Mike Penning Portrait

Mike Penning

Conservative - Hemel Hempstead

Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jul 2016 - 12th Jun 2017
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jul 2014 - 15th Jul 2016
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Jul 2014 - 15th Jul 2016
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2013 - 15th Jul 2014
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
6th Sep 2012 - 7th Oct 2013
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) (Roads and Motoring)
17th May 2010 - 6th Sep 2012
Shadow Minister (Health)
6th Jul 2007 - 6th May 2010
Health and Social Care Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 10th Dec 2007


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 304 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 312
Speeches
Monday 25th April 2022
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
I will not detain the House for long, because that is what the other Chamber is doing. The House has …
Written Answers
Friday 20th May 2022
Motorcycles: Driving Instruction
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether there has been a statistically significant improvement in motorcycle casualty rates …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 10th May 2022
New acute hospital in West Hertfordshire on greenfield site
That this House notes that the acute hospital in Watford was the first hospital to be built under the reign …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 14th March 2022
8. Miscellaneous
From 2 March 2022, Vice Chair of the Conservative Party with responsibility for candidates. This is an unpaid role. (Registered …
EDM signed
Monday 16th May 2022
Arrests in Hong Kong
That this House notes with concern reports that His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, aged 90, …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 5th September 2017
Hospital (Parking Charges and Business Rates) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Mike Penning has voted in 454 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

4 Nov 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Mike Penning voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 308 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 516 Noes - 38
17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Mike Penning voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
22 Nov 2021 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Mike Penning voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Conservative No votes vs 269 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 272 Noes - 246
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Mike Penning voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
View All Mike Penning 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
Maria Caulfield (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
(11 debate interactions)
Jo Churchill (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(10 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Mike Penning's debates

Hemel Hempstead 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 Hemel Hempstead signature proportion
Petitions with most Hemel Hempstead signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Given how many animals are sold online, we want Government to introduce regulation of all websites where animals are sold. Websites should be required to verify the identity of all sellers, and for young animals for sale pictures with their parents be posted with all listings.

Invest in FOP research to support this ultra-rare disease community. Research into FOP could inform the understanding/treatment of many more common conditions such as osteoporosis, hip replacements, DIPG (a rare childhood brain cancer) and many common military injuries.


Latest EDMs signed by Mike Penning

11th May 2022
Mike Penning signed this EDM on Monday 16th May 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House notes Mental Health Awareness Week running from 9 to 15 May 2022; further notes that the Mental Health Foundation are focussing on awareness of the impact of loneliness on mental health and the practical steps that can be taken to address it; highlights the awful finding that …
17 signatures
(Most recent: 19 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Alba Party: 1
Conservative: 1
11th May 2022
Mike Penning signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 16th May 2022

Consumer phone access

Tabled by: Robert Halfon (Conservative - Harlow)
That this House believes that consumers deserve a proper customer telephone service from utility and service provider companies; congratulates the Daily Mail for launching this important campaign; notes that no customer should have to wait longer than ten minutes to be connected to an adviser, rather than an automated bot; …
6 signatures
(Most recent: 18 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Independent: 1
Labour: 1
View All Mike Penning's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mike Penning, 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 Penning has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Mike Penning

Thursday 9th September 2021
Monday 6th September 2021

Mike Penning has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


267 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
5 Other Department Questions
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 4th October 2021 case number MP71787 on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on disabled people.

I refer the Rt Hon Member to the answer to PQ 141152 on 21 March 2022.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she will respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 4 October 2021 on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on disabled people, reference case number MP71787.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the Rt. Hon. Member’s correspondence. The response was sent on 17 March 2022.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which local authorities do not have a housing plan in place.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that local plans should provide a framework for addressing housing needs, as well as other economic, social and environmental priorities.

As of 30 September 2021, 23 local planning authorities (7%) do not have an adopted local plan (under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004). Most are at an advanced stage of preparing plans:12 have submitted their plan for examination in public; and a further 2 have had their plans found sound following examination and expected to adopt shortly. The authorities that have no plan in place are:

Amber Valley

Ashfield

Basildon

Brentwood

Bury

Calderdale

Castle Point

Eastleigh

Epping Forest

Liverpool

Medway

North East Derbyshire

North Hertfordshire

Northumberland

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation

Salford

St Albans

Tameside

Uttlesford

Welwyn Hatfield

Windsor and Maidenhead

Wirral

York

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will provide (a) details and (b) the number of local plans that have been halted by the Planning Inspectorate in each year since 2010.

Since 2011, 55 local plan Development Plan Documents (DPDs) have been withdrawn by the local authority, or been found unsound or legally non-compliant by an Inspector, following:

  • Identification of serious soundness problems; or
  • Failure of the Duty to Cooperate.

A breakdown by year is provided below:

Year

Number of local plan DPDs

2011

6

2012

4

2013

15

2014

12

2015

8

2016

0

2017

2

2018

1

2019

0

2020

6

2021 (up to 31 October)

1

Total

55

This constitutes 9% of all DPDs examined during this period, with 639 DPDs (91%) found sound subject to modifications.

Most of the plans withdrawn or found unsound or legally non-compliant, 45 out of the 55, were examined during the period 2011-2016. The reduction in the last 5 years has resulted from a letter from the then Secretary of State in 2015, asking that Inspectors work pragmatically with LPAs to find plans sound.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what weight is given to Ministerial statements on housing growth by the Planning Inspectorate at local plan inquiries; and if he will make a statement.

Local Plans are assessed to determine whether they are sound. Plans are sound if they are: positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy - enabling the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework and other statements of national planning policy (including those announced via Ministerial Statement), where relevant.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress has been made on the independent public inquiry into the Government's handling of the covid-19 pandemic, announced on 12 May 2021.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish a list of events covered by the description other life events in Step 4 of the Covid-19 response roadmap.

References to life events in the roadmap refer to gatherings for the purposes of a ceremony, rite or ritual to mark or celebrate a significant milestone in a person’s life. This will include events such as weddings, wakes, baptisms, naming or coming of age ceremonies and stone setting ceremonies. As the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact by Step 4, this would enable gatherings for any purpose without the need to publish an exhaustive list of life events. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is also leading an Events Research Programme, to support the Government’s aim to remove all limits on weddings and other life events.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the extent to which expert advice provided to Government is directly accountable to Parliament; whether he plans to ensure that SAGE and its sub-committees are directly accountable to Parliament; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to sharing information and data that informs decision-making. The minutes of SAGE meetings and the evidence considered by SAGE are routinely published on GOV.UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the importance of ensuring that expert advice is publicly accountable; and what steps he is taking to ensure that SAGE and its sub-committees can be held accountable to Members of Parliament.

The Government is committed to sharing information and data that informs decision-making. The minutes of SAGE meetings and the evidence considered by SAGE are routinely published on GOV.UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to include kennels and catteries in the Standard Industrial Classification codes within the Accommodation and Food Service Activities sector.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing non-essential retail shops to run a click and collect service during the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

The Government recognises the importance of allowing retailers to be able continue operating during these very challenging times which is why all shops can offer click-and-collect services.

Click-and-collect allow the public to have access to goods they need quickly, where they aren’t available from retailers that can remain open and allows goods to be pre-ordered and collected without customers entering the premises, thus remaining in well ventilated spaces - which are, by definition, safer environments where transmission is less likely to occur.

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 plans he has in place to report carbon emissions embedded in imports when reporting UK carbon emissions statistics.

The UK follows the agreed international approach for estimating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which is for countries to report the emissions produced within their territories.

The Climate Change Act defines UK emissions as being those of greenhouse gases from sources within the UK, consistent with international reporting practice.

There is no internationally agreed approach to measuring consumption emissions. Estimates of imported emissions in particular are associated with greater levels of uncertainty than estimates of UK-based territorial emissions. These emissions do not, therefore, include emissions from the manufacture of goods imported into the UK, which are reported in the country of manufacture, as this would risk double counting. Accounting for emissions produced within each country’s own border in line with international accounting standards, therefore allows for direct comparison of the UK’s emissions with other countries.

Nevertheless, the UK is at the forefront of measuring consumption emissions with statistics published annually and policies developed to reduce emissions. Emissions on a consumption basis (i.e. including emissions embedded in imports) fell by 21 per cent between 2007 and 2017, and by 3 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to prioritise and support research into covid-19 which (a) uses advanced non-animal scientific methods that are relevant to humans and (b) avoids the known issues of species differences which make the translation of animal research data to humans unreliable and can delay or prevent the availability of effective vaccines and treatments.

The Government considers that the carefully regulated use of animals in scientific research remains an important tool in the development of safe new medicines and treatments. 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 (NC3Rs) which has invested £67million in research, and 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.

With regard to specific research into Covid-19, human trials are already underway. The Government is currently funding two UK vaccine candidates; one at the University of Oxford and one at Imperial College, London. The University of Oxford began Phase 1 human safety trials on 23 April and have recently recruited healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 55 to take part in these trials.

Animal testing has not been skipped, however. Clinical trials of any vaccine must follow a predefined development pathway. It was agreed at the meeting of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities, held on 18 March 2020 that it is scientifically justified to use toxicology data and clinical data collected from other trials using animals to support a first-in-human clinical trial for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. It was also agreed that data from animal disease models would be required to support Phase II clinical trials.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she will publish the Gambling Review White Paper.

The Gambling Act Review is wide-ranging and aims to ensure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. We will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions and next steps in the coming weeks.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will extend eligibility of the £1.57 billion rescue package for the arts and entertainment sector announced on 5 July 2020 to (a) sound system and set build providers and (b) other supply chain businesses in that sector.

The Government recognises the severe impact the pandemic has had on supply chain businesses for the events sector. Supply chain organisations were eligible for - and many were successful in securing from - the first and second rounds of Culture Recovery Funding. They are recognised as a critical part of the sector.

An announcement on the additional £300 million provided to the Culture Recovery Fund announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the recent Budget will be made in due course.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will meet with (a) the Football Association and (b) Wembley Stadium to discuss the potential of rescheduling the 2019-20 Non-league Finals Day.

The department continues to meet with the football authorities, including The Football Association (FA), on a range of matters including the return of spectators.

Coronavirus has presented many challenges for sport, and the sector’s success thus far at maintaining their competitive programmes should be commended. The FA is responsible for the scheduling of its competitions, including Non-league Finals Day, as well as preparations for the return of spectators.

Football is clearly not the same without fans, which is why we will look to get spectators back to outdoor stadiums in a safe and manageable way. We will continue to engage with the sector as we progress along the Roadmap, and look forward to welcoming spectators back to stadia across the country from step 3 of the Roadmap.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with the Betting and Gaming Council to encourage gambling firms to cease TV and radio advertising during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 to protect people who are affected by gambling disorders at a time when they may be more susceptible to out-of-control gambling.

The government and the Gambling Commission continue to be clear that gambling operators must act responsibly during the Covid-19 period, and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has warned operators that they must not look to exploit the situation in their adverts or marketing. In June 2020 members of the Betting and Gaming Council committed to ensure at least 20% of broadcast advertising is given over to safer gambling messaging.

The Gambling Commission has monitored gambling behaviour during the Covid-19 period and will continue to do so. Survey data published by the Commission this month indicated that 86% of those who gamble did so the same amount or less during the pandemic than they had previously. The Commission recently wrote to operators to remind them of its expectations under guidance issued in May 2020 to increase protections for those who may be at heightened risk of gambling harm. That guidance directed operators to monitor customer behaviour more closely to identify signs of potential harm, and banned mechanisms by which customers could cancel requests to withdraw money from their account.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8th December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise. In addition, the ASA is currently consulting on proposals to further strengthen the advertising codes, including new rules to minimise the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to vulnerable people, or adversely impact them.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Betting and Gaming Council to encourage gambling firms to stop all TV and radio advertising during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown to protect people who are affected by gambling disorders.

Gambling advertising is subject to strict controls on content and placement which dictate that adverts must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people, or seek to appeal particularly to these groups. Operators who breach these rules are subject to sanction by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Gambling Commission. The ASA is currently consulting on proposals to strengthen these controls further, including new rules to minimise the potential for adverts to appeal to vulnerable people, or adversely impact them.

The government and the Gambling Commission have been clear that gambling operators must act responsibly during the Covid-19 period and the ASA has warned operators that they must not look to exploit the situation in their adverts or marketing. In June 2020 members of the Betting and Gaming Council committed to ensure at least 20% of broadcast advertising is given over to safer gambling messaging.

The Gambling Commission has monitored gambling behaviour during the Covid-19 period and will continue to do so. Survey data published by the Commission in October indicated that 84% of gamblers spent the same amount or less on gambling during lockdown (mid-March to mid-June 2020) than they had previously. The Commission updated its guidance for operators in May to increase protections for those who may be at heightened risk of gambling harm, directing operators to monitor customer behaviour more closely to identify signs of potential harm, and banning mechanisms by which customers could cancel requests to withdraw money from their account.


Ministers have regular meetings with stakeholders on a range of issues. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the government’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2020 to Question 49878 on Gyms: Coronavirus, what the evidential basis is for the decision to exclude indoor gyms from the list of premises allowed to reopen on 4 July 2020.

The government recognises the importance of returning all sectors to activity, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. The Government is in discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to restart grassroots sport and will update the public when it is deemed safe to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so.

Keeping as many people as possible 2 metres apart from those they do not live with is a key way to reduce the spread of the virus. If it is not viable for a business to operate with 2m social distancing and the business has to operate at 1m social distancing additional mitigating measures need to put in place – for instance ensure customers from different household groups or support bubbles sit back-to-back, but if this is not possible, sit side-to-side.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance his Department has issued to indoor sports and leisure activity providers on the safe reopening of instructing facilities for (a) snow sports and (b) indoor rock-climbing during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Indoor sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting people to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities, including snow sports and indoor rock climbing facilities, as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector and national sports organisations to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether a foundation providing financial support towards private medical cannabis prescriptions for patients where clinically appropriate would be eligible for charitable status; and if she will make a statement.

In England and Wales, an organisation is a charity if it meets a number of legal tests; namely that it is established for exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit and that it falls within the jurisdiction of the High Court regarding charities. Supporting the cost of medical treatment has long been recognised as capable of being a charitable purpose where the benefit and safety of the treatment can be demonstrated


The Charity Commission, as the independent charity regulator in England and Wales, is responsible for determining whether or not an institution is a charity and for registering those that are and which meet the legal threshold for registration


The Commission robustly assesses each application on its merits against these tests, based on the information provided in the application.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce PE and sport premium funding for schools for 2022-23; and if he will make a statement.

The department is considering arrangements for the primary PE and sport premium for the 2022/23 academic year and beyond. We are aware of the importance of providing schools with sufficient notice of future funding and will confirm the position as early as possible.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many moderators each examination board has employed in the academic year (a) 2020-21 compared to (b) 2018-19.

The Department recognises that head teachers and staff have worked hard over last year to support their pupils. It would not have been possible for pupils to have received their results without the commitment and expertise of head teachers, teachers and support staff.

Awarding Organisations (AOs) are responsible for setting their exam fees, including any refunds on fees this year. The AOs have been clear that they do not intend to profit from reductions in costs this year. The Department understands that AOs have made commercial decisions on fees and refunds, taking into account the range of costs they incurred as part of their processes, which led to the awarding of qualifications. We are providing approximately £25 million to schools, colleges and exam boards to help with the delivery of 2021 Teacher Assessed Grades and the autumn series. The Department confirmed that it would directly fund AOs to support them with appeals costs and any autumn series losses they make, so that in turn they could increase rebates to centres. AOs have announced their rebates levels for the 2020/21 academic year as follows: AQA 26%, OCR 42%, Pearson 33% and WJEC 42%. Further details of individual AOs’ fees and any refunds can be accessed on AOs' websites.

As AOs are independent bodies, the Department does not hold data on the number of moderators employed. The quality assurance process this year was not designed to moderate grades, but support teachers to make their professional judgements so that pupils received grades that are meaningful.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much exam boards have charged each educational establishment that falls into the exam boards criteria in the academic year 2020-21 compared to the academic year 2018-19.

The Department recognises that head teachers and staff have worked hard over last year to support their pupils. It would not have been possible for pupils to have received their results without the commitment and expertise of head teachers, teachers and support staff.

Awarding Organisations (AOs) are responsible for setting their exam fees, including any refunds on fees this year. The AOs have been clear that they do not intend to profit from reductions in costs this year. The Department understands that AOs have made commercial decisions on fees and refunds, taking into account the range of costs they incurred as part of their processes, which led to the awarding of qualifications. We are providing approximately £25 million to schools, colleges and exam boards to help with the delivery of 2021 Teacher Assessed Grades and the autumn series. The Department confirmed that it would directly fund AOs to support them with appeals costs and any autumn series losses they make, so that in turn they could increase rebates to centres. AOs have announced their rebates levels for the 2020/21 academic year as follows: AQA 26%, OCR 42%, Pearson 33% and WJEC 42%. Further details of individual AOs’ fees and any refunds can be accessed on AOs' websites.

As AOs are independent bodies, the Department does not hold data on the number of moderators employed. The quality assurance process this year was not designed to moderate grades, but support teachers to make their professional judgements so that pupils received grades that are meaningful.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of teacher assessed grades introduced as a result of the covid-19 outbreak that are required by examination boards.

Grades were based on a range of evidence and determined by their teachers. Teachers were best placed to understand the content students have covered and their pupils’ performance in the absence of exams.

