Navendu Mishra Portrait

Navendu Mishra

Labour - Stockport

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee
21st Sep 2020 - 22nd Feb 2021


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 26th October 2021
14:00
International Development Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: UK aid for improving nutrition
26 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Professor Claire Heffernan - Director at London International Development Centre
Dr Lawrence Haddad - Executive Director at Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Dr Agnes Kalibata - President at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
Dr Morseda Chowdhury - Director, Health, Nutrition and Population Programme (HNPP) at Bangladesh, BRAC
Grainne Moloney - Senior Nutrition Adviser at UNICEF
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
09:15
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 172 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 188 Noes - 251
Speeches
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Access to Cash

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mrs Miller. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd …

Written Answers
Friday 22nd October 2021
Bangladesh: Hinduism
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations her Department has made to the …
Early Day Motions
Monday 6th September 2021
Friends of Heaton Chapel Station, Stockport
That this House applauds the work of the Friends of Heaton Chapel Station in Stockport, whose volunteers have worked tirelessly …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 18th October 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Unite the Union
Address of donor: 128 Theobalds Rd, London WC1X 8TN
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Thursday 21st October 2021
Violence in Bangladesh
That this House notes the concerning rise in attacks on Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh during the festival …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
National Minimum Wage Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision about the national minimum wage; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Navendu Mishra has voted in 270 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Navendu Mishra 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
(12 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
(10 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(9 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(17 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(16 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Navendu Mishra's debates

Stockport 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Navendu Mishra

20th October 2021
Navendu Mishra signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 21st October 2021

Violence in Bangladesh

Tabled by: Virendra Sharma (Labour - Ealing, Southall)
That this House notes the concerning rise in attacks on Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh during the festival of Durga puja; is concerned by the violence that has left at least seven dead of Muslim and Hindu faith; observes the deployment of paramilitary forces to 22 districts in …
5 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 5
20th October 2021
Navendu Mishra signed this EDM on Thursday 21st October 2021

Making misogyny a hate crime

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House expresses deep concern about the prevalence of violence against women and girls in our society; notes that, according to the 2021 UN Women UK YouGov survey, 71 per cent of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space and that this figure rises …
17 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 8
Labour: 5
Independent: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Navendu Mishra's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Navendu Mishra, 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.


Navendu Mishra has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Navendu Mishra has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Navendu Mishra has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


367 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
5 Other Department Questions
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will bring forward legislation that will prohibit freeholders from charging excessive ground rents and high service charges for leaseholders.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. This includes a restriction of ground rents for newly created leases for both houses and flats to a peppercorn (zero financial value), through the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rents) Bill currently in Parliament and a ban on the unjustified use of leasehold for new houses as soon as Parliamentary time allows


In addition, the Government asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to protect leaseholders from unfair and exploitative leasehold contracts.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. This includes a restriction of ground rents for newly created leases for both houses and flats to a peppercorn (zero financial value), through the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rents) Bill currently in Parliament and a ban on the unjustified use of leasehold for new houses as soon as Parliamentary time allows


In addition, the Government asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact on neighbouring properties of temporary arrangements to allow pubs, restaurants and other venues to have tents, canopies and marquees for longer than the 28 days previously allowed without planning permission.

The Permitted development right has supported the recovery of the hospitality industry by allowing venues to create additional covered space in outside areas.

We are currently consulting on the future of some of the time-limited permitted development rights introduced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the right which allows the provision of moveable structures within the curtilage of a pub, café, restaurant, or historic visitor attraction.

We will consider the responses to the consultation in respect of this right and further announcement will be made. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/supporting-defence-infrastructure-and-the-future-of-time-limited-permitted-development-rights/supporting-defence-infrastructure-and-the-future-of-time-limited-permitted-development-rights

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the Commission plans to take to help improve the transparency of the funding of All-Party Parliamentary Groups.

The Commission is aware that the Committee on Standards is currently undertaking a wide-ranging inquiry into the rules relating to All-Party Parliamentary Groups. The Committee has announced that its inquiry will cover the "transparency and appropriateness of funding of APPG activities and secretarial support". The inquiry will also cover other subjects including financial governance and controls, use of passes, the role of external secretariats and the risk of APPGs being used for access by lobbyists, other organisations or foreign governments, and who should be accountable for ensuring that APPGs comply with the rules.

The Committee has taken written evidence in this inquiry, which is available on its website, and plans to announce a series of oral evidence session after the summer recess and making a report to the House as soon as possible. The Commission looks forward to receiving the Committee’s recommendations on this important matter.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the House of Commons' Travel Office books tickets solely through the Trainline; and what comparative assessment the Commission has made of the cost of booking rail tickets through (a) Trainline and (b) directly from rail operators.

The Parliamentary Travel Office (PTO) books train tickets through Trainline.

Rail tickets sold in the UK are regulated and the cost of booking tickets is the same irrespective of where the ticket is purchased.

Parliament, however, receives the 3% commission paid to the PTO service provider by Trainline – which effectively makes the tickets cheaper than purchasing elsewhere.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) Government departments, (b) executive agencies and (b) arm's-length bodies handle Freedom of Information requests on an applicant-blind basis.

The information regarding the Clearing house advice has been provided to the requester in line with the Tribunal’s judgement. Details regarding the clearing house advisory functions are published on GOV.uk.

As this case has only just concluded we are not yet in a position to confirm the cost.

Cabinet Office handles all FOI requests on an applicant blind basis and works with other departments to make sure the rights and obligations embodied in the FOIA are understood fully.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the total cost to the public purse was of contesting the informational tribunal appeal brought Open Democracy on the operation of the Clearing House in relation to freedom of information requests.

The information regarding the Clearing house advice has been provided to the requester in line with the Tribunal’s judgement. Details regarding the clearing house advisory functions are published on GOV.uk.

As this case has only just concluded we are not yet in a position to confirm the cost.

Cabinet Office handles all FOI requests on an applicant blind basis and works with other departments to make sure the rights and obligations embodied in the FOIA are understood fully.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the judgment of 19 May 2021 of the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights, appeal reference EA/2020/0240, what steps his Department is taking to amend guidance on the handling of Freedom of Information requests following that judgment.

The information regarding the Clearing house advice has been provided to the requester in line with the Tribunal’s judgement. Details regarding the clearing house advisory functions are published on GOV.uk.

As this case has only just concluded we are not yet in a position to confirm the cost.

Cabinet Office handles all FOI requests on an applicant blind basis and works with other departments to make sure the rights and obligations embodied in the FOIA are understood fully.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to (a) ensure and (b) oversee compliance in respect of the award by contracting authorities of commercial contracts to businesses that supply public bodies and that have been deemed to be at risk under the terms of procurement.

The overarching principle in all public procurement is to secure the best value for money for the taxpayer. While individual departments are responsible for their own commercial decisions, including the award and monitoring of contracts, there are rigorous due diligence processes in place.

The Cabinet Office continuously reviews the performance of strategic suppliers and works closely with those suppliers and their customer Departments to improve performance, ensure value for money and deliver policy objectives while reducing risk across outsourced public services.

At the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, we issued guidance (PPN 02/20) on 'supplier relief' measures ensuring service continuity during the pandemic. Further guidance, published in June, updated PPN 02/20 and set out how contracting authorities should put in place transition plans with their suppliers to exit any contractual relief and transition to a new, sustainable, operating model taking into account strategic and reprioritisation needs.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many covid-19 related deaths took place in care homes in (a) Stockport constituency and (b) the Borough of Stockport during (i) the first wave and (ii) second wave of the pandemic.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses supplying public bodies that have been deemed to be at risk under the terms of Procurement Policy Note 02/20.

This information is not held centrally.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with private companies providing services across Government on the (a) employment practices and (b) safety of staff during the covid-19 outbreak.

Suppliers have played a vital role in supporting the Government’s Covid-19 efforts in addition to delivering their existing public sector contracts.

All suppliers must adhere to Health and Safety legislation, as well as relevant departmental policy when staff are working at Government sites.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2021
What steps he is taking to support high street businesses.

Our comprehensive economic response for business is worth over £352bn, including grants, the furlough scheme and tax deferrals. We recently published the Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, which sets out Government’s long-term plan to support the regeneration of high streets across the UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will consult with groups representing blind and partially-sighted people on the potential merits of reforming the safety information wording contained in household appliance instructions, previously governed by EU law, to make that information more inclusive.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards recently ran an open Call for Evidence, seeking views and evidence from a wide range of stakeholders about a review of the product safety framework in the UK. One of the core themes of the Call for Evidence was diversity and inclusion, which asked whether the current framework adequately protects all people in society, including vulnerable groups and those with particular needs. The Call for Evidence closed on 17 June and officials are currently analysing responses. The Office for Product Safety and Standards will continue to work with stakeholder groups over the course of the review, including engaging with specific groups as policy proposals are developed.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people volunteered to participate in Novavax trials.

Since the end of September 2020, Novavax recruited more than 15,000 participants aged 18 to 84 years old for the UK COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) volunteer registry.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Oxford/AstraZenica vaccines were exported from the UK to Australia in late February and early March 2021.

The details of any commercial vaccine supply agreements between national governments and AstraZeneca are a matter for those two parties.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164672, on Re-employment, how many (a) employer and (b) employee groups Acas spoke to, by business sector.

Input was received from a balanced range of participants from 15 organisations, covering employer and employee groups and other professional bodies. Individually and collectively these covered a very wide range of business sectors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164672, on Re-employment, what the terms of reference for the Acas investigation into fire and rehire practices were.

Due to the limited evidence available on the use of fire and rehire practices among employers, BEIS officials engaged Acas to hold independent and impartial conversations with stakeholders to gather evidence.

Acas spoke to a wide range of groups from across the business sector, both employer and employee groups. Acas guaranteed the anonymity of their participants to maintain the confidentiality needed to enable frank and open conversations on these matters.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans there are to process applications and payments of Small Business Grants delayed where decisions from the Valuation Office Agency were still outstanding at 30 October 2020.

The Government has put forward an unprecedented package of support for businesses to help with ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This included the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF), the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) and the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF).

We asked Local Authorities to close the SBGF, RHLGF and LADGF schemes by 28 August 2020, and to ensure that, where any payments were still in process, they were completed by 30 September. The only exceptions were those relating to a VOA / Ombudsman query in which case payments could be made until 30 October. The schemes are now closed.

Local Authorities have also been provided with further funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). The ARG is a discretionary scheme which is formula based. Eligibility for the ARG is set locally, and guidance makes clear that Local Authorities may use this funding for grants or for other related business support as they see fit.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the outcome was of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s investigation into fire and rehire.

The Department engaged Acas to gather evidence of how fire and rehire is being used.

Acas engaged with a range of groups, including employer bodies and trade unions, as well as professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services.

Officials are currently considering these findings, and the Government will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing for workplace learning; and what recent estimate he has made of the number of people in receipt of that support.

There are a number of specific schemes through which the Government is providing support for workplace learning, including the following:

The Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) Kickstart Scheme Programme: This provides fully funded six-month job placements for 16–24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers participating in the scheme are required to ensure that a young person receives training and support that will enable the young people to become more employable. Before their application is accepted, any employer has to demonstrate how their job placement will help the young person develop their skills and long term employability. Over 2,000 young jobseekers have started in Kickstart jobs with more starting every week.

DWP’s Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAPs): In the ‘Plan for Jobs’, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an extra 32,000 SWAP participant starts in 2020/21, providing £17m for the Department for Education (DfE) to triple the number of associated vocational training placements. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions also pledged to increase further the number of people taking part in 2021/22. SWAPs offer unemployed benefit claimants in England and Scotland a short period of training, work experience and a guaranteed interview for a live job vacancy to help them move into work. Data up to 6th December 2020 shows that there have been a total of 44,130 starts to a Sector-based work academy programme.

Apprenticeships: These are jobs, created by employers, which offer high-quality on and off-the-job training. Employers can choose between nearly 600 apprenticeship standards that have been designed by employers to deliver the skills they need. To help employers offer new apprenticeships, as part of government’s Plan for Jobs, they are now able to claim up to £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire until 31 March 2021. DfE are also working on the largest-ever expansion of traineeships and have introduced £1000 incentive payments for employers who offer traineeship work placements to support this.

Industry placements & T levels: Industry placements with an employer are also a key element of T levels which were introduced last September. T Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement.

Additional Measures: In addition, the Government is investing £2.5bn (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind. This includes funding for the recently launched Skills Bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills Bootcamps have the potential to transform the skills landscape for adults and employers. The latest figures for apprenticeships and traineeships starts can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2020-21.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to ensure (a) that any covid-19 vaccines are sold not for profit and (b) equitable access to those vaccines throughout the world.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for Covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for low and middle-income countries. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to funding from the public purse to support the development of the covid-19 vaccine by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, if the Government will publish the terms of the agreement between the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

We are not able to disclose details of this agreement because of the commercially confidential nature of the contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers while commercial negotiations are ongoing.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether AstraZeneca has unilateral power to declare an end to their pandemic no profit pricing commitment.

The timings or nature of any commitments regarding vaccine pricing are for the parties involved.

The World Health Organisation declared a coronavirus pandemic on 11 March 2020 and we would expect it in due course to declare a move to a post-pandemic period as it has done previously for the H1N1 pandemic in 2010.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what risk assessment his Department has carried out on their bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccine candidates.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for Covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups globally. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the outcome was of the meeting between officials of his Department and representatives of the Pump It Up campaign on 15 September 2020.

BEIS Ministers and officials have regular meetings with industry as part of the process of policy development and delivery. This meeting enabled a discussion of the market for large heat pump projects in the context of the announcements made in the Budget and Summer Economic Update and the development of future policies to meet our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out future actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support job creation in green manufacturing industries in the North West.

The North West has excellent natural resources including offshore wind, tidal, geothermal and unconventional oil and gas. The area boasts an established energy sector supporting over 32,200 jobs and a £3.1 billion economic contribution. It is also the largest manufacturing region in the UK. The North West is therefore well placed to make a significant contribution to a green recovery and the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy, creating new sources of competitive advantage in green manufacturing.

In July, the Government announced £40 million of funding to unlock thousands of green jobs, including in Cheshire and Lancashire, by developing the next generation of nuclear energy technology. The Government has also funded the North West Energy Hub to support the huge opportunities for the region in renewable energy and its manufacturing supply chains.

On 6th October, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out new plans to Build Back Greener by making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions, and boosting exports. £160 million will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across the North of England to hugely increase our offshore wind capacity. This will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories, and supply chains, thereby manufacturing the next generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to (a) support the roll-out of large scale non-residential heat pump projects and (b) meet representatives of the Pump it Up campaign.

A new allocation of Tariff Guarantees has recently opened on the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), supporting larger projects, including ground source heat pumps >100kWth. The Non Domestic RHI will close to new applicants on the 31st of March 2021 and we propose to launch the new Clean Heat Grant scheme,?providing targeted support?to consumers and small businesses?for heat pumps?and some limited biomass,?in?April 2022,?following the end of the?domestic?RHI?scheme. This is backed by £100?million?of Exchequer funding as announced in the 2020 Budget and will be open for two years.

At the Budget, we also announced future support for large heat pump installations in heat networks through the Green Heat Network Scheme. BEIS will consult on this scheme later in the year. Additionally, our Industrial Energy Transformation Fund will be open to large heat pumps providing process heat.

In the Summer Economic Update, we announced £1 billion funding over the next year, to help public sector buildings through the installation of energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures.

BEIS officials met with representatives of the Pump It Up campaign on 15th September.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to announce the Government’s strategy for achieving a low carbon economy in accordance with its 2050 net zero target; and what steps the Government plans to take to (a) deliver a cleaner, healthier environment, (b) create high skilled green jobs and (c) build a more resilient economy.

We are continuing to develop our net zero strategy. We have recently published the first stage of our Transport Decarbonisation plan and have announced a £2 billion package for cycling and walking. This will be supported by further decarbonisation plans this year covering key sectors, including Heat and Buildings, Trees, and Energy. We will build on our ambitious plans announced at the Budget – for example £1bn to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure, and £800m to deliver carbon capture and storage in the UK – to help to slash our emissions and deliver growth across the country.

As we recover from COVID-19, the Government intends to deliver a UK economy which is stronger, cleaner, more sustainable and more resilient.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that employees will not treated unfairly for raising concerns about safety in their workplace during the covid-19 outbreak.

This guidance forms part of employers’ normal health and safety practice.

Employers should consult with unions and employees when carrying out their risk assessment to make sure their concerns can be taken into account. If an employee continues to have concerns, they can raise them with any union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsibility for enforcement in their workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority.

Where the HSE identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of enforcement actions.

The Government would encourage employers to engage constructively with employees and their representatives and try to find solutions that are agreeable to all.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to support (a) pubs, (b) licensed premises and (c) brewing industries after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is working with the hospitality sector to develop guidance on safe ways for pubs, licensed premises and breweries to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so. Meanwhile, there is a significant package of financial support currently available to businesses in the hospitality sector to help the difficulties caused by Covid-19, including:

  • Grants under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHGLF), the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund for eligible businesses;
  • Government-backed loans through schemes such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS);
  • Access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to furlough workers, which will continue in its current form until 31 July and then in a more flexible form from August until 31 October;
  • A business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the 2020 to 2021 tax year; and
  • The option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June until 31 March 2021.

We continue to keep our support measures under review and to engage with the sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of households affected by sub-standard or faulty cavity wall insulation paid for by Government schemes; and what support the Government will provide to those households who have been awarded compensation from those companies who have subsequently fallen into liquidation.

The Government has not made a direct estimate of the number of households affected by sub-standards cavity wall insulation (CWI). We do know that the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) has issued approximately 6.2 million CWI guarantees covering defects in materials and workmanship. CIGA is the largest guarantee provider for CWI, and of this 6.2 million, only 0.4% of installations have resulted in concerns being raised.

The Government recognises that faulty work has been carried out under previous energy efficiency schemes and commissioned the independent Each Home Counts review in 2015. The introduction of Trustmark in 2018 as a Government endorsed quality scheme implemented key recommendations of the review on consumer protection and standards.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which has been the main domestic energy efficiency scheme in GB since 2013, has high standards for domestic energy efficiency and since January this year it includes a requirement for all installers to be TrustMark registered.

All ECO CWI installations are required to have a 25-year guarantee which aims to protect consumers where the installer has fallen into liquidation. CIGA also offer consumers an Alternative Dispute Resolution process which is facilitated by an independent arbitrator.

The Department has published consumer guidance for householders who suspect they have received faulty cavity wall insulation. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cavity-wall-insulation-cwi-consumer-guide-to-issues-arising-from-installations.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 15 October 2020 to Question HL8910 on Public Libraries: Coronavirus, what the outcome was of the joint letter with the Local Government Association to local authorities in England requesting detail of restoration of their library services.

The joint letter was issued on 16 July 2020 and followed physical library buildings being permitted to reopen at that time. The purpose of the letter was to remind local authorities in England of the Secretary of State’s statutory duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 and asked them to share their plans for the restoration of their library service from July 2020 onwards to assist this function. Of the 150 local authorities in England, 149 responded to this request, including a detailed reply from Stockport.

Since that time further restrictions and lockdowns were introduced which restricted the services libraries were able to deliver and included physical library locations having to close during the lockdown earlier this year. DCMS worked closely with library sector stakeholders to identify and achieve important exceptions to restrictions on physical services and although library locations were closed they were enabled to provide limited specific services including order and collect services or providing access to public PCs for essential services and home library services. Whether services were provided was for each local authority to determine after appropriate risk assessments around safety of both users and people working in libraries.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish an assessment of the effectiveness of the Digital Lifeline project in respect of (a) older people and (b) people with a learning disability.

During the pandemic, the ability to connect online has supported many people to maintain vital social connections. However some people, including those with learning disabilities, have faced digital inclusion barriers such as access to mobile technology and the internet, or a lack of digital skills and confidence.

