Mhairi Black Portrait

Mhairi Black

Scottish National Party - Paisley and Renfrewshire South

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

(since January 2020)
Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Equalities)
1st Jul 2018 - 7th Jan 2020
Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Disabilities)
1st Jul 2018 - 7th Jan 2020
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Children and Families)
1st Jul 2018 - 7th Jan 2020
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Pensions)
20th Jun 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Youth affairs)
20th Jun 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Work and Pensions Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Department Event
Wednesday 14th September 2022
11:30
Scotland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Scotland
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Given that the UK wields the most control over the Scottish economy, my question is pretty simple: why is it …
Written Answers
Thursday 10th February 2022
Cabinet Office and Prime Minister
To ask the Prime Minister, what processes will be put in place to ensure coordination between the proposed Office of …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 2nd April 2019
100 DAYS TO SAVE COATS MEMORIAL
That this House recognises the rich and historic significance of Coats Memorial Church in Paisley; further notes the enthusiasm of …
Bills
Wednesday 29th June 2016
Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill 2016-17
A Bill to require assessment of a benefit claimant’s circumstances before the implementation of sanctions; and for connected purposes.
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
From 3 October 2015, newspaper column for The National, Newsquest Media (Herald & Times) Ltd, 200 Renfield St, Glasgow G2 …
EDM signed
Tuesday 19th July 2022
Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Climate Education Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require matters relating to climate change and sustainability to be integrated throughout the curriculum in primary and …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Mhairi Black has voted in 312 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Mhairi Black 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
Alister Jack (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Scotland
(31 debate interactions)
Iain Stewart (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
(11 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(5 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(20 debate contributions)
Scotland Office
(20 debate contributions)
Department for International Trade
(3 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(3 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020
(1,188 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Mhairi Black's debates

Paisley and Renfrewshire South Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Paisley and Renfrewshire South signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Reform the GRA to allow transgender people to self-identify without the need for a medical diagnosis, to streamline the administrative process, and to allow non-binary identities to be legally recognised.

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme

The SNP government appears solely intent on getting independence at any cost.


Latest EDMs signed by Mhairi Black

17th May 2022
Mhairi Black signed this EDM on Tuesday 19th July 2022

Specialist Huntington’s Disease Services

Tabled by: Hilary Benn (Labour - Leeds Central)
That this House notes that Huntington’s Disease is a rare, hereditary and incurable neurological condition that slowly robs patients of their ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, make decisions and care for themselves; notes that a University of Aberdeen study, published in the Journal of Neurology, highlights that the number …
81 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 38
Labour: 18
Liberal Democrat: 10
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alba Party: 2
Conservative: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
7th June 2022
Mhairi Black signed this EDM on Tuesday 7th June 2022

Ratification of the Istanbul Convention

Tabled by: Gavin Newlands (Scottish National Party - Paisley and Renfrewshire North)
That this House notes that 8 June 2022 will mark ten years since the UK signed the Istanbul Convention on protecting women and girls from violence; commends the work by IC Change and other groups in campaigning for the UK’s ratification of the treaty; welcomes the recent announcement by the …
56 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 42
Labour: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Conservative: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Mhairi Black's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mhairi Black, 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.


Mhairi Black has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Mhairi Black has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Mhairi Black


A Bill to require assessment of a benefit claimant’s circumstances before the implementation of sanctions; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 2nd December 2016
(Read Debate)

77 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
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what processes will be put in place to ensure coordination between the proposed Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Office during periods of national crisis.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer given to 114642.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what steps the proposed Office of the Prime Minister will take to coordinate and liaise with the devolved Administrations.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer given to 114642.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, how the proposed Office of the Prime Minister will work with the devolved Administrations.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer given to 114642.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, whether the proposed Office of the Prime Minister will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer given to 114642.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what powers the proposed Office of the Prime Minister will have.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer given to 114642.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many individuals were employed by (a) the Union Unit and (b) the Union Taskforce in each financial year since 2008-09; and how many and what proportion of those people were employed in an (a) press or (b) communications capacity.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, the Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. Details of expenditure are available in the Cabinet Office annual report and expenditure over £25,000 is published on gov.uk, in line with our transparency policy. Staff organograms are published periodically and available on gov.uk. Future details will be published in the usual way.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the (a) Union Unit and (b) Union Taskforce spent on paid-for listing in search results in each financial year since 2010-11; and how much is budgeted for that purpose for each of those groups for 2021-22.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, the Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. Details of expenditure are available in the Cabinet Office annual report and expenditure over £25,000 is published on gov.uk, in line with our transparency policy. Staff organograms are published periodically and available on gov.uk. Future details will be published in the usual way.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the (a) Union Unit and (b) Union Taskforce spent on paid-for social media advertising and promotion in each financial year since 2010-11; and how much is budgeted for that purpose for each of those groups for 2021-22.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, the Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. Details of expenditure are available in the Cabinet Office annual report and expenditure over £25,000 is published on gov.uk, in line with our transparency policy. Staff organograms are published periodically and available on gov.uk. Future details will be published in the usual way.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) total expenditure on and (b) cost to the public purse of the Union Unit was; what the cost to the public purse of the Union Taskforce was in each financial year since 2010-11; and what the budget for that taskforce will be in the financial year 2021-22.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, the Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. Details of expenditure are available in the Cabinet Office annual report and expenditure over £25,000 is published on gov.uk, in line with our transparency policy. Staff organograms are published periodically and available on gov.uk. Future details will be published in the usual way.

