Mike Amesbury Portrait

Mike Amesbury

Labour - Weaver Vale

Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

(since September 2021)
Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Apr 2020 - 19th Sep 2021
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Employment)
10th Jul 2018 - 10th Apr 2020
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 23rd Jul 2018
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 23rd Jul 2018


Department Event
Monday 24th January 2022
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
24 Jan 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Monday 17th January 2022
Elections Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 172 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 325 Noes - 234
Speeches
Wednesday 12th January 2022
Transport Connectivity: Merseyside
My hon. Friend is making a powerful speech thus far. Does he agree that after 11 years in government, this …
Written Answers
Monday 17th January 2022
Personal Care Services: Coronavirus
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason businesses in the personal care industry are not included as …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 11th February 2021
Low carbon vehicles and construction work
That this House congratulates the Batch on Site Association (BSA) and its members for reducing the carbon footprint of essential …
Bills
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021
A Bill to make provision for guidance to schools about the costs aspects of school uniform policies.
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: USDAW
Address of donor: 188 Wilmslow Road, Manchester M14 6LJ
Amount of donation or nature and value …
EDM signed
Wednesday 8th December 2021
Recognising the service of House of Commons staff member Will Conway
That this House wholeheartedly thanks Will Conway for his 28 years of service as a member of House of Commons …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Mike Amesbury has voted in 338 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Mike Amesbury 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
Christopher Pincher (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
(101 debate interactions)
Eddie Hughes (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
(87 debate interactions)
Shaun Bailey (Conservative)
(33 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(30 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(28 debate contributions)
Home Office
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Mike Amesbury's debates

Weaver Vale 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 Weaver Vale signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Ensure Water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for. Not discharge it into rivers and water courses. After all what goes into the ocean comes back as the fish we eat.

Current legislation allows for public use of fireworks 16 hours a day, every day, making it impossible for vulnerable groups to take precautions against the distress they can cause. Better enforcement of existing law is insufficient; limiting their sale & use to licensed displays only is necessary.

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

Every year more and more people, animals and wildlife get hurt by fireworks. It’s time something was fine to stop this. There are enough organised firework groups around for us to still enjoy fireworks safely so please help me stop the needless sale of them to the public!


Latest EDMs signed by Mike Amesbury

6th December 2021
Mike Amesbury signed this EDM on Wednesday 8th December 2021

Recognising the service of House of Commons staff member Will Conway

Tabled by: Charlotte Nichols (Labour - Warrington North)
That this House wholeheartedly thanks Will Conway for his 28 years of service as a member of House of Commons staff; offers gratitude for his over two decades of service as the Branch Secretary of the GMB Union representing House of Commons staff; thanks him for his support and assistance …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
15th November 2021
Mike Amesbury signed this EDM on Monday 15th November 2021

Hillsborough disaster and the National Curriculum

Tabled by: Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
That this House acknowledges that, 32 years after the Hillsborough disaster, criminal trials collapsed in May 2021 and nobody has been held to account for the unlawful killings of 97 innocent people; acknowledges that it took 23 years of campaigning for the truth about the disaster to be finally acknowledged …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 31
Scottish National Party: 2
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Mike Amesbury's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mike Amesbury, 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.


Mike Amesbury has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Mike Amesbury has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Mike Amesbury


A Bill to make provision for guidance to schools about the costs aspects of school uniform policies.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 29th April 2021 and was enacted into law.


364 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
12 Other Department Questions
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will take steps to ensure that councils are provided with additional resources to support their communities and prevent significant job losses in the context of the omicron variant.

Councils have been essential to the national response to COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, we have committed over £13 billion to local authorities to tackle the impact of COVID-19 on their services, over £6 billion of which is un-ringfenced in recognition that they are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 pressures in their local areas, as well as providing compensation for lost income.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions his Department has had with Cornwall Council on their financial challenges and proposed reductions to services and staff.

Officials from the Department regularly speak with a range of local authorities around their finances as part of ongoing engagement with the sector.

The provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 makes available an additional £3.5 billion to councils, including funding for adult social care reform. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services.

In total, we expect Core Spending Power to rise from £50.4 billion in 2021/22 to up to £53.9 billion next year. For Cornwall Council this means Core Spending Power increasing from £513.5 million to £549.3 million.

It is for locally elected councils to make decisions around services in their local areas. We continue to encourage any local authority that is worried it is unable to set a balanced budget to come forward and speak to the Department.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a limit on the level of legal fees that can be imposed upon a homeowner trying to sell their home in the event that the buyer pulls out late in that process.

We recognise that the process for buying and selling homes in England and Wales can be frustrating. In our response to the Call for Evidence for improving the home buying and selling process, we set out actions we will take to make the process more efficient and less costly.

One part of this work is encouraging the adoption of voluntary reservation agreements. These would see buyers and sellers committing to the sale once an offer has been accepted and may include both sides making a financial commitment which would be surrendered to the other side if the party withdraws without good reason. These agreements will provide more certainty for both sides as the sale moves forward to completion; reducing the risk of parties withdrawing from transactions. In the event a party does withdraw the other side may get some financial compensation to cover their costs.

In order to be widely taken up, reservation agreements need to be attractive to buyers and sellers, and promoted by estate agents and legal representatives. Following behavioural insight research, work is now continuing to develop the agreements to make them an effective tool in improving the efficiency of home buying and selling and we hope to be able to evaluate their effectiveness next year.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the application to the Levelling Up Fund for a new swing bridge at Winnington, Northwich; and what the timeframe is for consideration of that application.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) did not receive a Levelling Up Fund application from Winnington, Northwich for the first round of the Fund.

There will be further opportunities to access funding with the second round of the Levelling Up Fund opening in spring 2022. More information on the second round will be set out in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the risk of building new homes in flood prone areas; and what steps he is taking to ensure that new homes are not built in areas of high flood risk.

This Government takes the risk of flooding very seriously. The Government’s policy statement on flooding and coastal erosion sets out our long-term ambition for managing the increasing challenges and boosting our resilience. It describes the Government’s policies to better protect and better prepare the country.

When local areas consider where new homes should be built, our National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is clear that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk (whether existing or future). Where development is necessary in such areas, the development should be made safe for its lifetime without increasing flood risk elsewhere.

In July 2021 the Government undertook a Review of policy on development in areas at flood risk. It concluded that the Government has robust measures in place to protect people and property from flooding which all local planning authorities are expected to follow. The review set out actions the Government should take and has already taken to ensure safety of new developments from flooding now and in the future. This included an update to the NPPF in July 2021 to make sure that all sources of flood risk need to be considered, taking into account future flood risk, to ensure that any new development is safe for its lifetime without increasing the risk of flooding elsewhere.

Furthermore, as part of our wider ambitions for an improved planning system we intend to review the NPPF to ensure that it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaption as fully as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on (a) biodiversity and (b) the wider local environment of the Sandymoor development.

I am unable to comment on specific cases as to do so may prejudice my position at a later stage should the case be called-in.

Halton Borough Council, as the local planning, highways and lead local flood authority, will consider the impact of any new development on existing infrastructure, potential flood risk management and environmental impacts, including on biodiversity, setting policies through their Local Plan and as part of their role in determining planning applications.

Environmental protection is at the heart of national planning policy, setting clear expectations about biodiversity net gain and the provision of green infrastructure when new development is planned. Biodiversity net gain will be made mandatory for most new development through the implementation of the 2021 Environment Act.

Homes England, the Government’s housing agency, will consider the benefits and impacts of the proposed development at Sandymoor in their planning applications and supporting Flood Risk Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment. The planning application will then be considered by Halton Borough Council following the regular process for planning decisions.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made on the potential flood risk of the Sandymoor development.

I am unable to comment on specific cases as to do so may prejudice my position at a later stage should the case be called-in.

Halton Borough Council, as the local planning, highways and lead local flood authority, will consider the impact of any new development on existing infrastructure, potential flood risk management and environmental impacts, including on biodiversity, setting policies through their Local Plan and as part of their role in determining planning applications.

Environmental protection is at the heart of national planning policy, setting clear expectations about biodiversity net gain and the provision of green infrastructure when new development is planned. Biodiversity net gain will be made mandatory for most new development through the implementation of the 2021 Environment Act.

Homes England, the Government’s housing agency, will consider the benefits and impacts of the proposed development at Sandymoor in their planning applications and supporting Flood Risk Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment. The planning application will then be considered by Halton Borough Council following the regular process for planning decisions.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Sandymoor development on local (a) roads, (b) schools, (c) doctors surgeries and (d) other amenities and infrastructure.

I am unable to comment on specific cases as to do so may prejudice my position at a later stage should the case be called-in.

Halton Borough Council, as the local planning, highways and lead local flood authority, will consider the impact of any new development on existing infrastructure, potential flood risk management and environmental impacts, including on biodiversity, setting policies through their Local Plan and as part of their role in determining planning applications.

Environmental protection is at the heart of national planning policy, setting clear expectations about biodiversity net gain and the provision of green infrastructure when new development is planned. Biodiversity net gain will be made mandatory for most new development through the implementation of the 2021 Environment Act.

Homes England, the Government’s housing agency, will consider the benefits and impacts of the proposed development at Sandymoor in their planning applications and supporting Flood Risk Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment. The planning application will then be considered by Halton Borough Council following the regular process for planning decisions.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many carbon neutral homes have been built in (a) Weaver Vale, (b) the North West and (c) the UK since 2017.

The requested information is not centrally collected and EPCs are a delegated matter in Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, the EPC Open Data dataset, in respect of England and Wales, does include an Environmental Impact Rating (EIR) which is a measure of the net level of carbon emissions arising from the building’s heating, hot water and lighting systems offset against any on-site renewable energy sources such as solar panels. Thus, an analysis of this freely available data for the relevant locations would provide an indication of the number of carbon neutral homes. It should be noted that the EIR does not take into account emissions associated with unregulated energy use – i.e. appliances and plug loads.

The Government remains committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050 and recognises the important contribution that the energy efficiency of buildings has to make in meeting it.

From 2025, the Future Homes Standard will ensure that new homes produce at least 75% fewer CO2 emissions than those built to current standards. This represents a considerable improvement in energy efficiency standards for new homes. Homes built to the Future Homes Standard will be zero carbon ready, with the ability to decarbonise over time alongside the national grid without any further energy efficiency retrofit work.

Later this year we will introduce an interim uplift in building standards that delivers a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions and provides a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard in 2025. Once the uplift comes into force, new homes will be expected to produce 31% less CO2 emissions compared to current standards. This will deliver high-quality homes that are in line with our broader housing commitments and encourage homes that are future-proofed for the longer-term.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when details of the proposed loan scheme for resident leaseholders in buildings that are 11 to 18 metres high will be published.

Building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders and we are introducing new measures that will legally require building owners to prove they have tried all routes to cover costs. The fire risk is lower in buildings under 18 metres and costly remediation work is usually not needed. Where fire risks are identified, they should always be managed proportionately. The Secretary of State is looking closely at this issue to make sure everything is being done to support leaseholders. Further detail on the support offer for leaseholders in residential buildings of 11-18 metres will be released when all options have been fully considered.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of trends in the number of civil servants working on the Building Safety Programme since the inception of that programme.

Core departmental workforce numbers are published online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/workforce-management.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 25 March 2021 to Question 171714 on Kingspan Group, whether the Government plans to exclude Kingspan plc from eligibility for departmental and government contracts.

The Government is deeply concerned about the information that has come to light through the Grenfell Public Inquiry.

Kingspan are not direct suppliers on Crown Commercial Service’s frameworks. We expect the company to review aspects of the way it operates, to ensure that the public can be confident in construction products and corresponding marketing, particularly where public safety is paramount.

The grounds for the exclusion of bidders from public procurement procedures are set out in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. These rules set out the circumstances in which bidders must, or may, be excluded from a public procurement process.

Decisions need to be based around firm evidence and individual contracting authorities are responsible for their own decisions on these matters.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Elected Office Fund will be reopened.

It is the Government’s ambition to see more disabled people in public office.

The EnAble Fund for Elected Office opened in December 2018 and closed in March 2020. The Government has been clear that the responsibility for supporting disabled candidates sits with political parties.

An evaluation of the EnAble Fund is due to be published shortly.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what financial support is available to Royal British Legion social clubs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided service charities with financial support during the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure the support being delivered by these crucial organisations can continue. In addition to the normal lines of funding offered to the service charity sector, the Government has made available £6million through the Covid-19 Impact Fund. This has been distributed to 100 charities, including the Royal British Legion. RBL social clubs may also apply for grants from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the Valneva covid-19 vaccine; and what steps he is taking to introduce that vaccine for people who cannot take the Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca or Moderna vaccines for ethical reasons.

The supply agreement between the government and Valneva was terminated in September 2021 and therefore this vaccine will not form part of the UK portfolio. Although Valneva have received their Phase III preliminary results and submitted their trial data to the MHRA, the company has not yet gained approval from the regulator.

The UK Government has taken a portfolio approach to vaccine supply for regulated vaccines. The UK has sufficient supply now for the current booster campaign, as well as continuation of the primary vaccination programme.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether foetal cells were used in the development of covid-19 vaccines.

Approved U.K. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any human foetal tissue.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that people in the Weaver Vale constituency are receiving their post delivered by Royal Mail on time; and if his Department will make an assessment on the potential merits of further Government steps on this matter.

The Government sets the minimum requirements and service standards for the UK postal service in the Postal Services Act 2011 and designates the Office of Communications (Ofcom) as the independent regulator for the sector.

Ofcom has a duty to ensure the provision of a financially sustainable and efficient universal postal service. It monitors Royal Mail’s provision of the universal service and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its performance targets as appropriate, taking account of all relevant factors.

Ofcom is carrying out a review of the future regulatory framework for post which it aims to complete in 2022. As part of this, Ofcom is considering whether its approach to regulating the quality of service for key universal postal services remains appropriate. Ofcom published a consultation document on proposals for the future regulation of postal services on 9 December 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has he made of the level of disruption to postal services as a result of covid-19 related absences.

Royal Mail’s contingency plans to mitigate disruption to postal services are overseen by Ofcom, the independent regulator responsible for monitoring the delivery of the universal postal service.

Ofcom carefully monitors Royal Mail’s performance to ensure it is providing the best service possible to customers and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its performance targets.

Ofcom will continue to take a pragmatic and proportionate approach to compliance monitoring.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to help ensure that energy companies are offering flexible and affordable tariffs for elderly customers.

The setting of energy tariffs is a commercial matter for individual supply companies.

The Government continues to support low income and fuel poor households with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Further, Winter Fuel Payments which are explicitly for the elderly, and Cold Weather Payments, ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to update the criteria for waste sent to Northwich Incinerator so that recyclable items will not be incinerated.

A public consultation into the application for the proposed expansion of the Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant near Northwich in Cheshire commenced on 4 November 2021 and will close on 2 December 2021. It is not possible to comment on the merits of a live planning application given the Secretary of State’s quasi-judicial role in the decision-making process. The Secretary of State will take all relevant matters, including the waste hierarchy, into account when he makes his decision.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the use of blue hydrogen in achieving net zero.

Low carbon hydrogen will be vital for meeting our legally-binding commitment to achieving net zero by 2050, with potential to help decarbonise vital UK industry sectors and provide flexible energy across heat, power and transport.

The Net Zero Strategy confirms the government’s ‘twin-track’ approach to supporting both electrolytic ‘green’ and carbon capture (CCUS)-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen production alongside multiple other production routes. Analysis from BEIS and the Climate Change Committee suggests that both routes will be needed to deliver low carbon hydrogen at the required scale and cost.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the expansion of the proposed Northwich incinerator on (a) levels of heavy goods vehicle transit, (b) noise pollution and (c) air pollution in that local area.

A public consultation into the Application for the proposed expansion of the Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant near Northwich in Cheshire, commenced on 4 November 2021 and will close on 2 December 2021. It is not possible to comment on the merits of a live planning application given the Secretary of State’s quasi-judicial role in the decision-making process but he will take all relevant matters into account when he makes his decision.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate his Department has made of the average cost of (a) a heat pump, (b) installing a heat pump and (c) adding internal renovations, such as changing radiators or pipework, to accompany a new heat pump.

In 2020 BEIS published analysis by Delta-EE on the cost of installing heating measures in domestic properties, including heat pumps.

Since then, the Government has published the Heat and Buildings Strategy which sets out a plan to drive down the cost of low carbon heating technologies like heat pumps, working with industry to ensure that in future they are no more expensive to buy and run for consumers as fossil fuel boilers. As part of this strategy:

  • Households can benefit from £5,000 government grants through £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme to help install low-carbon heating systems, part of more than £3.9 billion of new funding to decarbonise heat and buildings;
  • A £60 million innovation fund was launched to make clean heat systems smaller and easier to install and cheaper to run.
Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with metro mayors on converting the gas grid in their area from natural gas to hydrogen.

A variety of joint government and industry research, development and testing projects are underway, designed to help determine the safety, feasibility, costs and benefits of converting all or part of the existing gas grid to carry 100 percent hydrogen.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not met with metro mayors specifically on converting the gas grid. BEIS officials have had wider engagement with local authorities to ensure their perspectives were considered in the development of the UK Hydrogen Strategy and we will continue to engage with local authorities, metro mayors and other local partners as we look to grow the hydrogen economy throughout the 2020s and beyond.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of introducing nasal vaccines as part of the Government's covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Government’s approach to seeking a vaccine for COVID-19 has, from the outset, been to take a portfolio approach to vaccine procurement. This has allowed the Government to secure access to six different vaccine candidates across three vaccine types and from a range of developers. The aim is to ensure that the UK has access to the most promising vaccines currently in development, should any of these prove safe and effective.

While there are currently no approved nasal vaccines for COVID-19, the Government continues to engage with the market as new vaccines and vaccine technologies gain approval.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason Modern Methods of Construction are not included in the Building and Heat strategy.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy is focussed on emissions from energy use within buildings. Emissions from heat used for industrial processes, and emissions from construction are out of scope for the Heat and Buildings Strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of holding a public scientific hearing on animal experimentation.

The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe.   At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs, which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of statutory redundancy paid to former Greensill Capital employees since the collapse of that company.

The Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) is dealing with two cases: Greensill Capital Management Company (UK) Limited and its subsidiary, Greensill Capital (UK) Limited.

In respect of Greensill Capital Management Company (UK) Limited the RPS has, to date, paid out £138,971 in statutory redundancy payments.

In respect of Greensill Capital (UK) Limited, to date no claims have yet been received and no payments made.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of strengthening consumer protections in respect of purchases on online marketplaces that are dispatched from within the UK but are serviced by overseas sellers that operate outside of UK law.

The UK has a robust legislative framework to protect consumers. All businesses targeting UK consumers, wherever they may be located, must comply with this legislative framework.

Consumers should report any problems to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133, www.citizensadvice.org/. The helpline offers free advice to consumers on their rights and can refer on complaints to Trading Standards for appropriate enforcement action.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) effect of LEPs on their constituent areas and (b) the short and medium term future of LEPs.

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) performance is monitored through an annual assurance process and regular reporting. LEPs are required to participate in relevant Local Authority scrutiny arrangements to guarantee the effective and appropriate scrutiny of their investment decisions.

LEPs must also publish Delivery Plans and End of Year Reports, which set out details of the contributions they are making to promote economic growth in their areas.

Alongside the Budget, the Government committed to working with local businesses on the future role of Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of strengthening protections for consumers from unfair contracts and cancellation clauses.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all terms of written contracts must be fair and transparent. If terms in a consumer contract are assessed by a court as unfair, they will not be binding on the consumer, even if the consumer has “accepted” them.

The Government is working closely with Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership, which brings together key partners within the consumer protection framework, to examine ways to make it easier for consumers to cancel unwanted subscriptions and avoid them facing unreasonable charges.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made in ensuring that wedding venues provide refunds where events have not gone ahead as a result of the covid-19 restrictions.

The Competition and Markets Authority has produced a statement to help consumers and business understand how the law operates when contracts for wedding services have been or will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-refunds-cma-warns-wedding-firms-over-unfair-practices.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of compensating people who have lost money as a result of weddings being cancelled due to covid-19 restrictions and the venue refusing to refund in full.

No assessment has been made. Guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority in relation to wedding services affected by Covid-19 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wedding-services-coronavirus-covid-19-cancellations-and-refunds.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on updating the Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK Public Authorities to take into account the temporary increase in EU State Aid limits in order to help support the hospitality sector.

The European Commission approved amendments to the Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK authorities on 08 December 2020. These included support for uncovered fixed costs, an increase in the budget of the scheme and inclusion of subsidised interest rates for subordinated loans.

The EU State aid rules ceased to apply to the United Kingdom on 31 December 2020, except in the limited circumstances of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The United Kingdom remains bound by its international commitments, including the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU. In particular, it will be important for relevant subsidies to meet the terms of the Principles set out in Article 3.4 of the TCA. Covid-19 schemes in operation before 1 January 2021 will already be compliant with these Principles.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of locating the National Artificial Intelligence Centre At Sci-Tech, Daresbury in Weaver Vale constituency as part of the Government's levelling up policy.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has announced an ambitious modernisation of the Armed Forces supported by more than?£24 billion over the next four years, including at least £6.6 billion for R&D.

This commitment includes a new agency for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate the research, development, testing, integration and deployment of world-leading AI and Autonomous Systems.

This investment will underpin the UK’s enduring technical edge and status as a global science superpower. A decision has yet to been made about the agency’s location.

Furthermore, the Government's unprecedented commitment at the last Budget to increase public investment in R&D to £22 billion by 2024 to 2025 will boost economic performance outside of London and the South East and level up across the country.

This investment builds on the achievements under the Industrial Strategy AI and Data Grand Challenge and the AI Sector Deal.

Some of the Government’s key investments across the country includes:

  • 16 new AI Centres for Doctoral Training at universities across all four regions of the country, delivering 1,000 new PhDs over the next five years.
  • New prestigious Turing AI Fellowships. This includes 15 new Acceleration Fellowships to accelerate the careers of our brightest AI researchers with the potential to be world-leaders in the next 5 years.
  • Up to 2,500 places for AI and data science conversion courses starting this year. This includes up to 1,000 government-funded scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Funded up to £50 million for five new AI Centres of Excellence for digital pathology and imaging, including radiology, using AI medical advances. Three recently received a £50 million funding boost to scale up work to support the long-term response to COVID-19.

Founding The Alan Turing Institute as the UK’s national institute for data science and AI. Thirteen of the UK’s best universities make up the Turing’s core partners.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many applications for Innovate UK Smart Grants for businesses in Weaver Vale constituency have been rejected since August 2020; and what the primary reason was for each of those rejections.

Innovate UK Smart grants are an opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation, UKRI) to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.

The August 2020 competition for Innovate UK Smart Grants opened to applications on 28th August and closed to applications on 25th November.

Applicants are not required to include their postcode until after an offer is made. Identification of applications from the Weaver Vale has been undertaken based on postcode information voluntarily provided by applicants for the organisations’ registered addresses and/or the work location addresses. 17 applications involving one or more applicants in the Weaver Vale constituency have been identified.

Applications that do not fulfil the competition criteria are classed as ineligible and many applicants with ineligible applications will have been informed of this already. As of 30th November, 3 of these applications are ineligible. Two of the applications exceed the allowed project costs for the project duration and the other is a project over 18 months in duration that does not fulfil the need to be a collaborative project. These eligibility criteria are applied transparently and equally to all applications.

