud. All contracts are monitored by the Department for the delivery and safe receipt of the PPE and any compliance issues are followed up.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of permitting partners from different households to form social bubbles during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether he has received scientific advice on that matter.

Single adult households can form a support bubble with another household. People in relationships who live apart can form a bubble as long as one of the people in a relationship lives in a single adult household and all members of the other household are willing to form an exclusive support bubble.

It is very important that if someone in any of these linked households shows COVID-19 symptoms, or is otherwise self-isolating, they should all stay at home. This is critical to controlling the virus, by avoiding a chain of transmission.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish guidance on the re-opening of optician practices for the provision of routine appointments as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

NHS England and NHS Improvement issued a letter and Standard Operating Procedure to the profession on 17 June setting out that practices are able to resume National Health Service eye care services where practices have the relevant infection protection control and personal protective equipment in place. Decisions on when to reopen for private sight tests and services are a matter for the individual optician. Our understanding is that most high street opticians have now reopened for private and NHS care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s published guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/optical-setting/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department used to select (a) Deloitte to lead work on the procurement of personal protective equipment and (b) Sodexo to lead work on the establishment of covid-19 testing centres.

Deloitte is providing operational support for the procurement process of personal protective equipment (PPE) from existing and new manufacturers who can assist in scaling-up regulatory-approved PPE resources within the United Kingdom. As an existing professional services provider to the public sector, Deloitte’s expertise is being used to supplement in-house resource to deliver significant programmes of work, which currently includes the national response to COVID-19.

Sodexo are one of a number of facility management companies who are supporting the establishment and running of testing centres across the UK. Officials have worked with various industry providers to understand who has the footprint and ability to establish and run services in all geographical areas within short timescales.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March. Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. We have also made it clear that authorities must continue to achieve value for money for taxpayers, use good commercial judgement and publish the details of any awards made, in line with regulations and Government transparency guidelines.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase UK vaccine production capacity.

The Vaccines Taskforce is working with the BioIndustry Association Taskforce to review and increase where possible, existing domestic capability to manufacture vaccines in response to COVID-19. This includes a review of the acceleration and increasing capacity of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, so that it becomes operational earlier than planned and can manufacture population level doses.

For COVID-19, the type of vaccine manufacturing capacity needed will be determined by the nature of the vaccine that is developed and the technology used to produce the vaccines. The scale of facility needed will depend on how potent the vaccines are, and the productivity of the processes used to produce them. This work is proceeding at pace across different vaccine types, while those vaccines are still under development.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what he is taking to protect front-line NHS staff who are (a) categorised as vulnerable and (b) over 70 years old during the covid-19 outbreak.

Preserving and protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and keeping them well is critical for the National Health Service as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Advice from the Government confirmed that the groups of people who should take particular care to minimise their social contact were:

- People over the age of 70 and other adults who would normally be advised to have a flu vaccine (such as those with chronic disease); and

- Pregnant women.

For staff members in this category, the NHS will support staff to stay well and at work. NHS organisations should make adjustments to enable this wherever possible. Adjustments may include working remotely or moving to a lower risk area. Line managers should get support from the locally nominated EPRR (Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response) lead, or for example, Medical/Nursing director or Chief Operating Officer to make this happen. NHS organisations are encouraged to make it clear who the point of contact is in this regard.

Our people are the most important consideration as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In these unprecedented times, our people more than ever will be making every effort to care for patients and the population, and we must equal that with the care we provide to them.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had discussions with the Home Secretary on removing immigration restrictions on non-resident health and care workers to fill NHS vacancies; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for the Home Department about the design of the future immigration system and its impact on the National Health Service.

The Government fully recognises the contribution that international health and care professionals make to the NHS, and we remain committed to ensuring that this country still attracts these skills to benefit the whole healthcare system. We have set out plans to introduce a new NHS visa, which will offer an attractive package for NHS staff. The details of this scheme will be announced by the Secretary of State for the Home Department in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that help is available within the community for young people whilst they wait for NHS mental health services.