16th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what comparative assessment he has made of trends in the level of per capita deaths as a result of covid-19 in Scotland and England.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Government has spent on television advertising in relation to covid-19.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 33512 on 21 April 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans his Department has to honour the work of Royal Mail workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Further to the answer given by my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during his oral statement on 28 April 2020, the Government will ensure recognition is both timely and appropriate and is reflective of the profound gratitude the nation feels towards everyone on the frontline.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to honour supermarket workers, cleaners, factory workers and other low paid key workers for their work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Further to the answer given by my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during his oral statement on 28 April 2020, the Government will ensure recognition is both timely and appropriate and is reflective of the profound gratitude the nation feels towards everyone on the frontline.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost to the public purse has been to date of implementing hybrid proceedings in Parliament.

The House of Commons Commission is responsible for the hybrid proceedings in the Commons. The costs set out below therefore relate only to work associated with the Commons, not Parliament as a whole. The figures show combined implementation/other one-off costs and running costs as at 31 May 2020, and cover committed spend up to that date, not just actual expenditure.


VIRTUAL CHAMBER REVENUE COSTS:

Chamber set up – £31,200

Broadcasting hub set up – £12,734

Specialist operating team – £176,000

Technical infrastructure hire – £334,000

Remote broadcasting provision for Ministers and other key Members – £70,000

Additional internet bandwidth – £6,000

Sub-total excluding VAT = £629,934

(all supplier costs concerned, excluding any capital costs, are VAT recoverable)


VIRTUAL CHAMBER CAPITAL COSTS:

Broadcasting equipment – £123,994

Hansard recording equipment – £58,306

Sub-total excluding VAT = £182,300

Sub-total including VAT = £218,760


REMOTE VOTING, BALLOTING AND ANNUNCIATOR COSTS:

Remote voting (development, hosting) – £40,000 approx.

Commons Balloting – £12,500

Remote annunciator (“UKParliamentNow”) – £33,464 (Commons share only)

Sub-total including VAT = £85,964


VIRTUAL COMMITTEES REVENUE COSTS:

Implementation = £24,327 ex VAT (£29,192 including VAT)


VIRTUAL COMMITTEES CAPITAL COSTS:

Implementation = £330,824 ex VAT (£396,988 including VAT)


ONLINE BY-ELECTION FOR SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIRS

£3,780 including VAT.

TOTAL REVENUE INCLUDING NON-RECOVERABLE VAT = £745,090

TOTAL CAPITAL INCLUDING VAT = £615,748

GRAND TOTAL = £1,360,838

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department is issuing to employers to prevent them from requiring disabled staff who are at a higher risk to covid-19 virus to go to work.

Government worked with a wide range of businesses, unions and representative organisations to draft the guidance on safe return to work, as well as Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. The guidance sets out clearly that the Government advice on vulnerable and shielded groups continues to apply, and that equalities matters should still be taken into account.

Clinically vulnerable people who are at higher risk from COVID-19 have been asked to take extra care in observing social distancing. Employers should help these individuals work from home if possible. The guidance sets out that employers should consider whether workers with a disability are exposed to any specific risks, including those who are classed as either “clinically extremely vulnerable” or “clinically vulnerable” to COVID-19. If so, they should take the steps needed to protect those individuals.

The guidance does not replace health and safety or equalities legislation; it provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the National Living Wage to at least the amount recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.

The Government are committed to building an economy that works for everyone. Through the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW), we are ensuring the lowest paid are fairly rewarded for their contribution to the economy.

The Government considers the expert and independent advice of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) when setting the NMW rates. We reward workers with the highest possible minimum wage while considering the impact on the economy and affordability for businesses. As well as looking at living costs, the LPC draws on economic, labour market and pay analysis, independent research and stakeholder evidence.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support he is providing to the music industry to help that industry recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government acknowledges the importance of the music industry to the UK economy and that it has been significantly affected by the impacts of COVID-19.

The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund will benefit the music sector by providing support to venues and many other organisations. Over £1 billion of the fund has now been allocated to over 3,000 arts and culture organisations across the country, including over £54 million to over 300 music venues. A contingency element of £400 million of the Culture Recovery Fund was held back so that it could be most effectively used dependent on the state of the pandemic, with grant applications closing on 26 January 2021. This fund will support cultural organisations facing financial distress as a result of closure, as well as helping them transition back to fuller opening.

