Mohammad Yasin Portrait

Mohammad Yasin

Labour - Bedford

First elected: 8th June 2017



Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
09:25
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
28 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Non-Domestic Rating (Rates Retention: Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
09:25
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
28 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Non-Domestic Rating (Rates Retention: Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Monday 4th March 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 11th March 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
11 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 22nd April 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 29th April 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
29 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Ceasefire in Gaza
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 173 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
Speeches
Thursday 8th February 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
T6. Bedford borough could become the home of the only Universal Studios theme park in Europe, bringing enormous prosperity and …
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Bedford Prison: Segregation of Prisoners
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he expects the new segregation unit at HMP Bedford to be …
Early Day Motions
Monday 19th February 2024
Bleed kits
That this House notes that in the region of 19,000 people die after injury each year in the UK; further …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 16th October 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar
Address of donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Almirqab …
EDM signed
Thursday 8th February 2024
Support for bereaved children
That this House notes with sadness that, on average, a child loses a parent every 20 minutes in the UK; …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 11th November 2020
Supported Housing (Regulation) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to regulate supported housing; to make provision about local authority oversight and the enforcement of standards of accommodation …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Mohammad Yasin has voted in 722 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Mohammad Yasin voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Labour No votes vs 124 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
View All Mohammad Yasin 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(23 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(14 debate interactions)
Steve Barclay (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(9 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(34 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(25 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(24 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(23 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Health and Social Care Levy Act 2021
(522 words contributed)
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
(397 words contributed)
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View all Mohammad Yasin's debates

Bedford 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).

Mohammad Yasin has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Mohammad Yasin

19th February 2024
Mohammad Yasin signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 14th February 2024

Bleed kits

Tabled by: Mohammad Yasin (Labour - Bedford)
That this House notes that in the region of 19,000 people die after injury each year in the UK; further notes that it is the leading cause of death among young adults up to 40 years and children in the country; recognises the positive impact of bleed kits as a …
1 signatures
(Most recent: 14 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 1
5th February 2024
Mohammad Yasin signed this EDM on Thursday 8th February 2024

Support for bereaved children

Tabled by: Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat - Edinburgh West)
That this House notes with sadness that, on average, a child loses a parent every 20 minutes in the UK; further notes with concern that support services have no way of knowing exactly how many children suffer a bereavement each year, or where they live; recognises the work of charities …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 19 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 7
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Labour: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Mohammad Yasin's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mohammad Yasin, 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.


Mohammad Yasin has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Mohammad Yasin

Thursday 30th November 2023

Mohammad Yasin has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


138 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
1 Other Department Questions
19th Oct 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on the effectiveness of the Windrush Compensation Scheme for affected groups.

Since April 2019, the Windrush Compensation Scheme has paid over £67 million in compensation.

The Scheme has reduced the time to allocate a claim for a substantive casework consideration, following completion of eligibility checks and a Preliminary Assessment, from 18 months to under 5 months.

The Home Office continues to listen to feedback from stakeholders and the communities and make improvements the scheme and the way it operates to ensure people receive the maximum compensation at the earliest point possible.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to help encourage the manufacture of new zero-emission aircraft.

As part of the Jet Zero Strategy, government co-invests in zero-carbon aircraft technology through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme. To date, it has supported collaborative R&D projects totalling over £500m which will help develop new and enabling technologies for zero emission aircraft.

Government provided a £15m grant to the ATI-led FlyZero project, which found that green liquid hydrogen offers the greatest potential to power future zero-carbon emission aircraft. Building on FlyZero, government is funding the ATI-led ‘Hydrogen Capability Network Phase 0 Project’ to accelerate the development of liquid hydrogen propulsion aircraft technologies, capabilities and skills in the UK.

Government also set up the Jet Zero Council, a partnership with industry to drive the ambitious delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions. It includes a focused Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group to advise on how government and industry can put the UK in a leading position in the race to achieve zero emission flight.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what plans she has to support (a) the Ants Group and (b) other renewable energy companies to help achieve the Government’s net zero targets by 2030.

The Government recognises the important roles that renewables developers, contractors and suppliers play in contributing to the achievement of its net zero targets.

The Government has provided significant additional funding for renewable energy projects this autumn. Provisions include support via the next Contracts for Difference Allocation Round, funding for renewables manufacturing, and investment tax measures.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of some utility companies prohibiting payment of bills at high street banks and post offices on affected customers; and whether her Department is taking steps to help support people who do not have access to online and telephone banking to set up direct debits with their utility suppliers.

The Supply Licence requires suppliers to offer a wide choice of payment methods and must include payment by cash and in advance through Pre-payment Metres. Some suppliers have stopped providing a Giro Payment slip on bills to encourage customers to switch to online or telephone banking, but these suppliers must provide a giro payment if requested in-line with their Supplier Licence Conditions.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing service standards with timescales for the repayment of accumulated credit on live energy accounts.

Ofgem rules state that consumers can ask for their credit on an open energy account to be refunded at any time. Suppliers are required to comply with refund requests in a timely manner unless it is fair and reasonable for them to refuse.

In February 2023, Ofgem completed a Market Compliance Review on Direct Debits. Through this intervention they secured supplier improvements in relation to credit balance arrangements, including improved refund timescales ensuring consumer credit balances are returned promptly when requested, and the creation of formal Direct Debit and Credit Balance Refund policies where these did not previously exist.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to help protect employees from (a) tracking surveillance and (b) covert monitoring.

Monitoring of employees by employers must not breach the duty of trust and confidence implied into an employee's contract of employment and must comply with the European Convention of Human Rights, Data Protection legislation and Equality Act 2010. Employers are neither expressly permitted to monitor employees, nor are they prohibited from doing so.

Organisations that process workers’ personal data for the purposes of monitoring their activities or surveillance must comply with the requirements of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (‘UK GDPR’) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (‘DPA’). This means that the data processing must be fair, lawful and transparent.

The UK GDPR and the DPA are administered and enforced independently of the government by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO publishes a range of advice and guidance for organisations on their data protection obligations.

The ICO have been consulting on draft guidance on the data protection considerations which are likely to be relevant if an employer is minded to use tracking or surveillance technologies to monitor the activities of employees. The draft guidance discusses the need for employers to make workers aware of the nature, extent and reasons for the monitoring unless exceptional circumstances mean that covert monitoring is necessary. The draft guidance, entitled Employment practices: monitoring at work can be viewed on the ICO’s website.

23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to reduce petrol and diesel prices.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Strangford on 17th June 2022 to Question 14492.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of taking steps to ensure that streaming services that allow users to subscribe on devices also allow subscribers to cancel on those same devices.

On 20 April 2022, the Government published its response to the consultation ‘Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy – Driving growth and delivering competitive markets that work for consumers’. The response reaffirmed our commitment to boosting consumer rights and preventing scams and rip-offs, including proposals to make subscriptions easier to exit. The Government will legislate to implement the reforms when Parliamentary time is available.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the use of fossil fuelled boilers; and if he will introduce targets to phase them out.

In order to meet our net zero commitment, we must transition away from fossil fuel heating systems. We are developing policies to support the deployment of low carbon heating supporting consumers financially to help them transition away from fossil fuel heating through initiatives such as the Renewable Heat Incentive. We are spending £2.8bn between 2018 and 2021 through the Renewable Heat Incentive, to support the deployment of low carbon technologies such as heat pumps.

We also recently launched the Green Homes Grant vouchers scheme meaning homeowners and residential landlords can receive up to £5000 towards the installation of an approved low carbon heating measure. In due course we shall be setting out our proposals for the decarbonisation of heat in the Heat and Building Strategy.

In addition, in the Future Homes Standards consultation, which closed 7 February, we proposed that new homes should have 75-80% fewer CO2?emissions than ones built to current building regulation standards.?This will not be achievable using conventional gas boilers in new build properties. We will respond to this consultation in due course.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will provide additional financial support to firms that are developing the next generation of low carbon aircraft.

Technology and innovation are important for growing the UK’s aerospace sector. Through the Aerospace Growth Partnership, the Government and industry are investing a total of £3.9 billion from 2013 to 2026 in aerospace research and development. Funding is directed by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Strategy, which focuses on developing future aircraft while reducing the environmental impacts of aviation and raising the competitiveness of the UK sector.

We are also investing a further £300 million in the Future Flight Challenge, which provides funding to develop future air transport systems that will include electric and autonomous flight.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will take steps to tackle the deteriorating condition of park tennis courts in England.

Sports and physical activity providers and facilities are at the heart of our communities, and play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Having access to high quality facilities is central to this.

Through the pandemic, Sport England has provided £220million directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres, via a range of funds including their £35million Community Emergency Fund. This includes 164 awards to tennis totalling £787,879 through Covid funding since March 2020. Sport England also invested £2,084,948 in the Lawn Tennis Association as part of the rollover of NGB national funding in 2021/22.

In January 2021, Sport England also published their strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’ and as part of this have committed an extra £50million to help grassroots sports clubs and organisations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Beyond Covid, Sport England has awarded £14,807,641 to tennis projects since 2017, 101 of which had elements of capital investment (totalling £2,474,618). Sport England also made 578 awards to multi-sport projects (totalling £38,199,899) where tennis is expected to benefit in the same period.

The Government continues to work closely with the Lawn Tennis Association and local partners to support the maintenance and development of these facilities.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the condition of park tennis courts in England.

Sports and physical activity providers and facilities are at the heart of our communities, and play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Having access to high quality facilities is central to this.

Through the pandemic, Sport England has provided £220million directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres, via a range of funds including their £35million Community Emergency Fund. This includes 164 awards to tennis totalling £787,879 through Covid funding since March 2020. Sport England also invested £2,084,948 in the Lawn Tennis Association as part of the rollover of NGB national funding in 2021/22.

In January 2021, Sport England also published their strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’ and as part of this have committed an extra £50million to help grassroots sports clubs and organisations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Beyond Covid, Sport England has awarded £14,807,641 to tennis projects since 2017, 101 of which had elements of capital investment (totalling £2,474,618). Sport England also made 578 awards to multi-sport projects (totalling £38,199,899) where tennis is expected to benefit in the same period.

The Government continues to work closely with the Lawn Tennis Association and local partners to support the maintenance and development of these facilities.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will extend the six-month deadline for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund where lockdown measures introduced in November 2020 and from January 2021 have delayed recipients from making use of these funds as intended.

The Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) is a £200million grant scheme which helped organisations to meet service costs where they were experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. Funding is distributed and administered by The National Lottery Community Support Fund (TNLCF).

Under the terms of the scheme, all funding had to be distributed and spent by recipients in the 2020/21 financial year. TNLCF began awarding grants in early July 2020 and, as of 15 March 2021, 99.9% of the funding had been disbursed to over 8,000 organisations.

Grant agreements are between TNLCF and grantees, and grants were initially intended to cover a six month period. However, successive lockdowns put additional pressure on charities to deliver, and not all projects were able to go ahead as envisaged. Where this was the case, TNLCF encouraged flexibility within terms of the grant agreement to help grantees adapt and continue to deliver their ambitions. This included some extensions to grants where appropriate.

19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the proportion of the £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund which must be repaid by recipients after the six month deadlines expire; and if he will make a statement.

The Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) is a £200million grant scheme which helped organisations to meet service costs where they were experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. Funding is distributed and administered by The National Lottery Community Support Fund (TNLCF).

Under the terms of the scheme, all funding had to be distributed and spent by recipients in the 2020/21 financial year. TNLCF began awarding grants in early July 2020 and, as of 15 March 2021, 99.9% of the funding had been disbursed to over 8,000 organisations.

Grant agreements are between TNLCF and grantees, and grants were initially intended to cover a six month period. However, successive lockdowns put additional pressure on charities to deliver, and not all projects were able to go ahead as envisaged. Where this was the case, TNLCF encouraged flexibility within terms of the grant agreement to help grantees adapt and continue to deliver their ambitions. This included some extensions to grants where appropriate.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government's guidance on searching for archaeological finds in England during COVID-19, what evidence basis his Department used to determine that metal detecting could continue in public outdoor spaces but not on privately owned land during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

The Guidance on searching for archaeological finds in England during Covid-19 (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-searching-for-archaeological-finds-in-england-during-covid-19) on the gov.uk website explains how the legal restrictions in force in England from 5 November under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)(England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 impact the activity of metal detecting. In particular, the guidance outlines the effect of the restriction on leaving home without reasonable excuse (under regulation 5), and the exception to that restriction (in regulation 6(2)(d)) which permits a person to visit a "public outdoor place" for the purposes of open air recreation." The definition of a “public outdoor place” for this purpose does not include privately owned land to which the general public does not have access.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how she plans to measure the effectiveness of the SEND change programme.

In March 2023, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan committed to testing a suite of SEND and AP policy proposals. The Change Programme is a vehicle for testing these proposals. Since the Change Programme launched in September 2023, the department has been working with the Change Programme authorities, including Bedford which is the lead local authority for the East of England Change Programme Partnership (CPP).

The effectiveness of the Change Programme will be measured through a formal independent evaluation for which the department has appointed an independent evaluator to conduct a process and implementation evaluation of the SEND and AP Change Programme as a whole. The evaluation will help the department understand which elements of the change programme are working well or less well and help shape suitable recommendations for improving ongoing delivery and future policy and practice.

As the Change Programme partnerships test the reforms they will feedback as to what is and is not working.

This feedback loop, led by the department and the change programme delivery partner, REACh, will not only help understand effectiveness but will also allow the department to share any early insights into the effectivity of reforms more widely. Feedback is received through the department’s frequent meetings with REACh.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary schools in (a) Bedford constituency and (b) England employ a play or creative arts therapist.

The 2022 Schools White Paper sets out the Government’s plan for all schools to provide safe, calm and supportive school environments, with targeted academic, pastoral and specialist support, helping children and young people to fulfil their potential.

It is for schools to decide what support or therapies they provide, considering the needs of their pupils. The information requested is not held by the Department.

The roles of staff employed by schools is collected as part of the annual School Workforce Census each November. The data can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

Data from the November 2022 census is currently being collected and will be published in the summer of 2023.

8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the Period product scheme for schools and colleges in England to also include higher education institutions.

The Period Products Scheme launched in January 2020 and has recently been extended until July 2024. Within the first two years of the scheme, 94% of secondary schools and 90% of post-16 organisations had ordered products at least once. Higher Education providers are autonomous bodies, and it is up to them how they meet their students’ needs. This can include providing discretionary financial support where required, which can be used to cover the purchase of period products.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the reading and spelling levels of children taught through (a) the phonics approach and (b) alternative methods.

There is significant evidence that systematic phonics works better than other methods for teaching early reading. In 2005, the Department commissioned a review into the teaching of early learning and the report from the review, led by Sir Jim Rose, was published in 2006. The Rose Review recommended that systematic phonics should be the prime approach for teaching children to read.

The review can be found here: https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/5551/2/report.pdf.

A review on phonics was carried out by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Sutton Trust who are, together, the Government-designated What Works Centre for Education. They found that phonics is more effective on average than other approaches for early reading, when embedded in a rich literacy environment. Systematic phonics consistently supports younger readers to master the basics and the EEF considers it the most secure area of pedagogy.

The review can be found here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/teaching-learning-toolkit/phonics.

The Department is committed to raising literacy standards, ensuring all children can read fluently and with understanding. Since 2010, the Government has accelerated the effective teaching of phonics, by placing it right at the heart of the curriculum. This has included introducing the annual phonics screening check (PSC) in 2012 for pupils at the end of year 1 and changing the national curriculum published in 2013 which requires schools to teach reading using systematic phonics. In 2019, 82% of 6-year-olds met the expected phonics standard, compared to 58% in 2012. Success in phonics is also predictive of later reading comprehension.

In 2016, England recorded its highest ever score in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, with a significant improvement compared to 2006 and 2011. This improvement is largely attributable to increases in the average performance of lower performing pupils and boys. These results followed a greater focus on reading in the primary curriculum, and a particular focus on phonics.

In 2018, the Department also launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 34 English Hubs in the programme are primary schools which excel at teaching early reading. The Department has since invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure.

The teaching of reading now also receives greater focus in Ofsted’s inspection framework.

In 2021/22 the academic year, the Department introduced the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) to act as a baseline for primary progress measures at the end of key stage 2. The assessment will help determine a pupil’s experience prior to primary school, which will be influenced by various factors. At present there are no plans to publish interim progress measures as there is currently no data to assess the pupil’s progress in phonics between the RBA and PSC (the first cohort to have taken the RBA will complete their PSC in June 2023).

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the announcement of 2 January 2022 entitled More support to keep pupils in the classroom, how many of the 7,000 air purifiers his Department has delivered to schools; and how much of the £25 million funding committed for CO2 monitors has been (a) delivered and (b) spent as of 13 July 2022.

As of 24 June 2022, there were 8,026 department-funded air cleaning units and 386,699 department-funded CO2 monitors delivered to state-funded education providers.

A total of £23,933,979.60 (including VAT) has been spent on CO2 monitors in this contract.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure accommodation for homeless and looked after 16 and 17 year olds is regulated and safe.

We have consulted on a set of ambitious proposals to reform unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers, including how to enforce new national standards for providers to drive up quality, keeping young people safer and delivering better outcomes. We will be responding to this consultation and setting out our plans for ensuring the high-quality of unregulated semi-independent and independent accommodation in due course. Our proposals are available here:
https://consult.education.gov.uk/unregulated-provision/unregulated-provision-children-in-care/.

The government is clear that any 16- or 17-year-old who is homeless, or threatened with homelessness, must be assessed by children’s services, as set in the statutory guidance. This guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/provision-of-accommodation-for-16-and-17-year-olds-who-may-be-homeless-and-or-require-accommodation.

Every child, who children’s services have a duty to accommodate, will have to be placed in a setting that meets the new national standards. There are only 2 circumstances in which a local authority might find that a homeless young person should be accommodated by homelessness services under the Housing Act rather than by children’s services under section 20 of the Children’s Act. These are where the young person is either:

  1. Not a child in need.
  2. A 16- or 17-year-old child in need who, having been properly and fully advised of the implications and having the capacity to reach a decision, has decided that they do not want to be accommodated under section 20.

In those circumstances, where a young person is accommodated by homelessness services under the Housing Act rather than by children’s services, the department will continue to work together with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local communities, the government and with sector experts, to ensure this group of young people get the right support and accommodation they need.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support and activities will be available to vulnerable children during the summer holidays in 2020.

The summer period is a time of increased risk and vulnerability for many children and young people, which is why across government we have looked to strengthen our existing provisions to meet vulnerable young people’s needs over the summer period.

The Holiday Activities and Food programme, backed by £9 million of investment, will provide free healthy meals and enriching activities to thousands of disadvantaged children throughout the summer of 2020, building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes.

As well as the Holiday Activities and Food programme, we are providing food vouchers for disadvantaged children through the COVID Summer Food Fund. Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, we recognise families will face increased pressure on household budgets over the coming months. This fund will enable children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals to be supported over the summer holiday period. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have also temporarily extended the free school meals eligibility to include some groups who have no recourse to public funds.

Alongside this support, we also have a comprehensive set of services that will continue to support young people over the summer months. The National Citizen Service (NCS) will provide a new support offer for 16 to 17 year olds. Further education colleges and schools will be offered a menu of NCS activities over 2-10 days, which can be tailored to support any summer or autumn activities that the college or other provider are running as part of their post COVID-19 re-engagement or induction phases with students. This support will be free to further education colleges and schools and delivered in late summer and throughout autumn.

We have also distributed funding to strengthen key frontline services, including £34.15 million to support vulnerable children’s charities. This funding has been used to provide online counselling, therapy and face to face support for vulnerable children through a coalition of charities led by Barnardo’s, as well as funding to expand helplines and provide ongoing support to particularly vulnerable groups.

A range of other support for vulnerable children will continue over the summer holidays including maintaining contact with families through the Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government’s Troubled Families programme, as well as the Home Office’s Violence Reduction Units that will continue to bring together multi-agency partners to tackle violent crime and provide summer provision.

The government is also providing £1 billion of catch-up funding to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time over the 2020-21 academic year. This includes £650 million to be shared across state primary and secondary schools, which can be used to support pupils through summer school provision.

13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to protect children that have underlying health conditions that attend special educational needs provision from covid-19.

Supporting education settings to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 is the department’s highest priority.