This competition will go into the assessment phase shortly with the funding decisions expected in February 2021.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many applications for Innovate UK Smart Grants were received from businesses in Weaver Vale constituency since 28 August 2020; and how many of those applications were successful in receiving grant money.

Innovate UK Smart grants are an opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation, UKRI) to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.

The August 2020 competition for Innovate UK Smart Grants opened to applications on 28th August and closed to applications on 25th November.

Applicants are not required to include their postcode until after an offer is made. Identification of applications from the Weaver Vale has been undertaken based on postcode information voluntarily provided by applicants for the organisations’ registered addresses and/or the work location addresses. 17 applications involving one or more applicants in the Weaver Vale constituency have been identified.

Applications that do not fulfil the competition criteria are classed as ineligible and many applicants with ineligible applications will have been informed of this already. As of 30th November, 3 of these applications are ineligible. Two of the applications exceed the allowed project costs for the project duration and the other is a project over 18 months in duration that does not fulfil the need to be a collaborative project. These eligibility criteria are applied transparently and equally to all applications.

This competition will go into the assessment phase shortly with the funding decisions expected in February 2021.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has for the long-term recovery of the wedding sector from the covid-19 outbreak.

We are providing businesses, including those in the wedding industry, with a wide package of support to help them through the current crisis. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, government-backed loans, the Local Restrictions Support Grants and additional funding provided to Local Authorities to support businesses. We are continuing to engage with representatives from the wedding industry to discuss the longer-term reopening of the sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional steps the Government has taken to support the wedding and events industry during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

The Government is providing an unprecedented package of support for businesses including an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 31 March 2021 and grants of up to £3000 per month. We have also extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and the November-January grant will now provide 80% of average trading profits capped at £7,500 in total.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the need to legislate to protect workers in workplaces in regions placed in (a) Tier 2 and (b) Tier 3 where (i) an employee could reasonably work from home but is prevented from doing so because of their employer and (ii) working from home is not an option.

As our Working Safely guidance states, which applies for all tiers: to help contain the virus, workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.

Employers already have a legal obligation to protect the health and safety of not just their workers but also of the other people who may be affected by their business.

The decision to return to the workplace must be made in meaningful consultation with workers (including through trade unions or employee representative groups where they exist). It is vital employers engage with workers to ensure they feel safe returning to work, and they should not force anyone into an unsafe workplace.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the need to educate consumers of the financial risks when booking travel that is not covered by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.

The Government is committed to ensuring consumers are able to make well-informed decisions. Package travel providers are required by law to provide consumers with clear information upfront about their booking, including details of any associated financial protection. Consumers can obtain advice about general consumer rights from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 113, which is funded by the Department.

There are six categories governing the circumstances in which travel services are classified as a package falling under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (PTRs). The PTRs have a broad scope intended to cover modern methods of booking package holidays. Further guidance on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/package-holidays-complying-with-regulations-guidance-for-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Covid-19 outbreak, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing greater clarity to consumers of the financial risks entailed with booking DIY travel outside of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.

The Government is committed to ensuring consumers are able to make well-informed decisions. Package travel providers are required by law to provide consumers with clear information upfront about their booking, including details of any associated financial protection. Consumers can obtain advice about general consumer rights from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 113, which is funded by the Department.

There are six categories governing the circumstances in which travel services are classified as a package falling under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (PTRs). The PTRs have a broad scope intended to cover modern methods of booking package holidays. Further guidance on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/package-holidays-complying-with-regulations-guidance-for-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the reopening of complementary therapy businesses that provide (a) reflexology, (b) aromatherapy, (c) reiki and (d) massage therapy.

We have now provided close contact services like reflexology, aromatherapy, reiki and massage therapy in England, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the earliest date on which tattoo and piercing businesses will be permitted to reopen; and whether those businesses will need to put in place additional safeguards to operate safely.

As stated in the Roadmap for Recovery the Government anticipates that they will be opened as part of Phase 3 in July, should the science confirm that it is safe to do so. This area’s taskforce is producing guidance, which will be released prior to reopening.

This guidance will apply to England only, but will be useful to businesses across the UK. People in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should refer to equivalent guidance issued by devolved administrations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that companies whose workers are capable of working remotely during the covid-19 outbreak are implementing such policies.

Government has advised that people should be working from home where it is possible to do so.

Government is clear that we must support people in work to do the right thing during a Covid-19 outbreak. Businesses and employees can get advice on individual employment issues by visiting the Acas website and the latest advice on homeworking is published there. Businesses can also ring the BEIS Business Support Line for further advice on support for business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with energy suppliers on providing customers with financial support during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

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

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

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when her Department plans to (a) respond to the 2016 consultation on tips, gratuities, cover and service charges and (b) bring forward legislative proposals to tackle unfair practices in the hospitality sector.

We have already implemented a number of recommendations from the Taylor Review, and as announced in the Queens’ Speech, we will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years.

This legislation will make workplaces fairer, by providing better support for working families, new protections for those in low-paid work and the gig economy, and by encouraging flexible working.

One of the core measures to the Bill is ensuring that tips and service charges left for workers go to them in full, supporting fairness for workers in the hospitality sector.

29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to offer redress for those affected by the Football Index collapse.

The government appreciates the significant impact that the collapse of the novel gambling product Football Index had on former customers. Administration proceedings for BetIndex, the company which operated Football Index, are continuing, and are looking at the assets and liabilities of the operator and what is owed to customers. It is likely that this process will result in some amounts being reimbursed to creditors. There is no compensation scheme for losses caused by a gambling firm ceasing to operate and the government does not think it would be appropriate to use public funds for these purposes.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent progress has been made between the Government and the EU Commission on visa restrictions for touring musicians, artists and support staff.

In negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed expanding a list of activities for Short Term Business Visitors to cover musicians, artists and their accompanying staff. This would have enabled musicians, artists and support staff to tour and perform in the EU without needing work-permits. I deeply regret that the EU rejected our proposals.There is scope to return to this issue in the future should the EU change its mind.

UK performers and artists are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. However, they will be required to check domestic immigration rules for each Member State in which they intend to tour. This is because, while some Member States may allow paid performances without a visa or work permit, others will require musicians, artists and other creative professionals to obtain a visa or work permit, in the same way that they are required for other international artists.

The Government is looking at how we can work with our partners in EU Member States to find ways to make life easier for the creative industries touring in the EU.

We understand the concerns of the sector regarding the new arrangements and we are committed to supporting them as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes. The DCMS-led working group on creative and cultural touring, which involves sector representatives and other key government departments, is looking at the issues and options to help the sectors resume touring with ease as soon as it is safe to do so.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department in ensuring equity in the opening up of sport (a) venues and (b) events following changing covid-19 restrictions.

The Government’s approach to reopening venues and events has been based on safety and wider public health concerns. All stakeholders are subject to the same regulations and covid secure guidance whilst the relevant governing bodies and local authorities have the power to make appropriate decisions.

The £300m Sports Winter Survival Package, announced by the Secretary of State in November, is providing emergency funding to protect the immediate future of major spectator sports in England that have been the most severely impacted by covid restrictions over the winter.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many applications for funding from the Culture Recovery Fund were made from the culture and heritage sector in (a) Cheshire West and Chester, (b) Halton and (c) Weaver Vale constituency, and how many of applications were successful.

The following table includes details of the number of applications received and how many were successful, as well as the total amount of funding requested and how much was allocated for each of the three areas requested. Note this only refers to heritage and arts recovery grants and was correct as of 11 November.

Constituency / Local Authority

No applications

No awards

Total applied for

Total awarded

Cheshire West and Chester (LA)

17

11

£1,980,809

£1,492,15

Halton (constituency)

2

2

£392,660

£392,660

Weaver Vale (constituency)

3

3

£146,000

£146,000

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding from the Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated to the culture and heritage sector in (a) Cheshire West and Chester, (b) Halton and (c) Weaver Vale since that fund was established.

The following table includes details of the number of applications received and how many were successful, as well as the total amount of funding requested and how much was allocated for each of the three areas requested. Note this only refers to heritage and arts recovery grants and was correct as of 11 November.

Constituency / Local Authority

No applications

No awards

Total applied for

Total awarded

Cheshire West and Chester (LA)

17

11

£1,980,809

£1,492,15

Halton (constituency)

2

2

£392,660

£392,660

Weaver Vale (constituency)

3

3

£146,000

£146,000

2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support medical students during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government wants to make sure all students, including medical students, receive the right amount of student support to complete their studies.

First time students on standard 5 or 6 year undergraduate medical and dental courses are eligible to apply for support on the same terms as other full-time students for the first 4 years of their course (subject to previous study). This gives them access to tuition fee loan, living cost loan and targeted grants. For the fifth and subsequent years of their course they apply to the NHS for tuition support and an income assessed NHS Bursary. In addition, they can apply to Student Finance England for the non-income assessed reduced rate living cost loan for these years. Graduate entry accelerated medical programmes, as defined in the Student Support Regulations, are up to a maximum 4 years in length and attract financial support from the Department of Health and Social Care and Student Finance England.

Maximum grants and loans for living costs for undergraduate courses and grants and loans for postgraduate courses have been increased by 3.1% for the current 2021/22 academic year with a further 2.3% increase announced for 2022/23, taking the support available for the lowest income students to record levels in cash terms.

Many providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance should the COVID-19 outbreak affect individuals’ finances in academic year 2021/22.

Regarding the mental health and wellbeing of students, the government is investing £2.3 billion extra funding into mental health services by the 2023/24 financial year through the NHS Long Term Plan. This is in addition to £500 million this year to address NHS waiting times for mental health services. £13 million has been allocated to support young adults (18-25 years), including university students, to help bridge gaps between children’s and adult mental health services.

Student mental health continues to be a strategic priority for the Office for Students (OfS). We have worked closely with the OfS as they have invested £9 million in projects to develop innovative practice, and we have asked them to allocate an additional £15 million in the 2021/22 academic year to help address the challenges posed by transitions into university, given demand for mental health services. Students can access support via Student Space which has been funded by up to £3 million by OfS as a response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Budget on (a) Sir John Deans Sixth Form College and (b) other sixth form colleges.

The Spending Review has made available an extra £1.6 billion per year for 16-19 education in financial year 2024-25 compared with 2021-22. This will fully fund the additional students we anticipate in the system, pay for the increasing take-up of T Levels, maintain funding per student in real terms, and enable increased time in education for all 16 to 19 year olds. The department will set out details of how this additional funding will be allocated in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to introduce new guidance on the cost of school uniforms.

The department plans to publish the statutory guidance in autumn 2021.

Schools do not need to make any changes before the guidance is released. We want schools to implement changes in a timely and considered manner to ensure that parents do not incur additional costs from sudden uniform changes.

Once the guidance is published, all schools will need to review their uniform policies and make necessary changes as soon as possible to ensure that parents see the benefits of the guidance.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what existing capital funding streams for new build campuses are available for new further education or sixth form colleges.

There are currently no capital funding streams available that can be used for new build campuses for new further education (FE) or sixth form colleges.

The free schools programme has opened a number of 16-19 academies in response to an identified need. The department remains committed to the free schools programme. However, we are not currently seeking new free school proposals, with decisions on capital funding in future years, including on free schools, to be made through the Spending Review.

The £1.5 billion FE Capital Transformation Fund is available to FE colleges to upgrade their existing estate. Further capital funding of £83 million has been made available in the 2021-22 financial year to existing post-16 providers, including FE colleges and sixth form colleges, to enable them to accommodate the demographic increase in 16-19 year olds. In addition, capital funding is available to existing providers to support delivery of T Levels and the establishment of Institutes of Technology.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to enable pupils with Down's syndrome who turned 18 during the covid-19 outbreak and were required to shield while schools were open to (a) catch up on and (b) extend their studies for another year if required.

On 2 June 2021, we announced the next step in the government’s plans to support children and young people to make up for the impact of lost time in education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 16-19 tuition fund will continue to support students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and 19-24 year olds with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) through the provision of one to one and small group tuition. Providers may choose to use this funding to support eligible learners with SEND to catch up on vocational and academic skills, and skills and learning that are important for their preparation for adulthood, subject to them meeting the eligibility for the fund. Further details on arrangements for the tuition fund in the 2021/22 academic year will be announced in due course.

In addition, we announced the government will give providers of 16-19 education the option to offer students in year 13 or equivalent the opportunity to repeat up to one more year if they have been particularly severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

For learners with an EHCP, where arrangements can already continue up to age 25 for those young people who need to take longer to complete their education or training, the option to repeat a year should be considered as part of the local authority’s annual review of the EHCP. However, there is no guarantee or expectation that all young people with special educational needs should stay in education until they are 25. This would not be in the best interests of many young people, who will want to complete their education and progress into adult life and work. Further details on the option for year 13 students to repeat learning will be announced in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the need for reform of The Adoption Support Fund to ensure that regional adoption agencies have ring-fenced grants to provide long-term therapy for people who need it.

The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has provided over £184 million to 64,000 families since its introduction in 2015, with the fund continuing over the 2021/22 financial year. The department works closely with regional adoption agencies and local authorities on the delivery of the ASF.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of ensuring that supply teachers are placed on furlough by their agencies when they are unable to work.

Schools in England will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools may continue to engage supply staff where they are required and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met.  Information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. The eligibility criteria is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Employers can now flexibly furlough their employees for the hours the employee would usually have worked in that period, whilst also being able to work outside of the hours they are furloughed. Employees can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern but they cannot do any work for their employer during hours that employers record them as being on furlough.  Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#flexible-furlough-agreements.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer's discretion as it is dependent on a range of factors that the employer is best placed to determine, for example, the amount of work available for employees.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential risk to key workers employed in early years childcare settings continuing to work during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown where they have clinical extremely vulnerable family members at home.

Keeping staff and children safe is our utmost priority and early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff.

Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence that the predominant new variant of COVID-19 disproportionately affects young children. The current confirmed case rate of COVID-19 amongst young children remains the lowest of all age groups.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that the Public Health England (PHE) endorsed ‘system of controls’ that have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak continue to be right measures to take. PHE keeps these controls under review based on the latest evidence. These measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission is substantially reduced.

Early years practitioners who live with those who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable, can attend the setting but should ensure they maintain good prevention practice in the setting and at home.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what capital funding stakeholders in Weaver Vale constituency can apply for to build a further education campus in Northwich.

Following the merger which led to the creation of Warrington and Vale Royal College, the college identified that the Hartford campus was not financially viable due in part to low student numbers. The college therefore assessed that it could provide education for its learners through fewer campuses, taking into account the other options available locally for learners. The college closed its Hartford Campus (near Northwich) and supported the Hartford learners with subsidised or free travel arrangements depending on their circumstances. The college’s nearest campus is five miles from Northwich.

The college continues to review its curriculum offer across Warrington and Vale Royal and is committed to developing the offer to meet local demand where possible. To date, however, the college has not identified evidence of sufficient demand to require an additional facility in the Northwich area. Cheshire West and Chester local authorities have also not raised concerns about the sufficiency of provision for 16-18 year old learners in the Northwich area following the closure of the Hartford campus.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on families with 18-year-old students with Down’s syndrome not being in education for four weeks due to shielding during the covid-19 outbreak, particularly in cases where a parent or carer will need to take time off work to provide care and support with learning at home.

In September, the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) reviewed the new information which showed that most adults with Down’s syndrome were at a higher risk amongst the population. Therefore, the UK CMOs decided that people aged 18 or over who have Down’s syndrome should be added to the clinically extremely vulnerable group. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend their college or other educational setting.

We know that any period of absence from an education setting can cause anxiety for learners and their families, and we are aware that some young people with Down’s syndrome have expressed their disappointment at being advised to remain at home. However, it is too early in the implementation of the national restrictions to conduct any formal assessment of the impact on families. We have been working with our partners, including a wide range of charities and organisations which support families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to understand the impact on them. We will continue to gather regular information from parents, carers, and young people themselves, through organisations such as the National Network of Parent Carer Forums. We continually review and update our guidance to educational settings to reflect the advice of the CMOs, as more information on the impact of COVID-19 for different groups becomes available.

Our priority is to ensure that young people can continue to learn even when they are unable to attend their usual setting. We have worked with providers to co-design the remote education service for schools, further education providers and teachers. In addition, the Oak National Academy education offer provides free video lessons across a broad range of subjects, including specialist content for pupils with SEND.

Where a young person who is clinically extremely vulnerable has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), parents, education settings, health professionals and local authorities should work together to agree the best arrangement for that individual young person and their family to ensure that they continue to receive the support they need.

Families can request new or increased services from adult social care via their local authority, if this support is required to ensure the young person is safely cared for whilst they remain at home. It is for the local authority to carry out an assessment and to determine what service provision is required. During the period of national restrictions, those providing care or support to meet a vulnerable or disabled person’s everyday needs can continue to visit them in their home, ensuring they follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many further education establishments have closed in the last (a) 12 months, (b) five years and (c) 10 years.

There has been a substantial reduction in independent college corporations over the last 10 years. That reflects increased efficiency achieved through mergers, including through reducing the number of separate leadership teams and rationalising corporate services. All structural changes have prioritised learner need and achieving high educational standards. In every dissolution, there was a transfer of assets, rights and liabilities (including sites, staff, continuing students, provision and funding) to other colleges or education providers.

The number of corporations that have closed is as follows:

(a) Between 1 November 2019 and 31 October 2020 – 9.

(b) Between 1 November 2015 and 31 October 2020 – 100.

(c) Between 1 November 2010 and 31 October 2020 – 123.

These figures include 26 sixth form colleges which have converted to academies. Decisions in relation to provision provided at individual college sites are taken by college corporations, including assessing the impact of any changes to delivery model on students’ access to learning.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of catch-up teaching support provided to former Year 13 students who have opted to sit exams in October 2020 as a result of those exams previously not taking place due to covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 disruption on attainment and progress is a key research priority for the Government, and we have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to consider catch up needs and monitor progress over the course of the year.

Additional funding of up to £96 million to support 16-19 year olds for the 2020/21 academic year is available through the National Tutoring Programme, enabling schools and colleges to provide small group tuition for disadvantaged students whose learning has been disrupted as a result of COVID-19.

A and AS level entry figures for the autumn series have been published and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/entries-for-as-and-a-level-autumn-2020-exam-series.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops have been delivered to vulnerable children for online learning during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether those laptops have (a) preloaded and (b) funded licence agreements for Microsoft Office.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G routers.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets, and allocated devices based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. The Department is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe; deliveries to schools and Local Authorities will start this month and continue in June.

Microsoft Windows laptops and tablets will come with Windows 10 installed. Schools can also apply for government-funded support to access one of two free-to-use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support representatives of Cheshire West and Chester Council in their investigations into the flooding in Northwich town centre.

The Environment Agency (EA) worked closely with Cheshire West and Chester Council in the development of the Northwich Flood Risk Management Scheme, as a key delivery partner on the project, which was completed in 2017. Following the flooding in October 2019, the EA also worked with the council and water company on contingency plans and had contingencies in place prior to Storm Christoph.

Storm Christoph was the largest event experienced in Cheshire since records began, resulting in significant foul and surface water flooding in Northwich Town Centre and to communities across the borough.

After the event, the EA initiated a collaborative working group with United Utilities and the council to establish a timeline of the flooding in the town centre and to help investigate the sources of flooding and support the Section 19 investigations. The focus has been on mitigation, with the result being an upscaled multi-agency contingency plan now in place for the winter ahead.

The council set up a Flood Risk Action Scrutiny group of councillors, with the primary focus being on Northwich town centre. EA staff attended these meetings on request from the council in response to the councillors' questions to cover issues relevant to the EA, including main river maintenance, warnings, community resilience and operations.

The Government acknowledges the significant impact that climate change is likely to have, and is indeed already having, on the frequency and severity of flooding. Tackling climate change and ensuring that communities across the UK are resilient to its impacts is a Government priority. That is why we have committed to invest £5.2 billion in flooding and coastal erosion over 2021-27.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to accelerate the implementation of a badger vaccination strategy alongside improved cattle testing, the roll out of a cattle vaccine and stricter movement of cattle.

As set out in the Government response to Professor Sir Charles Godfray’s review of the Government’s strategy for achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free status for England, the next phase of the strategy focuses on developing a deployable cattle vaccine, wider rollout of badger vaccination and improvements to TB testing.

Badger culling will not be halted immediately – as set out in the Government’s response to the January 2021 consultation[1], no new intensive cull licences will be issued after 2022 and new supplementary badger culling licences have been limited to a maximum of two years. Culling would remain an option where epidemiological assessment indicates that it is needed.

We have awarded funding for a five-year badger vaccination programme in East Sussex. The scheme, which will see vaccination deployed by the farming community, will help refine future delivery models for deploying large-scale farmer-led vaccination schemes. We are also undertaking Government-funded badger vaccination in an area where four-year intensive badger culling has ended. We are continuing to bolster our capability to deploy even more badger vaccination in post-cull areas from 2022.

Developing a deployable cattle TB vaccine, with the objective of introduction within the next five years, is one of the Government’s priorities. In 2021, world-leading bovine TB cattle vaccination trials began in England and Wales.

A change from annual to six-monthly routine surveillance testing of cattle herds was introduced in the High Risk Area (HRA) counties of Shropshire and Staffordshire in September 2020 and was extended to the rest of the HRA from July 2021. Herds in the HRA that meet certain risk criteria can remain on annual surveillance testing. In addition, in July 2021 criteria for mandatory use of the more sensitive, supplementary interferon gamma blood test were changed in order to include new breakdown herds in the HRA with lesion and/or culture positive animals that were officially TB free (OTF) for less than eighteen months, following a previous breakdown with lesion and/or culture positive animals. A number of other options for improving the effectiveness of cattle testing, including pre- and post-movement testing, are currently being considered.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bovine-tuberculosis-proposals-to-help-eradicate-disease-in-england

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to expedite the transition from culling badgers to vaccinating cattle to reduce the spread of bovine TB; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure an evidence-based and scientifically-reliable approach to counteract the risk posed to cattle by bovine TB.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton on 28 October 2021, PQ UIN 62790.

As set out in the Government’s strategy for achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free status for England[1], the Government continues to develop approaches to deliver the Strategy based on the best available evidence, scientific advice and veterinary advice. The term ‘evidence’ encompasses material from multi-disciplinary science research, statistics, economics, social or operational research and geographical information.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-strategy-for-achieving-officially-bovine-tuberculosis-free-status-for-england

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the role of the Northwich Incinerator in the context of technological changes that mean a greater range of waste that can be recycled; and whether his Department plans to take steps to ensure that recyclable waste is recycled.

The Environment Agency will regulate the incinerator installation through an Environmental Permit, under Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR). The permit will specify limits for emissions to the environment which are based on the Industrial Emission Directive 2010 and the Waste Incineration Best Available Technique conclusions. The waste types that any incinerator can process are specified by its EPR permit.

Since 2011, businesses that produce and handle waste must follow the Waste Hierarchy set out in Article 4 of the revised Waste Framework (Directive 2008/98/EC). The incinerator will be required to carry out checks on receipt of the waste to verify the description and ensure that it is an acceptable waste code for the plant to receive. The incinerator plant may extract energy from the waste to supply electricity to the National Grid.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of raw sewage discharges on the river Weaver at Northwich; and what steps he is taking to reduce those discharges.