To support teachers in assessing, marking and making judgements on pupils’ work, the Joint Council for Qualifications and the exam boards published guidance, training and other support materials. Where available, exemplar answers and data on past performance were provided to centres to assist teachers with marking these questions and making fair and consistent judgements of the standard of a pupil’s performance. There was also a process for both internal and external quality assurance to support teachers and ensure consistency. Ofqual worked closely with awarding organisations to ensure robust and similar quality assurance processes were also in place for vocational and technical qualifications being awarded via Teacher Assessed Grades in 2021.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce Sports Premium funding for 2021-22.

The Department is considering arrangements for the Primary PE and sport premium for the 2021-22 academic year and will confirm the position as soon as possible.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce his next allocation of sports premium funding; and if he will make a statement.

The Government will confirm arrangements for the Primary PE and Sport Premium in the 2020/21 academic year as soon as possible. The funding for PE and school sport in the 2021/22 academic year and beyond will be considered at the forthcoming Spending Review.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 51707 on Private Education: Coronavirus, whether independent schools are permitted to reopen for year 8 pupils when that is their final year before moving on to secondary education.

The Department has asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. Where primary and middle schools have already made provision for these children and where they have capacity, they may choose to welcome back additional pupils, in line with wider protective measures. It is up to schools to decide which pupils to prioritise, based on their knowledge of their children and communities.

Where middle schools choose to invite year 8 pupils back, they should be confident they can manage this within the strict measures the Department has asked primary schools to adopt. This includes having no more than 15 pupils in a class, and maintaining consistency of these groups. This guidance covers independent schools where year 8 pupils are in their final year before moving on to another school.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on banning the import of foie gras; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has made clear that the production of foie gras from ducks or geese using force feeding raises serious welfare concerns. Now we have left the EU we are able to consider any further steps that could be taken in relation to foie gras that is produced overseas using force feeding practices, such as restrictions on import and sale. We are gathering information and will continue to speak to a range of interested parties about the issues involved. This is in line with the Government’s commitment to improving animal welfare standards as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to provide financial support to the Gough Island Restoration project to help save critically endangered and endangered birds there by eradicating mice from the island.

Gough Island is a UNESCO natural World Heritage site and the UK Government continues to support RSPB’s efforts to eradicate invasive non-native mice from Gough Island to save critically endangered seabirds from extinction. The RSPB is proceeding with preparations for the final eradication stage taking place later this year. The UK Government has provided over £2 million in funding to support this project and will give further consideration to providing additional funding for the next financial year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 109225, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ban the import and sale of foie gras made by force-feeding after the transition period.

Once our future relationship with the EU has been established there will be an opportunity for the Government to consider further the steps it could take in relation to the import or sale of foie gras.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what powers he has to ban the importation and sale in of foie gras made by force-feeding in the UK.

The Government shares the British public's high regard for animal welfare, and we have made clear that the production of foie gras using forcing feeding raises serious welfare concerns.

However, until the end of the Transition Period, we are required to observe the relevant EU law which places restrictions on the introduction of measures that impair the movement of goods, such as foie gras.

Once our future relationship with the EU has been established there will be an opportunity for the Government to consider further the steps it could take in relation to the import or sale of foie gras.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of scientific evidence of (a) physical and (b) psychological pain experienced by animals in the production of foie gras made by force-feeding; and if he will publish his Department's assessment.

The production of foie gras by force feeding is banned in the UK as it is incompatible with our domestic legislation (Animal Welfare Act 2006), which makes it a criminal offence to allow an animal to suffer unnecessarily.

The Government has made clear that the production of foie gras using forcing feeding raises serious welfare concerns.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 October 2020 to Question 97481, when he plans to launch the consultation on a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter.

The Farm Animal Welfare Committee has reported to us on animal welfare issues concerning live exports and noted that animals should only be transported if absolutely necessary. We are carefully considering the report and recommendations in terms of what they mean for ending excessively long journeys. We intend to launch a consultation on how we deliver on our manifesto commitment later this year.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 October 2020 to Question 97481 on Animals: Exports, how his Department defines excessively long journeys; and if he will make a statement.

The Farm Animal Welfare Committee has reported to us on animal welfare issues concerning live exports and noted that animals should only be transported if absolutely necessary. We are carefully considering the report and recommendations in terms of what they mean for ending excessively long journeys. We intend to launch a consultation on how we deliver on our manifesto commitment later this year.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the export of live animals for slaughter on or before 1 January 2021.

I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the reply given to the Rt. Hon. Member for Chipping Barnet on 11 June 2020, PQ UIN 55899.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-08/55899]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research her Department has undertaken into the environmental effect of the spread of rubber granules from artificial grass playing fields.

Sport England is working with partners including the Sport and Play Construction Association (SAPCA), British Standards Institute (BSI), Institute of Groundsmanship and the NGBs to update guidance on artificial surfaces (Artificial Surfaces for Outdoor Sports) to include recommended measures to help minimise the environmental impact of rubber crumb microplastics. We expect the updated guidance to be published this year.

My department has not commissioned research into the environmental effect of the spread of rubber granules from artificial grass playing fields.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what alternatives are available to rubber granules used for stabilisation in artificial grass playing fields.

Rubber granules used as infill on artificial playing fields have been proved to be hard wearing and able to provide sports performance and athlete protection. Sport England isn’t aware of any acceptable suitable alternative infill materials that can be used to replace the rubber crumb on existing pitches. This is because the alternatives, such as cork and coconut fibre do not equal performance qualities such as shock absorption and density.

Non-filled long-pile artificial grass surfaces have been developed and introduced to the market, but to date, none have been found to satisfy the sports performance and player welfare requirements of FIFA and World Rugby.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether there has been a statistically significant improvement in motorcycle casualty rates and numbers on UK public highways since the introduction of the swerve test conducted at 50 km/h in April 2009.

Statistics on motorcycle casualties and casualty rates published by the Department show that the number and rate of motorcycle casualties in Great Britain have decreased compared to 2009.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if there has been an (a) increase or (b) decrease in the number of individuals achieving a full motorcycle licence since the introduction of the new testing regime in April 2009.

In 2009 40,365 individuals were entitled to drive a motorcycle. As of 2021 (the most recent year for which full data is held) 39,349 individuals held the same entitlement.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if there has been an (a) increase or (b) decrease in the time and cost to the user to complete the motorcycle test since the introduction of the new testing regime in April 2009.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) holds data on the number of accidents and near misses during the motorcycle test for four years. Therefore, it is not possible to determine if there has been an increase or decrease in the number of crashes during the motorcycle rider test since the introduction of the new testing regime in April 2009.

The DVSA is not aware of any analysis regarding the time and costs to the user to complete the motorcycle test since the introduction of the new testing regime in April 2009.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether there has been an increase or decrease in the number of crashes during the motorcycle rider test since the introduction of the new testing regime in April 2009.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) holds data on the number of accidents and near misses during the motorcycle test for four years. Therefore, it is not possible to determine if there has been an increase or decrease in the number of crashes during the motorcycle rider test since the introduction of the new testing regime in April 2009.

The DVSA is not aware of any analysis regarding the time and costs to the user to complete the motorcycle test since the introduction of the new testing regime in April 2009.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to reopen the driving test centre in Hemel Hempstead; and will he make a statement.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has no current plans to re-open a driving test centre in Hemel Hempstead. Previously, Hemel Hempstead was a part time test centre with a very low demand.

There is adequate testing provision at the surrounding centres in Luton, Watford and St Albans.

If the Council or local Government now have potentially suitable locations for the DVSA to operate a limited service from and share details of those with the agency, it will consider all options. Any potential location would need to broadly mirror the terms shared previously.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to promote the use of non-recirculation mode for air conditioning in buses and taxis during the covid-19 outbreak.

We published advice in our safer transport guidance for transport operators recommending that transport operators should ensure a fresh air supply is consistently flowing through vehicles. To achieve this, operators should consider that recirculating air systems may require adjustments to increase fresh air flow. Government guidance for drivers, operators and owners of taxis and private hire vehicles also states that the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation system should not be used when carrying passengers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps are being taken to promote the availability of hand sanitiser in buses, taxis and other modes of public transport.

The Department has outlined, through guidance to operators, ways they can help reduce the spread of Covid-19 on the public transport network and boost confidence in the traveling public. These measures include increasing cleaning particularly in high touch areas, encouraging good hand hygiene and providing hand sanitiser at building entry/exit points.

Hand sanitiser points are available at most of the busiest stations. Hand sanitiser points have also been maintained across the 300 most used train stations, as well as 1000 units across the London Tube and Surface Transport network.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had on the role decarbonising the maritime sector can play in reaching Net Zero by 2050; and will he make a statement.

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to legislate for a net zero domestic greenhouse gas emission target by 2050[1]. This target includes emissions from domestic shipping, making the case for supporting maritime decarbonisation even more urgent[2]. The Clean Maritime Plan, published in 2019, sets out an ambitious and bold plan to put the sector on a path to deliver this objective while securing growth opportunities for the UK.

The publication of the Clean Maritime Plan was underpinned by extensive stakeholder engagement with the UK maritime industry on decarbonising maritime, including through the Clean Maritime Council, which was established in 2018 to ensure strong collaboration between Government, industry and academia on this matter. This partnership continues today, supporting my Department’s action in tackling shipping emissions and ensuring that the whole transport sector delivers on the legislative objective to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law

[2] Whilst international shipping emissions are not formally included in the net-zero target at present, the Government is still required to take these emissions into account when setting carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the value of decarbonising the maritime sector in terms of economic growth.

In 2015, the Department published the Maritime Growth Study, which considered all aspects of the maritime sector and identified where action could be taken to generate growth[1]. Following the publication of Maritime 2050 in 2019, which builds on the findings of the Maritime Growth Study, the Department published the Clean Maritime Plan, which identified the potential for clean economic growth in the UK as a result of the transition to zero emission shipping[2].

Alongside the Plan, the Department published an assessment of the value of potential economic opportunities from low and zero emission shipping. This review provided a framework for assessing the scale of the opportunity generated by emission reduction technologies, including a mapping of the relevant supply chain, an assessment of the global uptake of these technologies, the economic footprint of the UK firms in the supply chain and the UK’s share of global export of these technologies[3].

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/maritime-growth-study

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/815664/clean-maritime-plan.pdf

[3] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/815666/economic-opportunities-low-zero-emission-shipping.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had on the role decarbonising the maritime sector can play in reaching net zero by 2050.

The domestic maritime sector falls under the UK’s national net zero target, and in common with the wider economy will need to be decarbonised by 2050 in order to achieve net zero.

The Department has regular meetings with industry and civil society on the issue of decarbonisation, and has published extensive research on Gov.UK into the opportunities and challenges presented by the sector’s transition to net zero.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the aviation industry and airlines on resuming flights to countries that have not formed reciprocal quarantine-free travel arrangements without warning UK nationals that they may be refused entry to those countries.

The government has regular discussions with the aviation industry on a range of issues. The industry is aware that the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review and are currently subject to a formal review every 28 days. The next review will be on 27 July 2020.

The destinations airlines fly to are commercial decisions for those airlines. The government’s guidance is clear that those travelling abroad should check Foreign and Commonwealth Office coronavirus advice and travel advice before they travel. This advice states that passengers will have to comply with coronavirus requirements in the country that they are travelling to, and this may include self-isolating.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made for the number of British nationals that have booked flights to countries that have not formed reciprocal quarantine-free travel arrangements with the UK.

We have not made such an estimate for the number of British nationals that have booked flights to countries that have not formed reciprocal quarantine-free travel arrangements with the UK.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 42943 what assessment he has made of the effect of HGVs in the haulage sector being off the road on the financial viability of the sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The Department is working with the industry to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to allow for the continued operation of the road freight sector during the pandemic and to identify barriers to accessing the available Government support schemes. ?

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 42933, what comparative assessment he has made of the extent of other Governments' support packages for logistics industries; and if he will make a statement.

The Department continues to collect, receive and assess data about the logistics industry. The Government will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 to establish whether any further support for the sector is needed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 May 2020 to Question 42934 on Business: Billing, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on trends in the level of (a) timely payment and (b) non-payment of invoices in the haulage sector.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues that the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. Engagement with the industry suggests that delays in payment from customers is an issue for some hauliers.

The Government will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 to establish whether any further support for the sector is needed.?

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 May 2020 to Question 42941 on Roads: Freight, what assessment he has made of the financial sustainability of haulage companies as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The Department is working with the industry to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to allow for the continued operation of the road freight sector during the pandemic and to identify barriers to accessing the available Government support schemes. ?

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) level of late payments and non-payments for services provided in the road transport industry and (b) potential effect of those payments on the viability of haulage companies.

The Government has made available £330bn of support through loans and guarantees to support UK businesses. Changes have been made to some of the schemes to ensure that more businesses, particularly those that are SMEs like many road haulage companies, can benefit from them.

The Department is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues that the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The Department recognises that the sector is going through a challenging time.

Engagement with the industry suggests that delays in payment from customers is an issue for some hauliers.

Engagement with the industry also indicates that some road haulage trucks have been taken off the road. Whilst there are no current plans to introduce a financial support scheme for haulage businesses whose vehicles are idle during the COVID-19 outbreak, we continue to keep this under review.

The Government will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 to establish whether any further support for the sector is needed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the proportion of trucks in the haulage industry that are idle as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has made available £330bn of support through loans and guarantees to support UK businesses. Changes have been made to some of the schemes to ensure that more businesses, particularly those that are SMEs like many road haulage companies, can benefit from them.

The Department is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues that the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The Department recognises that the sector is going through a challenging time.

Engagement with the industry suggests that delays in payment from customers is an issue for some hauliers.

Engagement with the industry also indicates that some road haulage trucks have been taken off the road. Whilst there are no current plans to introduce a financial support scheme for haulage businesses whose vehicles are idle during the COVID-19 outbreak, we continue to keep this under review.

The Government will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 to establish whether any further support for the sector is needed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what financial support his Department has made available to haulage companies whose vehicles are currently idle as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has made available £330bn of support through loans and guarantees to support UK businesses. Changes have been made to some of the schemes to ensure that more businesses, particularly those that are SMEs like many road haulage companies, can benefit from them.

The Department is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues that the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The Department recognises that the sector is going through a challenging time.

Engagement with the industry suggests that delays in payment from customers is an issue for some hauliers.

Engagement with the industry also indicates that some road haulage trucks have been taken off the road. Whilst there are no current plans to introduce a financial support scheme for haulage businesses whose vehicles are idle during the COVID-19 outbreak, we continue to keep this under review.

The Government will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 to establish whether any further support for the sector is needed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a financial support scheme for haulage businesses whose vehicles are idle during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has made available £330bn of support through loans and guarantees to support UK businesses. Changes have been made to some of the schemes to ensure that more businesses, particularly those that are SMEs like many road haulage companies, can benefit from them.

The Department is in regular contact with representatives of the road haulage industry to understand the issues that the industry is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The Department recognises that the sector is going through a challenging time.

Engagement with the industry suggests that delays in payment from customers is an issue for some hauliers.

Engagement with the industry also indicates that some road haulage trucks have been taken off the road. Whilst there are no current plans to introduce a financial support scheme for haulage businesses whose vehicles are idle during the COVID-19 outbreak, we continue to keep this under review.

The Government will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 to establish whether any further support for the sector is needed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timescale is for publishing his Department's review of the effectiveness of red lights for roadside recovery operators; and if he will make a statement.

The Government confirmed its intention to review available evidence on whether a more flexible approach might be appropriate to allowing the use of red flashing lamps by road recovery operators.

The Government is committed to improving road safety, and the Department is currently tendering this independent review through a competitive process. It is expected that the contract will be awarded in approximately three months and, subject to the tenders received, the results could be available four months later. The report will be published following completion.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish a list of preferred alternative routes to smart motorways for drivers driving long distance who wish to avoid all-lane running smart motorways; and if he will make a statement.

We want our roads to be as safe as possible. That is why the Secretary of State asked the Department to carry out an evidence stocktake to gather the facts about the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. The Department will present the findings of the stocktake shortly.

While we would not want to pre-judge the results of that work, we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads. The Roads Minister will write to you as soon as the stocktake is completed to answer your specific question.

30th Jan 2020
M42
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of breakdowns along the length of the M42 active traffic management pilot took place (a) in a live lane and (b) not in a live lane in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

We want our roads to be as safe as possible. That is why the Secretary of State asked the Department to carry out an evidence stocktake to gather the facts about the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. The Department will present the findings of the stocktake shortly.

While I would not want to pre-judge the results of that work, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads. The Roads Minister will write to you as soon as the stocktake is completed to answer your specific question.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the number of sleeper train services between London St Pancras and European cities.

International passenger rail services provide a number of benefits for passengers, businesses and the wider economy, including environmental benefits. The Government is committed to supporting the future growth and success of international traffic, including potential sleeper services.

Department for Transport officials have engaged with UK and European partners to encourage the future growth and success of international passenger services, providing connectivity between major European cities. The Department also stands ready to engage with any potential operators of new international services, including sleeper services.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost was of retrofitting Stopped Vehicle Detection systems to existing stretches of All Lane Running motorways in 2019; and if he will make a statement.

In 2019 Highways England’s expenditure cost for retrofitting Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) was £289,000.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost was of retrofitting new emergency refuge areas to existing stretches of all lane running motorways in 2019; and if he will make a statement.