The Digital Lifeline fund is aimed at supporting those with learning disabilities. The £2.5 million fund is providing tablets, data and free digital support to over 5,000 people with learning disabilities who would otherwise find it difficult to get online. The fund is enabling people to connect with friends, family and essential services. We are aiming to publish a full evaluation of the Digital Lifeline fund towards the end of the year.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the EU Pet Travel Regulations on levels of tourism to (a) the UK and (b) Northern Ireland.

The Government is engaging with stakeholders in the tourism sector to hear their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and continues to assess issues raised by stakeholders.

The UK has been formally listed as a Part 2 third country for the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Regulations, which means that new rules now apply to pet movements from Great Britain to the EU and Northern Ireland. These rules are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. There have been no changes to the current pet travel health requirements for entry into Great Britain and we will continue to accept EU pet passports.

We will continue to press the European Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this, and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

The Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to explore means to streamline pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland recognising the high standards of animal health that we share. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has also written to the European Vice-President seeking to ensure that an agreement can be made to address the barriers imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department takes to work with the Department for Education to promote cricket in state-funded schools.

My department works closely with the Department for Education on school sport provision. Schools are free to organise and deliver a flexible, diverse and challenging Physical Education curriculum that suits the needs of all their pupils, which can include cricket. Both departments regularly engage with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The ECB is actively engaged with 5,500 state schools, working with a quarter of all primary schools and 15,000 teachers. The ECB engages over half a million school children every year, including work through their charity partner Chance to Shine.

The ECB were represented at a school sport roundtable in March, jointly hosted by the Secretary of State for Education and the Culture Secretary. This roundtable launched our ongoing work to bring together a sports sector offer to support schools through an active summer recovery term, and on into the summer holidays, in order to get children and young people active again.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to diversify participation in cricket and to promote the sport among underrepresented groups.

The Government is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in sport and physical activity, including cricket. Our strategy ‘Sporting Future’ sets out a clear ambition to increase levels of physical activity amongst under-represented groups, working closely with national bodies to achieve this. Sport England’s recently launched new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversifying participation in grassroots sport and physical activity.

Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). This includes a recent £2 million investment into the South Asian Action Plan, focused on opening up access to cricket, and the development of a new disability strategy, delivered by the ECB.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Listed Place of Worship Grant beyond March 2021.

The Government is fully committed to supporting listed places of worship and has committed to the present level of funding until March 2021. An extension to the scheme is on hold until the completion of the Spending Review, which has been delayed from July to later this year to ensure that HM Treasury and departments can remain focused on responding to the immediate public health and economic emergency.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that school meals are not affected by food shortages and supply chain issues.

There is no evidence to suggest there are widespread supply issues for schools. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and have flexibility under the school food standards to substitute food products if particular ingredients or meals are not readily available. School food contracts are set and held at school, academy trust, or council level. Schools can, therefore, enter into individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty.

The flexibility in the school food standards exists to ensure that menus can be modified for variety, and dietary choices or restrictions can be catered for more easily. Where items or menus are unavailable, we expect caterers to communicate this with schools. It does not mean that pupils are going without meals.

The department routinely considers contingency arrangements and expects schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

The Department for Education holds regular meetings with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues. In the event of any disruption to supply, we will work with councils and the sector to ensure warm, nutritious meals can continue to be provided.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on the impact of food shortages and supply chain issues on suppliers of school meals.

There is no evidence to suggest there are widespread supply issues for schools. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and have flexibility under the school food standards to substitute food products if particular ingredients or meals are not readily available. School food contracts are set and held at school, academy trust, or council level. Schools can, therefore, enter into individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty.

The flexibility in the school food standards exists to ensure that menus can be modified for variety, and dietary choices or restrictions can be catered for more easily. Where items or menus are unavailable, we expect caterers to communicate this with schools. It does not mean that pupils are going without meals.

The department routinely considers contingency arrangements and expects schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

The Department for Education holds regular meetings with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues. In the event of any disruption to supply, we will work with councils and the sector to ensure warm, nutritious meals can continue to be provided.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the National Student Survey that 42 per cent of students felt enough was being done to help them, what steps he is taking to tackle mental health challenges in colleges and universities.

The past year and a half has been an incredibly difficult time for our students and I recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Higher education (HE) providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government and have a responsibility to support students with mental health conditions. They are not only experts in their student population but also best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body.

While it is for HE providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer that support, the government is proactive in promoting good practice in this area. I have engaged with universities on this issue and have written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions, outlining that student welfare should remain a priority. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform providing a range of valuable resources dedicated to students. I am delighted to confirm that the OfS will continue to provide funding to Student Space into the start of the next academic year, which will mean that students can continue to receive this expert advice and support.

Furthermore, we asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through reforms to the Strategic Priorities Grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and I have convened a Mental Health in Education Action Group to drive action to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. The group has focused on supporting mental wellbeing as children and young people return to education settings and to provide enhanced support for transitions between education settings in this new academic year. Our Youth Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George, who has been appointed to advise the government and raise the profile of mental health education and wellbeing in schools, colleges, and universities, is a member of the group.

As part of our Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, the government has provided an additional £13 million to ensure young adults aged 18 to 25, including university students, are supported with tailored mental health services, helping bridge the gap between children’s and adult services. This will support a cohort which has historically faced a ‘cliff-edge’ in support and is being especially impacted by COVID-19 with a rising prevalence of mental health problems and changes to the economy and labour market.

My department is continuing to work with our counterparts in the Department for Health and Social Care, as well as with stakeholders in the HE sector through the Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce Subgroup, and the Mental Health in Education Action Group to ensure that the wellbeing of our students remains a priority.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Audit Office's report of 2 July 2021, School funding in England, and the finding that between 2017-18 and 2020-21 the average per-pupil funding in the most deprived fifth of schools fell in real terms by 1.2 per cent, while per-pupil funding in the least deprived fifth increased by 2.9 per cent, whether his Department has plans to increase the funding of education in disadvantaged areas.

In the 2021/22 financial year, the National Funding Formula (NFF) is providing a total of £6.4 billion (17%) targeted at schools with higher numbers of pupils with additional needs, including deprivation. A further £2.5 billion of pupil premium funding, which has a specific focus on raising the attainment of deprived pupils, is provided on top of that.

In setting the NFF, the Department was careful to consider funding for deprivation, both the deprivation funding channelled through the NFF, and the funding provided through the pupil premium. It is right that schools with more pupils with additional needs, such as those indicated by measures of deprivation, low prior attainment, or English as an additional language, should receive extra funding to help ensure that schools are supported to meet the needs of all their pupils. For example, a primary school pupil who is eligible for free school meals will attract a total of £2,380 for their school, through the NFF and pupil premium combined; and a secondary pupil £2,255.

Further information about the NFF and allocations for the 2021/22 financial year can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs-2021-to-2022. The NFF for the 2022/23 financial year will be published shortly.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on the (a) development and (b) education of children with disabilities; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that children who have fallen behind are able to catch up.

Supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families is a priority for this government, and their educational, physical and mental wellbeing remains central to our cross-government response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that children and young people with SEND are disproportionately affected by being out of education, including missing out on important social interaction with their peers. That is why we kept schools open for vulnerable children, including those with an education, health and care plan, during periods of national lockdown.

We have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion recovery package, including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year. In February 2021, we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools and providers of 16-19 education.

Both special schools and alternative provision (AP) will be able to access funding to provide summer schools and the National Tutoring Programme. We also recognise the additional costs associated with offering provision to pupils in specialist settings. Eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and AP settings will attract a higher rate of funding for summer schools. We have also consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the 2020 Catch-up Premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium funding.

In addition to summer schools, a broader programme of summer enrichment activities, including the Holiday Activities and Food programme, will be running to support children and young people and their families.

We are committed to ensuring that the National Tutoring Programme is as inclusive as possible. When selecting Tuition Partners for this academic year, departmental officials worked with the Education Endowment Foundation to ensure that tuition providers had the relevant experience working with children who have SEND in both mainstream and specialist settings. We have 26 providers that are able to support students with SEND, and 17 of these also able to support students in special school settings.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that (a) Pupil Referral Units and (b) alternative provision continues to be available to pupils who are (i) excluded from school, (ii) are at risk of exclusion and (iii) have medical needs and are unable to attend school during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with our alternative provision (AP) stakeholder group to monitor the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on local authority referrals. AP settings and those local authorities and schools that use their services should continue to work closely together, to assess need and demand and to make sure local capacity is maintained where both places and expertise continue to be needed.

We have prioritised vulnerable children and children of critical workers throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. AP has remained open for these children and young people, which means many of these settings have continued to offer face-to-face provision for the majority of their pupils. Settings should provide robust remote education for those who are not attending, including those with medical needs and we have made laptops and tablets available for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access.

Over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have taken a number of steps to support Pupil Referral Units and AP to remain open and support vulnerable children and young people, in addition to the extra support we have provided to all schools. This includes the £7.1 million AP transition fund announced in June 2020 to support year 11 pupils in AP to make a successful transition to post-16 education and training. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/alternative-provision-year-11-transition-funding. This is in addition to support through the workforce fund, higher rates of funding for catch-up funding in financial year 2020-21 and most recently, increased levels of funding for mass-testing. It is crucial that AP operates as safely as possible with easy access to mass asymptomatic testing for staff and those attending for face-to-face education.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the level of local authority referrals to (a) Pupil Referral Units and (b) alternative provision.

We are working closely with our alternative provision (AP) stakeholder group to monitor the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on local authority referrals. AP settings and those local authorities and schools that use their services should continue to work closely together, to assess need and demand and to make sure local capacity is maintained where both places and expertise continue to be needed.

We have prioritised vulnerable children and children of critical workers throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. AP has remained open for these children and young people, which means many of these settings have continued to offer face-to-face provision for the majority of their pupils. Settings should provide robust remote education for those who are not attending, including those with medical needs and we have made laptops and tablets available for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access.

Over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have taken a number of steps to support Pupil Referral Units and AP to remain open and support vulnerable children and young people, in addition to the extra support we have provided to all schools. This includes the £7.1 million AP transition fund announced in June 2020 to support year 11 pupils in AP to make a successful transition to post-16 education and training. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/alternative-provision-year-11-transition-funding. This is in addition to support through the workforce fund, higher rates of funding for catch-up funding in financial year 2020-21 and most recently, increased levels of funding for mass-testing. It is crucial that AP operates as safely as possible with easy access to mass asymptomatic testing for staff and those attending for face-to-face education.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing additional funds to schools that are incurring increased costs as a result of covering staff absence due to self-isolating as those absences are not included in staff absence insurance policies.

Last term, the Department announced a new COVID-19 workforce fund for schools facing significant staff absences and financial pressures to help them with the costs of staff cover. It funded the costs of teacher absences over a threshold in eligible schools for the period from 1 November until the end of the autumn 2020 term. Guidance on the fund was published on GOV.UK. Further information on COVID-19 workforce funding can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-workforce-fund-for-schools.

Currently, schools remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. All other pupils should receive remote education. The Department therefore expects that many schools will currently be providing onsite education for fewer pupils, giving them greater flexibility in how they deploy their staff and manage any staff absences due to COVID-19. The Department has provided schools with guidance to support their workforce planning here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952443/210114_School_national_restrictions_guidance_FINAL_14012021.pdf.

As set out in the guidance, schools can continue to engage supply teachers and other supply staff during this period.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and will continue to do so for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of closure or reduced operation. Following the 2019 Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil in 2020-21 than in 2019-20.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary aged pupils in Stockport were absent from school due to covid-19 in the Autumn term 2020.

The Department collects daily attendance data from schools via the educational setting status form, which was set up to help the Government monitor the impact of COVID-19 on schools and colleges.

Data on reasons for pupil absence was collected from 12 October. The Department has published the number and proportion of pupils in attendance and the number and proportion of pupils absent for COVID-19 related reasons in primary schools in Stockport on each Thursday between 10 September and 17 December where available.

Data is given for Wednesday 16 December instead of Thursday 17 December due to a decrease in response rates on Thursday 17 December which makes estimates for this date less reliable. Data is not given for Thursday 22 and 29 October as this data is affected by half term. Data for Thursday 22 and 29 October and 17 December are published and available in the underlying data.

Local authority level figures are based on responding schools only. Response rates for primary schools in Stockport varied between 72% and 81% for the period of data provided.

The following absence reasons as reported daily by schools are included in our estimates for total pupils unable to attend school because of COVID-19: confirmed cases of COVID-19, suspected cases of COVID-19, self-isolation due to contact with a case inside or outside the school and pupils in schools closed for COVID-19 related reasons. This data is as reported directly by schools via the Department for Education’s daily education settings survey. It is not the primary source of data on infection, incidence, and COVID-19 cases overall.

Total pupils unable to attend school because of COVID-19 is reported as a range to account for possible double counting.

The information regarding attendance statistics can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/9b3646d7-4b40-4cea-a826-a389dd0c7ded.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the assessment of technical and vocational qualifications in Summer 2021 that (a) include and (b) do not include practical assessment.

We are proposing that written exams for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) that are being taken instead of, or alongside, GCSEs, AS and A levels do not go ahead. We are proposing they are awarded through alternative arrangements similar to GCSEs and A levels. We are seeking views through the joint consultation with Ofqual, that was launched on 15 January, on the detail of these arrangements and the qualifications in scope of this approach. Further information on the approach to awarding qualifications can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953003/6743-2_2021_VTQ_alternative_arrangements_consultation_15JAN21.pdf.

For VTQs that require a practical assessment to demonstrate occupational competency or to gain a licence to practise, for example some qualifications in areas such as automotive or electrical installation, we believe these assessments should continue to take place in schools or colleges or other further education settings when possible, subject to public health guidance. We do not consider there to be alternative arrangements that can assess the learner’s practical competence and it is important learners can progress to the next stage of their lives, which will often be to employment or apprenticeships. The consultation seeks views on this position.

Unfortunately, there will be some practical assessments that have to be delayed where it is not possible to deliver the assessment safely, or where students have not received enough learning to reach occupational competence and so are not ready to take the practical assessment.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the number of parents registering to home school their children.

Parents are not under a duty to register if they are home educating their children and therefore there is not a robust basis on which the Department can reliably collect statistics on home education.

With regard to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with local authorities to encourage a return to full attendance in school and is monitoring the situation. Initial conversations with local authorities indicate that the majority have noticed an increase in enquiries from parents about home education. Where parents are anxious about the safety of their children returning to school, local authorities and school leaders are reinforcing that it is in the best interests of pupils to return to school.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome have (a) been excluded from school and (b) received additional support whilst in school in each of the last three years.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Statistics on exclusions are available in the National Statistics release ‘Permanent and fixed period exclusions in England’ here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

Statistics on the number of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), including SEN support and Education, Health and Care plans are available in the National Statistics release ‘Special educational needs in England’ here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

Both publications include statistics by type of SEN, but Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome is not one of the categories specified.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure grant maintained nurseries remain an integral part of early years provision.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. On 24 August, the government announced that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year.

In addition, support has been provided for the whole early years sector during the COVID-19 outbreak, designed to help providers to remain sustainable. We have continued to fund local authorities for childcare this autumn term at the same levels as seen prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of whether fewer children are attending. If providers are open but caring for fewer children as a result of low demand, either from parents or due to public health reasons, they can continue to be funded for the autumn term at broadly the levels that they would have expected to see had there been no COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, along with other businesses, early years providers have also been able to access a comprehensive package of business support.

What happens to the funding of maintained nursery schools after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the next Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether additional Government funding will be made available to schools to cover the costs those schools have incurred in responding to the covid-19 crisis.

We are providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

Schools are eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to support the UK to meet its climate change targets in response to the recent finding by the Climate Change Committee that the UK is not keeping pace with other countries in meeting its climate change targets.

Tackling climate change and delivering our world-leading Net Zero target is a key priority for the Government. As the CCC recognise, we have made huge progress in cutting our emissions while growing the economy and we will continue this work.

Defra are considering a wide range of measures for how to reduce emissions from our sectors and increase the amount of carbon captured by the land. For example, our future Environmental Land Management schemes will play an important role in achieving net zero, including through supporting large scale tree planting, paying for actions that can help to reduce emissions from farming, and by encouraging the adoption of sustainable soil management practices that will enable soils to sequester more carbon.

In addition, on 18th May we launched our England Tree and Peat Action Plans, supported by the £640m Nature for Climate Fund. This fund will expand and enhance woodland cover and ensure that more peatland is restored, protected and better managed.

Further to this, we are seeking to make the UK a world leader in using resources efficiently and reducing the amount of waste we create as a society. We want to prolong the lives of the materials and goods that we use and move society away from the inefficient linear economic model of 'take, make, use, throw' to a more circular one.

A more detailed overview of our departmental plans to help the UK meet its climate targets will be set out in the Net Zero strategy, to be published ahead of COP26.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on trade with the EU of the proposal to authorise the use of gene-editing technologies in agriculture and food and drink manufacturing in England.

Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought information on the implications of not regulating organisms produced by genetic editing and other genetic technologies as GMOs if they could have been produced through traditional breeding methods which included impacts on trade.

The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of potentially introducing gene editing into the UK's food and agriculture supply chain on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

More than 70 genetically modified (GM) products are authorised for use as food and feed in the UK. Most GM products are used for animal feed. All these products have been authorised after a rigorous risk assessment. There are very few GM food products on the UK market, some as imports. Where GM ingredients have been added to food, existing legislation requires labelling to indicate this.

In addition to possible human health and environmental impacts, Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought views on non-safety issues arising if organisms produced by genetic editing or other genetic technologies, which could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding methods, were not regulated as GMOs. The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, gene edited organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on employment of the proposal to authorise the use of gene-editing technologies in agriculture and food and drink manufacturing in England.

More than 70 genetically modified (GM) products are authorised for use as food and feed in the UK. Most GM products are used for animal feed. All these products have been authorised after a rigorous risk assessment. There are very few GM food products on the UK market, some as imports. Where GM ingredients have been added to food, existing legislation requires labelling to indicate this.

In addition to possible human health and environmental impacts, Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought views on non-safety issues arising if organisms produced by genetic editing or other genetic technologies, which could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding methods, were not regulated as GMOs. The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, gene edited organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to introduce genetically modified foods into the UK.

More than 70 genetically modified (GM) products are authorised for use as food and feed in the UK. Most GM products are used for animal feed. All these products have been authorised after a rigorous risk assessment. There are very few GM food products on the UK market, some as imports. Where GM ingredients have been added to food, existing legislation requires labelling to indicate this.

In addition to possible human health and environmental impacts, Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought views on non-safety issues arising if organisms produced by genetic editing or other genetic technologies, which could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding methods, were not regulated as GMOs. The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, gene edited organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) assess and (b) rollout the use of additives to make ordinary plastic biodegradable.

In 2015, a Government report concluded that existing biodegradable standards are only applicable to very specific conditions such as industrial composters. We are concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the marketplace, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

Furthermore, in line with the advice received from the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee and as set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy, the Government’s focus is on encouraging increased reuse and recycling of products and materials, to extract maximum value from them, in line with our ambition to transition to a circular economy. This being said, the Government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impacts of plastics if they are disposed of in the right way. However, this is often not the case. If mistakenly recycled with other plastics, they have the potential to damage the quality of the new products made from the recycled plastic. Furthermore, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or at all, and they can only be composted if they meet relevant standards and are treated in line with those standards.

As a consequence of these concerns, the Government published a call for evidence in 2019 to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence is now closed and we are currently analysing the responses received; we will publish a Government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking in response to the rejection of veterinary inspection documentation for exports of animal by-products to the EU.