We are working closely with colleagues across the government to ensure that all appropriate arrangements and support are in place for all of the department’s sectors, from early years and childcare to schools and children’s social care and also for vulnerable groups including children with long-term medical conditions.

Schools should continue to support their pupils’ health needs as normal and should follow Public Health England advice at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to tackle teacher shortages.

There are over 453,000 teachers in our schools – 12,000 more than in 2010 – and postgraduate recruitment to teacher training is at its highest level since 2010-11. The Government recognises that we need to do more to attract and retain teachers, particularly as the economy improves, pupil numbers grow and the demand for talented graduates increases.

Last year, the Department launched the first ever integrated strategy to recruit and retain more teachers. This included the biggest teaching reform in a generation: the Early Career Framework (ECF). The ECF will provide new teachers with the solid foundations for a successful career in teaching, backed by £130 million a year in funding when fully rolled out in 2021.

The strategy also set out priorities to make it easier for great people to join the profession, develop clearer career pathways for classroom teachers, and help school leaders establish more supportive school cultures to reduce teacher workload.

The Department has committed to raising starting salaries for new teachers to £30,000 by 2022-23, putting teaching on a par with other top graduate professions. We are also offering generous bursaries of up to £26,000 during training in key secondary subjects such as mathematics, physics and modern foreign languages. Additionally, physics, mathematics, languages and chemistry trainees starting initial teacher training in 2020-21 will receive three early-career payments totalling £6,000 spread across years two, three and four of teaching. This total may increase to £9,000 if the trainees are teaching in local authority areas the Department has identified as having high need for teachers, as determined by our published data.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce the pupils per teacher ratio in secondary schools.

As the context of individual schools is different, there are varying approaches to effective staff deployment. It is for school leaders to determine how best to deploy their teachers and the Government trusts them to make the right staffing decisions for their schools. The Department is committed to supporting schools to achieve excellent outcomes for pupils with a wide range of different staffing models.

The Department is also working to ensure school leaders can access the advice, tools and data they need to make the best use of school resources and plan their workforce deployment effectively and efficiently. We have published practical guidance and tools on school resource management, including the School Workforce Planning Guidance[1], which encourages school leaders to plan their workforce together with the curriculum and finances over three to five years.

The Department is taking steps to keep teachers in the classroom so that the teaching workforce is as strong as possible. In January 2019, we launched the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which set out four priorities to attract and retain teachers in the profession. We will transform support for early career teachers through the Early Career Framework (ECF), which will underpin a two-year package of structured training and support for early career teachers, backed by £130 million a year in funding when fully rolled out in 2021.

The other key priorities set out in the strategy are around making it easier to train to become a teacher, supporting schools to establish more supportive school cultures, and developing coherent career pathways for those teachers who wish to stay and excel in the classroom.

In addition, the Department plans to raise starting salaries for new teachers to £30,000 by 2022-23, aligning teaching with other top graduate professions. We have introduced financial incentives including bursaries of up to £26,000 for mathematics, physics and modern foreign languages trainees, as well as early career payments for new chemistry, languages, mathematics and physics trainees in 2020-21, in order to encourage good trainees to join and remain in the profession.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-workforce-planning

31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to Question 8086 tabled by the hon. Member for Bedford on 5 January 2024 on hornets.

A response was published on 12 February 2024. I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help eradicate Asian hornets from the UK before spring 2024.

In 2023 the National Bee Unit (NBU) – part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) - located and destroyed 72 Asian hornet nests. The NBU has been taking action against Asian hornet since 2016 and has a fine-tuned response. They frequently find a nest within a day of an initial sighting being reported. Previously the highest number of nests the NBU had dealt with in one year was 4. Nevertheless, the NBU drew on further resources from wider APHA to provide an effective response to this unprecedented number of Asian hornet nests.

Asian hornet is inactive over winter, normally between November and March. During this period any new queens released from nests in the autumn hibernate. Only a proportion of these will survive and go onto create new nests in spring. Therefore, no further contingency action will be taken until the spring when the hornets start becoming active.

We are developing further plans for 2024 which will be announced prior to the spring. The NBU will continue to respond to credible sightings of Asian hornet and eradicate any nests that are located.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of working with (a) OFWAT and (b) water companies on (i) desalination and (ii) other sustainable water supply solutions.

Defra recently published its Plan for Water setting out the importance of ensuring a clean and plentiful water supply. The National Framework for water resources sets out in detail how the Government, regulators and regional groups, including water companies, will work together to improve water resources management. This includes reducing demand, halving leakage, developing new water supplies and moving water to where it is needed.

Earlier this year, regional water resources groups and water companies consulted on their draft water resources plans. These statutory plans set out how each company will secure water supplies sustainably for at least the next 25 years. Within their plans, water companies consider all options, including demand management and water resources infrastructure, such as desalination. The draft water resources management plans contain proposals for multiple new schemes by 2050, including 9 new desalination schemes, 9 new reservoirs, 11 new water recycling schemes, and several new internal and inter-company transfers to share resources.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to take steps to introduce a national textile recycling scheme.

The Government’s 2018 Resources & Waste Strategy for England identified textiles as a priority sector for action. Our ambitions to minimise textile waste will be outlined in the upcoming document Maximising Resources, Minimising Waste, which constitutes a new Waste Prevention Programme for England. We expect to publish this in summer 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will include glass in the deposit return scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The full response to our consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will be published in due course.

However, as part of our response to the consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility, we announced any DRS in England and Northern Ireland would not include glass.

Concerns were raised that including glass in a DRS risked reducing the amount of glass available to remelt, whilst making reverse vending machines larger and more complicated, as well as causing extra risk to both shop staff and consumers.

Glass will be subject to regulation via Extended Producer Responsibility and continue to be recycled at the kerbside.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing (a) local authorities and (b) police forces to retain revenues from speeding fines.

No recent assessment has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of the changes to the HS2 project on East West Rail.

East West Rail (EWR) Connection Stage 1 (providing services between Oxford-Bletchley and Milton Keynes) is in construction and is due to enter into service by 2025. The East West Rail Alliance continues to work closely with HS2 Ltd to ensure the interfaces between the schemes are well understood and any shared risks mitigated.

EWR Connection Stages 2/3 are in development and will be subject to statutory consultation and DCO application.

No change has been made to the programme as a result of the Network North announcement.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with East West Rail on the timescale for when the 2024 Statutory Consultation will commence.

As set out in the Route Update Report published by East West Rail Company in May 2023, a statutory consultation on the project is expected to take place in the first half of 2024. Consideration will be given to the questions for consultation by East West Rail Company in advance of this.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will include a question in the upcoming East West Rail 2024 Statutory Consultation on the level of support for the project; and if he will (a) record and (b) publish any comments left in the box for any other comments.

As set out in the Route Update Report published by East West Rail Company in May 2023, a statutory consultation on the project is expected to take place in the first half of 2024. Consideration will be given to the questions for consultation by East West Rail Company in advance of this.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing the East West Rail project to introduce a streamlined blight scheme which expedites compensation at a specific phase of the project.

The East West Rail Need to Sell Property Scheme was launched in May 2023 to address generalised blight that may arise from the East West Rail project. Applicants to the scheme are asked to provide evidence against five criteria set out in the Scheme Guide and East West Rail Company is committed to resolving cases as quickly as possible. Where an application is successful, East West Rail Company will make an offer to purchase a property for the unblighted market value. Compensation under the scheme is the same as is offered under the HS2 Need to Sell Scheme.

The first application to progress to the East West Rail Need to Sell Panel was accepted in September 2023. Once a Development Consent Order application has been submitted, individuals or businesses with a qualifying interest in property within the relevant area and meeting other statutory requirements, would be able to serve a blight notice on East West Rail Company as the scheme promoter, requesting purchase of their property. The Department for Transport and East West Rail Company will keep property acquisition schemes for the project under review.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to take steps to require that vibration and noise monitoring plans are shared with (a) affected residents and (b) elected representatives for feedback prior to their implementation by East West Rail.

East West Rail Company is currently gathering information to understand current noise and vibration levels across the preferred route and to identify potential impacts from planned works. Mitigations and ongoing monitoring measures will be outlined in a Noise and Vibration Management Plan. Local residents and elected representatives will be able to comment on this as part of a forthcoming statutory consultation and during the examination process once a Development Consent Order application has been submitted.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Bedford to Cambridge section of East West Rail is still designated a nationally significant infrastructure project.

There has been no change to the designation of the East West Rail Project. In 2019 the then Secretary of State directed that the East West Rail Project between Bedford and Cambridge, as well as any associated matters, is nationally significant, and as such should be treated as development for which development consent is required, under section 35 of the Planning Act 2008. Due to this, East West Rail Co. will be required to make an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to obtain permission to construct and operate the railway.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing ownership records, alongside registered keeper details on V5C documents in the context of present lack of ownership documentation allowing people to change ownership or keepership of a vehicle without requesting checks.

The vehicle register held by the DVLA, is not a register of legal title or ownership of vehicles.

Based on the latest available data, the DVLA is confident that just over 92% of the keepers on record are contactable and traceable based on the information held.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing ownership records, alongside registered keeper details, on V5C documents.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) maintains a register of vehicles and their keepers in the United Kingdom. The purpose of the vehicle register is to assist in revenue collection, road safety, law enforcement and to record who is responsible for the vehicle’s day-to-day use. The vehicle register held by the DVLA, is not a register of legal title or ownership of vehicles.

The registered keeper of a vehicle can be an individual or a corporate organisation, and they are legally responsible for notifying the DVLA that they have disposed of the vehicle and for notifying them who the new keeper is. Based on the latest available data, the DVLA is confident that just over 92% of the keepers on record are contactable and traceable based on the information held.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of levels of staffing required at railway stations on step-free access at those stations.

Staff will continue to provide face-to-face service on our railways for passengers who need additional support. We are committed to transforming accessibility across the UK rail network and moving staff out of underused ticket offices and into the station will mean they can provide help where it is most needed. Furthermore, we are currently undertaking a full accessibility audit across 2,564 stations across Great Britain to help shape future investment in accessible rail travel.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his comments in an interview with Iain Dale on LBC radio on 11 July 2022, whether he plans to cancel tranches 2 and 3 of East West Rail; and if he will make a statement.