The Government’s broader economic measures have also supported the music industry. This support includes business rates relief; £1.1 billion existing discretionary funding for Local Authorities; the furlough scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which have been extended to April; and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme, which have been extended until March. In addition, the Treasury announced a temporary reduction in VAT for concert tickets from 20% to 5% to take effect from 15 July 2020 for ticket sales until 31 March.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to introduce a (a) two year multi-entry touring visa for musicians, (b) temporary exemption from duty for the transportation of instruments and equipment and (c) an expansion of the list of CITES-designated points of entry and exit.

DCMS has engaged extensively with union bodies, companies, orchestras, individual musical practitioners and cultural organisations. We understand the importance of being able to tour. We recognise that this depends on musicians and crew being able to move quickly and easily between countries, taking necessary equipment with them.

We want a relationship with the EU based on friendly cooperation. On temporary entry for business purposes (mode 4), a reciprocal agreement based on best precedent will mean that UK citizens will be able to undertake some business activities in the EU without a work permit, on a short-term basis. The same would apply for EU citizens making business visits to the UK. The precise details, including range of activities, documentation needed, and the time limit, will be negotiated.

There are several options currently available which allow certain goods to be imported temporarily into the UK from outside the EU without payment of duties, subject to certain conditions. These include ATA Carnet and Temporary Admission (TA). Similarly there are options, including ATA Carnet and Returned Goods Relief (RGR), that allow certain goods to be reimported to the UK following temporary export to another customs territory without payment of duties. At the end of the Transition Period, ATA Carnets, RGR and TA will all become options for temporarily moving musical instruments and equipment between the UK and EU.

DEFRA has already expanded the list of CITES-designated points of entry and exit available post Transition Period to a total of 29. They will continue to work with port operators, Border Force, and industry to analyse trade flows and will designate further PoE where there is clear evidence of benefit to the UK.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to allocate financial support to the music industry to help recovery from the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

On Sunday 5 July 2020, the Secretary of State announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors, including music.

We are working closely with DCMS’ Arm’s Length Bodies to develop guidance indicating who can apply for the different elements of this funding, and we will publish detailed guidance as soon as possible in July.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance the Government has provided to people (a) financially affected by and (b) addicted to loot boxes in video games.

The government takes concerns around issues such as loot boxes in video games very seriously. We have committed to a review of the Gambling Act, with a particular focus on tackling issues around loot boxes. Further details will be set out in the government response to the DCMS Select Committee’s report on Immersive and Addictive Technologies which will be published shortly.

We also continue to work with industry and the age ratings bodies to encourage the use of parental controls that can disable or limit spending on devices, and welcomed the launch in January 2020 of the games industry’s Get Smart About P.L.A.Y. campaign encouraging parents to use parental controls and take an active role in their children’s gaming. We also welcome PEGI’s decision in April 2020 to introduce a new ‘paid random items’ content label for physical and digital copies of games.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has for domestic alternatives to the Creative Europe Programme after the transition period.

The government has made the decision not to seek participation in Creative Europe in the next Multiannual Financial Framework. Domestic alternatives will be a consideration for the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he made an assessment of the implications for Scottish universities of his policy on student number controls announced on 4 May 2020.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I have regular meetings with Scottish ministers, and ministers from all the devolved administrations, about higher education issues. These discussions have included the development of student number controls policy. Departmental officials also have regular meetings and discussions with their counterparts.

Student number controls are a direct response to COVID-19. They are designed to minimise the impact to the financial threat posed by the outbreak and form a key part of the package of measures to stabilise the admissions system. We want to make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

These controls are a temporary measure and will be in place for one academic year only. Student number controls for institutions in the devolved administrations only apply to the number of English-domiciled entrants who will be supported with their tuition fees through the Student Loans Company, and are set at a level which will allow every institution to take more first year English students than they took last year. The funding of English-domiciled students is not a devolved matter, and it is right and fair that this policy should apply as consistently as possible wherever they are studying in the UK.

Ministers will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system following the COVID-19 outbreak.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he had with the (a) Scottish Government and (b) Scottish Funding Council prior to his announcement of 4 May 2020 that student number controls would be implemented in Scottish universities.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I have regular meetings with Scottish ministers, and ministers from all the devolved administrations, about higher education issues. These discussions have included the development of student number controls policy. Departmental officials also have regular meetings and discussions with their counterparts.

Student number controls are a direct response to COVID-19. They are designed to minimise the impact to the financial threat posed by the outbreak and form a key part of the package of measures to stabilise the admissions system. We want to make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

These controls are a temporary measure and will be in place for one academic year only. Student number controls for institutions in the devolved administrations only apply to the number of English-domiciled entrants who will be supported with their tuition fees through the Student Loans Company, and are set at a level which will allow every institution to take more first year English students than they took last year. The funding of English-domiciled students is not a devolved matter, and it is right and fair that this policy should apply as consistently as possible wherever they are studying in the UK.

Ministers will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system following the COVID-19 outbreak.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to replace Erasmus after the end of the transition period.

As we set out in the UK’s approach to negotiations, we remain open to the UK participating in elements of the Erasmus+ programme, on a time-limited basis, provided the terms are in the UK’s interest.

The specific terms under which the UK could participate in the programme are subject to the future negotiations with the EU, which we hope to conclude as soon as possible.