The Government announced in August 2019 that we are investing £3.3 million in 23 local community projects across England to help prevent mental illness in children and young people aged 25 and under.

The funding will enable more children and young people to access local services to support their mental health, with early intervention for those at risk of mental health problems. The projects have an emphasis on improving access to support outside of NHS services.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that mental health support is available for young people waiting for mental health treatments.

Following on from our Green Paper on transforming children and young people’s mental health, we are:

- incentivising every school or college to identify and train a Senior Lead for Mental Health;

- creating new mental health support teams in and near schools and colleges; and

- piloting a four-week waiting time to allow swifter access to specialist NHS services for those children and young people who need them

Once implemented, the Green Paper has the potential to significantly improve early intervention and prevention, along with expanding the current children and young people’s mental health workforce.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made in the last two weeks to his counterpart in (a) Croatia and (b) Monaco on securing the return of Jonathan Taylor to the UK.

On 13 November, I made calls to Croatian and Monegasque Foreign Ministers, to seek assurance that they both give full consideration to what protection Mr Taylor should be afforded as a whistle-blower.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure funding from the public purse is not spent on support for fossil fuel projects in the global south.

Fossil fuels account for two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear that the world is off track to meet the Paris Agreement temperature goals and we must reduce emissions if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.

Countries need reliable and sustainable supplies of energy if they are to tackle poverty effectively by growing their economies, creating jobs, and delivering essential services, and UK support for energy is increasingly invested in renewables. Since 2011, the UK has provided 33 million people with improved access to clean energy, avoided 31 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and installed 2,000 MW of clean energy capacity.

The UK was the first major economy in the world to make a legally binding net zero commitment. The UK will continue to lead by example through aligning our Official Development Assistance with the Paris Agreement temperature goals, including our support for energy. The UK keeps its balance of support for overseas projects under constant review to ensure alignment with government priorities, including on climate change.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans his Department has to allocate funds from the £40 million package for Chagossians living in the UK to help with financial issues caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

The Chagossian Support Package is discretionary Government funding to address the most pressing needs of the Chagossian community in the UK and overseas by improving access to health and social care and to improved education and employment opportunities. It is not intended to help with the immediate financial issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are other UK Government financial support schemes to provide assistance to businesses and individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to the oral contribution of the Prime Minister of 8 January 2020, Official Report, column 383, how many meetings he has held with his (a) French and (b) German counterparts on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in the latest period for which data is available; when those meetings took place; and what was discussed at each of those meetings.

Details of my meetings, discussions and statements on this matter are available on the gov.uk website.

https://www.gov.uk/search/news-and-communications?organisations%5B%5D=prime-ministers-office-10-downing-street

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing (a) a bonus-malus or grant scheme and (b) zero per cent or reduced VAT rate on new electric vehicles to incentivise consumer purchase of those vehicles.

The government already provides ‘Plug-in Grants’ for zero emission cars and ultra-low emission vans, motorcycles and taxis, which provide a discount on the cost of a new vehicle, reducing the price paid by the consumer. At the Spending Review 2020, the Chancellor confirmed £582m to extend these grants to 2022/2023.

With regards to VAT on electric vehicles, VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances, raising around £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps fund the Government's priorities including the NHS, schools, and defence. Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the rate of VAT for charging electric vehicles on street to the rate for charging electric vehicles at home.

Electricity supplied to homes for all purposes benefits from a reduced rate of 5 per cent of VAT. While all taxes are kept under review, there are no plans to reduce the rate of VAT for charging of electric vehicles when away from home.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department's document, Public sector exit payments: Response to the consultation, published in July 2020, what his timescale is for introducing limits on public sector redundancy payments.

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 as amended by the Enterprise Act 2016 granted HM Treasury the power to implement the £95,000 public sector exit payment cap through secondary legislation in the form of affirmative regulations.

HMT consulted on draft regulations to implement the exit payment cap in 2019 and laid regulations before Parliament in July 2020. The public sector exit payment cap will come into force on 4 November 2020, which is 21 days after the regulations were made.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the Exchequer was of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August 2020.