The impact of the storm overflows that discharge to the River Weaver, including those in Northwich, was last assessed through modelling in 2013. This led to three storm overflow discharges being improved in United Utilities Water improvement programme for 2015-20, and a further storm overflow discharge is being improved during the current, 2020-25, programme.

In addition, monitors that record the duration of spills were installed on the majority of storm overflows in Northwich during 2015-20. Data from these monitors will inform United Utilities Water’s work to investigate further action that may be taken in the current price programme (2020-25).

The Government has been clear that the current level of sewage discharges from storm overflows is unacceptable. That is why earlier this year, the Government consulted on a draft of its new strategic policy statement to the industry’s independent regulator Ofwat, which set out that we expect it to incentivise water companies to take steps to “significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows, so they operate infrequently”. This publication strongly influences investment decisions and is one of Government’s key tools in driving action from water companies. The Environment Act now contains a new duty directly on water companies to reduce progressively the adverse impacts of storm overflow discharges, making the expectation we have already set out in the draft policy statement unequivocal in law.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the financial sustainability of the Canal and River Trust of meeting all its dredging requirements based on its current levels of Government funding.

No such assessment has been made. As a charity independent of Government, the Canal and River Trust is responsible for operational matters on its waterways, including meeting its various statutory obligations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of dredging the River Weaver in the Northwich and Sutton Weaver areas of Weaver Vale constituency.

Dredging is an important part of the Environment Agency’s (EA) river maintenance regime. The EA will undertake dredging where there is evidence that it will reduce flood risk to local properties cost effectively without increasing flooding downstream.

The River Weaver is a water course modified to act as a navigation and as such the water level is controlled via structures and assets that are owned and operated by the Canal & River Trust. The navigation sections are dredged to maintain standards to allow the draught of vessels.

The EA investigated the potential merits of dredging in 2013 as part of its assessment of options for reducing the risk of flooding in Northwich. The EA looked at different siltation scenarios, including if silt levels and shoals built up, to see what impact there would be on flood risk. The EA concluded that this was not a significant issue in relation to controlling water levels in Northwich, and dredging was not found to be beneficial.

The EA has allocated resource to the future maintenance of the assets – the defence walls and demountable assets – that protect the town from main river flooding. However it has not allocated funding to dredging the River Weaver.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to allocate funding to a regular schedule of dredging for the river Weaver and Dane in Weaver Vale constituency.

Dredging is an important part of the Environment Agency’s (EA) river maintenance regime. The EA will undertake dredging where there is evidence that it will reduce flood risk to local properties cost effectively without increasing flooding downstream.

The River Weaver is a water course modified to act as a navigation and as such the water level is controlled via structures and assets that are owned and operated by the Canal & River Trust. The navigation sections are dredged to maintain standards to allow the draught of vessels.

The EA investigated the potential merits of dredging in 2013 as part of its assessment of options for reducing the risk of flooding in Northwich. The EA looked at different siltation scenarios, including if silt levels and shoals built up, to see what impact there would be on flood risk. The EA concluded that this was not a significant issue in relation to controlling water levels in Northwich, and dredging was not found to be beneficial.

The EA has allocated resource to the future maintenance of the assets – the defence walls and demountable assets – that protect the town from main river flooding. However it has not allocated funding to dredging the River Weaver.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his recent visit to the Northwich area in Weaver Vale constituency, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the drainage infrastructure following recent flooding; and what support he plans to provide to (a) businesses and (b) households in the context of that matter.

Storm Christoph brought over a month's rain in 30 hours onto already wet catchments. This overwhelmed the capacity of the combined foul (waste water) and surface water sewer network in Northwich, owned by the local water company. The Environment Agency is leading a review of the drainage infrastructure, its capacities and possible overflow points before foul and surface water reaches the town centre. Following the review, the Environment Agency and partners will develop a series of options.

The responsibility for coordinating the management of surface water flooding falls to Lead Local Flood Authorities and they are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities. In managing these risks the Lead Local Flood Authority will work with other flood Risk Management Authorities. This includes the local Highways Authorities, who are responsible for highway and gully maintenance, and the water and sewerage companies who operate and maintain the sewer network.

Water and sewerage companies are under a duty (section 94, Water Industry Act 1991) to maintain their sewers to ensure that their area is effectually drained. Consideration of whether this duty have been breached, and any subsequent enforcement action, would be taken by Ofwat. Following the 2019 Price Review the water and sewerage companies have committed to invest more than £1 billion to protect the environment, homes, businesses and drinking water from flooding.

Under section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 a Lead Local Flood Authority is required to investigate, to the extent that they consider it necessary or appropriate, flooding incidents, including whether Risk Management Authorities have exercised their functions. Once completed the report must be published and the relevant Risk Management Authorities notified.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from industry and power generation are kept within safe limits in Weaver Vale and Halton constituencies.

The Environment Agency’s environmental permitting regime carried out under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 requires operators of “regulated facilities” including industry carrying out certain activities above certain thresholds including chemicals, combustion and energy from waste activities to obtain a permit. In this way the Environmental Permitting Regulations provide for ongoing supervision by the EA of activities which could harm the environment. The aim of the permitting regime is to:

  • protect the environment so that statutory and government policy environmental targets and outcomes are achieved;
  • deliver permitting, and compliance with permits and certain environmental targets, effectively and efficiently, in a way that provides increased clarity and minimises the administrative burden on both the regulator and operators;
  • encourage regulators to promote best practice in the operation of facilities; and
  • continue to implement European legislation fully.

The majority of environmental quality and specific permitting standards and other related requirements for environmental and human health protection come from Directives. The Environmental Permitting Regulations ensure that those Directives and national policy requirements, and outcomes that can be delivered through a permitting and compliance system, are delivered by the Environmental Permitting Regulations.

The Environmental Permitting Regulations place duties on regulators to exercise their permit-related functions to deliver the obligations and outcomes required by the relevant Directives and, in some cases, national policy. In practice, this means that the EA will ensure, where a permit is granted, that permit conditions achieve the objectives and intended outcomes of any of the Directives or national policy which apply.

The EA has specialist Industry sector groups set up such as 'Energy from Waste', ‘Chemicals’ and 'Combustion' with appropriate expertise in ensuring permit compliance. The EA also has sector plans with periodic review of permits to meet the latest environmental standards. These sector groups also engage with trade bodies and industry sectors to ensure that operators know and understand the requirements, and to implement them in a cost-effective way that also minimises environmental risks.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from industry and power generation in Weaver Vale and Halton constituencies.

The information requested for Weaver Vale and Halton constituencies is not held centrally and to obtain it in the time available would incur disproportionate costs. If the hon. Member wishes to write to the Environment Agency it will be able to provide the information.

For the industrial sites the Environment Agency regulates through the permitting regime, it regularly monitors compliance with permit emission limits:

  • By regular inspections and audits for compliance assessment, including the regulation of emissions monitoring;
  • By requiring a management-systems approach that makes implementation, auditing and compliance assessment straightforward;
  • By specifying accredited and certified measurement services and equipment, and auditing to ensure compliance;
  • By banding operators according to risk and performance, to ensure a focused, cost-effective application of effective, proportionate and fair regulation;
  • By tracking the performance of operators and taking action where appropriate.

In addition to the permitting regime, for each permit the operator must report the amount of emissions of each controlled substance every year to the Environment Agency under the Pollution Inventory (PI). The PI provides information about the releases and transfers of substances from the industrial activities we regulate. This helps:

  • Provide the public with easy access to environmental information from industrial activities in their locality;
  • Protect the environment by providing information to assist us in developing regulation;
  • Government to meet its national and international environmental reporting commitments, such as the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Environment Agency's work with other bodies to reduce flood risk in Helsby, Cheshire.

To reduce flood risk in Helsby, Cheshire, the Environment Agency (EA) is working closely with local landowners, Wildfowlers, Councillors, industrial interests and the Manchester Ship Canal Company (MSC Co.)

A key aspect of this work is to find a long-term sustainable option for draining the Ince Marshes, where water exits from the land around Helsby. This has recently included working with the MSC Co to improve the functionally of their assets.

Helsby also has two properties and three commercial premises that benefit from EA flood defence assets on the Weaver embankment and the MSC embankment assets that keep the tidal Mersey from flooding. The EA regularly speaks to the MSC Co. about these assets.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what fiscal steps he is taking to support local authorities in the delivery of environmental services during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is the Government department responsible for allocating funding to local authorities. Defra officials work closely with those in MHCLG and also regularly meet local authority colleagues to support them on other non-fiscal challenges they face with the delivery of waste and environmental health services during the pandemic.

The Government is providing over £7.2 billion emergency funding to help authorities deal with COVID-19 pressures. £4.6 billion of this is un-ringfenced and so can be used by local authorities to meet local pressures as they see fit - including refuse collection and environmental health issues.


In addition, councils' core spending power rose by over £2.9 billion this financial year?even before additional emergency funding was announced.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government funding for (a) refuse collection and (b) environmental health.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is the Government department responsible for allocating funding to local authorities. Defra officials work closely with those in MHCLG and also regularly meet local authority colleagues to support them on other non-fiscal challenges they face with the delivery of waste and environmental health services during the pandemic.

The Government is providing over £7.2 billion emergency funding to help authorities deal with COVID-19 pressures. £4.6 billion of this is un-ringfenced and so can be used by local authorities to meet local pressures as they see fit - including refuse collection and environmental health issues.


In addition, councils' core spending power rose by over £2.9 billion this financial year?even before additional emergency funding was announced.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if people carrying out essential drain and plumbing work can be classed as key workers to maintain public health.

The list of key workers published on the GOV.UK website includes those providing essential roles in the water sector (including sewerage).

www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Guidance for tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance in people’s homes can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to tackle illegal fox hunting.

The Hunting Act 2004 bans the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales, except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions set out in Schedule 1 to the Act.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of costs for UK Importers; and what steps her Department is taking to help prevent price fixing in the global container shipping industry.

Container shipping costs are currently high, driven by increased demand as a result of a change in pandemic consumer spending. The levels of demand have meant that port and shipping container capacity has been stretched globally.

The Department for Transport has engaged closely with both ports and shipping lines to monitor the operational impacts, and make sure industry is doing all it can to mitigate impacts on the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has robust competition laws, and the Competition and Markets Authority has discretion to investigate competition cases which, according to its own prioritisation principles, it considers most appropriate.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, on what dates (a) he or (b) his special advisors had discussions with (i) Richard Desmond and (ii) board members, staff or agents of the Northern & Shell Media Group (A) prior to his appointment as Prime Minister and (B) after his appointment.

Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk as part of the government’s transparency agenda. Both Ministers and special advisers declare meetings with senior media executives, as part of their transparency returns.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps are being taken to ensure that rail services have enough seating capacity for all expected passengers.

We are working with train operators to ensure that timetables provide capacity where it is most needed. Operators are currently running around 88% of pre-COVID-19 services, while passenger journeys remained under 60% of pre-COVID-19 levels since the end of November.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the impact of the latest covid-19 travel restrictions on the aviation industry.

Temporary border measures have been introduced to prevent further Omicron cases from entering the UK and slow the rise of cases within the UK, whilst our scientists work at pace to better understand this new variant. These measures will be reviewed next week to ensure they remain necessary and proportionate.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the international travel sectors due to COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, we estimate that the air transport sector (airlines, airport and related services) will have benefitted from around £8bn of government support. The Department for Transport is working closely with HM Treasury to monitor the situation and we continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to dispose of surplus Network Rail land in accordance to the updated Cabinet Office guidance, Government Functional Standard GovS 004: Property.

Network Rail have robust management, governance and assurance systems to ensure property disposals meet government standards. Cabinet Office have recently updated the Government Property Functional standards and they will be working with Departments to conduct functional assurance in the coming months in order to ensure all property work undertaken by Departments and their delivery bodies continues to meet the updated standards.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the strain on the single-lane bridge crossing the River Weaver at Winnington in Northwich; and whether his Department has plans for that bridge to be replaced with a new bridge that has greater capacity to accommodate traffic in both directions simultaneously.

The Department provided £780,000 from the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund to Cheshire West and Chester Council towards maintenance of the Winnington Swing Bridge. It is for the Council to consider and develop improvements to its highway network, including widening or replacing the single-lane bridge crossing the River Weaver at Winnington in Northwich.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle DVLA licence delays for bus operators that are training new drivers.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is currently prioritising applications for vocational driving licences and has moved additional staff into this area. Applications for provisional vocational licences are being processed within the normal turnaround time of five working days, reduced from ten.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the eligibility of the part-collapsed Northwich Train Station for the Rail network enhancements pipeline.

The proposals for the rebuild are currently in development. Network Rail is communicating with the local authority and DfT to make sure the rebuild is fit for purpose.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with insurance companies on DVLA guidance in respect of drivers driving on an expired licence while waiting for a replacement licence to be issued.

Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows drivers who have sent a valid application to the DVLA to continue driving while waiting for their application to be processed. Strict criteria apply and these are outlined online here.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps his Department has taken to re-introduce HGV and LGV driver testing provision in Halton.

Driver testing has restarted and the DVSA is conducting around 3,000 vocational tests per week. DVSA is increasing the number of tests available through extended operating hours and ensuring all staff who can conduct a driving test are doing so.

DVSA continue to work with the driver training industry to understand demand, respond to geographical peaks, and identify issues in booking tests. DVSA has recruited 300 new car examiners which will ease the demand on examiners who are able to conduct vocational tests. They are also looking at other options for increasing vocational resource.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the most recent full structural survey undertaken on Northwich Station by Network Rail or another organisation on Network Rail's behalf.

Network Rail is investigating this matter, in accordance with strict protocols, and is not currently in a position to comment. Additional inspections of comparable buildings are also being undertaken, to mitigate the risk of similar incidents across the North West route. The independent Office of Road and Rail is also conducting its own investigation into the Northwich incident. I will write to the Hon. Gentlemen with the findings once they have been published.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will prioritise Northwich Railway Station for the Access For All programme in respect of the rebuild of part of the station following its recent collapse.

The Office of Rail and Road is currently undertaking an investigation into the recent collapse, which will report back to Network Rail shortly. Whenever any work is carried out at a station by the industry when they install, replace or renew infrastructure, it must comply with the relevant accessibility standards.

Also, I shall be bidding for further rounds of funding for Access for All schemes in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the need for investment to (a) rebuild, (b) modernise and (c) improve accessibility at Northwich Station after the collapse of past of the roof and building at that station.

An investigation is being carried out by Northern, Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road and this work is still ongoing.

The operator is working with Network Rail to review temporary facilities and a proposed new station building.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure the uninterrupted haulage travel of goods from the EU.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) allows EU and UK hauliers to undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through each other’s territories with no extra bureaucracy, with a maximum of two additional movements within each other’s territories. For EU hauliers, this means they can do up to two cabotage movements in the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the need to ease the potential additional financial burden on the private hire and taxi industry resulting from new industry standards.

A full impact assessment was published alongside the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards in July 2020. This found that if the full cost of the Standards was passed on to drivers, the increased cost would be £62.24 per driver per year which would equate to a three pence increase per fare.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using rail infrastructure to remove waste from the Lostock Northwich Incinerator to help reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles journeys made for that purpose.

Whilst the means by which industrial facilities convey materials is a commercial decision, DfT recognises the merits of using rail ahead of HGVs and is incentivising modal shift from road haulage to rail freight through our £20m Mode Shift Revenue Support Scheme, which helps to remove around 900,000 HGV journeys from our roads each year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the need to prioritise potential driving instructors (PDI) for PDI tests to enable people who pass to help meet demand for driving lessons when covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will prioritise the approved driving instructor (ADI) Part 2: practical test of driving ability, and the ADI Part 3: practical test of instructional ability, when it is safe to resume services.

Potential driving instructors (PDI) are already able to provide driving lessons as part of their preparation for the ADI Part 3 test if they have been granted a trainee licence under section 129 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2020 to Question 59592 on Bus Services: Coronavirus, what progress the Government has made on a sector-based financial support package for the coach sector; and if he will make a statement.

We have announced several financial support measures available to UK businesses, including the coach industry. This includes measures announced on 24 September as part of the Winter Economy Plan, further support on 22 October for businesses in local lockdown areas, changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS), and increased business grants. With the introduction of new national restrictions on 5 November, the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme has also been extended until March 2021.

The full return to education supports a key revenue source for the industry and this has been augmented by the additional vehicles needed compared to previous years. The Department of Education has announced over £70 million to local transport authorities to provide additional dedicated school and college capacity in our transport system, helping children and young people to get to and from their schools and colleges whilst social distancing reduces the capacity of existing public transport

We continue to work closely with representatives from the coach sector including the Confederation of Passenger Transport, and with other government departments, to understand the ongoing risks and issues the sector faces and how these could be addressed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure Northwich Station is accessible to people with disabilities and mobility restrictions through the Access For All programme.

We have extended the access for All programme with a further £350m that will make over 100 more stations accessible by 2024. Northwich was not nominated for the programme but could be proposed for the future.

The Government is committed to improving access at all stations, and will continue to seek further funding to make more improvements. However, if the industry carries out any station infrastructure work this will need to comply with current accessibility standards.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has for the provision of cycling routes and facilities alongside HS2.

In October 2018 the Government published a feasibility study looking at the possibility of a cycleway associated with the HS2 scheme. The study identified a series of cycle routes that would provide connectivity benefits to local communities. The Government has also invested £22 million in developing National Cycle Network cycling and walking paths. Many of these are within the HS2 corridor, and will deliver improved surfacing, new traffic-free routes, and more accessible transport links in local communities. Further funding for the National Cycle Network and other cycling routes and facilities will be considered as part of the Spending Review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made in developing an urgent package of financial support for coach travel businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are encouraging?coach?operators to make use of the wide range of support measures?the Chancellor?announced. These?amount to £330 billion of loans and guarantees for businesses. We?are continuing to engage with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance he is issuing to local authorities on supporting the safety of taxi and private hire drivers during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 12 May, the Department for Transport issued guidance to transport operators to help organisations, agencies and others (such as self-employed transport providers) understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers across all modes of private and public transport. The Department for Transport has also contacted all licensing authorities in England and other sector stakeholders to highlight this guidance and set out its implications for the taxi and private hire vehicle trade.

As the Prime Minister announced on 10 June, the Government will be expanding targeted testing of occupations and groups at higher risk, including those individuals working in front line jobs, which bring them regularly into close contact with the public. This will help us learn more about who is at higher risk and how the virus is spread.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on the study of the capacity at Crewe Station; and whether that study has made an assessment of the potential future requirements of re-opening the line from (a) Northwich via Gadbrook Business Park, (b) Middlewich and (c) Sandbach to Crewe.

Crewe is already a hub on the existing rail network and more seats will be provided when the new Avanti trains arrive in 2022. The Government has also confirmed its support for the ‘Crewe Hub’ vision, with up to 5-7 HS2 trains per hour stopping. We continue to work with Network Rail, HS2 and local partners towards realising this vision.

We recognise that there a number of proposals to increase services to Crewe. Officials continue to liaise with the Cheshire and Warrington LEP on their Strategic Outline Business Case for Mid Cheshire proposal whilst Network Rail is studying the potential interventions required to accommodate additional services.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support coach operators to stay in business during the covid-19 outbreak.

Within the Budget on 11 March 2020, the Chancellor set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services and businesses through the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 17 March, the Chancellor announced a further £330 billion of financial measures, including measures which will support public transport operators.

Any further measures will be announced in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of investment in Northern Powerhouse Rail since its inception.

As the table sets out below, Northern Powerhouse Rail has seen year on year increases in its development budget for 5 years. The Government recognises that there is an urgent need for rail investment to improve connectivity, journey times and frequency between Northern towns and cities.

In Summer 2019, it was agreed that the first stage of Northern Powerhouse Rail will be a new line between Leeds and Manchester. We continue to work with TfN and intend to announce the next steps shortly.

Year

Budget

FY16/17

£10,000,000

FY17/18

£15,000,000

FY18/19

£20,000,000

FY19/20

£50,000,000

FY20/21 (forecast)

£75,000,000

Total

£170,000,000

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the public availability of electric vehicle charging points.

We recognise that a UK-wide, reliable and joined-up public electric vehicle charging network infrastructure is essential for realising our ambitions for zero emission driving and we will continue to invest to bring this about.

Our jointly funded £400 million Chargepoint Infrastructure Investment Fund’s first investment round, worth a total of £70 million, will ensure the delivery of a further 3,000 rapid charging devices by 2024, more than doubling the current number of rapid charging devices.

On 21 January, we announced that Government has doubled the value of the On-street Residential Charging Scheme for 2020-2021 to £10 million to support the provision of up to 3,600 chargepoints for those that do not have off-street parking.

In July 2019 work commenced to determine a vision for a core rapid charger network on England’s strategic road network. This will report in Spring 2020. Highways England has committed £15m to ensure there are chargepoints (rapid where possible) every 20 miles on 95% of the Strategic Road Network by 2020. As of December 2019 84% of the network is within 20 miles of a rapid electric vehicle chargepoint.

To date, government and industry have supported the installation of over 17,000 devices providing over 24,000 publicly available chargepoints. This includes over 2,400 rapid chargepoints – one of the largest networks in Europe.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the number of pensionable age people in Weaver Vale constituency who are still awaiting payment of their state pension.

DWP does not have any claims outstanding. Those where we are awaiting additional information to process a customer’s claim are actioned on receipt of the required information, in the usual way.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a fit and proper person test for providers of exempt accommodation.

The supported housing sector provides essential accommodation and support for the most vulnerable members of society to live as independently as possible in their community.

We are working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the oversight of supported housing to ensure it is good quality and provides the right support for residents as well as value for money for taxpayers. As part of this work, all available options will be considered. Additionally, following extensive engagement with stakeholders, we are reviewing the guidance for specified accommodation claims to improve consistency in decision-making for exempt accommodation.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of strengthening the regulation of exempt accommodation.

The supported housing sector provides essential accommodation and support for the most vulnerable members of society to live as independently as possible in their community.

We are working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the oversight of supported housing to ensure it is good quality and provides the right support for residents as well as value for money for taxpayers. As part of this work, all available options will be considered. Additionally, following extensive engagement with stakeholders, we are reviewing the guidance for specified accommodation claims to improve consistency in decision-making for exempt accommodation.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of child poverty in Weaver Vale constituency; and what steps the Government is taking to reduce child poverty.

In 2019/20, the latest year for which data is available, 12% of children in Weaver Vale were in absolute low-income on a before housing costs basis, the same proportion as in 2014/15.

Further information on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families in Weaver Vale, covering the six years, 2014/15 to 2019/20, can be found at: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Given clear evidence that parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, substantially reduces the risks of child poverty, we are focusing on supporting employment. With record vacancies in the economy, there are opportunities available across the UK and our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, is helping people to access them.

Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants will also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2 Billion in 2022-23, and will benefit almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1000 a year on average.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

This is on top of the £111 billion we are spending this year on support for people of working age.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made on the effectiveness of the personal independence payment assessment process' (a) timescale from application submission to the result and (b) approach to applicants with disabilities

We are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support in a timely manner and managing customer journey times for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants is a priority for the Department. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.

Processing times can vary reflecting factors including customer demand, operational resource and timescales for different parts of the process. Clearance times for new PIP claims in July 2021 (most recent data available) are similar to those pre-pandemic.