In parallel with the ongoing negotiations, we continue to develop an alternative domestic scheme as part of preparing for every eventuality.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Department's policy is on ratifying the Convention on the International Sale of Goods 1980.

I refer the Hon. Lady for Paisley and Renfrewshire South to the answer I gave her on 20th November 2020 (UIN: 114241).

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she plans to ratify the Convention on the International Sale of Goods 1980.

HM Government has no current plans to ratify the Convention.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason claimants of universal credit under the age of 25 receive a lower rate than claimants over the age of 25.

We have injected over £6.5bn into the welfare system, including increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by up to £1,040 a year for everyone. This was in addition to the 1.7 per cent inflation increase which was part of the Government’s decision to end the benefits freeze meaning more financial support for millions of people across the UK, including those under 25.

The Universal Credit rate for under 25s reflects the lower wages that younger workers typically receive.

Universal Credit also includes separate elements to provide support for housing costs, children and childcare costs and support for disabled people and carers. These additional amounts are provided to claimants at the same level irrespective of age.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to provide support to young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are disproportionately financially affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

We acknowledge that it is important that Jobcentres continue to support young people through the economic recovery post-COVID-19. They have already started to re-engage with new and existing claimants and are signposting them to appropriate support.

Anyone over the age of 18 can claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance if they have sufficient paid National Insurance contributions. Neither of those benefits is means-tested. Those on low incomes and with limited capital can claim Universal Credit or legacy Jobseeker’s Allowance.

For Universal Credit, New Claims Advances of up to 100% of potential entitlement are available within a few days if a claimant needs support during their first assessment period. Face-to-face checks for Universal Credit advances have been scrapped due to Covid-19, so people get the support they need despite COVID-19 restrictions. We have also increased the Standard Allowance for everyone by over £80 a month on top of the existing 1.7% (CPI) increase already announced. This additional increase means all claimants will be up to £1040 better off.

DWP is also engaging with a number of external stakeholders including the Youth Employment Group (set up by the Prince’s Trust, Youth Employment UK, the Institute for Employment Studies, the Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus) as well as continuing to work across Whitehall to develop appropriate support aimed at young people.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing universal credit entitlement for people that are (a) single and under 25 years of age and (b) in a couple and under 25 years of age.

As a result of changes made in April, the Universal Credit standard allowance increased by £20 per week for the next 12 months – equivalent to up to £1,040 a year. This is in addition to the 1.7% inflation increase, announced Nov 2019, as part of the Government’s decision to end the benefits freeze, and means more financial support for millions of people across the UK.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to make people that are self-employed and have pension savings exempt from the rules on capital when applying for universal credit.

Regardless of employment status, any funds held in an occupational or personal pension scheme are disregarded as capital in Universal Credit until the claimant reaches the pension age of the scheme, or withdraws funds from the scheme early.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to increase Employment and Support Allowance during the covid-19 outbreak.

We currently have no plans to increase Employment and Support Allowance above its current rates.

We have announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption, such as increasing the standard rate in Universal Credit by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week) on top of the planned annual uprating. This additional increase means claimants will be up to £1040 better off. We estimate 2.5m households on UC will benefit straight away, as well as new claimants who become unemployed or whose earnings or work hours decrease because of the outbreak. The Universal Credit IT system is significantly more flexible than our legacy systems and uses different technology from other DWP systems. The Department is experiencing significant increased demand and the Government has to prioritise the safety and stability of the benefits system overall.

We have also made a number of changes to legacy benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including increases in entitlement. These new measures include:

  • Providing more support for benefit claimants in the Private Rented Sector by increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile, helping to alleviate affordability challenges. Those receiving Housing Benefit and legacy benefits will benefit from this increase.

  • Treating all ESA claimants who satisfy the conditions of entitlement and are suffering from COVID-19 or who are required to self-isolate in line with government guidance, including vulnerable individuals who have been advised by the NHS to ‘shield’ (stay at home for at least 12 weeks) because they are at high risk of severe illness, as having limited capability for work, without the requirement to undergo a Work Capability Assessment,

  • Removing waiting days for ESA, so it will be payable from day one of the claim, subject to the claimant satisfying the normal conditions of entitlement; and,

  • Allowing disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payments, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit to continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged.
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure the importation of medicines into the UK that are manufactured in the EU.

We continue to work closely with other Government departments, including the Department for Transport, HM Revenue and Customs and the Cabinet Office’s Transition Task Force, the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to deliver the shared goal of continuity of safe patient care under all circumstances.

The Department wrote to all suppliers of medicines and medical products coming to the United Kingdom from or via the European Union on 17 November 2020. The letter sets out how we are continuing to work across Government and with suppliers to deliver our multi-layered approach to mitigate any potential disruption to supply of medicines into the UK. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-medicines-and-medical-products-suppliers-17-november-2020

19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what role (a) he and (b) officials in his Department played in the design of the covid-19 public advice to stay alert, control the virus, save lives.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign across all four nations of the United Kingdom to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. This is a cross-Government campaign involving multiple departments and is being coordinated centrally by the Cabinet Office.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contribution his Department has made to television broadcasts on covid-19 advice issued by the UK Government and aired in Scotland.