By midnight on 31 August, £522 million had been claimed through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Businesses can make claims until 30 September and HMRC will publish a final costing in October.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse has been of the Cycle to Work scheme in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of that scheme in each of the next two years.

In May 2020, the cost of the Cycle to Work scheme in 2018/19 was published in the Non-Structural Tax Relief statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/main-tax-expenditures-and-structural-reliefs

In addition to this, the cost of the Cycle to Work scheme (rounded to nearest £5m) for each of the last five years has been estimated as follows:

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

55

50

50

45

50

The cost of the Cycle to Work scheme for the next two years has not been estimated.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that insurance companies make payments in respect of business interruption policies that cover the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

The Government is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis and fully supports the regulator in its role. The FCA rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

On 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, and for a selected number of key issues, to resolve uncertainty for many customers making business interruption claims.

Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly, along with an initial list of policy wordings and insurers that will potentially be impacted by the Court’s decision on the representative sample. The FCA expects to publish a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have impacted wordings in early July, and expects a court hearing to take place in late July.

However, it is important to note that most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from non-property damage. Additionally, while some policies cover losses arising from any disease classed as notifiable by the government, or a denial of access to a building, most of these policies only cover a specific list of notifiable diseases or an incident specifically on the premises of the business. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. The terms of a policy cannot be changed retrospectively.

The Government encourages businesses to seek assistance through the wider support package if they are in financial difficulty. Businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor in the Budget, on 17 March, and on 20 March, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure businesses who pay business rates via their rent are eligible for coronavirus business support grant funds.

The Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund have been designed to support the smallest businesses, and smaller businesses in some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The two schemes have been tied to the business rates system and rating assessments, which together provide a framework for Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible. Businesses in the business rates system are also likely to face particularly high fixed costs, such as fixed rents.

In some shared spaces, individual users have their own rating assessments and may therefore be eligible for the grants schemes. In these cases, Local Authorities are urging landlords and management agents to support them in ensuring that the grants reach the correct ratepayers.

Businesses operating in shared spaces which do not have their own ratings assessment are not eligible for the grants schemes. Extending eligibility to these businesses would not be practicable as it would require Local Authorities to create an entirely new system and to put in place appropriate anti-fraud checks. This would significantly increase Local Authorities’ workloads at a time when they are already working under pressure to support struggling businesses as quickly as possible.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the value for money of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the context of the changes to Government policy that have resulted from that inquiry.

The Government has carefully considered all recommendations made by the Inquiry to date. These recommendations informed the development of the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, which was published on 22 January, and will continue to inform its implementation.

In particular, the Government is implementing a number of IICSA’s recommendations as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. This includes including further ‘positions of trust’ to which the existing offences contained within sections 16–19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 will apply, when certain activities are knowingly carried out on a regular basis within a sport or a religion. We are also placing a requirement for the courts and the police to have regard to a list of countries when they are considering the need for foreign travel prohibitions as part of the civil orders.

The Inquiry’s recommendations also have a reach far beyond central Government, and continue to inform other agencies’ approaches to addressing any institutional child protection gaps, and assisting with the culture change needed to improve the system-wide response to child sexual abuse.

Crucially, the Inquiry’s Truth Project, which has offered nearly 6,000 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the opportunity to share their experiences, has helped to ensure the voice of victims is at the heart of organisational and societal changes going forwards.

The Inquiry’s final Report is due to be published next year which will include further findings and recommendations, which Government will carefully consider.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations made to date by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse; and whether she has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to implement those recommendations.

The Government has carefully considered all recommendations made by the Inquiry to date. These recommendations informed the development of the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, which was published on 22 January, and will continue to inform its implementation.

In particular, the Government is implementing a number of IICSA’s recommendations as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. This includes including further ‘positions of trust’ to which the existing offences contained within sections 16–19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 will apply, when certain activities are knowingly carried out on a regular basis within a sport or a religion. We are also placing a requirement for the courts and the police to have regard to a list of countries when they are considering the need for foreign travel prohibitions as part of the civil orders.