I can confirm that there are procedures and steps already in place to assist traders where their consignment has been rejected by a European Border Control Post. This includes providing assistance with trying to resolve any paperwork issues or permitting consignments to be returned to GB as easily as possible and we continue to support industry bodies with guidance. In particular, we have worked closely with the authorities in the Netherlands, France and Belgium to facilitate imports.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the list of businesses in England, Scotland and Wales approved to export Animal By-Products to the EU, how many businesses have been excluded from that list that have approval numbers issued; and for what reasons that list was not published until 8 January 2021.

Publication on GOV.UK of the lists of GB Third Country Approved Establishments, on the EU’s TRACES customs system, is a temporary fix. The expectation remains that details will be published by the European Commission. Defra will continue to publish updates on GOV.UK until then.

All qualifying premises known to Defra are included. We published at the earliest opportunity after we learned that the European Commission had not published details.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to monitor the number of rejections of veterinary inspection documents for exports of animal by-products to the EU.

Traders can notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency by telephone if their consignments are rejected at a European Union (EU) Border Control Post (BCP). Having done so, they can discuss the possible steps that can be taken to enable the product to clear the BCP or be returned to Great Britain (GB).

We are holding regular engagement with the European Commission and EU Member States to learn why some GB consignments are delayed or rejected at EU BCPs. We are then communicating this back to GB traders and certifying officers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason his Department has not adopted sediment quality guidelines to provide an assessment of levels beyond which heavy metal contamination may pose a risk to aquatic biota and human health.

The Environment Agency assesses the risk from heavy metals in freshwater, estuaries and coasts on the basis of Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). These are mostly based on water concentrations and for some substances they are based on the fraction of the metal known to be the most toxic to aquatic life. The EQS for mercury, for example, is based on concentrations of the metal in the tissues of aquatic animals. This allows direct assessment of the amount accumulating in the food chain which may present a risk to biota and higher predators that eat them, which is also protective of human health.

The Secretary of State has the powers to update EQSs in future in light of new scientific knowledge and so, whilst we have not adopted sediment quality guidelines for heavy metals in the freshwater environment at this stage, Defra will keep this under review.

In the marine environment, sediment assessment levels are in place for a range of contaminants, including heavy metals, that are used to enable risk assessments of the potential impacts to marine life such as fish and seabed organisms. Sediment action levels exist to inform the management of the sediment such as the disposal of dredged sediment to sea.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department is making of sediment-bound concentrations of key heavy metals and metalloids within the modern river network.

Sediment-bound concentrations of metals and metalloids are assessed through the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines Programme where there is a site- or catchment-specific need to do so. The Government does not routinely monitor for sediment-bound concentrations of metals and metalloids within the wider river network. However, the Environment Agency regularly measures levels of metals - including lead, nickel and cadmium - in freshwater as part of its water quality monitoring regime.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to remove microplastic contamination from the (a) Mersey and (b) UK river network.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates a number of activities which have the potential to cause plastic waste pollution in the River Mersey. The EA is responsible for the regulation of permitted and exempt plastics recycling plants, which includes reviewing inspection and compliance checks to ensure plastics recyclers are complying with their environmental permits. In 2018 the EA visited all facilities which treated or reprocessed plastic waste and checked they were not losing plastic fragments into surface water draining into the Mersey.

The EA also works nationally to reduce waste crime which helps to minimise and prevent loss of plastic waste into the environment from businesses by keeping it in the waste management system. The EA has worked with the energy sector to reduce plastic media from the cooling treatment processes. It has also worked with water companies to prevent plastic bio-bead loss from the wastewater processes. The EA is working with businesses and leading academics to investigate the types and quantities of plastics, including micro-plastics, entering the environment. This research will feed into plans to tackle this type of pollution at source.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle phosphate pollution in the (a) Mersey and (b) UK river network.

The Government has set standards for phosphorus (P) in rivers, including the River Mersey, applied through the river basin management plans produced by the Environment Agency and its counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Since the mid-1990s, considerable progress has been made in reducing phosphorus in rivers. However, the standards are stringent and further measures are still needed. Phosphorus loadings to rivers from waste water treatment works in England have reduced by 67% since 1995 through investment in phosphorus reduction technology at treatment works and further reductions are planned up to 2027.

For agriculture, Farming Rules for Water and Catchment Sensitive Farming are helping. Defra is also commencing a 7-year transition from EU-based rules to a system in which farmers are paid to improve the environment through a new Environmental Land Management scheme, which includes nutrient management.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether measuring plastic levels in waterways is a priority of his Department.

Addressing plastic pollution in our waterways is a priority for Defra. In order to measure plastic levels accurately, it is important to use consistent sampling, collection and assessment methodologies for measuring plastics in various environmental media (sediments, water column or biota). Defra is working with the Environment Agency, academia and water companies, to develop such methodologies to enable future monitoring of plastics in wastewater, sludge and the water environment.

Defra is also working with the relevant committees at the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to progress the development of agreed standards for sampling and analytical methodologies for plastics in the aquatic environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many breaches of compliance his Department has identified of plastic recyclers not complying with their environmental permits in the latest period for which data is available.

In 2018 the number of breaches for operators of waste treatment activities accepting plastic wastes was 260.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many instances of plastic pollution the Environment Agency identified in the last two years; and what assessment that agency made of whether such pollution posed a significant risk to the public.

The Environment Agency (EA) doesn’t currently collect data on instances of plastic pollution. The Environment Agency has a 7-point plan to reduce plastics in the environment and is working with stakeholders to reduce avoidable plastic waste and encourage a circular economy where possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) financial and (b) other support the Government is providing to areas with disproportionate environmental contaminants as a legacy of historical industrialisation and urbanisation.

The 2015 Spending Review awarded the Environment Agency approximately £0.5m per year of Contaminated Land Capital Funding to support investigations of potential Special Sites on behalf of local authorities and remediation of orphan Special Sites and we are considering where capital investment would best support remediation in the future.

HMRC also provides Land Remediation Relief which provides a deduction of 100% from corporation tax, plus a deduction of 50%, for qualifying expenditure incurred by companies cleaning up contaminated land acquired from a third party.

The majority of land affected by contamination in England (approx 90%) is investigated and cleaned up by the private sector through the planning regime.

Defra, the Environment Agency, and the Coal Authority are also working in partnership to tackle pollution of the water environment in areas with a legacy of historical metal mining through the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to remedy metal contamination of bed sediments in the Upper Mersey catchment that result from industry and urban development.

There are currently no plans in place to remediate existing metal contamination of bed sediments in the Upper Mersey Catchment. The Environment Agency (EA) does however have powers to limit pollution from heavy metals and uses these powers to prevent heavy metal pollution from entering the catchment.

In the wider water environment, Defra is working with the EA and the Coal Authority to tackle legacy impacts of industry through the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines (WAMM) programme. The WAMM programme targets pollution of the water environment in areas with a legacy of historical metal mining through the development and operation of mine water treatment schemes, which deliver benefits for the local environment, people and the economy. The current schemes successfully treat 7.4 billion litres of mine water each year and prevent 800 tonnes of metals from entering and polluting rivers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Environment Agency's visits in 2018 to all facilities which treated or reprocessed plastic waste to check they were not losing plastic fragments into surface water, how many and what proportion of such facilities were identified as losing plastic fragments into surface water.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates a number of activities which have the potential to cause plastic waste pollution in the River Mersey. The EA is responsible for the regulation of permitted and exempt plastics recycling plants, which includes inspection and compliance checks to ensure plastics recyclers are complying with their environmental permits.

In 2018 the EA visited facilities which treated or reprocessed plastic waste and checked they were not losing plastic fragments into surface water draining into the Mersey. The EA undertook an investigation on the River Tame to identify if there were any permitted activities based on the Tame catchment with the potential to discharge micro-plastics into the watercourse.

The EA identified and inspected three sites. One of these sites was identified as having the potential to discharge plastic waste into the Tame. The EA worked with the operator to prevent waste escaping from the site and potentially causing pollution to the watercourse and the operator subsequently moved to a different area.

The EA also works nationally to reduce waste crime which helps to minimise and prevent loss of plastic waste into the environment from businesses by keeping it in the waste management system. The EA has worked with the energy sector to reduce the loss of plastic media from their cooling treatment processes. The EA has also worked with water companies to prevent plastic bio-bead loss from the wastewater processes. The EA is working with businesses and leading academics to investigate the types and quantities of plastics, including micro-plastics, entering the environment. This research will feed into plans to tackle this type of pollution at source.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's budget is for tackling river pollution; and on what his Department plans to spend that budget.

A number of funded programmes across Defra deliver multiple environmental benefits. For example, from the start of 2014/15 to the end of 2021/22, we will have spent around £3bn on agri-environment schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England. These schemes help farmers deliver multiple and joint benefits for water, air, biodiversity, flood prevention and more. While some of this is directly targeted at water quality, the wider spend has broader, cross cutting benefits some of which will help to improve water quality, which cannot be simply disaggregated. There, is therefore, no single budgetary figure that can capture all the work done across the Department to tackle river and water pollution.

Of programmes specifically aimed at water management the Water Environment Improvement Fund, with a resources budget of £6.5 million and a capital fund of £10 million in 2020/21, supports local catchment schemes tackling river and other water pollution. A resource budget of £2.86 million and capital budget of £4 million is available for the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines scheme, which funds measures to prevent water from disused mines, polluted with harmful metals such as lead and zinc, entering surface and groundwater.

Tackling river and other water pollution is supported by considerable water company investment in environmental improvements, under their statutory obligations. In the Price Review period 2020-25, investment has been scaled up to £4.6 billion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce pollution levels in rivers.

River pollution comes from a number of sources and requires a concerted efforts on many fronts which are coordinated through statutory River Basin Management Plans. We are tackling pollution from poor farming practice with regulation, financial incentives and educational schemes for farmers. In addition to government investment in many local improvement schemes, water company investment is being scaled up to £4.6 billion, the highest yet, in the next 5 year period. A new task force comprising government and water companies will help address the problem of sewage discharge from storm overflows and our new chemicals strategy will build on an already robust statutory regime to ensure chemicals are managed and handled safely. The Environment Agency is now in the process of developing the River Basin Management Plans that will run from 2021-2027.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding the CDC Group has invested in Wonderchef to date.

CDC's investment into Wonderchef is supporting economic activity for thousands of women who participate in its direct-to-home sales network. Since CDC's investment was made in 2018, the company has also created around 350 direct jobs, with the number of female employees more than doubling in that time. In addition, the company has increased local sourcing of its products helping deliver impact through its supply chain.

This investment was made through a private equity fund managed by Amicus Capital Partners. CDC's partnership model with Fund managers helps it achieve impact at scale by supporting hundreds of SMEs across South Asia and Africa. In addition to backing local teams of investors, and equipping them with strong Environmental, Social and Governance practices, the model helps support the development of self-sustaining local finance markets.

CDC publishes the amounts it invests directly into businesses and investment funds on its website www.cdcgroup.com. Individual investment amounts made by its partners are not disclosed as this information is commercially sensitive.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the compatibility of CDC Group investments in luxury brands and hotel chains with its mission statement to make a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places.

All of CDC's investments undergo a comprehensive and systematic assessment of their expected development impact using internationally recognised best practice methods. A team of over 60 development specialists work to ensure that each investment brings about a positive economic, social and environmental change in support of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

CDC invests to support the growth of companies that create employment and help transform economies, through the goods and services they produce and sell and the local taxes they generate. In 2019, CDC invested in businesses in Africa and South Asia that employed 875,790; generated 57 terawatt hours of electricity; and its agricultural investments sourced from 1.84 million farmers.

Africa needs increased economic infrastructure to unlock its full economic potential and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. CDC's primary aim when investing into the hotel sector is to create more and better jobs in countries that desperately need them. In addition, these investments support both local and national economic growth. For example, by purchasing goods and services from local suppliers, and by improving economic infrastructure.

Information about CDC's approach to assessing and monitoring the development impact of its investments is available on its website.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding the CDC Group has invested in ONOMO Hotels to date.

CDC has made investment commitments to ONOMO Hotels of £41 million.

CDC's investment in ONOMO is creating jobs and stability in some of the world's most challenged countries including: Mali, Togo, Guinea, Cameroon and Cote D'Ivoire. Since the investment the company has created around 250 new permanent jobs.

CDC's investment also benefits the local economy. For example, as ONOMO now has the capital to expand it was able to employ around 750 construction workers as it added to its sites in 2019. In addition, it purchases around £11 million's worth of locally sourced goods each year - helping create demand for local suppliers.

As with every CDC investment, it has been made with high Environmental, Social and Governance Standards in mind. CDC is working with the company to reduce energy and water use and ensure its new hotels are built using green design and construction.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what investments the CDC Group has made since 2010.

CDC invests to achieve two key objectives: To support the business growth that lifts people out of poverty, and to make a financial return, which CDC then reinvests to improve the lives of people in Africa and South Asia. CDC have only made new commitments in Africa and South Asia since 2012. At the end of 2019, CDC had invested in 1,228 businesses - 690 in Africa and 377 in South Asia. In 2019, CDC made £1.66 billion of new commitments and increased its portfolio to £4.7 billion.

CDC publishes a full list of its new investment commitments each year in its Annual Reviews (2010 - present) which can be accessed online at www.cdcgroup.com/en/.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government has issued arms exports licences for equipment or technology to Morocco for use in Western Sahara.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data

The most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020. However, to determine whether licences granted were for use in the Western Sahara would require searches on each individual application, which could only be completed at disproportionate costs.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has made an economic assessment of the potential effect the introduction of a flower tariff after the transition period will have on small florist businesses.

We have put forward our proposals and are working hard to reach a deal with the European Union (EU). Avoiding tariffs is beneficial to both sides, so our aim is a zero tariff zero quota Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) is the UK’s permanent tariff, and will apply from 1 January 2021. It will apply to all trade that does not benefit from a preferential arrangement, such as an FTA.

In designing the UKGT, we assessed in depth all available evidence submitted during the public consultation and considered a range of factors, including the five principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018. We have also conducted our own assessment to ensure that the UKGT is robust and supportive of the UK’s economy.

Reducing the cost pressures and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK. No tariff lines have had their tariff increased under the UKGT.

We will publish more analysis on the UKGT in the Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) alongside the legislation, as is standard practice.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2020
What recent discussions she has had with the UK's trade partners on protecting International Labour Organisation standards in future trade agreements.

While the details?of?free trade agreements?are?reserved?for formal negotiations,?HM Government has been clear that?increased trade does not have to come at the expense of?our high?labour standards.?The United Kingdom?is an active member of the International Labour Organisation and we?will?continue to uphold our world-leading standards and?international?commitments.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the proposed Great British Railways will take steps to reduce the cost of train fairs.

New national rail flexible season tickets have been announced as part of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, reflecting modern working patterns and saving many passengers hundreds of pounds. Flexible season tickets are available now to passengers on advance sale and will become valid for travel on 28 June. Great British Railways will use its leadership to simplify the current mass of complicated fares and tickets. Passengers will have simpler digital ticketing, be able to purchase tickets through a single industry website and app. There will be greater convenience for passengers through contactless travel in urban areas using contactless bankcards and smartphones.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to install tactile surface markings at train stations across the UK.

I have asked Network Rail to work up a plan to add tactile warning strips to the edges of all mainline station platforms across England, Scotland and Wales, and I will make a further announcement in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to allocate funding to Network Rail to expedite the installation of tactile surface markings at stations (a) in Stockport, (b) in Greater Manchester and (c) across the UK.

I have asked Network Rail to work up a plan to add tactile warning strips to the edges of all mainline station platforms across England, Scotland and Wales, and I will make a further announcement in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations his Department has made to airlines to help ensure British citizens are able to return to the UK during international Covid-19 restrictions and limited international flights.

Ministers and officials have engaged extensively with the aviation and travel industries throughout the pandemic. We remain committed to an open engagement with the sector and continue to work with industry partners to share information with the aim of ensuring a safe return of international travel and that commercial routes continue to remain open to enable British citizens to return to the UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of people who were not notified that their vehicle excise duty was due for payment in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much revenue is generated by late or non-payment of that duty.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) issues more than three million vehicle excise duty reminders each month. Non-delivery of a reminder may happen in certain circumstances such as, the vehicle keeper having moved house and not advised the DVLA of the new address or it may have been lost in the post. No figures are available, but complaints about non-delivery of vehicle excise duty reminders are rare.

There are a number of ways to license a vehicle, including online or by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week or at one of around 4,000 Post Office branches across the UK. Customers can also check when their vehicle excise duty is due using the DVLA’s online Vehicle Enquiry Service.

The registered keeper is responsible for ensuring that their vehicle is properly licensed or subject to a Statutory Off Road Notification.

Enforcement activities against unlicensed vehicles accounted for around £88 million in fines and penalties during 2019/20.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what exploration his Department has undertaken to commence the HS3 rail project between Manchester and Leeds.

The Department is considering the Leeds to Manchester corridor as part of the Integrated Rail Plan, which is due to be published in December. The Integrated Rail Plan is investigating how best to integrate HS2 Phase 2b with wider transport plans in the North and Midlands and how to deliver benefits from investments more quickly.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to address the backlog of driving test applications.

In March 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suspended most of its services in line with Government guidance, whilst maintaining access for critical workers to support the national emergency response.

The DVSA is restoring its testing services with new procedures in place to keep people safe and help stop the spread of coronavirus. As the DVSA has been unable to provide its normal level of service for the past six months, demand for practical driving tests are higher than usual.

The DVSA has now made over 375,000 slots available to the end of January 2021. From 19 October, driving examiners will be increasing the number of tests they conduct from five to six per day; this should help reduce waiting times.

The DVSA’s Deployment team has now returned to its usual way of working by adding new test slots to the booking system at the start of every week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will discuss with the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency the reopening of waiting rooms for driving instructors during driving tests.

In March 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suspended most of its services in line with Government guidance, whilst maintaining access for critical workers to support the national emergency response.

The DVSA’s priority is to restore its testing services with new protective measures and procedures in place to keep people safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes restricting access and movement around driving test centres and closing waiting rooms to driving instructors and candidates. Some waiting rooms are being used as temporary offices to accommodate driving examiners to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to. This is not a step the DVSA has taken lightly but is an important part of helping keep everyone safe as we fight the virus.

The DVSA is working closely with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to identify actions it could take that would allow some waiting areas to be opened up while balancing the need to keep everyone COVID safe.

The DVSA understands this can be difficult for driving instructors and trainers waiting at test centres that are not near to alternative facilities, which is why the DVSA is keeping the situation under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons the Government pays a commission to Trainline for tickets booked through that service during the covid-19 outbreak; and what the cost to the taxpayers purse of that commission since emergency measures were implemented during the outbreak is.

Trainline, like all Third Party Retailers, operates under a long term license issued by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf of the rail industry. This is part of the industry’s Ticketing and Settlement Agreement. The Department has no role in determining commission rates. During the Covid crisis we have directed operators to encourage passengers to purchase online ahead of travel and online retailers, like Trainline, are one way passengers can buy their tickets online.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether rail operators outside London are required to (a) apply and (b) collect full rent from retail tenants.

In accordance with Franchise Agreements, as varied by the Emergency Measures Agreements, franchisees have responsibility to be Good and Efficient Operators.

This involves collecting rental income from tenants under pre-existing contracts wherever feasible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the impact on disabled people of (a) income-related employment support allowance, (b) universal credit and (c) other means-tested benefits, which are based on joint-income.

No assessment has been made.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit are means-tested welfare support. It is longstanding policy that income-related benefits treat all couples as a single household unit when assessing benefit entitlement. Where claimants have income available to meet their household's everyday living costs, such as through a partner's earnings or savings, their entitlement to benefit is adjusted accordingly.

These benefits are not paid to claimants who have sufficient income available from other sources to support themselves. The general principle is that income, other than earnings, which is provided to meet everyday living costs, is fully taken into account in the calculation. The Government understands disabled people may face additional cost, which is why income provided to meet additional costs through benefits such as Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance are not taken into account when determining entitlement to benefits.