The COVID-19 Communications Hub in the Cabinet Office has been working closely with the four nations on the development and delivery of the campaign. There are regular meetings on a weekly basis between central communications teams and those in the devolved administrations at both a senior and operational level. Before communications are aired in the nations, the devolved administrations have sight and are invited to input changes to ensure COVID-19 messaging is tailored to suit audiences in their respective nations.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contribution his Department made to the 11 May 2020 Cabinet Office Staying alert and safe (social distancing) advice.

The Department works closely across Government in developing COVID-19 guidance. The 11 May 2020 Staying Alert and Safe (social distancing) guidance, published by the Cabinet Office, included contributions from Departmental policy units and Public Health England (an arm’s length body of the Department) and was approved by Public Health England, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that covid-19 social distancing advice is accessible to young people.

Public Health England has worked with members of the National Health Service Youth Forum and young ‘I Will’ Ambassadors to create COVID-19 guidance that is more young people friendly. The tailored guidance adapts the advice, resources and language to be more relevant to young people aged 11-19 years. The involvement of young people, including those that are shielding, demonstrates the double benefits of youth social action.

Guidance for young people on shielding and protecting people most likely to become unwell if they catch COVID-19 has been published on the GOV.UK website. Guidance on social distancing for young people will be published shortly.

The published guidance is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-on-protecting-people-most-likely-to-get-unwell-from-coronavirus-shielding-young-peoples-version

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what his policy is on Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure people in developing countries have access to clean water.

The UK has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which includes Article 11(1) on the right to a standard of living. The UK recognises that Article 11 implies rights to water and sanitation. The UK has gone further to work with other countries on water and sanitation related human rights. At the 2020 session of the UN Human Rights Council, held from 14 September to 7 October, the UK joined with other UN Member countries in adopting the latest resolution on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. This resolution was successfully adopted.

The FCDO is taking steps to ensure that people in developing countries have access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Since 2015, UK Aid funded programmes have reached over 60 million people with access to clean water or sanitation, and we continue to work in this area, not least in the context of the COVID-19 response and recovery.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will suspend the 40 year rule that applies to the records of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group; and if he will publish those records.

At the time of the handover of Hong Kong, the then Lord Chancellor decided that certain Hong Kong records should be retained for 50 years from 1997 without decennial review, due to their sensitivity. We are not seeking to amend this decision.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2020
What steps he is taking with his international counterparts to ensure that states use their emergency powers proportionately during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is playing a major role in the global response as we galvanise support for our Four-Point Plan: 1) co-ordinating the global health response; 2) accelerating the search for a vaccine, treatments and testing; 3) securing a sound economic response; and 4) bringing our people home.

The Foreign Secretary and Ministerial team are carrying out extensive bilateral and multilateral engagement, including with G7/G20 counterparts, and working with international companies to tackle the crisis.

We are also working closely with UN Security Council members and the UN Secretary-General to address pandemic and secondary impacts, including instability.

Through our international engagement, we have repeatedly made clear that measures taken by States to tackle CV19 must be necessary, proportionate, time-bound, transparent and regularly reviewed.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the planned budget is of the (a) Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, (b) Union Unit and (c) Union Taskforce for 2021-22.

The planned budget of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and Office of the Advocate General for 2021-22 is £11.43m.

There is no information available on any specific business unit as HM Treasury does not make decisions on individual business areas within Departments.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
20th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will assess the potential merits of zero-rated social care services for VAT purposes to allow regulated social care companies to reclaim VAT on expenses.

While all taxes are kept under review, there are currently no plans to change the VAT treatment of social care services.
20th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of backdating VAT status for social care services with increased personal and protective equipment costs as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has taken extraordinary action in introducing the new temporary zero rate on Personal Protective Equipment. This helps all consumers of such equipment, but especially social care providers who cannot recover VAT on this cost.

12th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide financial support to self-employed mothers whose average earnings will be less as a result of taking maternity leave during the timeframe for eligibility for accessing the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has been designed to deliver support as quickly and effectively as possible to millions of individuals. The Government understands the challenges faced by those with periods of maternity leave and the existing averaging calculation takes account of periods of reduced profits. The Government will continue to work with stakeholders to make sure funding reaches those who need it most, keeping all policies under review, while ensuring that any potential changes do not risk the wider delivery of Government schemes.
5th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending maternity pay for people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed to a targeted, multi-billion-pound package of unprecedented support for individuals, families and businesses affected by the virus, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We have taken steps to ensure that furloughed workers who are planning on taking family-related leave, including Maternity Leave, on or after 25 April, will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than their furloughed pay rate. In addition, where employers ‘top-up’ statutory pay on a contractual basis, they will be able to claim for these payments through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers.