In 2019 Highways England’s expenditure cost for retrofitting emergency areas was £1.8 million.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of breakdowns on motorways that do not use (a) all lane running and (b) dynamic hard shoulder take place (a) in a live lane and (ii) not in a live lane; and if he will make a statement.

The table below includes all breakdown cases where the location has been categorised as being in a live lane or not in a live lane.

Breakdown - live lane

Breakdown - not in live lane

Calendar Year

Frequency

%

Frequency

%

2016

27,004

20.3%

106,134

79.7%

2017

26,060

21.0%

98,317

79.0%

2018

29,987

19.7%

122,076

80.3%

2019

27,410

21.0%

103,061

79.0%

Data which has not conformed to these two location descriptions is not included within the table.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the potential safety benefits to roadside rescue and recovery operators of being permitted to use red lights; and if he will make a statement.

The previous Government announced its intention to review available evidence to see if a more flexible approach might be appropriate regarding amending regulations to permit the use of red flashing lights by road recovery operators.

The Government is committed to improving road safety. The Department is commissioning this study, which will involve an assessment of the potential risks and benefits. A decision to review the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 will be taken once the study has reported.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish a timeframe for the remainder of the joint HSE and Thames Valley Police investigation into the partial collapse at Didcot Power Station on 23 February 2016.

As the lead investigatory body under the Work-Related Deaths Protocol, Thames Valley Police (TVP) have primacy over the investigation following the partial collapse at Didcot Power Station on 23 February 2016. They continue to investigate corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety offences jointly with Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

TVP and HSE and remain committed to this challenging investigation. The dedicated team of investigators continue to work diligently to complete it and the results are clearly eagerly awaited by all involved, not least the families of those men who lost their lives. The size and complex nature of the investigation means it is impossible to provide any reliable timeline for completion.

Preliminary reports are not provided as part of a criminal investigation. HSE to date has not needed to issue a safety alert in relation to the partial collapse at Didcot. When appropriate, HSE has and will continue to undertake proactive communications around demolition to inform and educate industry without explicitly mentioning the ongoing Didcot investigation.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will require the HSE to publish preliminary advice or guidance for the demolition industry based on its joint investigation with Thames Valley Police into the partial collapse at Didcot Power Station on 23 February 2016.

As the lead investigatory body under the Work-Related Deaths Protocol, Thames Valley Police (TVP) have primacy over the investigation following the partial collapse at Didcot Power Station on 23 February 2016. They continue to investigate corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety offences jointly with Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

TVP and HSE and remain committed to this challenging investigation. The dedicated team of investigators continue to work diligently to complete it and the results are clearly eagerly awaited by all involved, not least the families of those men who lost their lives. The size and complex nature of the investigation means it is impossible to provide any reliable timeline for completion.

Preliminary reports are not provided as part of a criminal investigation. HSE to date has not needed to issue a safety alert in relation to the partial collapse at Didcot. When appropriate, HSE has and will continue to undertake proactive communications around demolition to inform and educate industry without explicitly mentioning the ongoing Didcot investigation.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will require the HSE to publish a preliminary report from its joint investigation with Thames Valley Police into the partial collapse at Didcot Power Station on 23 February 2016 to provide closure for the families of the four men who died in that collapse and guidance for the demolition industry.

As the lead investigatory body under the Work-Related Deaths Protocol, Thames Valley Police (TVP) have primacy over the investigation following the partial collapse at Didcot Power Station on 23 February 2016. They continue to investigate corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety offences jointly with Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

TVP and HSE and remain committed to this challenging investigation. The dedicated team of investigators continue to work diligently to complete it and the results are clearly eagerly awaited by all involved, not least the families of those men who lost their lives. The size and complex nature of the investigation means it is impossible to provide any reliable timeline for completion.

Preliminary reports are not provided as part of a criminal investigation. HSE to date has not needed to issue a safety alert in relation to the partial collapse at Didcot. When appropriate, HSE has and will continue to undertake proactive communications around demolition to inform and educate industry without explicitly mentioning the ongoing Didcot investigation.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of whether (a) the new KickStart Scheme gateway-plus companies are receiving a disproportionate allocation of the grant and (b) some sole traders have received no extra funding.

Sole traders are able to apply to offer jobs to young people through the Kickstart Scheme through a Gateway Plus. There are 4 organisations approved as a Gateway Plus – -

  • Adecco Working Ventures in Partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses
  • REED in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce
  • Manpower Group
  • The Wirral Chamber of Commerce

The Gateway Plus is the employer of the young person participating in Kickstart and will ensure that the YP receives the additional support to improve their employability which is an essential part of the scheme. The young person will be placed with a host organisation linked to the Gateway plus for their six-month job – this is at no cost to the host organisation. Host organisations can include sole traders.

All Kickstart Jobs are subject to robust checking procedures. The checks we put in place when approving a Gateway Plus organisation ensure that any employer that the Gateway approves is subject to a level of checking and due diligence that DWP are satisfied with. These checks are part of the requirement of the Gateway Plus agreement.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Kickstart scheme allows applications from sole traders.

Sole traders are able to apply to offer jobs to young people through the Kickstart Scheme through a Gateway Plus. There are 4 organisations approved as a Gateway Plus – -

  • Adecco Working Ventures in Partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses
  • REED in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce
  • Manpower Group
  • The Wirral Chamber of Commerce

The Gateway Plus is the employer of the young person participating in Kickstart and will ensure that the YP receives the additional support to improve their employability which is an essential part of the scheme. The young person will be placed with a host organisation linked to the Gateway plus for their six-month job – this is at no cost to the host organisation. Host organisations can include sole traders.

All Kickstart Jobs are subject to robust checking procedures. The checks we put in place when approving a Gateway Plus organisation ensure that any employer that the Gateway approves is subject to a level of checking and due diligence that DWP are satisfied with. These checks are part of the requirement of the Gateway Plus agreement.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has published on promoting good ventilation in places of work during the covid-19 outbreak.

HSE has played a key role in the development of cross-government Covid-secure guidelines for business. These focus on the practical measures that can be adopted to work safely during the pandemic. HSE has developed and published on its website a suite of guidance and information to complement cross-government guidance and provide additional information in relation to health and safety standards that would be expected.

The webpages provide advice to businesses on a range of topics, including how to complete a Covid-secure risk assessment and undertake worker engagement, in addition to more specific topics such as hygiene procedures and ventilation.

This content is reviewed and updated regularly to reflect developing scientific evidence and understanding. As a result of this review HSE expanded and updated guidance on ventilation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in December 2020 and is continuing to review following feedback and further knowledge and understanding and is updated as necessary.

The guidance provides businesses with simple ways to identify areas of the workplace that may be poorly ventilated and provides steps that can be taken to improve ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of successful applications to the Kickstart Scheme were from (a) companies applying individually for over 30 applicants and (b) companies applying for less than 30 applicants through a Gateway scheme; and if she will make a statement.

The Kickstart scheme has seen high interest from applicants seeking to offer young people job placements. As such, the numbers of applications are fast-moving. As of 21/01/2021 there have been over 6,500 applications for funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme, some 6,000 of these having had final decisions made with over 2,000 of them being approved.

(a) Of the 2,000, there have been around 500 approved applications from employers applying directly with 30 or more jobs, representing 25% of all approved applications so far.

(b) Of the 2,000, there have been over 1,500 approved applications from prospective gateway organisations, representing 75% of all approved applications so far.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the maximum time is for employers to start employing young people on the Kickstart Scheme from the date the employer made the application to the scheme for (a) companies applying individually for over 30 applicants and (b) companies applying for less than 30 applicants through a Gateway scheme; and if she will make a statement.

When applying for funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme an employer can choose to set the start date for their job placements at any point within the life time of the scheme, which is currently set to run until December 2021, with final job placements running until the summer of 2022.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether sole traders are eligible to apply for Kickstart funding via a Kickstart gateway.

Sole traders can apply to the scheme through a Kickstart Gateway. Although if they are not registered with Companies House and/or do not have the systems to pay participants through PAYE, they will need to work with a Gateway which is able to put the participant on the Gateway’s PAYE system.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sole traders have successfully applied for Kickstart funding via a Kickstart gateway.

We are not yet able to break Kickstart data down by sector or employer type.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 18 November 2021 on the availability of VAP1 show purchase for haemodialysis patents.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 21 March 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 15 November 2021 on the sustainability of re-enablement care, reference case number MP72511.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 18 March 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 3 August 2021 on problems encountered at Watford General Hospital and the lack of local health care, reference case number MP70952.

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 4 October 2021 on accidental intravenous administration of covid-19 vaccines, case reference MP71789.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 23 November 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 11 October 2021, case number MP71917 on the loss of jobs at the MHRA.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 21 February 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to end the temporary approval allowing home use of both pills for early medical abortion in line with the lifting of remaining covid-19 restrictions.

We have always been clear that the approval which enabled home use of both pills for early medical abortion would be temporary and was in response to the unprecedented situation with the COVID pandemic. Due to the success and impact of the national vaccination and booster programme, face to face abortion services will return by 29 August 2022. A six-month extension of the temporary approval has been made to enable a safe and reliable return to these arrangements.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to introduce primary legislation to reform the Mental Health Act 1983 during the current session of Parliament; and if he will ensure that the needs of children and young people are central to any such legislation.

Legislation to reform the Mental Health Act 1983 will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows. The reforms will ensure that people of all ages, including children and young people, are put at the centre of decisions about their own care and that everyone is treated equally.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead dated 12 August 2021, case number MP 71131 on NHS Staffing Levels.

We replied to the Rt Hon. Member on 5 January 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that prophylactic use of synthetic monoclonal antibody treatments are available where immunosuppressed patients are not able to suspend their immunosuppressant medication or have not responded to a third primary covid-19 vaccine dose.

Ronapreve (casirivimab and imdevimab) is the first neutralising monoclonal antibody to receive marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to treat and prevent COVID-19. The interim clinical policy was updated on 4 November to expand treatment access to a wider group of hospitalised patients, which may include immunocompromised patients. The current supply of Ronapreve is limited globally and the clinical policy prioritises the most vulnerable patients for whom this treatment will have the largest beneficial impact.

The RAPID C-19 collaboration has enabled active multi-agency oversight of national and international trial evidence as it emerges for COVID-19 therapies, both in potential treatment and prophylactic indications. Where material evidence is identified, this has enabled the rapid formation and implementation of United Kingdom wide clinical access policies. To date, the evidence has most strongly supported treatment indications, but the evidence around prophylactic use will continue to be actively reviewed.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure immunosuppressed patients are aware that they may be able to suspend their immunosuppressant medication in order to obtain a third primary covid-19 vaccine dose.

The Government regularly provides resources and additional information to charities and patient organisations representing those living with severely compromised immune systems. NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing tailored communications for specialists caring for each group of eligible patients within the immunosuppressed cohort. This will include template referral letters for clinicians to signpost people to receive their vaccination.

Any decision to defer immunosuppressive therapy or to delay the possible benefit from vaccination until after therapy should be taken by the specialist. These decisions should not be taken without due consideration to the risks from COVID-19 and from their underlying condition.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to provide post-vaccination quantitative antibody testing for immunocompromised patients.

National Health Service clinicians can arrange antibody testing based on their assessment of clinical need. There are currently no plans to implement targeted quantitative antibody testing for immunocompromised patients post-vaccination.

Those with a cancer diagnosis may be able to access free antibody tests through the National Cancer COVID Survey which aims to assess levels of protection conferred by antibodies following vaccination/infection in cancer patients.  The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation continues to review emerging scientific evidence on the use of vaccines in those who are immunocompromised and will update its advice as necessary.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 12 August 2021, case no. MP70336, departmental reference PO-1342263, on covid-19 vaccinations for immunocompromised patients.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 3 December 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that children with intractable epilepsy are able to access medicinal cannabis on prescription.

Whether to prescribe any medicine is a clinical decision and the Government has enabled the prescription of cannabis-based products for medicinal use where it is clinically appropriate. The Chief Medical Officer and NHS England have written to doctors and pharmacists to highlight the available guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. Health Education England has also published an e-learning module on medicinal cannabis.

The licensed cannabis-based medicine Epidyolex is prescribed and routinely funded by the National Health Service for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has recently approved Epidyolex for a third form of epilepsy and it is now being assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for this indication. The licensed medicine Sativex is also routinely funded to treat moderate to severe spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis. On 6 September, NHS England issued a reminder to clinical commissioning groups of NICE’s guidance relating to Sativex and will be monitoring its uptake.

The latest NICE guidelines demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based products on the NHS. The Government continues to support the establishment of clinical trials with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health Research and from 1 April introduced a national patient registry to record patient outcomes. Since January 2020, the Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service has been in place to provide advice and support for doctors to optimise the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to inform the clinicians listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council that they can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patients.

Whether to prescribe any medicine is a clinical decision and the Government has enabled the prescription of cannabis-based products for medicinal use where it is clinically appropriate. The Chief Medical Officer and NHS England have written to doctors and pharmacists to highlight the available guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. Health Education England has also published an e-learning module on medicinal cannabis.

The licensed cannabis-based medicine Epidyolex is prescribed and routinely funded by the National Health Service for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has recently approved Epidyolex for a third form of epilepsy and it is now being assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for this indication. The licensed medicine Sativex is also routinely funded to treat moderate to severe spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis. On 6 September, NHS England issued a reminder to clinical commissioning groups of NICE’s guidance relating to Sativex and will be monitoring its uptake.

The latest NICE guidelines demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based products on the NHS. The Government continues to support the establishment of clinical trials with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health Research and from 1 April introduced a national patient registry to record patient outcomes. Since January 2020, the Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service has been in place to provide advice and support for doctors to optimise the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to NHS funded medicinal cannabis prescriptions.

Whether to prescribe any medicine is a clinical decision and the Government has enabled the prescription of cannabis-based products for medicinal use where it is clinically appropriate. The Chief Medical Officer and NHS England have written to doctors and pharmacists to highlight the available guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. Health Education England has also published an e-learning module on medicinal cannabis.

The licensed cannabis-based medicine Epidyolex is prescribed and routinely funded by the National Health Service for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has recently approved Epidyolex for a third form of epilepsy and it is now being assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for this indication. The licensed medicine Sativex is also routinely funded to treat moderate to severe spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis. On 6 September, NHS England issued a reminder to clinical commissioning groups of NICE’s guidance relating to Sativex and will be monitoring its uptake.

The latest NICE guidelines demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based products on the NHS. The Government continues to support the establishment of clinical trials with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health Research and from 1 April introduced a national patient registry to record patient outcomes. Since January 2020, the Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service has been in place to provide advice and support for doctors to optimise the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) support patients receiving cannabis-based treatment and (b) help ensure that they can continue to access that treatment; and if he will make a statement.

Whether to prescribe any medicine is a clinical decision and the Government has enabled the prescription of cannabis-based products for medicinal use where it is clinically appropriate. The Chief Medical Officer and NHS England have written to doctors and pharmacists to highlight the available guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. Health Education England has also published an e-learning module on medicinal cannabis.

The licensed cannabis-based medicine Epidyolex is prescribed and routinely funded by the National Health Service for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has recently approved Epidyolex for a third form of epilepsy and it is now being assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for this indication. The licensed medicine Sativex is also routinely funded to treat moderate to severe spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis. On 6 September, NHS England issued a reminder to clinical commissioning groups of NICE’s guidance relating to Sativex and will be monitoring its uptake.

The latest NICE guidelines demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based products on the NHS. The Government continues to support the establishment of clinical trials with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health Research and from 1 April introduced a national patient registry to record patient outcomes. Since January 2020, the Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service has been in place to provide advice and support for doctors to optimise the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 22 October 2021 to Questions 56489 and 56878, on Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva: Health Services, what the status is of the highly specialised technologies guidance on Palovarotene for preventing heterotopic ossification associated with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is in the early stages of developing highly specialised technologies guidance on palovarotene and is in discussion with the manufacturer regarding timings for this appraisal. The publication date for guidance is to be confirmed.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2021 to Question 58780, on Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva: Research, if he will provide details of the eight studies into fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive (FOP) supported by funding through the National Institute for Health Research.

The titles of seven of the studies supported by the National Institute for Health Research on fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) are as follows:

- Saracatinib Trial TO Prevent FOP (Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva);

- Isolation and Generation of Blood-derived Progenitor Cells from Patients with Cardiovascular Disease and TGF-beta Superfamily-related Diseases;

- A Phase 2 Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Efficacy and Safety Study of a RARγ-Specific Agonist (Palovarotene) in the Treatment of Preosseous Flareups in Subjects with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva;

- A Phase 2, Open-Label Extension, Efficacy and Safety Study of a RARγ-Specific Agonist (Palovarotene) in the Treatment of Preosseous Flare-ups in Subjects with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva;

- A randomized, placebo-controlled study to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and effects on heterotopic bone formation of REGN2477 in patients with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva;

- A Phase 3, Efficacy and Safety Study of Oral Palovarotene for the Treatment of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva; and

- A Phase 2, two-part, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, double-blind study to assess the efficacy and safety of two dosage regimens of oral IPN60130 for the treatment of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva in male and female participants five years of age and older.

We are unable to provide details of the remaining study as this information is commercially sensitive.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 21 April 2021, regarding issues on isolation accommodation, case number MP 69213.

We replied to the hon. Member on 26 October 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support International fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) Awareness Day on 23 April; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has no specific plans for Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) Awareness Day. However, we work closely with Genetic Alliance UK, of which FOP FRIENDS is a member and will participate in events around Rare Disease Day on 28 February 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase awareness of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) among healthcare professionals (a) in general and (b) in relation to new-born screening.