PIP focuses support on those experiencing the greatest barriers to living independently; 34% of those on PIP receive the highest level of support, compared to 15% of its predecessor benefit’s (DLA’s) working-age claimants. At the core of PIP’s design is the principle that awards of the benefit should be made according to a claimant’s overall level of need, regardless of whether claimants have a physical or non-physical condition. Entitlement to PIP is therefore assessed on the basis of the needs arising from a health condition or disability, rather than the health condition or disability itself.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many direct earnings attachments her Department has put in place in each year since the Welfare Reform Act 2012 enabled recovery of overpayments as a result of errors made by her Department rather than the claimant; and what estimate she has made of the amount that has been overpaid in error by her Department in each year since 2012.

It is not possible to produce a historical time series for this specific data request regarding Direct Earnings Attachments (DEA). However, I can confirm that there are 15,000 DWP debtors with an official error debt who currently have a DEA in place.

This data is taken from operational data systems, and is not intended for publication. Therefore, the data itself is not quality assured to the standard of published Official Statistics and National Statistics.

It should be noted that, during a period when we have faced the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, fraud and error in the benefits system remains low, with 95% of benefits, worth more than £200bn paid correctly in 2020/21. Official Error overpayments remained at 0.4% of benefit expenditure last year, with UC Official Error Overpayments falling from 1.3% to 0.9%.

DWP’s primary method of debt recovery is by deduction from any on-going benefit that mightbe in payment, with limits on the amount we can deduct from income related benefits being set out in legislation.

Where recovery from ongoing benefit entitlement is not possible, DWP will seek to agree a voluntary repayment plan with the debtor, taking into account their personal circumstances and the amount they can reasonably afford to repay each month.

Where a person fails to agree a voluntary repayment plan, we can apply a Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA) which allows deductions to be taken directly from a person’s earnings, bu this would only be after DWP had made all reasonable efforts to pursue recovery via a voluntary repayment plan.

Estimates of the amount that has been overpaid in error by DWP are published annually and can be found by following the links at Fraud and error in the benefit system - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will bring forward legislative proposal to ensure that employers affected by the covid-19 outbreak cannot retain employee pension deductions as cashflow rather than pay into the relevant pension scheme.

No. Employers are not permitted to hold pension contributions as cash flow.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of including discretionary and hardship payments as income for the purposes of universal credit on people in receipt of that payment.

No assessment has been made.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of extending eligibility to the Motability scheme for people in receipt of attendance allowance who have also been diagnosed with a terminal illness after state pension age.

The Motability Scheme was designed to provide people entitled to mobility welfare payments with access to a vehicle. The Scheme is open to anyone who qualifies for the higher rate mobility component for Disability Living Allowance, the enhanced rate of the mobility component for Personal Independence Payment, the Armed Forces Independence Payment or War Pensioners Mobility Supplement.

Attendance Allowance is intended to help those with a severe disability who have long term care or supervision needs which arise after reaching State Pension age. It has never included a mobility component, and so cannot be used in payment for a leased Motability scheme vehicle. Government mobility support is focused on people who are disabled earlier in life; developing mobility needs in older life is a normal consequence of ageing, which non-disabled younger people have had opportunity to plan and save for.

Special rules apply to people considered to be terminally ill when applying for AA, DLA or PIP. However, there is no automatic entitlement to a mobility component of either DLA or PIP, and, while there would be no qualifying period, an eligible claimant would need to satisfy conditions for this entitlement.

Benefits such as DLA or PIP can continue beyond State Pension age for as long as the individual remains entitled. This would allow an individual with existing entitlement to retain their Motability vehicle.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of welfare support available to people receiving a cancer diagnosis after reaching state pension age.

Welfare support for pensioners, including those with cancer, could include Attendance Allowance which is intended to help those who have long term care or supervision needs. Pension Credit is also available to help those pensioners on low incomes, and as we set out in our Manifesto, this Government remains committed to a range of other pensioner benefits including the Winter Fuel Payment and free prescriptions, ensuring that older people have the security and dignity they deserve.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the need to provide financial support for employees made redundant before 23 September 2020 who cannot be furloughed and are not entitled to any statutory redundancy payment.

Universal Credit is in place to support claimants in difficult circumstances. 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.

Our long-term ambition is to level up across the country and continue to tackle poverty through our reformed welfare system that works with the labour market to encourage people to move into and progress in work wherever possible.

Our £30bn Plan for Jobs is the first step on the ladder to achieving this and will support economic recovery through new schemes including Kickstart and Job Entry Targeted Support.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the need to remove the five-week wait for universal credit for employees made redundant prior to 23 September 2020 and who are not eligible for statutory redundancy pay.

Nobody in need has to wait for a payment under Universal Credit (UC). UC New Claim Advances allow eligible claimants to receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront within a few days. Claimants will receive their annual award over 13 payments during their first year, instead of 12. They are paid quickly and can be applied for online or over the phone. These upfront payments can be spread across two years instead of one from October 2021, as announced in the 2020 Budget.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many times the universal credit service has been unavailable since 23 March 2020; and for what reasons that service was unavailable on each of those occasions.

There have been over 3 million Universal Credit claims made since mid-March; six times the volume that the Department would typically receive. Despite that surge, the system is standing up to the challenge and demonstrating that resilience and scalability are integral parts its design, whilst maintaining high levels of payment timeliness.

There have been no unplanned outages of the Universal Credit online service since March 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the capacity of the universal credit service to cope with demand for new online claims in the period since 23 March 2020; and what steps her Department is taking to minimise periods of unavailability of that service.

There have been over 3 million Universal Credit claims made since mid-March; six times the volume that the Department would typically receive. Despite that surge, the system is standing up to the challenge and demonstrating that resilience and scalability are integral parts its design, whilst maintaining high levels of payment timeliness.

There have been no unplanned outages of the Universal Credit online service since March 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the finding of the Financial Conduct Authority that pension scammers take on average £91,000 from each of their victims, what assessment her Department has made of additional protections required to protect UK pensioners (a) in the UK and (b) overseas from pension transfer scams.

Action was taken by the Pension Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority, and Money Advice and Pension Service on 7 April pointing to the actions members should seek to take to safeguard against becoming victims of scams. Additional guidance was issued to trustees, and providers from both The Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator to support them to produce suitable communications during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Please see links below for more information about the joint statement from Regulators and the Money Advice Service, and help available, produced by the Pension Protection Fund and supported by government.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/covid-19-savers-stay-calm-dont-rush-financial-decisions

https://www.ppf.co.uk/sites/default/files/file-2020-05/COVID-19-and-your-pension.pdf

All of Government is committed to safeguarding consumer savings amongst those based in the UK and living overseas with UK based pension savings. We have adopted a layered approach building from interventions to assist all pension savers seeking to access their pensions to those who are most at risk of scams.

For all pension savers aged 50 and over, in the lead up to accessing their pension savings, our aim is to support them make informed choices about their retirement income. We are therefore committed to replicating measures introduced by the FCA for contract based schemes for occupational pension schemes and requiring trustees to provide information to pensions savers from the age of 50, in a simpler format, to encourage savers to think about their retirement savings, choices and raise awareness of Pension Wise.

We want to encourage savers with to take appropriate guidance (currently provided by MAPS under the Pension Wise brand) when they exercise their Pension Freedoms by applying to access savings. Recent trials showed a nudge to guidance during the application process is effective. We want to present taking guidance as a natural part of the journey when individuals access their pension savings. We are working with the FCA on rules that would require managers of private pension schemes to Introduce parallel provisions.

Although the majority of transfers are to safe destinations there are still fraudsters who try to entice individuals to transfer to schemes for the purposes of relieving them of their pension savings.

To help protect people from pension scams, government has introduced an amendment to clause 125 in the Pension Schemes Bill 2020 limiting the statutory right to transfer The clause achieves two things:

  • it meets the Government’s third commitment in the Pension Scams consultation, namely to introduce in legislation provisions that enable members to be required to provide evidence of an employment link or, if transferring abroad, residency before a statutory transfer can take place; and
  • it enables legislation to require people to confirm they have received information or taken guidance about the risk of scams in certain circumstances before a transfer can proceed. We are and will continue to work with industry and regulators to identify the circumstances that cause trustees most concern when a transfer request is received and set those out in the legislation. Where any of these circumstances are identified we will require members seeking to transfer to confirm to trustees that they have obtained information or guidance on the risks of transfer to scam schemes.

In addition, the Government, working with the regulators and the Money and Pension Service, has been communicating with pension savers to alert them to the risk of scams in the current climate. DWP continues to communicate regularly on social media about the warning signs of a scam.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made for the implications of her policy of the Court of Appeal judgment handed down on 22 June 2020 on the Universal Credit system; and if she will make a statement.

The Court of Appeal judgment affects a small minority of claimants in very specific circumstances, those who receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one assessment period and lose out on the work allowance. We recognise the impact that having double earnings in an assessment period can have on individual claimants and their ability to manage their finances.

While the court judgment does not require us to fix this issue by a particular date, we are currently working on ways to resolve this for claimants as soon as possible. We will keep the House updated as progress is made.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department made of the proportion of claimants assessed for (a) personal independence payment and (b) employment support allowance who subsequently make a complaint about the (i) conduct and (b) content of the assessment report.

The information is not held in the specific categories requested.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what contact his special advisors have had with (a) developers or (b) their representatives on the Westferry Printworks development, PA/18/01877/A1 which was granted planning permission by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on 14 January 2020.

Ministers and special advisers act in accordance with the MHCLG Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues. In that light, No10 Ministers and special advisers would not discuss the details of live planning applications with MHCLG Planning Ministers. Any representations by other Government departments to a called-in or recovered planning application being considered by MHCLG would be disclosed as part of the evidence to the planning inquiry.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of removing the cap on discretionary housing payments to enable local authorities to provide support to households affected by covid-19.

We have already provided £180m in Discretionary Housing Payment(DHP) funding to Local Authorities to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m as announced last year at the spending round.

In addition to the central government contribution, Local Authorities in England and Wales are able to top up DHP funding up to a maximum of two and a half times this figure using their own funds.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that employment support allowance and new style employment support allowance applications (a) can be made online and (b) are processed urgently during the covid-19 outbreak.

On average we are processing ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (NSESA) claims in 2.2 days but we recognise people will have found it difficult to speak to us given the volume of traffic, and so we have fast-tracked the development of an online application process for NSESA, which went live on 20 April. This will allow the majority of people who need to claim this benefit to do so online. The NSESA claim phone lines are still available for people who do not have access to, or who cannot, use the online system. DWP have prioritised the clearance of all benefit claims by moving colleagues to front line processing roles, which has significantly increased our capacity and we are endeavouring to clear claims received as quickly as possible.

ESA is now closed as a means-tested benefit for new claimants in the majority of cases and working-age claimants with a disability or health condition should now make a claim to Universal Credit.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that her Department's social security claims enquiry lines are adequately staffed during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we are working quickly to deploy staff on to critical services. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that guidance for disability benefits assessors accurately reflects the potential effect of endometriosis on ability to work.

While preparing to undertake an assessment, Healthcare Professionals can access a wide range of clinical resources to research any conditions presented. This includes evidence based protocols, e-learning modules or case studies, as well as keeping knowledge up to date through Continuous Professional Development.

Healthcare Professionals employed by Centre for Health and Disability Assessment (CHDA) have access to a learning module on chronic pain that contains a section on endometriosis. CHDA also plan to develop and deliver a learning module on endometriosis as part of their upcoming Continuous Professional Development schedule.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department made of the number of winter fuel payments made to UK citizens residing in African countries in each of the last five years.

Winter fuel payments are only payable to people at or above state pension age who are resident in the UK or certain EEA countries and Switzerland during the qualifying week, which is the third week of September.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the rules on access to benefits for terminally ill claimants; and if she will make a statement.

On 11 July the Secretary of State announced an in depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions.

The Department is taking this work forward as a priority and is seeking input from a range of stakeholders, including clinicians and those who have first-hand experience of the special rules, as well as others supporting people applying for benefit.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of reports that former Thomas Cook staff are having difficulties accessing and navigating the benefits system.

The Department is offering a range of support to anyone affected by the closure of Thomas Cook, through our Rapid Response Service (RRS) and wider services. This is designed to give practical support and advice to employers and their employees when faced with redundancy.

The RRS is delivered in partnership with a range of national and local partners, including National Careers Service and local service providers. It was mobilised for former Thomas Cook employees to help people find a new job as soon as possible by offering tailored and individual support. Each Jobcentre Plus district area deploys resources according to the local situation and the needs of their claimants.

In addition, Citizens Advice (England and Wales) and Citizens Advice Scotland continue to deliver ‘Help to Claim’ support to claimants making a new Universal Credit claim. Help to Claim have offered locally tailored support to former Thomas Cook employees in need of assistance face to face, and through prioritised telephony and web-chat channels.

The Department keeps information we provide surrounding redundancies under review. This includes how we explain RRS and entitlements to benefits such as New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit. We are committed to having the right level of resource in place to support and direct people to the correct benefit type.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have signed a waiver outlining any previous communication with a political representative regarding benefits before accessing appeals information since that policy was introduced.

At no point during a Universal Credit claim does the Department ask a person to sign a waiver. To safeguard the sensitive and personal data we hold about people’s Universal Credit claims, we ask representatives making enquiries on behalf of others to demonstrate that they have claimant consent. This is a simple process, which can be completed online or by telephone by the claimant, and has been in place since 2017.

The Universal Credit system is structured around an online personal account which contains all the information relevant to the claim. This can include details about: bank accounts, savings, capital, medical history and family relationships, in addition to third parties including landlords and employers. Therefore, we need to ensure a high level of security and protection exists to combat unscrupulous individuals and organisations who try to access the information and seek to impersonate genuine representatives.

The Department is continuing to work with Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) and third party organisations to understand how Universal Credit can support organisations who help our claimants. We are committed to having processes in place which effectively supports claimants to access our services, but which also protects information.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the supply of covid-19 lateral flow testing kits; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there are sufficient covid-19 tests available to meet increased demand in the Weaver Vale constituency.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with relevant stakeholders on updating the Government's guidance on covid-19 symptoms in the context of the findings of the study by the Zoe symptom tracker app on symptoms associated with the omicron covid-19 variant.

Evidence on symptomatology of COVID-19 is continually reviewed and monitored. We have liaised with public health clinicians and the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers and other stakeholders regarding the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as considering internal data and academic studies. We will update our guidance if necessary as our understanding of the virus and new variants develops.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing health care workers to be exempt from mandatory covid-19 vaccination on religious grounds.

The Government considered which exemptions from vaccine requirements should be permitted informed by responses to the open consultation held from 9 September to 22 October. The majority of respondents agreed exemptions should be made only on medical grounds. An exemption on religious grounds could reduce the impact of protecting patients and workers, be difficult to implement and evidence and may also lead to tension in workplaces between religiously exempt workers and those to whom the requirements would still apply.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the availability of the covid-19 booster vaccination for people who are housebound.

Every eligible adult in England aged 18 years old and over has been offered a COVID-19 booster vaccination, including those who are housebound. Local arrangements are in place, with general practitioners, community pharmacies and volunteers visiting those who are housebound and eligible for their booster dose.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of NHS staff who have received parking fines while attending their place of work.

No recent estimate has been made. In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government committed to provide free hospital car parking for National Health Service staff on National Health Service sites during the pandemic. As this policy currently remains in place, no fines should have been issued to NHS staff using hospital car parks since March 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what urgent steps he is taking to ensure that 12 to 15 year old's can prove their covid-19 vaccination status for the purposes of international travel over the festive period.

The international standards for travel require a full course to be recognised as ‘fully vaccinated’. We are looking at ways to provide fully vaccinated 12 to 15 year olds with a travel NHS COVID Pass, which will be available shortly. Further information will be made available in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is planning to take to offer support for the health of (a) vulnerable and (b) older patients during winter 2021-22.

We are offering a free seasonal flu and COVID-19 booster vaccination to those who receive and provide care. We are also investing a further £550 million until 31 March 2022 to support social care providers with additional winter pressures. The ‘Adult social care: COVID-19 winter plan 2021 to 2022’ sets out the support we are providing for the sector to prevent and control outbreaks of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, as well as usual winter pressures.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also established operational winter plans supported by an investment of an extra £5.4 billion for the COVID-19 response until April 2022 and a £250 million Primary Care Winter Access Fund to recruit more doctors and other primary care staff to improve patient access and experience.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of (a) trends in the level of the workload facing NHS nursing staff and (b) the adequacy of the size of the workforce to meet that workload.

National Health Service employers keep staff workload under continual review and the Care Quality Commission assess staffing levels as part of their regulation and oversight responsibilities. NHS England and NHS Improvement conduct regular surveys and monitor workload related data sources on staff experience. The Department also discusses workload with trade unions and employers in the National Social Partnership Forum. NHS England and NHS Improvement have used the NHS People Plan to put in place a wide range of measures to support staff throughout this demanding period. We continue to invest in the NHS workforce and we have commissioned Health Education England to develop the long term strategic framework to ensure that the NHS has the staff it needs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking in Weaver Vale constituency to meet the Government's target of offering all adults over the age of 18 a covid-19 booster vaccination by the end of January 2022.

The Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership’s vaccination programme has delivered more than 4.3 million doses to date. The programme is currently ensuring there are sufficient appointments to offer all adults over 18 years old a booster dose by the end of January 2022.

General practitioners (GPs) in Weaver Vale are visiting care homes to ensure that care home residents and staff who are eligible have been offered a booster vaccine, with follow up appointments for residents who become eligible in the future. GP partners in Weaver Vale are reviewing ways to increase capacity to focus on vaccinating the most vulnerable. Several pharmacy sites are increasing their capacity to offer vaccinations over the Christmas and New Year period. Cheshire system partners are operating a roving vaccination model to meet the needs of those most at risk, underserved and vaccine hesitant citizens, offering a walk-in service. Plans to increase capacity are being finalised and will be aligned to national operational guidance.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of funding mechanical thrombectomy for stroke patients.

Thrombectomy is a procedure used to treat some ischaemic stroke patients. There is strong evidence that, when used appropriately, thrombectomy significantly reduces the severity of disability caused by stroke. The expansion of thrombectomy services across England is a multi-year programme within the NHS Long Term Plan. Thrombectomy is currently available in 24 centres in England and two non-neuroscience centres are under development to provide access to thrombectomy.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of thrombectomy services in (a) Weaver Vale constituency, (b) northwest England and (c) the UK.

Thrombectomy services for the Weaver Vale constituency are provided by the regional neuroscience centre, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool. This site has provided thrombectomy services 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 11 October 2021. There are three centres providing thrombectomy services in the North West of England at The Walton Centre, Salford Royal Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital. Services at Salford Royal Hospital are being developed to provide 24 hours a day, seven days a weeks services in early 2022. Local commissioners are working with Royal Preston Hospital and the other centres in the North West of England to maximise access to thrombectomy services for Lancashire and South Cumbria


Thrombectomy is available in 24 centres in England and the National Health Service is committed to increasing the delivery of mechanical thrombectomy from 1% to 10%. The latest data shows that 2.3% of patients are receiving a thrombectomy following a stroke. In early 2022, NHS England will undertake a quality review with each of its seven regions to resolve the biggest local barriers to increasing the thrombectomy rate.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that local maternity units provide expectant mothers with the best possible care.

The NHS Maternity Transformation Programme is delivering measures to ensure that local maternity units provide expectant mothers with the best possible care. This includes £52 million to accelerate the digital maternity programme to ensure everyone will have access to their maternity notes and information electronically by 2023/24. Midwives, general practitioners and other clinicians caring for a pregnant woman will also have easy access to information. This will improve the experience for women by reducing the burden of repeating information to each healthcare professional throughout their pregnancy and ensure the best health and care outcomes by preventing important details from being missed.

A further £6.8 million has been provided to support Local Maternity Systems to implement equity and equality action plans and targeted and enhanced Continuity of Carer to improve safe outcomes for mothers and babies from black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups and those living in the most deprived areas. In addition, local and regional leadership is being strengthened with the majority of regional obstetricians and deputy regional chief midwives’ roles now filled. The Maternity Safety Support Programme works proactively with identified trusts to advise and support them to improve their Care Quality Commission rating or address any other areas of concerns raised by other stakeholders.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to increase the (a) recruitment and (b) training of new midwives.

Health Education England (HEE) has been working with stakeholders towards an increase of 3,650 midwifery student training places by the end of 2022/23, with training leading to professional registration. This includes 650 additional training places in 2019/20 and up to 1,000 additional training places per year in the following three years. Against 2018/19 as the baseline for comparison, there was an increase of 626 places in 2019/20 and 1,140 in 2020/21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have invested an additional £95 million to support the recruitment of a further 1,200 midwives and 100 obstetricians and multi-disciplinary team training. This will allow providers to achieve their recruitment and retention ambitions through a range of initiatives, such as supporting newly qualified midwives, additional pastoral care to aid retention and the recruitment of midwives from overseas.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to recruit additional midwives in England.

Health Education England (HEE) has been working with stakeholders towards an increase of 3,650 midwifery student training places by the end of 2022/23, with training leading to professional registration. This includes 650 additional training places in 2019/20 and up to 1,000 additional training places per year in the following three years. Against 2018/19 as the baseline for comparison, there was an increase of 626 places in 2019/20 and 1,140 in 2020/21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have invested an additional £95 million to support the recruitment of a further 1,200 midwives and 100 obstetricians and multi-disciplinary team training. This will allow providers to achieve their recruitment and retention ambitions through a range of initiatives, such as supporting newly qualified midwives, additional pastoral care to aid retention and the recruitment of midwives from overseas.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support available for prescription medication for people addicted to drugs who wish to withdraw.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing the need for drug and alcohol services in their area and the adequacy of the services they provide. Local authorities fund these services through the Public Health Grant. In 2021/22, the total Grant provided is £3.324 billion, representing a £45 million increase from 2019/2020.

Dame Carol Black published Part Two of her independent review of drugs on 8 July 2021. This review assessed the adequacy of the drug and alcohol treatment system, providing the Government with 32 recommendations to improve the effectiveness of drug prevention and treatment and to help more people recover from dependence. The Government published an initial response to the review on 27 July 2021 and has committed to publishing a long-term drug strategy by the end of the year.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) increase the number of GP appointments available in line with local housing developments and (b) ensure an adequate number of GP appointments are available throughout winter 2021-22.

NHS England is committed to ensuring future funding and healthcare provision matches population growth and demographic changes, including local housing developments. The National Health Service funding formula reflects the Office for National Statistics’ population estimates and general practitioner (GP) registrations in a geography.

‘Our plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice’ included an additional investment of £250 million through a Winter Access Fund. This aims to improve the availability of GP practices and increase the number of appointments, while also investing in technology to make it easier for patients to see or speak to their GP.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to make prescriptions free for people who suffer from asthma.

We currently have no plans to do so. Approximately 89% of prescriptions are already dispensed free of charge and extensive arrangements are in place to help those most in need. To support those who do not qualify for an exemption, a prescription pre-payment certificate can be paid for in instalments. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that (a) elderly people are able to access the GP care they need and (b) people without technology are able to access NHS resources through other means.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance is clear that online tools must always be provided in addition to, rather than as a replacement for, other channels for accessing general practice. Practice receptions should be open so that patients without access to telephone or online services are in no way disadvantaged.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned an independent evaluation to understand the impact for staff, patients and the wider health and care system of using digital tools in primary care to inform its long-term strategy. The Department continues to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement and general practitioners to assess the impact of different types of appointment and to improve access for all patient groups. The Public sector equality duty requires public authorities to have due regard of the impact of their policies on different protected characteristics, including age.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that hospital treatment is accessible for the residents of Northwich; and to what services the funding provided by his Department to the Victoria Infirmary will be allocated.