The Inquiry’s recommendations also have a reach far beyond central Government, and continue to inform other agencies’ approaches to addressing any institutional child protection gaps, and assisting with the culture change needed to improve the system-wide response to child sexual abuse.

Crucially, the Inquiry’s Truth Project, which has offered nearly 6,000 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the opportunity to share their experiences, has helped to ensure the voice of victims is at the heart of organisational and societal changes going forwards.

The Inquiry’s final Report is due to be published next year which will include further findings and recommendations, which Government will carefully consider.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of police resources during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been clear that it will provide police forces with the support they need to continue protecting the public and keeping communities safe through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government is taking steps to mitigate forces’ COVID-19 related financial pressures. It is reimbursing all their additional expenditure on medical-grade personal protective equipment between 27 February and 27 July, and has launched an income loss recovery scheme for Police and Crime Commissioners to claim a proportion of their budgeted income on sales, fees and charges in 2020/21 lost due to the coronavirus.

On 8 October the Government announced an additional £30m for police forces in England and Wales to step up their enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions through the autumn and winter months.

The department continues to work closely with the policing sector to monitor and make decisions on their current and future funding needs.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many vehicles have been stopped by police for producing a hazardous amount of smoke in the last 12 months; and what proportion of those vehicles were confiscated;

The Home Office does not hold this information centrally.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986?lay down certain requirements that all vehicles have to meet strict emission standards and be constructed and maintained so as not to emit any avoidable?smoke. It also governs the amount of light that must pass through the windows of?a vehicle and therefore how clearly the windows can be seen through.

It is for the police to take enforcement action as they consider appropriate against those in breach of the Regulations.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many vehicles have been stopped by police in the last 12 months for their windscreens or front side windows being tinted beyond legal limits; and what information she holds on the steps taken in relation to those vehicles.

The Home Office does not hold this information centrally.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986?lay down certain requirements that all vehicles have to meet strict emission standards and be constructed and maintained so as not to emit any avoidable?smoke. It also governs the amount of light that must pass through the windows of?a vehicle and therefore how clearly the windows can be seen through.

It is for the police to take enforcement action as they consider appropriate against those in breach of the Regulations.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to extend prospective marriage visas free of charge where weddings have been unable to take place as a result of covid-19.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic including extending visas for those affected with temporary stay to 31 May. We continue to monitor the situation closely and take these exceptional circumstances into account.

These are unprecedented times and we may make further temporary adjustments to requirements where necessary and appropriate.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to remove immigration restrictions on non-resident health and care workers to fill NHS vacancies; and if she will make a statement.

The Government is committed to introducing a Health and Care visa which will provide eligible doctors, nurses and other allied health and social care professionals, and their families, with fast-track entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated resource.

In addition, as announced by the Prime Minister on 21 May, all NHS workers and wider health and social care workers, including those coming on the NHS Visa, will be exempted from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Further details, including eligibility, will be published in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy; and if he will make a statement.

I have been working very closely across Government on my Department's contribution to the Integrated Review, including with the Prime Minister and my colleagues in the National Security Council.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of homes fitted with central heating microbore pipework.

The department has made no estimate of the number of homes fitted with central heating microbore pipework. However, the English Housing Survey commissioned by the department does provide information about heating systems in homes including the number of homes with central heating. The English Housing Survey reports can be seen at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/english-housing-survey.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Nov 2020
What progress his Department has made on the forthcoming devolution and local recovery White Paper.

We intend to bring forward the English Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper in due course, which will set out Government’s regional economic strategy to move us from recovery into levelling up and our vision for expanding devolution across England.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what criteria his Department used to select the places which receive funding from the Towns Fund.

Ministers considered a range of factors and different methods of identifying and prioritising towns. The metrics selected and their weighting was decided based on an analysis of the policy problem and aims and was calibrated against local intelligence and feedback. Further detail can be found within the National Audit Office Review of the Town Deals selection process.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has commissioned research on the potential effect on health of silica particulates transported in air related to mineral extraction.