The Government published the United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework in January, to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), including increasing awareness of rare diseases among healthcare professionals. This will be followed by action plans from each nation of the UK to implement the Framework. As part of the development of England’s action plan, the Department is working with Health Education England and NHS England and NHS Improvement to raise awareness of rare diseases, through the development of integrated point of care resources for clinical staff and targeted education modules for trainee healthcare professionals, aligned to the NHS National Genomics Test Directory.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve innovative research into (a) slowing the symptoms of, and (b) finding a cure for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

We published the United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework in January 2021, outlining a national vision for improving the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). Due to the small numbers of patients with individual rare diseases, international collaboration is essential to support research and patient care, particularly for very rare diseases. Further details regarding rare diseases research and international collaboration under the Framework will be provided in action plans which will be published by each of the four UK nations within two years.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve international collaboration on research into (a) slowing the symptoms of and (b) finding a cure for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

We published the United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework in January 2021, outlining a national vision for improving the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). Due to the small numbers of patients with individual rare diseases, international collaboration is essential to support research and patient care, particularly for very rare diseases. Further details regarding rare diseases research and international collaboration under the Framework will be provided in action plans which will be published by each of the four UK nations within two years.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what level of funding his Department is providing for research into (a) slowing the symptoms of and (b) finding a cure for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

The Department funds research into rare diseases such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In the past five years, the Department has provided funding to support eight studies into FOP through the NIHR. Within the NIHR, for all disease areas, the amount of funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity and the usual practice is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics.

The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework, published in January 2021, outlined a vision for improving the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as FOP. Further details on research into rare diseases will be provided in action plans, which will be published by each of the four UK nations within two years.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase research into (a) slowing the symptoms of and (b) finding a cure for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

The Department funds research into rare diseases such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In the past five years, the Department has provided funding to support eight studies into FOP through the NIHR. Within the NIHR, for all disease areas, the amount of funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity and the usual practice is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics.

The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework, published in January 2021, outlined a vision for improving the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as FOP. Further details on research into rare diseases will be provided in action plans, which will be published by each of the four UK nations within two years.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set up a national network of rare-disease centres.

NHS England commissions over 70 highly specialised services for patients with rare diseases delivered and coordinated nationally through a small number of expert centres to ensure expertise and experience. The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework, was published in 2021, outlined a vision to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases over the next five years. Each of the four UK nations will publish action plans outlining how the Framework will improve patient outcomes, within two years of its publication. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with the Department to develop an action plan for England.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what level of funding his Department is providing for research into (a) slowing the symptoms of and (b) finding a cure for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

I refer the Rt hon. Member to the answer I gave on 22 October 2021 to Question 58780.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve new-born screening and genetic testing for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

There is no newborn screening programme for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) using genetic testing and it is not currently being considered for a national screening programme. National population screening programmes are implemented on the advice of the United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC), which makes independent, evidence-based recommendations to Ministers in the four UK nations. Proposals to screen for new conditions, such as FOP, can be submitted to the UK NSC via its annual call for new topics, which closes on 6 December 2021.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allocate a clinical care team for each person with (a) fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva and (b) an ultra-rare disease.

The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework, published in 2021, outlining the priorities to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, including better coordination of care. Further details on how the Framework will address the coordination of care for patients with rare and ultra-rare diseases will be provided in action plans, which will be published by each of the four UK nations within two years. The Department is working with delivery partners, including NHS England and NHS Improvement, to develop an action plan for England.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter of 21 May 2021 from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead on the legality of discharging an elderly patient to a care home without first advising the family who hold a Power of Attorney for Health, reference MP69387.

We replied to the hon. Member on 21 October 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply in detail to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 17 June and 18 May case number MP69421 on reactions to Covid Vaccine and Tinnitus.

We replied to the hon. Member on 20 October 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve patient outcomes for people with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework outlines key priorities to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). These include faster diagnosis, increasing awareness of rare diseases among healthcare professionals, better coordination of care, improving access to specialist care, treatment and drugs and pioneering research. Each of the four UK nations will publish action plans outlining how these priorities will be addressed to improve patient outcomes within two years.

Children with FOP are cared for in the National Health Service by paediatric rheumatologists and/or geneticists with input from other clinicians as required. In the past five years, the Department has provided funding to support eight studies into FOP through the National Institute for Health Research. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is also developing highly specialised technologies guidance on ‘Palovarotene for preventing heterotopic ossification associated with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva’.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what practical support his Department provides to help improve the lives of people with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework outlines key priorities to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). These include faster diagnosis, increasing awareness of rare diseases among healthcare professionals, better coordination of care, improving access to specialist care, treatment and drugs and pioneering research. Each of the four UK nations will publish action plans outlining how these priorities will be addressed to improve patient outcomes within two years.

Children with FOP are cared for in the National Health Service by paediatric rheumatologists and/or geneticists with input from other clinicians as required. In the past five years, the Department has provided funding to support eight studies into FOP through the National Institute for Health Research. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is also developing highly specialised technologies guidance on ‘Palovarotene for preventing heterotopic ossification associated with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva’.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) funding and (b) other support his Department provides to help improve the lives of people with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

The United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework outlines key priorities to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). These include faster diagnosis, increasing awareness of rare diseases among healthcare professionals, better coordination of care, improving access to specialist care, treatment and drugs and pioneering research. Each of the four UK nations will publish action plans outlining how these priorities will be addressed to improve patient outcomes within two years.

Children with FOP are cared for in the National Health Service by paediatric rheumatologists and/or geneticists with input from other clinicians as required. In the past five years, the Department has provided funding to support eight studies into FOP through the National Institute for Health Research. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is also developing highly specialised technologies guidance on ‘Palovarotene for preventing heterotopic ossification associated with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva’.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 19 April 2021, case no MP68181, on specialist services for spinal cord injury.

We replied to the hon. Member on 15 September 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 19 April 2021, case no MP36023, on mystery disease in a care home.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 13 September 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 19 February 2021, case no MP68189, on Emergency Carers Support Fund.

We replied to the Rt hon. Member on 14 October.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish (a) the company name and (b) the contract value for each contract that a Chinese or Chinese-financed company holds with (i) his Department and (ii) the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

The location of all overseas suppliers with which the Department currently holds contracts could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Information is not held on whether a contract is held with a Chinese-financed company.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not collect this information centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) he and (b) his officials have had discussions with (i) the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (ii) officials in that Department on suppliers to the NHS with reference to the National Security and Investment Act 2021; and if he will make a statement.

We have worked jointly with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the investment security community across Government as contributors to the investment screening regime. The Department has also consulted with agencies and partner organisations to provide input for the development of National Security and Investment Act 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many times officials in his Department have met with representatives of Bio Products Laboratory Limited in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has had eight meetings with Bio Products Limited concerning maintenance of their product licences and inspections in relation to its licensed manufacturing process over the last three years.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department carried out a risk assessment of the sale of Bio Products Laboratory Limited by Bain Capital in 2016.

Bain Capital carried out its own due diligence with respect to the sale. The Department was fully informed and supportive of the sale following its own corporate due diligence process on the purchaser.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, which other providers compete with Bio Products Laboratory Limited for NHS contracts; and if he will make a statement.

The National Health Service Commercial Medicine Unit contracted with the Bio Products Laboratory Limited in four tendering exercises. The following table shows the frameworks under which the company was contracted and the awarded suppliers.

Framework Title

Awarded Suppliers

NHS Framework Agreement for the Supply of Human Albumin

Bio Products Laboratory Ltd

Biotest UK Ltd

CSL Behring UK Ltd

Grifols UK Ltd

Octapharma Ltd

NHS Framework Agreement for the Supply of Human Normal Immunoglobulin and Anti-D Immunoglobulin

Bio Products Laboratory Ltd

Biotest UK Ltd

CSL Behring UK Ltd

Grifols UK Ltd

LFB Biomedicaments

Octapharma Ltd

Takeda UK Ltd

NHS Framework Agreement for the supply of products for the treatment of Haemophilia A

Bio Products Laboratory Ltd

Biotest UK Ltd

Grifols UK Ltd

Novo Nordisk Ltd

Octapharma Ltd

Pfizer Ltd

Roche Products Ltd

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum Ltd (Sobi Ltd)

Takeda UK Ltd

NHS Framework Agreement for the supply of products for the treatment of bleeding disorders

Bio Products Laboratory Ltd

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of risk of the NHS working with Chinese companies that have links to the Chinese state; and if he will make a statement.

The Department works jointly with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the investment security community across government as contributors to the investment screening regime. As an open economy, we welcome foreign trade and investment that adheres to our laws. While we have made no specific assessment, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Investment Security Unit coordinates expertise from across Government to ensure that where risks arise from instances of foreign investment, the necessary assessment is made on a case by case basis.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value of contracts is that the NHS holds with Bio Products Laboratory Limited; and if he will make a statement.

The Department holds one contract with Bio Products Laboratory Ltd (BPL) with a value of £3.3 million. Public Health England is responsible for manging the contract which includes distribution of products into the National Health Service. NHS England and NHS Improvement hold one contract with BPL with a value of £5.3 million.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to monitor the level of antibodies in clinically extremely vulnerable people who have had two doses of the covid-19 vaccine but, as a result of their condition or medication, might be expected to respond poorly to the vaccination.

Public Health England has been monitoring the effectiveness of vaccinations in clinical risk groups which will include those with immunosuppression.

From the evaluation of the vaccine programme, the data shows that completion of the two dose schedule correlates well with protection from both disease and severe outcomes, including hospitalisation and death.

Virus Watch data, supported by the United Kingdom Research and Innovation and National Institute for Health Research COVID-19 rapid response initiative and the antibody testing team in NHS Test and Trace, provided information regarding patients antibodies which included immunocompromised patients as part of their cohort. This suggests some protection against COVID-19, but is only one measure of protection and does not look at cellular immunity which is important in terms of long-term immunity.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what research is being carried out to improve the level of antibodies in clinically extremely vulnerable people who have had two doses of the covid-19 vaccine but, as a result of their condition or medication, might be expected to respond poorly to the vaccination.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is providing £4 million towards the OCTAVE study to examine the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in clinically at-risk groups, including patients with certain immunosuppressed conditions. UKRI has allocated a further £3 million towards a research call to support projects examining the nature and quality of COVID-19 vaccine responses and the mechanisms of immune failure that lead to either COVID-19 re-infection or vaccine breakthrough. This call is now closed and the results will be announced in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on the provision of a Passenger Assistant on bus transport for vulnerable and adolescent teenagers.

We have no plans to do so and we have not issued any such guidance.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that a Passenger Assistant is compulsory on bus transport for vulnerable and adolescent teenagers provided by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

We have no plans to do so and we have not issued any such guidance.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Government of Canada’s decision to advise citizens not to use face masks that contain graphene due to the possibility that they could inhale graphene particles which may be a health risk; and if he will make an assessment of whether a similar warning is necessary in the UK.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have not received any reported adverse events relating to medical and surgical face masks containing graphene. The MHRA continues to review all available information and will issue safety information as and when necessary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of utilising the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to ensure that companies are not overcharging for covid-19 tests.

In the United Kingdom, all international arrivals travelling from outside the Common Travel Area are required to book a testing package before travelling to England to protect themselves and the public. Testing requirements and therefore the costs paid by international arrivals, are set according to the risk posed by travel from ‘red’, ‘amber’ and ‘green’ list countries.

Since requirements were introduced for international travel testing, the costs of travel testing have fallen significantly. The Government is committed to working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of travel testing whilst also ensuring travel is as safe as possible. NHS Test and Trace testing is priced at the mid-market level. GOV.UK shows a list of private providers to allow international arrivals to select providers based on cost, location and types of test on offer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that people are not overcharged for private covid-19 tests.

In the United Kingdom, all international arrivals travelling from outside the Common Travel Area are required to book a testing package before travelling to England to protect themselves and the public. Testing requirements and therefore the costs paid by international arrivals, are set according to the risk posed by travel from ‘red’, ‘amber’ and ‘green’ list countries.

Since requirements were introduced for international travel testing, the costs of travel testing have fallen significantly. The Government is committed to working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of travel testing whilst also ensuring travel is as safe as possible. NHS Test and Trace testing is priced at the mid-market level. GOV.UK shows a list of private providers to allow international arrivals to select providers based on cost, location and types of test on offer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that covid-19 tests are affordable to travellers returning from overseas.

In the United Kingdom, all international arrivals travelling from outside the Common Travel Area are required to book a testing package before travelling to England to protect themselves and the public. Testing requirements and therefore the costs paid by international arrivals, are set according to the risk posed by travel from ‘red’, ‘amber’ and ‘green’ list countries.

Since requirements were introduced for international travel testing, the costs of travel testing have fallen significantly. The Government is committed to working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of travel testing whilst also ensuring travel is as safe as possible. NHS Test and Trace testing is priced at the mid-market level. GOV.UK shows a list of private providers to allow international arrivals to select providers based on cost, location and types of test on offer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answers of 13 April 2021 to Questions 175739, 175740 and 175741 on Neuromuscular Disorders: Medical Treatments, what assessment has he made of the likelihood of a backlog of NHS patients building up during the process to determine the location of the second provider and its successful implementation; what steps he is taking to tackle that patient backlog; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement aim to complete the process to determine the location of a second provider to deliver transcranial magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound services before the end of 2021/22. Until the location has been agreed, patients will continue to access assessment and treatment at the established centre in London.

NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned this service in April 2021, therefore the number of patients who will be eligible for this treatment is uncertain. NHS England and NHS Improvement anticipate a level of patient backlog, as a result of patients who are suitable for treatment waiting for the service to be established. Capacity for provision of service in the first year has therefore taken this into account. The actual demand will be closely monitored in the first few years to better inform future commissioning.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answers of 13 April 2021 to Questions 175739, 175740 and 175741 on Neuromuscular Disorders: Medical Treatments, what the planned timetable is for the (a) completion of the process to determine the location of the second provider and (b) successful commissioner to be able to implement the acceptance of NHS patients to access that second provider; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement aim to complete the process to determine the location of a second provider to deliver transcranial magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound services before the end of 2021/22. Until the location has been agreed, patients will continue to access assessment and treatment at the established centre in London.

NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned this service in April 2021, therefore the number of patients who will be eligible for this treatment is uncertain. NHS England and NHS Improvement anticipate a level of patient backlog, as a result of patients who are suitable for treatment waiting for the service to be established. Capacity for provision of service in the first year has therefore taken this into account. The actual demand will be closely monitored in the first few years to better inform future commissioning.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his devolved Government counterparts on cross-border access for patients requiring transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) for the treatment of medication refractory ET; and if he will make a statement.

Significant progress has been made in the delivery of the commissioning policy for transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), published in November 2020 and effective from 1 April 2021.

MRgFUS is used in the treatment of medication refractory essential tremor. It has been estimated that there will be approximately 150 cases a year which, in the first instance, will require two centres to meet the needs of the population of England. A centre at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in London has already been identified and it is intended that this service will commence in May.

A second centre in the North of England will be required and discussions are ongoing with commissioners about its possible location. It is envisaged that there will need to be a formalised provider selection process given the number of expressions of interest received. Cross-border discussions have taken place with the devolved authorities in Scotland as to the feasibility of a third centre being commissioned in Scotland, and these discussions continue.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of (a) the number of providers required, (b) the timescale for delivery and (c) the procurement policy required to implement the NHSE commissioning policy for transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) for the treatment of medication refractory ET; and if he will make a statement.

Significant progress has been made in the delivery of the commissioning policy for transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), published in November 2020 and effective from 1 April 2021.

MRgFUS is used in the treatment of medication refractory essential tremor. It has been estimated that there will be approximately 150 cases a year which, in the first instance, will require two centres to meet the needs of the population of England. A centre at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in London has already been identified and it is intended that this service will commence in May.

A second centre in the North of England will be required and discussions are ongoing with commissioners about its possible location. It is envisaged that there will need to be a formalised provider selection process given the number of expressions of interest received. Cross-border discussions have taken place with the devolved authorities in Scotland as to the feasibility of a third centre being commissioned in Scotland, and these discussions continue.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the delivery of the NHSE commissioning policy for transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) for the treatment of medication refractory ET; and if he will make a statement.

Significant progress has been made in the delivery of the commissioning policy for transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), published in November 2020 and effective from 1 April 2021.

MRgFUS is used in the treatment of medication refractory essential tremor. It has been estimated that there will be approximately 150 cases a year which, in the first instance, will require two centres to meet the needs of the population of England. A centre at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in London has already been identified and it is intended that this service will commence in May.

A second centre in the North of England will be required and discussions are ongoing with commissioners about its possible location. It is envisaged that there will need to be a formalised provider selection process given the number of expressions of interest received. Cross-border discussions have taken place with the devolved authorities in Scotland as to the feasibility of a third centre being commissioned in Scotland, and these discussions continue.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he publish the number of applications for Continuing Healthcare in (a) England and (b) Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group area that were successful at (i) first review and (ii) on appeal in each year since 2017-18.

Data on NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) eligibility rates is published quarterly by NHS England at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-chc-fnc/

Data on the number of people who apply and are found ineligible at the initial checklist assessment stage for CHC is not currently collected. NHS England will collect and manage CHC checklist data as part of an upcoming patient level data set. Data on the CHC referral conversion rate is available since 2017-18. However, as the 2019-20 data has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 we do not consider there to be sufficient data points to undertake meaningful trend analysis.