The Government has prioritised measures which are targeted towards the most vulnerable and can be delivered safely and swiftly. The UK has one of the most generous periods of Maternity Leave in the world; mothers can already choose to take up to 12 months leave, 39 weeks of which are paid. Therefore the Government currently has no further plans to extend family-related leave and pay.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he had made of the potential merits of introducing a universal basic income before announcing the covid-19 financial support schemes that are now in place.

I refer the Honourable Member to my written answer to Parliamentary Question 38615 that was given on 28 April 2020 www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-04-21/38615/

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether historical (a) PAYE and tax references, (b) contracts of employment, (c) (i) notice and (ii) acceptance letters are adequate proof of employment status for acceptance on to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

In March, the Government announced the unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep millions of people in employment. HMRC have developed and delivered the scheme at record speed, and it opened for claims on 20 April, just one month after it was announced.

Employers can claim for furloughed employees who were employed on 19 March and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.

The scheme has been set up to operate at significant scale and with limited manual intervention. The Government has prioritised helping the greatest number of people as quickly as possible, and this approach achieves that, balancing it against the risk of fraud that exists as soon as the scheme became public.

Those not eligible for the scheme may have access to other support Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those in difficulty with mortgage payments.

12th Jul 2021
What plans she has to bring forward proposals to review the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

This Government currently has no plans to review the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. We keep drug controls under review, in consultation with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Drugs Legislation forms part of our wider approach to preventing drug misuse alongside prevention and education, supporting treatment and recovery, and tackling the supply of illicit drugs.

Kit Malthouse
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing (a) a two year multi-entry touring visa, (b) a temporary cultural exemption for the transportation of instruments and equipment and (c) an expansion of the list of CITES-designated points of entry and exit to support the music industry's recovery after the covid-19 outbreak.

Currently, artists, entertainers and musicians visiting the UK can perform at events, take part in competitions and auditions, make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities for up to 6 months without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa. They can also receive payment for appearances at permit free festivals for up to 6 months, or for up to one month for specific engagements, under the Visitor route.

HMRC advise ATA carnets are available for commercial goods, professional equipment or goods going to trade fairs or exhibitions in participating countries, which are moved on a temporary basis to a new customs territory.

In addition to using carnets, alternative options for transporting equipment on a temporary basis between the EU and the UK (without having to pay customs duties and VAT) are Temporary Admission and Returned Goods Relief.

The UK Government will keep the list of CITES Ports of Entry and Exit (PoEs), managed by DEFRA, under review and look to make additional designations where it is feasible and advantageous to do so.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help help ensure that asylum seekers living in hotel accommodation in Scotland are re-homed.

It is Home Office policy to move people into suitable Dispersed Accommodation (DA) once their claim for support has been assessed, however we have had to restrict movement during COVID on public health advice.

Glasgow is currently the only dispersal area in Scotland and therefore procurement of longer term accommodation is limited to the city. Mears are working to procure suitable longer term accommodation across Glasgow and it is our intention, once restrictions on movement are lifted, to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable DA, in consultation with Glasgow City Council.

We are working closely with public health colleagues (Greater Glasgow PHU) and local health leads (Asylum Health Bridging Team) to ensure their guidance on social distancing and self-isolation is properly applied, while ensuring that people can continue to access essential services. Accommodation providers have taken appropriate steps to comply with public health guidelines by limiting access to communal areas, sequencing food service, serving food to rooms, applying controls for distancing (e.g. tape markings) and providing translated public health guidance and instructions.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department is taking to help ensure that asylum seekers living in Scotland are (a) aware of and (b) follow the Scottish Government's social distancing advice.

It is Home Office policy to move people into suitable Dispersed Accommodation (DA) once their claim for support has been assessed, however we have had to restrict movement during COVID on public health advice.

Glasgow is currently the only dispersal area in Scotland and therefore procurement of longer term accommodation is limited to the city. Mears are working to procure suitable longer term accommodation across Glasgow and it is our intention, once restrictions on movement are lifted, to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable DA, in consultation with Glasgow City Council.

We are working closely with public health colleagues (Greater Glasgow PHU) and local health leads (Asylum Health Bridging Team) to ensure their guidance on social distancing and self-isolation is properly applied, while ensuring that people can continue to access essential services. Accommodation providers have taken appropriate steps to comply with public health guidelines by limiting access to communal areas, sequencing food service, serving food to rooms, applying controls for distancing (e.g. tape markings) and providing translated public health guidance and instructions.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to test people arriving at UK airports for covid-19.

Travellers returning to the UK are not specifically tested for coronavirus, but are monitored for symptoms. Passengers arriving at UK airports are provided with information on symptoms and the latest social distancing advice to bolster public health measures already in place.

We will continuously review the most appropriate response at the UK border to the changing situation in relation to CV-19, both in the UK and across the international community.

The same social distancing rules apply to new arrivals into the UK as apply to the population as a whole, as per the clear advice PHE have set out. Anyone in the UK, whether or not they have been abroad recently, should be following the latest guidance to stay at home, avoid unnecessary contact with others and self-isolate should they or anyone they live with show symptoms.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department has (a)(i) invested and (ii) spent to date and (b) plans to spend in the next six months on covid-19-related operations.