The MHCLG has not commissioned any research into the potential effect on health of silica sand particulates transported in air related to mineral extraction. The remit of my Department is related to planning matters.

Our National Planning Policy Framework sets out how mineral planning authorities should approach planning for and dealing with mineral planning developments. It states that in granting planning permission for mineral extraction planning authorities should ensure that any unavoidable dust and particle emissions are controlled, mitigated or removed at source.

It is, therefore, for mineral planning authorities to plan for and determine planning applications for silica sand and assess the impacts of those proposals, including the impacts of any dust emissions. In dealing with mineral proposals, mineral planning authorities would seek the views of appropriate consultees, such as local environmental health authorities, Environment Agency, Public Health England and/or the Health and Safety Executive depending on the particular facts of the case.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Law Commission’s report, Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease, published in July 2020, what plans he has to implement the recommendations on reforming leasehold home ownership; and when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on reforming leasehold.

The Government asked the Law Commission to review current enfranchisement arrangements to make them easier, faster, fairer and cheaper. The Law Commission report on the enfranchisement process was published in July, alongside reports on commonhold and Right to Manage. They also reported in January on options relating to valuation, including purchasing a freehold and extending the lease of a house or flat. We are considering these in detail and will set out our preferred way forward in due course. We will bring forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) total value of council tax arrears referred to bailiffs by local authorities and (b) value of arrears recovered by bailiffs in the last 12 months.

The Government does not hold data on the value of council tax arrears referred to, or recovered by, bailiffs. Statistics on the total council tax, including arrears, collected by local authorities for the financial years from 2014-15 are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/collection-rates-for-council-tax-and-non-domestic-rates-in-england-2018-to-2019.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to publish the findings of his Department's review of council tax collection methods.

The Government has been working with local government and the debt advice sector to develop updated best practice guidance on the collection of council tax and will publish this guidance in due course.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress there has been on the implementation of the Lammy Review recommendations.

The Government has provided updates on the implementation of the independent review into the treatment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system (the Lammy Review).
Where a recommendation could not be implemented in full or exactly as set out in the Review, alternative approaches have been sought to achieve the same aim. As of 16th October 2020, the status of the recommendations is as follows:

Out of the 35 recommendations listed in the Lammy Review:
i. Actions in relation to 16 recommendations have been completed (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22, 23, 33, 35)

ii. Actions in relation to 17 recommendations are still in progress, of which:
a. 11 recommendations aim to be completed within 6 – 12 months (15, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)

b. 6 recommendations will take longer than 12 months to be completed (1, 9, 10, 31, 32, 34)

iii. Two recommendations (14, 16), specific to a target for judicial appointments and appraisal, are not being taken forward. This was announced in the Government’s response to the Review in December 2017.

The Government’s response identified actions going beyond the Review’s recommendations. Progress on recommendations and additional actions are overseen by a CJS Race and Ethnicity Board which was created in response to the Review.

An Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities is currently reviewing inequality in the UK, focusing on areas including education, employment, health and the criminal justice system. The Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will aim to report to the Prime Minister by the end of the year

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent estimate she has made of the average waiting time for immigration appeals to be heard at tribunal from the time the appeal is lodged, for (a) all tribunals, (b) asylum tribunals, (c) family visit visa tribunals and (d) entry clearance officer tribunals; and what additional resources have been allocated to tackling the backlog of immigration appeals as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The average waiting time from the lodgement of the appeal to first hearing for the period January to March 2020 is a) for all appeals - 17 weeks and b) for asylum appeals - 8 weeks.

Family visit visa and Entry clearance officer appeals no longer exist as separate appeal categories. The other appeal categories are Human Rights appeals and Out of country appeals and their waiting times for the same period are 22 weeks and 34 weeks respectively.

These figures are from internal Management Information extracted from the tribunal’s case management system. They do not form part of the published tribunal statistics published on a quarterly basis and are available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

HM Courts & Tribunals Service has worked extensively to reduce the outstanding caseload and improve timeliness in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. This has seen the live caseload in the First-tier Tribunal reduce by more than two-thirds, from 64,800 to 19,533 between July 2016 and March 2020. Our focus is now on maximising our capacity to reduce the growth and volume of our outstanding work.