Connection Stage 2 (Bletchley to Bedford) and Connection Stage 3 (Bedford to Cambridge) of East West Rail are at development stage. Next steps for the project will be set out in due course.

7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to tackle the driver shortages disrupting the Marston Vale Line run by London North Eastern Railway.

In common with other train operators, the Omicron COVID-19 variant has significantly affected staff availability on London Northwestern Railway (LNR). As a result, LNR has temporarily focused its reduced resources on providing a resilient train service on those routes with the most passengers and where bus replacement would be impractical.

The inconvenience to passengers on the Marston Vale line is regrettable, and we will be working with LNR to ensure that the train service is restored as soon as it can be reliably provided.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish a report on the Network Rail (London to Corby) (Land Acquisition, Level Crossings and Bridge Works) Order application.

The report from the Planning Inspectorate on the Network Rail (London to Corby) (Land Acquisition, Level Crossings and Bridge Works) Transport and Works Act Order application, will be published alongside the decision letter from the Secretary of State when this is made. The Secretary of State will aim to issue his decision as soon as he can.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the process of applying to the DVLA for a provisional licence will resume following the covid-19 outbreak.

Applications for provisional driving licences can be made online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence

Customers can also make postal applications for a provisional driving licence. However, paper applications are likely to take significantly longer to process in the current circumstances.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to report on the Network Rail (London to Corby) (Land Acquisition, Level Crossings and Bridge Works) Order application.

The decision by the Secretary of State on the Transport and Works Act Order application by Network Rail for the London To Corby (land acquisition and bridge works) Order will be made in the near future.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing future childcare costs to be met in advance through Universal Credit rather than being recovered retrospectively.

The Government recognises that high childcare costs can affect parents’ decisions to take up paid work or increase their working hours which is why on June 28, 2023, the Department started providing even more help with initial upfront childcare costs when parents move into work or increase their hours.

This means that a parent who needs this additional financial help can now be provided with funding towards both their first and second set of costs (or increased costs), upfront, thereby easing them into the UC childcare costs cycle.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) mean, (b) median, (c) longest and (d) shortest wait time was for processing mandatory reconsiderations of benefits decisions in the latest period for which data is available.

The lower quartile, median, mean and upper quartile waiting times for processing mandatory reconsiderations for PIP, UC and ESA benefit decisions are below. To provide information across all other DWP administered benefits would incur disproportionate cost.

Note that information about the extremes of a distribution (e.g. the maximum clearance time) risks being disclosive. We would not release this information publicly. Therefore, we have presented information on the lower quartile, median, mean and upper quartile of clearance times. Please note, the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases. As such, the median is our preferred central measure for MR clearance times.

Table 1: PIP MR clearance times (calendar days), Normal Rules, from August 2021 to July 2022

Year

Lower Quartile

Median

Mean

Upper Quartile

August 2021 – July 2022

38

57

55

70

Notes:

  1. Each PIP claim can have more than one reconsideration registered against it. The above includes all MR decisions (excluding withdrawn and cancelled).
  2. The PIP MR clearance times are based on the clearance times from the point of registration to the date the MR was cleared.
  3. DWP offers particular support for those coming to the end of their life, known as Special Rules for End of Life (SREL). This was formerly called Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI). Cases which are not processed under SREL are referred to as ‘normal rules’ claims. The status of claims as 'normal rules' or 'SREL' is shown as at the point of registration.

Table 2: UC MR clearance times (calendar days) from October 2021 to September 2022

Year

Lower Quartile

Median

Mean

Upper Quartile

October 2021 to September 2022

23

51

67

100

Notes:

  1. Each UC claim can have more than one reconsideration registered against it. The above includes all MR decisions (excluding withdrawn and cancelled).
  2. The UC MR clearance times are based on the clearance times from the point of registration to the date the MR was cleared.
  3. This data on UC MR clearance times is unpublished data. It should be used with caution and it may be subject to future revision.

Table 3: ESA WCA MR clearance times (calendar days) from August 2021 to July 2022

Year

Lower Quartile

Median

Mean

Upper Quartile

August 2021 to July 2022

5

10

13

14

Notes:

1. ESA MR clearance times are based on the date when the Benefit Centre has decided that the MR received is a valid MR, having considered whether they can initially change the decision in the light of any new information to the date when the decision maker at the Dispute Resolution Team (DRT) has cleared and logged the final decision.

Notes

  • Figures are for Great Britain only.
  • Definition of Mandatory Reconsideration: Claimants who wish to dispute a decision made on their PIP claim are required to ask the Department to reconsider the decision, before they can lodge an appeal with Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service. MRs can arise for various reasons, such as omitting to tell DWP about relevant evidence during the initial decision-making process; this could include not returning forms required as part of the claim.
  • Definition of Lower Quartile: The lower quartile is the value for which 25% of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
  • Definition of median: The median time is the middle value if you were to order all the times within the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
  • Definition of mean: The mean time is the value if you were to sum all the clearance times together and divide that by the number of cases. Please note, the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases.
  • Definition of Upper Quartile: The upper quartile is the value for which 75% of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many mandatory reconsiderations of benefits decisions are awaiting processing as of 10 October 2022; what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the number of mandatory reconsiderations that are awaiting processing; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a clearance time for mandatory reconsiderations.

There are currently 90,738 mandatory reconsiderations of benefit decisions awaiting processing at 10th October 2022.

DWP are taking steps to help reduce the number of mandatory reconsiderations awaiting processing by improving our processes and correspondence to make the delivery of the mandatory reconsideration customer journey more efficient whilst still ensuring effective decision making and customer service. We have also increased our decision maker capacity by 470 full time equivalent staff over the last 3 months.

We have no plans to introduce a target clearance time. While we endeavour to make decisions without delay, it is important that a decision maker is able to conduct a comprehensive review of the decision being disputed to make a fully informed Mandatory Reconsideration decision.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, (a) what percentage of the 2.6 million people who were claiming legacy benefits in April 2022 have now undergone managed migration to universal credit and (b) what recent assessment she has made of the (i) financial and (ii) emotional impact of managed migration on legacy benefits claimants.

Managed Migration is a three-year process scheduled to end in 2024 and 55% of people will be better off on Universal credit per month.

In May 2022, DWP began a discovery phase, in line with best practice for agile projects, this phase using the findings from Discovery takes a multi-location approach across the country with small number of claimants, we will continue to develop our processes and systems to ensure the transition to Universal Credit works as smoothly as possible before we proceed to scale the migration process.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made made of the potential merits of classifying Long Covid as a disability, for the purposes of giving employment protections under the Equality Act 2010 to affected people.

‘Long Covid’ is not classed as a disability. COVID is still a relatively new condition and work is ongoing to understand its long-term effects. Making such a determination would therefore be premature.

As research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing, we will continue to monitor and consider the Government’s support provisions and approach in line with the emerging evidence.

As part of the Government's response to the pandemic, individuals may be eligible for SSP where they are sick or self-isolating due to coronavirus, including where they have tested positive for coronavirus but otherwise feel well. Statutory Sick Pay is payable from the first day of sickness absence from work, rather than the fourth, where an individual is self-isolating due to coronavirus. The usual eligibility criteria continue to apply.

If an individual requires further financial support while off work sick, for example where their income is reduced while on Statutory Sick Pay, they may be able to claim Universal Credit depending on their personal circumstances. Where they are not eligible, for example because they earn below the Lower Earnings Limit, they may also be able to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what timescales her Department has set for private contracted firms to complete assessments of personal independence payments.

The Department has three Personal Independence Payment (PIP) contracts for Assessment Provider Services.

Atos IT Services UK Ltd (T/A Independent Assessment Services) are contracted to deliver PIP assessments in Lot 1 (North West England / North East England / Scotland / Isle of Man) and Lot 3 (London / Southern England.)

Capita Business Services Ltd are contracted to deliver PIP assessments in Lot 2 (Central England / Wales).

Service Level requirements for the delivery of assessments are consistent across all PIP contracts. These are detailed below.

Service Level Requirement

Service Level

PIP Assessment end to end assessment process (excluding Terminally Ill cases).

All cleared within an Average Actual Clearance Time of 35 Working Days

Terminally Ill (TI) cases end to end assessment process.

All TI cases cleared within an average period of two (2) Working Days

Terminally Ill (TI) cases end to end assessment process.

100% to be cleared within five (5) Working Days.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the potential additional barriers people with mental health problems experience in applying for benefits during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials of both Departments hold regular discussions relating to the ongoing covid-19 outbreak including its impact on people with health conditions.

My Department has provided mental health training for staff who have direct contact with claimants, including all Work Coaches, to equip them to identify mental wellbeing issues or vulnerabilities, and to take appropriate action to support individuals. Work Coaches will tailor support to the needs of the individual and work closely with local organisations that provide additional specialist support.

Background

Mental wellbeing training has been provided for all staff (around 30,000 colleagues trained to date) who have direct contact with customers (including via telephone).

Staff have also had specific training to help them to identify vulnerable people, and signpost or refer them to further support provided by local partners. Every jobcentre has a complex needs toolkit containing links to local organisations to facilitate this.

Since the start of the pandemic we’ve introduced online claim application processes for ESA and Pension Credit claimants (telephony options still exist). And we’ve also introduced new services for deaf claimants.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of universal credit on childcare payments.

The Government is committed to helping parents into work and childcare costs should not be a barrier to this.

Universal Credit pays up to 85% of childcare costs, compared to up to 70% in legacy benefits and can be claimed up to a month before starting a job. In cases where people need to pay for childcare upfront, prior to starting work, Work Coaches can use the Flexible Support Fund to meet these costs until their first wage is received.

8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure adequate levels of supply of medication prescribed for (a) epilepsy, (b) hormone replacement therapy and (c) ADHD.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages and works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the pharmaceutical industry, NHS England and others operating in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when shortages do arise.

We are aware of a current supply issue with generic lamotrigine 5mg dispersible tablets for epilepsy. We have issued comprehensive management guidance to the National Health Service highlighting the availability of alternative products.