The Department is taking steps to ensure that hospital treatment is accessible for people across the country, including the residents of Northwich, by providing funding and encouraging innovation. £1.7 million funding has been confirmed for the development of diagnostics services at Victoria Infirmary, Northwich, as part of the National Community Diagnostic Centre programme. This will include the introduction of a CT scanner and expansion of some other diagnostic services, including x-ray, ultrasound, some cardio-respiratory testing and phlebotomy. Work on the Victoria Infirmary estate is expected to start by the end of November 2021.

Following the recent decision not to relocate hospital facilities to the Weaver Square scheme in Northwich town centre, further discussions and plans for the wider development of the Victoria Infirmary site are ongoing. The department will continue to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement to support service provision by the National Health Service in the area.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of the winter flu vaccine in (a) Weaver Vale, (b) North West England and (c) the UK.

No specific assessment has been made as flu vaccine supplies are purchased locally. The Department is in regular contact with vaccine manufacturers to ensure there is sufficient supply to vaccinate eligible cohorts.

General practitioners and community pharmacists are responsible for ordering flu vaccines from suppliers, which are then used to deliver the national flu vaccination programme, with deliveries phased through the season. Local providers determine the appropriate stock of vaccines to purchase, based on their local populations, eligible cohorts and uptake ambitions for the National Health Service programme.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the longevity of the (a) AstraZenica and (b) Pfizer covid-19 vaccines; and whether that longevity will be a factor in their potential inclusion in a booster programme.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) continuously monitors vaccine effectiveness over time since the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines licensed for use in the United Kingdom. This includes Vaxzevria (previously AstraZeneca) and Comirnaty (previously Pfizer). The UKHSA observed limited waning in vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation and death more than 20 weeks post-vaccination with Vaxzevria or Comirnaty. This was evident in older adults and those in a clinical risk group, suggesting that these individuals should be prioritised for booster doses.

These analyses will continue as the booster programme deployment progresses, including monitoring the duration of protection of booster doses against a range of disease outcomes.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of when the effects of the covid-19 booster vaccination program will be seen in a decrease in the number of daily covid-19 infections.

The UK Health Security Agency continuously monitors vaccine coverage and vaccine effectiveness. Early evidence on the effectiveness of booster doses is expected to emerge in the next few weeks.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with stakeholders on the efficacy of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy as a treatment option for patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The National Health Service continues to work with Pancreatic Cancer UK to raise awareness of prescribed pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), including sharing guidance with Cancer Alliances. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines recommend that PERT should be considered for people with both operable and inoperable pancreatic cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of giving a potential covid-19 booster vaccine to people with asthma who are eligible for a flu jab.

We are preparing for a potential booster vaccination programme from the autumn. Whilst we are planning for several potential scenarios, final decisions on the timing and scope of the booster programme will not be taken until later this year, in line with results from key clinical studies.

We are seeking clinical advice on which groups in the population should be prioritised, informed by independent advice from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI will review the emerging scientific evidence on co-administering the flu and COVID-19 vaccines safely, alongside data supplied by manufacturers, to inform the Government in the decision-making process.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has made of the potential merits of using the chronic respiratory flu vaccination list for the purposes of rolling out a covid-19 booster vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) considering whether to advise a COVID-19 vaccine booster programme whether a potential programme should align with the groups which will receive the flu vaccination. The JCVI will issue advice in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) sufficiency of resources provided to and (b) efficiency of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Cheshire.

We have not made a formal assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the need to prioritise front-line NHS test and trace workers for covid-19 vaccinations.

Testing staff who work at sites for symptomatic members of the public where assisted tests are carried out, are eligible to be prioritised for a vaccine as they are considered frontline healthcare workers for the purpose of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation prioritisation. Laboratory staff and those at sites for asymptomatic testing are not considered frontline healthcare workers and therefore will not be eligible for vaccine prioritisation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports of do not resuscitate notices being given to patients with learning disabilities during the second wave of covid-19.

Learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and blanket DNACPR decisions for whole groups of people are completely inappropriate. We have communicated this through a number of channels to the National Health Service in England.

We have asked the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review of DNACPR decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not currently have evidence to suggest widespread practice of inappropriate DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability at this time. However, we continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many positive cases of covid-19 have been identified in early years childcare settings in each week since 1 January 2021.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising covid-19 vaccines for foster carers of clinically extremely vulnerable children.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors

Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination in priority group six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the priority of care home residents for the covid-19 vaccine; and when residents will be contacted.

Deliveries of both Oxford/Astra Zeneca and Pifizer/BioNTech vaccines to large (over 50 beds), medium (25-49 beds) and small (under 25 beds) care homes are underway. As set out in the COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan, published on 12 January 2021, it is our ambition to offer the vaccine to all care home residents and staff in the more than 10,000 care homes in England for older people by the end of January. The delivery plan is available at the following link.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-covid-19-vaccines-delivery-plan

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing additional medical indemnity costs for GPs who wish to participate in the covid-19 vaccination programme and who are (a) near to or (b) have already reached the maximum limit of sessions for their medical indemnity cover.

There are comprehensive clinical negligence indemnity arrangements in place for general practitioners (GPs) participating in the Covid-19 vaccination programme in England. Since 1 April 2019, all GPs and others working in general practice are automatically covered under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice, for liabilities arising from the provision of NHS primary medical services and ancillary health services as part of the NHS in England. This includes where GPs are participating in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, which is being implemented using an Enhanced Service Specification. GPs do not pay a subscription to this scheme, the costs of which are met centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the public health impact of increased oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from industrial and power generation facilities located within a mile of residential areas.

Public Health England has not estimated the public health impact of oxides of nitrogen emissions from industrial and power generation facilities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on assessing the business case for a new-build Leighton Hospital and Victoria Infirmary in Cheshire.

The Department has not received a business case for a new-build scheme at either Leighton Hospital or Victoria Infirmary from Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We understand the Trust is currently developing a strategic outline case for the redevelopment of Leighton Hospital.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the capacity of the primary care network in Cheshire to deliver the covid-19 vaccination to (a) priority groups in December 2020 and (b) the broader population in March 2021.

The National Health Service has vast experience delivering widespread vaccination programmes and an enormous amount of planning has taken place to ensure our health service stands ready to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine. Primary care networks will play an important role in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to priority groups as well as the broader population. General practitioner practices will be expected to co-ordinate and deliver COVID-19 vaccinations at scale in primary care network groupings, working in collaboration with commissioners, regional operations and other local providers to develop and implement a local delivery plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the increased health risk from covid-19 for young people over 18 with Down’s syndrome compared with the risk for those under 18.

The United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers recently reviewed the latest data to examine whether there was a need to add further conditions to the definition of clinically extremely vulnerable. This analysis showed that the vast majority of those adults over 18 with Down’s syndrome were at the very highest risk of death from COVID-19 and this group were added to the clinically extremely vulnerable list.

As our knowledge of COVID-19 has grown, we now know that very few children are at highest risk of severe illness due to the virus, even those with other health conditions. Using the information on COVID-19 and outcomes for people who have had it, we have not found evidence that children who have Down’s syndrome are at higher risk than other children. General practitioners and hospital specialists still have discretion to add patients to the list based on careful, clinical assessments of each individual’s needs. Clinical guidance has been issued to support these decisions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason gyms have been instructed to close in Halton in response to the imposition of tier 3 covid local lockdown restrictions and not in Lancashire which has also been placed into tier 3.

Hygiene and social distancing measures are vitally important for reducing the transmission risk of COVID-19. We know that the virus spreads readily in any indoor environment where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings, such as gyms, remains high.

We recognise the efforts that have been made to reduce risk across a range of venues. As decisions are based on a number of factors, it is possible for variation to exist between different local authority areas and tiers.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the need to close gyms in (a) the Liverpool City Region, (b) Lancashire, and (c) all other areas that are subject to tier three covid-19 restrictions.

Hygiene and social distancing measures are vitally important for reducing the transmission risk of COVID-19. We know that the virus spreads readily in any indoor environment where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings, such as gyms, remains high.

We recognise the efforts that have been made to reduce risk across a range of venues. As decisions are based on a number of factors, it is possible for variation to exist between different local authority areas.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people being advised by NHS test track and trace to self isolate for longer than the 14 day period contained in Government guidance; and under what circumstances would a longer period of self-isolation be required.

People who test positive must isolate until 10 days after their symptoms started or, if they did not have symptoms, the date of their test. Other members of their household must isolate until 14 days after this date. Close contacts from outside their household must self-isolate until 14 days after their most recent contact.

People who have tested positive are advised to continue self-isolating beyond the 10-day period if they have a high temperature or feeling hot and shivery; they have a runny nose or sneezing; they feel or are sick; or they have diarrhoea.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has a timeline for when all routine NHS dental treatments will be available across England.

All dental practices with a National Health Service dental contract have been able to open for face-to-face NHS care, including routine care, from 8 June. The guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement to NHS dental contract holders states that the reopening of dental practices must take place in a safe manner and follow the Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement infection prevention and control guidance.

Over 600 urgent dental centres remain open across England to support dental patients with their urgent dental care needs through face to face treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the supply of influenza vaccinations for winter 2020-21 in (a) Cheshire and (b) Merseyside.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s local team are currently unaware of any specific issues with the local supply in Cheshire or Merseyside.

We have sufficient vaccine for over 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

General practitioners and pharmacists are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for the administering of flu jabs by the NHS to clinically vulnerable diabetic patients; and whether jabs for those patients will be prioritised over jabs for the general public.

General practitioners and other NHS service providers have been asked to prioritise flu vaccination for all those who are in the defined clinically vulnerable groups documented in the national guidance, including those with diabetes.

Vaccination of those who are in at risk groups has started and will continue in all areas in England through the winter months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on providing support for new capital bids for Warrington and Halton hospital sites.

The Department has focused on improving how it supports projects centrally, for example through joint central approvals and work on hospital design standards.

Future National Health Service capital funding will be determined as part of the Department’s multi-year settlement at the next Spending Review.

Trusts should continue developing their plans and priorities for local NHS infrastructure and discuss their proposals with NHS England and NHS Improvement. Then, once the capital settlement has been confirmed with HM Treasury, the Department will consider carefully how new bids can be prioritised within it.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for the 25 per cent of covid-19 nationally which originates from the North West region of that region having access to 15 per cent of national covid-19 testing capacity.

Our approach to testing is guided by the latest scientific advice. We are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups. Where there is an outbreak, we are working intensively to curb the spread, giving local areas dedicated ring-fenced teams from the national NHS Test and Trace service.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assistance is available to people receiving a covid-19 home test who (a) do not have internet access to register for a test and (b) are confused by the process.

Testing is a key part of the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19, and, following the publication of the Government’s Testing Strategy we have rapidly expanded our capacity. The Government has set up a Testing Call Centre for those who have no internet access or need advice on how to order a COVID-19 test. Calls in England and Wales can be made to the 119 line for those who have no internet access.

Those with a trusted proxy, for example a friend or family member who they would be willing to share their results with, could provide their proxy’s email address and/or mobile number. Contact can be made by phoning 119 or at the following link:

www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to change the process for returning a covid-19 home test for people who (a) do not have internet access and (b) are confused by the current instructions.

Testing is a key part of the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19, and, following the publication of the Government’s Testing Strategy we have rapidly expanded our capacity. The Government has set up a Testing Call Centre for those who have no internet access or need advice on how to order a COVID-19 test. Calls in England and Wales can be made to the 119 line for those who have no internet access.

Those with a trusted proxy, for example a friend or family member who they would be willing to share their results with, could provide their proxy’s email address and/or mobile number. Contact can be made by phoning 119 or at the following link:

www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made progress on plans to publish regional reproductive (r) numbers for covid-19.

The Government Office for Science currently publishes the latest estimate of the United Kingdom-wide range for R on a weekly basis. The current range is estimated to be 0.7-0.9 and is based on latest data available to determine infection and transmission rates. We do not calculate the R rate for different UK regions.

The Government is committed to publishing the scientific evidence that has informed the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies advice. These papers are being published in batches. The full list of papers reviewed to date is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at recent and future meetings.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prevent scammers from impersonating people registered and trained as tracers for the NHS test and trace system.

The Government launched its new NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing.

NHS Test and Trace has been developed to Government security standards and we have been advised on measures to keep the public safe. The NHS Test and Trace service uses text messages, email or phone. The Test and Trace service will not ask for bank details or payments, nor will anyone be asked for details of their social media or any pin numbers or be asked to call a premium rate number. All text or emails will ask people to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website with a set of unique characters provided alongside a secure link to the site. For those people that are unable to respond via email or text, perhaps because they do not have those options available to them, a phone-based service will contact them and support them through the process.

If the public are concerned about whether a call or email they receive comes from NHS Test and Trace service they can visit GOV.UK and view a page which lists the official phone numbers used by this service.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to extend the dental coverage provided in medical exemption certificates for pregnant women who have been unable to receive dental treatment during covid-19 outbreak.

No decisions have been made on whether to extend exemptions from dental charges for maternity or other grounds for exemption following the peak pandemic period.

Pregnant women and new mothers who have given birth within the last 12 months are exempt from dental charges. Urgent dental treatment continued to be provided through the peak pandemic period from over 550 urgent dental centres. Any urgent treatment a pregnant woman or new mother needed during this period therefore should have been available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dental practices will be able to begin to see patients again from 8 June, with the aim of increasing levels of service, as fast as is compatible with maximizing safety. A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the £60,000 guarantee on death in service benefits for frontline health and care staff during the covid-19 outbreak will be paid in addition to the death in service benefit for members of the NHS pension scheme.

The Government is in the process of setting up a life assurance scheme for frontline health and social care staff in England who contract COVID-19 during the course of their work.

The life assurance scheme is non-contributory and pays a £60,000 lump sum where staff die as a result of COVID-19 and had been recently working in frontline roles and locations where personal care is provided to individuals who have recently contracted COVID-19.

The NHS Pension Scheme provides death in service cover of two times annual pay to active members who are yet to retire, to support a member’s partner and dependents, should they die before claiming their retirement benefits. Membership of the NHS Pension Scheme is voluntary and around 90% of National Health Service staff are active scheme members.

The lump sum from the life assurance scheme will be paid in addition to any death benefit entitlement from the NHS Pension Scheme.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what targets his Department has for providing covid-19 test results to people who have been in the community; and what proportion of those test results have been delivered within that target time to date.

We set a target of performing 100,000 tests per day by the end of April. We met that target by expanding test capacity across the country. This includes the opening of 49 50 regional test sites, increasing the number of home test kits available for distribution and we currently have 96 mobile test units in operation as at 4 April 2020. Test results are received within 48 hours, and for home tests in up to 72 hours.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the average time taken for health care workers and members of their households who are showing covid-19 symptoms to (a) book an appointment for a covid-19 test, (b) be so tested and (c) receive the results of that test.

Healthcare workers were classified as ‘essential’ and were therefore prioritised for testing under the National Testing Programme. Trusts can also refer their staff for testing directl. All National Health Service staff can now register for tests whether or not they are symptomatic. Test results are received within 48 hours, or up to 72 hours for home testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to provide guidance to religious bodies during the covid-19 outbreak.

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the government has stopped all public gatherings of more than two people. This includes weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. However, this excludes funerals in places of worship and crematoria.

More details can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others#closing-certain-businesses-and-venues

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875304/240320_Revised_Guidance.pdf

While the government recognises the importance of rituals and gatherings, it is advised that the actions detailed in their “guidance for communities managing a death” are taken to reduce the spread of infection. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased/guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased-with-suspected-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19#guidance-for-professionals-who-manage-bodies-including-mortuary-staff-pathologists-and-funeral-directors

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many additional ventilators his Department has been able to purchase to date.

The National Health Service has world-renowned critical care facilities which includes access to around 5000 adult and 900 paediatric critical care ventilators, with further ventilators available outside of critical care facilities.

We are currently in the process of purchasing many more ventilators at scale. We are likely to need 20,000 more under a reasonable worst cases scenario and the Prime Minister has issued a call to United Kingdom industry to produce additional ventilators.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many new ventilators have been manufactured in the UK since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Work preparing the National Health Service has been ongoing and we have already nearly doubled ventilator capacity. New and existing suppliers are being asked to build as many as they can. The Prime Minister has issued a call to United Kingdom industry to produce additional ventilators and the Department asked appropriate potential manufacturers on Friday 13 March to come forward with proposals for new ventilation machines. Around a dozen potential prototypes have now been presented to the Department which we are currently pursuing.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that supplies of over-the-counter medications are maintained in the event of an outbreak of covid-19.

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs, including some over-the-counter medicines, in the event of any supply issues.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

The steps being taken to protect United Kingdom supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement can be read at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of wealth inequalities in healthy life expectancy.

The Government wants everyone to have the same opportunity to have a long and healthy life, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their social circumstances. We are committed to giving everyone five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 and reducing the gap between the rich and poor. Life expectancy at birth is the highest it has ever been in England. However, the rate of improvement in life expectancy has slowed down and we are not complacent.

This Government has committed to back the National Health Service by £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24. The NHS Long Term Plan commits all major national programmes and every local area across England is required to set out specific measurable goals and mechanisms by which they will contribute to narrowing health inequalities over the next five and ten years.

Preventing health problems is the best way to improve life expectancy and reduce inequalities. The commitments outlined in the Prevention Green Paper signal a new approach for the health and care system.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for wealth inequalities in life expectancy.

The Government wants everyone to have the same opportunity to have a long and healthy life, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their social circumstances. We are committed to giving everyone five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 and reducing the gap between the rich and poor. Life expectancy at birth is the highest it has ever been in England. However, the rate of improvement in life expectancy has slowed down and we are not complacent.

This Government has committed to back the National Health Service by £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24. The NHS Long Term Plan commits all major national programmes and every local area across England is required to set out specific measurable goals and mechanisms by which they will contribute to narrowing health inequalities over the next five and ten years.

Preventing health problems is the best way to improve life expectancy and reduce inequalities. The commitments outlined in the Prevention Green Paper signal a new approach for the health and care system.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the decrease in life expectancy gains in the UK since 2011.

The Government wants everyone to have the same opportunity to have a long and healthy life, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their social circumstances. We are committed to giving everyone five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 and reducing the gap between the rich and poor. Life expectancy at birth is the highest it has ever been in England. However, the rate of improvement in life expectancy has slowed down and we are not complacent.

This Government has committed to back the National Health Service by £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24. The NHS Long Term Plan commits all major national programmes and every local area across England is required to set out specific measurable goals and mechanisms by which they will contribute to narrowing health inequalities over the next five and ten years.

Preventing health problems is the best way to improve life expectancy and reduce inequalities. The commitments outlined in the Prevention Green Paper signal a new approach for the health and care system.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increasing wealth gap in life expectancy.

The Government wants everyone to have the same opportunity to have a long and healthy life, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their social circumstances. We are committed to giving everyone five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 and reducing the gap between the rich and poor. Life expectancy at birth is the highest it has ever been in England. However, the rate of improvement in life expectancy has slowed down and we are not complacent.

This Government has committed to back the National Health Service by £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24. The NHS Long Term Plan commits all major national programmes and every local area across England is required to set out specific measurable goals and mechanisms by which they will contribute to narrowing health inequalities over the next five and ten years.

Preventing health problems is the best way to improve life expectancy and reduce inequalities. The commitments outlined in the Prevention Green Paper signal a new approach for the health and care system.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help reduce the disparity in life expectancy between the poorest and wealthiest people.

The Government wants everyone to have the same opportunity to have a long and healthy life, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their social circumstances. We are committed to giving everyone five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 and reducing the gap between the rich and poor. Life expectancy at birth is the highest it has ever been in England. However, the rate of improvement in life expectancy has slowed down and we are not complacent.

This Government has committed to back the National Health Service by £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24. The NHS Long Term Plan commits all major national programmes and every local area across England is required to set out specific measurable goals and mechanisms by which they will contribute to narrowing health inequalities over the next five and ten years.

Preventing health problems is the best way to improve life expectancy and reduce inequalities. The commitments outlined in the Prevention Green Paper signal a new approach for the health and care system.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to improve recognition of Irlen Syndrome within the NHS.

There continues to be a lack of consensus amongst medical professionals as to the existence and nature of Meares-Irlen syndrome as a distinct syndrome.

Any individuals experiencing visual symptoms should consult an optometrist to ensure that the possibility of refractive error or eye disease is not overlooked.

If after a sight test (and glasses if necessary) an individual is still experiencing difficulties, then a wider assessment may be necessary. Optometrist are able to arrange an onward referral to the appropriate discipline, if required.

In the case of a child, a wider assessment would involve collaboration across education, health and other professionals to identify the best response for the individual concerned.

Help with the cost of prescription glasses, through National Health Service optical vouchers, is currently available for eligible groups, including children, to help correct a defect in sight, identified during an NHS sight test. There are no plans to change the criteria for NHS optical vouchers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to fund prescription lenses for people with Meares-Irlen Syndrome.

There continues to be a lack of consensus amongst medical professionals as to the existence and nature of Meares-Irlen syndrome as a distinct syndrome.

Any individuals experiencing visual symptoms should consult an optometrist to ensure that the possibility of refractive error or eye disease is not overlooked.

If after a sight test (and glasses if necessary) an individual is still experiencing difficulties, then a wider assessment may be necessary. Optometrist are able to arrange an onward referral to the appropriate discipline, if required.

In the case of a child, a wider assessment would involve collaboration across education, health and other professionals to identify the best response for the individual concerned.

Help with the cost of prescription glasses, through National Health Service optical vouchers, is currently available for eligible groups, including children, to help correct a defect in sight, identified during an NHS sight test. There are no plans to change the criteria for NHS optical vouchers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his plans for restoring bursaries for nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare students will include Paramedic Science BSc students.

From the academic year 2020/21, new and continuing paramedic science students on eligible pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate courses at English universities will receive an annual maintenance grant of at least £5,000 per academic year. Some paramedic science students may also be eligible for additional funding, including non-repayable financial support to help with childcare costs. The NHS Business Services Authority will be publishing further information as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government has taken in offering assistance and aid to Turkey in respect of the wildfires in that country.

At the outset of the wildfires we offered our sympathy and support to the Turkish Government. The Foreign Secretary and I were in direct contact with our Turkish counterparts and our Embassy in Turkey held urgent discussions with Turkish disaster relief authorities. Although Turkey had sought fire-fighting aircraft, which regrettably we could not supply with sufficient water capacity, we were able to offer other technical support and capacity building expertise. The Turkish Government appreciated our support but confirmed they no longer needed such assistance. Our offer still stands.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason businesses in the personal care industry are not included as recipients of financial support grants for businesses affected by the omicron variant; and what steps his Department is taking to support that industry.

As a result of the Omicron variant, hospitality and leisure businesses saw significant numbers of cancellations and reduced footfall throughout their peak trading period around Christmas. The aim of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant is to support businesses offering in-person services, where social mixing is the primary motivation for their customers.

However, the Government also recognises that other businesses, including in the personal care industry, may also have been impacted by the Omicron variant. That is why we have provided an extra £102 million of discretionary funding through the Additional Restrictions Grant, on top of the £250 million that local authorities have left from previous allocations.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the amount accruing to the Exchequer from the adoption of Consumer Prices Index Including Owner Occupiers' Housing Costs in relation to index-linked gilts from 2030; and whether he has plans to compensate pensioners in the event that their pension pots are reduced as a result of that matter.