We have interpreted ‘first review’ to mean how many people are found to be eligible following a review at the local resolution stage. Prior to 2018-19 this data was not collected. We have interpreted ‘on appeal’ to mean how many people are found to be eligible in full or partially following a request for an independent review. Data on the number of people found to be partially or fully eligible in England and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is shown in the following tables:

England

Financial Year

Number found partially eligible

Number found fully eligible

2017-18

51

90

2018-19

94

100

2019-20

196

222

Herts Valley CCG

Financial Year

Number found partially eligible

Number found fully eligible

2017-18

1

1

2018-19

2

2

2019-20

6

5

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason there has been a decline in the NHS Continuing Healthcare referral conversion rate in each year since 2017-18; and if he will make a statement.

Data on NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) eligibility rates is published quarterly by NHS England at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-chc-fnc/

Data on the number of people who apply and are found ineligible at the initial checklist assessment stage for CHC is not currently collected. NHS England will collect and manage CHC checklist data as part of an upcoming patient level data set. Data on the CHC referral conversion rate is available since 2017-18. However, as the 2019-20 data has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 we do not consider there to be sufficient data points to undertake meaningful trend analysis.

We have interpreted ‘first review’ to mean how many people are found to be eligible following a review at the local resolution stage. Prior to 2018-19 this data was not collected. We have interpreted ‘on appeal’ to mean how many people are found to be eligible in full or partially following a request for an independent review. Data on the number of people found to be partially or fully eligible in England and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is shown in the following tables:

England

Financial Year

Number found partially eligible

Number found fully eligible

2017-18

51

90

2018-19

94

100

2019-20

196

222

Herts Valley CCG

Financial Year

Number found partially eligible

Number found fully eligible

2017-18

1

1

2018-19

2

2

2019-20

6

5

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will collate and maintain records of the number of people who (a) apply and (b) are rejected at the initial checklist assessment stage for NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Data on NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) eligibility rates is published quarterly by NHS England at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-chc-fnc/

Data on the number of people who apply and are found ineligible at the initial checklist assessment stage for CHC is not currently collected. NHS England will collect and manage CHC checklist data as part of an upcoming patient level data set. Data on the CHC referral conversion rate is available since 2017-18. However, as the 2019-20 data has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 we do not consider there to be sufficient data points to undertake meaningful trend analysis.

We have interpreted ‘first review’ to mean how many people are found to be eligible following a review at the local resolution stage. Prior to 2018-19 this data was not collected. We have interpreted ‘on appeal’ to mean how many people are found to be eligible in full or partially following a request for an independent review. Data on the number of people found to be partially or fully eligible in England and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is shown in the following tables:

England

Financial Year

Number found partially eligible

Number found fully eligible

2017-18

51

90

2018-19

94

100

2019-20

196

222

Herts Valley CCG

Financial Year

Number found partially eligible

Number found fully eligible

2017-18

1

1

2018-19

2

2

2019-20

6

5

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 lockdown on young couples that live apart with their respective parents; and if he will permit the formation of relationship bubbles to enable those couples to meet.

Under the current restrictions a couple who live apart can only form a support bubble if they fulfil the eligibility criteria. We recognise that not everyone who would like to form a support bubble will be able to do so. This is because the formation of a support bubble and therefore the ability to have close contact with those you do not live with, carries transmission risks. As such the eligibility criteria is necessarily limited to smaller households most in need of support that cannot be facilitated by other means and in other settings.

We continue to keep the eligibility criteria under review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish statistics on the number of (a) staff, (b) patients and (c) visitors who are believed to have contracted covid-19 in hospital.

Given the incubation period of the virus and local differences in application of testing protocols, it is not possible to definitively determine the number of people who contracted the virus while in hospital in England state or the number of nosocomial infections amongst National Health Service staff and how many have been infected through contacts outside the NHS. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold any data on visitors infected.

Since October 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement has published data on COVID-19 hospital activity from 1 August including the numbers of people diagnosed in, or admitted to, hospital with COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement also collect data the time between admission to hospital and first positive swab for COVID-19 and the number of patients admitted to hospital after a diagnosis in the community or diagnosed within eight days after admission.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) prevent vulnerable people from falling victim to vaccination scams, (b) publicise that the covid-19 vaccination is free and (c) publicise how people will be contacted when they are called for vaccination.

The Government’s Counter Disinformation Unit looks for trends on social media platforms so that we can work with them and other partners to respond to misleading content rapidly., This can range from labelling, downranking, or removal where there is significant risk of harm, in line with platform terms and conditions.

The Department is leading extensive communications activity to reassure the public, providing advice and information to support those who have been prioritised to receive a vaccine and anyone who has questions about the vaccination process.

We have developed the SHARE checklist which aims to increase audience resilience by educating and empowering those who see, inadvertently share and are affected by false and misleading information.

In addition, a range of posters, leaflets and awareness videos have been made available on social media and in public places to help explain more about the COVID-19 vaccine and what the public should expect from the National Health Service.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people awaiting major surgery do not experience severe delays as a result of hospitals treating an influx of covid-19 patients.

As hospitals treat COVID-19 patients, trusts continue to offer as many routine services as they can to restore services to the previous levels. To keep operations going, services are being redesigned and priority is given to patients based on clinical urgency and those who have been waiting the longest. Interruptions to routine services should only occur when they are absolutely unavoidable and these decisions are taken locally based on operational needs. In addition, the Nightingale hospitals continue to support services by offering extra capacity and bed numbers, which are being utilised upon the decision of local clinicians when needed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to evaluate the (a) operational effectiveness and (b) accuracy of covid-19 testing.

All tests have been assessed as performing to manufacturers’ specifications before being used. The current tests are very specific and the risk of false positives, where the test is reacting to other viruses, is extremely low. Like any diagnostic test however, there is always the small possibility of a false negative or a false positive result.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of labs testing for covid-19 are UKAS accredited for the covid-19 procedure.

Eighty three laboratories have applied for COVID-19 testing with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, of which 27 are accredited. The remainder have either been assessed or are in the process of being assessed due to a very recent application. Those that have been assessed and not accredited will be working through any actions required to meet the International Organization for Standardization’s accreditation standards.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that combined batch testing procedures for covid-19 do not lead to higher rates of false positive tests.

Pooled testing is an important part of the National Testing Programme allowing laboratories to test more samples. It is a safe and effective way of testing swab samples from several people at the same time providing quicker testing of asymptomatic people. However, pooled testing should only be used for samples from people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. If an individual has COVID-19 symptoms, they should be tested individually. Samples from those who have tested positive in the past should not be used in pooled testing

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date the most recent meeting of NHS England’s Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group took place; if he will publish the outcomes of that meeting; and if he will make a statement.

The Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group last met in June 2019. This is because the meeting structure has since changed, and NHS England now have a Strategy and Policy Group meeting on a monthly basis and a Delivery Group meeting on a monthly basis instead.

Although there is no specific agenda for the next meeting, the Strategy and Policy group considers the recommendations made by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) relating to clinical policies and service specifications. The CPAG looks at NHS England’s approach to commissioning services, treatments and technologies, and considers which of these should be prioritised for investment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NHS England on the (a) importance of meetings of NHS England’s Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group taking place and (b) commissioning of new clinical procedures and therapies as part of the Government’s commitment to see non-covid19 aspects of the NHS resume as part of the recovery agenda; and if he will make a statement.

The Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group last met in June 2019. This is because the meeting structure has since changed, and NHS England now have a Strategy and Policy Group meeting on a monthly basis and a Delivery Group meeting on a monthly basis instead.

Although there is no specific agenda for the next meeting, the Strategy and Policy group considers the recommendations made by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) relating to clinical policies and service specifications. The CPAG looks at NHS England’s approach to commissioning services, treatments and technologies, and considers which of these should be prioritised for investment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the agenda of the next meeting of NHS England’s Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group before that meeting takes place.

The Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group last met in June 2019. This is because the meeting structure has since changed, and NHS England now have a Strategy and Policy Group meeting on a monthly basis and a Delivery Group meeting on a monthly basis instead.

Although there is no specific agenda for the next meeting, the Strategy and Policy group considers the recommendations made by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) relating to clinical policies and service specifications. The CPAG looks at NHS England’s approach to commissioning services, treatments and technologies, and considers which of these should be prioritised for investment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits where geographically expedient of using Nightingale hospitals as covid-19 centres of excellence to take all covid-19 cases and free up local acute hospitals to ensure that they remain covid-free; and will he make a statement.

The National Health Service Nightingale hospitals are an unprecedented response to an unprecedented challenge and created additional capacity to ensure the NHS can respond to demand if needed.

The Nightingale hospitals are available to support the NHS when needed. Local clinical leaders are working to determine how this is done whilst considering the needs of all patients requiring NHS care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of reports that Northern Ireland health authorities have provided funding for a patient requiring medical cannabis.

No assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of continuing observational trials for medical cannabis for families with severely epileptic children; and if he will he make a statement.

Observational studies would not provide robust evidence to inform future commissioning decisions and would delay a more useful and scientific study. The best course of action is to develop evidence via safe and robust clinical trials supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

A programme of two randomised controlled clinical trial are being developed by the NIHR. These trials will be critical in ensuring that evidence for cannabis-based medicinal products can be developed to plan future National Health Service commissioning decisions for the many hundreds of patients in the United Kingdom with refractory epilepsy. Industry also needs to step up and invest in robust clinical trials to improve understanding of how patients might benefit from these products.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the current financial difficulties that families with epileptic children who need access to medical cannabis are facing due to the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Rt. hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 May 2020 to Question 43850.

No assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance is available for people who wish to visit family members in nursing care during the covid-19 lockdown; when those visits will be permitted if outdoor visits become unfeasible; and if he will make a statement.

Our aim is to enable residents to be reunited safely with their loved ones. This guidance will be updated as the risk posed by COVID-19 continues to change.

On 22 July 2020 the Government published updated guidance on visiting arrangements for care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus

Our first priority is to prevent infections in care homes and therefore visits should be carried out with caution.

Care homes can develop their visiting policies based on a local dynamic risk assessment, taking into account the circumstances and needs of the individual care setting, including both residents and staff, and the external COVID-19 environment. The process of considering visitors should be led by the relevant local Director of Public Health.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to issue guidance on exemptions for people that cannot wear a face covering on public transport due to medical reasons.

Whilst it is mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport, we recognise that reasonable measures are necessary for some people on health or disability grounds. In the guidance published, we have listed cases in which exemptions could apply.

The guidance published online states that you do not have to wear a face covering on public transport if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering. In addition, you do not have to wear a face covering on public transport if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for people with anxiety and claustrophobia adhering to the mandatory use of face coverings on public transport.

Whilst it is mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport, we recognise that reasonable measures are necessary for some people on health or disability grounds. In the guidance published, we have listed cases in which exemptions could apply.

The guidance published online states that you do not have to wear a face covering on public transport if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering. In addition, you do not have to wear a face covering on public transport if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department issues to NHS trusts on public access to NHS trust board meetings; and if he will make a statement.

National Health Service trusts are responsible for establishing their own corporate governance arrangements, including arrangements for public access to Board meetings. The NHS Leadership Academy, now part of NHS England and NHS Improvement, published ‘The Healthy NHS Board’ in 2013 which sets out principles for good governance. These include the principle that Board meetings should be held in public except where there is a compelling reason for confidentiality and is available at the following link:

https://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/NHSLeadership-HealthyNHSBoard-2013.pdf

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of the wearing of home-made salt-coated face masks by the general public during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to be led by the evidence in our response to COVID-19. Following Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies advice, we think there will be some benefit for people wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible or where they are more likely to come into contact with people they do not normally meet. This is most relevant on public transport or in some shops.

Comprehensive guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government financial support for (a) vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy who are reliant on privately-paid for medical cannabis and (b) other patients using private prescriptions to access medical cannabis during the covid-19 outbreak; if he will make a statement.

No assessment has been made.

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 he plans to extend covid-19 testing to staff working for private health and care providers; and if he will make a statement.

All health and social care staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible for testing and have been since 17 April. This includes National Health Service staff, those employed by local authorities, and those working for private providers. Health and social care staff can book a test through the Government’s online self-referral portal, which allows them to register for a home test kit or book a drive-through test at a regional test site. Testing is also available through mobile and satellite test centres that are placed where need is greatest, including to NHS hospitals or care homes. Testing within an NHS facility, such as a hospital, is available for NHS workers.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to maintain private prescriptions of medical cannabis to vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with industry and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, whether on the National Health Service or privately. The supply of unlicensed cannabis-based products is no different. The Government has also recently changed its policy on imports, so that patients can access their prescribed medicines more quickly and be better assured their treatment will not be interrupted.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ability of this patient group to maintain funding to private prescriptions for unlicensed medicinal cannabis, and no additional funding is being provided beyond the financial package to provide additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties during COVID-19.

For those who rely on fundraising events to access private medicines, events which do not involve people gathering in one place may still go ahead provided they comply with Government policy and guidelines which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-act-2016-new-fundraising-rules

And further advice on fundraising is available at the following link:

https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/more-from-us/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-fundraising

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support his Department is providing to families with severely epileptic children who are reliant on private prescriptions for medical cannabis and whose ability to fundraise for those prescriptions is limited by covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with industry and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, whether on the National Health Service or privately. The supply of unlicensed cannabis-based products is no different. The Government has also recently changed its policy on imports, so that patients can access their prescribed medicines more quickly and be better assured their treatment will not be interrupted.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ability of this patient group to maintain funding to private prescriptions for unlicensed medicinal cannabis, and no additional funding is being provided beyond the financial package to provide additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties during COVID-19.

For those who rely on fundraising events to access private medicines, events which do not involve people gathering in one place may still go ahead provided they comply with Government policy and guidelines which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-act-2016-new-fundraising-rules

And further advice on fundraising is available at the following link:

https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/more-from-us/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-fundraising

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide temporary financial support to the families of vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy who cannot (a) access or (b) fund-raise for private prescriptions for medical cannabis during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with industry and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, whether on the National Health Service or privately. The supply of unlicensed cannabis-based products is no different. The Government has also recently changed its policy on imports, so that patients can access their prescribed medicines more quickly and be better assured their treatment will not be interrupted.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ability of this patient group to maintain funding to private prescriptions for unlicensed medicinal cannabis, and no additional funding is being provided beyond the financial package to provide additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties during COVID-19.

For those who rely on fundraising events to access private medicines, events which do not involve people gathering in one place may still go ahead provided they comply with Government policy and guidelines which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-act-2016-new-fundraising-rules

And further advice on fundraising is available at the following link:

https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/more-from-us/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-fundraising

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the ability of families of vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy to a) fund and b) maintain access to private prescriptions for medical cannabis; and if he will make statement.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with industry and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, whether on the National Health Service or privately. The supply of unlicensed cannabis-based products is no different. The Government has also recently changed its policy on imports, so that patients can access their prescribed medicines more quickly and be better assured their treatment will not be interrupted.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ability of this patient group to maintain funding to private prescriptions for unlicensed medicinal cannabis, and no additional funding is being provided beyond the financial package to provide additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties during COVID-19.

For those who rely on fundraising events to access private medicines, events which do not involve people gathering in one place may still go ahead provided they comply with Government policy and guidelines which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-act-2016-new-fundraising-rules

And further advice on fundraising is available at the following link:

https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/more-from-us/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-fundraising

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group of NHS England has made on assessing the availability of MR Guided Focused Ultrasound for NHS patients; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England is in the process of developing a national clinical commissioning policy for MR-guided focused ultrasound for essential tremor. The policy will determine whether the intervention will or will not be routinely commissioned and contain criteria to guide clinical decision making about the patients able to benefit.

A draft policy was returned to the Specialised Commissioning Clinical Panel in November 2019 and is now progressing to stakeholder engagement and public consultation. After public consultation is completed, the policy proposal will be considered by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group. If a decision is taken to commission the intervention, funding will be required to implement the policy. This will be considered alongside other proposals for new treatments for funding through a relative prioritisation process which takes place twice a year, and is next due to take place in May 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on providing patients with access to MR Guided Focused Ultrasound on the NHS in England; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England is in the process of developing a national clinical commissioning policy for MR-guided focused ultrasound for essential tremor. The policy will determine whether the intervention will or will not be routinely commissioned and contain criteria to guide clinical decision making about the patients able to benefit.

A draft policy was returned to the Specialised Commissioning Clinical Panel in November 2019 and is now progressing to stakeholder engagement and public consultation. After public consultation is completed, the policy proposal will be considered by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group. If a decision is taken to commission the intervention, funding will be required to implement the policy. This will be considered alongside other proposals for new treatments for funding through a relative prioritisation process which takes place twice a year, and is next due to take place in May 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care what progress NHS England has made on undertaking a public consultation on the development of a national commissioning policy for MR-guided focused ultrasound; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England is in the process of developing a national clinical commissioning policy for MR-guided focused ultrasound for essential tremor. The policy will determine whether the intervention will or will not be routinely commissioned and contain criteria to guide clinical decision making about the patients able to benefit.

A draft policy was returned to the Specialised Commissioning Clinical Panel in November 2019 and is now progressing to stakeholder engagement and public consultation. After public consultation is completed, the policy proposal will be considered by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group. If a decision is taken to commission the intervention, funding will be required to implement the policy. This will be considered alongside other proposals for new treatments for funding through a relative prioritisation process which takes place twice a year, and is next due to take place in May 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to expedite access to the whole-plant extract of prescribed medical cannabis containing cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol which consultants have prescribed to some severely epileptic children; and if he will make a statement.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support prescribing and funding decisions of cannabis-based medicines (whole-plant extract or otherwise) across all conditions covered in the report. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available.