There have been issues with the supply of a limited number of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products, primarily due to very sharp increases in demand, but the supply position for many of those products has improved considerably over the last year. Only one of the 23 Serious Shortage Protocols issued since April 2022 remains in place. We continue to engage with suppliers individually to address these issues and improve resilience in the short, medium and long term. We are also holding quarterly roundtables with manufacturers, wholesalers and community pharmacists to monitor progress and agree what more needs to be done to ensure supply is sufficient to meet demand. The eighth HRT supply roundtable is expected to be held in January 2024.

We are aware of disruptions to the global supply of medicines used for the management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some issues are now resolving. However, we know that there are currently disruptions to the supply of some other medicines, primarily driven by issues which have resulted in capacity constraints at key manufacturing sites. We are working intensively with the respective manufacturers to resolve the issues as soon as possible and to ensure patients have continuous access to ADHD medicines in the United Kingdom, in the short and long term.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Mental Health Bill, whether he plans to include a statutory duty to provide early intervention strategies to detect and address mental health issues for children and young people within primary and secondary schools; and if he will make a statement.

The draft Mental Health Bill, published in June 2022, is intended to modernise the Mental Health Act and work better for people with serious mental illness. The draft Bill has completed its pre-legislative scrutiny and the Joint Committee published its report on 19 January 2023 on the Draft Mental Health Bill. The Department will consider the Committee’s recommendations carefully and we will introduce the Bill when parliamentary time allows.

Separate to the provisions in the draft Bill, there are currently 287 mental health support teams in place in around 4,700 schools and colleges across the country, offering support to children experiencing anxiety, depression and other common mental health issue. These

teams now cover 26% of pupils, a year earlier than originally planned and this will increase to 399 teams, covering around 35% of pupils by April 2023 with over 500 planned to be deployed by 2024.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the extent of regional variations in the provision of radioligand therapy.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Nottingham North (Alex Norris MP) on 6 July 2022 to Question 23788.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of shielded rooms in the NHS in the context of the potential increase in availability of (a) radioligand therapy and (b) other nuclear medicines to treat certain cancers.

No specific assessment has been made. Further work is required on the safe delivery of the service with an appropriate number of providers to balance patient access with available specialist expertise and infrastructure.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce inequalities in access to dental services.

We are aware that some patients find it difficult to access NHS dentistry. Work is underway to better target patients with complex needs. NHS England has provided a flexible commissioning toolkit to commissioners to focus available capacity on reducing oral health inequalities.

In addition, we provided an extra £50 million earlier this year for additional dental access. The appointments were targeted to vulnerable patients and those in most urgent need.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will supply a decision on behalf of the Government on each of the 25 recommendations made by the select committee on Health and Social Care in its Eighth Report, Children and Young People's Mental Health, HC 17, published on 9th December 2021; and if he will make a statement on that matter at the first available opportunity.

We welcome the Committee’s report. In our response to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report, we set out where we agreed with its recommendations or where we are taking forward the recommendations in part or in full. We will be considering the recommendations in full during the development of a new long term cross-Government plan for mental health. We are launching a wide-ranging discussion paper and call for evidence to support development of the plan. The Committee’s inquiry and evidence from witnesses will be considered during this process.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support is available for people that cannot take a nasal covid-19 test; and whether his Department plans to approve a non-nasal covid-19 test such as the lollipop saliva test.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is investigating alternative testing options for people who cannot take a nasal COVID-19 test and awaiting the results from a number of LAMP or saliva-based testing pilots that are underway. The UKHSA will continue to review and evaluate the usability of emerging technologies.

11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department will publish the Elective Recovery Plan.

The publication of the National Health Service elective recovery delivery plan has been delayed as a result of the emergence of the Omicron variant. The Department continues to ensure the NHS is in the strongest position to recover elective services and tackle the backlog. The delivery plan will be published in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on the preparation and roll-out of a covid-19 mental health recovery strategy for children and young people.

On 23 November 2020, we published our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19, which set out the support available for individuals, including children and young people. The Government will publish an action plan setting out further measures to respond to and mitigate the impacts on mental health of COVID-19 across the population, including children and young people, in due course.

We have announced that in 2021/22 the National Health Service will receive around an additional £500 million, to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need and invest in the NHS workforce.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following the publication in December 2020 of the MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report for births in 2018, which showed that since 2016 the rate of neonatal deaths for twins had increased and the gap between the stillbirth rate for multiples compared to singletons had widened, what steps he is taking to tackle that inequality.

We are on track to surpass the 2020 ambition for a 20% reduction in the stillbirth rate and the neonatal mortality rate for babies born after 24 weeks gestation.

Through the Maternity Safety Strategy, we are working to understand the causes of stillbirths and neonatal deaths to prevent avoidable deaths.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timescale is for (a) notifying and (b) deploying people who have made successful applications to work on the covid-19 vaccine delivery programme.

The timescales will vary due to differences in training programmes for returners, those who are still registered in their profession and those who are no longer registered.

Returners who are still registered in their profession, including the temporary register, are no longer required to complete the full statutory and mandatory package.

However, those who are not registered healthcare professionals and are applying through the national recruitment process are required to complete the full core knowledge on statutory and mandatory training as part of their application process. They may also need to complete local training which will be decided by the relevant trust.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children have had to wait six months or more for a CAMHS appointment in Bedford and Kempston in the most recent period for which that information is available; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not collected in the format requested. A national access and waiting times standard for child and adolescent mental health services has not yet been defined.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when a vaccine for covid-19 will be available to high priority patients in (a) Bedford and (b) Kempston.

The phased vaccination programme commenced on 8 December 2020. The NHS has now offered the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in the top four priority cohorts which includes people aged 70 years old and over, care home residents and staff, health and care staff and clinically extremely vulnerable patients.

From 15 February 2021, we have been inviting people aged 65 to 69 years old and those who are defined as clinically vulnerable and are therefore thought to be at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 to book their vaccination. The target to reach all those in priority cohorts five to nine is 15 April 2021.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the (a) equitable and (b) transparent distribution of the covid-19 vaccine throughout the East of England.

To ensure equitable and transparent distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the National Health Service have an allocations committee that reviews and monitors distribution. Allocations to all regions in England, including the East of England, are made on a population proportionate basis factoring in the priority cohorts identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Each Primary Care Network site, including those in the East of England, receives their own supply and work has been carried out with local clinical commissioning groups to ensure that vaccine supply aligns with the number of registered patients in the priority cohort groups.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise Bedford and Kempston residents for local access to the second tranche of covid-19 vaccination; and what his timetable is for the roll-out of the vaccination for for the highest priority patients.

The National Health Service is working to ensure a COVID-19 vaccine is available to clinically prioritised groups as soon as possible. Over 200 Primary Care Network-led sites started vaccinating patients this week in England. Over the coming weeks and months, the rate of vaccinations will increase as more doses become available and the programme continues to expand.

For the first phase, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors. Included in this are those with underlying health conditions, which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. It will likely take until at least spring until all high-risk groups, estimated at over 25 million people in England, have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including unpaid carers on the priority list for the covid-19 vaccination in England.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the vaccine should be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 years old and health and social care workers.

We recognise the vital role unpaid carers play in caring for vulnerable individuals. JCVI recommends that carers who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination alongside people with underlying health conditions.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the covid-19 testing facility located at Borough Hall in Bedford will reduce from seven to four days a week during a period in which the infection rate in the borough is increasing.

Demand for testing is increasing and as such some test sites will have reductions of testing capacity, so we can keep maximum capacity in highest risk areas. Allocation decisions are frequently and systematically reviewed to ensure we are using our testing where it can be most effective. We are working to develop more sophisticated approaches, based on the latest evidence to manage the prioritisation process to ensure that we are able to provide appropriate testing for both outbreak management and surveillance purposes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the covid-19 testing facility located at Borough Hall in Bedford is reducing its service provision from seven to four days a week.

Demand for testing is increasing and as such some test sites will have reductions of testing capacity, so we can keep maximum capacity in highest risk areas. Allocation decisions are frequently and systematically reviewed to ensure we are using our testing where it can be most effective. We are working to develop more sophisticated approaches, based on the latest evidence to manage the prioritisation process to ensure that we are able to provide appropriate testing for both outbreak management and surveillance purposes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England's guidance entitled, Personal protective equipment (PPE) – resource for care workers working in care homes during sustained COVID-19 transmission in England, for what reasons the advice was changed from wearing vinyl gloves to wearing nitrile, neoprene or latex when providing personal care and when exposure to body fluids or blood is likely; and what evidence base was used to inform that updated guidance.

The Public Health England (PHE) guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) was amended to state that vinyl gloves should not be worn if it is anticipated that there will be contact with bodily fluids or blood. This was informed by Health Protection Scotland’s Standard Infection Control Precautions Literature Review on PPE. We recognise that as this review was undertaken in clinical settings, the findings are not wholly applicable to adult social care settings. We are working closely with PHE and adult social care providers to amend and clarify the guidance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support the Government is providing to support the mental health of (a) frontline workers, (b) people from different Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and (c) young people in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognised at the start of the pandemic the need for enhanced wellbeing support for National Health Service and social care staff and commissioned NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive emotional, psychological and practical support package for NHS staff. Wherever possible we have ensured the same offer is included in the support package that developed for the social care workforce.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with key stakeholders and people with lived experience to support information sharing to encourage timely access to NHS mental health services and improve people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds’ experiences of these services.

We are working to ensure that all children and young people who have or who develop mental ill health can access support if they need to and that schools and colleges, parents and carers can support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing over the coming weeks and months.

The Government has also provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children. This includes charities that offer support to BAME communities and charities like Young Minds.

The Government’s £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme will support school staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may be feeling.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to co-ordinate the Government's support for people's mental health and wellbeing in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We know that there is the potential for an increase in demand for mental health services. Ministers in the Department are engaging regularly with their counterparts across Whitehall on how best the Government can prevent and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing.

We are also working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and other key partners to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts and plan for how to support mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that schools can respond effectively to children and young people’s mental health needs when they return in September 2020.

The Department for Education has published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance highlights the particular need to focus on pastoral support and mental wellbeing as a central part of what schools provide, in order to re-engage them and rebuild social interaction with their friends and teachers. This will involve curriculum provision as well as extra-curricular and pastoral support, and that Department’s recently published relationships, sex and health education training module will support teachers with preparation to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing.