Support to the Government's COVID-19 response is now Defence's main effort; our role is to support other Government Departments, principally the NHS.

Defence has committed a total of 19,189 personnel (as of 12 April) to the COVID Support Force with 2,958 deployed supporting 71 MACA tasks nationwide. To date, costs have been no more than £27 million. Future costs will depend on the scope of tasks Defence is asked to support.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much his Department spent on advertising in 2020-21.

In 2020-21, the Office spent a total of £75,681 on advertising.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, (a) how much his Department spent on communications staff and (b) how many communications staff were employed by his Department in 2020-21.

The number of staff working at the Office to deliver the communications functions in 2020-21 was 13.

Expenditure on communications staffing was £906,177 in 2020-21.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much his Department spent on communications in 2020-21.

The number of staff working at the Office to deliver the communications functions in 2020-21 was 13.

Expenditure on communications staffing was £906,177 in 2020-21.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what his Departments total overall spending was in 2020-21.

As reported in the annual report and accounts publication, the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate General’s spending for 2020-21 was £12.8m.

This does not include the transfer of £43.371 billion of funding to the Scottish Consolidated Fund, the details of which can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002998/Office_of_the_Secretary_of_State_for_Scotland_and_Office_of_the_Advocate_General_for_Scotland_Annual_Report_and_Accounts_2020-2021.pdf

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many staff were employed by his department in 2020-21.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland is a small Ministerial Department, which does not employ staff directly. Those that join, do so on an assignment, loan or secondment from other government Departments, principally the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice who remain the employers.

Detailed staffing information is already published annually, within the Staff Report of the Scotland Office Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21 - Scotland Office Annual Report 20/21. Copies are also available from the Library of the House.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much (a) his Department, (b) the Union Unit, and (c) the Union Taskforce spent on communications including staffing costs in each financial year since 2010-11; and how much is budgeted for that purpose for each of those groups for 2021-22.

The Office’s annual expenditure is recorded under the ‘Statement of Operating Costs by Operating Segment’ in the Annual Report and Accounts which are publically available online at www.gov.uk/scotland.

The Office does not hold information on budget allocations for 2021/22 at this time.

The Office does not hold figures for the cost of the Union Unit or Union Taskforce.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much (a) his Department, (b) the Union Unit, and (c) the Union Taskforce spent on advertising in each financial year since 2010-11; and how much is budgeted for that purpose for each of those groups for 2021-22.

The Office keeps financial information for seven financial years, so available information only extends to 2013-14.

The Office’s annual expenditure on all advertising, including paid-for promotion on digital platforms including social media promotion, and paid-for listings in search results was as follows:

Financial Year

Social Media Promotion

Paid-for listings in search results

Total expenditure on advertising

2013-2014

Nil

Nil

Nil

2014-2015

Nil

Nil

Nil

2015-2016

£371

Nil

£371

2016-2017

£15,956

Nil

£15,956

2017-2018

£22,829

£1,647

£24,476

2018-2019

£46,217

£11,829

£58,046

2019-2020

£36,704

Nil

£36,704

The Office does not hold information on budget allocations for 2021/22 at this time.

The Office does not hold figures for the Union Unit or Union Taskforce.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much (a) his Department, (b) the Union Unit, and (c) the Union Taskforce spent on paid-for social media advertising and promotion in each financial year since 2010-11; and how much is budgeted for that purpose for each of those groups for 2021-22.

The Office keeps financial information for seven financial years, so available information only extends to 2013-14.

The Office’s annual expenditure on all advertising, including paid-for promotion on digital platforms including social media promotion, and paid-for listings in search results was as follows:

Financial Year

Social Media Promotion

Paid-for listings in search results

Total expenditure on advertising

2013-2014

Nil

Nil

Nil

2014-2015

Nil

Nil

Nil

2015-2016

£371

Nil

£371

2016-2017

£15,956

Nil

£15,956

2017-2018

£22,829

£1,647

£24,476

2018-2019

£46,217

£11,829

£58,046

2019-2020

£36,704

Nil

£36,704

The Office does not hold information on budget allocations for 2021/22 at this time.

The Office does not hold figures for the Union Unit or Union Taskforce.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much (a) his Department, (b) the Union Unit, and (c) the Union Taskforce spent on paid-for listing in search results in each financial year since 2010-11; and how much is budgeted for that purpose for each of those groups for 2021-22.

The Office keeps financial information for seven financial years, so available information only extends to 2013-14.

The Office’s annual expenditure on all advertising, including paid-for promotion on digital platforms including social media promotion, and paid-for listings in search results was as follows:

Financial Year

Social Media Promotion

Paid-for listings in search results

Total expenditure on advertising

2013-2014

Nil

Nil

Nil

2014-2015

Nil

Nil

Nil

2015-2016

£371

Nil

£371

2016-2017

£15,956

Nil

£15,956

2017-2018

£22,829

£1,647

£24,476

2018-2019

£46,217

£11,829

£58,046

2019-2020

£36,704

Nil

£36,704

The Office does not hold information on budget allocations for 2021/22 at this time.