The Department has brought forward a Green Paper on health and disability support, focusing on the welfare system. The Green Paper will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future, to build a system that enables people to live independently and move into work where possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will consult with groups representing disabled people on the implementation of Government reforms to improve the experience of disabled people of the assessment process for disability benefits.

It is vital that the voices of disabled people are at the centre of health and disability policy development. Over the past 18 months I have personally led a series of events in which I have heard from disabled people and their representatives about their lived experiences with the benefits system, including the assessment process. The forthcoming Health and Disability Green Paper will reflect themes coming out of those conversations and ask for views on how best to address them. We will continue our direct engagement with disabled people and groups representing them, up to and following the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what incentives are in place for people in receipt of pension credit to continue saving when they reach the savings threshold of £10,000 and their entitlement reduces.

Unlike working age income-related benefits, Pension Credit has no capital limit beyond which entitlement to the benefit ceases.

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit intended to provide a ‘top-up’ for pensioners on a low income. As with all income-related benefits, due regard is given to all of a person’s financial resources when calculating an award. This ensures that taxpayer support is directed to those pensioners who are less well-off and need it most.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much has been paid to Child Maintenance Group customers in compensation for distress in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many requests for Alternative Payment Arrangements were refused in (a) England, (b) the Northwest and (c) Stockport in (i) 2018-19, (ii) 2019-20 and (iii) 2020-21.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance is in place to ensure businesses and organisations make online resources and content accessible to deaf people.

Online access to businesses and organisations for Deaf and hearing impaired people is covered by the Equality Act 2010 which requires that service providers make reasonable adjustments to ensure that their information is available in accessible formats. Guidance relating to EA2010 is widely available and can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-guidance.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will (a) increase the rate of maternity allowance or (b) exclude maternity allowance as unearned income when claiming universal credit.

The Government has no plans to review the rate of Maternity Allowance. Maternity Allowance is intended to enable eligible pregnant women and new mothers, who cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay, such as the low paid and the self-employed to prepare for, and recover from birth and to bond with their child. We believe that the rate of Maternity Allowance available allows most mothers to do this.

There are no plans to change the way that Maternity Allowance is treated in Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a means tested system of support, and where an individual claims Universal Credit, their award is adjusted to take account of any other financial support that the claimant is already receiving – including earnings, other income and benefits. Maternity Allowance is a benefit paid by the State which is unearned income. Unearned income that is available to help meet daily living costs is taken fully into account in determining the amount of Universal Credit that an individual is entitled to. As such, in determining the entitlement to Universal Credit, Maternity Allowance is deducted pound for pound from the total value of the award. This principle applies to other benefits.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect of maternity allowance deductions from universal credit on the (a) standard of living and (b) decision to return to work earlier of claimants affected by that deduction.

There are no plans to change the way that Maternity Allowance is treated in Universal Credit, the impact of which has already been considered.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the level of incorrect payments made by her Department.

The Department takes every care to prevent incorrect payments being made and to ensure that benefits are paid to the correct recipient; we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim.

The Department has a clear strategy for tackling fraud, error and debt in the benefits system, which increasingly focuses on the prevention of fraud and error.

Various mechanisms help ensure that monies are paid to the right people. These include the verification of claimants’ information, clear customer communications to ensure benefit claimants provide full and correct claim details and a robust quality checking regime. This Quality Assurance approach includes pre-payment checks on a selection of claims. Outcomes from these and other checks inform on-going training and help prevent the repetition of errors.

The Department continues to make use of its digital capability, including the use of real time information and other data, which helps identify any potential discrepancies in claims.

The Department’s latest estimates of Fraud and Error in the Benefits system were published on 14th May 2020 and show that estimated losses from official error in 2019/20 accounted for 0.4% of total benefit expenditure.

These statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2019-to-2020-estimates

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department takes to ensure benefits are paid to the correct recipients.

The Department takes every care to prevent incorrect payments being made and to ensure that benefits are paid to the correct recipient; we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim.

The Department has a clear strategy for tackling fraud, error and debt in the benefits system, which increasingly focuses on the prevention of fraud and error.

Various mechanisms help ensure that monies are paid to the right people. These include the verification of claimants’ information, clear customer communications to ensure benefit claimants provide full and correct claim details and a robust quality checking regime. This Quality Assurance approach includes pre-payment checks on a selection of claims. Outcomes from these and other checks inform on-going training and help prevent the repetition of errors.

The Department continues to make use of its digital capability, including the use of real time information and other data, which helps identify any potential discrepancies in claims.

The Department’s latest estimates of Fraud and Error in the Benefits system were published on 14th May 2020 and show that estimated losses from official error in 2019/20 accounted for 0.4% of total benefit expenditure.

These statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2019-to-2020-estimates

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what mechanisms are in place to prevent incorrect payments being made.

The Department takes every care to prevent incorrect payments being made and to ensure that benefits are paid to the correct recipient; we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim.

The Department has a clear strategy for tackling fraud, error and debt in the benefits system, which increasingly focuses on the prevention of fraud and error.

Various mechanisms help ensure that monies are paid to the right people. These include the verification of claimants’ information, clear customer communications to ensure benefit claimants provide full and correct claim details and a robust quality checking regime. This Quality Assurance approach includes pre-payment checks on a selection of claims. Outcomes from these and other checks inform on-going training and help prevent the repetition of errors.

The Department continues to make use of its digital capability, including the use of real time information and other data, which helps identify any potential discrepancies in claims.

The Department’s latest estimates of Fraud and Error in the Benefits system were published on 14th May 2020 and show that estimated losses from official error in 2019/20 accounted for 0.4% of total benefit expenditure.

These statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2019-to-2020-estimates

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional financial support is available for low-paid women who are in receipt of maternity allowance and universal credit.

There is information on Gov.UK “Financial help if you have children” about the range of assistance available, including but not limited to, Maternity Allowance.

https://www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting/financial-help-children

This includes the Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 to provide help with the costs associated with the expenses of a baby (or babies in the event of a multiple birth) expected, born, adopted, or the subject of a parental or residence order or other similar arrangements if there are no other children under the age of 16 in the claimant’s family in most cases. The grant is available to people on Universal Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what amount has been paid to claimants for compensation for distress in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

The Department makes consolatory payments, to acknowledge the non-financial impact of Department maladministration. Data is not differentiated by type. For example, payments can be made for: gross inconvenience, hardship, severe distress or gross embarrassment. The total number of consolatory payments, for maladministration, made to benefit claimants

are published in the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts. The information here shows only consolatory payments for maladministration. It also excludes payments to Child Maintenance Group customers as these are not benefit claimants.

Equivalent data for 2020/21 will be finalised at the end of the current reporting year.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 160841, what changes her Department is making as part of the overall improvement plan that will support increased compliance of child maintenance payments.

Child Maintenance Service are undertaking a range of changes as part of an overall improvement programme. This includes automation of simpler tasks and an improved digital offer, that will enable caseworkers to focus on more complex areas of work, supporting service improvements and increased compliance.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to review the rate of statutory maternity pay with regard to the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill.

The Government has no plans to review the rate of Statutory Maternity Pay.

Statutory Maternity Pay is intended to enable employed pregnant women and new mothers to prepare for, and recover from, birth and to bond with their child.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the suspension of assessments for industrial injuries disablement benefits (IIDB) during the covid-19 outbreak on a claimant’s ability to receive compensation under the Pneumoconiosis (Works Compensation) Act 1979; and if she will take steps to backdate IIDB claims.

Due to COVID-19, since March face-to-face assessments for all disability benefits, including the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) have been suspended. For successful applications to IIDB, award payments will be backdated to the date of application to ensure claimants will not lose out on payments they are entitled to. Reassessment case awards have been extended to ensure that payments continue unhindered on those cases. Any deteriorations which would have meant an increase in award, will be backdated once face-to-face assessments recommence, to ensure no one is left out of pocket.

Eligibility to the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (‘1979 Act’) is dependent on an individual having an IIDB assessment and their age at the time of this assessment.

We have continued to process IIDB claims and lump sum payments for those individuals with terminal illnesses, and those for Fast Track prescribed diseases. These claims have continued to be assessed as usual without the need for a face to face assessment. Individuals can also then claim under the ‘1979 Act’ if eligible. The IIDB Quarterly Statistics show that 1,560 sufferers and 160 dependents received payments totalling £27,233,989 between March and December 2020 under the ‘1979 Act’. The data can be found here under table 3.1: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit-quarterly-statistics-data-to-june-2020

We have now begun some paper based assessments for certain prescribed diseases. This allows a decision on such claims and will enable claimants to determine their eligibility to the ‘1979 Act’.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Office for National Statistics report, Coronavirus and the Social Impacts on Disabled People in Great Britain: September 2020, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies that as many disabled people reported being worried about the covid-19 outbreak as reported in April 2020.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. The Department has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organizations’ and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the pandemic and to identify the support needed.

DWP offers financial support for people who are affected by the pandemic, or who need employment-related support in general through Universal Credit, New Style ESA or Pension Credit, all of which can be applied for online. Employer led support is available through Statutory Sick Pay. In addition, people with a condition arising from exposure to the Covid-19 virus are able to access PIP in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to stay in and enter 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 have provided specialist employment support remotely and made programmes easier to access.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) improve the compliance rate of child maintenance payments and (b) ensure receiving parents do not fall into poverty due to missed or uncollected child maintenance payments.

The Child Maintenance Service remains committed to ensuring that receiving parents get the money they are owed in maintenance payments, and this has been the case throughout the pandemic. The most recent quarterly statistics show that, in the quarter ending September 2020, 72 per cent of all paying parents paid some of their child maintenance through the Collect & Pay service.

Where compliance is not achieved we may deduct maintenance (and/or any arrears) direct from a paying parent’s. This is one of the Service’s most effective enforcement powers accounting for over half of the maintenance collected under Collect and Pay.

The Service also has tough enforcement powers including deducting as a regular or lump sum deduction from bank accounts, whether they are solely or jointly held as part of a business. Alongside these powers are a range of civil enforcement actions that can be taken through the courts once a liability order has been obtained. These actions include referral to an enforcement agency, committal to prison, and/or disqualification of holding or obtaining a passport or driving licence.

Child maintenance is not taken into account if a parent is also receiving income-related benefits, so can make a real difference to receiving parents and their children. We estimate that there are 120,000 fewer children in low-income households (measured on absolute low income after housing costs) as a result of child maintenance payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of Discretionary Housing Payments were successful in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications have been received for Discretionary Housing Payments in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to redeploy staff to child maintenance and enforcement to improve the service's compliance rate.

There are no current plans to redeploy any department colleagues to the Child Maintenance Service.

However, the Child Maintenance Service are undertaking a range of changes as part of an overall improvement programme that will continue to support increased compliance.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons she has not had discussions with the Governments of (a) Canada and (b) Australia on up-rating UK state pensions overseas.

The policy on up-rating UK State Pensions overseas is longstanding and has been supported by successive Governments for over 70 years. Annual index-linked increases are paid to UK State Pension recipients where there is a legal requirement to do so, for example where recipients are living in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Office for National Statistics report, Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: September 2020, what steps her Department has taken to support disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. The Department has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organizations’ and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the pandemic and to identify the support needed.

DWP offers financial support for people who are affected by the pandemic, or who need employment-related support in general through Universal Credit, New Style ESA or Pension Credit, all of which can be applied for online. Employer led support is available through Statutory Sick Pay. In addition, people with a condition arising from exposure to the Covid-19 virus are able to access PIP in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to stay in and enter 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 have provided specialist employment support remotely and made programmes easier to access.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will undertake to change the timing of Maximus' Customer Satisfaction Survey for claimants undergoing Work Capability Assessments to after they have completed the process.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to his previous question 142087, that there are currently no plans to change the timing of the customer satisfaction survey.

Maximus’ Customer Satisfaction Survey is focused on the assessment service provided by Maximus. The survey is to help identify how the service can be improved whilst helping to understand the experience of those undergoing an assessment. The survey has no connection with the claims process or the outcome of a customer’s benefit claim.

The department also undertakes its own survey which is designed to monitor customer satisfaction with the services offered by the department and to enable customer views to inform improvements to the delivery of benefits and services.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will change the timing of Maximus' customer satisfaction survey for claimants undergoing assessments for work capability assessments.

Assessment providers are monitored and managed against a range of measures, including customer satisfaction. It is essential we receive ongoing feedback from customers and we invite a random sample of customers to provide feedback on the service they receive each month.

There are currently no plans to change the timing of the customer satisfaction survey.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the number of claimants for universal credit who have been affected by digital exclusion including the closure of libraries, day centres and other public sources of digital support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Universal Credit is designed to be a ‘digital-first’ service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system, allowing our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support.

Although the Department offers comprehensive support for claimants to use our digital service, there will be occasions when people are unable to make their claim online, so telephone applications can be accepted. In these instances, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated in an alternative format, which is best suited to an individual’s circumstances. Throughout the pandemic, Jobcentre Plus offices have remained open to support the most vulnerable claimants.

Help to Claim, delivered through Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, was already a multi-channel offer prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, capable of supporting people through the entire Universal Credit claim process by telephone and web chat, up to receiving their first full correct payment on time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what total amount of debt is being permanently written off in response to the Government's recent review of Child Support Agency historical cases.

Information on historical debt which has been written off by the Child Support Agency is published on gov.uk and includes available data to the end of September 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-june-2020-experimental/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-june-2020-experimental

Paragraph 6 refers entitled. ‘CSA debt written off’

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, since the start of the covid-19 outbreak, what Government support has been provided to people claiming universal credit who have a mortgage and are not eligible for receipt of housing allowance to help with repayments.

Homeowners experiencing financial difficulties meeting mortgage repayments because of Covid-19, can apply for a mortgage holiday for up to six months and have until 31st March 2021 to do so. The moratorium on lender repossession has been extended until 1 April.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will publicise the option for fortnightly payment of universal credit.

There is no option for fortnightly payments in Universal Credit (UC).

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA) are available to support claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment where there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family. These include more frequent payments. UC staff will always consider an APA where a need has been identified either by a work coach, case manager, or triggered by information received from the claimant, their representative or their landlord.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total amount of debt being permanently written off is following the Government's recent review of Child Support Agency historic cases.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) has ceased collection of historical debt on 577,900 cases. This comprised of 410,400 cases which were held on CSA systems and 167,500 cases which were held on Child Maintenance Service (CMS) systems.

These cases had system records showing a total debt value of £1,926.6 million. £1,483.2 million from cases held on CSA systems and £443.4 million from cases held on CMS systems.

This information is available in the public domain at

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-september-2020-experimental

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what reasonable adjustments have been put in place by her Department and its contractors when undertaking telephone assessments for disabled persons.

The department and our assessment providers are committed to providing a quality, sensitive and respectful service to everyone. Individuals are encouraged to alert their assessment provider of any additional requirements they may have and providers will endeavour to meet any such reasonable requests.

Individuals can access additional support throughout the assessment process, for example help filling in the questionnaire. Companions are able to join the telephony assessment, as they would have done for the face to face assessment. This is confirmed to the individual in the initial invitation to assessment letter for all telephone assessments. If choosing to request a companion, they will be added to the call by the Health Professional at the start of the assessment.

To further enhance the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) telephony service, PIP providers have implemented a video relay service for claimants with British Sign Language requirements, to enable deaf claimants to participate in an assessment; we are exploring whether this solution could support the Work Capability Assessment process.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints her Department has received from claimants in respect of breaches of the Equality Act 2010 during the processing of (a) personal independence payment and (b) limited capability for work and work related activities applications.

The Department takes every complaint incredibly seriously and will investigate any matters raised and respond accordingly as quickly as possible.

The Department does not record complaints information in a way which enables us to answer this question. DWP categorises complaints against specified categories that focus on identifying broadly where service has failed, for example, “DWP staff don’t treat me with respect - You discriminated against me”. It would be under this category Equality Act 2010 breaches would be captured.

As we would have to search through each complaint to obtain specific information about (a) processing of personal independence payment and (b) limited capability for work and work related activities applications would be to interrogate each complaint on a case by case basis to identify whether there had been breaches of the Equality Act 2010, the information requested would therefore could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to resume assessments for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits for (a) asbestosis and (b) diffuse pleural thickening as done for other disability benefits.

Our priority throughout this health emergency continues to be to protect the public and staff, while ensuring people get the benefits they are entitled to quickly and safely. Face-to-face assessments remain suspended while we review what activity we can gradually start reintroducing in line with the latest public health advice. We will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

In the meantime, for claimants with the most serious or terminal conditions, claims continue to be processed and decisions made as normal. We are actively considering how to deal with those cases not currently being processed.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the level of (a) needs of and (b) support required by disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. There will however be a period until the data needed to fully assess the impact becomes available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. On the 24th April 2020 ONS also published 'Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain'. The analysis gives insight into the experience of disabled adults, and where there might be issues that arise for some that differ from those of non-disabled people. This showed that, currently, a lower proportion of disabled people than non-disabled people were worried about transport and caring issues as well as aspects of household finances and work.

That is why we are actively working on policies to provide specific employment support for disabled people both in and out of work. This includes initiatives such as Access to Work (ATW), Disability Confident, Work and Health Programme (WHP) and the new Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES), alongside investment in a programme of trials and tests to identify effective models of health and employment support for people with health conditions or disabilities.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to supply covid-19 booster vaccinations to people who have received the Novavax vaccine.

People who have received both doses of a vaccine as part of a clinical trial, including Novavax, will be offered a booster vaccination, if eligible in line with the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Doses of the booster vaccine are currently being offered to individuals who received their first vaccination in phase one of the programme in the JCVI’s priority groups one to nine.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support and resources are available to help GP surgeries in Stockport constituency to clear patient backlogs and increasing workloads.

On 14 October we announced a package of measures to support general practice manage increasing workloads, catch up on the backlog of care and improve access. In addition, Greater Manchester and Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting general practice in Stockport by focussing on increasing workforce capacity to reduce demand on individual general practitioners (GPs). Local commissioners and providers are utilising extra volunteer and paid staff to deliver the COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes and the urgent treatment centre is relieving urgent demand on GPs. GPs in Stockport are making full use of additional roles, such as physiotherapists and medicine co-ordinators, and providing training for receptionists to signpost patients to the most appropriate member of the practice team.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by the Care Quality Commission, entitled Safety, equity and engagement in maternity services, published on 21 September 2021, what steps his Department is taking in response to the findings in that report on lessons learned and the recording of incidents involving patients’ safety on maternity wards.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recently invested an additional £95 million in maternity services to support the recruitment of 1,200 more midwives and 100 consultant obstetricians. An equity and equality strategy, funded by a further £6.8 million, has been published to address the causes of inequalities in outcomes and experiences of maternity care. The NHS Resolution Maternity Incentive Scheme is working to improve the recording of incidents through its ten safety actions, by encouraging the use of the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool and improving the quality of reporting to the Maternity Services Data Set.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long waiting lists are for ADHD diagnosis in Greater Manchester; and how that wait compares with the national average.

The data requested is not held centrally.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) emergency and (b) non-emergency appointments have been cancelled owing to the blood bottle shortage across the UK.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many dental practices in England stopped providing NHS services in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

This data is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to people who have received the Novavax vaccine with international travel.

Individuals who took part in clinical trials and received a full dose of the Novavax vaccine can now use the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate their COVID-19 status. However, it is the decision of the Government of the country the person is travelling to to set their inbound travel policy. The Chief Medical Officer has written to his counterparts in the European Union and European Economic Community and discussions are ongoing with other countries, including through the G7, the European Commission and the World Health Organization to shape the approach taken around the world to sharing health status for travel.

The Vaccines Taskforce and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are working with Novavax to help ensure their COVID-19 vaccine is authorised as quickly as possible. The decision to license a vaccine is made by the MHRA.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the increase in the number of children presenting at A&E with infections on A&E waiting times.

The Department continues to monitor data on accident and emergency (A&E) waiting time standards.