We are also implementing the core proposals in our response to the consultation ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ Green Paper including, where possible, adapting the support made available during the COVID-19 outbreak to the circumstances that schools and colleges and children and young people will face once the new academic year starts.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many drive through covid-19 tests have been carried out in (a) Bedfordshire and (b) England in each month since 23 March 2020; and how many of those tests had results generated within the 48-hour target.

We do not publish data by region. All information surrounding turnaround times are released weekly on GOV.UK.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of non-EU nationals who cannot (a) leave the UK during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) afford access to NHS maternity treatment.

The Department does not collect or hold data on the number of non-European Union nationals who cannot leave the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department does not collect or hold data on the number of non-EU nationals who have been charged for National Health Service maternity care but are unable to pay.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of closing all dental practices to non-essential patient care to minimise the spread of covid-19.

NHS England issued guidance, on 20 March 2020, setting out expectations for primary care dentistry to minimise spread of disease and protect dentists and patients during the current pandemic. The advice includes radically reducing the number of routine check-ups and agreeing local arrangements to consolidate, where necessary, the provision of any essential, routine National Health Service work that cannot be delayed and urgent dental problems. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Issue-2-Preparedness-letter-for-primary-dental-care-20-March-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timescale is for publishing the public health grant allocations for 2020-21.

The local authority public health allocations for 2020/21 will be published shortly.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish his proposals for the future of social care.

The Government will bring forward a plan for social care this year.

Putting social care on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society.

There are complex questions to address, which is why we will seek to build cross-party consensus, but we have been clear: everybody will have safety and security, and nobody will be forced to sell their home to pay for care.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to implement a cancer workforce plan to ensure an adequately skilled and sustainable workforce.

The National Health Service published the interim NHS People Plan on 3 June 2019. It sets out the long-term vision and immediate actions to meet the challenges of supply, reform, culture and leadership.

The final NHS People Plan will be informed by the Cancer Workforce Plan for England, published in December 2017 by Health Education England. This set out plans to expand capacity and skills in the cancer workforce, including targeting additional training support for seven priority professions such as clinical radiology, histopathology, oncology and diagnostic and therapeutic radiography. Since 2017 there has been a net increase of 833 full time equivalent staff across the seven priority professions.

The final NHS People Plan will be published in early 2020 and will set out a clear framework for collective action on workforce priorities, with a focus on growing and sustaining a well-skilled workforce across the whole National Health Service.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that Kings Brooks, iCaSH Bedfordshire reopens recruitment for gay and bisexual men on the PrEP impact trial.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is currently provided in England through the three-year PrEP Impact Trial. Participation in the trial is on a voluntary basis and it is for clinics and local authorities to decide the number of allocated places they can accept. The PrEP Impact Trial website includes a map showing the distribution of the 154 clinics level 3 Sexual Health Services participating in the trial at the following link:

www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that gay and bisexual men in Bedford constituency have access to places on the PrEP impact trial.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is currently provided in England through the three-year PrEP Impact Trial. Participation in the trial is on a voluntary basis and it is for clinics and local authorities to decide the number of allocated places they can accept. The PrEP Impact Trial website includes a map showing the distribution of the 154 clinics level 3 Sexual Health Services participating in the trial at the following link:

www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to secure the release of British people detained abroad.

Consular staff work tirelessly and tenaciously to give support to British nationals overseas and their families. This includes around 5,000 individuals who are arrested or detained each year. Our support is tailored to the needs of the individual and their situation, doing more for those who need more help.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the legality of the continued detention of Saudi political detainees, including Prince Turki Bin Abdullah.

The UK assessment is clear. All political detainees should be released. We publicly supported a statement at the September 2020 UN Human Rights Council, which reiterated this point and raised concerns about the use of arbitrary detention.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, if the Government will take steps to ensure that (a) female human rights defenders, (b) male human rights defenders and (c) the organisations that represent them are consulted as part of the Government's Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is the deepest review of the UK's foreign, defence, security and development policy since the end of the Cold War. We will utilise expertise from both inside and outside Government for the review, ensuring the best minds are feeding into its conclusions and challenging traditional Whitehall assumptions and thinking as needed.

The Review will include external consultation with experts and international partners across relevant disciplines.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Financial Services and Markets Bill, whether his Department plans to make an assessment of the adequacy of the number of protected free ATMs..

The government recognises that while the transition towards digital payments brings many opportunities, cash continues to be used by many people across the UK, including those who may be in vulnerable groups.

The government is currently legislating to protect access to cash across the UK as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022. The Bill establishes the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the lead regulator for access to cash with responsibility and powers to seek to ensure reasonable provision of withdrawal and deposit facilities. As amended, the Bill requires the FCA to seek to ensure that there is reasonable provision of free withdrawal and deposit facilities for personal current accounts with relevant providers.

ATMs play an important role in the availability of cash withdrawal facilities. Decisions regarding the operation and funding arrangements of an ATM network are taken by the parties involved. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has made commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. LINK publishes information on the number of protected ATMs monthly, and ATMs can be suggested for protected status via LINK’s website: https://www.link.co.uk/consumers/request-access-to-cash/suggest-an-atm-for-protected-status/

According to LINK data for March 2023, there were around 39,000 free-to-use ATMs across the UK, including 87 free-to-use ATMs in the constituency of Bedford. Further information is available at: https://www.link.co.uk/initiatives/financial-inclusion-monthly-report/

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the level of interchange fee required to sustain the free-to-use ATM network.

The government recognises that while the transition towards digital payments brings many opportunities, cash continues to be used by many people across the UK, including those who may be in vulnerable groups.

The government is currently legislating to protect access to cash across the UK as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022. The Bill establishes the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the lead regulator for access to cash with responsibility and powers to seek to ensure reasonable provision of withdrawal and deposit facilities. As amended, the Bill requires the FCA to seek to ensure that there is reasonable provision of free withdrawal and deposit facilities for personal current accounts with relevant providers.

ATMs play an important role in the availability of cash withdrawal facilities. Decisions regarding the operation and funding arrangements of an ATM network are taken by the parties involved. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has made commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. LINK publishes information on the number of protected ATMs monthly, and ATMs can be suggested for protected status via LINK’s website: https://www.link.co.uk/consumers/request-access-to-cash/suggest-an-atm-for-protected-status/

According to LINK data for March 2023, there were around 39,000 free-to-use ATMs across the UK, including 87 free-to-use ATMs in the constituency of Bedford. Further information is available at: https://www.link.co.uk/initiatives/financial-inclusion-monthly-report/

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to reform the funding of the free-to-use ATM network..

The government recognises that while the transition towards digital payments brings many opportunities, cash continues to be used by many people across the UK, including those who may be in vulnerable groups.

The government is currently legislating to protect access to cash across the UK as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022. The Bill establishes the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the lead regulator for access to cash with responsibility and powers to seek to ensure reasonable provision of withdrawal and deposit facilities. As amended, the Bill requires the FCA to seek to ensure that there is reasonable provision of free withdrawal and deposit facilities for personal current accounts with relevant providers.

ATMs play an important role in the availability of cash withdrawal facilities. Decisions regarding the operation and funding arrangements of an ATM network are taken by the parties involved. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has made commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. LINK publishes information on the number of protected ATMs monthly, and ATMs can be suggested for protected status via LINK’s website: https://www.link.co.uk/consumers/request-access-to-cash/suggest-an-atm-for-protected-status/

According to LINK data for March 2023, there were around 39,000 free-to-use ATMs across the UK, including 87 free-to-use ATMs in the constituency of Bedford. Further information is available at: https://www.link.co.uk/initiatives/financial-inclusion-monthly-report/

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential benefits of greater flexibility in the Help to Buy ISA scheme outside London to take account of regional house price variations.

While the Government keeps all aspects of savings policy under review, first-time buyers tend to buy smaller lower priced first properties. The Help to Buy: ISA’s property price cap of £250,000 for properties outside London (£450,000 within London) therefore allows the Government to target support more precisely at the people the scheme is intended to help. Since its launch in 2015, the scheme has supported 531,507 property completions across the UK, with a mean property value of £176,828 compared with an average first-time buyer house price of £245,350.

Further information on the Government’s home purchase support schemes can be found at: https://www.ownyourhome.gov.uk

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the London Capital & Finance (LCF) Compensation Scheme, who the LCF scheme operator is; and for what reason the LCF Scheme Operator deducts 20 per cent from the amount determined under Step Two.

The government had established a compensation scheme for investors in the failed minibond issuer, London Capital & Finance plc (LCF). The Scheme launched on 3 November 2021 and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) administered the Scheme on behalf of the government. Almost all eligible bondholders have now received compensation and a total of £115m has been paid out by the scheme.

The Scheme paid 80% of bondholders’ principal investment in eligible bonds, up to a maximum of £68,000. Where bondholders had received interest on their bonds, distributions from the insolvency administrators, or compensation from the FSCS for LCF bonds, this reduced the amount of compensation payable under the Scheme. This appropriately balanced the interests of both bondholders and the taxpayer and ensured that all LCF bondholders receive a fair level of compensation in respect of the financial loss they have suffered.

Further detail about the scheme can be found online at: www.gov.uk/lcf-compensation-scheme

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the size of the increase in the level of card only transactions during the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment he has made of the impact of that increase on vulnerable groups of people.

All businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest Government advice to help control the virus. In order to work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, by considering offering contactless payments where possible. Ultimately, it remains the individual retailer’s choice whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

In recent years, the ongoing trend in UK payments has been away from cash and towards card payments and other digital payment methods. This transition brings opportunities, including the potential for faster and safer payments. Nonetheless, the Government recognises that access to cash remains important to millions of people across the UK, particularly some vulnerable groups. As such, the Government has committed to legislating to protect access to cash, and to ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the longer term.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether furlough payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from March 2021 will be calculated using employees pre-covid-19 outbreak earnings.

For those on their employer’s payroll on 19 March 2020, the usual salary under the CJRS will be calculated based on their earnings prior to that date. An alternative calculation is used for newer employees who were first reported by their employer after 19 March 2020.

Guidance on calculating how much can be claimed under the CJRS can be found on GOV.UK.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish a timescale for setting up and implementing the compensation scheme for the victims of the London Capital & Finance bondholder savings scandal.

In my Written Ministerial Statement on 17 December 2020, I outlined the three main channels through which London Capital & Finance plc (LCF) bondholders can seek compensation. These are the administration process, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Complaints Scheme.

My statement also announced that, taking into consideration the specific and complex set of circumstances surrounding the collapse of LCF, the Treasury will set up a compensation scheme which will assess whether there is justification for further one-off compensation payments in certain circumstances for some LCF bondholders . The Government will announce further details in due course.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will compensate all victims of the London Capital & Finance bondholder savings scandal.

In my Written Ministerial Statement on 17 December 2020, I outlined the three main channels through which London Capital & Finance plc (LCF) bondholders can seek compensation. These are the administration process, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Complaints Scheme.

My statement also announced that, taking into consideration the specific and complex set of circumstances surrounding the collapse of LCF, the Treasury will set up a compensation scheme which will assess whether there is justification for further one-off compensation payments in certain circumstances for some LCF bondholders . The Government will announce further details in due course.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the Infrastructure Strategy; and what steps he is taking to ensure that infrastructure priorities in that strategy are aligned with the UK's net zero emissions target.

Recognising the need to invest sustainably, we will set out our long-term economic infrastructure ambitions, including on decarbonisation and levelling up the nation in our upcoming National Infrastructure strategy which we expect to publish in the Autumn.

Ensuring infrastructure helps drive progress on Net Zero will be a key objective of the National Infrastructure Strategy, alongside levelling up across the country and driving growth across all parts of the UK.

The Strategy will set out the government’s long-term ambitions for economic infrastructure. It will also be responding to the National Infrastructure Commission’s 2018 assessment of the UK’s infrastructure needs.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will create a net-zero emissions test for all infrastructure policy and spending decisions.

The Government has a robust process for assessing the impact of spending decisions on achieving our environmental goals.

To ensure Government policy considers our environmental goals, we consult our world-leading Green Book, which mandates the consideration of climate and environmental impacts in spending.

Using the Green Book, which is under ongoing review, all interventions should be appraised against the Government’s strategic objectives. This means how it interacts or conflicts with other policies, and how it is limited by constraints including legal commitments. Such as the Government’s legal net zero carbon emissions target.

Building on this, an updated 2020 Green Book and the findings from its review will be published alongside the SR.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the Contingent Reimbursement Model Code for Authorised Push Payments in helping to protect consumers from authorised push payments scams; and if he will make a statement.

In March 2018, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) established a steering group of financial institutions and consumer representatives to develop a voluntary code of good practice to help protect consumers against authorised push payment (APP) scams.

At the end of February 2019, the steering group published the Contingent Reimbursement Model Code for APP Scams (the Code), which sets out the agreed principles for greater protection of consumers and the circumstances in which they will be reimbursed, making a significant step in delivering improved protections for consumers. The Code became effective on 28 May 2019 and customers of those payment service providers that are signatories (which includes all of the 6 largest banks and building societies) are protected under the Code from this date.

The Lending Standards Board (LSB), which is responsible for the Code, has committed to a first annual review of its operation later this year. The Government looks forward to reviewing these findings when they become available.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to reimburse the fixed practice overheads of dentists to allow them to close their dental practices to non-essential services to prevent the transmission of covid-19.

Dentists holding a contract to provide NHS dental services are remunerated through an annual contract value dependent on delivery of an agreed amount of treatment (activity). There is no separate reimbursement of practice costs apart from rates reimbursement.

NHS England are in discussion with the British Dental Association about how the impact of coronavirus on service delivery will be managed.

On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. The scheme will apply to dental practices.

1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions he has had with Mitre on the potential merits of employing instructors to train staff on how to direct asylum-seekers on to planes for Rwanda in Bedfordshire.

Since 2015, the Government has had training facilities to ensure escorts can respond professionally to the challenges of removing people with no right to be in the UK. This includes practical sessions, so escorts have the skills they need to deal with different scenarios.

As we continue to remove those with no legal right to be here, we will continue to ensure new escorts have the required high quality training and facilities as necessary.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to increase the speed at which asylum applications are processed for people from Sudan.

We are carefully monitoring the situation in Sudan.

We are taking immediate action to clear the backlog of 92,601 initial asylum decisions relating to claims made before 28 June 2022 (“legacy claims”) by the end of 2023.

We are increasing the number of caseworkers to 2,500 by September 2023, streamlining interviews where one is required and simplifying guidance.

1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make a comparative assessment of the potential merits of providing (a) single-year and (b) multi-year financial settlements for police forces.

Spending Review 2021 provided certainty on budgets for all forces across England and Wales, with total funding increases confirmed for 3 years. In June 2022, the government also provided additional funding of £350m over 3 years to support forces in meeting the costs of the 2022 pay award. This has enabled forces to plan ahead and ensure they are delivering efficiency savings to generate the best value for money for the tax payer.

On 31 January, the Government confirmed a total police funding settlement of up to £17.2 billion in 2023/24, an increase of up to £287 million when compared to 2022/23. This settlement honours the commitments made at Spending Review 2021, giving forces the certainty to plan, complete and maintain their work to recruit additional officers through the Police Uplift Programme.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help improve Government relations with police forces.

The Government welcomes open and honest engagement with policing partners and Ministers meet regularly with senior policing leaders and staff associations on a range of matters.

We are continuing to invest in policing and are recruiting 20,000 additional officers to ensure policing has the resources it needs to fight crime. By March 2023, we will have the highest number of officers on record.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the number of authorised work hours for student visas.

The Student route is for international students who wish to study in the UK and is not designed as a means to live and work in the UK.

Student visa holders who are studying a full-time course of study, at degree level or above, at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance are already able to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during vacation periods.

3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) ethical and (b) scientific considerations of the use of x-rays of verify the age of child refugees.

In December 2021, the Home Office set up an independent Age Estimation Science Advisory Committee to provide the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser with independent advice – including scientific and associated ethical advice and guidance on existing and emerging scientific approaches that could be utilised for the purpose of age assessment. We are considering advice from this Committee and other sources. No official decisions have been made about if and how to implement scientific methods.

The use of X-rays specifically is regulated by the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004, which requires that any practices involving the use of ionising radiation be justified on the basis that the individual or societal benefit of that practice outweighs the health detriment it may cause. Any use of X-rays for age assessment purposes will therefore be contingent on the appropriate approvals being met under these regulations.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to the correspondence of (a) 9 June, reference MY30876 and (b) 3 August, reference MY31701 from the hon. Member for Bedford constituency.

I apologise for the delay. UK Visas and Immigration, MP Account Management team responded on 11 October 2022.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many fast-track passport appointments have been released by HMPO in (a) May 2022 and (b) since 1 June 2022.

Appointments for urgent services are released three weeks in advance. While this means new appointments are released daily, in busy periods these will be booked quickly.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office therefore continues to explore options to further increase appointment capacity to support its customers with urgent travel needs.

This work has led to the recent opening of an eighth public counter offering urgent service appointments, and further increasing appointment availability to help support those people who need their passport more quickly.

10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the nationalities are of asylum seekers identified for deportation to Rwanda.

Everyone who arrives illegally will be considered for relocation on a case by case basis.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the time between a visa application centre making a decision in respect of a Ukrainian visa application and issuing a permission to travel letter.

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

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to complete the review into child citizenship fees following the Court of Appeal February 2021 ruling that the current rate is unlawful.

The Home Office has acknowledged the Court of Appeal’s judgment and has committed to reviewing the child citizenship registration fee in line with its duties under Section 55. This review is on-going and the results will be published in due course

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the findings of the report by Women for Refugee Women After Exploitation entitled Survivors Behind Bars, published on 4 February 2021, that the detention of trafficking victims has increased since the introduction of the Adults at Risk policy in 2016; and if she will make a statement.

The Government does not have an absolute exclusion from detention for any particular group. However, we fully accept that some groups of individuals can be at particular risk of harm in immigration detention. This is the basis of the Adults at Risk in immigration detention (AAR) policy, which strengthens the presumption against detention for vulnerable individuals.

The policy covers a wider range of vulnerabilities and its introduction has enabled Home Office staff to promptly identify whether a person is vulnerable and consequently whether they should be detained. This allows for a more rounded assessment of such vulnerabilities in a detention setting, along with a balanced assessment of any immigration compliance, criminality factors and expected date of removal. The greater the evidence of vulnerability, the less likely it is that the individual will be detained.

Additional safeguards are also in place which underpin detention decisions, including regular reviews to ensure detention remains lawful, appropriate and proportionate.

All Home Office staff working in the detention system are also given training and support to identify and act upon indicators of vulnerability, including recognising victims of trafficking and modern slavery, at the earliest opportunity. If an individual is suspected to be a victim of trafficking, they will be referred into the National Referral Mechanism.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2021 to Question 136030, whether a person being initially processed at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal centre will be moved to the new, temporary accommodation for asylum seekers on the adjacent site.

All service users that might be accommodated in initial accommodation at Yarl’s Wood will have already completed the required period of self-isolation at another location before being transferred there.

Therefore, asylum seekers will not transfer directly from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre to the initial accommodation on the adjacent site.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ensure that there is no cross-over between the residents of Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre and the asylum seekers to be homed in temporary accommodation on the same site.

To ensure we have sufficient accommodation available to meet our statutory obligations we are planning to use a vacant site adjacent to the existing Immigration Removal Centre to accommodate single, adult male asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers on this adjacent site are separate from the Immigration Removal Centre and are free to come and go as they please.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether EU citizens that are awarded pre-settled status will have the same entitlement to benefits after the transition period as they do now.

EU citizens and their family members who have obtained pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to access benefits on the same basis and according to the same rules as they do now.

This means EU citizens will still need to demonstrate they are exercising a qualifying right to reside, for example as a worker, in order to access taxpayer funded benefits, such as Universal Credit. This will continue until their pre-settled status expires or until they are granted settled status.

24th May 2021
What assessment he has made of the fighting readiness of the British Army; and if he will make a statement.

The Army is always ready to fulfil the task of protecting the nation and holds various people and units at different readiness, along with the equipment and stocks required to support them, to enable us to compete against our adversaries, tackle threats at source and reassure allies. The Integrated Review will ensure that we have the people and equipment to continue to do this.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to award a production contract for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme.

The Full Business Case for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme is currently being considered through our internal approvals process, and is subject to commercial negotiations. It would not therefore be appropriate to comment further at this time. All decisions are subject to the ongoing Integrated Review.

22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will review the fairness of the eligibility criteria for the activation of the Storm Henk Flood Recovery Framework for people who live in lead local flood authorities areas where fewer than 50 properties were flooded during that storm.

I extend my sympathy to all those affected by the impacts of Storm Henk, flooding is a devastating experience for anyone impacted.

Following flooding which took place in 2020, and considering feedback from areas impacted at that time, the framework’s eligibility criteria were reviewed and a move to holding the count at Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) level, rather than at district level was agreed for all future activations. For Storm Henk the 50 flooded properties at LLFA level figure was agreed by Ministers across the three Departments responsible for the Framework’s schemes who considered it to be appropriate and to uphold the principles that the FRF is based upon:

  • that individual householders and business owners should take out their own insurance as the first line of defence;
  • that local authorities should have in place mechanisms to provide support to their residents after flooding;
  • that it is reasonable to expect that support for up to 50 flooded properties is within LA capacity and capability;
  • but, that it also recognises the financial pressure with local authorities and offers support being provided to those worst impacted.

DLUHC have committed to reviewing the scheme in the spring.

Simon Hoare
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the different limits under the Building Safety Act 2022 relating to historical safety remediation on the number of properties owned by (a) a company and (b) an individual.

The Department has a range of guidance on the subject of fire remediation; guidance on the obligations on building owners under the Building Safety Act 2022 can be found here.

Where developers or building owners are not currently funding cladding remediation, the Government has accepted funding applications for the remediation of ACM and non-ACM cladding on high-rise residential buildings (buildings over 18 metres) from responsible entities. Should a company also qualify as a responsible entity, their application would be treated in the same way as other responsible entities.

Guidance on how to apply to the Social Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Fund for the remediation of ACM cladding can be found here.

Guidance on how to apply to the Private Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Fund for the remediation of ACM cladding can be found here.

Guidance on how to apply for the remediation of non-ACM cladding via the Building Safety Fund can be found here.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing support to local authorities to allow people to be housed with their pets in (a) emergency and (b) temporary accommodation.

As set out in the Homelessness Code of Guidance housing authorities should be sensitive to the importance of pets to some applicants, particularly elderly people and rough sleepers who may rely on pets for companionship. Although it will not always be possible to make provision for pets, the Secretary of State recommends that housing authorities give careful consideration to this when making provision for applicants who wish to retain their pet.

The reforms within the Renters (Reform) Bill in relation to pets will apply to temporary accommodation within the private rented sector.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of creating a nationwide scheme to allow people to top-up a prepayment card for use in public car parking facilities when they are unwilling or unable to make app based payments.

Parking is the responsibility of local authorities and it is for them to determine what is best for their own area. Whilst central government has no remit to intervene in their daily affairs, it does have an interest in how car parks are managed and recognises the important link between parking provision and the vitality of our high streets and town centres. The Secretary of State recently wrote to all local authorities in England setting out his expectations that parking services for which councils are responsible for remain accessible.

All local authorities have existing statutory duties to ensure that they do not discriminate in their decision making against older people or those with vulnerabilities. Local authorities should ensure that there are alternative provisions for parking payments available so that no part of society is digitally excluded.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of amending planning regulations for telecommunication infrastructure upgrades to allow objections to be considered where masts or cabinets are to be located on an existing footpath or cycleway and where sufficient space for the proposed infrastructure is available adjacent to the proposed site.

Through our UK Wireless Infrastructure Strategy the government has set a new ambition of nationwide coverage of standalone 5G to all populated areas by 2030, as well as outlining our commitment to extending 4G coverage to 95% of the UK's landmass.

On 4 April 2022 amendments to Part 16 of the General Permitted Development Order 2015 came into force to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage.

Alongside these amendments, we published a new Code of Practice for wireless network development. This sets out guidance for Mobile Network Operators and infrastructure providers, their agents and contractors, local planning authorities, and all other relevant stakeholders in England. Guidance is included in the Code of Practice on site selection, and minimising obstructions on footways, which operators should follow.

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the letter of 13 February 2023 from the Minister of State for Housing and Planning to the hon. Member for Bedford, reference 24093761, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to give freeholders on private and mixed tenure estates (a) equivalent rights to leaseholders to challenge the reasonableness of estate rentcharges and (b) a right to apply to the first-tier tribunal to appoint a new manager to manage the provision of services covered by estate rentcharges.

Announcements will be made in the usual way.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his planned timetable is for extending the right to buy to housing association tenants.

The Government is considering the next steps on the proposed extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants. We will work closely with the housing association sector on the approach to a new scheme and will announce more details in due course.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to support first-time buyers onto the housing ladder.

The Government is committed to supporting first time buyers into home ownership.

On 9th June the Prime Minister announced new measures including a review looking into reforming the mortgage market, removing disincentives to home ownership in the welfare system; and working to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants.

Michael Gove
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to protect (a) vulnerable people and (b) victims of domestic violence from not being able to access their Housing Association properties if they are in rent-arrears through no fault of their own.

Most housing associations are Private Registered Providers of social housing. When providing access to their properties, Private Registered Providers must comply with the Regulator of Social Housing’s Tenancy Standard: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tenancy-standard/tenancy-standard-2015 . This requires them to allocate their properties in a fair and transparent way, taking into account the housing needs and aspirations of tenants and potential tenants, with clear application, decision and appeals processes. They must also clearly set out, and be able to give reasons for, the criteria they use for excluding actual and potential tenants from consideration for allocations, mobility or mutual exchange schemes.

We have taken unprecedented steps to protect renters, whether they rent from a housing association, local council or private landlord.

We have introduced 6-month notice periods. From 29 August, anyone served a notice seeking possession will not have to leave their home over winter, except in the most serious cases such as anti-social behaviour, fraud and egregious rent arrears.

The Government has asked bailiffs not to carry out evictions in areas where gatherings are not allowed in homes and bailiffs should not carry out evictions in tier 2 (high) and tier 3 (very high) local COVID alert areas. There will also be a pause on the enforcement of evictions in the run up to and over Christmas except in the most serious circumstances, such as cases involving anti-social behaviour.

This will ensure vulnerable tenants are not forced from their homes at a time when public and local authorities may be dealing with the usual level of increased demand for services.

For those who require additional support with their rent, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. As announced at the spending round for 2020/21 there is already £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for local authorities to distribute for supporting renters with housing costs in the social and private rented sectors.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Minister for Women and Equalities on steps the Government is taking to protect domestic violence victims who face barriers to accessing housing as a result of rent arrears accrued.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with all his ministerial colleagues.

We have taken steps to improve access to social housing for victims of domestic abuse.

Statutory guidance issued in 2012 encourages local authorities to give additional preference (high priority) to people who require urgent rehousing as a result of domestic abuse, while guidance issued in 2013 advises authorities to make appropriate exceptions to any local connection test for people moving into an area to escape violence.

In November 2018 the government issued new statutory guidance for local authorities to improve access to social housing by victims of domestic abuse who are in a refuge or other form of safe temporary accommodation: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/753667/Improving_access_to_social_housing_for_victims_of_domestic_abuse.pdf

The guidance makes clear that local authorities are expected not to apply residency tests for those victims who have fled to another district, sets out how they can give appropriate priority to victims, and encourages them to use their existing powers to support victims to remain safely in their homes if they choose to do so.

Through the Domestic Abuse Bill we are protecting the security of tenure of social tenants with a lifetime tenancy who have to flee their home to escape domestic abuse.

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been held on the segregation unit at HMP Bedford since 17 November 2023.

As records of prisoners who have left the prison on transfer or on release are no longer accessible to the prison, it is not possible, without incurring disproportionate cost, to say how many individual prisoners were segregated during the period.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he expects the new segregation unit at HMP Bedford to be (a) completed and (b) opened.

The design brief for the new care and separation unit at HMP Bedford was to identify a suitable location for a facility which would address HMIP concerns while minimising the impacts on operational capacity, security and regime. The proposal agreed with the Prison was to covert part of B wing into the new unit in place of place the old one.

The care and separation unit is due to be completed in early March 2024, however additional works are required in B wing before the wing can be put back into use. While the programme for this is not yet finalised, the aim is for the new unit to open before the end of the year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of plans to replace the segregation unit at HMP Bedford.

The design brief for the new care and separation unit at HMP Bedford was to identify a suitable location for a facility which would address HMIP concerns while minimising the impacts on operational capacity, security and regime. The proposal agreed with the Prison was to covert part of B wing into the new unit in place of place the old one.

The care and separation unit is due to be completed in early March 2024, however additional works are required in B wing before the wing can be put back into use. While the programme for this is not yet finalised, the aim is for the new unit to open before the end of the year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing specialised training to (a) administrative and (b) auxiliary staff in the Family Court service on domestic violence including (i) recognising it, (ii) supporting vulnerable individuals and (iii) how to report concerns.

HMCTS staff are trained to support vulnerable individuals by providing practical protections, such as, protective screens, video links, and access to separate waiting rooms and separate entrances in accordance with the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and Part 3A of the Family Procedure Rules. All staff follow safeguarding policies to recognise vulnerable individuals and report concerns. Staff complete annual training on safeguarding, and domestic abuse training is currently being updated in conjunction with HMCTS’ Domestic Abuse Working Group which includes judicial members and representatives from a Women’s Centre.

The Government is delivering on commitments made in response to the final report of the Expert Panel on Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Cases. This includes working with across the family justice system to improve training on domestic abuse and to provide all professionals with the tools to effectively support vulnerable parties.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he had made of the potential merits of requiring that health support workers are the first point of contact for prison leavers with substance dependency; and what steps he is taking to provide these leavers with timely access to health services.

It is vital that all prisoners and prison leavers with a substance dependency can access timely and high-quality treatment to recover from the misuse that drives offending, with dedicated staff in place to ensure continuity of the appropriate support and treatment once someone is released. We work closely with the NHS, Department for Health and Social Care and the Welsh Government to make this possible.

The Ministry of Justice is investing up to £120m over the next three-years to keep drugs out of prisons and get offenders off drugs and into recovery. This includes focusing on prison in-reach by providing prisoners with the opportunity to engage with community treatment pre-release via video calling, and recruiting Health and Justice Coordinators in every probation region to improve links between prison and local treatment services, ensuring continuity of care upon release.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)