Central to this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with partners to deliver all recommendations from the NHS process evaluation report entitled ‘Barriers to Accessing Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use’. The following progress has been made:

- On 20 December 2019 a letter was published reminding prescribers of General Medical Council guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines – and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use;

- The National Institute for Health Research has run two research calls for applications on medicinal cannabis. Following these, a workshop was held including applicants, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Department and other research experts. We expect this to have halved the time required to design and gain funding agreement for a safe and high quality clinical trial. Researchers are expected to involve patients in both the design and delivery of the research;

- Funding has been fast-tracked by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is available from 6 January 2020 for patients who fulfil the criteria for the recently published NICE Technology Appraisals for the use of cannabidiol in conjunction with clobazam for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. This will improve access to licensed cannabis-based products for appropriate patients. NICE guidelines on the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines also recommend Sativex to treat moderate to severe spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis;

- A new Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Network is being established and will launch shortly. This will make a positive addition to the current well-established clinical networks; and

- A patient registry is being developed with input from specialist clinicians and other advisory bodies.

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, how many NHS prescriptions for whole-plant-extract prescribed medical cannabis containing cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol have been issued since access to medical cannabis was legalised on 1 November 2018; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are using existing systems to monitor use of the newly rescheduled unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use in England. In England, these systems monitor the number of items dispensed and associated costs in primary care and the volume of products used and associated cost in secondary care.

The NHS Business Services Authority is only able to provide information on prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines that have been prescribed and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority. It does not hold information on prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines which have been issued but not fulfilled.

Between November 2018 and October 2019, 19 items for unlicensed cannabis-based medicines that were prescribed on a National Health Service prescription, dispensed in the community and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reimbursement.

The NHS Business Services Authority does not collect data on whether an unlicensed cannabis-based medicine is a whole-plant extract. The licensed cannabis-based medicines Sativex, Nabilone and Epidyolex are not whole-plant extracts, so no data has been provided on these products.

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, what progress has been made in enabling access to NHS prescriptions for whole-plant-extract medical cannabis containing cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol since the August 2019 NHS process evaluation report entitled Barriers to Accessing Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use; and if he will make a statement.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support prescribing and funding decisions of cannabis-based medicines (whole-plant extract or otherwise) across all conditions covered in the report. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available.

Central to this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with partners to deliver all recommendations from the NHS process evaluation report entitled ‘Barriers to Accessing Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use’. The following progress has been made:

- On 20 December 2019 a letter was published reminding prescribers of General Medical Council guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines – and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use;

- The National Institute for Health Research has run two research calls for applications on medicinal cannabis. Following these, a workshop was held including applicants, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Department and other research experts. We expect this to have halved the time required to design and gain funding agreement for a safe and high quality clinical trial. Researchers are expected to involve patients in both the design and delivery of the research;

- Funding has been fast-tracked by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is available from 6 January 2020 for patients who fulfil the criteria for the recently published NICE Technology Appraisals for the use of cannabidiol in conjunction with clobazam for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. This will improve access to licensed cannabis-based products for appropriate patients. NICE guidelines on the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines also recommend Sativex to treat moderate to severe spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis;

- A new Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Network is being established and will launch shortly. This will make a positive addition to the current well-established clinical networks; and

- A patient registry is being developed with input from specialist clinicians and other advisory bodies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to bring an end to the war in Yemen through (a) its membership of the UN Security Council and (b) other diplomatic channels.

We fully support the UN-led peace process in Yemen and urge the parties to engage constructively with the new UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg. UK Ministers and officials engage with their international and regional counterparts on Yemen regularly and use the monthly briefings to the UNSC to encourage efforts towards a political solution, deliver further economic support and bring an end to the humanitarian suffering. On 22 July I met UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator David Gressly to discuss the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and on 17 August, I offered the UK's continued support to the new UN Special Envoy in a call. On 22 September the Minister for Asia delivered a speech at the Yemen humanitarian side event at the UN General Assembly to urge parties to the conflict to come to the negotiating table and to call on all states to release humanitarian funding commitments promptly.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 3815, what discussions he has had with the Bangladeshi Government on the sustainability of life on Bhasan Char.

The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh participated in a visit to Bhasan Char on 3 April, along with heads of a number of diplomatic missions. They also met with the Government of Bangladesh this month to discuss the situation there following recent UN visits. Concerns over the risks of cyclones and the monsoon have been raised, and we note the investments made by the Government of Bangladesh in cyclone shelters and reinforcing embankments. Further conversations are needed between the Government of Bangladesh and the UN on a protection framework for the refugees on the island.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 3815, what discussions he has had with the Bangladeshi Government on the evacuation procedures for the Rohingya refugees on Bhasan Char during the approaching monsoon season in that region.

The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh participated in a visit to Bhasan Char on 3 April, along with heads of a number of diplomatic missions. They also met with the Government of Bangladesh this month to discuss the situation there following recent UN visits. Concerns over the risks of cyclones and the monsoon have been raised, and we note the investments made by the Government of Bangladesh in cyclone shelters and reinforcing embankments. Further conversations are needed between the Government of Bangladesh and the UN on a protection framework for the refugees on the island.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his officials have visited Rohingya refugees on the Bhasan Char silt island in the Bay of Bengal; and if he will make a statement.

The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh participated in a visit to Bhasan Char on 3 April, along with heads of a number of diplomatic missions based in Dhaka. They were briefed by officials from the Government of Bangladesh and were given a tour of the island which included seeing the residential accommodation and multi-purpose centres built for the Rohingya refugees. We remain clear that the refugees need to relocate voluntarily, be safe on Bhasan Char, and have access to education and healthcare, including Covid-19 vaccinations as these become available. We welcome the UN's first appraisal visit to evaluate the safety and sustainability of life on Bhasan Char but recognise that further conversations are needed between the Government of Bangladesh and the UN to discuss protection and technical issues in detail. The UK government is not funding operations on Bhasan Char.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the fire at the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

The UK Government is very concerned by the impact on Rohingya refugees of the large fire that took place on 22 March in the Kutapalong refugee camp. A UN-led joint needs assessment found that 48,300 people were directly affected, with over 10,000 households left without shelter. At least 11 refugees are thought to have died, with over 500 injured. The fire damaged distribution, nutrition and learning centres, water and sanitation infrastructure, and medical facilities. UK Aid provided food, water, sanitation, shelter, and support for medical and camp management teams who coordinated the response. UK Aid brought in an additional 10,000 tarpaulins for the rehabilitation of shelters and is supporting the rebuilding of healthcare facilities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether UK official development assistance has been allocated to supporting the provision of health care to the Rohingya community that has been relocated to the silt island Bhasan Char; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government is not funding operations on Bhasan Char.

We remain clear that the refugees need to relocate voluntarily, be safe on Bhasan Char, and have access to education and healthcare, including Covid-19 vaccinations as these become available. We welcome the UN's first appraisal visit to evaluate the safety and sustainability of life on Bhasan Char but recognise that further conversations are needed between the Government of Bangladesh and the UN to discuss protection and technical issues in detail.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many claims were excluded or rejected from the Government covid-19 furlough scheme; and if he will summarise the reasons for exclusion.

The Government has been clear throughout the pandemic that HMRC should prioritise getting vital support to businesses and their employees.

HMRC designed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to prevent fraud before any payments were made, in both how they set the eligibility criteria and the claim process itself.

To qualify for CJRS, employers needed a Pay As You Earn scheme and to submit a Real Time Information (RTI) return. Additionally, for claims with 100 employees or more, employers were required to provide details of the individual employees’ wages.

HMRC also put in place a series of checks on claims before they were paid, so they blocked those that were highly indicative of criminal activity.

As a result, an estimated 21,500 ineligible claims for CJRS were automatically blocked from entering the claims process.

In addition to those that were blocked, a further 3,500 claims for CJRS were rejected in 2020-21 as they showed indications of being linked to criminal activity.

Further checks also included checking claim amounts against employment information already returned to HMRC and capping any excessive CJRS claims to the correct entitlement amount.

Details of HMRC’s prepayment compliance activity for 2021-22 will be released in HMRC’s Annual Report and Accounts later this year. This will provide the information on blocked and rejected claims for 2021-22.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many claims were excluded or rejected from the (a) Self Employment Income Support Scheme and (b) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) were designed to prevent as much fraud as possible before any payments were made, while still quickly supporting those who needed it.

By building automated controls into the digital claim process, HMRC prevented more than 100,000 ineligible or mistaken claims within the Covid-19 schemes, namely CJRS, SEISS, and Eat Out to Help Out. By carrying out pre-payment checks based on risk and intelligence profiles, HMRC also blocked more than 29,000 claims and registrations in 2020-21.

The Government remains committed to cracking down on fraud wherever it arises, which is why the Government has invested over £100 million in a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce of 1,265 HMRC staff to combat fraud on the HMRC-administered Covid-19 schemes. This is one of the largest and quickest responses to a fraud risk by HMRC.

The Taskforce is expected to recover £800 million to £1 billion from fraudulent or incorrect payments over the next two years. This builds on the work already done, which saw HMRC recover £536 million in 2020-21.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead dated 27 May 2021 on Fix Care for All, reference MP69886.

I responded to the Honourable Member’s correspondence on 19 October 2021.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the level of financial pressure experienced during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a directors income support scheme based on company trading profits.

The Government recognises that many taxpayers have faced extremely difficult circumstances throughout this crisis.

The Government welcomes constructive proposals from stakeholders to improve the design of the SEISS, including the suggestion for a Directors Income Support Scheme (DISS) from the Federation of Small Businesses, ForgottenLtd, Re Legal Consulting Ltd, and ACCA UK. This proposal aims to provide a new system for company directors, based on reported profits. The Government has considered this proposal in detail and given feedback to its sponsors.

Company owner managers could be eligible for other elements of the support available, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (in respect of their salary but not their dividends), Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at: www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to HMRC is of staff engaged by suppliers (a) Crown Commercial Services Frameworks and (b) Experis Ltd, alongside and in addition to any other known suppliers; and if will publish details of the engagement contracts of those other suppliers for each year from December 2010 to date; and if he will make a statement.

In accordance with departmental retention policy, and in preparation to ensure compliance with the 2017 reforms to the off-payroll working rules, HMRC only hold a complete central record of departmental engagements from 2016 to present.

HMRC’s contingent labour staff are provided through Alexander Mann Solutions, who are supported by over 300 specialist recruitment agencies classified by their role category capability. Prior to this arrangement, contingent labour was provided via Capita on a similar framework. The outline of this spend is below.

Year

Supplier

Invoice Spend

2017-2018

CAPITA BUSINESS SERVICES LTD

£13,801,000

2018-2019

ALEXANDER MANN SOLUTIONS

£18,290,000

2019-2020

ALEXANDER MANN SOLUTIONS

£36,360,000

2020-2021

ALEXANDER MANN SOLUTIONS

£24,030,000

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the names of umbrella companies to which payments were made by (a) suppliers, (b) agencies and (c) partners engaged by RCDTS in each year since July 2015 to date; and if he will make a statement.

In accordance with retention policy and in preparation to ensure compliance with the 2017 reforms to the off-payroll working rules, RCDTS only holds a complete central record of engagements from 2016 to present.

The majority of RCDTS’s contracts are for contingent labour via an agency, and RCDTS uses the Crown Commercial Service’s framework contracts for this. These contractors form a flexible complement to RCDTS’s workforce, sourced through an employment agency.

With contingent labour there is always at least one agency between RCDTS and the individual contractor, although in practice this contract can be further sub-contracted, meaning there are multiple agencies between RCDTS and the contractor themselves.

RCDTS would hold a contractual relationship with either the recruitment agency or service provider rather than any umbrella company and are not involved in the payment arrangements of individual contractors.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost is to RCDTS of staff engaged by suppliers (a) Crown Commercial Services Frameworks and (b) Experis Ltd, alongside and in addition to any other known suppliers; and if he will publish details of the engagement contracts of those other suppliers for each year since July 2015 to date; and if he will make a statement.

In accordance with departmental retention policy, and in preparation to ensure compliance with the 2017 reforms to the off-payroll working rules, HMRC only hold a complete central record of departmental engagements from 2016 to the present.

From HMRC records (2017 to date), RCDTS’ total spend on contingent staff is £31.7m.

The accuracy of this data is dependent on the correct categorisation of the spend and does not take into account any supplier duplication. It also does not take into account changes that may have taken place within this sector and supplier marketplace.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff were engaged by suppliers (a) Crown Commercial Services Frameworks and (b) Experis Ltd in addition to any other known suppliers; and if he will publish details of the engagement contracts of those other suppliers in each year; and if he will make a statement.

The number of contingent labour engagements since July 2015 for RCDTS is 233, of which 84 are current at the time this request was received.

HMRC's central record of engagements, created in 2016, provides 1,815 contracts of which 248 are still current. This is excluding the figures provided in relation to RCDTS.

This data has been extracted from HMRC’s system under the Crown Commercial Services Framework agreement, known as Public Sector Resourcing (PSR).

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the (a) number and (b) proportion of total staff engaged by RCDTS via an umbrella company or similar in either an (i) individual or (ii) limited company capacity in each year since July 2015 to date.

In accordance with retention policy and in preparation to ensure compliance with the 2017 reforms to the off-payroll working rules, RCDTS only holds a complete central record of engagements from 2016 to present.

With contingent staff there is always at least one agency between RCDTS and the individual contractor, although in practice this contract may be further sub-contracted, so that there are multiple agencies between RCDTS and the contractor.

Umbrella companies are known to be used by off-payroll workers engaged via an intermediary and records show this to be the case for 102 or 43% of total engagements for which records are held.

RCDTS would hold a contractual relationship with either the recruitment agency or service provider rather than any umbrella company and is not involved in the payment arrangements of individual contractors.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the (a) number and (b) proportion of total staff engaged by HMRC via an umbrella company or similar in an (i) individual and (ii) limited company capacity for each year since December 2010 to date; and if he will make a statement.

In accordance with departmental retention policy, and in preparation to ensure compliance with the 2017 reforms to the off-payroll working rules, HMRC only hold a complete central record of departmental engagements from 2016 to present.

With contingent staff there is always at least one agency between HMRC and the individual contractor, although in practice this contract may be further sub-contracted, so that there are multiple agencies between the department and the contractor themselves.

Umbrella companies are known to be used by off-payroll workers engaged via an intermediary and records show this to be the case for 317 or 17% of total engagements for which records are held.

HMRC would hold a contractual relationship with either the recruitment agency or service provider rather than any umbrella company and are not involved in the payment arrangements of individual contractors.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the (a) names of suppliers, (b) agencies and (c) partners including staff procured via preferred suppliers such as (i) Crown Commercial Services Frameworks and (ii) Experis Ltd including staff engaged through Manpower Group and Elan Group prior to acquisition by HMRC from December 2010 to date; and will he make a statement.

In accordance with departmental retention policy, and in preparation to ensure compliance with the 2017 reforms to the off-payroll working rules, HMRC only hold a complete central record of departmental engagements from 2016 to present.

Since 2018, HMRC’s contingent labour staff are provided through Alexander Mann Solutions, who are supported by over 300 specialist recruitment agencies classified by their role category capability. Prior to this date, contingent labour was provided via Capita on a similar framework.

HMRC has a contractual relationship with the service provider rather than with any individual agency.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the names of (a) suppliers, (b) agencies and (c) partners including staff procured via preferred suppliers such as (i) Crown Commercial Services Frameworks and (ii) Experis Ltd including staff engaged through Manpower Group and Elan Group prior to acquisition by RCDTS from July 2015 to date; and will he make a statement.

In accordance with departmental retention policy, and in preparation to ensure compliance with the 2017 reforms to the off-payroll working rules, HMRC only holds a complete central record of departmental engagements from 2016 to present.

Since 2018, HMRC’s contingent labour staff have been provided through Alexander Mann Solutions, who are supported by over 300 specialist recruitment agencies classified by their role category capability. Prior to this date, contingent labour was provided via Capita on a similar framework.

HMRC have a contractual relationship with the service provider rather than any individual agency.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the letter from the HM Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit of 2 July 2020 to the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead, ref MC2020/19806, on irrecoverable VAT in the homecare sector, if he will change the VAT status of social care services to zero-rated rather than exemption.

Under the current VAT rules, many care services provided by charities, public bodies and regulated private welfare institutions are exempt from VAT, meaning no VAT is charged on their services. The Government has no plans to review the VAT treatment of these services at present.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July to Question 65099 on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Directors, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using the 2018-19 submissions for company directors on annual payroll schemes in the same was as for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme; and if he will make a statement.

For an employee to be eligible for the CJRS they must have been notified to HMRC on a real-time information (RTI) submission on or before 19 March. Those paid annually are eligible to claim, as long as they meet the relevant conditions. These conditions include being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020, which relates to a payment of earnings in the 2019/2020 tax year. Anyone paid annually and notified on an RTI submission after that date will not be eligible for the scheme, which puts them in the same position as those who are paid more frequently and weren’t notified to HMRC on or before 19 March. The 19 March cut-off date allows as many people as possible to be included, by going right up to the day before the announcement and balances the risk of fraud that existed as soon as the scheme became public.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made on extending the eligibility for VAT reductions in the Accommodation and Food Services sector to kennel and cattery businesses.