The National Health Service plans for a wide range of scenarios ahead of winter and will continue to adapt plans in line with any further advice from Public Health England.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will launch a strategy to tackle the reported rise of children presenting at accident and emergency departments with viral infections outside of winter time.

Children attending accident and emergency departments are usually seen in dedicated facilities by specialist staff trained in children’s medicine. Children are protected by the National Health Service constitution in the same way as adults and should receive care and be admitted or discharged within four hours of arrival at an Emergency Department. The NHS Long Term Plan is a strategy supporting reform of urgent and emergency care services to ensure all patients get the care they need quickly and relieve pressure on A&E departments.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to have discussions with representatives of Novavax on the release of antibody test results to unblinded participants in the Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial.

We have no current plans to do so. Individuals who participate in trials should speak to their trial contact on such matters as the release of test results. The Department will ensure that trial participants are not disadvantaged in terms of any future domestic vaccine certification, if introduced, compared to anyone else who has had their vaccines under the standard National Health Service programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans for the roll-out of the midwifery-led continuity of carer model to be completed and made available in all NHS trusts in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to midwifery-led continuity of carer, so that it becomes the default model of care for women using maternity services across England by March 2023.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS backlogs in cancer care are tackled consistently under recovery plans being implemented at a local level; if he will take steps to ensure that there is consistency in the provision of NHS cancer care throughout England; and if he will make a statement.

NHS Planning Guidance 2021/2022 outlines the cancer recovery priorities and the key actions to encourage patients to come forward and ensure capacity is in place to treat them. Local systems, drawing on advice and analysis from their Cancer Alliance, will ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic and treatment capacity in place to meet cancer needs.

Cancer Alliances bring together clinical and managerial leaders from different hospital trusts and other health and social care organisations, to transform the diagnosis, treatment, and care for cancer patients in their local area. These partnerships enable care to be more effectively planned across local cancer pathways, to ensure consistency.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS trusts in England are able to offer a midwifery-led continuity of carer model for women who are pregnant after the death of a baby.

This information is not held centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) advice and (b) support his Department is providing to Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial participants who have been unblinded but do not have access to their antibody test results and are unsure of their level of protection against the covid-19 virus.

Guidance has been provided to support vaccine trial participants who wished to be unblinded at a time when they became eligible for an approved COVID-19 vaccine. This suggests individuals should discuss with the principle investigator at the site in which the participant was recruited who are best placed to advise on the options following unblinding.

In general, participants who only received a placebo would be recommended to receive the deployed COVID-19 vaccine schedule. Those that received a full course of an active vaccine, would be advised that further doses of deployed vaccine were not advisable. Whilst antibody tests were performed in the study, the advice on further vaccination would be based on the record of the participant's previous doses in the trial.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department provides to Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial participants who have been unblinded and received two vaccine doses under that trial over six months ago on whether they should receive an approved covid-19 vaccination.

Guidance has been provided to support vaccine trial participants who wished to be unblinded at a time when they became eligible for an approved COVID-19 vaccine. This suggests individuals should discuss with the principle investigator at the site in which the participant was recruited who are best placed to advise on the options following unblinding.

In general, participants who only received a placebo would be recommended to receive the deployed COVID-19 vaccine schedule. Those that received a full course of an active vaccine, would be advised that further doses of deployed vaccine were not advisable. Whilst antibody tests were performed in the study, the advice on further vaccination would be based on the record of the participant's previous doses in the trial.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of older people who are paying for previously free NHS ancillary services in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport as a result of (i) the size of waiting lists and (ii) reduced services.

We have made no such estimate as the number of people purchasing private care is not collected centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the impact on older people of not being able to access face-to-face appointments with GPs.

General practice is open and has been throughout the pandemic. Appointment numbers have risen to 32.2 million in May 2021 and over half of all appointments were face to face.

We continue to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement and general practice to assess the impact of different types of appointment and to improve access for all patient groups. The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public authorities to have due regard to the impact of their policies on different protected characteristics, one of which is age. NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned an independent evaluation to understand the impact for staff, patients and the wider health and care system of using digital tools in primary care to inform its long-term strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether additional funding has been made available for the treatment of gaming addictions among young adults and children in response to increased addiction in that demographic in the last 12 months.

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan committed to spending up to £15 million on 15 specialist problem gambling clinics by 2023/24. This funding includes the provision of treatment for gaming disorders through the National Centre for Gaming Disorders, which was set up to provide treatment for problem gamers aged 13 to 25 years old, living in England and Wales. The service sits alongside the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on children's physical and mental wellbeing.

Public Health England’s (PHE) ‘Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Health’ tool is monitoring the wider impacts of the pandemic on population health and is available at the following link:

https://analytics.phe.gov.uk/apps/covid-19-indirect-effects/

PHE has worked with colleagues across Government, to track impacts on mental health and wellbeing using data and research from a wide range of sources. The ’COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance’ report, which also looks at the effects on children and young people, is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the correct phraseology is used and promoted when referring to the delta variant of covid-19.

On 31 May 2021, the World Health Organization recommended a new nomenclature system for variants under investigation (VUIs) and variants of concern (VOCs) using the Greek alphabet for non-scientific audiences. Public Health England (PHE) began using this system in all external communications as of 2 June. Not all variants designated VUI or VOC status by PHE have been assigned WHO labels. PHE will continue to incorporate the Greek alphabet labels as they are announced. The Government has adopted the WHO naming conventions in discussing and reporting on work on COVID-19 variants.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of ongoing restrictions on visitors at hospitals on patient care.

We recognise that a compassionate approach to facilitating hospital visits, balanced with the need to manage the risk of infection, is essential when supporting the care of patients. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s visiting guidance is regularly assessed and reviewed for its impact on patient care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time was for accessing NHS mental health services in March (a) 2021 and (b) 2020.

The data is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Department's report entitled Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020 that was published in October 2014, what recent progress his Department has made to deliver parity of esteem between services for (a) mental and (b) physical illnesses.

Since the ‘Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020’ report we have introduced access and waiting time standards for both Early Intervention in Psychosis and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. Over one million adults already access IAPT services each year and this will be expanded to cover a total of 1.9 million by 2023-24.Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are expanding and transforming mental health services in England, investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24. This will see spending for mental health services growing faster than the overall National Health Service budget.

There are now specialist perinatal mental health community services for new and expectant mothers in every part of the country and we are extending this further, with 26 new mental health hubs, offering physical health checks and psychological therapy, by April 2022. We have met our commitment for an additional 70,000 children and young people accessing NHS-funded mental health services and school or college-based mental health support teams. We are committed to further increasing this to 345,000 by 2023-24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people are not eligible for the proposed vaccination passports due to their participation in the Novavax trial.

Those participating in United Kingdom vaccination trials can request a letter from the trial they are participating in to confirm their vaccination status, which will include vaccine type and dose information. The Government is exploring how vaccine information for those on clinical trials can be linked to the NHS App, as well as to a non-digital solution.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people in the UK have been delayed from receiving any covid-19 vaccine because they have participated in the Novavax trials.

The information is not held in the format requested

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to (a) vital therapies and (b) essential health appointments for children with disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to look at improving the provision of therapies to disabled children. NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance entitled ‘COVID-19 restoration of community health services for children and young people: second phase of NHS response in the community health restoration’, updated on 31 July 2020. This makes clear that essential community services, including therapies such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that Government guidance on out-of-home visits which came into force on 4 May 2021 is adhered to by care homes.

We are in regular contact with care homes and providers in order to assess adherence to this guidance and ways in which this can be improved. If a resident or their family have concerns that the care home is not following visiting guidance appropriately then they can raise them with the home in the first instance. If the resident or family are still dissatisfied, the Care Quality Commission will investigate complaints.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether companies contracted to provide covid-19 tests to people returning to the UK have to adhere to a threshold of successful on time (a) deliveries and (b) results in order to keep their contracts with his Department.

Private providers which are listed on GOV.UK have declared and evidenced compliance with the relevant minimum standards for testing services, including the relevant stage of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service accreditation if the provider is processing tests or taking swabs. The minimum standards are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/testing-on-day-2-and-day-8-for-international-arrivals

The Department is continuing to monitor each provider supplying testing for international arrivals, including assessment of their delivery, customer service and reporting services. We are also carefully monitoring issues raised by the public about private test providers, raising every complaint with providers. We are taking rapid action with companies where appropriate. Providers delivering inadequate services receive a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service and if they are unable to do so, they are removed from the GOV.UK list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce a cap on the amount private companies can charge people returning to the UK for covid-19 tests and results.

We have no current plans to do so.

Since requirements were introduced for international travel testing, the costs of travel testing have fallen significantly. The Government is committed to working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost whilst also ensuring travel is as safe as possible.

NHS Test and Trace tests are available at the market mid-point. A list of providers offering testing bundles for international arrivals is available at GOV.UK, allowing travellers to find tests at an appropriate price. We also offer deferred payment plans and hardship support for people who cannot afford to pay for the cost of managed quarantine and testing. In some circumstances this may be available to those who are not in receipt of income related benefits.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the proportion of care homes without covid-19 outbreaks that are adhering to the Government's guidance on care home visiting and out-of-home visits.

Departmental data show in the week ending 26 April 2021, 82.5% of care homes in England were able to accommodate residents receiving visitors within care homes, compared to 40.3% at the beginning of March 2021. The Care Quality Commission are investigating concerns about visiting where these are raised and offering support to assist care homes in opening up further to allow more visits in and out of care homes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that people who have paid for day two and day eight covid-19 tests upon returning to the UK but have not received them are not held up in quarantine; and whether those people will be compensated for unexplained delays in receiving (a) tests and (b) test results.

Arrivals from amber list countries must take a test on or before day two for variant surveillance and unless they receive a positive result from their day two test, on or after day eight, to improve the efficacy of quarantine. Those travelling from a ‘green list’ country only need to take a test on or before day two. Arrivals should follow quarantine guidelines until they receive negative day two and day eight test results.

The Department is working closely with private providers to ensure tests and results are delivered on time to support individuals to meet legal requirements and end their quarantine period on time. Private providers performance for day two and day eight testing is continually monitored including their ability to provide samples, analysis and report results on time. We take rapid action when providers deliver inadequate services. This includes providers receiving a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service and if they are unable to do so, they are removed from the appropriate GOV.UK list.

As individuals are contracting a private service the Department does not offer compensation. However, we advise any customers who have had, or are having, a customer service issue with a private test provider, to first report this back to the provider. If the issue cannot be resolved, the consumer should to contact their local trading standards office.

Consumers are able to complain directly with the Department about private providers and we monitor these complaints and address these directly with private providers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) investigate and (b) suspend the contracts of private companies that are failing to fulfil their obligations to provide PCR covid-19 tests and results on time to people returning to the UK.

The Department is working closely with private providers to ensure tests and results are delivered on time. Private providers performance is continually monitored including their ability to provide samples, analysis and report results on time. The Department takes rapid action when providers deliver inadequate services. This includes providers receiving a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service and if they do not, they are removed from the appropriate GOV.UK list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate the Government has made of the number of increased care bills issued by local authorities in England to disabled and mentally ill adults in the last 12 months; and what assessment he has made of the social impact of those additional charges.

The Government has made no such estimate and no assessment has been made.

In charging for care, local authorities must follow the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) 2014 Regulations and have regard to the Care and Support statutory guidance. Where additional support is needed, the local authority can be asked to carry out a financial assessment review to ensure the right level of income is retained to meet needs that are not being met by the local authority.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer related appointments and treatment sessions have been postponed at Stepping Hill hospital as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The data requested on postponed care is not collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer related appointments and treatment sessions have been postponed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The data requested on postponed care is not collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 March 2019 to Question 166586 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, since the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that local teams should consider a universal offer to adults experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping alongside people in priority group six, how many homeless people in the UK have received a covid-19 vaccine.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how widely the cancer treatment drug, Phesgo, has been rolled out; and whether Phesgo is being used for treatments at Stepping Hill Hospital.

Phesgo has been funded for eligible patients through the National Health Service since 10 February 2021. There are no restrictions on which providers can prescribe Phesgo. It is therefore for clinicians, in discussion with their patients, to decide on the most appropriate treatment.

Patients with breast cancer at Stepping Hill Hospital are clinically managed by the Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust has agreed to use Phesgo. Patients at the hospital should therefore begin receiving this treatment in the near future.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of cancer treatment.

From March 2020 to the end of February 2021, over two million people have been urgently referred and over 520,000 people started receiving cancer treatment. First and subsequent cancer treatments have been maintained at 87% of the level in 2019.

The National Health Service priorities and operational planning guidance for 2021/22 sets out plans to accelerate the restoration of elective and cancer care. Local systems, drawing on advice and analysis from their Cancer Alliance, will ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic and treatment capacity in place to meet the needs of cancer to return the number of people waiting for longer than 62 days to the level of February 2020 or to the national average in February 2020 where this is lower and meet the increased level of referrals and treatment required to address the shortfall in number of first treatments by March 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards not undertaken due to the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to help adult social services and registered care providers tackle that matter in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport.

In July 2020 the Care Quality Commission published a report on the ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ (DoLS), which recorded a significant decrease in the number of DoLS notifications between March 2020 and May 2020, compared with data from the previous year.

There has been no change to DoLS legislation in light of the pandemic and the Department has issued extensive guidance for health and social care staff on applying the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and DoLS during the pandemic. This guidance reiterates the importance of ensuring people have access to the human rights protections the Mental Capacity Act offers and offers advice on COVID-19 testing, deprivation of liberty, DoLS and best interests decision-making. The Department continues to update this guidance based on feedback from stakeholders, including people with lived experience and partners in local government, health and social care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 140313, how many contracts have been awarded relating to test and trace since 18 January 2021.

Details of NHS Test and Trace contract awards, including the value, are published on the Government’s Contracts Finder site. We have Memorandums of Understanding with public sector organisations, which set out the working arrangements between the Test and Trace programme and those organisations.

Since 18 January 2021, 266 contracts relating to NHS Test and Trace have been awarded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 140313, what the value was of each of the 217 contracts awarded to public and private companies.

Details of NHS Test and Trace contract awards, including the value, are published on the Government’s Contracts Finder site. We have Memorandums of Understanding with public sector organisations, which set out the working arrangements between the Test and Trace programme and those organisations.

Since 18 January 2021, 266 contracts relating to NHS Test and Trace have been awarded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 140313, which (a) public and (b) private organisations have received contracts relating to NHS test and trace.

Details of NHS Test and Trace contract awards, including the value, are published on the Government’s Contracts Finder site. We have Memorandums of Understanding with public sector organisations, which set out the working arrangements between the Test and Trace programme and those organisations.

Since 18 January 2021, 266 contracts relating to NHS Test and Trace have been awarded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will undertake an assessment of the effect of the planned introduction of Liberty Protection Standards on the training standards and implementation of the existing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards process.

In July 2020 we set out a target date for implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) of April 2022. We are working towards public consultation which will inform our plans for full implementation.

Until the LPS comes into force, it is vital that all bodies with legal duties under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) continue to operate these important safeguards to ensure the rights of people without relevant mental capacity are protected. The Department is working with national organisations including Health Education England, the Social Care Institute for Excellence and Skills for Care, to ensure that DoLS training continues until the LPS is implemented. In preparation for the implementation of the LPS, organisations should ensure that staff are also up to date with relevant Mental Capacity Act 2005 training.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an update on the timescale for the introduction of the Liberty Protection Standards.

In July 2020 we set out a target date for implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) of April 2022. We are working towards public consultation which will inform our plans for full implementation.

Until the LPS comes into force, it is vital that all bodies with legal duties under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) continue to operate these important safeguards to ensure the rights of people without relevant mental capacity are protected. The Department is working with national organisations including Health Education England, the Social Care Institute for Excellence and Skills for Care, to ensure that DoLS training continues until the LPS is implemented. In preparation for the implementation of the LPS, organisations should ensure that staff are also up to date with relevant Mental Capacity Act 2005 training.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish further guidance on visiting people in supported living, as set out in the Guidance on care home visiting document updated on 9 March 2021.

On 30 March, we published an update to our visiting guidance for supported living and extra care settings, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supported-living-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living

The default position in this guidance is that visits should be supported and enabled wherever it is safe to do so and explains how providers can develop a policy for visiting which mitigates risks. For example, lateral flow testing is now available to providers who are currently eligible for staff testing. There are still some national restrictions in place across England which people in supported living, and their family and friends, must follow. Further information can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many appointments have been cancelled at Stepping Hill hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested is not available. The collection of data on cancelled operations has been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to release capacity across the National Health Service to support the response.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff based at Stepping Hill Hospital have taken sick leave in the last five years; and how many days were lost to sickness at that hospital.

The information is not collected in the format requested, as sickness absence data is only collected at trust level rather than individual site.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP appointments there have been in Stockport constituency in each of the last five years.

The following table shows the number of appointments in general practice in Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group in each year since 2018. General practitioner appointment data was first collected in 2018. Data by constituency is not available.

2018

1,327,673

2019

1,478,492

2020

1,449,255

2021 (January and February)

255,548

Source: NHS Digital

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children are on waiting lists to register with an NHS dentist in (a) Stockport, (b) the North West and (c) England; and how many of those children have been on the waiting list for over six months.

No waiting list data is held centrally on adults or children wishing to access National Health Service dental services in Stockport, the North West or England.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. On 29 March we announced that the threshold for full NHS contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. Nearly 700 urgent dental care centres also remain open across England to ensure that patients are able to access urgent dental treatment. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are on the waiting list for an NHS dentist in (a) Stockport, (b) the North West and (c) England.

No waiting list data is held centrally on adults or children wishing to access National Health Service dental services in Stockport, the North West or England.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. On 29 March we announced that the threshold for full NHS contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. Nearly 700 urgent dental care centres also remain open across England to ensure that patients are able to access urgent dental treatment. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of NHS dentists taking new patients on the NHS in (a) Stockport, (b) the North West and (c) England.

No waiting list data is held centrally on adults or children wishing to access National Health Service dental services in Stockport, the North West or England.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. On 29 March we announced that the threshold for full NHS contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. Nearly 700 urgent dental care centres also remain open across England to ensure that patients are able to access urgent dental treatment. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of homeless people that have been vaccinated up to 10 March 2021.

The information is not collected in the format requested therefore no specific estimate has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to tackle vaccine hesitancy amongst homeless people.

On 11 March, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that local teams should consider a universal offer to adults experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping alongside those in priority group six. They advised that they should be offered the vaccine without the need for a National Health Service number or general practitioner registration.

Work is being undertaken to update our operational guidance on reaching rough sleepers and homeless people based on the JCVI’s most recent advice. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to support outreach services and further work is being done to explore the availability of effective on-street models which could be used to support this work.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including inclusion of Myalgic encephalomyelitis in the group 6 specified conditions for covid-19 vaccination; and what estimate he has made of the number of people with that condition who have received a covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not identified any robust data to indicate that, as a group, persons with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue symdrome (ME/CFS) are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, therefore those under 50 years old are not prioritised for phase one of the programme.

Prioritisation for Phase two has not yet been decided, but interim advice has been published by the JVCI recommending an age-based approach, which the Government has accepted in principle subject to final advice. The information on estimates of people with ME/CFS who have received a covid-19 vaccination is not held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the (a) quality assurance and (b) cost effectiveness of organisations providing NHS repeat prescription delivery services.