Owing to shortcomings in its calculation, the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) intends to bring the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into the Retail Prices Index (RPI). On 25 November 2020, the Government and UKSA published their response to the consultation on the reform to RPI.

The Government will not offer compensation to the holders of index-linked gilts. The contractual terms of all index-linked gilts state that the RPI should be used to determine the index ratio which is used to calculate interest and redemption payments. There will be no change to this flowing from the implementation of UKSA’s reform.

For further information please see the consultation response at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish further details of the tax on the UK residential property development sector, announced on 10 February 2021.

The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government made an oral statement to the House of Commons on building safety on 10 February 2021.

That statement announced plans to introduce a new tax for the UK residential property development sector in 2022, to ensure the largest developers make a fair contribution to cladding remediation costs.

The details of the policy design will be made public as soon as possible, and the Government will begin the consultation process in due course, to facilitate introduction for 2022.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing further Government support for businesses registered for VAT where turnover has fallen below the £85,000 threshold.

Businesses can ask HMRC to cancel their registration if their VAT taxable turnover falls below the deregistration threshold of £83,000. Businesses that are below the VAT threshold and are not voluntarily registered do not account for VAT on their supplies.

In light of COVID-19, the Government has announced a significant support package to help businesses from a whole range of sectors through the winter months, which includes an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant, and an extension of the application window for the Government-backed loan schemes.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what additional steps he has taken during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown to support small company directors who in normal operating periods would have received dividend payments.

The Winter Economy Plan set out a package of targeted measures in response to the current economic context that will enable businesses to protect jobs and manage their finances in the face of reduced or uncertain demand. This includes the extension of the temporary VAT reduced rate for hospitality and tourism, extending the application window of the access to finance schemes, and further support for employees and the self-employed.

Company directors who pay themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are able to apply for CJRS support, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria of the scheme. In addition, company directors may be eligible for other elements of the package of financial support available. This includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, increased levels of Universal Credit, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to provide support to the airline industry; and whether he plans to ensure that support is contingent on airlines (a) not paying dividends to their shareholders, (b) rehiring staff and (c) taking additional steps to tackle climate change.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19 and the Chancellor wrote to the aviation sector on 24 March to set out the Government’s position and the support measures available. Given the significant importance of the aviation sector to our economy and economic recovery, the Government is prepared to enter negotiations with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted other options. However further taxpayer support would only be possible if all commercial avenues have been fully explored, including raising further capital from existing investors and discussing arrangements with financial stakeholders.

The Government has announced a package of measures, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which help firms to retain employees. This Scheme will allow businesses to put employees on temporary leave, with the Government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month, providing the business keeps the person employed.

The Department for Transport are planning to consult to update the Government’s position on aviation and climate change. It is critical that we consider how the aviation sector can play its part in delivering our net zero ambitions.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support people that have lost savings as a result of the collapse of London Capital and Finance.

The administrators for London Capital & Finance (LCF) are currently estimating recoveries for investors affected by LCF’s failure. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), as the compensation scheme of last resort, can only provide compensation for claims connected with certain types of regulated activities.

The FSCS has been working closely with LCF’s administrators and the Financial Conduct Authority to understand more about LCF’s activities. This investigation led FSCS to announce certain key decisions in relation to LCF in January 2020. First, the FSCS has announced it will protect LCF bondholders who switched from stocks and shares ISAs to LCF bonds. The FSCS has now paid £2.7m compensation to these LCF customers. Second, the FSCS has announced it is unable to protect LCF bondholders who dealt with LCF before it was authorised to carry out financial services business. The FSCS will contact these LCF customers to confirm this. Third, the FSCS has said that there will be some LCF customers who were given misleading advice by LCF, and who will have valid claims for compensation. The FSCS will provide a further communication with details of when and how customers in this category can submit their claims. The FSCS will aim to start reviewing these advice claims in the first quarter of 2020.

The FSCS will provide a further update by the end of March outlining the next steps. In the meantime LCF customers do not need to take any action. Further information can be found at https://www.fscs.org.uk/failed-firms/lcf/.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jan 2020
What steps he is taking to ensure that HMRC has adequate (a) powers and (b) resources to investigate tax avoidance enablers.

The Government has taken significant action, including introducing 100 new measures tackling tax avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance since 2010. This has secured and protected £200bn that would have otherwise gone unpaid, helping to bring the UK’s tax gap to a near record low of 5.6%.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of women killed by men since 2012; and what steps her Department is taking to prevent women being killed through men's violence.

The Home Office Homicide Index shows that between 2012/13 and 2019/20 there were 1,005 female victims (aged 16 and over) of homicide where the suspect was male.

The Government takes women’s safety very seriously and is determined to tackle crimes which disproportionately affect women and girls.

We have published a new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy and will be publishing a complementary Domestic Abuse Strategy in the New Year. The new strategies will help transform the response to these crimes, from prevention and raising awareness, support to victims and survivors, to ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice.

As part of the new VAWG Strategy commitments, work is underway to launch a national communications campaign in the New Year, which will focus on targeting perpetrators, educating young people about healthy relationships and ensuring victims can access support.

We are doing a considerable amount of work on domestic homicides which is a horrific crime that disproportionately impacts females. Homicide Index data for 2017/18 to 2019/20 show that 76% of victims of domestic homicide were female. The Home Office worked with the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s domestic abuse and homicide leads to fund a rapid review pilot at the start of the first lockdown to track domestic homicides and enable the police to respond to spikes.

We firmly believe that tackling perpetrators of abuse is key to reducing domestic homicides. In 2020/21, the Chancellor announced £10 million in funding for DA perpetrator programmes, which was the first fund of its kind. This year the funding has increased to £25 million, more than doubling the funding for addressing perpetrators of domestic abuse. Of this, over £18 million has been provided to local areas to introduce new perpetrator programmes this year.

In addition to this, Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) must be considered for all deaths involving a person over the age of 16 where domestic abuse has, or appears to have been a factor. We have undertaken to create a central repository for all DHRs which will allow us to better understand the patterns and trends of domestic homicides.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the resources available to tackling online and phone scammers.

The Home Office collects information from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau on the number of recorded frauds. From the information held internally it is not possible to separately identify offences of fraud in which scam phone calls have been involved.

As part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed a further £63m to the Home Office to tackle economic crime, including fraud. This is in addition to the funding the Home Office commits each year to the National Crime Agency, National Economic Crime Centre and police forces, including the City of London Police as the national lead force for fraud and the operator of the Action Fraud and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau services.

The Home Office and DCMS are in regular discussion with the telecommunication industry on ways to tackle scam phone calls and protect the public. The Government has taken a range of actions to reduce the number of these calls. We have supported the National Trading Standards Scams Team to roll out call blocking devices to vulnerable people, helping to protect them from nuisance calls and scams. In addition, the City of London Police, the national lead force for Fraud, has partnered with Law Enforcement and Industry to combat call centre fraud from overseas jurisdictions.

However, the best way to tackle this problem is to try and identify the sources of these calls and stop them. We are encouraging the public to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (which is free of charge) and continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

Using this information, City of London Police, the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency are able to facilitate numbers being used for scam calls/texts being blocked or removed.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the number of scam phone calls being reported to Action Fraud in each month since March 2020; and what steps she is taking bring the perpetrators of those scams to justice.

The Home Office collects information from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau on the number of recorded frauds. From the information held internally it is not possible to separately identify offences of fraud in which scam phone calls have been involved.

As part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed a further £63m to the Home Office to tackle economic crime, including fraud. This is in addition to the funding the Home Office commits each year to the National Crime Agency, National Economic Crime Centre and police forces, including the City of London Police as the national lead force for fraud and the operator of the Action Fraud and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau services.

The Home Office and DCMS are in regular discussion with the telecommunication industry on ways to tackle scam phone calls and protect the public. The Government has taken a range of actions to reduce the number of these calls. We have supported the National Trading Standards Scams Team to roll out call blocking devices to vulnerable people, helping to protect them from nuisance calls and scams. In addition, the City of London Police, the national lead force for Fraud, has partnered with Law Enforcement and Industry to combat call centre fraud from overseas jurisdictions.

However, the best way to tackle this problem is to try and identify the sources of these calls and stop them. We are encouraging the public to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (which is free of charge) and continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

Using this information, City of London Police, the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency are able to facilitate numbers being used for scam calls/texts being blocked or removed.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the efficacy of Government communications on publicising the requirement for EU citizens living in the UK to hold Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.

Guidance on which groups of EEA nationals required comprehensive sickness insurance, as well as the types of documents accepted to meet this condition, has always been publicly available. This can currently be found from page 38 of the guidance on ‘qualified persons’ available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-economic-area-nationals-qualified-persons.

The requirements to naturalise as a British citizen remain unchanged by our exit from the European Union or the implementation of the EU Settlement Scheme. This includes requirements to normally have been free of immigration time restrictions for 12 months before applying, and to have been lawfully in the UK throughout the residential qualifying period.

There may be cases where nationality caseworkers need to satisfy themselves the person was here lawfully. This is not a new requirement and was an assessment we have always been making. It is also a statutory requirement and cannot be ignored. The same applies to all applicants, EEA or not. We have recently amended the application forms to ensure we can gather as much of this information upfront at the application stage where possible.

Guidance on GOV.UK sets out when we might exercise discretion where a person did not meet the lawful residence requirements. This includes where it is because the applicant did not meet an additional/implicit condition of stay under EEA Free Movement Regulations, rather than illegal entry or overstaying, such as an EEA or Swiss national living or studying in the UK, rather than working, not having CSI.

As has previously been confirmed I am not aware of any application for UK Citizenship being declined purely on the basis of the CSI requirement under EEA Free Movement Regulations and it should not deter anyone from making their application. The guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naturalisation-as-a-british-citizen-by-discretion-nationality-policy-guidance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department plans to take to tackle the matter of self-sufficient individuals of EU nationality who were not informed of requirements to hold comprehensive sickness insurance but who now require such insurance to apply for British citizenship.

Guidance on which groups of EEA nationals required comprehensive sickness insurance, as well as the types of documents accepted to meet this condition, has always been publicly available. This can currently be found from page 38 of the guidance on ‘qualified persons’ available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-economic-area-nationals-qualified-persons.

The requirements to naturalise as a British citizen remain unchanged by our exit from the European Union or the implementation of the EU Settlement Scheme. This includes requirements to normally have been free of immigration time restrictions for 12 months before applying, and to have been lawfully in the UK throughout the residential qualifying period.

There may be cases where nationality caseworkers need to satisfy themselves the person was here lawfully. This is not a new requirement and was an assessment we have always been making. It is also a statutory requirement and cannot be ignored. The same applies to all applicants, EEA or not. We have recently amended the application forms to ensure we can gather as much of this information upfront at the application stage where possible.

Guidance on GOV.UK sets out when we might exercise discretion where a person did not meet the lawful residence requirements. This includes where it is because the applicant did not meet an additional/implicit condition of stay under EEA Free Movement Regulations, rather than illegal entry or overstaying, such as an EEA or Swiss national living or studying in the UK, rather than working, not having CSI.

As has previously been confirmed I am not aware of any application for UK Citizenship being declined purely on the basis of the CSI requirement under EEA Free Movement Regulations and it should not deter anyone from making their application. The guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naturalisation-as-a-british-citizen-by-discretion-nationality-policy-guidance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason fire fighters have been offered a pay award below that offered of teachers, doctors, dentists, police and prison officers.

The pay awards announced on 21 July 2020 related to workforces covered by Pay Review Bodies (PRBs) which are: the armed forces, teachers, police officers, the National Crime Agency, prison officers, doctors, dentists, the Judiciary, senior civil servants and senior military personnel.

Pay awards for firefighters are agreed independently outside this process by the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Services which include representatives of employers, devolved administrations and trade unions.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many notices have been issued by police forces in England under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in each of the (a) last three months for which such information is available and (b) corresponding three months in (i) 2019 and (ii) 2018.

The Home Office is currently collecting information on authorisations made under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and the data will be published in due course.

The Home Office routinely collects and publishes statistics on the number of stop and searches under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Data are published annually in the ‘Police Powers and Procedures, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, the latest of which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales

The next bulletin is due to be published in October 2020.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what meetings his special advisors have attended with (a) developers or (b) their representatives on the Westferry Printworks development, (PA/18/01877/A1 which was granted planning permission by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on 14 January 2020.

Ministers and special advisers act in accordance with the MHCLG Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues. In that light, No10 Ministers and special advisers would not discuss the details of live planning applications with MHCLG Planning Ministers. Any representations by other Government departments to a called-in or recovered planning application being considered by MHCLG would be disclosed as part of the evidence to the planning inquiry.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the level of financial support required for Cheshire West and Chester Council following the flood damage caused by Storm Christoph.

Cheshire West and Chester Council receive unringfenced funding through the local government finance settlement to spend on local priorities


Following Storm Christoph MHCLG officials worked with local authority partners and the Environment Agency to determine the extent of the impacts of flooding from Storm Christoph and if additional financial support was appropriate.

Government support for recovery costs is predicated on the Flood Recovery Framework, which is activated when impacts are severe and widespread. Further financial support was not judged necessary on this occasion.

14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of buildings outside London over 17.7 metres in height with (a) unsafe cladding and (b) other fire safety issues that have had waking watches put in place since 15 March 2021.

The Department continues to work closely with the National Fire Chiefs Council to understand the extent to which waking watch measures are used in Residential Buildings. We do not hold specific information on the number of buildings over 17.7 metres in height which have had waking watches put in place since 15 March 2021.

The Government’s £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund is designed to incentivise buildings to install a common alarm system and to reduce the dependency on waking watch measures. The Government funding does not remove responsibilities for fire safety from the responsible persons. We are keeping the operation of the Waking Watch Relief Fund under review.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much funding on average has been paid out per building from the £30 million fund to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund opened for applications for buildings in England, except private sector buildings in London, on 31 January 2021 and closed on 14 March. For private sector buildings in London the Fund opened on 18 March 2021 and closed 30 April. All applications received are currently being processed. We will publish complete data on the Waking Watch Relief Fund, including the number of applications and funding approvals so far, shortly.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many eligible buildings applied for the fund to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund opened for applications for buildings in England, except private sector buildings in London, on 31 January 2021 and closed on 14 March. For private sector buildings in London the Fund opened on 18 March 2021 and closed 30 April. All applications received are currently being processed. We will publish complete data on the Waking Watch Relief Fund, including the number of applications and funding approvals so far, shortly.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many buildings in (a) Greater London, (b) Greater Manchester, (c) Birmingham, (d) Leeds, (e) Liverpool, (f) Bristol, (g) Newcastle and (h) Sheffield have (i) applied for funding to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding and (ii) were granted that funding.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund opened for applications for buildings in England, except private sector buildings in London, on 31 January 2021 and closed on 14 March. For private sector buildings in London the Fund opened on 18 March 2021 and closed 30 April. All applications received are currently being processed. We will publish complete data on the Waking Watch Relief Fund, including the number of applications and funding approvals so far, shortly.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the Government plans to publish its response to the consultation on Review of the ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings.

On 20 January 2020 we launched a public consultation including proposals to expand the scope of the in-effect ban of combustible materials in and on the external walls. This also included proposals with regards to laminated glass as well as other exemptions. The consultation closed on the 25 May 2020. We continue to analyse the responses, and will be publishing a Government response to the consultation.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the proposed relationship between the current neighbourhood plans and the proposed local plans in the Planning for the Future White Paper.

The Government is committed to simplifying Local Plans and retaining neighbourhood planning as part of the future planning system, and we intend to publish further details.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the context of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry, whether the Government plans to exclude Kingspan plc from eligibility for departmental and Government contracts.

Matters concerning the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 are the responsibility of the Cabinet Office, including the grounds for the exclusion of bidders from public procurement procedures that are set out within the regulations.

These rules set out the circumstances in which bidders must, or may, be excluded from a public procurement process for a variety of criminal offences and in other specific situations. Decisions need to be based around firm evidence and individual contracting authorities, including local authorities, are responsible for their own decisions on these matters.

It is clear that further measures must be put in place to prevent unsafe products being placed on the market and there must be action against companies which advertise and sell unsafe products, or who game the testing regime.

That is why we have brought forward proposals to strengthen the regulation of construction products in the draft Building Safety Bill. We have also announced in January a new national regulator for construction products, and a review into the construction product testing regime. We expect all public suppliers to act with integrity and to high standards, and will act where we see standards falling short.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment has he made of the effectiveness of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

We supported the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 because it, for the first time, empowers tenants in both the Private and Social Rented Sectors to hold their landlord to account if they fail to keep the property fit for human habitation. We have not yet made an assessment of the Act, which came into force for all tenancies in March 2020. The Act forms a vital part of the work we are doing to improve standards in the Private Rented Sector, including our review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and the strengthening of local authorities’ enforcement powers.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to implement the findings of the Law Commission on the leasehold market.

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

On 7 January 2021 we announced the first part of our response to the Law Commission’s reports.

Under the current system, too many leaseholders find the process for extending their lease or buying their freehold too complex, lacking transparency and prohibitively expensive. We will reform the process of enfranchisement valuation; abolishing marriage value, capping the treatment of ground rents at 0.1% of the freehold value, and prescribing rates for the calculations at market value. We will also introduce an online calculator, further simplifying the process for leaseholders and ensuring standardisation and fairness for all those looking to enfranchise. These changes to the enfranchisement valuation process will result in substantial savings for some leaseholders, particularly those with less than 80 years left on their lease.

Through our reforms, the length of a statutory lease extension will increase to 990 years, from 90 years (for flats) and 50 years (for houses). Leaseholders will be able to extend their lease with zero ground rent on payment of a premium. Leaseholders will also be able to voluntarily agree to a restriction on future development of their property to avoid paying ‘development value’


The Government will respond to the Law Commission’s remaining recommendations on enfranchisement, commonhold and right to manage in due course


We will translate these measures into law as soon as possible, starting with legislation to set ground rents on newly created leases to zero in the upcoming session. This will be the first part of major two-part legislation to implement leasehold and commonhold reforms in this Parliament.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the framework details for new Devolution Deals for areas such as Cheshire and Warrington are planned to be published.

We want to devolve and decentralise to give more power to local communities, providing an opportunity for all places to level up. We intend to bring forward the Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper in due course. This will cover how the UK Government will partner with places across the UK to build a sustainable economic recovery and set out our plans for future devolution arrangements.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to increase number of local authorities with local plan policies relating to older people’s housing.

We place great importance on the provision of suitable homes for older people.

Having an up-to-date plan in place is essential to planning for our housing requirements and the housing needs of older people.

Our planning rules already mean councils must consider the needs of older people when planning for new homes. In 2019 we published guidance to help councils implement the National Planning Policy Framework policies.

On 19 January 2021 our Written Ministerial Statement set the expectation that all authorities should have up to date plans in place by the end of 2023.

Further to this, the Planning for the Future white paper sets out our vision of a simpler, quicker and more accessible planning system, where Local Plans are visual, digitised and map-based, prepared to a new statutory timetable, and judged against a single ‘sustainable development’ test at examination.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of defining and recognising the housing-with-care model within the planning system.

Housing-with-care has a vital role in enabling older people to live independently, with the necessary care and support available if required.

As part of our ongoing work on planning reform, we hosted a series of roundtables during the formal consultation period for the White Paper, which included representatives from the retirement development sector. We will continue to engage with a range of stakeholders as we further develop our proposals.

Government also recently consulted on raising the accessibility standards of new homes, recognising the importance of suitable homes for older and disabled people. We are currently considering responses and will publish a Government response.

We are continuing to work closely with the sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. Ministers have regular meetings with representatives of the older people's housing-with-care sector and value their insight.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a cross-departmental task force on increasing the supply of housing-with-care.

The growth of this sector is important for meeting the needs of the ageing population and supporting our housing supply objectives. We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. DHSC are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

We are continuing to work closely with the sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including the proposals for a taskforce.

Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on Gov.uk.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to increase the supply of housing-with-care.

The growth of this sector is important for meeting the needs of the ageing population and supporting our housing supply objectives. We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. DHSC are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

We are continuing to work closely with the sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including the proposals for a taskforce.

Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on Gov.uk.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what meetings he has had with representatives of the older people’s housing-with-care sector in the last six months.

The growth of this sector is important for meeting the needs of the ageing population and supporting our housing supply objectives. We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. DHSC are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

We are continuing to work closely with the sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including the proposals for a taskforce.

Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on Gov.uk.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of buildings affected by the retraction of three tests carried out on Kingspan K15 insulation; and what assessment he has made of the effect of that retraction on the fire safety implications for leaseholders, tenants and residents.

We do not have any estimate of the number of buildings which will be affected by the retracted tests.

On 10 March 2021 we issued a letter to fire safety professionals and building control bodies reminding them that Kingspan has retracted three test reports. The letter is available here : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-building-control-bodies-on-the-retraction-of-three-tests-carried-out-on-kingspan-k15-insulation

The letter recommends that fire safety professionals and buildings control bodies review their records to check that any assessments they have carried out using these tests are identified and revisited in light of the information highlighted during the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The content of this letter is not new and is simply a reminder of the steps they should take in light of this information.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of qualified chartered fire engineers that can undertake an EWS1 survey.

There are 212 chartered fire engineers registered with the Institution of Fire Engineers and based in the United Kingdom.

A wider group of professionals can complete EWS1 forms. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors advises that the EWS1 form must be completed by a fully qualified member of a relevant professional body within the construction industry with sufficient expertise to identify the relevant materials within the external wall cladding and attachments.

To speed up valuations where EWS1 forms are justified, the Government is providing nearly £700,000 funding to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to train up to 2,000 more assessors in 2021. This training commenced in January and there are over 500 candidates on the course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish further details on the proposed levy on developers building certain high-rise buildings in England to fund the remediation of dangerous high-rise buildings.

We will be setting out details of the levy in due course, and it will be implemented through the forthcoming Building Safety Bill.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when further details of the £3.5 billion additional funding for the remediation of buildings with dangerous non-ACM cladding over 18 metres will be released.

We will publish more details on how the additional funding for the removal of unsafe cladding announced on 10 February will work alongside existing funds.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his planned timescale is for the release of the additional funding for the remediation of buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding over 18 metres.

We will publish more details on how the additional funding for the removal of unsafe cladding announced on 10 February will work alongside existing funds.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish details of the funding scheme for loans for leaseholders in buildings under 18 metres that require the remediation of dangerous cladding.

On 10 February, we announced a generous finance scheme, which will provide leaseholders in buildings of 11-18m with access to finance for cladding remediation costs, and a commitment that their monthly cladding repayment costs will not exceed £50 a month.

We will publish more information soon.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to respond to the consultation, Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure, which closed on 28 January 2021.

The consultation closed on 28 January. We are currently considering the responses received and will make further announcements as soon as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many buildings have been converted into Class E use since September 2020.

We have created a new ‘Commercial, business and service’ use class (Class E) to give business greater flexibility to change use and thrive. The Commercial, business and service use class encompasses a wide range of uses such as offices and other business uses, shops, cafes, gyms and other uses which are suitable in a town centre.

We do not hold data on how many premises have changed use to Class E since 1 September 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to respond to the recommendations of The Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Report on Ethical standards in local government; and if he will make a statement.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life report on local government ethical standards makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the local government standards and conduct system, many of which require legislative change. We have considered the Committee’s recommendations carefully and we intend to publish a response in due course.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of ensuring community priority for the proposed right to regenerate.