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has introduced a range of measures to help individuals and businesses through the crisis, including grants, loans and relief from business rates at a cost of more than £300 billion.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT will support the tourism and hospitality sectors and will help over 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs. There are currently no plans to expand the scope of the temporary VAT reduction to include kennel and cattery businesses. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the standard of correspondence produced by the Correspondence and Enquiry Unit in his Department in response to enquiries raised during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since March, the Treasury has received over 18,000 items of correspondence from Honourable Members – the largest correspondence volume received of any Government department leading on coronavirus pandemic. Replying to this amount of correspondence while delivering targeted action to protect millions of jobs and livelihoods is a significant challenge for a department of around 1,500 staff. However, the Treasury ensures that every MP receives a timely, accurate and informative reply to their queries. On rare occasions, when MPs have said any replies from the Treasury have not fully covered the issue raised, the department has provided an additional reply covering any outstanding points as soon as possible.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support company directors on annual payroll schemes who did not qualify for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as a result of the 19 March RTI deadline; and if he will make a statement.

For an employee to be eligible for the CJRS they must have been notified to HMRC on a real-time information (RTI) submission on or before 19 March. Those paid annually are eligible to claim, as long as they meet the relevant conditions including being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020, which relates to a payment of earnings in the 2019/2020 tax year. Anyone paid annually and notified on an RTI submission after that date will not be eligible for the scheme, which puts them in the same position as those who are paid more frequently and were not notified to HMRC on or before 19 March.

The Government has sought to prioritise help for the greatest number of people as quickly as possible. Given this, the CJRS has had to be set up to operate at significant scale and with limited manual intervention. Extending the cut-off date beyond 20 March would have significantly increased the risk of abuse because claims could not be verified against the risk of fraud using the data after this point, when?the scheme became public.

The Government is also supporting people on low incomes who need to rely on the welfare system through a significant package of temporary measures. These include a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1bn increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants.?These changes will benefit new and existing claimants.

18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 42946, what discussions he has held with businesses in the haulage industry on the potential need of businesses to access a furlough scheme on a monthly basis to cope with unpredictable business demand through the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has announced a range of measures to support all businesses, including hauliers, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The Department for Transport continues to engage with the haulage industry to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.

As the economy re-opens, the Government will support people back into work. The Government announced on 12 May that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for four months, until the end of October.

From August to October, the scheme will continue for all sectors and regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work. Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time. The Government will set out full details by the end of May.

18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 42936 on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, what contingency plans he has in the event that greater flexibility is needed to support business where demand is unpredictable.

The Government keeps the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme under review, as well as other schemes to support businesses during COVID-19. It continues to engage with the business community and monitor developments in order to ensure a targeted and effective response.

18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 12 May 2020 to Question 42942 on Roads: Freight, if he will make an estimate of the cost to the public purse of extending business rates relief to haulage companies for (a) one and (b) six months.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as haulage companies, has also been made available.

The Government is monitoring the sectoral impact of COVID-19 and is keeping all support under review.

12th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 42938 on Fuels: Excise Duties, what estimate he has made of the number of SMEs that would benefit from a temporary suspension of fuel duty for the logistics sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is committed to support the logistics sector and haulage businesses in the United Kingdom, which are an essential part of our economy.

Budget announced that fuel duty would be frozen for a tenth consecutive year. This has saved the average van driver £18 and the average haulier £113 per tank of fuel relative to 2011. To deliver this saving for businesses and households, the Government has foregone already £67bn and will forego a further £46bn by the end of 2025 compared to fuel duty rising in line with inflation. Furthermore, HGV Vehicle Excise Duty has been frozen since 2001.

Fuel duty raised £28.0bn in 2018-19, contributing to meeting the costs of vital public services such as the NHS, that are playing a crucial role in aiding the Government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 42939 on Fuels: Excise Duties, if he will make an estimate of the cost to the public purse of suspending fuel duty on a monthly basis for the logistics industry.

This Government is committed to support the logistics sector and haulage businesses in the United Kingdom, which are an essential part of our economy.

Budget announced that fuel duty would be frozen for a tenth consecutive year. This has saved the average van driver £18 and the average haulier £113 per tank of fuel relative to 2011. To deliver this saving for businesses and households, the Government has foregone already £67bn and will forego a further £46bn by the end of 2025 compared to fuel duty rising in line with inflation. Furthermore, HGV Vehicle Excise Duty has been frozen since 2001.

Fuel duty raised £28.0bn in 2018-19, contributing to meeting the costs of vital public services such as the NHS, that are playing a crucial role in aiding the Government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 42940 on Fuels: Excise Duties, if he will make a comparative assessment of the level of fuel duty derogations available to the French logistics sector; and whether those derogations can be applied in the UK as part of the recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is committed to support the logistics sector and haulage businesses in the United Kingdom, which are an essential part of our economy.

Budget announced that fuel duty would be frozen for a tenth consecutive year. This has saved the average van driver £18 and the average haulier £113 per tank of fuel relative to 2011. To deliver this saving for businesses and households, the Government has foregone already £67bn and will forego a further £46bn by the end of 2025 compared to fuel duty rising in line with inflation. Furthermore, HGV Vehicle Excise Duty has been frozen since 2001.

Fuel duty raised £28.0bn in 2018-19, contributing to meeting the costs of vital public services such as the NHS, that are playing a crucial role in aiding the Government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the level of need for an extension of the furlough period beyond its current end date.

The Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October 2020. Extending the scheme in its current form until July will provide workers, businesses and the economy with clarity on this vital support. After July, the Government will introduce more flexibility to the furlough scheme in a measured way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. From August through to the end of October, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time while still receiving support from the scheme. Employers using the scheme will start contributing some of the costs of their workers’ salaries, substituting in part the contribution that the Government is currently making. The Government will outline more details of how this will work by the end of May.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on greater flexibility in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for industries where demand is unpredictable.

The Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October 2020. Extending the scheme in its current form until July will provide workers, businesses and the economy with clarity on this vital support. After July, the Government will introduce more flexibility to the furlough scheme in a measured way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. From August through to the end of October, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time while still receiving support from the scheme. Employers using the scheme will start contributing some of the costs of their workers’ salaries, substituting in part the contribution that the Government is currently making. The Government will outline more details of how this will work by the end of May.

It is the case that some firms will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support these firms appropriately. It would be challenging to target the CJRS to specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way, and it may not be the case that this is the most effective or sensible way to provide longer term support for those sectors most affected by coronavirus.

The Government will continue to monitor developments and engage with affected sectors, with the aim of ensuring that support provided is right for these sectors and for the economy as a whole.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits on introducing greater flexibility in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for industries where demand is unpredictable.

The Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October 2020. Extending the scheme in its current form until July will provide workers, businesses and the economy with clarity on this vital support. After July, the Government will introduce more flexibility to the furlough scheme in a measured way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. From August through to the end of October, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time while still receiving support from the scheme. Employers using the scheme will start contributing some of the costs of their workers’ salaries, substituting in part the contribution that the Government is currently making. The Government will outline more details of how this will work by the end of May.

It is the case that some firms will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support these firms appropriately. It would be challenging to target the CJRS to specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way, and it may not be the case that this is the most effective or sensible way to provide longer term support for those sectors most affected by coronavirus.

The Government will continue to monitor developments and engage with affected sectors, with the aim of ensuring that support provided is right for these sectors and for the economy as a whole.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits on introducing a monthly furlough scheme for businesses that have taken vehicles out of service as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October 2020. Extending the scheme in its current form until July will provide workers, businesses and the economy with clarity on this vital support. After July, the Government will introduce more flexibility to the furlough scheme in a measured way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. From August through to the end of October, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time while still receiving support from the scheme. Employers using the scheme will start contributing some of the costs of their workers’ salaries, substituting in part the contribution that the Government is currently making. The Government will outline more details of how this will work by the end of May.

It is the case that some firms will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support these firms appropriately. It would be challenging to target the CJRS to specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way, and it may not be the case that this is the most effective or sensible way to provide longer term support for those sectors most affected by coronavirus.

The Government will continue to monitor developments and engage with affected sectors, with the aim of ensuring that support provided is right for these sectors and for the economy as a whole.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a 100 per cent Government backed invoice financing programme to help companies manage (a) late payment and (b) non-payment of invoices during the covid-19 pandemic.

The government is aware of the importance to company cashflow of reliable invoice payments.

We are taking unprecedented action to support businesses and their cashflow, including business loans and guarantees, paying 80% of furloughed workers’ wages and tax deferrals.

The government keeps all policies under review and is monitoring the impact these measures are having in supporting public services, businesses, and individuals.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of a temporary suspension of fuel duty for the logistics sector to ensure the financial viability of haulage businesses during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption to businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for businesses, including a business rates holiday, grants to smaller businesses and a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans.

The Government has also taken steps to specifically support the logistics sector and haulage businesses. Budget announced that fuel duty would be frozen for a tenth consecutive year, and that HGV VED and levy rates would also be frozen again in 2020-21.

Haulage businesses have also benefitted from the reduced by price of fuel: diesel pump prices in the week of the 4th of May were down 20p per litre compared to a year ago.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an estimate of the cost to the public purse of suspending fuel duty for the logistics industry during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption to businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for businesses, including a business rates holiday, grants to smaller businesses and a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans.

The Government has also taken steps to specifically support the logistics sector and haulage businesses. Budget announced that fuel duty would be frozen for a tenth consecutive year, and that HGV VED and levy rates would also be frozen again in 2020-21.

Haulage businesses have also benefitted from the reduced by price of fuel: diesel pump prices in the week of the 4th of May were down 20p per litre compared to a year ago.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make a comparative assessment of the level of fuel duty derogations available for the logistics sector in each EU Member state; and whether those derogations can be applied in the the UK as part of the recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption to businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for businesses, including a business rates holiday, grants to smaller businesses and a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans.

The Government has also taken steps to specifically support the logistics sector and haulage businesses. Budget announced that fuel duty would be frozen for a tenth consecutive year, and that HGV VED and levy rates would also be frozen again in 2020-21.

Haulage businesses have also benefitted from the reduced by price of fuel: diesel pump prices in the week of the 4th of May were down 20p per litre compared to a year ago.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will (a) change the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 19 March cut-off date eligibility criterion from RTI submission date to contract start date and (b) set up an HMRC task force to examine evidence of contract start date on a case-by-case basis to prevent fraud.

The Government has prioritised helping the greatest number of people as quickly as possible, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will enable millions of people to remain employed.

The Government set up the CJRS to operate at significant scale and with limited manual intervention. Processing claims for the CJRS in cases where HMRC did not have RTI data would require much greater manual handling by HMRC, which would significantly slow down the system. Extending the cut-off date beyond 20 March would significantly increase the risk of abuse because HMRC could not verify claims using data after this point.

The 19 March deadline date allows as many people as possible to be included by going right up to the day before the announcement, while addressing the risk of fraud that existed as soon as the scheme became public.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of business rates on the financial sustainability of haulage companies during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as haulage companies, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

The Government is monitoring the sectoral impacts of COVID-19, and keeps all support under review.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending business rates relief to haulage companies during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as haulage companies, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

The Government is monitoring the sectoral impacts of COVID-19, and keeps all support under review.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to reply to correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 26 October 2021, case number MP72139 on delays relating to an application for a replacement passport.

The Home Office responded to the correspondence on 21 February 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 1 November 2021, case number MP72287 on delays in processing passport renewal applications.

The Home Office responded to the correspondence on 16 February 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department have made for the implications of her policies of the increasing number of management companies in the statutory charges recovery industry who take a proportion of the Statutory Fee which decreases the revenue for vehicle recovery operators; and will she make a statement.

No assessment has been made of statutory charging guidance nor the number of management companies used by the police and National Highways for vehicle recovery operations.

Details of the contracts and of the obligations between the parties to those contracts, are between the police, National Highways and individual contractors or managing agents whom the police and National Highways employ to run schemes on their behalf. These, and any other arrangements that might be made for vehicle recovery are operational matters for the police and Highways England.

The Home Office met with representatives of the recovery industry on 11 August to listen to their concerns. We advised the representatives that vehicle recovery contracts continue to be operational matters between the police, National Highways and individual recovery operators.

The Home Office’s role is limited to setting the statutory charges which the Police and National Highways can levy when they have exercised their recovery powers.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with representatives from the recovery industry on the practice for Police forces and Highways Authorities to use Statutory Fees as an income generator for their own organisations; and if she will make a statement.

No assessment has been made of statutory charging guidance nor the number of management companies used by the police and National Highways for vehicle recovery operations.

Details of the contracts and of the obligations between the parties to those contracts, are between the police, National Highways and individual contractors or managing agents whom the police and National Highways employ to run schemes on their behalf. These, and any other arrangements that might be made for vehicle recovery are operational matters for the police and Highways England.

The Home Office met with representatives of the recovery industry on 11 August to listen to their concerns. We advised the representatives that vehicle recovery contracts continue to be operational matters between the police, National Highways and individual recovery operators.

The Home Office’s role is limited to setting the statutory charges which the Police and National Highways can levy when they have exercised their recovery powers.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of guidance to the statutory charges recovery industry on (a) punitive charges and (b) income generation; and if she will make a statement.

No assessment has been made of statutory charging guidance nor the number of management companies used by the police and National Highways for vehicle recovery operations.

Details of the contracts and of the obligations between the parties to those contracts, are between the police, National Highways and individual contractors or managing agents whom the police and National Highways employ to run schemes on their behalf. These, and any other arrangements that might be made for vehicle recovery are operational matters for the police and Highways England.

The Home Office met with representatives of the recovery industry on 11 August to listen to their concerns. We advised the representatives that vehicle recovery contracts continue to be operational matters between the police, National Highways and individual recovery operators.

The Home Office’s role is limited to setting the statutory charges which the Police and National Highways can levy when they have exercised their recovery powers.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the additional costs associated with the roadside removal and storage of electric vehicles compared to ICE vehicles; and if she will make a statement.

No assessment has been made of the validity of recovery industry reports that police authorities are imposing fees on recovery operators nor of the additional costs associated with the roadside removal and storage of electric vehicles compared to ICE vehicles.

Data on the volume of vehicles recovered and how much revenue is accrued or allocated in vehicle recovery fees is not routinely collected by the Home Office.

The Home Office is currently running a consultation to assess the current statutory fees and whether new levels of charges should be applied to the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles in England and Wales. These charges will apply where the police have cause to remove or recover a vehicle in particular sets of circumstances. This consultation does not cover the way in which the police use their powers to order vehicle removal, or the operation of recovery schemes and contracts. These are matters between the police and individual recovery operators.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much money has been raised from statutory fees to contribute to police funding in each year since the last Government review in 2008.

No assessment has been made of the validity of recovery industry reports that police authorities are imposing fees on recovery operators nor of the additional costs associated with the roadside removal and storage of electric vehicles compared to ICE vehicles.

Data on the volume of vehicles recovered and how much revenue is accrued or allocated in vehicle recovery fees is not routinely collected by the Home Office.

The Home Office is currently running a consultation to assess the current statutory fees and whether new levels of charges should be applied to the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles in England and Wales. These charges will apply where the police have cause to remove or recover a vehicle in particular sets of circumstances. This consultation does not cover the way in which the police use their powers to order vehicle removal, or the operation of recovery schemes and contracts. These are matters between the police and individual recovery operators.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much of the statutory fees for recovery operations is allocated to (a) Highways England, (b) police forces, (c) management agencies and (d) recovery operators who carry out that work; and if she will make a statement.

No assessment has been made of the validity of recovery industry reports that police authorities are imposing fees on recovery operators nor of the additional costs associated with the roadside removal and storage of electric vehicles compared to ICE vehicles.

Data on the volume of vehicles recovered and how much revenue is accrued or allocated in vehicle recovery fees is not routinely collected by the Home Office.

The Home Office is currently running a consultation to assess the current statutory fees and whether new levels of charges should be applied to the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles in England and Wales. These charges will apply where the police have cause to remove or recover a vehicle in particular sets of circumstances. This consultation does not cover the way in which the police use their powers to order vehicle removal, or the operation of recovery schemes and contracts. These are matters between the police and individual recovery operators.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the validity of recovery industry reports that police authorities are imposing fees of up to £50 plus VAT on recovery operators through statutory fees; and if she will make a statement.

No assessment has been made of the validity of recovery industry reports that police authorities are imposing fees on recovery operators nor of the additional costs associated with the roadside removal and storage of electric vehicles compared to ICE vehicles.

Data on the volume of vehicles recovered and how much revenue is accrued or allocated in vehicle recovery fees is not routinely collected by the Home Office.

The Home Office is currently running a consultation to assess the current statutory fees and whether new levels of charges should be applied to the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles in England and Wales. These charges will apply where the police have cause to remove or recover a vehicle in particular sets of circumstances. This consultation does not cover the way in which the police use their powers to order vehicle removal, or the operation of recovery schemes and contracts. These are matters between the police and individual recovery operators.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the passport office will reinstate the passport renewal service that was suspended during the covid-19 outbreak; and id will she make a statement.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office has continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the processing of passport renewal applications has not ceased during this period.

Face-to-face passport services were suspended on 24 March. We will determine when they will resume in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government plans to permit local authorities to allow reimbursement of fees for the annual premises licence; and what guidance the Government has issued to local authorities on the reimbursement or reduction of those fees during the covid-19 outbreak.