The Office does not hold figures for the Union Unit or Union Taskforce.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many and what proportion of people employed in his Department in each financial year since 2008-09 were press and communications employees.

The total number of staff working at the Office is recorded in the Annual Report and Accounts, which are available online at www.gov.uk/scotland.

The Office is resourced to deliver all of the communications functions and activities expected and required of a government department in its own right and on behalf of the UK Government in Scotland.

Along with media handling, the operating model requires communications divisions to deliver the following functions: campaigns and marketing, digital communications, internal communications, strategic communications, stakeholder engagement and external affairs - including ministerial visits, events, committee meetings, and activities.

The Office does not hold staff records for team-level staffing prior to 2009/10.

The number of staff working at the Office to deliver communications functions, including visits and events, on 31 March in each financial year since 2009/10 is as follows:

Financial Year

Office communications staff

2009-2010

6

2010-2011

8

2011-2012

6

2012-2013

8

2013-2014

8

2014-2015

9

2015-2016

11

2016-2017

15

2017-2018

14

2018-2019

15

2019-2020

17

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many and what proportion of people employed in the Union Unit or Union Taskforce in each financial year since 2018-19 were press and communications employees.

The Office does not hold figures for the Union Unit or Union Taskforce.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, if he will publish copies of audience targeting information used by his Department for (a) advertising, (b) campaign and (c) promotional purposes in the last 12 months.

The audience targeting information used by the Office over the last 12 months is as follows:

  • All people in Scotland;
  • All people living in Scotland aged 18+;
  • All people in Scotland matching Interest: Small business, Entrepreneurship or Business, Behaviours: Small Business Owners, Industry: Business and Finance;
  • All people in Scotland matching Interest: Small Business, Small Business Owners, Small Business Administration, Small Business Saturday, business owner or Federation of Small Businesses. Behaviours: Small Business Owners. Employers: Small Business Owner, Industry: Business and Finance.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what comparative assessment he has made of the Newly Self-employed Hardship Fund that was made available in Scotland compared and the support available to the self-employed during the covid-19 outbreak in England.

As the Newly Self-employed hardship fund is administered by the Scottish Government, the UK Government does not hold information on data relating to this scheme. Through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme available across the UK, people have claimed £7.7 billion (including 155,000 self-employed people in Scotland receiving £449 million) and it remains open for applications for the second and final grant until 19 October.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the lockdown restrictions that have been implemented due to the covid-19 outbreak in Scotland and England.

All four nations of the UK entered lockdown at the same point, and the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations have all gradually eased public health restrictions at the point their Ministers have judged best, in accordance with the devolution settlements. There is more to be done to tackle the virus and while the UK Government is adapting in light of the evidence so far, it is premature to review comprehensively the effectiveness of the lockdown restrictions across the UK.

The UK Government works closely with the Devolved Administrations on tackling Covid-19 and has allocated around £4.6 billion to support public services in Scotland, alongside an unprecedented package of UK-wide support for businesses and individuals, including the furlough and self-employed support scheme which have made the lockdown possible and supported nearly 900,000 jobs across Scotland.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has visited Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency since his appointment.

I have not yet enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency.

I would of course consider very carefully any invitation from the Hon. Member to visit the Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency at the appropriate time.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, when he plans to visit Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency.

I currently have no plans to visit Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency in my capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister for the Union.

I have regular discussions with the Prime Minister and Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters relating to strengthening Scotland’s place in the Union.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament during the transition period.

From January 2021, powers in over 100 policy areas previously exercised at an EU level will flow directly to the Scottish Parliament, reinforcing its standing as one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world. I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters relating to Scottish devolution and the transition period.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on Scottish independence.

The UK Government will continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people who voted decisively in 2014 to remain part of the United Kingdom. I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters relating to strengthening Scotland’s place in the Union.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with Scottish universities on the Government's 4 May 2020 announcement on student number controls.

Funding decisions affecting students who live in England are for the Department of Education to determine, however Scotland Office Ministers and officials have had a number of discussions with Universities Scotland on this matter.

In those discussions we have reiterated the point that the Scottish Government has a responsibility to ensure that the university sector in Scotland is properly funded.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what representations he has made to Cabinet colleagues in relation to people in Scotland who are in temporary accommodation provided by Mears Group and funded by the Home Office.

The Secretary of State for Scotland is in contact with the Prime Minister and Home Secretary on a range of immigration issues of importance to Scotland.

Just like everyone else in the country, asylum seekers have been asked to stay in their accommodation to help in the fight against Coronavirus, which has increased the amount of accommodation needed to do so safely. The use of contingency accommodation is an exceptional response to exceptional circumstances.

Since the start of the current pandemic, the Home Office has been in daily contact with service providers to ensure that the Government continues to meet its statutory obligation to house destitute asylum seekers and to ensure that all contracted support services are delivered and service users are housed safely. As we emerge from lockdown measures, work has begun in Glasgow to move people out of hotels back into longer term accommodation.

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)