The Department does not monitor or quality assure organisations providing repeat prescription delivery services. While repeat dispensing is an essential service that all pharmacies must provide under National Health Service pharmaceutical services, repeat prescription delivery services are not. All pharmacies providing NHS pharmaceutical services are subject to the same terms of service and adherence and are monitored by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to improve access to medical care for disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and Improvement published guidance regarding the restoration of NHS services ‘Third phase of NHS response to COVID-19’ on 31 July 2020. On 7 August 2020 they published further guidance ‘Implementing phase 3 of the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic’. The guidance makes clear that a central part of responding to COVID-19 and restoring services must be to address inequalities in National Health Service provision, including improving access for disabled people. NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned a national advisory group of leaders from within and beyond the NHS to advise on how to achieve these aims in the coming months. This group has identified eight urgent actions, two of which are to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19 and to restore NHS services inclusively.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential merits of including ME/CFS on the list of neurological conditions in group 6 of the JCVI priority list and (b) consistency of GP decisions on including ME/CFS patients in group 6.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has not identified any robust data to indicate that, as a group, persons with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, therefore this group is not included as part of the prioritisation for phase one of the programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support he is providing to hospices to allow family members to present at the end of life during the covid-19 outbreak.

In October 2020, NHS England published a new set of visiting guidelines, which aims to ensure that families have more contact with their loved ones towards the end of their lives while also managing infection risks. The new guidelines, ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings principles during the Covid-19 pandemic’, advise the NHS and other healthcare organisations, including hospices, on how to facilitate visiting wherever possible. These guidelines are available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0751-visiting-healthcare-inpatient-settings-principles-131020_.pdf

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to care homes to help them prepare and manage lateral flow testing for visitors.

We consulted with the sector in November and December 2020 via regular working group meetings and in December 2020, the Government announced an extra £149 million of funding to support lateral flow testing in care homes, with testing for visitors a key part of this.

Care homes were provided with guidance, a letter for visitors to set out clear expectations, and a video for visitors explaining how to get tested, use personal protective equipment and practice social distancing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much money in total has been awarded by the Government to companies for NHS Test and Trace contracts.

As of 18 January 2021, NHS Test and Trace has signed 407 contracts worth £7 billion with 217 public and private organisations.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate funding for capital investment at Stepping Hill hospital.

In 2020-21, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has received £3.61 million for Stepping Hill Hospital, as part of our £450 million investment to upgrade accident and emergency departments and £4.8 million from our £600 million Critical Infrastructure Risk fund to address backlog maintenance at the hospital. This is in addition to £30.6 million allocated for its sustainability and transformation partnership scheme to provide a new Emergency Care Campus. Now that our capital settlement has been confirmed with HM Treasury, we will consider carefully how projects are prioritised within it, whilst further investment will be dependent on the outcome of future Spending Reviews.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the suitability of hospital (a) building and (b) estates for Stepping Hill hospital.

In 2020-21, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has received £3.61 million for Stepping Hill Hospital, as part of our £450 million investment to upgrade accident and emergency departments and £4.8 million from our £600 million Critical Infrastructure Risk fund to address backlog maintenance at the hospital. This is in addition to £30.6 million allocated for its sustainability and transformation partnership scheme to provide a new Emergency Care Campus. Now that our capital settlement has been confirmed with HM Treasury, we will consider carefully how projects are prioritised within it, whilst further investment will be dependent on the outcome of future Spending Reviews.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to Stockport NHS Foundation Trust to help improve accident and emergency services at Stepping Hill hospital.

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded £30.6 million to fund a new emergency care campus on the hospital site, transforming emergency care in the area. Providing effective care for different patient groups, it will ensure that patients can be seen more quickly by the most appropriate clinical specialists. Developments includes an urgent treatment centre, primary care referral unit and a modern space to provide investigations and treatments that will avoid admission for patients wherever possible.

An additional £3.6 million has been awarded to the Trust, to support emergency care in managing the challenges this winter by funding the separation of COVID-19 and non COVID-19 patients, same day emergency care expansion and increased emergency department capacity through equipment upgrades and enhanced diagnostics access improving patient flow.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to modernise hospital estates.

The Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) will deliver a long-term, rolling five-year programme of investment in health infrastructure, including capital to build new hospitals. The Prime Minister confirmed 40 hospitals will be built by 2030, with funding of £3.7 billion confirmed over the next four years. An open competition will be run to identify eight further new schemes.

The HIP will modernise estates by more than delivering new hospitals; the Government has committed £450 million to upgrade accident and emergency departments, £400 million to eradicate dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities and £600 million to upgrade and refurbish National Health Service hospitals. In addition, local health systems will shortly be receiving confirmation of their capital envelopes for 2021-22 and the settlement from HM Treasury has enabled us to protect the level of capital funding for trusts which enables them to progress priority investments agreed with local health partners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to hospitals with high levels of staff absence as result of covid-19 infection.

We are monitoring staff absence due to COVID-19 and we have multiple workforce supply initiatives. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has invited overseas nurses who are in the process of seeking full registration to join its emergency register, allowing 2,000 nurses to practice. Twelve thousand former healthcare professionals are still in touch with NHS England and have been contacted to support the National Health Service. Financial support has been provided to trusts to support rapid, large-scale recruitment, covering healthcare support workers, medical support workers and international recruits.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support digital infrastructure investment in hospitals.

NHSX is continuing to work with providers to improve integrated care systems through the Digital Aspirant programme, to digitise capabilities and ensure that services transform to maximise the opportunities that technology offers. In 2020/21 the Digital Aspirant programme is supporting 23 trusts to continue their digital journey and we are planning to support further trusts over the next few years.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of NHS trusts have covid-19 restrictions in place for birth partners attending maternity appointments and scans as at 1 December 2020.

Data on the number of National Health Service trusts with COVID-19 restrictions in place for birth partners attending maternity appointments and scans is not held centrally.

Restrictions on visitors are subject to local discretion by trusts and other NHS bodies. The Department expects trusts to use the guidance in place to support access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are assured that 100% of trusts report that they are actively using the guidance as they make local decisions on visiting restrictions, based on a risk assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to make the NHS Learning Support Fund available in September 2021 for (a) new students and (b) continuing students who have benefited from that fund in 2020.

The Learning Support Fund will continue to be made available to both new and continuing eligible students for the duration of their course. Further details on eligibility will be published by the NHS Business Service Authority before the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what pathways exist for children in the North West for the diagnosis of Tourettes syndrome.

Commissioning of local services, including for Tourette’s services, is a local matter, over which individual National Health Service commissioners have responsibility. Local commissioners are best placed to understand the needs of local populations and commission services accordingly. NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that early discussions are taking place in both St Helens and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Groups towards expanding pathways for the diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome for children in the North West.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) information and (b) financial support is being made available to help protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable in Stockport.

National restrictions began in England from 5 November. The Government has published guidance for people, including additional guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people, to help protect them from COVID-19. This applies to those in Stockport and the whole of England. The Government has also written to clinically extremely vulnerable people setting out the guidance and support that is available.

If a clinically extremely vulnerable person cannot work from home, they are advised not to attend work for this period of restrictions and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit. The Government has also extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until March 2021, and everyone is encouraged to discuss this option with their employer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people living with cancer in Stockport during the second wave of the covid-19 outbreak.

During this second wave, cancer has been prioritised in the Greater Manchester area, including Stockport, and this has been agreed across all 11 hospital providers, to continue cancer surgery and at designated COVID-19 ‘green-sites’, ensuring the safety of staff and patients to enable procedures to continue to go ahead.

Measures are in place, as in the first wave, to work together with hospitals around the whole of Greater Manchester to share provisions of staff and resources to ensure that patients from Stockport and every other locality in Greater Manchester have access to cancer treatment and important diagnostic procedures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 restrictions on levels of alcohol consumption.

Public Health England has published an online monitoring tool to track behavioural changes, including alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings on alcohol consumption are that intake across the population as a whole remained about the same during the pandemic. Those aged 18 to 34 were more likely to report consuming less alcohol each week than before and those aged 35 to 54 were more likely to report an increase. There was also an increase in the proportion of ‘high risk’ drinking from April to September. The monitoring tool is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wider-impacts-of-covid-19-on-health-monitoring-tool

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the second wave of covid-19 infections on the (a) recovery of cancer services in (i) Stockport and (ii) Greater Manchester and (b) waiting times for cancer treatment.

We are pleased that September data shows, for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, that general practitioner referrals for first consultant appointment were 135% higher than in April, and similarly, at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, they were nearly 120% higher than in April.

We are all working hard to see the restoration of services continue, including stepping up COVID-19 protected hubs for cancer surgery and diagnostics and, maximising use of independent sector capacity.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of children diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome; and how many of their families have received additional specialist support.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department uses to determine what a reasonable sum is for charges by General Practitioners for non-exempted completion of forms, certificates and letters.

General practitioners (GPs) are free to charge for the completion of certificates, forms and letters that are not listed as being exempt from charges by General Medical Services and Personal Medical Services Regulations.

The Professional Fees Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA) suggests guideline fees for such services to help doctors set their own fees. The BMA also publishes guidance for GPs on factors to consider when setting their own fees; this is available at the following link:

https://www.bma.org.uk/pay-and-contracts/fees/setting-your-own-fees/what-to-consider-when-setting-your-own-fees

However, the amount charged is ultimately a matter for the practice.

Where doctors intend to charge for services to patients, the BMA advises practices to forewarn patients, at the earliest opportunity, of the likely level of fees.

We recognise that there are concerns about some fees GPs charge for letters to certify a patient’s health and the consistency of those charges, and the additional burden this can place on GPs. We are working with GPs and other stakeholders to look at where it is necessary for GPs to provide medical evidence and, where it is, that any charges for that evidence, where applicable, are fair and consistent.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of elective surgeries that have been postponed or cancelled during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he plans to take to support NHS trusts to resume those procedures.

The data requested is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals of the difficulties experienced by people suffering from post covid-19 side effects.

In June 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance supporting primary care and community health services to meet the immediate and longer-term care needs of patients discharged following an acute episode of COVID-19. This guidance will be kept under regular review.

The National Health Service and wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of COVID-19 infection, including the prevalence, severity and duration of symptoms, and how best to support recovery. The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), led by Christopher Brightling at the University of Leicester. The outputs of that research will continue to inform future NHS service design and provision.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of personal protective equipment at the covid-19 walk-in testing site in Tiviot Dale Church, Stockport; and what plans the Government has to help ensure the adequacy of supplies of that equipment during a potential second wave of covid-19 infections.

The Government has worked with private sector partners to establish local test sites in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals for COVID-19 without access to a car as part of the Government’s national testing programme. They are set up in different types of locations, such as car parks, town halls and sports courts, where there is space and local demand for testing.

We have detailed clinical operating procedures, developed in collaboration with clinical experts, for local walk-through testing sites. Layouts at walk-through testing sites have been carefully designed to ensure people can move around them safely and prevent spread of the virus; social distancing will be maintained throughout the testing process; and people attending the sites are asked to wear a face covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to seek advice on test and trace from those European partners that have had functioning systems in place since May 2020 instead of working with the private sector.

The NHS Test and Trace service which was launched in England on 28 May, brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service to combat the spread of COVID-19 transmission. This involves working across local government and local communities, Public Health England, other national bodies and a wide range of partner organisations.

We have developed a test and trace service that is best for the needs of the United Kingdom and for the National Health Service, but we continue to follow guidance from the World Health Organization and we are learning from international best practice. We are working closely with other countries to understand the most effective ways for reaching as many cases and contacts as possible in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of disabled people who are financially affected by charges for doctors letters and statements.

The Department does not hold data on the number of disabled people who are financially affected by charges for doctors’ letters and statements.

The General Medical Services and Personal Medical Services Regulations contain a list of statutory certificates that general practitioner (GP) practices are required to provide without charge. Practices are free to charge for the completion of certificates, forms and letters that are not listed as being exempt. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect practices to charge a reasonable sum, appropriate for the workload involved.

The Government recognises that there are concerns about some fees GPs charge for letters to certify a patient’s health. We are now undertaking a thorough review of levels of bureaucracy in general practice to streamline processes, free up valuable time to care for patients and to ensure consistency and fairness of charges for certification.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide more level three personal protective equipment (PPE) to urgent dental care sites in Greater Manchester so that those sites have adequate PPE required to deliver aerosol generating procedures.

Since Monday 8 June all National Health Service practices were able to start, at their own pace, seeing patients again once they have appropriate social distancing and other safety measures in place. Personal protective equipment (PPE) for dentists is being made available through their business as usual wholesalers. We have also set up new distribution routes for dentistry to ensure continuity of supply for all urgent dental care centres and have placed them on the list of priority areas to receive supplies from Local Resilience Forums. PPE for dental practices will include equipment necessary for aerosol generating procedures.

A risk assessment specifically relating to dentists using FFP2 instead of FFP3 respirators has not been made. Government guidance for dentists states that FFP3 respirators are advised for all aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) to prevent inhalation of aerosols. Some dental work is classed as AGPs. The Health and Safety Executive carried out a rapid review of the evidence of the effectiveness of FFP3, FFP2 and N95 masks earlier this year. The review stated that FFP2 and N95 respirators offer protection against COVID-19 and so may be used if FFP3 respirators are not available. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/face-mask-equivalence-aprons-gowns-eye-protection-coronavirus.htm

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of a potential increase in cancer mortality rates as a result of delays to treatment and surgery arising from the covid-19 outbreak.

No assessment has currently been made. The true impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on cancer mortality rates will become clearer as the results of data collection and analysis are published over time.

In response to COVID-19, 21 Cancer Alliances across England now have arrangements in place for cancer hubs, in order to allow essential and urgent cancer treatment to continue throughout the pandemic period, and we are now working on the restoration and recovery of all cancer services.

As part of the restoration of services, NHS services will continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, as well as delivering treating patients in cancer hubs, to ensure that referrals, diagnostics and treatment are brought back to pre-pandemic levels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that nursing homes and care homes receive the oxygen supplies they require.

Where care or nursing home residents are assessed as requiring oxygen by their health care professional, either an oxygen concentrator or oxygen cylinders will be installed by the regional Home Oxygen Service (HOS) provider, who also deliver training on proper use. The HOS provider is then responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the concentrator or replacement of oxygen cylinders as needed. The HOS contracts in England require HOS providers to deliver the equipment within four hours in urgent cases. All the HOS providers have maintained their service levels throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period and supply chains have remained resilient.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations her Department has made to the Bangladeshi government following recent violence against the Hindu community.

The UK Government is concerned about the recent violence directed against Hindu Durga Puja celebrations across various districts in Bangladesh. We engage with the Government of Bangladesh on the importance of freedom of religion or belief, which remains a priority for the UK Government. The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh has publicly expressed his condolences to the victims of the violence and the UK's support for those working for religious tolerance and harmony in Bangladesh and around the world.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer to Question 155443, on Sultana Khaya, whether HM Ambassador to Morocco raised the matter with the Moroccan government; and what the response of that government was.

We are aware of reports concerning Sultana Khaya and continue to monitor the case. Support for human rights is a priority around the world, and we regularly discuss human rights issues with Morocco.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total cost is of the UK's involvement in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021.

The total cost of British military operations in Afghanistan since 2001 (up to and including financial year 2019-20) was £22.7 billion. The UK’s total aid contribution to Afghanistan since 2001 is around £3.5 billion. This financial year, the UK is doubling its aid to Afghanistan to £286 million to respond rapidly to the crisis. This includes £30 million for responding to the needs of Afghan refugees in the region, of which, £10 million has been made available immediately to humanitarian partners, such as the UNHCR, to enable essential supplies such as shelters to be despatched to the Afghan borders as well as setting up sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to provide evacuation for LGBTQ+ people escaping persecution in Afghanistan.

We worked round the clock to airlift over 15000 people out of Afghanistan. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure for safe passage. Minister for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect LGBTQ+ people from persecution, arrest and potential execution in Afghanistan.

We worked round the clock to airlift over 15000 people out of Afghanistan. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure for safe passage. Minister for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. As the Prime Minister said earlier this week, we will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, (a) how much of CDC Group’s £40.5 million commitment to the AfricInvest Fund IV has been disbursed and (b) to which projects those funds have been allocated.

CDC does not disclose disbursement information for individual investments as this is commercially sensitive.

CDC makes available information on the underlying investments made by funds into which it has invested on its website: https://www.cdcgroup.com/en/our-impact/fund/africinvest-iv/

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, (a) how much of CDC Group’s £81 million commitment to the Helios Investor IV fund has been disbursed and (b) to which projects those funds have been allocated.

CDC does not disclose disbursement information for individual investments as this is commercially sensitive.

CDC makes available information on the underlying investments made by funds into which it has invested on its website: https://www.cdcgroup.com/en/our-impact/fund/helios-investors-iv/

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Turkish Government in response to violence against the People's Democratic Party in that country.

The attack on the office of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) in Izmir, and the death of an HDP employee, was a shocking event. Our Embassy meets regularly with the HDP leadership, as it does with other opposition parties, to discuss their concerns, including the arrests of HDP MPs. We will continue to engage closely with Turkey to encourage the full protection of the fundamental rights and security of all peoples, regardless of their legitimate political affiliations, particularly in the areas of freedom of expression and assembly, press freedom and the treatment of detainees.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support in terms of (a) vaccinations and (b) general medical assistance the Government has provided to Nepal since the outbreak of covid-19 in that country.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the British Embassy in Kathmandu has reprioritised over £40 million of its development budget including: the construction of an oxygen plant in a Kathmandu hospital; technical advice to local government on managing the impact of COVID-19; water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to support around 400,000 people; safe spaces for women in isolation centres; cash and voucher assistance for the most vulnerable; and nutrition support for pregnant and lactating women. In response to the second wave of COVID-19 the UK has also donated 260 ventilators and various pieces of personal protective equipment as well as constructing an oxygen plant in Kathmandu.

With regards to vaccines, the UK is a leading donor to COVAX, having committed £548 million to the scheme. COVAX has delivered 348,000 doses to Nepal so far and another tranche is expected in the coming months. As G7 chair this year the UK has also secured a commitment to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to the developing world by June 2022, including 100 million donated by the UK. The majority of these doses will be donated to COVAX. As shareholders and contributors to both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the UK has also pushed hard for multilateral organisations to provide finance to countries for vaccine procurement, including Nepal. The World Bank has now made at least $75 million available to the Government of Nepal for that purpose; a further $165 million will soon be proposed to the board of the Asian Development Bank, which the UK will also support.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government has provided to Nepal to (a) help halt the spread of covid-19 and (b) roll out vaccines.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the British Embassy in Kathmandu has helped Nepal respond to COVID-19 by reprioritising over £40 million of its aid budget. This support has included the construction of an oxygen plant in a Kathmandu hospital; technical advice to local government on managing the impact of COVID-19; water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to support around 300,000 people; safe spaces for women in isolation centres; cash and voucher assistance for the most vulnerable; and nutrition support for pregnant and lactating women. On 19 May, Lord Ahmad discussed with Foreign Minister Gyawali how the UK could continue to support Nepal's fight against the second wave of COVID-19. The UK is also a leading donor to COVAX, having committed £548 million to the scheme. COVAX has allocated 2,000,000 vaccine doses to Nepal, of which 348,000 have already been delivered.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) the right to protest and (b) freedom of association is respected in Colombia.

We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and that the right to peaceful assembly and association must be guaranteed. Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we have raised our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia since protests began. Most recently, I spoke with acting Foreign Minister Adriana Mejía on 14 May to express our concerns, and welcome Colombia's commitment to transparent investigations into allegations of abuse.

We look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully any excessive use of force, and take appropriate action against those responsible. Security services must be held accountable for their actions, with all complaints thoroughly investigated. We will continue to work closely with the UN Verification Mission, and the UN Office of the High Representative for Human Rights in Colombia, as well as the wider international community, in support of their efforts to reduce tensions and promote dialogue.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of reducing Official Development Assistance research funding on covid-19 research partnerships between the UK and low and middle income countries.

We have prioritised our aid to be more strategic, and remain a force for good across the world. The portfolio agreed by the Foreign Secretary will focus our investment and expertise on issues where the UK can make the most difference, and achieve maximum strategic coherence, impact, and value for money. The UK is one of the largest donors to the international COVID-19 response. UK expertise in science, research, and development has led to one of the first effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines. We have made £1.3billion of new public commitments to counter the health, humanitarian, and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, and to support the global effort to equitably distribute vaccines.

Scientific and technological innovation runs through every one of the seven priority themes for our ODA spend. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) research partnerships for COVID-19, including the development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics will be maintained. We will continue to use our aid budget to support research and development partnerships with developing countries.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and (b) Global Challenges Research Fund projects that will be terminated as a result of budget reductions from UK Research and Innovation.

Following a thorough review, the FCDO's aid budget has been allocated in accordance with UK strategic priorities against a challenging financial climate caused by COVID-19. The portfolio agreed by the Foreign Secretary will focus our investment and expertise on issues where the UK can make the most difference and achieve maximum strategic coherence, impact, and value for money. While we recognise some programmes will close, this will be done in a measured and responsible way, working closely with our delivery partners. FCDO is now working through what this means for individual research programmes, in line with the priorities we have identified.

As a result of the reduction in BEIS' ODA budget, all BEIS delivery partners have been asked to review planned ODA spend for 2021/22. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have consulted grant-holders across more than 800 live projects across Global Challenges Research Fund grants and Hubs on how to handle the reduced allocations, and hope to communicate the results of this process by the end of May.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to help ensure that project at (a) institutions and (b) academics that rely on Official Development Assistance funded research will continue after reductions to the UK's ODA budget.

We have prioritised our aid to be more strategic and remain a force for good across the world. Following a thorough review, the FCDO's aid budget has been allocated in accordance with UK strategic priorities against a challenging financial climate caused by COVID. FCDO will now work through what this means for individual research programmes, in line with the priorities we have identified

While we recognise some programmes will close, this will be done in a measured and responsible way, working closely with our partner research institutions and academics. We will return to spending 0.7 per cent as soon as the financial climate allows.  All FCDO teams will now plan their work based on the budget that has been allocated to them. We will discuss specifics with each individual project. Budgets for 2022/23 and beyond will be determined through the spending review process later this year.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether Sir Alan Duncan attended the Sultan's Privy Council in Oman in early January 2011 when he was Minister of State for International Development.

Sir Alan Duncan visited Oman in January 2011 in a private capacity as declared in the Parliamentary Register.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports that several children were killed in a military bombing raid against illegal armed groups in Guaviare, southern Colombia on 2 March 2021.

The UK remains extremely concerned by the continued recruitment of minors by illegal armed groups in Colombia. We most recently raised this issue on 21 April at the UN Security Council meeting, at which the UN Secretary General's Special Representative presented his quarterly report on Colombia's peace process. We urged all armed groups to immediately release all minors from their ranks, also expressing our concerns about the tragic deaths of minors during Government operations against armed groups in Guaviare last month, and welcomed the Government's investigation into these deaths.

The UK is an active permanent member of the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), which leads the international response to violations committed against children in conflict. We regularly raise concerns with the Colombian Government, and at the UN, and will continue to do so.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with the Moroccan Ambassador and instruct HM Ambassador to Morocco to raise with the Moroccan authorities the case of the British passport holder, Mohamed Adjevi who is being held by the Moroccan authorities and allegedly tortured.

We take all allegations or concerns of torture and mistreatment very seriously and will follow up with action, as appropriate. When considering how to act, we will avoid any action that might put the British National or any other person that may be affected at risk

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to encourage Zimbabwe to give up Rwanda Genocide suspect Protais Mpiranya to allow him to face trial.

We are aware of reports that suspected genocidaire, Protais Mpiranya, is believed to be in Zimbabwe. The UK supports the UN investigation to locate him. We call on Zimbabwe to work with the UN. We are encouraged that Zimbabwe and Rwanda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 19 March regarding legal mutual assistance on criminal matters as part of a four-day virtual Joint Permanent Commission to strengthen bilateral relations. The UK remains fully committed to ensuring perpetrators of the genocide are held to account and justice is achieved.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support is the Government is providing to Zimbabwe to support covid-19 testing and vaccination in that country.

The UK quickly adapted existing programmes in early 2020 to support the COVID-19 response in Zimbabwe. This included funding through the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support national coordination efforts, the development of the National COVID-19 Strategy, and work to enhance the capacity of the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (PHEOC). UK funding also provided community messaging, support for frontline workers, water sanitation and hygiene improvement in schools and health facilities, and humanitarian food and cash aid to help mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable. Through the Health Development Fund and WHO, the UK supported development of the National Vaccine Deployment Plan (NVDP), COVID-19 Demand Generation Strategy, Testing Strategy, capacity building of lab scientists, rapid response teams on testing, procurement of tests, and establishment of surveillance mechanisms. Zimbabwe has been confirmed as a participant for the COVAX facility and is eligible for 3 million doses, with 984,000 allocated in the initial round. The UK's Ambassador to Zimbabwe met Vice President Chiwenga on 23 December 2020 to discuss COVID vaccines and reiterated the UK commitment to support equitable access to vaccines through the COVAX facility.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has raised the case of Sultana Khaya with his Moroccan counterpart.

We are aware of reports concerning Sultana Khaya and are monitoring the case. Support for human rights and human rights defenders is a UK priority around the world, and we continue to raise human rights issues with the Moroccan Government accordingly.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2021 to Question 141623 on Western Sahara: Sovereignty, whether it is his policy that the status of Western Sahara is as a Non-Self-Governing Territory in the process of decolonisation.

As the Foreign Secretary stated on 11 December 2020, the UK regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined. We take note of the UN's position on the status of Western Sahara, which is set out on its website: https://www.un.org/dppa/decolonization/en/nsgt/western-sahara

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2021 to Question 141623 on Western Sahara: Sovereignty, what assessment he has made of whether the exercise of self-determination includes the option of independence.

The UK supports UN-led efforts to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. It is for the parties to the dispute to agree a resolution on the final status of Western Sahara. We encourage the parties to re-engage with the UN-led political process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what guidance he has issued to British High Commissions, Consulates and Embassies on supporting UK citizens abroad who wish to return to the UK during ongoing international covid-19 restrictions and limited international flights.

Our advice to British nationals abroad is that they should follow the public health advice of the country which they are in, including current COVID-19 restrictions, and consider whether they should take additional precautions due to underlying health conditions. Our consular staff endeavour to give appropriate and tailored support to British nationals overseas and their families in the UK, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This support includes providing assistance to return to the UK where it is appropriate. The assistance the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can provide to British nationals abroad is set out in the publication: Support for British nationals abroad: A Guide (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide). British nationals who wish to return to the UK should check current COVID-19 related restrictions and follow the advice on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he is providing support to British citizens who have been unable to return to the UK as a result of international covid-19 restrictions.

Our advice to British nationals abroad is that they should follow the public health advice of the country which they are in, including current COVID-19 restrictions, and consider whether they should take additional precautions due to underlying health conditions. Our consular staff endeavour to give appropriate and tailored support to British nationals overseas and their families in the UK, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This support includes providing assistance to return to the UK where it is appropriate. The assistance the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can provide to British nationals abroad is set out in the publication: Support for British nationals abroad: A Guide (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide). British nationals who wish to return to the UK should check current COVID-19 related restrictions and follow the advice on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he is providing assistance to UK citizens affected by covid-19 related international travel restrictions to return to the UK.

Our advice to British nationals abroad is that they should follow the public health advice of the country which they are in, including current COVID-19 restrictions, and consider whether they should take additional precautions due to underlying health conditions. Our consular staff endeavour to give appropriate and tailored support to British nationals overseas and their families in the UK, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This support includes providing assistance to return to the UK where it is appropriate. The assistance the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can provide to British nationals abroad is set out in the publication: Support for British nationals abroad: A Guide (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide). British nationals who wish to return to the UK should check current COVID-19 related restrictions and follow the advice on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 155445, if he will make representations to the Moroccan authorities on the disappearance and death of Muhammed Salem Ayyad Al Fahim.

We continue to follow media reporting on the death and disappearance of Muhammed Salem Al Fahim to better understand the facts of the case.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the UK is providing to the Ethiopian (a) military and (b) police security services.

The UK provides mentorship and training to a variety of Ethiopian organisations, including those involved in national security and policing. These are limited in scope and go through a rigorous Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessment.

The UK provides training for Ethiopian peacekeeping forces involved in AMISOM, the peacekeeping mission in Somalia operated by the African Union (AU), with approval from the UN. The UK works with the AU to provide non-operational leadership training to Ethiopian forces on key elements of peacekeeping work such as: training on compliance with international law and the law of armed conflict, managing and utilising funds for peacekeeping work and media operations. The UK also provides training for a small number individuals on leadership, management of Defence and human rights. The UK provides no operational training to the Ethiopian Military.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 155443 on Sultana Khaya, if he will instruct the HM Ambassador to Morocco to raise with the Moroccan Government the throwing of stones at (a) Sultana Khaya and (b) other human rights defenders.

We are aware of reports concerning Sultana Khaya. Support for human rights and human rights defenders is a priority around the world, and we continue to raise human rights issues with the Moroccan Government accordingly.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including sanitary product provision as requirement for any girls' education programme funded by his Department.

Tackling the complex barriers to girls' education will be key to achieving 12 years of quality education for all girls. Enabling all girls who menstruate to manage their periods safely, hygienically, and with dignity, allows them to stay in school and fully participate in society. The FCDO takes an integrated approach to ending period poverty and shame, tackling the range of barriers that girls and women face in managing their periods. This includes access to products as well as safe hygiene facilities, education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and shifting social norms to tackle stigma and shame.

Through the Girls' Education Challenge, and other UK aid programmes, we have supported education about periods, girls' access to sanitary products, and improvements to school sanitation facilities. We have also supported a pilot "menstruation friendly" school package in Uganda.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will instruct HM Ambassador to Morocco to send an official to observe the appeal of the Saharawi Ahmed Aliouat in the Military court in Rabat.

We are aware of the case of Ahmed Aliouat. We discuss human rights with the Moroccan authorities and raise cases where appropriate.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will (a) discuss with the Moroccan Ambassador and (b) instruct HM Ambassador to Morocco to raise with the Moroccan authorities the case of Ahmed Aliouat.

We are aware of the case of Ahmed Aliouat. We discuss human rights with the Moroccan authorities and raise cases where appropriate.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will ask the Ambassador to Morocco to (a) make representations to the Moroccan authorities on the disappearance and death of Muhammed Salem Ayyad Al Fahim and (b) request that a medical autopsy is undertaken by those authorities.

Support for human rights is a priority around the world, and we raise human rights issues with the Moroccan Government accordingly. We note the opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Walid Salek El Batal.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with the Moroccan Ambassador on the opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for the immediate release of the Saharawi journalist, Walid Salek El Batal.

Support for human rights is a priority around the world, and we raise human rights issues with the Moroccan Government accordingly. We note the opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Walid Salek El Batal.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will instruct HM Ambassador to Morocco to raise with the Moroccan authorities the throwing of stones at the Saharawi human rights defender Sultana Khaya by police.

Support for human rights is a priority around the world, and we raise human rights issues with the Moroccan Government accordingly. We note the opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Walid Salek El Batal.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 137300, whether Morocco has sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara.

The UK's position remains unchanged. We continue to regard the status of Western Sahara as undetermined, and support UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many Special Rapporteurs have visited the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara since the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1979 in April 2011; when those visits took place; and what the duration was of each such visit.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has conducted several visits to Western Sahara since 2011, the latest of which was in January 2016. Further details of these visits can be found on the OHCHR website.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to make representations to the Moroccan Government on freedom of expression for people calling for independence in occupied Western Sahara.

Support for human rights including freedom of expression is a priority around the world. We raise such issues with the Moroccan Government accordingly and monitor cases related to freedom of expression in Western Sahara. The UK fully supports the UN's efforts to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to abide by Criterion 4 of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Licencing Consolidated Criteria ensuring that licences for Morocco are not used to assert by force its territorial claim in Western Sahara.

HMG takes its export control responsibilities seriously and continues to monitor developments in Western Sahara closely. We examine every licence application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, including Criterion Four. We draw on a range of sources in making assessments, including from NGOs, international organisations and reports from our overseas network. All licences are kept under careful and continual review as standard.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what advice his Department is giving to British citizens living in occupied Western Sahara following the recent breakdown of the 1991 ceasefire agreement.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Travel Advice is regularly updated. It advises against all travel to areas of Western Sahara within 30km north west of the Berm and all areas of Western Sahara south east of the Berm.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support he is providing to the Metropolitan Police investigating Keenie Meenie Services in relation to war crimes in Sri Lanka.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office are assisting the Metropolitan Police War Crime's Unit in relation to this investigation, including by sharing relevant documents. We are not able to provide further comment on the details of the investigation, as it is ongoing.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the Moroccan Ambassador on that country's breach of the 1991 ceasefire agreement with Polisario Front by the sending of troops into the buffer zone between Western Sahara and Mauritania.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, observe the ceasefire agreement, and return to the UN-led political process as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will (a) discuss with the Moroccan Ambassador and (b) instruct the HM Ambassador to Morocco to raise with the Moroccan authorities reports of (i) arbitrary detention and (ii) other increased harassment by Moroccan forces of Saharawi in El Aaiun, Western Sahara.

The UK is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide, including in Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps, as we regularly make clear to the parties.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps the Government has taken to advocate for human rights in Zimbabwe.

The UK is deeply concerned by the human rights environment in Zimbabwe that includes the abduction, arrest and assault of civil society, trade union and opposition activists. Zimbabwe remains one of the UK's 30 human rights priority countries globally. I regularly engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to raise serious concerns about the political, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe. We have been clear that the Government of Zimbabwe must meet its international and domestic obligations by respecting the rule of law, safeguarding human rights, and committing to genuine political and economic reform for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. When I wrote to Foreign Minister Moyo on 12 August, following a telephone call with him on 8 June, I raised specific human rights violations and made it clear that the UK has yet to see meaningful progress on human rights. Until this changes, further UK support for Zimbabwe would not be possible.

The UK Government published the Annual Human Rights Report for 2019 in July. This report includes a section outlining our considerable concern around the current human rights environment in Zimbabwe. It also outlines the extensive financial and technical support the UK gives to civil society organisations who help Zimbabwean citizens hold the state to account. We do not publicise our partners to avoid putting them at risk, in itself an indictment of the situation in Zimbabwe. We will continue call on the Government of Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law. This includes respecting the Zimbabwean Constitution which clearly prohibits enforced disappearances, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. The UK will also continue to work alongside the international community to support good governance, respect for human rights, and genuine political and economic reform in Zimbabwe, to help secure a better future for all Zimbabweans.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding has been in invested by the CDC Group in Azalai Hotels Group to date.

CDC's investment into Azalai is centred on creating jobs and stability in some of the world's most challenged countries: Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, and Cote d'Ivoire. Since 2015 the company has created over 150 new permanent jobs in the formal economy. In addition to job creation, the investment has wider benefits to the local and national economies. For example, by purchasing locally sourced goods and services and by improving economic infrastructure.

CDC's investment into Azalia is via two funds: AfricInvest III and Cauris Croissance. CDC's partnership model, investing through fund managers, helps it achieve impact at scale by supporting hundreds of SMEs across Africa and South Asia. In addition to backing local teams of investors, and equipping them with strong Environmental, Social and Governance practises, the model helps support the development of self-sustaining local finance markets.

CDC publishes the amounts it invests directly into businesses and into investment funds on its website www.cdcgroup.com. Amounts invested by fund managers into individual companies are not published as this information is commercially sensitive.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much financial support the Government has made available to local authorities for supporting refugees arriving from (a) Afghanistan and (b) other countries as a result of the security situation in Afghanistan.

The government has announced the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme which will relocate 5,000 vulnerable Afghans in its first year, potentially rising to 20,000 over the long term. The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) for those who worked with the UK in Afghanistan also remains open. More detail on funding for local authorities to support those eligible for both schemes will be announced shortly.

In addition to the Afghan schemes, the Home Office also delivers the UK Resettlement Scheme which resettles vulnerable refugees from a range of regions of conflict and instability.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons it is not a requirement to monitor contracts that have ended due to a supplier termination event.

Due to the high number of contracts awarded by HMRC and the rarity of supplier termination events, it would be a disproportionate requirement to monitor these. HMRC acts in accordance to the Government Commercial Operating Standards, and there is no necessity to monitor supplier termination events.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps HMRC is taking to (a) monitor and (b) minimise supplier termination events in respect of contracts.

HMRC records are not held in such a way as to identify contracts that have ended due to a supplier termination event.

HMRC adopts Government Commercial Organisation standards and best practice methodologies for contract management and supplier relationship management.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what systems HMRC has in place to monitor the regularity of supplier termination events.

HMRC records are not held in such a way as to identify contracts that have ended due to a supplier termination event.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of duty-free arrival stores on (a) employment at Manchester Airport and other regional airports and (b) the economy local to those airports.

Following a consultation, the Government announced on 11 September 2020 that duty-free sales would be extended to EU-bound passengers for the first time in over 20 years from 1 January 2021.

This is a significant boost to all airports and international rail terminals in England, Scotland and Wales, including Manchester, and smaller regional airports and rail hubs, which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

Duty-free on arrival did not form part of the Government's consultation on the potential approach to duty- and tax-free goods arising from the UK’s new relationship with the EU, which took place in the Spring of 2020. The Government nonetheless acknowledged in the summary of responses to the consultation that some stakeholders had requested the introduction of duty-free on arrival. This also set out that duty-free on arrival was not a scheme that the Government previously offered and was therefore not considering implementing the scheme at that time.

Duty-free on arrival conflicts with international principles of taxation which suggest that goods should be taxed in the country where they are consumed. The introduction of such a scheme could also undermine the UK high street and public health objectives. As with all policy areas, the Government will keep its position under review.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on savers of NS&I’s reduction in interest rates for savings.

NS&I must balance the interests of savers, taxpayers and the broader financial services sector. And decisions on interest rates will heavily depend on how NS&I is fairing against its Net Financing target for that financial year.

In July 2020, NS&I’s Net Financing target for 2020-21 was revised from £6 billion (+/- £3 billion) to £35 billion (+/- £5 billion) to reflect the Government’s funding requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first six months of 2020-21, NS&I had raised a total of £38.3 billion of Net Financing for the Government, so it was necessary to revise the interest rates offered on its products to reduce inflows.

It is important that HM Treasury takes into account taxpayer value considerations when making financing decisions. With gilt yields currently at low levels, government financing raised through NS&I is more expensive than that raised through gilt issuance.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to investigate the level of customer complaints received by the NS&I in respect of attempting to withdraw funds in the financial year 2020-2021.

NS&I has seen exceptionally high customer demand since the Covid-19 outbreak, and this was amplified by a requirement for NS&I to raise additional funding from savers to support the Government’s response to the pandemic.

In order to return customer service levels to the high standards NS&I is accustomed to, they have put a number of measures in place to improve its operational performance. These include expanding its UK contact centres by opening additional sites and recruiting additional staff to process customer enquiries. NS&I is working hard to return to delivering its usual high standard of customer service.

In January 2021, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (EST), as the Minister responsible for NS&I, met with NS&I senior managers and its outsourced provider, to discuss their operational recovery plans and progress against their targets. The Treasury continues to support NS&I’s recovery programme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of local councils using the Public Works Loan Board for housing revenue accounts.

In the financial year 2019-20, 65 local authorities in England borrowed £657 million to finance Housing Revenue Accounts (HRAs). As local authorities borrow from the PWLB to fund their capital programmes as a whole, it is difficult to know for certain how much of this borrowing was from the PWLB.

Between 12 March and 25 November 2020, the PWLB offered a separate HRA rate, which was 100 basis points lower than the Certainty rate at which local authorities could borrow for all other capital expenditure. During this time 50 local authorities borrowed £1.146 billion from the PWLB at the HRA rate.