The Government is consulting on a number of reforms as part of its Right to Regenerate proposals, in order to make it easier for people and communities to help shape their local area.

One of the reforms that the Government is consulting on would be to provide a right of first refusal for those who make successful requests, potentially giving a priority to those who have made the effort to research and submit a request, within the existing rules governing best value for public land sales. This would enable local communities to benefit where they identify land in their local area which could be put to better use.

The Government welcomes feedback on ways to make the Right more effective encourage wider use. Following the conclusion of the consultation, the Government will publish its formal response.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing financial support to community groups looking to use the proposed right to regenerate.

The Government welcomes feedback on ways in which we could encourage the Right to be utilised more effectively and more widely. Following the conclusion of the consultation, the Government will publish its formal response.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of the proposed right to regenerate on existing strategies for the disposal of public land.

The Government is clear that public bodies should use their estates as efficiently as possible. This includes disposing of land where it is surplus to requirements.

A reformed Right to Regenerate will help people and communities better hold public bodies to account, challenging them to use public land effectively and to dispose of it where it can be put to a better use.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many of the buildings where an application for funding from the Building Safety Fund has proceeded have already completed remediation.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners so that we can advance eligible Fund applicants to the next stage and begin the remediation process as quickly as possible. The Department published registration statistics for the Building Safety Fund on 21 January, which can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons buildings have been found ineligible for funding after registering for the Building Safety Fund.

The eligibility requirements for the Building Safety Fund, against which all registrations are assessed, are set out in the published prospectus which is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings . Unsuccessful registrants are told which of the criteria for the Building Safety Fund they have not been able to demonstrate. If registrants feel that the decision reached is not in line with the published criteria, an appeal form is available on the Building Safety Fund page.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many buildings over 18m clad in ACM have not had their remediation work completed in each region.

The Department publishes data on the number of high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations. The latest data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-monthly-data-release-december-2020.

Data is not published at the regional level but local authority level data is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/954323/Table_3_Building_Safety_Data_Release_December_2020.csv/preview.

Data for the areas of London, Greater Manchester and the Rest of England is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/954326/Table_6_Building_Safety_Data_Release_December_2020.csv/preview.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much of the £1 billion fund for non-ACM cladding removal has been paid out.

The latest Building Safety Fund: Registration Statistics published on 21 January 2021, which includes data on funding allocation, can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many departmental staff (a) were employed from April to December 2020 and (b) are currently employed to process building safety fund registrations.

MHCLG core departmental workforce numbers for the period April to October 2020 are published online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/workforce-management.

The processing of Building Safety Fund registrations is carried out by specialists, contracted by MHCLG for this purpose.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that applicants to the Building Safety Fund are able to speak publicly about cladding and remediation.

I refer the Hon Member to my response to his oral question of 11 January 2020. The Building Safety Fund does not impose restrictions on leaseholders or residents in their private capacity as individual flat owners commenting on remediation projects or on Government policy on cladding and remediation

Funding agreements for the Building Safety Fund include a clause which is standard in commercial agreements between building owners and funders of construction of work which applies to communication with the media about the individual construction project. The clause applies to applicants to the fund who we expect to discuss with delivery partners in the first instance any queries about the remediation project or the funding agreement. We want a constructive working relationship with building owners who apply to the fund, which ensures that the Government’s provision of £1.6 billion of funding will make buildings safe for residents as swiftly as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, what progress the Building Research Establishment is making on research on trigger thresholds.

All research projects commissioned as part of the technical review of Approved Document B will inform the review of the guidance to the building regulations (Approved Document B).

The project on the trigger thresholds was commissioned in September 2020 and the research remains on going.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department plans to amend the fire safety guidance to the building regulations (Approved Document B) following the completion of the Building Research Establishment’s research on trigger thresholds.

All research projects commissioned as part of the technical review of Approved Document B will inform the review of the guidance to the building regulations (Approved Document B).

The project on the trigger thresholds was commissioned in September 2020 and the research remains on going.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if his Department will publish the latest data on the number of public sector buildings where combustible insulation has been identified in England.

The Department publishes data on the identification and remediation progress of high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations. The latest data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of the £200 million fund for private sector high-rise buildings covered in ACM cladding has been paid out.

Information on how much of the funding has been approved for the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM can be found on the Building Safety Programme Monthly Data Release, available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department has taken as a result of the consultation on the technical review of Approved Document B of the building regulations.

In April 2020, the Government published the workplan for the technical review of Approved Document B. We are commissioning the research for this fundamental review which will address a number of key fire safety issues. We have now commissioned 9 research projects including means of escape for disabled people, specialised housing and care homes, smoke toxicity and trigger thresholds.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions his Department has had with HM Treasury in the last three months on establishing a loan system for leaseholders to pay for building remediation for high rise properties at risk.

The Government has been clear that it is unacceptable for leaseholders to have to worry about the cost of fixing historic safety defects in their buildings that they didn’t cause. My Department regularly engages with HMT on this important issue. The Department is investigating solutions that will help to protect leaseholders.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what process he has established to update (a) local authorities and (b) leaseholders on which building owners or freeholders have applied to the Building Safety Fund.

As set out in the Building Safety Fund Application Guidance, an applicant to the Fund is required to inform all leaseholders and residents that they will be applying for funding. Applicants should also inform leaseholders and residents of the nature of the works intended to be carried out and should provide them with regular updates on the progress of the funding application and remediation works. Where a building is determined as eligible for the fund the Department provides the details to the relevant local authority.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential economic merits of implementing equivalent schemes to the (a) Australian Victoria development levy system for developers (b) an Australian New South Wales developer remediation loan.

I am determined to protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs. This was why we committed £1.6 billion to fund the remediation of high rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding. It was also why, when the Building Safety Bill was published, we singled out this topic as a key issue to address. We will update on any further measures required before the final Bill is introduced to Parliament.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to provide an update on the number of decisions made on applications to the Building Safety Fund.

The Department will publish updated data on Building Safety Fund registrations and applications shortly. The previous published registration statistics as of 25 September is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many tenants under Rent to Buy schemes funded through Homes England or its predecessor, the Homes and Communities Agency, have transitioned to full ownership in the last (a) five and (b) 10 years in England.

Homes England does not collect post sales information on the Rent to Buy scheme.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the transparency of service charges in shared ownership properties.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively, and that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong. The law is clear that service charges are payable only to the extent that costs have been reasonably incurred. In support of this, leaseholders, including shared owners, have the ability to apply to the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for a determination where they do not believe the charges are reasonable.

The Government established an independent working group chaired by Lord Best to raise standards across the property sector, which also considered how fees such as service charges should be presented to consumers. ?The working group published its final report to Government (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-property-agents-working-group-report) and we are considering?the report’s?recommendations before announcing next steps.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many shared ownership properties have been staircased to 100 percent ownership in the last (a) five and (b) ten years in England.

We have launched the new model of Shared Ownership which will make it easier for shared owners to buy more of their home, including in 1 per cent tranches with heavily reduced fees.

At present, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government does not hold the requested data regarding the uptake of staircasing in Shared Ownership homes. However, from next year we will start recording some more detailed information on staircasing whilst implementing the new model of Shared Ownership.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with Laing O'Rourke on fire safety building defects at the (a) Millennium Tower and (b) Millennium Point buildings in Salford, Greater Manchester.

The Department has not had any discussions with Laing O'Rourke about Millennium Tower and Millennium Point buildings in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the proportion of buildings which do not have cladding material as part of the building’s external wall system, by region.

Data estimating the proportion of high-rise residential buildings in England with little or no cladding can be found in this release: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-estimates-of-ews1-requirements-on-residential-buildings-in-england/building-safety-programme-estimates-of-ews1-requirements-on-residential-buildings-in-england.

Regional analysis is not available. In time, we will publish appropriate summary information from the External Wall Systems data collection in our monthly Building Safety Programme data release.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish the details of the applicants that have successfully met the criteria of the Building Safety Fund.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund. We published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics and will be publishing an update.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including interim waking watch funding support in a revised Building Safety Fund.

The most effective way to make buildings with unsafe cladding safe and eliminate the need for interim measures and associated costs is to have the unsafe cladding removed as quickly as possible. That is why we are prioritising £1.6 billion public subsidy on remediation of unsafe cladding. However, we recognise residents’ concerns about the cost of waking watch measures and the lack of transparency of these costs. That is why we have collected and published information on waking watch costs. This will enable those that have commissioned it to make comparisons and challenge providers on unreasonable costs. The data is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-waking-watch-costs.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to publish the Building Research Establishment report into the fire at the Cube student accommodation in Bolton on 15 November 2019.

Information from the Report has been shared with the Expert Panel, Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the definition of high-rise to 11 metres to improve the regulation of (a) buildings used as student accommodation and (b) other similar buildings.

There is no industry wide accepted definition for the height threshold above which buildings are classified as high rise in the United Kingdon, however the guidance to the buildings regulations (Approved Documents) uses triggers such as height for additional provisions.

As part of the technical review of the fire safety guidance to the building regulations (Approved Document B) we have commissioned the BRE to undertake some research on the trigger thresholds used in this document. This work is scheduled to be completed by the latter part of 2021.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many (a) office or (b)commerial blocks clad with (i) ACM or (ii) HPL cladding have been converted into residential blocks using permitted development rights since 2013.

We do not hold this information.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the need to support residents on unadopted roads who do not have the funds to bring those roads up to the required statutory standard.

The department has not made an assessment of the need to support for residents on unadopted roads who do not have the funds to bring those roads up to the required statutory standard. Policy decisions regarding the process for local authorities adopting roads are a matter for the Department for Transport.

The Government has no direct role in decisions on whether or not a road will be adopted, however in 2017 the Department for Transport issued an Advice Note covering the means by which a road can be adopted by the highway authority. The Advice Note can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/adoption-of-roads-by-highway-authorities.

Under Sections 205-218 of the Highways Act 1980 (known as the ‘private street works code’), the highway authority can resolve to make up a private street at any time. However, the cost of doing so is usually met by owners of the properties that front the street concerned. The street may then be adopted by the highway authority. Most local authorities do not make the decision to use the powers in Section 205 to 218 of the 1980 Act unless a high proportion of residents have approached them seeking adoption of the private street and that they understand their obligation to fund all the works necessary.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of houses built without the necessary fire breaks in England and Wales in the last five years.

This information is not centrally held. The Government is currently pursuing the biggest change in our building safety regime for a generation. This includes our landmark Building Safety Bill, which is currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny and builds on the recommendations from Dame Judith?Hackitt’s?Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. The draft Bill contains provisions to help remedy the systemic failings that resulted in the Grenfell Tower fire.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Government update on building safety published in April 2020, what contribution leaseholders will be required to make towards the new building safety measures for properties over eleven metres tall.

In April 2020 the Government announced changes to the guidance to the building regulations (Approved Document B) lowering the height threshold from 30 metres to 11 metres for sprinklers in new build blocks of flats, or where existing blocks of flats are undergoing major renovation.

That change to Approved Documents B also introduced new guidance on providing better wayfinding signage, to assist evacuations and provide safer passage for firefighters and residents around and out of buildings.

Both of these safety provisions come into effect on 26 November 2020 and were widely welcomed as an important contribution towards resident safety – supported by residents, the fire service and the insurance industry as an important step forward to reducing casualties and protecting property in the event of fire within flats.

Developers will meet the costs of installation of sprinklers and better wayfinding signage in new buildings as part of the overall build cost. When buying a new flat with sprinklers installed, depending on the service charge provisions in their leases, leaseholders may be required to pay for maintenance and associated repairs of sprinklers and signage.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment his Department has made of the fire safety of Modern Methods of Construction.

MMC homes have to meet building regulations standards, including fire safety standards, in the same way as homes built using traditional methods of construction. In addition, there are safeguards in place through various assurance and warranty processes to ensure the quality and standard in such homes. We will also be commissioning a research project on modular construction to further understand these new construction technologies.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department will take to ensure that any baseline for standards in the Building Safety Bill includes (a) a property and (b) a life safety baseline to ensure that individuals can escape but also have a property to return to following a peril event.

The Building Safety Bill will establish a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings, both in design and construction and for the building in use. It will also drive improvements in building safety and performance standards in all buildings, driving culture change and incentivising compliance. The Bill will ensure that building safety standards are effectively enforced but the standards are not set out in the Bill itself.

A technical review of Approved Document B (fire safety) of the building regulations is underway. The scope of fire protection requirements will be considered as part of the review, including whether it should be extended to the protection of property in addition to life safety. Details of the review are set out at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877365/Technical_review_of_Approved_Document_B_workplan.pdf.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department will take to expand the evidence base to increase its understanding of modern methods of construction technologies and their effect on functional design for people who will live in homes subject to those construction technologies.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of houses and that requires a modern construction industry. Building more homes using modern methods of construction, including offsite and smart techniques, is a key part of this.

We are always looking to expand our evidence base across all of our policy areas, especially ones with new, ever improving technologies such as modern methods of construction (MMC). We will continue to work with industry to further our understanding of construction technologies as well as use our own metrics in our programmes. For example, the new Affordable Homes Programme funding has a minimum target for MMC, which will be reviewed annually and increased as market conditions allow. We will also be commissioning a research project on the risks associated with modular construction.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many buildings his Department estimates there are between 11 and 18 metres high.

The Home Office have published an estimate and methodology in this publication .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the data collection exercise on residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres commenced.

We have started a pilot data collection project for 11 to 18 metres buildings to produce a prevalence estimate and to inform the design of a wider national 11 to 18 metres data collection exercise. This work will provide information on how local authorities, other building owners and external partners can work together to collect this data, and the resource implications for this. Development of this work, its scope (including the Euroclass classification) and coverage is currently in design. Further details on this work will be provided in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his planned timescale is for the data collection exercise on residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres.

We have started a pilot data collection project for 11 to 18 metres buildings to produce a prevalence estimate and to inform the design of a wider national 11 to 18 metres data collection exercise. This work will provide information on how local authorities, other building owners and external partners can work together to collect this data, and the resource implications for this. Development of this work, its scope (including the Euroclass classification) and coverage is currently in design. Further details on this work will be provided in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department is making an assessment of the prevalence of combustible insulation as well as cladding in its data collection exercise on residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres.

We have started a pilot data collection project for 11 to 18 metres buildings to produce a prevalence estimate and to inform the design of a wider national 11 to 18 metres data collection exercise. This work will provide information on how local authorities, other building owners and external partners can work together to collect this data, and the resource implications for this. Development of this work, its scope (including the Euroclass classification) and coverage is currently in design. Further details on this work will be provided in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department is making an assessment of the the Euroclass reaction to fire classification of external wall system materials in its data collection exercise on residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres.

We have started a pilot data collection project for 11 to 18 metres buildings to produce a prevalence estimate and to inform the design of a wider national 11 to 18 metres data collection exercise. This work will provide information on how local authorities, other building owners and external partners can work together to collect this data, and the resource implications for this. Development of this work, its scope (including the Euroclass classification) and coverage is currently in design. Further details on this work will be provided in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the data collection exercise on residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres will include an assessment of external wall system materials on (a) schools, (b) hospitals, (d) care homes and (e) hotels of that height.

We have started a pilot data collection project for 11 to 18 metres buildings to produce a prevalence estimate and to inform the design of a wider national 11 to 18 metres data collection exercise. This work will provide information on how local authorities, other building owners and external partners can work together to collect this data, and the resource implications for this. Development of this work, its scope (including the Euroclass classification) and coverage is currently in design. Further details on this work will be provided in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking in the data collection exercise on high-rise residential buildings to ensure the accuracy of results.

Local authorities and housing associations have been asked to undertake a data collection exercise on residential buildings 18 metre and over in height to identify their external wall systems. The responsibility for collecting and providing information for the data collection lies with local authorities and housing associations. Local authorities have powers under Section 235 of the Housing Act 2004 to require building owners to provide documentation. This may be used to require information on the external wall system of a building. New burdens funding has been provided to local authorities to offer support for the completion of the External Wall Systems data collection.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of resources in local government to carry out the data collection exercise on buildings between 11 and 18 metres.

We have started a pilot data collection project for 11 to 18 metres buildings to produce a prevalence estimate and to inform the design of a wider national 11 to 18 metres data collection exercise. This work will provide information on how local authorities, other building owners and external partners can work together to collect this data, and the resource implications for this. Development of this work, its scope (including the Euroclass classification) and coverage is currently in design. Further details on this work will be provided in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the proposed national infrastructure levy on the delivery of sustainable transport solutions within new housing developments.

The proposal to create a new Infrastructure Levy, as set out in the Planning for the Future White Paper, will support a more streamlined and accessible planning system. Sustainable transport systems make a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the communities they serve. The new Levy will raise at least as much value as is currently captured through Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 and will continue to be collected and spent at the local level, on priorities including infrastructure and affordable housing.

The White Paper also sets out that when authorities are identifying land or future development through Local Plans, it will be important for them to consider how to most effectively support climate change mitigation and adaptation, including, for example, the ability to maximise walking, cycling and public transport opportunities.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to provide for (a) shared mobility solutions, (b) public transport and (c) other sustainable transport in (i) the proposed National Model Design Code and (ii) Government guidance to local authorities on the production of new Local Plans.

As part of the work on the National Model Design Code (NMDC) the Department is working closely with the Department for Transport to take forward the Government’s ambitions for sustainable transport, taking into account the need for shared mobility solutions and public transport. This includes close joint working on the NMDC and the update to the Manual for Streets. The Department is also producing Planning Practice Guidance on Sustainable Transport and Accessibility which will set out how sustainable transport should be considered as part of the evidence base for local plans. This guidance will be published in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the (a) planning system and (b) National Planning Policy Framework on the delivery of sustainable transport options within new commercial and residential developments in line with Government (i) public transport, (ii) active travel and (iii) decarbonisation objectives.

The Government is committed to promoting sustainable travel as part of the work to tackle climate change and achieve net zero by 2050. The Department has been working closely with the Department for Transport on the Government’s ambitions to promote public transport, active travel and decarbonisation objectives. The National Planning Policy Framework sets out policies for promoting sustainable transport to be taken into account in plan making and decision taking. We will continue to work with the Department for Transport to ensure the planning system aligns with, and helps to deliver, the Government ambitions for sustainable transport.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications have been recieved for the Building Safety Fund.

We are currently reviewing registrations to the Building Safety Fund and verifying the registration data. We will publish registration statistics in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress he has made on the (a) establishment and (b) operational details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government understands the importance of local growth funding to places and people and is committed to creating the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to succeed European structural funds, providing vital investment in local economies, cutting out bureaucracy and levelling up those parts of the UK whose economies are furthest behind.

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to targeting the UK Shared Prosperity Fund at the UK’s specific needs, at a minimum matching the size of European structural funds in each nation. This builds upon previous commitments to create a fund which tackles inequalities between communities by raising productivity, especially in those parts of the UK whose economies are furthest behind.

Final decisions on the design and operation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will need to be made following a cross-Government Spending Review.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications his Department has received to the Building Safety Fund for the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems as of 10 September 2020; and how many building owners that figure represents.

We are currently reviewing registrations to the Building Safety Fund and verifying the registration data. We will publish registration statistics in September.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department is collecting data on buildings with potentially dangerous cladding between 11 and 18 metres in height.

The Department is currently piloting a data collection exercise to understand the prevalence of different external wall system materials on 11-18 metres residential buildings.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will include non-ACM cladding remediation work in the monthly data release on the building safety programme.

We are committed to publishing data and analysis related to the ongoing External Wall Systems data collection, and the Building Safety Fund, which will monitor remediation of those buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much has been allocated from the £200 million fund for the removal of ACM cladding to date.

Current data on the allocation of ACM remediation funding is included in the monthly Building Safety Data Release, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the External Wall System (EWS) form; what the average length of time to complete the EWS1 process is; and what progress he has made in improving External Wall System review process.

The EWS1 form is not a Government regulatory or legal requirement. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) designed and implemented the form in conjunction with mortgage lenders. RICS is currently reviewing the form and its operation.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on what (a) types and (b) heights of buildings an External Wall System review should be carried out.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have published guidance on the use of the EWS1 form: https://www.rics.org/uk/news-insight/latest-news/fire-safety/cladding-qa/

The guidance states that the EWS1 form is to be used to assess buildings 18 metres or more with combustible material; that it can used on buildings below 18 metres where there are specific concerns; and that in such cases a rationale to justify its request is required.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to work with the Department of Transport to ensure that all new-build properties with parking provision have electric vehicle charge points.

To support the transition to low emission vehicles, the Government held a consultation in 2019 ( https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/electric-vehicle-chargepoints-in-residential-and-non-residential-buildings ) proposing changes to the Building Regulations to mandate the provision of electric vehicle charging points for new homes where there is an appropriate parking space. The consultation also proposed a minimum infrastructure provision for new non-residential buildings and existing buildings undergoing major renovation. My officials are working closely with colleagues from the Department for Transport to consider the outcomes of the public consultation, and the Government will respond in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department will publish an impact assessment for The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020.

Full Impact Assessments for both measures will be published in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department will publish the impact assessment for The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Order 2020.

Full Impact Assessments for both measures will be published in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to increase developer contributions to affordable housing.

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new Levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development. The new Levy would be able to fund both affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver at least as much – if not more – on-site affordable housing as at present. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29 October.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, over what time period Homes England's target of at least 130,000 affordable housing starts applies.

The Government committed to increasing the supply of social housing and made £9 billion available through the Affordable Homes Programme to March 2022.

The existing Affordable Homes Programme?has been extended by one year and homes have to be started by March 2023.

This will save homes that would otherwise have been lost following site closures due to Covid-19.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish further details of the next affordable homes programme.

Our £12 billion investment in affordable homes will deliver at least 180,000 affordable homes and will be the biggest cash investment in affordable housing for over a decade.

Further details on the new Affordable Homes Programme will be announced in due course

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of registrations for the Building Safety Fund have stated that they are a (a) local authority and (b) housing association.

Registration to the Building Safety Fund closed on 31 July and we are currently reviewing and verifying the registration data. We will publish registration statistics next month. Based on our analysis to date, the proportion of local authority and housing association applicants to the Building Safety Fund has been low. MHCLG only sought registrations from Registered Providers with financial viability issues. For Registered Providers who do not have financial viability concerns, the claim process to allow them to claim costs which would otherwise be passed to leaseholders opened on 1 August.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a Housing Conversion Fund to support social landlords seeking to purchase unsold homes.

The Affordable Homes Programme supports the delivery of affordable housing, primarily in the form of new build but also by enabling providers to purchase homes from developers to be delivered as affordable housing where this helps support additional homes. We have made £9 billion available through the Affordable Homes Programme to March 2022 to deliver approximately 250,000 affordable homes in a wide range of tenures, including Social Rent and Shared Ownership. We announced at Budget that we will invest £12 billion to deliver affordable housing between 2021/22 and 2025/26 – this marks the biggest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade and will deliver up to 180,000 affordable homes. We monitor affordable housing delivery and the state of the wider housing market closely and we will keep the need for any further measures under review.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many buildings in the private rented sector have unsafe ACM cladding.

The Department publishes data on the number of high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations. The latest data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-monthly-data-release-may-2020

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many entries have been added to the rogue landlords database in 2020.