We will build the number of face to face hearings; our hearing centres were never officially closed even though all hearings were of course suspended.

We are working closely with the judiciary to increase the number of hearings by expanding our capacity for remote audio and video hearings; and ensuring that we can build the number of face to face hearings as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with public health advice and guidance.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog of court cases that has accumulated as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Our courts and tribunals provide a vital public service and it is important that justice is delivered in a timely fashion wherever possible despite the Covid-19 outbreak. Staff, identified as key workers during this pandemic, and the judiciary, working in partnership with everyone who supports the justice system has maintained both a core justice system focussed on the most vital cases, and the safety of all courts and tribunals users in line with public health advice and guidance.

Considerable effort has been made to ensure that as far as possible the justice system continues to function. We put in place temporary changes, designed in partnership with the judiciary, to prioritise cases; rapidly expand our capacity for remote audio and video hearings [numbers] while maintaining access to open justice; and condensed our services in to 159 open court/tribunal buildings, a further 111 staffed courts being used for audio and video hearings and suspended operations in 71 sites, utilising resource and cleaning materials in those sites to bolster open and staffed courts. Jury trials have restarted in seven Crown Court centres since 18 May, including the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey in London, Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester Minshull Street, Reading, Warwick and Winchester.

We have rolled out home working solutions to allow as many of our staff as possible who can, to work from home performing essential functions and thus reduce or eliminate unnecessary backlogs. As at 2 June 2020, we have distributed 5,588 laptops to our staff to facilitate this. We have also commenced rolling out a Windows Virtual Devices Solution to enable other staff to temporarily work securely at home using their own IT equipment.

Our focus is now on maximising our capacity to reduce the growth and volume of our outstanding work. We are working closely with the judiciary to increase the number of hearings by further expanding our capacity for remote audio and video hearings; and ensuring that we can reopen our estate for more face to face hearings as soon as it is safe to do so. These specific measures will be set out in due course. In the meantime, our listing priorities continue to be published on judiciary.uk and details those hearings that must still go ahead.

Our commitment to continuing to deliver justice depends on close engagement and working with justice system partners, and we are grateful to all involved for the way they have embraced new and planned reform solutions to keep the wheels of justice turning.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
What changes his Department plans to make to the operation of probation services during the covid-19 outbreak.

Probation is operating under an exceptional delivery model which prioritises public protection and offender management in the community.

Probation officers continue supervising in person those who pose the highest risk ensuring the monitoring of high-risk offenders remains as tough as it always is.

At the same time, we are supervising lower-risk offenders using more frequent video and telephone calls.

We have set up Homelessness Prevention Taskforces to support offenders who are being temporarily released from prison as part of efforts to keep prisons safe during this period. These teams are working with the police to carry out the relevant risk assessments, including checks on domestic abuse and safeguarding issues.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Jun 2021
What assessment the Government has made of the potential benefits for frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK of a veterinary agreement between the UK and the EU.

The UK is working hard and in good faith to ensure the Protocol operates in a sustainable way that works for the people of Northern Ireland. We have proposed an ambitious veterinary agreement, based on our respective high standards, to reduce checks and controls. We need the EU to meaningfully engage with these proposals to ease burdens in Northern Ireland and provide a sustainable basis for the Protocol.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
18th Nov 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on support for Welsh businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

I have regular discussions with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on support for Welsh businesses. Wales is benefitting directly from UK Government support to enable businesses and employees to get through Covid. This support already amounts to over two billion pounds for businesses across Wales.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps the Government is taking to support the steel industry in Wales.

We recognise that global economic conditions continue to be challenging for the steel industry and are committed to?supporting a?productive, vibrant and modern steel sector?in the UK. That is why we recently worked to reach an agreement with Celsa which will save hundreds of highly-skilled Welsh jobs.

The Government has put together a far-reaching package of support to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to regularly engage with the steel sector about support mechanisms, especially in dealing with the economic impact of Covid-19.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales