Nadia Whittome Portrait

Nadia Whittome

Labour - Nottingham East

2 APPG memberships (as of 17 Nov 2021)
School Food, United Nations Women
1 Former APPG membership
Textiles and Fashion
Nadia Whittome has no previous appointments


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 1st December 2021
13:45
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Net zero aviation and shipping
1 Dec 2021, 1:45 p.m.
At 2.00pm: Oral evidence
Matt Gorman - Director of Carbon Strategy at Heathrow Airport
Glenn Llewellyn - Vice President, Zero Emission Aircraft at Airbus
Val Miftakhov - Founder & CEO at ZeroAvia
Hannah Tew - Director of Air Mobility at Connected Places Catapult
At 3.10pm: Oral evidence
Leo Murray - Director of Innovation at Possible
Tim Johnson - Director at Aviation Environment Federation
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 7th December 2021
15:15
Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Health and Care Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 176 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 191 Noes - 307
Speeches
Wednesday 24th November 2021
Islamophobia Awareness Month

I thank my hon. Friend for giving way and for securing this important debate. Does he agree that the Prime …

Written Answers
Tuesday 9th November 2021
Offences against Children: Victims
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many child victims of sexual abuse reached the age of 18 …
Early Day Motions
Monday 26th April 2021
Matchgirls Strike and Match tax protests
That this House commemorates the Bryant and May workers that on 24 April 1871 protested against a halfpenny tax per …
Bills
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Climate Education Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require matters relating to climate change and sustainability to be integrated throughout the curriculum in primary and …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 6th July 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, 7 Harry Weston Road, Binley Business Park, Binley, Coventry CV3 2SN, for work as …
EDM signed
Monday 15th November 2021
Hillsborough disaster and the National Curriculum
That this House acknowledges that, 32 years after the Hillsborough disaster, criminal trials collapsed in May 2021 and nobody has …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021
A Bill to impose duties on certain education and training providers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Nadia Whittome has voted in 324 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Nadia Whittome 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)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(8 debate interactions)
Priti Patel (Conservative)
Home Secretary
(8 debate interactions)
Nigel Evans (Conservative)
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(13 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(10 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Nadia Whittome's debates

Nottingham East Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Nottingham East signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government must make a public statement on the #kissanprotests & press freedoms.

India is the worlds largest democracy & democratic engagement and freedom of the press are fundamental rights and a positive step towards creating a India that works for all.


Latest EDMs signed by Nadia Whittome

15th November 2021
Nadia Whittome signed this EDM on Monday 15th November 2021

Hillsborough disaster and the National Curriculum

Tabled by: Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
That this House acknowledges that, 32 years after the Hillsborough disaster, criminal trials collapsed in May 2021 and nobody has been held to account for the unlawful killings of 97 innocent people; acknowledges that it took 23 years of campaigning for the truth about the disaster to be finally acknowledged …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 31
Scottish National Party: 2
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
15th November 2021
Nadia Whittome signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 15th November 2021

Student loan repayment threshold

Tabled by: Jon Trickett (Labour - Hemsworth)
That this House expresses its concern about proposals to lower the threshold at which students repay their student loans; notes that the average student leaves university with £50,000 worth of debt and is currently required to start paying off their student loan when they earn £27,295 a year; further notes …
28 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 22
Independent: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Nadia Whittome's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Nadia Whittome, 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.


Nadia Whittome has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Nadia Whittome has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Nadia Whittome


A Bill to require matters relating to climate change and sustainability to be integrated throughout the curriculum in primary and secondary schools and included in vocational training courses; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 28th January 2022

224 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
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure all new homes have solar panels fitted.

Renewable energy, such as that generated from solar panels is a key part of our strategy to get to net zero via a decarbonised electricity grid. We must therefore take the opportunity, where appropriate, to fit solar panels.

However, many homes may not be suitable for solar panels - perhaps because of shading, the orientation of the building, the shape/size of the roof or visual amenity.

Our approach to drive decarbonisation in buildings will see a tightening of energy efficiency standards with an interim 2021 Part L building standards uplift paving the way for the Future Homes Standard in 2025 which will ensure that new homes produce at least 75% lower CO2 emissions compared to those built to current standards.

Our approach remains technology-neutral and developers will therefore retain the flexibility they need to use the materials and technologies that suit the circumstances of a site and their business to achieve these targets. This includes the use of solar panels where appropriate.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking improve the CPS handling of sexual assault cases.

We, and the CPS, are working tirelessly with criminal justice partners to improve the handling of these sensitive cases. Over the last four quarters, we have seen the charging rates in rape cases continue to increase. This year, the CPS has also published its own five-year rape strategy, updated rape legal guidance and training, and continued work to drive forward a joint action plan with the police to improve the handling of these sensitive cases.

The AGO and the CPS are closely and actively engaged in the cross-Government end-to-end rape review, which will be published later this year. The CPS will address any issues identified in this review openly and honestly.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to respond to Question 47495.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQ 47495 on 3 June 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 41211, whether the Government is taking steps to make it possible for under-18s to submit questions for the Government’s Covid-19 press conferences.

We are mindful of the importance and value of young people being able to contribute their views on how the Government, and the country, can collectively tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Notwithstanding, I would note that members of the public who ask questions, particularly those who are filmed, place themselves in the public eye to a significant extent – both on television, but also subsequently are subject to comment on social media.

There are practical issues with children being subjected to such scrutiny, without parental consent and involvement. As it stands, parents and carers can ask questions on behalf of under-18s as a way for them to participate in the daily press conferences.

The Government is actively considering alternative options for under-18s to submit questions to ministers. For example, we have organised a virtual assembly in conjunction with NSPCC, hosted by Ant & Dec where the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families will answer questions from children on our response to Covid-19.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons only people aged 18 and over are able to submit a question to the Government's daily covid-19 press conference.

We have introduced a process to verify the individuals asking questions. Accepting questions from people under the age of 18 will require further processes and additional protections to ensure that privacy is protected.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to return to a centrally-funded Green Home Grant Scheme.

The Government commitment to investing in decarbonising buildings remains unwavering, and to the importance of long-term funding to sustainable grow the green installer base and supply chain.

In order to deliver on net zero ambitions and support a thriving building retrofit industry, the Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Home Upgrade Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with up to £950m and £800m in additional funding respectively over 2022/23 to 2024/25.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to make small business grants available to taxi drivers.

The Restart Grant and Local Restrictions Support Grant Schemes provides support for those businesses who have been mandated to close under National Restrictions. Grant support for Taxi Drivers may be available through the Additional Restrictions Grant. Local Authorities have discretion to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an additional £425m will be made available via the Additional Restrictions Grant meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will introduce a specific grant for taxi drivers whose incomes have suffered as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Grant support for Taxi Drivers may be available through the Additional Restrictions Grant, a discretionary scheme administered by Local Authorities. Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. Local Authorities can use their local expertise to target businesses to support in their local area.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an additional £425m will be made available via the Additional Restrictions Grant meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Guidance for the scheme can be found at GOV.UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971482/additional-restrictions-grant-la-guidance.pdf.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to amend regulations in respect of fireworks to strengthen controls on who can purchase them.

This Government is committed to taking further action to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks. There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls who can purchase them, their availability and use, curfews and their safety as a product.

We agree with the conclusion of the Petition Committee’s 2019 inquiry into fireworks, that any further restrictions on fireworks sold to the public by retail outlets could lead to more individuals buying products inappropriately, through online social media sources or from outside the UK. This could drive individuals to source fireworks from illegitimate or unsafe suppliers, where products may not meet the UK’s safety requirements.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce unregulated carbon emissions produced by the construction industry.

We are working with the construction sector to reduce its emission contributions to help meet our net zero target, with a focus on construction processes including transport and the plant and machinery it uses, and in the built environment. We are also working with the sector to reduce embodied carbon and are looking at a range of means for doing so.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of potential job losses in the events and hospitality industry in 2021.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic the Government has worked closely with the hospitality sector to understand the impact of the pandemic on their businesses.

Hospitality and events businesses have been able to benefit from Government support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Government-backed loans, Local Restrictions Support Grants, additional funding provided to Local Authorities to support businesses and the Cultural Relief Fund.

On 5 January, when the new National Lockdown began, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a one-off top up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the spring.  A £594 million discretionary fund has also been made available to support other impacted businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Government criteria on corporate sponsors for COP26, whether he plans to exclude companies involved in the extraction and production of fossil fuels as potential sponsors for that conference.

We are looking to partner with organisations at COP26 with strong climate credentials, particularly those who have set ambitious net zero commitments by 2050 or earlier, with a credible short term action plan to achieve this (e.g. Science Based Targets). We conduct due diligence on all potential sponsors, and will ensure compliance with rigorous government standards.

You can find details about sponsorship on the COP26 website here.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential for (a) job losses and (b) loss of union recognition as a result of the sale of Co-op Insurance to Markerstudy.

The details of mergers and takeovers are primarily a commercial matter for the parties concerned.

The Employment Relations Act 1999 introduced a statutory recognition procedure that gave independent trade unions the right to apply to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to be recognised by an employer for collective bargaining over pay, hours and holidays in respect of a group of workers in a particular bargaining unit.

Where an employer decides not to recognise or to derecognise a trade union, the union can use the statutory recognition procedure. The CAC can award recognition where a clear majority of the bargaining unit want it, and this is established in most cases through a ballot of the workforce.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to improve energy standards in the private rented sector to help reduce fuel poverty affecting tenants in that sector.

We intend to consult on strengthening the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in due course, in line with our Clean Growth Strategy aspiration for privately rented properties to reach EPC Band C by 2030 where practical, affordable and cost-effective. Landlords will also be eligible for subsidised energy efficiency measures through the Green Homes Grant scheme this autumn.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions on (a) businesses, (b) self-employed people and (c) people employed in the beauty industry; and what assessment he has made of whether there has been a disproportionate effect on women of the effect on that industry.

The Government has considered the financial impact of COVID-19 on all parts of the economy throughout the pandemic and has provided unprecedented levels of financial support.

The Government will continue to monitor the impact of the restrictions, working closely with business groups including the beauty industry, to ensure it continues to consider the impact on all groups including women.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what conditions were attached to any financial support provided to Boots.

The Government released an unprecedented package of support, including loan schemes, grant funding and wage packages, to help as many individuals and business as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For commercial confidentiality reasons, the British Business Bank cannot disclose whether companies are or are not in receipt of support without their approval. Any financial support provided (if provided) would be subject to the terms and conditions of the specific scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the proportion of businesses that have applied for loans through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme that have had their application declined.

As of 6 May, in total over £5.5 billion worth of loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to 33,812 businesses. Lenders have received 62,674 completed applications.

In order to minimise administrative burden and therefore facilitate the issuing of as many loans as possible, the British Business Bank’s system only gathers data from lenders when loans are offered and drawn. Decisions on whether to capture information relating to rejected loans are at the discretion of the lender.

We are working with the British Business Bank, HM Treasury and the lenders on the publication of regular and transparent data going forward.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that small companies that pay business rates indirectly through rent payments to a multi-tenanted facility are eligible for support from the Small Business Grants Fund in the same way as if they paid business rates directly.

The two existing business grants schemes have helped supported many thousands of small businesses. However, we are aware that many small businesses which are facing high fixed costs are finding themselves excluded from the existing grants schemes because the way they interact with the current business rates system means they are not eligible for the grants schemes.

To ensure that Local Authorities can help these businesses, on 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. This additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. It is our intention that the following businesses should be considered as a priority for these funds:

  • Businesses in a range of shared workspaces;
  • Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need and subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help tackle scams on online dating sites; and what support is available to victims of such scams.

The Online Safety Bill will increase people's protection from scams facilitated via dating sites. Dating sites will have to assess the risk of fraud arising from user-generated content on their service and then take steps to mitigate and tackle that risk. This is just one part of the government’s plan, led by the Home Office, to tackle fraud in all its forms.

Victims of fraud must feel they can come forward to report these crimes and receive the support they need. The government is working to improve the victim support system to make sure that everyone receives the advice and care they need to move beyond the impact of this crime.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government has taken to support theatres during the covid-19 outbreak.

Theatres have been eligible to access Government COVID-19 support throughout the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes various government-backed loans, business grants, reduction in VAT and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. Theatres were also able to access the discretionary Local Restrictions Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant which provided Local Authorities with funds to support businesses who met the eligibility criteria. And, earlier this year the Chancellor announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

Theatres have also benefited from the Cultural Recovery Fund. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from this fund, reaching over 5000 individual organisations and sites. Of this funding, awards with a value of over £183m were made to applicants whose main artform is ‘theatre’ in Round 1 recovery grant funding, and in Round 2 almost £60 million was awarded to help theatres plan for reopening in every corner of the country from the West End’s Criterion Theatre to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

In the 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund. This extra funding, together with other cultural support such as funding for our national museums, means that our total support package for culture during the pandemic is now approaching £2bn. These are unprecedented sums.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the safety of re-commencing private music lessons for adults during the covid-19 lockdown.

On 22 February the Prime Minister set out the roadmap gradually ending the current lockdown for England.

At step 3 of the roadmap, no earlier than 17 May, the restrictions on social mixing indoors will be eased and individuals will be able to meet socially distanced in a group of 6 or with 1 other household. Non-professional activities, such as private music lessons for adults, will be able to resume from this time.

The timings outlined in the roadmap are indicative, and the Government will be led by data, rather than fixed dates. Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates in the roadmap are all contingent on the data and subject to change.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing support to the events sector to encourage event attendance when it is safe to do so.

The Government acknowledges the significance of the events sector to the UK economy and that it has been significantly affected by the impacts of Covid-19.

We recognise the importance of giving the events sector clarity for when events will be permitted to resume with fuller audiences. However we have always been clear that the activity permitted would be in line with the latest public health context.

No assessment is currently available regarding the potential merits of providing support to the sector to encourage event attendance at this time.

We are committed to continue working with the live events sector to understand the challenges they face and to work towards reopening events with fuller audiences. Furthermore, the business events pilots we carried out in September will help to ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on the availability of the culture recovery fund to organisations that were previously in receipt of public funds.

It has been agreed that in regards to public funds, such as the Job Retention Scheme, and the Culture Recovery Fund, organisations may apply for both, although of course organisations should not claim for the same costs through a public funding scheme and the Culture Recovery Fund. Where organisations have questions about this interaction they should speak to their relevant arms length body - Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England or the British Film Institute.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of financial support available to self-employed and freelance people in creative industries.

The government has taken active steps to support the self-employed. We’ve supported the self-employed with over £13 billion in grants and the Chancellor has doubled the generosity of the self-employed grant extension scheme from 20% to 40% of people’s profits. The expanded Jobs Support Scheme, announced by the Chancellor on 22 October, will include more generous and frequent cash grants, and more help for the self-employed.

DCMS continues to engage with HMT to feed into their assessment of the potential impacts of Government support. We will ensure the needs of our sectors are also factored into the developing economic response, and that DCMS sectors, including the live music industry, are supported throughout this time.

The Arts Council England has made £119 million available to individuals (including freelancers and self-employed), with £23.1 million already distributed and £95.9 million currently available to apply for via open funds.

The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund will benefit freelancers, because it will invest in organisations and help them to reopen, and restart performances.

2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what further support the Government plans to provide to charities that face significant losses in donations due to the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS is continuing to work closely with the civil society sector to assess the needs of the sector and how the government can best support it to continue its vital work. The Government has committed a £750m targeted funding package to support the Voluntary and Community Sector, which builds on the significant package of support available across sectors, including the Job Retention Scheme. A further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts has been unlocked to support urgent work tackling youth unemployment, providing emergency loans for civil society organisations and improving the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

Ensuring charities can begin fundraising activities will be a crucial part of the sector’s recovery. On the 24th June, DCMS published a collection of guidance for DCMS sectors relating to COVID-19. This includes practical guidance and resources from the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising supporting charities to safeguard the public, staff and volunteers as they plan to return to fundraising activities in a safe and responsible way. This can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-dcms-sectors-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the online platforming of hate speech.

Ministers have regular discussions with their Cabinet Colleagues on a range of issues, including tackling online hate speech. The Home Office are working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), civil society partners and social media platforms to encourage victim reporting of online hate crime during the pandemic and to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to affected communities. Policy for combating online hate crime remains with the Home Office.

Ensuring the UK is the safest place in the world to go online is a priority for the Government. We are pressing ahead with legislation to establish a new Online Harms regulatory framework which will protect users from harm. The Government’s Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, set out our plans for world-leading legislation, by making companies more responsible for their users’ safety online.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on tackling the platforming of far-right hate speech online.

Ministers have regular discussions with their Cabinet Colleagues on a range of issues, including tackling online hate speech. The Home Office are working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), civil society partners and social media platforms to encourage victim reporting of online hate crime during the pandemic and to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to affected communities. Policy for combating online hate crime remains with the Home Office.

Ensuring the UK is the safest place in the world to go online is a priority for the Government. We are pressing ahead with legislation to establish a new Online Harms regulatory framework which will protect users from harm. The Government’s Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, set out our plans for world-leading legislation, by making companies more responsible for their users’ safety online.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support child poverty charities working in BAME communities during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced a broad package of support for businesses and charities to ensure that organisations that need support are able to access it. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020.

In addition, on 8 April the Government announced a £750 million funding package to ensure charities providing frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic can continue their vital work. Of this, £360 million was to be allocated to individual government departments based on evidence of service need. This funding has now been allocated to government departments, who are using a range of approaches to award funding either directly to charities or through bidding processes. As part of this package, the Department for Education will provide £26.4 million to support vulnerable children in England.

£370 million has been allocated to support small and medium sized charities during the pandemic. This includes £60 million funding through the Barnett formula to support charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of the £310 million to be spent in England, £200 million has been distributed to the National Lottery Community Fund to award grants through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. Applications for this fund opened on 22 May and the National Lottery Community Fund is assessing applications in the order in which they are received, in order to award grants as quickly as possible. Child poverty charities working with BAME communities during the Covid-19 outbreak are eligible to apply for this funding.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a Minister for young people to represent the perspectives and concerns of that age group.

Decisions on Ministerial remits and duties lie with the Prime Minister. A range of government departments (including DCMS) have policies that affect young people, and that is why the government believes there should be a cross-departmental approach.

This government is committed to supporting young people to have a voice on issues and concerns that matter to them, at both a local and national level. DCMS leads this work, and funds the British Youth Council (BYC) to deliver a youth voice programme including the UK Youth Parliament, the Make Your Mark ballot, the Youth Select Committee, The Government’s Youth Steering Group and the Young Inspectors group.

Officials are working collaboratively across Whitehall, with the youth sector, and young people to ensure that we support our young people during and post Covid-19, and that their voices are heard.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to introduce education on public health in schools as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The new subject of health education became compulsory in all state-funded schools from September 2020, alongside relationships education in primary schools and relationships and sex education in secondary schools.

The statutory guidance provides a clear description of what pupils should be taught about in health education. This includes mental wellbeing, internet safety and harms, physical health and fitness, healthy eating, drugs, alcohol and tobacco, health, and prevention, basic first aid and the changing adolescent body.

The topic of health and prevention includes content that is particularly relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as how bacteria and viruses are spread and treated and the importance of hygiene, including handwashing. The subject also covers the facts and science relating to immunisation and vaccination.

To support schools to deliver this content, the Department has produced teacher training modules which are available on GOV.UK. The Department’s guidance for schools during the COVID-19 outbreak includes detailed advice on public health duties, and is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he is having with university representatives on students who have signed contracts for university accommodation in relation to courses that have no in-person teaching as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is committed to ensuring that students that have been living away from home are able to return home at the end of term, if they choose to do so. Higher education (HE) providers should ensure they have plans for how they support students to return home safely. As part of these plans, HE providers should plan to have moved all teaching online by 9 December, at the very latest, for a short period until the end of the autumn term. We expect providers to stagger the end of face to face provision between 3 to 9 December, both between faculties and universities in the same city (and region if possible).

Anyone who remains at university after 9 December will run the risk of having to undertake a period of isolation of up to 14 days at university, if they contracted COVID-19, or were identified as a contact of someone who had, and would therefore be at risk of not being able to travel home for the end of term break.

The government plays no direct role in the provision of accommodation, whether university or privately owned.

Officials speak regularly with representatives of private and university owned accommodation, as well as sector bodies. The government worked closely with universities to ensure they were well prepared for the return of students, and we have published guidance to help them keep students and staff as safe as possible. Protecting students’ education and wellbeing is vital, so we are supporting universities to continue delivering a blend of online and face-to-face learning where possible in a COVID-secure way. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

Libraries and study spaces on campus should remain open to students and staff, for educational purposes, and must continue to maintain COVID-secure measures. This is important to ensure that student learning can continue as planned while the national restrictions are in place.

Students who have an accommodation contract and, because of COVID-19, think it may no longer fit their requirements, should talk directly to their housing provider.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds.

Students may be entitled to refunds from accommodation providers depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. If students need help, organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice, as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/; https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance is available for schools on best practice for supporting children who have reported child sexual abuse from another child at the school.

The department provides two documents to assist schools in managing any report of sexual violence and sexual harassment. Both provide detailed information on schools’ legal responsibilities, advice on managing reports of abuse, victim support and provide links to specialist advice and support.

The statutory guidance, which schools must give regard to, for keeping children safe in education is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

Advice on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sexual-violence-and-sexual-harassment-between-children-in-schools-and-colleges.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) funding and (b) other support for the adoption of survivors of child sexual abuse.

Adopters are legally entitled to an assessment of their needs and their adoptive child’s needs, including assessment of need for financial support, therapeutic services, advice and guidance.

Sexual abuse can have both short-term and long-term effects and children and young people may experience a range of issues including: anxiety and depression; post-traumatic stress; feelings of shame and guilt; and relationship problems with family and friends. Therapeutic support can help children recover from their experiences and the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) is available for children who have left care through adoption and special guardianship to access this kind of support. The types of therapeutic support available through the ASF include play therapy, psychotherapy, family therapy and extensive life story work.

The government has invested significantly in the ASF, which has provided more than £177 million for therapeutic support to over 62,000 families since it launched in 2015. Local authorities and regional adoption agencies also fund other types of support to adoptive families. The government continues to review the support provided to all adoptive children and this issue will be discussed as part of the forthcoming spending review. We have also tasked the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board with improving support to adoptive families.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of school closures on the educational attainment of (a) Gypsies, Travellers and Roma pupils and (b) other pupils experiencing the poorest educational outcomes.

Although no full assessment has been made regarding the effect that school closures have had on the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, the Department has commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to provide a baseline assessment of catch up needs for pupils in schools in England. They will then monitor progress over the course of the year, based on existing assessments, to help us target support across the system. This research will make use of existing assessments that schools already choose to use and are typically taken by over one million children each year. This will allow the Department to assess how a range of groups are performing this year, including the most disadvantaged and those with historically poor outcomes.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has made it clear that no child should fall behind as a result of COVID-19. Now children are back in school, teachers are assessing what support their pupils need to get back on track, and head teachers have the flexibility to spend their allocation from our £1 billion COVID-19 catch up fund in the way they think is best for their pupils, using approaches that are known to have the most impact. The Department also continues to provide pupil premium funding, worth £2.4 billion in the current financial year, which aims to reduce the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether sports clubs outside schools will be allowed to operate due to the covid-19 outbreak in September 2020.

As of 4 July, providers offering out-of-school activities to children, such as sports clubs, including those not based on school premises, have been able to open for both indoor and outdoor provision with safety measures in place.

Out-of-school provision will continue to be permitted to operate during the autumn. The Department has updated the guidance for providers of holiday and after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings during the COVID-19 outbreak to outline the protective measures that settings should put in place to minimise the risk of infection and transmission of the virus, and to operate as safely as possible when all children return to school. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the funding required to enable schools to (a) build and (b) rent additional teaching space during the covid-19 outbreak.

All pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools are advised to maximise the use of their site and any associated available space, such as rooms in an associated place of worship for schools with a religious character, if feasible. We do not, however, consider it necessary for schools to make significant adaptations to their site to enable them to welcome all children back to school. We also do not think schools will need to deliver any of their education on other sites (such as community centres and village halls) because class sizes can return to normal and spaces used by more than one class or group can be cleaned between use.

As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19 between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays. Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6bn in 2020-21, £4.8bn in 2021-22 and £7.1bn in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support schools that require additional teaching space in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

All pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools are advised to maximise the use of their site and any associated available space, such as rooms in an associated place of worship for schools with a religious character, if feasible. We do not, however, consider it necessary for schools to make significant adaptations to their site to enable them to welcome all children back to school. We also do not think schools will need to deliver any of their education on other sites (such as community centres and village halls) because class sizes can return to normal and spaces used by more than one class or group can be cleaned between use.

As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19 between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays. Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6bn in 2020-21, £4.8bn in 2021-22 and £7.1bn in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's report entitled, Tackling racial harassment: Universities challenged, published in October 2019, what progress he has made on tackling racial disparities in employment at universities.

Racial harassment is unacceptable, and we cannot tolerate staff and students being victims of it at our world-leading universities. There is no place in our society - including within higher education – for any form of harassment, discrimination or racism. Universities have clear responsibilities in this regard.

As independent and autonomous institutions, higher education providers are responsible for the contracts and conditions of employment that they offer to their staff. We expect universities to follow fair recruitment and employment practices in accordance with the requirements of the Equality Act (2010) to ensure that all job applicants and existing staff, regardless of race, have the opportunity to progress in their careers.

This government will continue to work closely with key partners, and the Office for Students, to drive progress on matters of racial harassment and inequality in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, ith reference to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's report entitled, Tackling racial harassment: Universities challenged, published in October 2019, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of racial harassment of staff in employment by universities.

Racial harassment is unacceptable, and we cannot tolerate staff and students being victims of it at our world-leading universities. There is no place in our society - including within higher education – for any form of harassment, discrimination or racism. Universities have clear responsibilities in this regard.

As independent and autonomous institutions, higher education providers are responsible for the contracts and conditions of employment that they offer to their staff. We expect universities to follow fair recruitment and employment practices in accordance with the requirements of the Equality Act (2010) to ensure that all job applicants and existing staff, regardless of race, have the opportunity to progress in their careers.

This government will continue to work closely with key partners, and the Office for Students, to drive progress on matters of racial harassment and inequality in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of racist harassment and bullying in schools.

Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Schools play a crucial role in helping young people understand the world around them and their place within it. All schools are legally required to have a behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying and they have the freedom to develop their own anti-bulling strategies and monitoring approaches to best suit their environment.

Our guidance on preventing and tackling bullying (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying) sets out that schools should develop a consistent approach to monitoring bullying incidents and evaluating the effectiveness of their approaches. It also directs schools to organisations who can provide support with tackling bullying related to race, religion and nationality.

The department asks teachers about the prevalence of different types of bullying in its regular school snapshot surveys. The latest survey is from July 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-snapshot-survey-summer-2019. This survey suggests that, over the previous 12 months, 56% of school leaders and teachers had ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ seen any of the types of bullying mentioned. 18% reported seeing bullying linked to race and ethnicity ‘sometimes’ or more often.

On 7 June, we announced more than £750,000 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust in order to help hundreds of schools and colleges build relationships between pupils and to increase their resilience as well as to continue to tackle bullying both in person and online (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-mental-health-support-for-pupils-and-teachers). The department has also made resources available through the website Educate Against Hate (https://educateagainsthate.com/). This website provides teachers, school leaders and parents with the information, guidance and support that they need to challenge radical views, including racist and discriminatory beliefs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the educational attainment gap between pupils of different (a) ethnic and (b) socio-economic backgrounds.

The department publishes an analysis of pupil performance at the key stage 2 and key stage 4 assessment points each year.

These analyses show that attainment at the end of key stage 2 varies between different ethnic groups. Consistent with previous years, Chinese pupils were the highest achieving group in 2019, with 80% of Chinese pupils reaching the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths, which is 15 percentage points above the national average. The pattern of attainment across the ethnic major groups has remained largely the same compared to the previous years. Chinese pupils were the highest attaining ethnic group, while black pupils and white pupils were the lowest attaining ethnic groups.

At the end of key stage 4, as in 2018, Chinese, mixed and Asian pupils had Attainment 8 scores above the national average (46.7 in 2019). Average Attainment 8 scores for white pupils and black pupils both remained below the national average.

The latest key stage 2 analysis is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-curriculum-assessments-key-stage-2-2019-revised.

The latest key stage 4 analysis is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/key-stage-4-performance-2019-revised.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional financial support he has made available to foster carers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months.

The government is providing free IT devices and equipment for children who do not currently have access to these, including children living with foster carers. We have also provided a national scheme to offer supermarket vouchers, worth £15 a week, to families of children who receive benefits-related free school meals. This is to cover the cost of meals for children who are currently unable to attend school.

We are continuing to work with fostering services and sector organisations to better understand the specific challenges that foster carers are facing in order to ensure the right level of support is put in place. This includes working closely with Fosterline, an independent advice and support line funded by the Department for Education, to consider what additional support can be offered to foster families struggling at this time.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend eligibility for free school meals to pupils with no recourse to public funds during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we are temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds. These groups are children of Zambrano carers, children of families with a right to remain in the UK under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. These groups are a subject to a maximum income threshold of £16,190 per annum.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on support for students renting private accommodation who are not able to make rental payments due to loss of earnings during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment. This can be accessed from here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

We have also asked that HE providers pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time.

Students who are tenants with individual private landlords are entitled to support if they are impacted by COVID-19, such as repayable rent reductions or postponements and assurances that eviction proceedings cannot begin against them for 3 months.

The government encourages universities and private hall providers to be fair in their decisions about rent charges for this period. A number of universities and large companies have waived rents for the summer term or released students early from their contracts.

It is also important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to leave. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the import of (a) animal fur which is farmed and slaughtered in conditions which do not meet the UK's animal welfare standards and (b) other similarly produced animal products.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and since 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are restrictions on some skin and fur products which may never be legally imported into the UK. These include fur and products from cats and dogs, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts. We have established controls on fur from endangered species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and we do not allow imports of fur from wild animals caught using methods which are non-compliant with international humane trapping standards.

We have some of the highest welfare standards in the world, and that is both a source of pride and a clear reflection of UK attitudes towards animals. The Government is considering any further steps it could take in relation to the import of animal fur, and other similarly produced animal products, which are farmed and slaughtered in conditions which do not meet the UKs animal welfare standards.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the importation of (a) foie gras, (b) fur and (c) other products the production of which is banned in the UK on grounds of cruelty; and if he will make a statement.

We have some of the highest welfare standards in the world, and that is both a source of pride and a clear reflection of UK attitudes towards animals.

The Government has made clear that the production of foie gras from ducks or geese who have been force fed raises serious welfare concerns. The production of foie gras by force feeding is already banned in the UK, as it is incompatible with our domestic welfare standards.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and since 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are restrictions on some skin and fur products which may never be legally imported into the UK. These include fur and products from cats and dogs, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts.

The Government is considering any further steps it could take in relation to foie gras, fur, and other such products now that the Transition Period has ended.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much money from the public purse has been spent on nature based solutions to climate change in each of the last five years.

Nature-based solutions can play a key role in tackling climate change and managing its impacts. Over the last 5 years government has introduced new funding that specifically invests in nature-based solutions in England where climate change mitigation and adaptation is the primary purpose. Details of these specific funding streams are given below.

  • £10 million Peatland Capital grants scheme 2018-21 to restore peatland.
  • £19.5 million Woodland Carbon Fund announced in 2018 to support large scale woodland creation.
  • £50 million Woodland Carbon Guarantee announced in 2018 to accelerate woodland planting rates and develop the domestic market for woodland carbon, to be spent over 35 years.
  • £640 million Nature for Climate Fund will provide significant funding for the creation, restoration and management of woodland and peatland habitats in England 2020-2025.
  • £15 million Natural Flood Management programme 2017-21, which supports 25 large catchment scale projects and 33 smaller community projects to further develop the evidence base on working with natural processes to reduce flood risk.

The UK Government also has a range of existing and funding streams such as Countryside Stewardship and the Green Recovery Challenge Fund that support the restoration of nature in England, and provide multiple benefits for wildlife, climate and people: we have not specifically assessed what proportion of these funding streams has provided nature-based solutions to climate change.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on banning the burning of peatland habitats.

The Government has always been clear of the need to phase out rotational burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats, and we are looking at how legislation could achieve this. Real progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and continue to work with them constructively.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings his Department has had with Natural England on preparations for COP26.

Preparations for the UK Presidency of COP26 are coordinated across Government by the Cabinet Office COP26 Unit, with departments including Defra, BEIS and FCDO and the devolved administrations leading on their areas of policy responsibility. The departments work closely together at ministerial and official levels, to ensure delivery of the best possible outcomes at COP26.

As a Defra Arm's Length Body, Defra holds the relationship with Natural England. Defra also leads on key aspects of the Government's COP26 preparations, including on the Nature Campaign. Defra has therefore led discussions with Natural England on COP26.

BEIS has not met Natural England on preparations for COP26.

Defra has regular meetings with Natural England on COP26, including holding Senior Board level meetings on these issues to ensure Natural England’s input into preparations. These discussions, including Natural England's role in COP26 preparations, will continue in the lead up to COP26.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that animal tests on products which have already been tested to EU REACH requirements will not need repeat testing to meet domestic registration.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green on 10 September 2020, PQ UIN 86122.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-07/86122]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 21 May 2020 to Question 46205, on Veterinary Services: Cost Effectiveness, if he will make a value for money assessment of out-of-hours veterinary care.

Defra has no plans to carry out a value for money assessment of out-of-hours veterinary care.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the value for money of out-of-hours veterinary care.

The Department has not made a value for money assessment of out-of-hours veterinary care.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 21 February 2020 to Question 18886 on CDC: Fossil Fuels, what the initial value of those investments was; and what the current value of those investments is.

The initial value of investments listed in Question 18886 was approximately $741 million. The value of those investments as of 31 December 2019 was approximately $866 million.

14th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the need for humanitarian aid to support refugees in refugee camps in Myanmar.

There are around 400,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Myanmar, most of whom were displaced by conflict. This includes 130,000 Rohingya IDPs in Rakhine State, around 77,000 Rakhine IDPs in Rakhine and Chin State, around 110,000 IDPs in Kachin and Northern Shan and around 90,000 IDPs South East/Thai border. In addition to conflict, Myanmar is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. In recent years it has experienced displacement as a result of extreme weather events.

Humanitarian need across Myanmar remains high, especially amongst vulnerable IDP populations. The UN Humanitarian Response Plan 2020 estimates total needs in Myanmar at one million people and $262 million. Key needs include health care, food, shelter, water and sanitation, and protection. Conflict and travel restrictions limit access to IDPs for international agencies in many areas.

The UK is concerned about the potential impact of COVID-19 on displaced people and on wider conflict affected communities. A serious outbreak of COVID-19 could increase pressure on, and even overwhelm, the already stretched humanitarian system and could reduce access further. The UK has one of the biggest humanitarian programmes in Myanmar working through the UN, International Committee of the Red Cross, international organisations and civil society to respond to needs.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will list all Private Infrastructure Development Group investments in power generation facilities using (a) diesel, (b) crude oil and (c) Heavy Fuel Oil as a primary or secondary fuel, specifying for each investment the (i) primary fuel type, (ii) secondary fuel type, (iii) initial investment value and (iv) current net asset value.

PIDG’s strategy now rules out any investing in coal. This is in line with UK Government policy, including the recent announcement at the Africa Investment Summit.

Of the power generation projects which Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) has supported, 2 use diesel and 5 use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) as primary fuel sources. PIDG funding has also directly supported diesel as a back-up fuel source for one solar power project.

Project Name

Country

Commitment*
($ million)

Commitment year

Primary

Secondary

AES-Sonel

Cameroon

35.5

2003

HFO

Rabai Power Ltd.

Kenya

32.77

2008

HFO

convertible to LNG

Smart Energy Solutions

Multiple Countries (SSA)

20

2014

Diesel

Tobene Power, Senegal

Senegal

32

2014

HFO

Karadeniz, Multiple countries

Indonesia

15

2015

Diesel

Albatros Energie Mali SA, Mali

Mali

14.66

2016

HFO

Tobene II

Senegal

7.45

2017

HFO

convertible to LNG

Archipelago Hybrid Power Solutions, Indonesia

Indonesia

8.6

2017

Solar PV

Diesel

TOTAL Diesel Primary ($ million)

35

TOTAL HFO Primary ($ million)

122.38

Data on all PIDG investment commitments are available online via its Results Monitoring Database and its annual reports (https://www.pidg.org/). Data on the current net asset value of these investments is commercially confidential and not published.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what investments (a) CDC Group and (b) its subsidiaries have in power generation facilities using (i) diesel, (ii) crude oil and (iii) Heavy Fuel Oil as a primary or secondary fuel; and what the (A) primary fuel type, (B) secondary fuel type and (C) value is of each investment.

CDC has made the following investments:

Investment

Primary Fuel Type

Back-up Fuel Type

Maria Gleta

Gas

Diesel

Azura Power

Gas

Diesel

Sirajganj 4

Gas

Diesel

Summit Meghnaghat

Gas

Diesel

GVK Energy

Gas

Diesel

Termoyopal

Gas

Diesel

Early Power Limited

Gas

Diesel

Amandi Energy

Gas

Crude Oil

Karadeniz Powerships

Gas

Heavy Fuel Oil

Takoradi International Company Limited (TICO)

Light Crude Oil

Diesel

Albatros Energy

Heavy Fuel Oil

Diesel

Te Power

Heavy Fuel Oil

Diesel

Globeleq Limited - Tsavo

Heavy Fuel Oil

Diesel

Globeleq Limited - Dibamba

Heavy Fuel Oil

Diesel

Jamaica Public Services Limited

Heavy Fuel Oil

Diesel

Rabai Power Ltd

Heavy Fuel Oil

Diesel

The total net asset value of these investments, as at 31 December 2019, was $276,272,552. CDC publishes the amounts it invests directly into businesses and investment funds. Individual investment valuations are commercially sensitive and are not disclosed.

In the first two years of CDC’s current strategic period (2017-2018) it committed over $500 million to renewable energy.

Since 2015, CDC has made over $800m of commitments in green investments in a range of sectors – including renewable power, green buildings and forestry. Over the past two years, CDC has committed over $500 million to renewable energy projects, almost 25% of CDC’s total investment commitments made over this period. Building on this base, CDC have recently completed work on a new Climate Strategy that sets out a higher level of ambition on Climate and a portfolio-wide “Carbon budget” approach to Paris alignment, tied to HMG commitments to reach net zero by 2050. CDC will launch its new strategy later this year.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she plans to pause and review her policy on UK arms and security equipment exports to the US for potential use in policing operations involving tear gas and rubber bullets.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Ecuador remains on the covid-19 red list in the context of the low covid-19 infection rates and successful vaccination programme in that country.

Ecuador has been on the red list since 15 January 2021 due to the ongoing presence of variants of concern. The data for all countries and territories will be kept under regular review. Decisions on red country assignment and associated border measures will continue to be taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments alongside wider public health factors.

Government scientists will continue to engage with countries still on the red list and keep the evidence on variants of concern, especially Lambda and Mu, under close review in order to ensure the UK’s approach remains proportionate. The Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to remove Ecuador from the covid-19 travel red list.

Ecuador was removed from the red list on Monday 1 November. There are no countries or territories currently on the UK’s red list. However, the data for all countries and territories will be kept under regular review and the red list will continue to operate as the UK’s first defence to prevent incoming variants of concern from entering the UK from international travel.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when funding for bus operators through the covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant will cease.

The COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) has no pre-agreed end date. The Department will work with operators and authorities to ensure the transition away from CBSSG emergency funding is timed appropriately.

Recipients of CBSSG funding will be given eight weeks’ notice before funding ceases.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the National Bus Strategy will give powers to local authorities powers to establish a municipal bus company.

The National Bus Strategy, which will be launched in the coming weeks, will focus on how national and local government, and the private sector will come together to deliver better bus services and meet the needs of local communities. The Strategy is the first step in longer process; there will be much detail to develop in collaboration with stakeholders after publication.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that bus operators do not reduce the number of bus (a) services and (b) routes as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is currently providing up to £27.3m per week of emergency funding to the bus sector through the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) scheme. This is allowing bus operators to maintain services for essential travel.

During the current national lockdown, the Department has asked operators and local authorities to work together to prioritise services and routes based on local need, while reducing overall service levels to reflect reduced demand. The Government will work with operators and local authorities to help them prepare for an increase in demand as national restrictions begin to lift and ensure that service levels and route provision can meet this increase.

The Government remains committed to supporting the bus sector’s long-term recovery from COVID-19. Further details on how we plan to support bus services will be included in the National Bus Strategy, which we expect to publish in the coming weeks.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to (a) promote national cycling safety campaigns and (b) issue guidance to local authorities on cycling safety in response to the increase in cycling due to the covid-19 outbreak.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2 billion package of funding for cycling and walking over the next five years. The Government will say more in the summer about its plans to boost cycling and improve cycle safety.

The Government has issued new statutory guidance to local authorities encouraging them to take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling. It has also introduced a £225 million Emergency Active Travel Fund, available to local authorities this financial year for immediate measures to improve cycle safety including new cycle lanes.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to assist autistic people into employment.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to start, stay and succeed in work. These include the Work and Health Programme, one-to-one support and training through the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we provided specialist employment support remotely and made programmes easier to access.

Every autistic person experiences autism differently, and many have complex needs or other conditions, such as a learning disability or mental health condition. We therefore design our programmes to tailor support to meet the needs of individual participants, while recognising that some approaches, such as the “place and train” model have been successful with autistic participants who have more complex needs. The IPES programme provides support that is highly personalised to meet the needs of disabled participants who are further from employment and have more complex barriers to work- this includes people with autism.

We are working with the National Autistic Society to test how we can make Jobcentre Plus services more accessible to and supportive of autistic customers, including accrediting individual offices. This test will run to the end of March 2022 and will inform future decisions about JCP provision.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of universal credit claimants were (a) repaying an advance payment and (b) also repaying other debts through the deductions system in the most recent month for which figures are available.

If a new claim advance is taken, this means that a claimant can receive 13 payments over the course of a year instead of 12. As of October 2021, the period over which claimants can repay an advance also doubles from 12 months to 24 months

For Universal Credit claims due a payment during August 2020 41% had a deduction:

  • 26% had only advance repayments,
  • 10% had advance repayments and deductions for other debts
  • 5% had only deductions for other debts.

Notes

  • Other debts include Universal Credit third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.
  • Figures rounded to nearest 1,000.
  • Deductions for benefit overpayments were temporarily suspended for three months from the beginning of April due to Covid. These began to be reinstated from July 2020, taking a phased approach. However, as of August they have not been fully reinstated and some debts associated to new Universal Credit claimants have not yet been transferred to DWP.
  • Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants had deductions made to their monthly payment in the most recent month for which figures are available.

New claimants do not have to wait for their first regular Universal Credit payment if they need up front support. All new UC claimants are able to request a new claim advance during the first assessment period of up to 100% of their estimated monthly award. Advances can be repaid over the following year, allowing new claimants to receive 13 payments during the year instead of 12. We are extending the maximum repayment period to two years from October 2021 to reduce the impact of taking an advance even further, and the reduction of the deductions cap from 30% to 25%.

For Universal Credit claims due a payment during August 2020, 41% (1,847,000 claims) had a deduction (excluding sanctions and fraud penalties).

  • 26% had only advance repayments,
  • 10% had advance repayments and deductions for other debts (e.g. third party deductions),
  • 5% had only deductions for other debts.

For those who find themselves in unexpected hardship, advance repayments can be deferred for up to three months in certain cases.

Notes

  • Other debts include Universal Credit third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.
  • Figures rounded to nearest 1,000.
  • Deductions for benefit overpayments were temporarily suspended for three months from the beginning of April due to Covid.
  • Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people on (a) universal credit and (b) legacy benefits were subject to deductions for benefit overpayments in the most recent month for which figures are available.

For UC claims with payments due during August 2020, around 5% (216,000 claims) had deductions for benefit overpayments. The deductions from UC for benefit overpayments include overpayments for tax credits, housing benefit and any DWP overpayments (including legacy benefits), not just UC overpayments.

The latest available data for legacy benefits shows, claims with payments due during May 2020, around 1% (213,000 claims) had deductions for benefit overpayments.

UC collects overpayments from the full range of benefits, including tax credits. As more people have moved on to UC this has resulted in a greater proportion of these overpayments being collected through UC.

Notes

  • Claims figures rounded to the nearest 1,000.
  • During the Covid period, deductions for benefit overpayments were suspended for three months. These began to be reinstated from July 2020, taking a phased approach, however as of August they have not been fully reinstated and some new debts may not yet have been transferred to DWP.
  • Deductions for benefit overpayments include DWP, HMRC and LA fraud and non-fraud overpayments.
  • Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people on (a) universal credit and (b) legacy benefits were subject to deductions for benefit overpayments in the last month for which data is available.

UC collects overpayments from the full range of benefits, including tax credits. As more people have moved on to Universal Credit (UC) this has resulted in a greater proportion of these overpayments being collected through UC.

For UC claims with payments due during February 2020, around 23% (579,000 claims) had deductions for benefit overpayments. The deductions from UC for benefit overpayments include overpayments for tax credits, housing benefit and any DWP overpayments (including legacy benefits), not just UC overpayments.

For Legacy benefit claims with payments due during February 2020, around 1% (237,000 claims) had deductions for benefit overpayments.

The Department has an obligation to ensure that public funds are administered responsibly and to abide by the principles set out in Her Majesty’s Treasury’s guidance on Managing Public Money.

We understand the impact that debt can have on the wellbeing of claimants and we endeavour to ensure that the recovery of any overpayment is managed in a way that takes account of the claimant’s individual circumstances. Where a person says they cannot afford the proposed rate of recovery, a reduction in their rate of repayment may be agreed. Debts can be waived if recovery is causing substantial medical and/or financial hardship to a claimant or their immediate family

Our Work Coaches are trained to gauge claimants’ financial needs from their first contact and can refer them to more specialist support for personal budgeting, money guidance and debt advice if required, including through the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS).

Notes:

1. Claims figures rounded to the nearest 1,000.

2. Deductions for benefit overpayments include DWP, HMRC and Local Authority, fraud and non-fraud overpayments.

3. Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of universal credit claimants are (a) repaying an advance payment and (b) also repaying other debts through the deductions system.

For Universal Credit claims due a payment during May 2020, 40% had a deduction:

  • 34% were having only advance repayments,
  • 4% were having advance repayments and deductions for other debts (e.g. third party deductions)
  • 2% were having only deductions for other debts.

New claimants do not have to wait for their first regular Universal Credit payment if they need up front support. All new UC claimants are able to request a new claim advance during the first assessment period of up to 100% of their estimated monthly award. Advances can be repaid over the following year, allowing new claimants to receive 13 payments during the year instead of 12. We are extending the maximum repayment period to two years from October 2021 to reduce the impact of taking an advance even further, and the reduction of the deductions cap from 30% to 25%.

For those who find themselves in unexpected hardship, advance repayments can be deferred for up to three months in certain cases.

Notes

1. Deductions include advance repayments, third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

2. Figure rounded to the nearest 1,000.

3. Third party deductions were suspended due to covid-19 from 10th April to 10th May and ‘other deductions’ (excluding advance repayments) were suspended for three months from the beginning of April, therefore these figures may not be representative of the full cohort of claims which would otherwise be having deductions.

4. Other debts include Universal Credit third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to provide ongoing additional support through the social security system to families financially affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been clear with its commitment to support those affected in these difficult times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who may have coronavirus, are self-isolating, or caring for a child (or qualifying young person) who falls into either of those categories, or individuals who have been advised to ’shield’ because they are at high risk of severe illness, will be entitled from day 1 of their claim – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessments. Both Universal Credit (UC) and ESA can now be claimed online or by phone;
  • increasing the standard allowance of UC by up to £1,040 this year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest 30% of local market rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

These steps form part of a wider package of measures which represent an investment of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system following the outbreak of COVID-19. These measures, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support by an advanced economy.

We know that circumstances can change rapidly, and that was particularly true at the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, which is why the Government will continue to keep the adequacy of its welfare response under review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of continuing additional support for vulnerable social security claimants after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been clear with its commitment to support those affected in these difficult times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who may have coronavirus, are self-isolating, or caring for a child (or qualifying young person) who falls into either of those categories, or individuals who have been advised to ’shield’ because they are at high risk of severe illness, will be entitled from day 1 of their claim – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessments. Both Universal Credit (UC) and ESA can now be claimed online or by phone;
  • increasing the standard allowance of UC by up to £1,040 this year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest 30% of local market rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

These steps form part of a wider package of measures which represent an investment of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system following the outbreak of COVID-19. These measures, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support by an advanced economy.

We know that circumstances can change rapidly, and that was particularly true at the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, which is why the Government will continue to keep the adequacy of its welfare response under review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of support for (a) families of BAME children and (b) single mothers of BAME children living in poverty.

This Government provides a strong welfare safety net, and continues to spend over £95 billion a year on working age welfare benefits for those who need them.

We do not assess adequacy of benefits on the grounds of race.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will require the wearing of face coverings on public transport in response to the increasing number of cases of covid-19, hospitalisations and deaths.

The ‘COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021’ sets out that if the data suggests the National Health Service is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government will implement its prepared ‘Plan B’ for England. This would introduce measures to control transmission of the virus, such as requiring people to wear face coverings in some settings. The exact settings will be announced if and when Plan B is implemented.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy and availability of chemotherapy nurses; and if he will make a statement.

Specialist clinical nursing workforce working in chemotherapy and palliative care are post-registration qualifications. It is the responsibility of individual employers to ensure that they have the staff available to provide clinical services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing a programme in 2022 to assess the palliative workforce, training, and support requirements of health care systems in England.

The Spending Review in 2020 provided £260 million to continue to support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, of which £52 million was provided to Health Education England (HEE) to invest in the cancer and diagnostics workforce. In 2021/22 HEE has provided 105 training grants to National Health Service trusts in England for existing and aspiring chemotherapy nurses to enable them to undertake further training and education.

Over the next three years, £36 billion will be invested in the health and care system to ensure it has the appropriate long term resources. Allocations and profiles will be confirmed as part of the up-coming Spending Review, which will set out the Government’s spending plans including investment in the NHS workforce.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the recruitment of chemotherapy nurses.

Specialist clinical nursing workforce working in chemotherapy and palliative care are post-registration qualifications. It is the responsibility of individual employers to ensure that they have the staff available to provide clinical services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing a programme in 2022 to assess the palliative workforce, training, and support requirements of health care systems in England.

The Spending Review in 2020 provided £260 million to continue to support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, of which £52 million was provided to Health Education England (HEE) to invest in the cancer and diagnostics workforce. In 2021/22 HEE has provided 105 training grants to National Health Service trusts in England for existing and aspiring chemotherapy nurses to enable them to undertake further training and education.

Over the next three years, £36 billion will be invested in the health and care system to ensure it has the appropriate long term resources. Allocations and profiles will be confirmed as part of the up-coming Spending Review, which will set out the Government’s spending plans including investment in the NHS workforce.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of palliative care nurses.

Specialist clinical nursing workforce working in chemotherapy and palliative care are post-registration qualifications. It is the responsibility of individual employers to ensure that they have the staff available to provide clinical services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing a programme in 2022 to assess the palliative workforce, training, and support requirements of health care systems in England.

The Spending Review in 2020 provided £260 million to continue to support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, of which £52 million was provided to Health Education England (HEE) to invest in the cancer and diagnostics workforce. In 2021/22 HEE has provided 105 training grants to National Health Service trusts in England for existing and aspiring chemotherapy nurses to enable them to undertake further training and education.

Over the next three years, £36 billion will be invested in the health and care system to ensure it has the appropriate long term resources. Allocations and profiles will be confirmed as part of the up-coming Spending Review, which will set out the Government’s spending plans including investment in the NHS workforce.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the spread of misinformation on GP surgeries refusing to see patients.

General practice has remained open throughout the pandemic, offering face to face appointments in addition to telephone and online consultations.

On 14 October we announced a plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice. NHS England and NHS Improvement will work with professional bodies and patient groups to develop communications tools to help patients understand how they can access the care they need in general practice.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure there is an adequate number of GPs to meet current demand.

We have invested £270 million since November 2020 to expand capacity in general practice, in addition to £1.5 billion until 2023/24 and £250 million via the Winter Access Fund. The non-recurring revenue funding through the Winter Access Fund is ringfenced to protect and expand capacity in general practice, until March 2022.

We have committed increasing and diversifying the workforce and through our general practitioner (GP) recruitment and retention schemes, alongside recruiting an additional 26,000 primary care staff by embedding multidisciplinary teams.

More than 3,793 doctors accepted a place on GP training in 2020 against a target of 3,500 and we remain committed to increasing the number of training places to 4,000 in 2021/22.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times for emergency ambulance response.

Ambulance performance is measured against six response time standards across four call categories. The category of call reflects the severity of the incident as follows: Category 1: life threatening; Category 2: emergency; Category 3: urgent; Category 4: less urgent.

The following table shows ambulance performance data in September 2021 by category.

Ambulance category

Standard

Current

1 mean average

7 minutes

9:01 minutes

1 90th centile

15 minutes

15:56 minutes

2 mean average

18 minutes

45:30 minutes

2 90th centile

40 minutes

1 hour 38 minutes

3 90th centile

2 hours

6 hours 23 minutes

4 90th centile

3 hours

6 hours 58 minutes

Trusts are being supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve response times. This includes continuous monitoring and support through the National Ambulance Coordination Centre and the investment of an extra £55 million for ambulance trusts to increase staff numbers ahead of the winter.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to provide additional support to GP surgeries whose staff are under extreme pressure due to a lack of staff.

We have invested £270 million since November 2020 to expand capacity in general practice, in addition to £1.5 billion until 2023/24 and £250 million via the Winter Access Fund. The non-recurring revenue funding through the Winter Access Fund is ringfenced to protect and expand capacity in general practice, until March 2022.

We have committed increasing and diversifying the workforce and through our general practitioner (GP) recruitment and retention schemes, alongside recruiting an additional 26,000 primary care staff by embedding multidisciplinary teams.

More than 3,793 doctors accepted a place on GP training in 2020 against a target of 3,500 and we remain committed to increasing the number of training places to 4,000 in 2021/22.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients.

In May 2018 we announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research to improve outcomes for cancer patients as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the National Institute for Health Research. Since this announcement, 10 applications for research have been funded and seven are under consideration.

The NHS Long Term Plan set out a series of commitments that focus primarily on fast and early diagnosis for all cancers including raising greater awareness of symptoms of cancer, lowering the threshold for referral by general practitioners and accelerating access to diagnosis investing in rapid diagnostic centres. These measures, aimed at improving cancer outcomes for all cancers, will benefit brain tumour patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of the findings of the Level Up and Stop the Devastation Report from Brain Tumour Research on creating a dedicated levelling up brain tumour research fund.

The Department agrees further brain tumour research is vital for improving the treatment and outcome for these patients. In 2018, we announced £40 million over five years for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). To encourage applications for this research, the NIHR is supporting the research community in submitting fundable proposals. The NIHR also continues to encourage brain tumour research applications. We therefore have no plans for a dedicated fund.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will consider a public information campaign to help combat the abuse of staff and GPs in GP surgeries.

The Government has zero tolerance for abuse or violence directed at National Health Service staff. As announced in ‘Our plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice’ on 14 October 2021, the Government and NHS England will work with the trades unions and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to launch a zero-tolerance campaign. In addition, NHS England will immediately establish a £5 million fund to facilitate upgrades to practice security measures.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the current waiting time is for emergency ambulance response.

Ambulance performance is measured against six response time standards across four call categories. The category of call reflects the severity of the incident as follows: Category 1: life threatening; Category 2: emergency; Category 3: urgent; Category 4: less urgent.

The following table shows ambulance performance data in September 2021 by category.

Ambulance category

Standard

Current

1 mean average

7 minutes

9:01 minutes

1 90th centile

15 minutes

15:56 minutes

2 mean average

18 minutes

45:30 minutes

2 90th centile

40 minutes

1 hour 38 minutes

3 90th centile

2 hours

6 hours 23 minutes

4 90th centile

3 hours

6 hours 58 minutes

Trusts are being supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve response times. This includes continuous monitoring and support through the National Ambulance Coordination Centre and the investment of an extra £55 million for ambulance trusts to increase staff numbers ahead of the winter.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to protect and preserve (a) BSL Health Access and (b) other services that aide deaf people in accessing NHS services, particularly during the covid-19 outbreak.

All National Health Service providers are required to comply with the public sector equality duty set out in the Equality Act 2010 and the Accessible Information Standard to ensure that deaf people who wish to communicate using British Sign Language (BSL) to access NHS services can do so.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have extended access to BSL interpretation of their 111 service via Interpreter Now. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also commissioned a rapid review into access to BSL interpretation in NHS services which is near completion. The review will set out clear steps to support NHS providers to meet their responsibilities to deliver access to BSL interpretation.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to protect elderly people with limited or questionable capacity who are victims of (a) control, (b) abuse and (c) forced estrangement by a financially-motivated relative; and whether he has received any representations from the Law Commission on this matter.

Local authorities must safeguard people with care and support needs who are at risk, in cooperation with the police and the National Health Service. Specific offences can be used to prosecute perpetrators. These duties have remained throughout the pandemic and we have supported the sector with guidance, training and increased funding for local authorities.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 provides protection and support for all victims who are abused or controlled by a relative. We have also committed to review the protections and support in place for adults abused at home by someone caring for them. The Law Commission is running a consultation on its programme of reform. Government officials are also engaged with this work.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that patients who began medical treatment abroad are able to continue that treatment in the UK, particularly during the covid-19 pandemic.

A United Kingdom national travelling from this country should have appropriate travel insurance in place in the event that they become ill overseas and wish to be medically repatriated home to continue treatment. Once home, a patient would be treated as any other who is ordinarily resident in the UK and will be able to continue their treatment as appropriate.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to establish additional NHS gender clinics to reduce waiting times.

Three new clinics were established in 2020 in London, Manchester and Liverpool. A further pilot clinic being implemented in the East of England in summer 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the public health risks of the use of hand dryers in toilets in public venues during the covid-19 outbreak.

At meeting 29 on 28 April 2020, Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies considered a paper on environmental influences on transmission of COVID-19 including the contamination risks of jet hand dryers in public bathrooms. The paper noted that hand hygiene methods may have a significant effect on hand contamination and subsequent surface contamination. The paper is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-influence-on-transmission-of-covid-19-28-april-2020

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the (a) Pfizer and (b) Moderna vaccine after 12 weeks; and if he will publish those assessments.

There is no data on the efficacy of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine 12 weeks after the first dose. Given the high effectiveness and durability of responses to the first dose seen in United Kingdom data, it is not expected that protection will reduce rapidly after 12 weeks.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the UK participates in international covid-19 tracking in the same way as (a) Germany with the corona-warn-app and (b) other countries.

We work closely with our international partners to exchange best practice and work on digital solutions including exploring ways to support citizens when international travel resumes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) people with chronic and terminal illnesses receive the second dose of the covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible after the first dose and (b) there are no delays in the administration of that vaccination.

The Government’s policy, based on recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers, is that second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine should be administered within 12 weeks of the first dose. This is the case for all people receiving a vaccination, including people with chronic and terminal illnesses.

People with chronic and terminal illnesses are receiving the second dose within 12 weeks of their first dose and there are currently no delays.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will prioritise staff in schools for children with learning difficulties for covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has concluded that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age, as age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations and the speed of delivery is crucial as we provide more people with protection from COVID-19.

In line with the JCVI’s advice, special school staff will not be prioritised for a COVID-19 vaccination based on their occupation. Staff in schools for children with learning disabilities, will therefore be prioritised for vaccination according to their age and clinical risk along with the rest of the population, rather than on the basis of occupation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people who (a) are refugees, (b) have indefinite leave to remain, (c) have a temporary visa, such as a work or spouse visa, and (d) with no immigration status have been vaccinated against covid-19.

We do not collect this information. COVID-19 vaccinations are offered to every adult living in the United Kingdom free of charge, regardless of immigration status and no immigration checks will be carried out.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing children under 12 to play outside during the period of covid-19 restrictions announced in January 2021.

It is against the law for anyone, including children under 12 years old, to meet socially with friends outside unless they are part of their household or support bubble. However, there is an exemption from the stay at home rule for exercise which means that children can take part in physical activity outdoors with their own household. Playgrounds are permitted to open but children should not mix with other households.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will issue guidance on whether outdoor play in public spaces is permitted under covid-19 social distancing regulations.

It is against the law for anyone, including children under 12 years old, to meet socially with friends outside unless they are part of their household or support bubble. However, there is an exemption from the stay at home rule for exercise which means that children can take part in physical activity outdoors with their own household. Playgrounds are permitted to open but children should not mix with other households.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure hospitals and other healthcare facilities are adequately ventilated to ensure the safety of staff.

The Health Technical Memoranda (HTM) 03-01 provides guidance on the design and management of heating and specialised ventilation in health sector buildings, including guidance regarding the adequate ventilation of healthcare facilities to ensure staff safety. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-specialised-ventilation-for-healthcare-premises-parts-a-and-b

The HTM gives comprehensive advice and guidance on the legal requirements, design implications, maintenance and operation of specialised ventilation in all types of healthcare premises. It applies to new installations and major refurbishments of existing installations. Under the HTM all hospital trusts are required to have an Authorising Engineer (Ventilation) who provides independent auditing and advice on ventilation systems and who reviews and witnesses documentation on validation. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for compliance with the HTM under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (revised), and the Department has no current plans to change this approach

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the mental health needs of people who have lost a loved one due to covid-19.

Since March 2020, the Government has given over £10.2 million to mental health charities, including bereavement support charities, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing due to the impact of COVID-19. This includes funding for bereavement support helplines, counselling and signposting services to ensure that grieving families and individuals who have lost loved ones have access to the bereavement support they need, when they need it. We continue to take a cross-Government approach to assess what is needed to provide support to bereaved families and individuals.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether autism is considered a learning disability for the purposes of the covid-19 vaccination.

Although autism is not technically considered a learning disability, many autistic people also have a learning disability. On 24 February, the Joint Commission on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a clarification of their advice on vaccinating people with a learning disability. The JCVI confirmed that while their clinical view remains that those at greatest risk are people with severe and profound learning disabilities, they support the practical operational approach of inviting everyone on the General Practice Learning Disability Register to be vaccinated as part of cohort six in phase one.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take in response to a reported increase in Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation orders being used on patients with learning difficulties during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have been clear that learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and that blanket DNACPR decisions are completely inappropriate. NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a number of joint statements to health and care providers reiterating this.

We have asked the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review of DNACPR decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is underway and will report on later this year. The 2020/21 General Medical Services Contract Quality and Outcomes Framework now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. We continue to monitor the situation and have asked representative organisations to inform us where cases of inappropriate DNACPR practice are identified.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific basis was for the decision to close theatres in Tier 3 local covid alert level areas; and what assessment he has made of the effect of people visiting theatres on the transmission of covid-19.

All indoor entertainment venues, including theatres, had to close in areas under tier 3 restrictions. However, on 4 January, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown, meaning theatres are now closed across England, although they are still be able to open for training, rehearsals and for filming. While we understand and appreciate the efforts businesses have taken to limit the risk of transmission in their premises, Scientists have confirmed that the new variant is between 50 and 70% more transmissible and can be spread by people with no symptoms. It is right, therefore, that theatres and other entertainment venues must close in order to manage the spread of the virus.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people are able to access diagnosis or treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is an uncommon diagnosis, partly because some psychiatrists are unsure it is a mental health condition in and of itself at all, and partly because dissociation is a symptom present in a number of conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe mental health problems such as psychosis, and ‘personality disorder’, where trauma has played a significant role.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, new and integrated models of primary and community mental health care will give 370,000 adults and older adults with serious mental illnesses, including psychosis and ‘personality disorder’ where disassociation is a symptom, greater choice and control over their care and support them to live well in their communities by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of having different social distancing restrictions for single parents with young children who are not able to meet another person outside without their children under existing rules.

Until 3 December, tiers requirements will not apply because of the new national restrictions. As part of the national restrictions, however, we continue to recognise providing informal social care to relatives and vulnerable people is of the highest importance.

People may meet with a maximum of one person from another household outdoors for the purposes of exercise and recreation. Children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count toward the limit on meeting two people outside. People can continue to exercise outdoors as a household or support bubble.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of exempting children under 12 from future applications of the Rule of Six social distancing guideline.

Ministers and officials across government have regular discussions about social distancing, including the rule of six, and keep the legislation and guidance under review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the availability of funding for assessment and treatment of dissociative disorders.

We remain committed to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24 through the NHS Long Term Plan.

Under this plan, new and integrated models of primary and community mental health care will give 370,000 adults and older adults with serious mental illnesses, including psychosis and personality disorder where disassociation is a symptom, greater choice and control over their care and support them to live well in their communities by 2023/24.

This will include access to psychological therapies, improved physical health care, employment support, personalised and trauma-informed care, medicines management and support for self-harm and coexisting substance use. Local areas will be supported to redesign and reorganise core community mental health teams to move towards a new place-based, multidisciplinary service across health and social care aligned with primary care networks.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to improve mental health support for young people.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, an additional 345,000 children and young people in England will have access to support via National Health Service-funded mental health services and school-or college-based mental health support teams by 2023/24. The first 59 mental health support teams are becoming operational and 123 teams will be in place by early 2021 with the programme rolling out to at least 20-25% of the country by 2023.

We are also piloting a new four week waiting time for children and young people’s mental health services in 12 areas and incentivising every school or college to identify and train a senior lead for mental health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of dental practices taking on new NHS patients.

No estimate has been made of the proportion of dental practices taking on new National Health Service patients.

If an appointment is required, patients with a regular dentist should call their regular dental practice in the first instance. Those unable to contact their own dentist or not currently registered with a dental practice should contact NHS 111, who will be able to help them contact an urgent dental service or arrange treatment if needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the proportion of dental services accepting new NHS patients.

No estimate has been made of the proportion of dental practices taking on new National Health Service patients.

If an appointment is required, patients with a regular dentist should call their regular dental practice in the first instance. Those unable to contact their own dentist or not currently registered with a dental practice should contact NHS 111, who will be able to help them contact an urgent dental service or arrange treatment if needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 84213 on Suicide: Males, what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of deaths by suicide.

The NHS Long Term Plan’s Mental Health Implementation Plan sets out our plans to invest £57 million in suicide prevention. This will see investment in all areas of the country by 2023/24 to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services. We have worked with NHS England to ensure that local areas use this funding to test approaches to reaching and engaging men.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of mental health support services in areas with high student populations.

We recognise that there is the potential for an increase in demand for mental health services amongst students as a result of COVID-19. We are working with the Department for Education, the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19, including on students.

Mental health services are still open and working to support people with mental health issues through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Our community, adult talking therapies and children and young people’s services have deployed innovative digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 September 2020 to Question 91705 on Endometriosis: Diagnosis, if he will undertake a review of whether there has been an improvement in diagnosis and management of endometriosis in women since the publication of the 2018 NICE quality standards.

There has are currently no plans to undertake a review of whether there has been an improvement in diagnosis and management of endometriosis in women since the publication of the 2018 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality standards.

The Government has recently received the Inquiry Report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis, the report raised a number of important issues concerning the treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis which will be carefully considered as part of our ongoing work in women’s health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 September to Question 92782, if he will undertake a review of the adequacy of treatment provision for people diagnosed with endometriosis.

There are currently no plans to undertake a review of the adequacy of treatment provision for people diagnosed with endometriosis.

The Government has recently received the Inquiry Report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis, the report raised a number of important issues concerning the treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis which will be carefully considered as part of our ongoing work in women’s health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the level of availability of specialist mental health support services for transgender people.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published a service specification for adult gender dysphoria services in July 2019 that describes the psychological and psychotherapeutic therapies that must be available for individuals with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. This includes a specialist multi-disciplinary team of professionals, with a mix of skills, experience and expertise including in mental health care needs that are specific to individuals with gender dysphoria. The service specification is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/publication/service-specification-gender-identity-services-for-adults-non-surgical-interventions/

In September 2020, the Government announced the establishment of three new gender dysphoria clinics in England, each of which will work to the national service specification.

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 sets out the National Health Service priorities for improving mental health care and widening access to mental health services by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the level of availability of specialist mental health support services for autistic people.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, the Government is investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year in mental health services by 2023/24 to support adults and children, including autistic people. Through the pandemic, we have provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time. We have also provided a further £6 million to support various charities, including those working with people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs.

We are revisiting the work to refresh the autism strategy, working closely with the Department for Education and other Government departments. As part of this work and as a key priority, we will consider what further action can be taken to support people to maintain good mental health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling people to have close social contact with a limited number of people outside their household in addition to single person support bubbles during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their friends and family throughout the past few months. Support bubbles are to assist the loneliest and most isolated in society. They were introduced to provide extra support to some of those most impacted by the difficult effects of the social restrictions, while ensuring we continue to keep the rate of transmission low. The policy has been targeted at single-adult households for that reason.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the obesity strategy on people with eating disorders.

We recognise concerns people with eating disorders may have on measures to reduce obesity and are committed to striking a careful balance between enabling people to make healthier food and drink choices whilst not negatively impacting on those with or recovering from an eating disorder.

Obesity represents a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the individual, the National Health Service and the wider economy. With over six in 10 adults and more than one in three children aged 10 to 11 years old overweight or obese, it is right we take action.

In response to feedback to our consultation on out-of-home calorie labelling, we will introduce legislation to require large out-of-home sector businesses, that is businesses with 250 or more employees, to calorie label the food they sell.

An equalities assessment and impact assessment were published alongside the consultation response and can be viewed at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/calorie-labelling-for-food-and-drink-served-outside-of-the-home

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the policy paper entitled Tackling obesity: government strategy published on 27 July 2020, what assessment his Department has made of the potential link between poverty and obesity.

Data from the National Child Measurement Programme shows obesity prevalence is highest amongst the most deprived groups in society. Children in the most deprived parts of the country are more than twice as likely to be obese as their peers living in the richest areas.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the use of sectioning powers in Schedule 8 Section 3 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

No assessment has been made as, to date, it has not been necessary to commence Schedule 8 Section 3 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to wear face coverings which are effective in reducing the transmission of covid-19 rather than those made from less effective materials.

Everyone can make their own face covering at home, using readily available textiles that can be washed, and reused after every use.

We have published guidance online which provides a step-by-step breakdown of how to make these face coverings and what materials can be used.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of personal protective equipment for care workers.

We are doing everything we can to ensure the social care sector has the support it needs during this unprecedented global outbreak. To date, we have released over 172 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to designated wholesalers for onward sale to social care providers. As a result, the majority of PPE continues to be sourced by care providers themselves from wholesalers, as it was prior to COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will make it his policy to increase funding for local authorities to allow for a pay rise for local authority funded care workers in line with the public sector pay rise.

The Government does not have direct responsibility for pay awards in adult social care in the same way as for other areas of the public sector, and for this reason adult social care was not included in the pay award announcement on 21 July 2020. Adult social care providers continue to set the rate of pay for their workers.

The Government nonetheless maintains oversight of the social care system and we are committed to raising the profile of the social care sector. Putting social care on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, is one of the biggest challenges that we face as a society.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of interpreters for remote medical consultations.

The Department is aware of the complexities of interpreting for remote medical consultations, including the need for interpreter services to adapt their processes to align with this new type of video consultation. We are developing our support offer to help trusts engage with the widest possible audience of patients, through initiatives like sound-only access to the call for interpreters. We will continue to support and share innovative practices in interpreter services as part of this effort.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of supplies of anti-bacterial filters NHS trusts for people using home ventilators.

We understand how challenging this period has been for people who rely on ventilation and we are doing everything we can to support patients, led by clinical advice.

COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in demand for clinical consumables and has disrupted international supply chains, making it more difficult to source products, including a small number of products for ventilators.

The Department, working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, has put in place a range of measures to address these challenges, including making it easier for clinicians to report shortages and identifying opportunities to open up new supply options and using additional brands.

We have received assurances from the key supplier of filters for ventilators that supply chains are now restored and they have resumed processing orders and working through the backlog. Currently none of the National Health Service trusts who supply patients in the community with these consumables are reporting critically low stock levels. However, we will of course keep this under very close review and, if necessary, work with suppliers to prioritise deliveries to areas with the greatest clinical need.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working closely with clinicians, trusts and suppliers to prepare for winter and ensure there are sufficient stocks of these consumables to meet the need of all patients who require home ventilation as well as for any future spike in COVID-19 cases going forward.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase access to adult ADHD services.

The Department has been working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Implementation Working Group to look at how the current NICE guidance and quality standard on ADHD are being implemented and to identify and disseminate examples of best practice in respect of care and support for people with ADHD.

NHS Digital continue to work with the Department and NHS England on how the collection of ADHD data, including data on diagnosis waiting times can be improved. Consideration is being given as to how collection of data on ADHD can be improved on a national level, including improving consistency and comparability of any data currently collected.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of provision of adult ADHD services.

The Department has been working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Implementation Working Group to look at how the current NICE guidance and quality standard on ADHD are being implemented and to identify and disseminate examples of best practice in respect of care and support for people with ADHD.

NHS Digital continue to work with the Department and NHS England on how the collection of ADHD data, including data on diagnosis waiting times can be improved. Consideration is being given as to how collection of data on ADHD can be improved on a national level, including improving consistency and comparability of any data currently collected.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people held in immigration detention have been tested for covid-19; and in which detention centres those people were held when tested.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd on 14 May 2020 to Question 43087.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his press briefing on 15 May 2020 in which he referred to placing a protective ring around care homes from the start of the covid-19 outbreak, which measures implemented by the Government prior to the publication of the covid-19 social care action plan published on 16 April 2020 were part of that protective ring.

Since the start of this outbreak we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care to respond to the pandemic.

On 12 March 2020 the Government announced that we were moving our COVID-19 response from the ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ phase. The following day, Public Health England published new guidance for care homes. This included action to be taken in the event of a staff member or resident displaying COVID-19 symptoms, and guidance on infection control within the home.

This guidance was updated on 2 April with the Government’s ‘Admissions to Care Homes guidance’. This set out further advice on infection control procedures, as well as isolation, decontamination, cleaning and protective measures for staff.

The Adult Social Care Action Plan published on 15 April set out further measures to support care homes in reducing transmission of the virus. On 15 May, we published our care home support package which recommended further measures care homes could take to minimise the risks of the virus and was backed by a £600 million Infection Control Fund.

We have made £1.3 billion funding available to the National Health Service to help patients who no longer need urgent treatment to get home from hospital safely and quickly. We have also made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to tackle the delay in medical professionals adding patients that are clinically vulnerable to covid-19 to the shielded patients list.

Only clinically extremely vulnerable people are included on the shielded patient list. Following the update to shielding guidance on 31 May 2020, the National Health Service has written to general practitioners (GPs), NHS trusts and commissioners asking them to continue to maintain the shielded patient list, using the existing criteria and processes.

GPs or specialists are able to add individual patients to the list where they consider them to be clinically extremely vulnerable. They may also remove people from the list where they believe someone has been identified in error through the national process, or if they no longer think someone is clinically extremely vulnerable. This should only ever be done in consultation with the patient and other clinicians where appropriate.

Anyone who is concerned about whether or not they should be shielding, should contact their doctor to discuss.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to meet his aim of testing all care home residents and care staff for covid-19 by early June 2020.

The Department is offering a test to every staff member and resident in every care home in England, whether symptomatic or not. By 6 June, every care home for the over 65s will have been offered testing for residents and staff.

The expanded provision for care homes is being met through increased satellite testing and the deployment of Mobile Test Units. Through these means we are now providing 30,000 tests per day. We have also launched an online portal that makes it easy for care homes to request deliveries of COVID-19 test kits.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many adult ADHD (a) tests and (b) diagnoses have taken place in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland in each month from 30 April 2019 and 30 April 2020.

In England, information is not collected specifically relating to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the Department has been working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and their ADHD Implementation Working Group to look at how the current NICE guidance and quality standard on ADHD are being implemented and to inform discussions about how data can be improved.

NHS Digital continue to work with the Department and NHS England on the development of access and waiting times reporting for mental health care pathways. Consideration is being given as to how collection of data on ADHD can be improved on a national level, including improving consistency and comparability of any data currently collected.

Information on tests and diagnoses for Wales and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the devolved administrations.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to Clinical Commissioning Groups on admitting to hospital residents of care homes with covid-19 symptoms.

On 2 April 2020, the Government, NHS England, Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission co-published guidance for the care sector, entitled ‘Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home’.

This contains advice on assessing the appropriateness of hospitalising, infection prevention and control for patient transport, and informing the receiving healthcare facility that the incoming patient has COVID-19 symptoms.

Building on this, the Government published the ‘COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care’ on 15 April 2020. This confirms that, where a care home resident is suffering from more severe COVID-19 symptoms, the individual may need to be admitted to hospital. Decisions should always be made in line with clinical need.

On 1 May 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a letter: ‘COVID-19 response: Primary care and community health support care home residents.’ The letter advises that secondary care providers should accept referrals and admissions from care home residents where clinically appropriate.

In this unprecedented global pandemic, we are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with the best scientific advice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether care homes are experiencing difficulties in getting residents with covid-19 taken into hospital.

NHS England has advised that every COVID-19 patient needing hospital care, including ventilation, has been able to receive it.

Guidance on the case definition for COVID-19 and whether the inpatient definition is met (admittance to hospital) can be found online. This advice is purely based on clinical presentation.

A letter was sent out to National Health Service organisations and general practitioner practices on 7 April from NHS England and NHS Improvement reminding people of the principles of the NHS Constitution and stressing that even in a time of emergency each person is an individual whose needs and preferences must be taken account of individually. By contrast blanket policies are inappropriate whether due to medical condition, disability, or age.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been (a) requested and (b) completed for residents in care homes on each day since 1 March 2020.

Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 125,000 workers in care settings and over 118,000 care home residents have been tested through DHSC and PHE testing routes.

On 11 May we launched the ‘whole care home’ portal. We have the capacity to deliver up to 30,000 tests a day to residents and staff in care homes, making sure that all residents and asymptomatic staff can all be tested.

Data on the number of tests requested is not currently available or published in the format requested. This information is for England only and supplements the local systems already in place for testing residents.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been (a) requested and (b) completed for care workers on each day since 1 March 2020.

The Care Quality Commission referred over 34,000 care workers for testing between 10 April and 26 April. Care home workers with symptoms should be self-isolating and can access testing through the self-referral or employer referral portals. Data on the number of tests completed is not currently available or published in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 3.9, bullet point 3 of Coronavirus: action plan, published on 3 March 2020, if he will authorise research into the security control of viruses under investigation at the Wuhan State Institute of Virology.

We have no plans to authorise research into the security control of viruses under investigation at the Wuhan State Institute of Virology.

We are concentrating on the stages that we have set out in paragraph 3.9 of the COVID-19 action plan. These stages are: contain, delay, research and mitigate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to evacuate remaining British nationals in Afghanistan and their families who have a partner/child who is not a British national; and what support is being provided to fast-track biometrics and entry clearance applications for those individuals.

We continue to work closely with international partners on possible flight options to help British Nationals and their dependents to safely leave Afghanistan. Since the end of the evacuation, more than 100 British Nationals and dependents have been able to leave on seven Qatari Government charter flights. We hope more British nationals will be able to make use of this route out of Afghanistan. We will also facilitate relocation, from third countries if possible, for those British Nationals and their eligible dependents.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2021
G7
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will reconsider inviting Narendra Modi to the G7 Summit in light of (a) the widespread reports of attacks on minority groups in India and (b) Mr Modi’s previous 10 year diplomatic ban from the UK.

Our ambition is to re-energise the G7, strengthening unity and working with democratic partners. Prime Minister Modi's attendance will broaden geographic representation and demonstrates the importance of the Indo-Pacific region. We are disappointed that Prime Minister Modi will not be able to attend the G7 Summit in person because of domestic coronavirus priorities, but look forward to welcoming him virtually. We engage with India on a range of human rights matters, working with union and state governments, and with non-governmental organisations, to build capacity and share expertise to promote human rights for all. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at ministerial level.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Myanmar on the ability of Rohingya Muslims to take part in elections in that country.

As we made clear in our statement on 9 November, the UK is very concerned that the Rohingya and other minority ethnic groups, were excluded from these elections. Universal suffrage for all people in Myanmar, including the Rohingya, and the right to stand as a candidate, is a key part of achieving effective democracy. We are clear that the 1982 Citizenship Law is deeply flawed and enables the exclusion of Rohingya and other minorities on spurious grounds. The Rohingya, who have lived in Myanmar for generations, should be granted full citizenship and the associated rights. They should not be excluded from Myanmar elections. We have made this clear to the Myanmar Government. The Foreign Secretary raised these issues with the Minister for International Cooperation in advance of the election and I [Minister Adams] raised my concerns when I spoke to the same Minister in June. We continue to call for elections to be credible and inclusive, allowing individuals of all communities to participate.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Nigerian counterpart on potential human rights violations in that country by police during operations to limit demonstrations; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is deeply concerned by violence during protests in Lagos and other major cities in Nigeria, including reports of protestors being killed. Our condolences go to the families of all those affected. The Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 21 October calling for an end to the violence and for the Nigerian Government to urgently investigate reports of brutality by its security forces. I also tweeted on 21 October urging the Nigerian Government to restore peace and address concerns about brutality towards civilians. I reiterated the UK's concerns when I [Minister Duddridge] spoke to Foreign Minister Onyeama on 23 October. The British High Commissioner in Abuja continues to raise the protests with representatives of the Nigerian Government.

We will continue to push the Nigerian police to uphold human rights and the rule of law in all operations. We will also continue to urge the Nigerian authorities to investigate allegations of police brutality, illegal detentions and assaults, and hold those responsible to account.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Nigerian counterpart on (a) violence committed by (a) the special anti-robbery squad and (b) other police forces.

The Government is deeply concerned by violence during protests in Lagos and other major cities in Nigeria, including reports of protestors being killed. Our condolences go to the families of all those affected. The Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 21 October calling for an end to the violence and for the Nigerian Government to urgently investigate reports of brutality by its security forces. I also tweeted on 21 October urging the Nigerian Government to restore peace and address concerns about brutality towards civilians. I reiterated the UK's concerns when I [Minister Duddridge] spoke to Foreign Minister Onyeama on 23 October. The British High Commissioner in Abuja continues to raise the protests with representatives of the Nigerian Government.

We will continue to push the Nigerian police to uphold human rights and the rule of law in all operations. We will also continue to urge the Nigerian authorities to investigate allegations of police brutality, illegal detentions and assaults, and hold those responsible to account.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he (a) has made and (b) plans to make representations to his US counterpart on the implications for the human rights of protestors of the deployment of military personnel in that country on policing operations of protests.

The violence we have seen is clearly very alarming. People must be allowed to protest peacefully - peaceful protest remains a vital part of a democratic society and we understand the strength of feeling around this issue.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his US counterpart on potential human rights violations by police in that country during operations to limit demonstrations; and if he will make a statement.

The violence we have seen is clearly very alarming. Peaceful protest remains a vital part of a democratic society and people must be allowed to protest peacefully.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with travel insurance providers on supporting UK nationals overseas who are in the extremely vulnerable category and advised to shield from coronavirus.

Following the change to date for answer of this PQ, I submitted a response by email on 27 March, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

As the Foreign Secretary stated in the House on 24 March, we are prioritising the most vulnerable. We are in regular contact with the insurance industry to keep the information on our travel advice pages up to date, and continue to work with all partners to ensure that the most vulnerable passengers receive the help they require.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will issue guidance on whether UK nationals overseas who have been advised to shield from coronavirus should return to the UK.

Following the change to date for answer of this PQ, I submitted a response by email on 27 March, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

British nationals should follow the instructions of local authorities and take into account medical advice specific to their personal circumstances. In general, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recommended that all British nationals who live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, whether working or on holiday, should return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. International travel is becoming more difficult with the closure of land borders and further restrictions, such as on freedom of movement, are being introduced daily. Foreign and Commonwealth Office teams around the world are working urgently to ensure that governments have sensible plans to enable the return of British and other travellers, and ensure that the most vulnerable travellers receive the help they require.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that British nationals in New Zealand are able to contact and receive support from the Consulate in New Zealand during the covid-19 outbreak.

As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 31 March, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

The British High Commission in Wellington is fully staffed and doing all it can to support British nationals at this time, including on routes home. The New Zealand Government has introduced strict restrictions on movement. This requires businesses, including diplomatic premises, to work fully remotely to support social distancing. Consular services are deemed essential and therefore, our High Commission is open to issue emergency travel documents. However, given the New Zealand Government's directive on social distancing, we are asking people not to visit our High Commission in Wellington, or our Consulate in Auckland in person, and instead reach out via our online webform. This is the most effective way to ensure that all requests for support are captured and triaged appropriately.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether student accommodation providers have been eligible for covid-19 business support and assistance during the outbreak.

The Government recognises that businesses up and down the UK are feeling the impact of this crisis. That is why the Government has put in place an economic package of support measures which are carefully designed to complement each other to ensure we provide businesses with certainty, even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus change.

UK businesses – including student accommodation providers where eligible – have benefitted from a range of these measures, including the generous Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and billions in government-backed loans.

In response to the current restrictions, and the Prime Minister’s roadmap to easing public health measures, the Chancellor announced further support at the recent Budget to businesses on top of our previous economic responses. This includes the extension of the CJRS until the end of September 2021, which provides a substantial grant for employers to cover 80% of the wages of their employees, and the new Recovery Loan Scheme (80% Government-guaranteed loans between £25,000 and £10 million), which opened on 6 April and will run until the end of the year.

We recognise that universities also rent accommodation to their students and are feeling the impact of this crisis. We have established the Higher Education (HE) Restructuring Regime, which may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a HE provider in England facing severe financial difficulties related to COVID-19. This is for when other steps to preserve its viability and mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient. HE providers can also access the CJRS if they meet the published criteria.

As measures to control the virus change, it is right that Government support should also evolve. Because of this, we will continue to take a flexible but cautious approach as we review restrictions, ensuring support reflects the easing of restrictions to enable the private sector to bounce back as quickly as possible.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will confirm that the amount of funding allocated to education in 2022-23 will be at least that allocated in 2021-22.

Discussions on spending allocations for 2022-23 between the Treasury and other governmental departments, including the Department for Education, are ongoing. These will be decided at the Spending Review later this year. More details will be set out in due course.

The core schools budget for 2022-23 has already been agreed as part of the 3-year schools settlement announced at Spending Round 19. This represents a £7.1 billion increase in school funding compared to 2019-20 budgets.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with major banks on support for small businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

The Treasury recognises the vital role that major banks, non-banks, and challenger banks play in the provision of credit to SMEs. It is grateful for the way the sector has responded to the crisis, providing a range of commercial support to their customers and participating in the coronavirus guarantee loan schemes.

On 23 March 2020, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was launched to support small and medium sized businesses’ access to lending, with viable businesses eligible to apply for loans of up to £5m. Furthermore, on 4 May 2020, the Government launched the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) which ensures that the smallest businesses can access loans from £2,000 up to £50,000, capped at 25% of businesses' turnover in a matter of just days.

The British Business Bank has so far accredited 29 BBLS lenders, including challenger banks and non-bank lenders, and more than 100 CBILS lenders. Together, as of 13 December, the schemes have supported more than 1.5 million businesses with facilities totalling over £63 billion.

In order to give the smallest businesses further support and flexibility in making their repayments for BBLS, the Chancellor has announced “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) options. Furthermore, the Government has amended the CBILS rules to allow lenders to extend loan terms from six to a maximum of ten years where they judge that this will help borrowers repay their loan, helping them to reduce their monthly repayments.

Banks are also providing a range of commercial support to their customers. Businesses struggling to repay any pre-existing loans should talk to their lender to discuss options.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he will take to support (a) employers and (b) furloughed employees in the events and hospitality industry who are in financial difficulty.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on sectors like events and hospitality.

We have already announced considerable and unprecedented support for businesses and individuals through the national restrictions.

Businesses forced to close can claim grants of up to £3,000 per month (worth over £1 billion per month) through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed). Any business in England forced to close due to national or local restrictions can claim grants, via their local authority, of up to £3,000 per month, per business premises, depending on rateable value.

In addition, on 5th January, the Government announced an extra £4.6 billion to protect jobs and support affected businesses as restrictions get tougher. Businesses forced to close can claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000. This is in addition to the monthly closed grant amounts above. Local authorities (in England) will also be given an additional £500 million discretionary funding to support their local businesses. This builds on the £1.1 billion discretionary funding (worth £20 per head of population) which local authorities in England have already received to support their local economies and help businesses impacted

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of April. This provides a substantial grant for employers to cover 80% of the wages of their employees. As of 13 December, CJRS has support 9.9 million jobs at the cost of roughly £46.4bn.

Furthermore, individuals who are furloughed, become unemployed, or anyone who sees a fall in their earnings, may become eligible for support through the welfare system, notably, Universal Credit. We have announced significant temporary extra support worth £7.4bn in 2020-21 for families who rely on the safety net of the welfare system. This includes a £20 per week increase to the 2020-21 UC standard allowance, a suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for self-employed UC claimants, and an increase in UC and Housing Benefit Local Housing Allowance rates so they cover the lowest third of local rents

We will continue to monitor the impact of government support on public services, businesses, individuals and sectors, including the events and hospitality sector, as we respond to this pandemic. But we must recognise that it will not be possible to preserve every job or business indefinitely, nor stand in the way of the economy adapting and people finding new jobs or starting new businesses.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of employees made redundant from companies who have been in receipt of financial support from the public purse during the covid-19 outbreak.

An estimate of the number of employees made redundant from companies receiving financial support during the COVID-19 outbreak is not available.

HMRC publish experimental monthly estimates of payrolled employees and their pay from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) data (jointly with the ONS): https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/earningsandemploymentfrompayasyouearnrealtimeinformationuk/previousReleases.

On 22 October HMRC published secondary analysis which matched CJRS and PAYE Real RTI data. This showed that 90% of employees who left the CJRS furlough scheme between April and July were still on their original payroll in August, suggesting they remained working for their original employer. This analysis does not distinguish between employees who have chosen to leave their jobs and those who have been made redundant. There are many other reasons that people leave, for example to start a new role, retirement, or to enter full time education. The secondary analysis can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-secondary-analysis/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-secondary-analysis-of-ended-furloughs

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of placing conditions on furlough payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to ensure employees receive payments on time.

As with all decisions under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Government is balancing the need to support as many employers and individuals as fully as it possibly can, with the need to get the CJRS running quickly and making it easy to use by employers.

After an employer makes a claim under the CJRS, HMRC check that the claim is correct and pay the claim amount into the employer’s bank account within six working days. The employer must then pay their employees’ wages, if they have not already.

The employer must pay the full amount claimed for the employee’s wages to the employee.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of financial support for the events industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on sectors like events and exhibitions.

During this difficult time the Treasury is working intensively with employers, delivery partners, industry groups and other government departments such as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the events sector.

The Chancellor has already announced unprecedented support for individuals and businesses to protect against the current economic emergency. This includes the deferral of VAT payments and a year-long rates holiday for eligible businesses while some businesses have benefitted from a range of grants and government-backed and guaranteed loan schemes.

The Government has further set out our economic package of support for businesses over the Winter, including monthly grants for closed businesses worth up to £3,000 per month, extending the furlough scheme to April and providing further SEISS grants to support the self-employed to April.

But given the further national restrictions announced by the Prime Minister, the Treasury is providing additional support to the most affected businesses, worth £4.6 billion across the United Kingdom.

  • A one-off grant for closed businesses in England of up to £9,000
  • £500m discretionary funding provided to English local authorities to support local businesses

Furthermore, the application deadline for the loan guarantee schemes – Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme – has been extended to the end of March 2021 and we will also adjust the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum (i.e. less than 25 per cent of their turnover) to top-up their existing loan.

We will continue to monitor the impact of Government support with regard to supporting businesses, individuals, and sectors such as events as we respond to this pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the difficulties faced by people who primarily use cash during the covid 19 outbreak.

The Government remains closely engaged with the financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many individuals across the UK. That is why the Chancellor announced at the March 2020 Budget that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long term. The Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October to inform the development of this legislation.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of support available for people who are not digitally literate and have difficulties submitting their tax return online.

HMRC offer offline extra support, for example, through telephone, paper, and face-to-face via their Extra Support Team (face-to-face support has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19), as well as extra support via their online services. They have also set up a dedicated helpline for anyone experiencing difficulties with seeking access to the COVID-19 support schemes. HMRC work with voluntary and community sector organisations to help taxpayers who need support for a range of reasons from digital exclusion, language, self-confidence, physical or mental health reasons, or difficulties with engaging with HMRC, for example, with compliance or debt issues.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to tackle (a) payday loan scams and (b) other fraud by fake loan companies.

The Government takes fraud very seriously. We continue to work closely with industry to close down the vulnerabilities that fraudsters exploit and ensure members of the public have the information they need to spot a scam and stand up to fraudsters. These actions include the Joint Fraud Taskforce which is helping to build a collaborative law enforcement, government and industry response to tackling fraud.

Illegal lenders, or ‘loan sharks’, can also prey on victims in various forms including by posing as fake loan companies. To tackle this crime, the Government funds the Illegal Money Lending Teams (IMLTs), via a levy on the financial services industry. The IMLTs have powers to deal with wider criminality associated with loan sharks, such as fraud, and can seize the assets of convicted loan sharks to fund support for victims and raise awareness of the dangers of illegal lending in affected communities.

The Government and IMLTs are alert to the particular challenges faced by vulnerable consumers as a result of COVID-19 and continue to work together to ensure that this dangerous and illegal activity is stopped.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on the difficulties faced by clients and former clients of SVS Securities.

HM Treasury regularly engages with the Financial Conduct Authority on the circumstances surrounding SVS Securities PLC.

SVS Securities is a wealth management firm that was placed in Special Administration on 5 August 2019. An assessment of the client money and custody assets held by the firm has been completed and the Special Administrators have confirmed that these are intact. There are costs associated with distributing client money and custody assets back to clients which by law will be deduced from client money or custody assets.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will cover custody assets and client money shortfalls, including the costs associated with their distribution back to clients, for eligible clients up to £85,000.

The Special Administrators are working closely with the FSCS and expect the vast majority of clients will be compensated in full by the FSCS for these costs. As a result, the vast majority of clients shall receive their client money and custody assets in full.

Please note that the Special Administrators have now contacted SVS customers to invite them to submit any claims.

For further information on SVS Securities, please see the Financial Conduct Authority’s website: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/news-stories/svs-securities-plc-enters-administration.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what Equality Impact Assessments were undertaken on the (a) design of and (b) the conclusion of the Job Retention Scheme.

When designing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Job Retention Bonus policies, the Treasury undertook an analysis of how the policies were likely to affect individuals sharing protected characteristics in line with its Public Sector Equality Duties. This is in accordance with the internal procedural requirements and support in place for ensuring that equalities considerations inform decisions taken by ministers.
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he made an assessment of the potential merits of different scheme designs when he made an assessment of the potential merits of ending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in October 2020; and if he will make a statement.

As the economic recovery continues, the Government must adjust support accordingly. Ending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme after eight months ensures that people are not trapped in jobs that can only exist because of a Government subsidy. The scheme will wind down, flexibly and gradually, supporting businesses and people through to October. This is the best means by which to ensure people’s livelihoods are protected as the Government supports the resumption of economic demand.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on what dates he met and with which business representatives he discussed the design and closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and what the outcomes were of those discussions.

HM Treasury has been working closely with business representatives, unions, and Government colleagues to ensure that this decision works for both employers and employees and is coherent with the wider Government response. An Institute for Government report recently remarked “the quality and intensity of engagement on the CJRS and SEISS were described to us as being markedly different from normal experience of working with government.”

For example, the Treasury has engaged frequently with the Confederation of British Industry; the most recent meeting being alongside Trades Union Congress representatives on 7 September. The Chancellor attended this meeting and took on board the concerns and proposals raised. HM Treasury will continue to work with businesses, unions and representative groups as part of the Government’s continuing monitoring of the economy.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he undertook a regional impact assessment of the (a) implementation and (b) closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

When launching the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Government prioritised helping the greatest number of people as quickly as possible and the scheme was made available across all regions UK-wide. There has been broad consistency in furlough rates across the UK. The latest available statistics show the West Midlands region of England has had the highest take-up rate of 34 per cent and the East region of England has had the lowest take-up of 30 per cent. The number of employments furloughed in the UK decreased from a peak of 8.9 million on 8 May to 6.8 million by 30 June.

After eight months of the CJRS, the scheme will close. The CJRS must be temporary and the Government must ensure people across all regions of the UK can get back to work safely and get the UK economy up and running again. The Government is providing support directly to people and businesses across the whole of the UK with the UK-wide measures announced in the Plan for Jobs.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress he has made on the Business Rates Review; and what the timetable is for the next steps of that review.

On 21 July, HM Treasury published a Call for Evidence for the fundamental review of business rates. The Call for Evidence invites stakeholders to contribute their views on ideas for reform on all elements of the business rates system and on alternative taxes.

As set out in the Call for Evidence, the fundamental review will have an interim report in autumn 2020, ahead of concluding in spring 2021.

The Call for Evidence can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hm-treasury-fundamental-review-of-business-rates-call-for-evidence.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the difficulties caused to businesses of the further guidance on the flexible furlough scheme being published after the cut-off date for an employee to be placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The announcement on 29 May provided the key information required for firms to make decisions about furloughing employees. Full information on how the scheme will change from 1 July has been available in published factsheets since the Chancellor announced the changes.

The guidance was updated on 12 June only to provide additional detail on how the scheme will operate in practice.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential difficulties caused to businesses of the length of the notice period between the announcement on the future of the job retention scheme on 29 May 2020 and the cut-off date for an employee to be furloughed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by 10 June 2020.

At the end of May the Government sought to give employers as much certainty as possible on how the CJRS will work until the end of October.

Closing the scheme to new entrants is necessary for a gradual closure of the scheme. The focus is now on bringing those currently furloughed back into productive employment.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to continue the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the (a) hospitality and (b) leisure sectors while covid-19 social distancing measures affect businesses in those sectors.

The CJRS will close at the end of October, after eight months.

It is the case that some firms will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support these firms appropriately.

It would be challenging to target the CJRS to specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way, and that may not be the most effective or sensible way to provide longer term support for those sectors most affected by coronavirus.

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

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend eligibility for the (a) Small Business Grants Fund and (b) business rates relief to include private dental practices.

A business with a property that on 11 March 2020 was eligible for Small Business Rate Relief Scheme or the Rural Rate Relief Scheme, will be eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF). Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the SBGF should be directed to the relevant local authority. There are currently no plans to change eligibility criteria for the schemes. However, officials are keeping in close contact with local authorities to monitor and understand how the schemes are being implemented.

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

The Government will consider any further financial assistance necessary to help businesses get through this period.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to increase the level of funding available to key workers for childcare to meet the increased costs of that care as a result of social distancing measures during the covid-19 outbreak.

Parents continue to have access to the Government’s childcare offers during the Covid-19 crisis. This includes support through Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit worth up to 85% and 70% of childcare costs respectively, up to 30 hours of free childcare a week for 3 and 4-year-olds, and up to £2,000 per year of support through Tax Free Childcare.

Schools also continue to offer places to the children of key workers, as they have done since the end of March.

To ensure key workers working additional hours do not lose their entitlement to free hours or Tax Free Childcare, for this tax year we are temporarily relaxing the maximum income threshold for those parents.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government support for self-employed people who are structured as a one-person limited company and receive income through an annual payroll near the end of the tax year, and are therefore ineligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

For an employee, including self-employed people who have a one-person limited company, to be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they must have been notified to HMRC on a real-time information (RTI) submission on or before 19 March.

Those paid annually are eligible to claim, as long as they meet the relevant conditions, including being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020 which relates to a payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year. Anyone paid annually and notified on an RTI submission after that date will not be eligible for the scheme, as is the case for those who are paid more frequently and were not notified to HMRC on or before 19 March.

This scheme supplements the other significant support announced for UK businesses, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to end the use of prisons for the purpose of immigration detention.

There are no plans to end the limited use of prisons for the purpose of immigration detention.

The Government is committed to a fair and humane immigration policy that welcomes those here legally, but tackles abuse and protects the public. Any foreign national who is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence is considered for deportation at the earliest opportunity, and since January 2019 we have removed 8,441 foreign national offenders.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to (a) collect data on the increase in pet theft during the covid-19 lockdown and (b) help tackle the increase in that crime.

The Government is working with the police and others and will consider the evidence and what more could be done to prevent pet theft.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
What assessment she has made of the effect on people of the No Recourse to Public Funds condition applied to immigration status.

Migrants coming to the UK are expected to maintain and support themselves and their families without posing a burden on the welfare system.

The Home Office has published its policy equality statement on the impact of the No Recourse to Public Funds policy on migrants on the human rights route.

Migrants with leave under certain routes can apply to lift their NRPF condition.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking prior to the end of the transition period to ensure that international agreements are in place that would guarantee that an asylum applicant will be received in a timely manner by a safe third country.

We have made a political commitment to pursue new bilateral negotiations on post-transition migration issues with key countries with which we share a mutual interest, including on new arrangements for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that point 11.4 of the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (10 December 2020) is compliant with the UK’s commitments to the UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 3).

Point 11.4 of the Statement of Changes is part of the overall clarification of the places and circumstances in which a Home Office officer is capable of receiving an asylum claim. It makes clear that an asylum claim cannot be received in the territorial waters of the United Kingdom.

I am satisfied the Rules are compatible with our international obligations. No individual will be refouled to a place where they would be harmed.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to consult with expert organisations representing migrant workers on the future of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Pilot Scheme before any further rollout of that scheme.

As I set out to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee on 17 November, the UK Government is looking to continue the Seasonal Workers Pilot into 2021.

When making a decision on numbers, as well as the outcomes of the evaluation, we must also consider the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on the wider economy and ensure there are employment opportunities for UK workers.

We will publish the first-year evaluation information in due course, a key part of which will be how the pilot ensured the safeguarding of migrant welfare.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure retail workers are protected from abusive customers.

Last year the Home Office ran a call for evidence on Violence and Abuse Toward Shop Staff to understand further the issue and the measures which may help prevent these crimes. The Government published a response to the Call for Evidence in July. Action the Government is taking to reduce violence and abuse experienced by shop workers is set out in the response, which is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

The Government is also working closely with the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to address key issues highlighted by taking forward a programme of work focused on:

• Developing communications for both employees and employers to make clear that violence and abuse of shop workers is not tolerated;

• Developing a best practice guide that aims to support staff in reporting these crimes when they occur to ensure that a suitable response can be delivered;

• Looking at barriers to effective data sharing between businesses and the police to ensure that information can be used to better understand the problem; and

• Looking at how to better provide support to victims.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the (a) backlog and (b) average length of time taken to process applications for indefinite leave to remain.

There are no backlogs on our ILR routes, we are deciding cases within published service standard, unless there is a specific reason we cannot, in which case we will contact the customer. Our service standard for the processing of ILR cases remains six months.

Performance against service standards for Indefinite Leave to Remain applications are included in the Migration Transparency data which is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data#uk-visas-and-immigration

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to improve the handling of sexual assault cases by police forces.

Rape and sexual assault are devastating crimes and we want victims to have the confidence to report them, knowing that every investigation will be conducted thoroughly, and everything will be done to bring offenders to justice.

The Government is currently conducting an end-to-end review of the criminal justice response to rape, which includes identifying issues and areas for improvement in the police handling of cases. We expect the review to report with actions for cross-system improvement later this year. These actions will improve outcomes for victims of sexual assault as well as those of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of funding for (a) therapeutic and (b) advocacy support for victims of child sexual abuse.

Supporting victims of child sexual abuse, whether they are children or adult survivors, is a priority for the Government and we are taking steps to ensure that adequate funding is in place for specialist support services across the country providing both therapeutic and advocacy support. For example:

The Home Office and Ministry of Justice have doubled the funding available for voluntary sector organisations providing direct support to victims and survivors at a national level through the Support for Victims and Survivors of CSA fund. The SVSCSA will provide £2.4m up to 2022 to support vital national services including support lines, online resources and remote counselling. We have also introduced a new £2.8m transformation fund to promote and embed best practice in CSA victim support.

The Ministry of Justice has awarded £12m to 91 rape support centres across England and Wales to provide independent, specialist support to female and male victims of sexual violence. This is an increase of £4m from 2019/20 and includes £1.8m of ringfenced funding for victims of recent and non-recent child sexual abuse. The new funding is in addition to the £4.79m provided to Police and Crime Commissioners by the Ministry of Justice to support victims of child sexual abuse (part of the £69m provided this year for them to commission victim support service based on local need).

The Government also recently announced an additional £4m per year until 2022 for recruiting more Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) to help victims feel informed and supported at every stage of their recovery journey. ISVAs provide an important link between police, support services and criminal justice agencies.

We have also increased spending from £31m in 2018 to £39m this year to improve services and pathways for survivors and victims of sexual violence, including child sexual abuse, who seek support from Sexual Assault Referral Centres, regardless of age or gender.

We are committed to ensuring that victims can continue to access such support during the COVID-19 pandemic and recently announced a £76m package of funding for victims, with £10 million ringfenced to provide support for victims of sexual violence specifically. This has helped fund technology to enable charities to offer services remotely.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the police forces' handling of cases where a person has been reported for sexual offences by multiple individuals.

Rape and sexual assault are devastating crimes and we want victims to have the confidence to report them, knowing that every investigation will be conducted thoroughly, and everything will be done to bring offenders to justice.

The Government is currently conducting an end-to-end review of the criminal justice response to rape, which includes identifying issues and areas for improvement in the police handling of cases. We expect the review to report with actions for cross-system improvement later this year. These actions will improve outcomes for victims of sexual assault as well as those of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to recommendation 7 of the Windrush: Lessons Learned review, whether she plans to make an assessment of the effect of No Recourse to Public Funds conditions in her review of hostile environment policies.

I have accepted the Windrush Lessons Learned review’s important findings and I will be publishing the Government’s response to the review shortly.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress she has made on the full review of hostile environment policies following recommendation 7 of the Windrush: Lessons Learned review.

My officials are consulting external experts, community organisations and the very people the Home Office has failed in the past in an extensive programme of engagement to ensure officials understand the change that is needed and that the organisation at every level learns the lessons of what went wrong.

I have accepted the Windrush Lessons Learned review’s important findings and I will be publishing the Government’s response to the review shortly, including how we will take forward a review and evaluation of compliant environment policies.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason there is a requirement to provide biometric data in applications for further leave to remain from applicants for whom biometric data is already held.

We have implemented measures to reduce the impact on people caused by the restrictions which have been necessary to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

As already set out we have introduced reuse of previously enrolled biometrics and published guidance on Gov.UK which sets out the applicable circumstances. The guidance can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/913700/biometric-enrolment-guidance-covid-19-v1.0ext.pdf.

People can still evidence their right to work through the Employer Checking Service after they have submitted an application for a biometric residence permit to ensure there is no impact on their employment.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of delays in renewing biometric residency permits due to the covid-1-9 outbreak on people's ability to prove their right to work.

We have implemented measures to reduce the impact on people caused by the restrictions which have been necessary to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

As already set out we have introduced reuse of previously enrolled biometrics and published guidance on Gov.UK which sets out the applicable circumstances. The guidance can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/913700/biometric-enrolment-guidance-covid-19-v1.0ext.pdf.

People can still evidence their right to work through the Employer Checking Service after they have submitted an application for a biometric residence permit to ensure there is no impact on their employment.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to paragraph A3 of the Tier 2 of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance, for what reasons care workers have not been included in that paragraph.

Those currently applying for the Health and Care Visa must meet the Tier 2 (General) immigration route requirements. Under the requirements of the current Tier 2 (General), a migrant worker must be filling a degree level job and meet the relevant salary threshold.

The UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System, which will come into effect from January 2021, will include changing the qualifying skill level – to A level and equivalent and above - and salary requirements.

Senior care workers will qualify under the UK’s Points-Based Immigration System and guidance on occupations eligible for the Health and Care Visa will be updated in line with the launch of the new Skilled Workers route and the expanded skills threshold.

As we implement our new global points-based immigration system we want employers in the care sector to focus on ensuring care workers are offered rewarding packages and career development opportunities which value the vital work they do, rather than the UK’s migration system providing them with an alternative to doing this.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to paragraph A3, Tier 2 of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance, whether she plans to add care workers to the list of eligible occupations for the Health and Social Care Visa.

Those currently applying for the Health and Care Visa must meet the Tier 2 (General) immigration route requirements. Under the requirements of the current Tier 2 (General), a migrant worker must be filling a degree level job and meet the relevant salary threshold.

The UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System, which will come into effect from January 2021, will include changing the qualifying skill level – to A level and equivalent and above - and salary requirements.

Senior care workers will qualify under the UK’s Points-Based Immigration System and guidance on occupations eligible for the Health and Care Visa will be updated in line with the launch of the new Skilled Workers route and the expanded skills threshold.

As we implement our new global points-based immigration system we want employers in the care sector to focus on ensuring care workers are offered rewarding packages and career development opportunities which value the vital work they do, rather than the UK’s migration system providing them with an alternative to doing this.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of granting Leave to Remain to people in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa who have been made redundant during the covid-19 outbreak.

Tier 2 is an employer led route aimed at filling a specific vacancy where the organisation cannot fill it from within the domestic labour market. The Government does not have any plans to grant leave to remain to those made redundant as a result of the Covid pandemic and have no other basis of stay.

However, the Government has put in place measures to support people at this time which people on a Tier 2 visa would be eligible for support from including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough). This must be part of a company-wide policy, with the relevant visa holders considered as part of this, but this will allow many employers to retain staff rather than making them redundant.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish further details on the Health and Care Visa.

The Government laid the “Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2020”, in Parliament on 14 July.

We also published updated Tier 2 policy guidance, which includes information on the Health and Care Visa. The updated guidance is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-application-for-uk-visa-as-tier-2-worker.

The Health and Care Visa will open for applications on 4 August.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how long it takes on average for someone granted bail from immigration detention to be found an adequate place to be housed.

Providing the information requested would require a manual check of individual records which could only be done at disproportionate cost to the taxpayer.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of availability of adequate hygiene facilities in immigration removal centres.

The safety and health of people in the detention estate are of the utmost importance. We are following all Public Health England guidance on COVID-19 and have robust contingency plans in place, including measures such as shielding and use of personal protective equipment.

Basic hygiene is a key part of tackling COVID-19. Handwashing facilities are available in all immigration removal centres and we are working closely with suppliers to ensure we have an adequate supply of soap and cleaning materials. The arrangements in place are subject to regular review by Home Office staff and suppliers at each IRC.

In addition, each centre has posters and leaflets to inform staff and detainees about the importance of handwashing and social distancing to minimise the risk from COVID-19. Detainees are also able to speak to staff directly for advice on the protective measures in place.

Guidance on managing COVID-19 in immigration removal centres was published on gov.uk on 5 June https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-immigration-removal-centres.

As of 12 June 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in immigration removal centres.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has completed their review of every person detained under immigration powers in relation to the covid-19 outbreak.

All individuals in detention from 23 March were reviewed to see if they were at a heightened risk from COVID-19, following guidance setting out the action that case workers should take in response to COVID-19. This reflected Public Health England guidance issued on 16 March 2020.? Detained cases have continued to be reviewed in light of updated guidance, and in accordance with detention guidance and known country situations.

The Government published statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system on gov.uk, on 28 May and the latest Immigration Statistics publication includes the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers in prisons.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people in immigration detention have been (a) released and (b) granted bail without submitting a bail application as a result of reviews during the covid-19 outbreak.

All individuals in detention from 23 March were reviewed to see if they were at a heightened risk from COVID-19, following guidance setting out the action that case workers should take in response to COVID-19. This reflected Public Health England guidance issued on 16 March 2020.? Detained cases have continued to be reviewed in light of updated guidance, and in accordance with detention guidance and known country situations.

The Government published statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system on gov.uk, on 28 May and the latest Immigration Statistics publication includes the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers in prisons.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many adults in immigration detention are classified as (a) adults at risk, (b) clinically vulnerable, and (c) extremely clinically vulnerable.

All individuals in detention from 23 March were reviewed to see if they were at a heightened risk from COVID-19, following guidance setting out the action that case workers should take in response to COVID-19. This reflected Public Health England guidance issued on 16 March 2020.? Detained cases have continued to be reviewed in light of updated guidance, and in accordance with detention guidance and known country situations.

The Government published statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system on gov.uk, on 28 May and the latest Immigration Statistics publication includes the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers in prisons.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy that police officers deployed to police public order should wear personal protective equipment, including face masks.

The Government recognises the importance of Personal Protective Equip-ment (PPE) for all of those on the frontline and has published guidance on ap-propriate PPE for emergency workers, including the police. The NPCC and the College of Policing have issued operational guidance to all forces on the use of PPE tailored to their unique role to ensure officers and staff are protected sufficiently. The guidance covers how, when and what type of PPE to wear across a range of practical scenarios. The guidance is available online here: https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/Documents/Personal-Protective-Equipment-Operational-Guidance-1.pdf

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with representatives from the National Police Chiefs Council on (a) guidance for policing protests while the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 are in force and (b) arresting protesters under those regulations.

The footage of George Floyd’s death is deeply upsetting and we appreciate the strength of feeling behind the planned #BlackLivesMatter protests, but it is vital to remember that we are still in the midst of a public health crisis.We strongly support the right to protest peacefully, but this pandemic has led to many of our individual freedoms being curtailed because everyone has a role to play in helping to control the virus following the rules. This is how we can continue to save lives so we can recover.

Under the current regulations, gatherings of more than six people from different households are not permitted. We are in close contact with police to ensure they are prepared to respond to any public disorder and have appropriate policing plans in place. How they use these powers is an operational matter for the police, who are independent of Government.

The Police have adopted an effective approach of the 4Es; engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance before moving to enforcement options. The National Police Chiefs Council and the College of Policing have issued guidance on how they will enforce the regulation. This can be found at https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/understanding-the-law/Pages/default.aspx

Chief constables from forces across the country, the Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Chief Executive of the College of Policing and the President of the Police Superintendents' Association made a statement following the death of George Floyd, which is published at https://news.npcc.police.uk/releases/uk-police-stand-with-those-appalled-by-george-floyd-death.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the effect of (a) Regulation 7 of the Coronavirus Regulations 2020 and (b) the police use of powers under those regulations at recent protests on people's ability to exercise their right to protest under articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The footage of George Floyd’s death is deeply upsetting and we appreciate the strength of feeling behind the planned #BlackLivesMatter protests, but it is vital to remember that we are still in the midst of a public health crisis.We strongly support the right to protest peacefully, but this pandemic has led to many of our individual freedoms being curtailed because everyone has a role to play in helping to control the virus following the rules. This is how we can continue to save lives so we can recover.

Under the current regulations, gatherings of more than six people from different households are not permitted. We are in close contact with police to ensure they are prepared to respond to any public disorder and have appropriate policing plans in place. How they use these powers is an operational matter for the police, who are independent of Government.

The Police have adopted an effective approach of the 4Es; engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance before moving to enforcement options. The National Police Chiefs Council and the College of Policing have issued guidance on how they will enforce the regulation. This can be found at https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/understanding-the-law/Pages/default.aspx

Chief constables from forces across the country, the Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Chief Executive of the College of Policing and the President of the Police Superintendents' Association made a statement following the death of George Floyd, which is published at https://news.npcc.police.uk/releases/uk-police-stand-with-those-appalled-by-george-floyd-death.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people were detained in immigration detention centres as of 21 May 2020; and for what reasons each of those people has not been released.

Immigration Enforcement is responding to the unique circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak and following the latest guidance from Public Health England. We continue to remove people through available commercial routes.Statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system can be viewed by accessing the following link https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887808/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020.pdf

The Home Office also publish quarterly statistics on the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers. This data can be found by accessing the following linkhttps://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/returns-and-detention-datasets

All decisions to detain or release are taken on the basis of a careful consideration of the facts of each case. Factors arguing in favour of detention include the risk of harm to the public presented by the individual concerned and the risk of absconding. Ultimately, the Home Office detains individuals to facilitate their deportation from the UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will publish the (a) amount accrued to the public purse from (i) fees and (ii) charges applied by the UK Visa Application Centre; and (b) date on which each category of (A) fees and (B) charges were introduced.

All visa and migration fees are paid directly by the applicant to the Home Office and not routed through UKVCAS. The amounts collected are published in the Home Office accounts. The amounts collected for 2018-19 are shown here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/807126/6.5571_HO_Annual_Report_201920_WEB.PDF at page 137.

The fees levels approved by Parliament are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-fees-transparency-data

However, customers using UKVCAS may elect to pay for additional premium services over and above the visa/migration fee. These premium charges are retained by the commercial operator of UKVCAS. Details of the additional, optional services can be found here at: http://www.ukvcas.co.uk/additional-services.

Information on the UKVCAS contract is published here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/ec5031ea-021e-471a-86cf-af540e8d8efa?p=@xUlRRPT0=NjJNT08=UFQ. However, the commencement of service and premium charge price change dates are not disclosed separately.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of allowing (a) virtual and (b) part-virtual council meetings indefinitely.

On 25 March 2021 the Government launched a call for evidence on remote meetings and their use during the pandemic. This will inform any next steps on legislation or guidance regarding their use in the future. The call for evidence closes on 17 June 2021. The Government will consider all responses carefully before deciding how to proceed on this issue in the longer term.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) reducing the charge for freehold information packs for individuals selling properties or (b) making those charges means tested.

FME1 Freehold management forms enquire about information such as the amount of estate rent charges or service charge equivalent, when acting for a buyer of a freehold that shares services with other houses. The rent charge owner, management company, managing agent or their appointed representative should provide this information. The FME1 is not mandatory. We believe that freeholders would also benefit from having more certainty about the cost and timescales for providing this information. We propose to use legislation to set the same timescale and cost for provision of freehold information as we have already committed to for the provision of leasehold sales packs.

We would want to ask whether the freehold packs should be subject to the same rules around cost and turnaround time as leasehold packs.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of regulation of student accommodation provision in the context of changing Higher Education provision as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to ensuring that every student has a safe, decent and secure place to live. The Government supports the student accommodation Codes of Practice run by Universities UK/Guild HE and Accreditation Network UK/Unipol. There are currently no plans to review the mechanism by which the Codes are administered. The Codes of Practice set the standards for the safety of halls of residence and purpose built student accommodation, the management of the property and the relationship between managers and student tenants. The Department for Education has published guidance on reopening buildings and campuses which provides additional advice on student accommodation. The Government is also working with local authorities to raise standards in the private rented sector, including in student accommodation, and local?authorities?have been given a wide range of powers to tackle criminal landlords.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to record the number of people in rent arrears.

The Government has established an unprecedented package of support to protect renters throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and as with all policy making, this is informed by a range of data sources.

This comprehensive package includes a range of support for businesses to pay staff salaries which will support renters to sustain tenancies. We have also strengthened the welfare safety-net with a nearly £9.3 billion boost to the welfare system, including an extra £1 billion to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates so that they cover the lowest 30 per cent of market rents.

For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of Government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments made available this year, an increase of £40 million from last year and which is for councils to distribute to support renters with housing costs.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the additional funding requirements of local authorities that have a budget shortfall as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Councils across the country are supporting communities, protecting the most vulnerable and helping the NHS in our efforts to combat Covid-19. In order to meet additional cost pressures, we are providing local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, allocating £4.3 billion of support for?spending?pressures, including £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced grants and the £600 million Infection Control Fund. This direct?financial support?the Government has?provided is just part of the comprehensive package of support?which includes cashflow measures, support for the homeless, and bus and tram services, not to mention grants and business rates reliefs for businesses. In total, the Government has committed almost £28 billion to local areas to support councils, businesses and communities.

The Secretary of State has also announced measures to address lost income, including:

  • a co-payment scheme to cover irrecoverable Sales, Fees and Charges income in 20/21 with the Government covering 75 per cent of losses beyond 5 per cent of planned income;
  • phased repayment of Collection Fund deficits over the next 3 years;
  • a commitment to determine what support is needed to help councils meet the pressures of irrecoverable tax income at the Spending Review.

Our new approach to financial support for councils in the fight against Covid-19 is more robust and longer-term, replacing both previous rounds of allocations. It shares the burden fairly between central and local government. We have reset the whole approach by estimating both expenditure pressures and income reductions through to the end of the financial year, based on what local authorities have told us in the latest financial monitoring and operational response. Over 99 per cent of local authorities responded to our May Covid-19 financial monitoring survey. We are extremely grateful for their continued collaboration, which enables us to understand pressures at a national and local level.

We will continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on local government and would ask that any local authority who is faced with an unmanageable pressure or is concerned about their future financial position should approach MHCLG to discuss.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many child victims of sexual abuse reached the age of 18 before there case was heard; and how many of those people were then cross examined in each year from 2016.

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The age of victims throughout the progression of a case through the Criminal Justice System and the number that were cross examined is not held centrally.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the court backlog is for child sexual abuse cases.

At the end of June 2021 (latest available data) there were 4,614 outstanding child sexual abuse cases in the Crown Court and 572 in the Magistrates’ Court in England and Wales.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of legal aid assistance in mediation cases.

Whilst the Government has no current plans to extend legal aid for mediation cases, The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched a voucher scheme which will provide a contribution of up to £500 towards the mediation costs for eligible cases, supporting people in resolving their family law disputes outside of court, where appropriate.

The early data we have on outcomes shows the scheme has been positively received and is achieving its purpose of assisting families to mediate their issues. We will continue to monitor the take up of the scheme and look closely at the data we collect. This will help shape future initiatives in this space.

As a result of the success of the scheme so far, we will be extending the scheme until the end of the year.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has for the future of legal aid funding for housing cases.

MoJ continues to consider the long-term sustainability of civil legal aid, recognising that we need to take a whole system approach. The department has also been engaging with representative bodies and providers within the sector to increase our understanding of the challenges providers currently face. Housing is a key focus of this work and we will shortly be publishing a consultation on proposals for the future of the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme (HPCDS).

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of legal aid providers in (a) Nottingham East constituency and (b) the UK.

The Government is taking steps to review the long-term sustainability of the Criminal Legal Aid market across England and Wales. Last year, following phase one of this review, we injected up to £51m per annum into Criminal Legal Aid, in areas of work that practitioners told us mattered the most.  This year we launched the second phase, an independent review, led by Sir Christopher Bellamy QC,  that will consider the sustainability of the whole Criminal Legal Aid system so that it can meet demand now and into the future, provide an effective and efficient service that ensures value for money for the taxpayer and provide defendants with high-quality advice from a diverse range of practitioners. Sir Christopher will submit his recommendations to the Lord Chancellor later this year.

In addition, MoJ continues to consider the long-term sustainability of civil legal aid, recognising that we need to take a whole system approach. The department has also been engaging with representative bodies and providers within the sector to increase our understanding of the challenges providers currently face.

The Legal Aid Agency continue to keep legal aid provision under constant review, ensuring access across England and Wales and taking immediate action whenever this could be threatened. Additionally, the LAA continues to monitor the state of the market to ensure access to justice is maintained.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the last minute cancellation of court hearings as a result of a lack of availability of judges.

The timely delivery of justice is a priority for the government. The department is working closely with the judiciary to ensure we have the capacity required to maximise the number of court hearings taking place this year and to minimise disruption to cases listed for hearings. We allocated over a quarter of a billion pounds on recovery last financial year, making court buildings safe, rolling out new technology for remote hearings, recruiting additional staff and opening Nightingale courtrooms. We are now focused both on increasing capacity and maximising use of that which we already have. There is no limit on the number of days Crown Courts can sit this financial year and we are supporting temporary changes to court operating hours.

Judicial capacity is being boosted through a programme to recruit up to 1100 judges this year. When there is a business need, in any jurisdiction, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice can approve extensions of relevant judges’ appointments past their mandatory retirement age and approve retired salaried judges to sit in retirement on an ad-hoc basis. Significant action is also being taken every day by both individual court and Regional Judicial Secretariats to ensure judges are available for all hearings. Every effort is made to contact judges to ensure a case can proceed, from contacting individual judges directly to request cover, to assessing whether other nearby courts can assist.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to review pay rates for prison officers who joined the Prison Service (a) before and (b) after 2010.

Prison Officer pay rates are reviewed annually through the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) process. This process reviews pay rates for those who joined the Prison Service before and after 2010. The PSPRB process for 2021/22 is currently underway.

PSPRB information be found on the Gov UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/prison-services-pay-review-body.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of the backlog in the criminal justice system of cases involving sexual abuse of children and young people on victims and their families.

The Government is committed to understanding and mitigating the impact that caseloads in the criminal justice system are having on victims, including victims of child sexual abuse.

Part of this is achieved through ensuring that criminal courts’ recovery remains on track. We are making excellent progress and now have over 250 jury rooms open. Further courtrooms will continue to be made available in the existing estate and in Nightingale courts. Young victims of sexual abuse will also benefit from the accelerated rollout of the Section 28 (Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence (YJCE) Act 1999) (pre-recorded cross examination and re-examination) service for vulnerable witnesses, which includes all children under 18.

To support victims of childhood sexual abuse in their recovery, we have doubled the funding available for voluntary sector organisations providing direct support to victims and survivors of abuse at a national level to £2.4 million until 2022. This will provide vital national services including support lines, online resources and remote counselling.

The Ministry of Justice has also awarded £12 million to 91 rape support centres across England and Wales to provide independent, specialist support to female and male victims of sexual violence. This is an increase of £4 million from 2019/20 and includes £1.8 million of ringfenced funding for victims of recent and non-recent child sexual abuse. This new funding is in addition to the £4.8 million per annum already provided to Police and Crime Commissioners by the MoJ to support victims of child sexual abuse (part of the £69m provided this year for them to commission victim support services based on local need).

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting independent celebrants to carry out legal marriage ceremonies.

The Government announced in June 2019 that the Law Commission will conduct a fundamental review of the law on how and where people can legally marry in England and Wales. As part of that review, the Law Commission will make recommendations regarding how provision could be made for the use of independent celebrants and the Government will decide on provision once the Law Commission publishes its recommendations. The Law Commission has now published a consultation paper as part of its review and will welcome responses from all.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that social visits to prisoners can be made possible at every prison.

Social visits to prisons were suspended on 24 March 2020 and because of the suspension and our wider actions to tackle COVID, lives have been saved and the NHS has been protected from the impact of widespread local outbreaks.

In line with the National Framework for Prison Regimes and Services published on 2 June 2020, prisons have gradually been re-commencing social visits since 8 July 2020 with many sites already holding visiting sessions. More are scheduled to resume in the coming days and weeks.

Establishments are progressing at their own speed, taking full account of their specific local circumstances. We continue to work with individual prisons to adjust restrictions in response to local conditions which may include an outbreak of infection in the prison or community.

Where social visits have resumed, there are necessary measures in place to protect visitors, prisoners and staff from the risk of infection. They include compulsory face coverings for visitors, social distancing and enhanced cleaning regimes.

A temporary video call service to support prisoners maintaining contact with family and friends has also been introduced. This is intended for use whilst contact is limited.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to support law centres that have been financially adversely affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the valuable role that Law Centres, and the wider not-for-profit advice sector, play in local communities across the country, and we support them in this vital work.

We are aware that Law Centres may experience financial issues due to the Covid-19 outbreak and have been working at pace to consider options to support them and other not-for-profits who provide this important service.

I am therefore pleased to say that the Government is allocating £5.4 million in funding to the not for profit providers of specialist legal advice.

£3 million of this will be earmarked specifically for Law Centres.

This is in addition to the £370m of funding that the National Lottery Communities Fund is administering, which qualifying third sector organisations, including those within the advice sector, will be able to bid for directly.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)