As of 13 July 2020, 13 entries have been added to the database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents in 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the Government plans to publish the draft Leasehold Reform Bill.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. This includes measures to ban the sale of new leasehold houses, restrict ground rents to zero for future leases, give freehold homeowners equivalent rights to challenge unfair charges, and close loopholes to prevent unfair evictions. Given the impact of COVID-19 on the legislative agenda, we will bring forward legislation on leasehold reform as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on what date he plans to publish his review of the quality of housing produced under permitted development rights.

We have said that we would review the quality standard of homes delivered through permitted development rights for the change of use. The report will be published in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of decisions of public planning inquiries, as a result of call-ins only, did not follow the advice of the planning inspector in each year since 2017 up to the most recent year for which data is available; and if he will make a statement.

Figures are as follows:

Year

Total decisions (called in applications only)

Minister disagreed with Inspector

Proportion disagreed

17-18

10

2

20%

18-19

5

1

20%

19-20

7

1

14%

Total

22

4

18%

Called-in applications make up around 17 per cent of all substantive decisions made by Ministers (i.e. recovered appeals plus called-in applications).

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the oral evidence of the Minister of State to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on 18 May 2020 on Cladding: progress on remediation, what the source is for the number of high-risk buildings over 18 metres with flammable non-ACM cladding referred to by the Minister in his answer to Question 22.

The Department estimates there to be 1,700 residential buildings over 18 metres in height with potentially unsafe non-ACM cladding. This is a working estimate produced by MHCLG officials to help with development of the Building Safety Fund. The estimate is continuously under review as we receive further information from building owners and local authorities and housing associations as part of the ongoing data collection exercise to gather information on the external wall systems of high-rise residential buildings . A refined estimate is due to be published in due course which will give further breakdowns such as tenure as appropriate and will be informed by the data we will gather from building owners following opening of registration for the Building Safety Fund on 1 June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the oral evidence of 18 May 2020 from Lord Greenhalgh to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on Cladding: progress on remediation, Q22, what proportion of the 1,700 high-risk buildings with flammable non-ACM cladding are (a) social sector and (b) private sector residential buildings.

The Department estimates there to be 1,700 residential buildings over 18 metres in height with potentially unsafe non-ACM cladding. This is a working estimate produced by MHCLG officials to help with development of the Building Safety Fund. The estimate is continuously under review as we receive further information from building owners and local authorities and housing associations as part of the ongoing data collection exercise to gather information on the external wall systems of high-rise residential buildings . A refined estimate is due to be published in due course which will give further breakdowns such as tenure as appropriate and will be informed by the data we will gather from building owners following opening of registration for the Building Safety Fund on 1 June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his Department's Building Safety Programme: Monthly Data Release, published on 14 May 2020, if he will publish local authority data in the format of Table 3 in that document for all (a) social sector buildings identified with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations, (b) social sector buildings identified with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations yet to be remediated, (c) private sector buildings identified with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations and (d) private sector buildings identified with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations yet to be remediated.

We are considering what further information can be published in the Building Safety Programme Monthly Data Release for different geographical areas by sector, including regions and local authorities, without risking the identification of buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations in these areas. This reflects the position of the Government not to reveal the identity of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding systems on public safety grounds.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he made of the (a) number of blocks (b) cost per block and (c) cost per dwelling of removing dangerous non-ACM cladding when calculating the £1 billion Building Safety Fund.

The Government is providing £1 billion through a new Building Safety Fund to help meet the costs of unsafe non-ACM cladding remediation. The size of the fund reflects Government’s expectation that, as for ACM cladding remediation, a significant number of building owners will fund this work themselves, through those originally responsible for the defects and through warranty claims before seeking Government funding or passing on costs to their leaseholders.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to page 10 of his Department's Building Safety Programme: Monthly Data Release published on 14 May 2020, in which regions the 13,500 to 17,200 dwellings in the 180 private blocks with aluminium composite material cladding systems yet to be remediated are.

We are considering what further information can be published in the Building Safety Programme Monthly Data Release for different geographical areas by sector, including regions and local authorities, without risking the identification of buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations in these areas. This reflects the position of the Government not to reveal the identity of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding systems on public safety grounds.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to page nine of his Department's Building Safety Programme: Monthly Data Release published on 14 May 2020, in which regions the 6,400 dwellings in social sector blocks with aluminium composite material cladding systems yet to be remediated are.

We are considering what further information can be published in the Building Safety Programme Monthly Data Release for different geographical areas by sector, including regions and local authorities, without risking the identification of buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations in these areas. This reflects the position of the Government not to reveal the identity of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding systems on public safety grounds.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications were submitted to the Building Safety Fund on (a) the first day that scheme went live and (b) in the first five days of that scheme going live.

Registration for the Building Safety Fund opened 1 June, while the application process will open in July 2020. During the first day of registration we received 135 completed registration forms and as of midnight on 4/5 June, we have received 329 completed registration forms.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the outcome was of the round table meeting on 13 May 2020 between his Department and the Association of British Insurers on reducing the costs of building insurance.

The Government is aware that concerns about cladding have caused insurance premiums to rise for some tall buildings – and that this is causing significant difficulties for affected leaseholders. It is imperative that building owners and managing agents engage with brokers early and are as upfront as possible to ensure they can get the coverage they need. Government is continuing to engage with the insurance industry to find solutions to this issue.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his Department's publication entitled, Building Safety Update: Monthly Data Release - April 2020, how many of the 307 buildings yet to be remediated are expected to complete remediation by June 2021.

It is important to recognise that remediation work cannot be done overnight – and it must be done properly so that it makes buildings and residents safe. The time to complete works varies considerably depending on factors such as structure, extent of cladding, and existing fire safety systems. For many buildings this is a complex job involving major construction work.

It remains our priority to ensure that this is done swiftly. The £600 million the Government has committed towards unsafe ACM remediation removes the biggest blocker to progress. We have also put in place additional project management support with construction expertise to help support individual projects and oversee remediation. Where building owners are failing to make acceptable progress, those responsible should expect further action to be taken – including naming and shaming and tougher enforcement action by local authorities and Fire and Rescue Services.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what contact he has had with (a) developers or (b) their representatives on the Westferry Printworks development, PA/18/01877/A1 which was granted planning permission by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on 14 January 2020.

Ministers and special advisers act in accordance with the MHCLG Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues. In that light, No10 Ministers and special advisers would not discuss the details of live planning applications with MHCLG Planning Ministers. Any representations by other Government departments to a called-in or recovered planning application being considered by MHCLG would be disclosed as part of the evidence to the planning inquiry.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what meetings he has attended with (a) developers or (b) their representatives on the Westferry Printworks development, PA/18/01877/A1 which was granted planning permission by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on 14 January 2020.

Ministers and special advisers act in accordance with the MHCLG Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues. In that light, No10 Ministers and special advisers would not discuss the details of live planning applications with MHCLG Planning Ministers. Any representations by other Government departments to a called-in or recovered planning application being considered by MHCLG would be disclosed as part of the evidence to the planning inquiry.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he had with (a) his Department’s Permanent Secretary and (b) the Government Legal Service on the the compliance of his decision to determine the planning application for the former Westferry Printworks site (235 Westferry Road, London E14 3QS) (PA/18/01877/A1) with the (i) Ministerial Code and (ii) Nolan Principles for standards in public life.

The full reasons for the Secretary of State’s decision are set out in his Decision Letter of 14 January, which is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/857952/20-01-14_DL+IR_Westferry.pdf.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the advice he received from officials relating to his decision to grant planning permission for the former Westferry Printworks site (235 Westferry Road, London E14 3QS) (PA/18/01877/A1).

The full reasons for the Secretary of State’s decision are set out in his Decision Letter of 14 January, which is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/857952/20-01-14_DL+IR_Westferry.pdf.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether (a) he or (b) his special advisor had discussions with (i) Richard Desmond and (ii) board members, staff or agents of the Northern & Shell Media Group (A) prior to his appointment as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and (B) following his appointment.

Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk as part of the government’s transparency agenda.

Ministers and Special Advisers act in accordance with the MHCLG Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues.

In line with the guidance, the Secretary of State declined to discuss this application with the developers or their representatives.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what contact he has had with (a) the developers or (b) their representatives on the Westferry Printworks development, PA/18/01877/A1 which he granted planning permission for on 14 January 2020.

Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk as part of the government’s transparency agenda.

Ministers and Special Advisers act in accordance with the MHCLG Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues.

In line with the guidance, the Secretary of State declined to discuss this application with the developers or their representatives.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what meetings he has attended with (a) developers or (b) their representatives on the Westferry Printworks development, PA/18/01877/A1 that he granted planning permission for on 14 January 2020.

None.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what contact his special advisors have had with (a) developers or (b) their representatives on he Westferry Printworks development, PA/18/01877/A1 which he granted planning permission for on 14 January 2020.

None.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what meetings his special advisors have attended with (a) developers or (b) their representatives on the Westferry Printworks development, PA/18/01877/A1 which he granted planning permission for on 14 January 2020.

None.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether (a) he or (b) his special advisors met with with (i) the Prime Minister, (ii) the Prime Minister’s Chief Strategic Advisor, Sir Edward Lister, (iii) the Prime Minister’s Chief Special Advisor, Dominic Cummings and (iv) the Director of the Number Ten Policy Unit, Munira Mirza to discuss the planning application for the former Westferry Printworks site (235 Westferry Road, London E14 3QS) (PA/18/01877/A1); and on what dates those discussions took place.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer to Question UIN 52440 on 3 June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department made of the potential financial effect on Tower Hamlets Council of his decision to grant planning permission for the Westferry Printworks site (235 Westferry Road, London E14 3QS) (PA/18/01877/A1) before that Council's new Community Infrastructure Levy was adopted.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to Questions UIN 53442 on 8 June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the correspondence relating to his decision to grant planning permission for the former Westferry Printworks site (235 Westferry Road, London E14 3QS) (PA/18/01877/A1).

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to Questions UIN 53442 on 8 June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether (a) he (b) his advisors and (c) his officials had contact with the Westferry Printworks site developers after his Department received the Planning Inspector’s report on that development.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to Question UIN 52427 on 4 June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he received the planning inspector's report on the Westferry Printworks site, reference PA/18/01877/A1.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to Questions UIN 53442 on 8 June 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of G15 research findings that major London housing associations will deliver up to 3,600 fewer affordable homes a year if the Government implements its First Homes policy.

Polling shows that 88 per cent of people would choose to own their own home given a free choice. This Government is taking action through First Homes to ensure that young people can get on the housing ladder and fulfil the dream of home ownership.

The Government is also committed to increasing the supply of social housing and has made £9 billion available through the Affordable Homes Programme to March 2022 to deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes in a wide range of tenures, including Social Rent, Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy. Building on this, we announced at Budget 2020 that we are investing £12 billion to build affordable homes between 2021/22 and 2025/26. This will be the biggest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade.

We welcome the contribution of housing associations to the consultation. We are currently analysing their responses alongside other stakeholders and will issue a Government response in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State of 18 May 2020 to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, what plans his Department has to collect data on the cost of waking watches and other interim safety measures for leaseholders waiting for (a) ACM cladding and (b) non-ACM cladding to be removed.

Interim measures such as waking watch should only ever be short term and are not a substitute for remediation. Lord Greenhalgh, the Minister with responsibility for building safety, is investigating what can be done to reduce the cost of waking watch for buildings that currently have them in place. This includes ensuring that waking watch costs are transparent so that leaseholders and others who commission these services can ensure that costs are reasonable. As part of the review he will consider available cost data and engage with those that commission and pay for these services.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made on providing interim support to cover Waking Watch schemes in buildings with dangerous cladding.

Interim measures such as waking watch should only ever be short term and are not a substitute for remediation. Lord Greenhalgh, the Minister with responsibility for building safety, is investigating what can be done to reduce the cost of waking watch, and to ensure that waking watches, where they are required, can continue during the current Covid-19 restrictions.

We continue to take action to support remediation, including significant funding of £1 billion for non-ACM cladding remediation, on top of the existing £600 million for ACM remediation, so that work to make buildings safe can continue as quickly as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made in discussions with the insurance industry to reduce escalating premiums for leaseholders in tower blocks.

On 13 May, the Minister for Building Safety held a roundtable with representatives of the insurance industry to address some of the challenges impacting residents of high rise residential buildings. A number of options were discussed, and the Department will continue to engage with the insurance industry to explore these possibilities further.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect of 999 year leases on leaseholders that require maintenance on their properties.

All leasehold properties will require regular building maintenance to ensure safety and relevant legislation is complied with, whatever the length of the lease. The responsibility to ensure appropriate maintenance may fall on the freeholder or a right to manage company, or managing agent acting on their behalf. The maintenance obligations are set out in the lease and the cost is usually recoverable from the leaseholder through service charges.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals on leasehold reform.

The Government is taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. This includes measures to ban the sale of new leasehold houses, restrict ground rents to zero for future leases, give freehold homeowners equivalent rights to challenge unfair charges and close loopholes to prevent unfair evictions, and improve information for prospective buyers.

We will bring forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the building regulations requirement that new buildings over 11 meters are fitted with sprinklers, if his Department will make an assessment of the merits of ensuring existing buildings over 11 metres are fitted with sprinklers.

We plan to publish in May an update to Approved Document B that will include a provision for sprinkler systems and new high-rise blocks of flats over 11 metres tall.

The Government has been clear, building owners are responsible for making sure that any existing residential building has the appropriate fire safety in place, including the retrofit of sprinklers where necessary. Sprinklers are only one of the fire safety measures which can be provided in an overall fire safety package and an appropriate level of fire safety can be achieved without the need to retrofit sprinklers. Building owners should take advice from competent professionals and decide whether or not to retrofit sprinklers.

For buildings in scope of the new building safety regime, the Accountable Person will be required to demonstrate how they are managing fire and structural risks on an ongoing basis.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of issuing guidance for local authorities on the use of Empty Property Premiums during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has no plans to issue guidance to local authorities on the use of council tax Empty Property Premiums in the circumstances of the Covid-19 outbreak. Local authorities who have chosen to charge a premium on long term empty properties in their area will want to take account of all relevant circumstances in its administration.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on what date he plans to publish the prospectus for the Building Safety Fund; and when that fund will be operational.

The prospectus for the £1 billion Building Safety Fund will be published this month and will open for registrations soon after.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment has he made of the effect of the First Homes scheme on the level of Section 106 contributions to social and affordable (a) rent and (b) shared ownership.

We have recently consulted on both the design of First Homes policy and options for its implementation. The consultation closed on 1 May and we are currently analysing the responses. As part of this we are considering the implications for other tenures. We will publish a response to the consultation in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if the Government will publish the Building Research Establishment report on the fire at the Cube building in Bolton on 15 November 2019.

We expect the final report on the Bolton Cube fire from Building Research Establishment imminently. We have shared the interim report with BRAC, the Expert Panel and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. It is important that we understand all the facts around the incident and we must look to the final report to understand the complete picture. We will review the full findings with the Expert Panel and act where necessary to ensure the advice to building owners is up to date.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on providing transitional support to cover the costs of waking watch schemes during the covid-19 outbreak.

Interim measures such as waking watch should only ever be short term and are not a substitute for remediation. Lord Greenhalgh, the new Minister with responsibility for building safety, is investigating what can be done to reduce the cost of waking watch, and to ensure that waking watches, where they are required, can continue during the current Covid-19 restrictions.

We continue to take action to support remediation, including significant funding of £1 billion for non-ACM cladding remediation, on top of the existing £600 million for ACM remediation, so that work to make buildings safe can continue as quickly as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has scheduled a meeting with representatives from the insurance industry on the high cost of insurance cover for residents of housing blocks with dangerous cladding.

On 13 and 21 May, the Minister for Building Safety held roundtables with representatives of the insurance industry. This was to address some of the insurance challenges impacting on residents of high-rise residential buildings. A number of options were discussed and are being considered further.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he will take to consult leaseholders and residents on the priorities for the Building Safety Fund.

Engagement with leaseholders has informed Government's decision to provide £1 billion of funding to support the remediation of buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding in high-rise residential buildings. We are regularly engaging with key stakeholder groups to understand their views ahead of the launch of the Building Safety Fund and this engagement remains ongoing.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to provide financial support to residents and leaseholders of buildings who face high insurance costs as a result of their building's dangerous cladding.

On 13 and 21 May, the Minister for Building Safety held roundtables with representatives of the insurance industry. This was to address some of the insurance challenges impacting on residents of high-rise residential buildings. A number of options were discussed and are being considered further.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his Department's 2 April 2020 policy paper entitled Government update on building safety, for what reason the regulatory regime will apply to all multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height, or more than six storeys (whichever is reached first), rather than the previous threshold of 18 metres high or six storeys.

The Government intends to start the scope of the new regulatory regime to cover: all multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height, or more than six stories – whichever is reached first. The reason for using both height and number of storeys is to address concerns, raised during the public consultation, regarding the potential for developers to build just under the height threshold. The Government intends to expand the scope of the regime over time, based on evidence of risk.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department will take to engage with tenants and leaseholders on the (a) scope and (b) delivery of the new Building Safety Fund.

Leaseholder and tenant safety is at the core of the Governments work on building safety. We have been in regular contact with tenants and leaseholders and/or organisations representing them about unsafe non-Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding in high-rise residential buildings. These exchanges contributed to the announcement in the Budget of the £1 billion Building Safety Fund. This included a roundtable between leaseholders and the Secretary of State shortly before the announcement of the Building Safety Fund where he heard directly the issues they face and engagement will continue as the work on the Fund develops.

The Fund will support the removal and replacement of unsafe non- ACM cladding in high-rise residential buildings and will therefore benefit leaseholders and tenants in those buildings. However, it is the responsible entity for the building, such as an eligible building freeholder or management company, who will need to register for the Fund when it opens and leaseholders or tenants should contact their responsible entity about their specific building and registering. The Government has also allocated additional funding to Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) to provide independent, free, initial advice to leaseholders on building safety issues to ensure they are aware of their rights and are supported to understand the terms of their leases. LEASE will act as the point of contact for leaseholders with questions about the fund when it opens.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timetable is for the publication of the social housing White Paper.

The Social Housing White Paper will set out further measures to empower tenants and support the continued supply of social homes. It will include measures to provide greater redress, better regulation and improve the quality of social housing. We are working to bring forward the White Paper in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to page 110 of the background briefing to the Queen's Speech published in December 2019, what plans he has to (a) publish a devolution framework for England and (b) consult local authorities in (i) Cheshire and (ii) Warrington.

a) We will publish an English Devolution White Paper in 2020, setting out our strategy to unleash the potential of our regions. It will consider the future role of local growth funding and will provide further information on our plans for full devolution across England, whilst levelling up powers between Mayoral Combined Authorities.

(b) The Government recognises the importance of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders on the future of devolution in England and will continue this as it develops the English Devolution White Paper.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to enable wedding celebrants to perform legally recognised marriages.

The Government announced in June 2019 that the Law Commission would conduct a fundamental review of the law on how and where people can legally marry in England and Wales. As part of this review, the Law Commission will make recommendations regarding how provision could be made for the use of independent celebrants. The Government will consider the Law Commission’s recommendations carefully when received. It is right for us to await these recommendations.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many shared ownership properties have been repossessed in the last (a) five and (b) ten years in England.

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of potential barriers to justice encountered by survivors of domestic violence since the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012; and whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to improve access to justice for that group.

Under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), legal aid remains available for private family matters where there is evidence of domestic abuse or child abuse. The Post-Implementation Review of LASPO (PIR), published in February 2019, considered the impact of LASPO on victims of domestic abuse. In the Legal Support Action Plan, published alongside the PIR, we announced a review of the legal aid means tests, including a commitment to specifically considering the impact of the means test on victims of domestic abuse. This review will report in Spring 2021, at which point we will publish a full consultation paper setting out our future policy proposals in this area.

The government is absolutely clear that victims of domestic abuse must have access to the help that they need. The Government’s report ‘Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases’ published on 19 June 2019 further outlines an unwavering commitment to ensure domestic abuse survivors are better protected. This report acted as a springboard for further actions we are taking to protect and support domestic abuse victims and their children. The Domestic Abuse Bill has allowed us to enable the immediate changes called for in the report, creating a statutory definition of domestic abuse working to ensure that victims are protected and supported.

We recognise that victims of domestic abuse may need legal aid quickly in emergency situations, so there is already an eligibility cap waiver in place, which means that an applicant for a protective injunction may be eligible for legal aid even if they have income or capital above the thresholds in the means test, though they may have to pay a financial contribution towards their legal costs. In addition, we are providing £800,000 funding to the FLOWS project, run by RCJ Advice, who provide free legal support to victims of domestic abuse who wish to apply for an injunction from the courts.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of whether the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 has caused an unintended bias in access to justice in favour of the abuser rather than the victim.

Under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), legal aid remains available for private family matters where there is evidence of domestic abuse or child abuse. The Post-Implementation Review of LASPO (PIR), published in February 2019, considered the impact of LASPO on victims of domestic abuse. In the Legal Support Action Plan, published alongside the PIR, we announced a review of the legal aid means tests, including a commitment to specifically considering the impact of the means test on victims of domestic abuse. This review will report in Spring 2021, at which point we will publish a full consultation paper setting out our future policy proposals in this area.

The government is absolutely clear that victims of domestic abuse must have access to the help that they need. The Government’s report ‘Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases’ published on 19 June 2019 further outlines an unwavering commitment to ensure domestic abuse survivors are better protected. This report acted as a springboard for further actions we are taking to protect and support domestic abuse victims and their children. The Domestic Abuse Bill has allowed us to enable the immediate changes called for in the report, creating a statutory definition of domestic abuse working to ensure that victims are protected and supported.

We recognise that victims of domestic abuse may need legal aid quickly in emergency situations, so there is already an eligibility cap waiver in place, which means that an applicant for a protective injunction may be eligible for legal aid even if they have income or capital above the thresholds in the means test, though they may have to pay a financial contribution towards their legal costs. In addition, we are providing £800,000 funding to the FLOWS project, run by RCJ Advice, who provide free legal support to victims of domestic abuse who wish to apply for an injunction from the courts.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many survivors of domestic violence have been ineligible for legal aid due to the capital means test since the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Legal aid is available to obtain an injunction to protect survivors of domestic violence, and this is not subject to any upper capital means limit; applicants cannot be found ineligible for this form of support.

Save for the above, whether someone is a survivor of domestic violence is not recorded for types of legal aid for other categories of law, eligibility for which would be subject to the applicable means and merits tests.

Some capital may be ‘disregarded’ for means assessment purposes in civil matters, for example to take into account equity in an applicant’s home, their outstanding mortgage, and instances where the property is in dispute. The first £3,000 of capital held (after all relevant ‘disregards’ have been applied) is also not assessed by the Legal Aid Agency in matters of civil law.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the capacity of crematoriums to cope with demand as a result of covid-19.

Government is putting in place a range of measures to ensure the UK is prepared to manage the impacts of a Covid-19 outbreak. Part of this planning is ensuring we are prepared for higher numbers of people dying over the period of the pandemic.

Ensuring the deceased are treated with dignity and respect whilst minimising the risks to public health is at the forefront of Government planning. Measures underway will increase capacity at a local level to manage additional demand.

The Government’s Action Plan (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan) sets out planning principles that underpin the response to the Covid-19 outbreak. As part of this response, provisions have been included in the Coronavirus Bill which will ensure the sector can manage the impact of the pandemic.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)