Kit Malthouse, the Minister for Crime and Policing, wrote to the chairs of the licensing committees on 8 April about issues arising from the coronavirus outbreak. He set out an expectation that where a business was unable to pay the charge for reasons related to coronavirus then the licensing authority should exercise its discretion to delay suspending the licence. This would allow the business to continue selling alcohol until it was able to pay.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to (a) protect and (b) subsequently test police officers who are involved in policing demonstrations where demonstrators are failing to abide by the Government’s social distancing measures; and if she will make a statement.

Our emergency services are doing a fantastic job keeping us safe, using their professional judgement to protect our NHS and save lives. We are committed to ensuring the police have the powers, resources and equipment they need to do their crucial work.

The Government recognises the importance of Personal Protective Equipment for all of those on the frontline. As of 29 May, the National Police Co-ordination Centre (NPoCC) have distributed 345,733 masks to police forces across the country over the last two weeks. In total, 20,098,314 pieces of PPE have been procured and will be delivered over the following weeks. Over the course of this week, NPoCC is also set to supply over 200,000 masks and continue to receive additional stock to support forces.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) have confirmed that police currently have a good supply of PPE and they are working to oversee its distribution to forces. The NPCC have issued guidance to all forces on the use of PPE tailored to their unique role to ensure officers and staff are protected sufficiently.

Testing continues to be available to all symptomatic police officers. This enables staff to be able to determine if they should remain isolated or can come back to the workplace in the immediate term. This is vital for our frontline resilience in areas such as policing, fire and Border Force.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he has received representations on Derbyshire constabulary advising firearms licence holders not to contact hon Members in relation to the firearms licensing system operated by Derbyshire Police.

The Home Office has not received representations from the public about Derbyshire constabulary advising firearms licence holders to refrain from contacting their Member of Parliament about licensing matters. We are aware that the ‘Derbyshire Alert’ community messaging system recently carried a post inviting firearms applicants to contact the force licensing department directly for advice on current processes for firearms licensing, and in particular in relation to background medical checks. This does not, of course, prevent any member of the public from contacting their MP about any matter of concern

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on firearms licensing compiled by constabularies on the advice given by the Chairman of the National Police Chief Council's firearms and explosives committee.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for the police who are not required to provide information on their decisions in individual cases to the Home Office. Similarly, it is open to the National Police Chiefs’ Council to provide advice or information to police forces relating to firearms licensing. We do, however, have regular discussions with the police, including the National Police Chiefs’ Council, about matters relating to firearms licensing.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department,what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of medical verification of firearms licencing on trends in the number of people applying for a grant or renewal of a (a) shotgun certificate and (b) firearms certificate.

The police are responsible for assessing the suitability of those who apply for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, and this includes checks relating to the medical suitability, based on information from the applicant’s GP. This is an important part of the process, as it helps to ensure that those who have lawful access to firearms do not pose a risk to themselves or to others.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations she has received from coroners on the involvement of medical practitioners in firearms licensing in each of the last 10 years.

Representations received from coroners have helped to inform the discussions we have had with interested parties on strengthening the medical arrangements for firearms licensing. These representations have, in particular, highlighted the importance of the police having sight of medical information from a firearm applicant’s GP prior to granting of a licence, and for the need for a firearms marker to be placed on patient records so that GPs can advise the police if a person begins to suffer from a relevant medical condition while their licence is valid.

Following discussions with police, medical and shooting representatives, new medical arrangements were introduced in 2016 so that medical information would be requested from GPs prior to issuing of a firearms licence and GPs asked to place the firearms marker on patient records.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason her Department held discussions on the role of GPs in firearms licensing with the British Medical Association and not the General Medical Council.

Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. It is, however, the case that we have discussed the involvement of medical professionals in firearms licensing procedures with representatives of the medical profession, including the General Medical Council and the British Medical Association, and we will continue to do so, as appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she publish the (a) dates and (b) outcomes of the meetings held by (a) Ministers in her Department and (b) officials in her Department with representatives from the General Medical Council on the medical involvement in firearms licensing since May 2016.

Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings. It is, however, the case that we have discussed the involvement of medical professionals in firearms licensing procedures with a range of interested parties including the police, representatives of the medical profession, including the General Medical Council, and shooting organisations including the British Shooting Sports Council and the Countryside Alliance, and we shall continue to do so, as appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the (a) dates and (b) outcomes of the meetings held by (i) Ministers in her Department and (ii) officials in her Department with representatives from police forces on the medical involvement in firearms licensing since May 2016.

Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings. It is, however, the case that we have discussed the involvement of medical professionals in firearms licensing procedures with a range of interested parties including the police, representatives of the medical profession, including the General Medical Council, and shooting organisations including the British Shooting Sports Council and the Countryside Alliance, and we shall continue to do so, as appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she publish the (a) dates and (b) outcomes of the meetings held by (a) Ministers in her Department and (b) officials in her Department with representatives from the British Shooting Sports Council on the medical involvement in firearms licensing since May 2016.

Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings. It is, however, the case that we have discussed the involvement of medical professionals in firearms licensing procedures with a range of interested parties including the police, representatives of the medical profession, including the General Medical Council, and shooting organisations including the British Shooting Sports Council and the Countryside Alliance, and we shall continue to do so, as appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she publish the (a) dates and (b) outcomes of the meetings held by (a) Ministers in her Department and (b) officials in her Department with representatives from the Countryside Alliance on the medical involvement in firearms licensing since May 2016.

Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings. It is, however, the case that we have discussed the involvement of medical professionals in firearms licensing procedures with a range of interested parties including the police, representatives of the medical profession, including the General Medical Council, and shooting organisations including the British Shooting Sports Council and the Countryside Alliance, and we shall continue to do so, as appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on the placing of markers on the medical notes of those granted shotgun and firearms certificates; and if she will make a statement.

The police are responsible for assessing the suitability of those who apply for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability based on information from the applicant’s GP.

Use of the firearms marker on GP patient records enables the GP to advise the police if a person begins to suffer from a relevant medical condition while their firearms certificate is valid, enabling the police to review their suitability. The Government is supportive of the use of the medical marker as a means of helping to ensure firearms licences are held safely.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she place in the library the results of the pilot trials on placing markers on firearms certificate holders' medical notes that were conducted in Essex and Wiltshire.

The firearms marker on a GP’s patient’s record enables the GP to advise the police if a licensed firearm or shotgun holder begins to suffer from a relevant medical condition while their firearm certificate is valid. Trials testing the medical arrangements took place in Essex and Wiltshire prior to the introduction of a new system in 2016. The results of the trials were not placed in the House Library but were made available to, and were considered by, the members of the working group developing the medical arrangements, including police, medical and shooting representatives. The Government is supportive of the use of the medical marker as a means of helping to ensure that firearm certificates are held safely.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of the 2016 Home Office Guidance on firearms licensing.

The Home Office Guide on Firearms Licensing Law is intended to assist the police and other interested parties in applying and complying with firearms legislation. The guidance is underpinned by the publication of the Authorised Professional Practice for Firearms Licensing which was published in April 2014 through the College of Policing.

The guidance is currently under review so that all legislative amendments made to our firearms controls can be incorporated. A range of interested parties have been consulted about potential changes.

In addition, the Policing and Crime Act 2017 introduced a power to enable the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance to the police on their firearms licensing functions. The Government has consulted on the introduction of this guidance, which will bring greater consistency to firearms licensing across England, Wales and Scotland. The Government will publish its response to the consultation and the statutory guidance in due course. Once published, the police will be required to have regard to the statutory guidance.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has provided to the Chairman of the National Police Chief Council's firearms and explosives committee on firearms licensing by constabularies.

The Government has not issued guidance specifically to the National Police Chiefs’ Council on firearms licensing. However, in accordance with section 133 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, the Secretary of State must consult the National Police Chiefs' Council and the chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland before issuing statutory guidance to the police on firearms licensing. Such consultation will take place before this guidance is issued.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what powers her Department has to specify the practice to be adopted by constabularies on firearms licensing.

While firearms licensing is an operational matter for the police, the Policing and Crime Act 2017 allows the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance to the police on their firearms licensing functions which police forces will be required to have regard to. The Government has consulted on the introduction of this guidance and we will publish a response to that consultation, and the statutory guidance, in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what ongoing monitoring her Department undertakes to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of firearms licensing by individual police constabularies.

Firearms licensing is an operational for the police and the Government does not monitor individual licensing decisions. The Government has provided guidance to the police on the exercise of their firearms licensing functions, and we have consulted on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police on this issue, which will help to ensure greater consistency in practice across all police forces.

The Government publishes statistics on firearms and shotgun certificates issued by police forces in England and Wales. The most recent statistics, for the period April 2018 to March 2019 can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812296/statistics-firearm-shotgun-certificates-england-wales-2018-2019-hosb0919.pdf.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data her Department collects on the effectiveness and efficiency of firearms licensing by individual police constabularies.

Firearms licensing is an operational for the police and the Government does not monitor individual licensing decisions. The Government has provided guidance to the police on the exercise of their firearms licensing functions, and we have consulted on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police on this issue, which will help to ensure greater consistency in practice across all police forces.

The Government publishes statistics on firearms and shotgun certificates issued by police forces in England and Wales. The most recent statistics, for the period April 2018 to March 2019 can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812296/statistics-firearm-shotgun-certificates-england-wales-2018-2019-hosb0919.pdf.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the number of people that have been prosecuted for making a false declaration in respect of their medical condition on applications for shotgun and firearm certificates in each of the last five years.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for police forces. The police are not required to provide data to the Home Office about how the medical checks are conducted or the response from GPs. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability. As part of this process, GPs are asked to provide information about whether the applicant has suffered from a number of relevant medical conditions.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police, which includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the number of GPs that comply with its guidance on firearms licensing by placing markers on the medical notes of firearms certificate holders.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for police forces. The police are not required to provide data to the Home Office about how the medical checks are conducted or the response from GPs. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability. As part of this process, GPs are asked to provide information about whether the applicant has suffered from a number of relevant medical conditions.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police, which includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the number of GPs who refuse to engage in the firearms certification process on grounds of conscientious objection.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for police forces. The police are not required to provide data to the Home Office about how the medical checks are conducted or the response from GPs. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability. As part of this process, GPs are asked to provide information about whether the applicant has suffered from a number of relevant medical conditions.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police, which includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the range of charges levied by GPs for completing verification forms for the purposes of firearms licensing.

The police are responsible for assessing the suitability of those who apply for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability based on information from the applicant’s GP.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police to bring greater consistency to licensing practice across the country. This includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate.

An impact assessment on the proposed medical arrangements was published alongside the consultation document. This made reference to a range of fees being charged by some GPs to provide the medical information. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the legal liability is of a GP involved in the medical verification of a firearms licence form; and if she will make a statement.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for police forces. The police are not required to provide data to the Home Office about how the medical checks are conducted or the response from GPs. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability. As part of this process, GPs are asked to provide information about whether the applicant has suffered from a number of relevant medical conditions.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police, which includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data her Department holds on the number of police constabularies that accept medical verification forms for firearms licences that have been completed by medical staff of a general practice other than a GP.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for police forces. The police are not required to provide data to the Home Office about how the medical checks are conducted or the response from GPs. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability. As part of this process, GPs are asked to provide information about whether the applicant has suffered from a number of relevant medical conditions.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police, which includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will list the meetings held since May 2016 by (a) Ministers and (b) officials of her Department with representatives of the British Medical Association on the matter of the involvement of medical professionals with respect to firearms licensing.

Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and as was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. It is, however, the case that we have discussed the involvement of medical professionals in firearms licensing procedures with representatives of the police, the medical profession and shooting organisations and we shall continue to do so, as appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, she will list the meetings held since May 2016 by (a) Ministers and (b) officials of her Department with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation on the matter of the involvement of medical professionals with respect to firearms licensing.

Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and as was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. It is, however, the case that we have discussed the involvement of medical professionals in firearms licensing procedures with representatives of the police, the medical profession and shooting organisations and we shall continue to do so, as appropriate.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information she holds on the proportion of firearms licensing applications for grant and renewal which require further inquiries into the medical health of applicants.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for police forces. The police are not required to provide data to the Home Office about how the medical checks are conducted or the response from GPs. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability. As part of this process, GPs are asked to provide information about whether the applicant has suffered from a number of relevant medical conditions.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police, which includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to ensure that medical involvement in firearms licensing conforms her Department's guidance on firearms licensing.

The police are responsible for assessing the suitability of those who apply for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability based on information from the applicant’s GP.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police to bring greater consistency to licensing practice across the country. This includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate.

An impact assessment on the proposed medical arrangements was published alongside the consultation document. This made reference to a range of fees being charged by some GPs to provide the medical information. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what impact assessment was undertaken on the potential effect of the introduction of GP verification on levels of participation in the shooting community.

The police are responsible for assessing the suitability of those who apply for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability based on information from the applicant’s GP.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police to bring greater consistency to licensing practice across the country. This includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate.

An impact assessment on the proposed medical arrangements was published alongside the consultation document. This made reference to a range of fees being charged by some GPs to provide the medical information. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the introduction by police constabularies of GP verification of firearms licensing.

The police are responsible for assessing the suitability of those who apply for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate. The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability based on information from the applicant’s GP.

The Government has consulted on the introduction of new statutory firearms guidance to police to bring greater consistency to licensing practice across the country. This includes proposals for revised medical arrangements to ensure that police have the medical information they require before the grant of a certificate.

An impact assessment on the proposed medical arrangements was published alongside the consultation document. This made reference to a range of fees being charged by some GPs to provide the medical information. The consultation closed on 17 September and the Government will publish its response and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect on the NHS of police forces requiring medical verification for firearms licensing applications from GPs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that firearms licensing arrangements, including the medical aspects, will be affected by the measures that have been put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to avoid placing any additional or unnecessary burdens on the NHS, and police forces may need to adopt a flexible approach to meet local need and risk in the current exceptional circumstances, with some impact on firearms licensing arrangements. The Government will continue to have discussions with the police to keep firearms licensing under review over the coming weeks and months.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to reduce the number of reservists in the armed forces.

There are no plans to reduce the number of reservists in the Armed Forces.

We are continuing to recruit reservists through active and targeted campaigns. Our plan is that over the next decade, our reservists will be given new, more clearly defined roles to make the best use of our resources and to harness the talents of wider UK society.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 157035, what estimate he has made of the cost of upgrading the A400M to undertake the roles and duties of C-130J fleet.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 1 March 2021 in response to Question 157035.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on capability of the early retirement of the C-130J; and if he will make a statement.

Any decision on the out of service date for the C130J Fleet is subject to the Integrated Review (IR). The intention of the IR is to modernise our Armed Forces to ensure they have the capabilities they need to counter both current threats and those of the future. Any decision on future capabilities will be driven by those principles.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what roles the C130J performs that the A400M would not be able to perform following its proposed upgrade.

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question 142765 on 28 January 2021 to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury Mr Laurence Robertson.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the different missions, capabilities and roles of the (a) C-130J and (b) A400M.

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question 142765 on 28 January 2021 to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury Mr Laurence Robertson.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking in response to British service men and women being investigated and prosecuted for their service on Operation Banner; and if he will make a statement.

This Government is committed to ending vexatious claims as quickly as possible. We are working closely with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland towards this objective. As set out in his Written Ministerial Statement, he has committed to bringing forward legacy legislation which will deliver for victims and ensure Northern Ireland veterans are treated as fairly as those who served overseas. He will engage with colleagues from across the House as part of this process.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what guidance his Department is providing to local planning authorities on local plans that are constrained as a result of pressures on the Green Belt.

We have published planning practice guidance which sets out how authorities should consider the constraints, such as Green Belt, when determining the suitability, availability and achievability of sites within their plan, and which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/housing-and-economic-land-availability-assessment.

This Government is committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt, in line with our manifesto. The National Planning Policy Framework outlines strong protections for Green Belt land, and states that a Green Belt boundary may be altered only in exceptional circumstances, through the local plan process. A local authority should consider releasing land from Green Belt only if it can evidence that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its development needs. The local authority should demonstrate that it has used as much brownfield land as possible, optimised densities, and discussed with neighbouring authorities whether they could accommodate some of the development required.

The Framework strongly encourages the re-use of brownfield, especially for housing, to relieve some of the pressure to consider other land, including Green Belt. It says that local authorities should give substantial weight to the value of redeveloping suitable brownfield sites, including development above transport infrastructure. Communities are also expected to consider gentle densification within settlements to provide more developable land.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress he has made in bringing forward legislative proposals to establish a new Building Safety Regulator as announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

The Building Safety Bill was published in draft on 20 July 2020 and has undergone pre-legislative scrutiny by the HCLG Select Committee. The Government has been considering the Committee’s report and recommendations and will introduce the Bill as soon as Parliamentary time allows. In addition, we have already established the Building Safety Regulator in shadow form within the Health and Safety Executive. The shadow Building Safety Regulator is primarily focused on developing, and preparing for, the new regulatory regime


Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he plans to publish legislative proposals on ending vexatious claims against Northern Ireland veterans to ensure that there is equal treatment of Northern Ireland veterans and those who served overseas as outlined in his Written Statement of 18 March 2020, Addressing Northern Ireland Legacy Issues, HCWS 168.

The Government has been clear that it will bring forward legislation to address the legacy of the Troubles that focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims, and ends the cycle of investigations. We are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders as part of this process and are committed to making progress as quickly as possible.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)