The HRA rate was discontinued after the Certainty rate was reduced by 100 basis points, which equalised the costs of borrowing for all types of capital expenditure.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what data his Department holds on the ethnicity of recipients of support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Information on the ethnic breakdown of recipients supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is not available.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publish statistics on the CJRS. The latest release was published on GOV.UK on 25 February 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-february-2021.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the three year limit on the transfer of ISA benefits from a deceased spouse during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government has no plans to extend the three year limit due to COVID-19. In addition to the three year limit, there is already a separate limit of 180 days from the completion of administration of the estate where that is over three years.
John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how often a supplier termination event takes place at HM Revenue and Customs.

The information requested could only be made available at disproportionate cost. Due to the high number of contracts awarded by HMRC, it would take a significant amount of HMRC staff resource to obtain the information requested. HMRC records are not held in such a way as to identify contracts that have ended due to a supplier termination event.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how often a supplier termination event takes place at HM Revenue and Customs relating to the prohibition of the use of arrangements involving the use of offshore entities, whereby the main purpose is to achieve a reduction in UK tax of any description.

The information requested could only be made available at disproportionate cost. Due to the high number of contracts awarded by HMRC, it would take a significant amount of HMRC staff resource to obtain the information requested. HMRC records are not held in such a way as to identify contracts that have ended due to a supplier termination event and the reason behind this.

HMRC incorporate standard tax compliance clauses into all of their commercial contracts, requiring the supplier to ensure that it and its subcontractors do not put in place arrangements involving offshore companies designed to achieve a reduction in United Kingdom tax which would otherwise be payable.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many debt collection companies whose accounts are based in offshore tax havens have been hired by HMRC since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

HMRC do not hire debt collection agencies (DCAs) directly. DCAs are engaged to collect a small proportion of HMRC tax debt via the Debt Market Integrator (DMI) Framework, currently with Indesser. None of the eight DCAs brought onto the HMRC panel (from the framework) is based in offshore tax havens; all are registered and based in the UK. Even though the DCAs are not hired directly by HMRC, as a tax authority HMRC conduct robust compliance checks on each of the DCAs on the panel, on at least an annual basis.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many companies whose accounts are based in offshore tax havens have been hired by HMRC since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested could only be made available at disproportionate cost. Due to the high number of contracts awarded by HMRC, it would take a significant amount of HMRC staff resource to obtain the information requested. HMRC records are not held in such a way as to identify companies by the location of their accounts.

However, HMRC do include clauses within their standard contract terms and conditions that prohibit the use of arrangements involving the use of offshore entities, whereby the main purpose is to achieve a reduction in UK tax of any description.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money has been recovered by debt collection companies contracted by HMRC since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Since March 2020, private sector debt collection agencies have collected £321 million on behalf of HMRC. To put that into context, HMRC have collected £38.7 billion of debt in total in the period from April to November 2020.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many debt collection companies HMRC has employed since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

HMRC use eight different debt collection agencies and the debt can be spread across them at any one time. HMRC do not contract directly with these agencies, but instead have access to their services via the Debt Market Integrator. This organisation acts as a broker and routes the debts to the debt collection agencies that are members of the panel. This is the same way that other Government departments have access to debt collection agency services. The Debt Market Integrator itself is a joint venture between Cabinet Office and the private sector.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what HMRC’s policy is on using companies that are not registered in the UK.

Public sector procurement is subject to a legal framework which encourages free and open competition and value for money, in line with internationally and nationally agreed obligations and regulations. In line with these regulations, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are required to treat suppliers from third-party countries equally to companies registered in the UK. In compliance with these obligations, HMRC may award a contract to a company not registered in the UK, should such a supplier be successful as part of a relevant procurement process.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what HMRC's policy is on using companies registered in tax havens.

HMRC’s standard contract terms and conditions prohibit the use of any arrangements involving the use of offshore companies, or other offshore entities, whereby the main purpose is to achieve a reduction in United Kingdom tax of any description. Failure to meet such requirements may constitute a ‘Supplier Termination Event’, allowing HMRC to terminate the contract with the supplier.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what HMRC's policy is on using companies that engage in tax avoidance.

HMRC, as the tax authority, adopt a robust approach to tax compliance for their own procurements. HMRC conduct tax compliance checks for their own competitive tenders, reserving the right to exclude a supplier where they can demonstrate a breach of tax/social security obligations by the supplier, including in instances where no binding judicial or administrative decision has been made.

Suppliers bidding for HMRC contracts valued at over £5 million are also required to self-certify their tax compliance status (Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Notice 03/14), including declaring: (i) any convictions for tax related offences/civil penalties for fraud or evasion; (ii) successful challenges under the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) or the ‘Halifax’ abuse principle; or (iii) involvement in a failed avoidance scheme which was/should have been notified under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Scheme (DOTAS). The circumstances surrounding any such declaration would be considered before any decision is taken on contract award.

HMRC also undertake extensive tax compliance checks both as part of the procurement process and at least annually for all high value/risk/complexity contracts and for some selected low value/high risk or high complexity contracts. HMRC’s standard contractual terms and conditions allow them to terminate a contract where a supplier is in breach of tax law during the term of a contract.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of ending VAT-free shopping on (a) visitor numbers and (b) jobs at Manchester Airport's duty-free retailers.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to EU residents and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government is also continuing to meet and discuss the changes with stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers. A technical note has also been issued to stakeholders to expand on this document and to respond to issues raised by stakeholders.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including smaller regional airports like Manchester which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

On 25 November the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out their assessment of the fiscal impact of the withdrawal of the tax-free airside sales. The OBR estimate that the withdrawal will raise approximately £170 million per year for the Exchequer, after behavioural responses are taken into account and passenger numbers recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how he plans to implement the measures relating to supporting jobs announced in the Summer Economic Updates in Stockport constituency and the North West region.

In its Plan for Jobs, the Government has announced unprecedented support to help unemployed people in Great Britain find a job. We are providing £1.2bn to significantly expand and enhance work search support, including doubling the number of work coaches, additional investment into the Flexible Support Fund to provide direct support at a local level, and using externally contracted provision to expand support even further.

Recognising that young people are particularly at risk, the government has also launched a new £2bn Kickstart Scheme, creating hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across Great Britain, as well as a guaranteed foundation of support to all 18-24 year olds on Universal Credit in the Intensive Worksearch group, through its new youth offer.

The support is available across Great Britain, including the Stockport constituency and the North West region. As of August 2020, approximately 330,000 people are receiving worksearch support through Universal Credit and Jobseeker's Allowance in the North West. The support includes measures, such as the Flexible Support Fund, that will be delivered at a local level through DWP’s extensive network of over 600 Job Centre Plus branches. This means the additional discretionary support work coaches have to remove barriers to work will be allocated based on local needs. The Rapid Response Service can also be rapidly mobilised anywhere in the country and is based on understanding of local labour market.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
15th Sep 2020
What steps he is taking to support regional economies.

We recognise that every region will be feeling the impacts of this crisis and the Government has responded to the challenges of Covid-19 through unprecedented support for business and workers across the country.

At the Summer Economic Update, the Chancellor announced the Government’s plan to support jobs in every region through upgrades to local infrastructure, boosting skills, and new employment support schemes. This builds on our commitment at Budget to invest in our towns, cities, people and places.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of police vehicles in (a) the territorial police force of Greater Manchester and (b) police constabularies across the country.

The Home Office do not collect information on the number of police vehicles in a police force. Future requests should be directed to police forces.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to provide assistance to LGBTQI+ Afghans seeking asylum.

The UK has a proud record of providing protection for people who need it, in accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, there is no provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge. Whilst we acknowledge the increasingly complex situation in Afghanistan, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.

While we do not allow asylum claims from abroad, all asylum claims that are lodged from within the UK, including those from Afghan nationals that are based on sexual orientation or gender identity, will be carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Those who need protection will normally be granted five years’ limited leave, have full access to the labour market and mainstream benefits, and can apply for settlement after five years.

We do not remove asylum seekers who have had to leave their countries because their sexuality or gender identity has put them at risk of persecution and no one who is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there. Enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and have exhausted all rights of appeal are also currently paused while we consider the situation.

The UK’s new resettlement scheme will, however, offer a route welcoming Afghans most at risk who have been forced to flee the country. We will work with UNHCR and partners in the region to prioritise those at risk, such as women and girls at risk, and ethnic, religious and LGBT+ minority groups at risk.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate her Department has made of the number of (a) Hindus, (b) Sikhs and (c) Hazara people that have been evacuated to the UK from Afghanistan following recent evacuation efforts in that country.

The Home Office is prioritising finding accommodation for the thousands of people who were evacuated and are leaving managed quarantine settings. Analysis of demographics will follow in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether each police force collected information on the race or ethnicity of victims of hate crime prior to the collection of that information under the Government's experimental pilot to disaggregate religious hate crime data under its 2016-2020 Hate Crime Action Plan.

Information on the race or ethnicity of hate crime victims has not previously been collected centrally by the Home Office but will be during 2021/22. Individual police forces will collect a range of data for operational reasons.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reasons her Department did not collect information on the race or ethnicity of victims of hate crime until 2021.

We introduced this data requirement following the successful experimental pilot to disaggregate religious hate crime data under the 2016-2020 Hate Crime Action Plan. Each new data requirement needs close engagement with forces to ensure data recording is accurate and consistent.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many instances of hate crime towards people of Indian heritage were reported in (a) 2016, (b) 2017, (c) 2018, (d) 2019 and (e) 2020.

The Home Office collects and publishes statistics annually on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales by five centrally monitored strands: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender.

Information on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police can be found in ‘Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2019/20’ statistical bulletin, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2019-to-2020 Information has not previously been collected on the race or ethnicity of victims but will be during 2021/22 and published in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many instances of hate crime were reported in (a) 2016, (b) 2017, (c) 2018, (d) 2019 and (e) 2020.

The Home Office collects and publishes statistics annually on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales by five centrally monitored strands: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender.

Information on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police can be found in ‘Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2019/20’ statistical bulletin, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2019-to-2020 Information has not previously been collected on the race or ethnicity of victims but will be during 2021/22 and published in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of reported instances of hate crime towards people of Indian heritage in the UK in the last (a) 3 and (b) 12 months.

The Home Office collects and publishes statistics annually on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales by five centrally monitored strands: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender. Information has not previously been collected on the race or ethnicity of victims but will be during 2021/22 and published in due course.
Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what measures are in place to prevent investigation bias in rape and serious sexual offence cases.

Decisions made during a rape and other serious sexual offence cases, including measures to ensure balance in an investigation are an operational matter for the forces involved.

The Government recognises that the declining numbers of rape and serious sexual offences reaching the courts and charges against offenders has, rightly, been the subject of public scrutiny and concern.

We are taking action to improve outcomes for rape cases through our end-to-end review of the criminal justice response to rape. The review covers from the point of a report to the police through to final outcome in court.

The end-to-end Rape Review will be published shortly.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the requirement to attend a citizenship ceremony during the outbreak of covid-19.

The citizenship ceremony is an important part of becoming a British citizen. Citizenship ceremonies have now resumed with reduced capacity due to social distancing measures in line with government guidelines. Local Authorities are also conducting virtual ceremonies where possible.

The usual deadline for a person to attend a ceremony within three months of their application being approved has been extended to six months. Advice regarding COVID-19 impacts on Citizenship ceremonies is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/citizenship-ceremonies.

There is discretion to waive the requirements to make the oath and pledge and attend a ceremony in the special circumstances of an individual case.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of increases in the waiting time for citizenship ceremonies on applicants.

The usual deadline for a person to attend a ceremony within three months of their application being approved has been extended to six months. The majority of those applying for British citizenship (naturalisation applicants) will be settled in the UK, and so already able to access public services on this basis.

In addition, there is discretion to waive the requirements to make the oath, pledge and to attend a ceremony in the special circumstances where a person needs to acquire citizenship quickly for a compelling reason.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of citizenship ceremonies that have been delayed in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport constituency since March 2020.

Over 206 local authorities across the UK are responsible for planning and conducting Citizenship ceremonies within each local authority area.

Information is not held by the Home Office on the number of ceremonies which have been scheduled or completed by local authorities.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Community Protection Notices local authorities have issued in respect of anti-social behaviour in (a) England and (b) Stockport in (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides flexible powers to authorities in local areas. As the powers are local in nature, the Home Office does not centrally collate data on the use of powers under the 2014 Act.

Data on injunctions that have been issued for incidents relating to anti-social behaviour is not collated centrally or published.

The Home Office does not collate data on the use of the Community Trigger mechanism. The 2014 Act includes a statutory duty for relevant bodies in a local government area to publish, at least annually, the number of applications for Community Trigger reviews received, the number of times the threshold for review was not met, the number of reviews carried out, and the number of the reviews that resulted in recommendations being made.

The Home Office updated statutory guidance in January 2021 to support local authorities to make effective use of the powers in the 2014 Act and provide enhanced clarity on the Community Trigger process. The 2014 Act and the statutory guidance also supports agencies determine whether restorative approaches are appropriate, depending on the specific behaviour.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of restorative justice when dealing with anti-social behaviour in (a) England and (b) Stockport.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides flexible powers to authorities in local areas. As the powers are local in nature, the Home Office does not centrally collate data on the use of powers under the 2014 Act.

Data on injunctions that have been issued for incidents relating to anti-social behaviour is not collated centrally or published.

The Home Office does not collate data on the use of the Community Trigger mechanism. The 2014 Act includes a statutory duty for relevant bodies in a local government area to publish, at least annually, the number of applications for Community Trigger reviews received, the number of times the threshold for review was not met, the number of reviews carried out, and the number of the reviews that resulted in recommendations being made.

The Home Office updated statutory guidance in January 2021 to support local authorities to make effective use of the powers in the 2014 Act and provide enhanced clarity on the Community Trigger process. The 2014 Act and the statutory guidance also supports agencies determine whether restorative approaches are appropriate, depending on the specific behaviour.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will undertake an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Community Trigger Mechanism policy since its introduction in 2014.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides flexible powers to authorities in local areas. As the powers are local in nature, the Home Office does not centrally collate data on the use of powers under the 2014 Act.

Data on injunctions that have been issued for incidents relating to anti-social behaviour is not collated centrally or published.

The Home Office does not collate data on the use of the Community Trigger mechanism. The 2014 Act includes a statutory duty for relevant bodies in a local government area to publish, at least annually, the number of applications for Community Trigger reviews received, the number of times the threshold for review was not met, the number of reviews carried out, and the number of the reviews that resulted in recommendations being made.

The Home Office updated statutory guidance in January 2021 to support local authorities to make effective use of the powers in the 2014 Act and provide enhanced clarity on the Community Trigger process. The 2014 Act and the statutory guidance also supports agencies determine whether restorative approaches are appropriate, depending on the specific behaviour.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Community Trigger Mechanisms that have been (a) requested and (b) implemented by local authorities in (i) England and (ii) Stockport since 2014.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides flexible powers to authorities in local areas. As the powers are local in nature, the Home Office does not centrally collate data on the use of powers under the 2014 Act.

Data on injunctions that have been issued for incidents relating to anti-social behaviour is not collated centrally or published.

The Home Office does not collate data on the use of the Community Trigger mechanism. The 2014 Act includes a statutory duty for relevant bodies in a local government area to publish, at least annually, the number of applications for Community Trigger reviews received, the number of times the threshold for review was not met, the number of reviews carried out, and the number of the reviews that resulted in recommendations being made.

The Home Office updated statutory guidance in January 2021 to support local authorities to make effective use of the powers in the 2014 Act and provide enhanced clarity on the Community Trigger process. The 2014 Act and the statutory guidance also supports agencies determine whether restorative approaches are appropriate, depending on the specific behaviour.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an estimate of the number of injunctions that have been issued for anti-social behaviour in (a) England and (b) Stockport during (i) 2015 and (ii) 2020; and whether there has been a decrease in the number of those injunctions during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides flexible powers to authorities in local areas. As the powers are local in nature, the Home Office does not centrally collate data on the use of powers under the 2014 Act.

Data on injunctions that have been issued for incidents relating to anti-social behaviour is not collated centrally or published.

The Home Office does not collate data on the use of the Community Trigger mechanism. The 2014 Act includes a statutory duty for relevant bodies in a local government area to publish, at least annually, the number of applications for Community Trigger reviews received, the number of times the threshold for review was not met, the number of reviews carried out, and the number of the reviews that resulted in recommendations being made.

The Home Office updated statutory guidance in January 2021 to support local authorities to make effective use of the powers in the 2014 Act and provide enhanced clarity on the Community Trigger process. The 2014 Act and the statutory guidance also supports agencies determine whether restorative approaches are appropriate, depending on the specific behaviour.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the (a) performance of the National Referral Mechanism process and (b) effect of that mechanism on people applying for asylum.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) has lifted thousands of modern slavery victims out of dangerous situations of exploitation, putting them in a position where they can begin to rebuild their lives. We know that the system is currently facing challenges, therefore it is right that we learn lessons and consider how we can continue to support victims in a way that is sustainable and centred on their needs. The Government has established the NRM Transformation Programme, which will address the challenges that the current system faces by resetting the system of identification and support. Building on the successes of recent NRM reforms, the NRM Transformation Programme will make sure genuine victims have their cases settled promptly, receive support tailored to their needs, and are empowered to move on with their lives. We intend the NRM to be a world-class system that effectively identifies and delivers needs-based support for victims of modern slavery.

Where relevant, individuals are able to claim asylum whilst they are being supported by the NRM. Potential victims and victims of modern slavery are eligible for support through the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract (MSVCC), including accommodation and financial support. Where appropriate, some support services may be delivered by the asylum support system for asylum seeking victims

Confirmed victims of modern slavery who are also asylum seekers may be eligible for a grant of leave as a confirmed victim of modern slavery, but this usually only needs to be considered if the asylum claim is refused. The published policy can be found on gov.uk (Discretionary leave considerations for victims of modern slavery) and gives a number of examples in which a grant of discretionary leave is appropriate.

As part of the New Plan for Immigration announced on 24 March 2021, we are consulting on a proposal that would enable confirmed victims with long-term recovery needs linked to their modern slavery exploitation to be considered for a grant of temporary leave to remain to assist their recovery. This builds on our end-to-end needs-based approach to supporting victims. We would also make clear that temporary leave to remain may be available to victims who are helping the police with prosecutions and bringing their exploiters to justice.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps she has taken to tackle the concerns raised by disabled tenants and leaseholders on the adequacy of (a) evacuation plans and (b) suitable alternative accommodation in the case of a fire in high rise blocks.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places requirements on Responsible Persons to implement practical arrangements and procedures to safeguard all residents and prevent serious and imminent danger. Most multi-occupied residential premises will have in place an evacuation plan to provide assurance to all residents.

The recent Fire Safety Consultation sought views on our proposals to the Inquiry’s recommendations that require a change in the law, including on requiring the Responsible Person for all high-rise residential buildings to draw up and share with their local Fire and Rescue Service current evacuation plans. Following the Consultation, we are considering the proposals in light of the responses received, and plan to implement Regulations as soon as is practical in 2021.

It is important that we get this right and ensure the voice of residents and those with accessibility needs and disabilities are heard, and we will undertake a further consultation this spring on the complex issue of personal emergency evacuation plans.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which came into force in April 2018, placed duties on local housing authorities to take reasonable steps to try to prevent and relieve a person’s homelessness. If a housing authority is unable to prevent an applicant from becoming homeless, they are required to reach a decision as to whether the applicant has a priority need for accommodation.

Any person who is made homeless by result of an emergency, such as a fire, has a priority need for homeless assistance and would be entitled to accommodation secured by the local authority.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether women who have gaps in their Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) as a result of maternity leave or childcare responsibilities will still qualify for citizenship if those gaps result in an applicant that has been resident in the UK for 10 years not fulfilling the CSI requirement.

No woman who had gaps in comprehensive sickness insurance as a result of maternity leave or childcare responsibilities has had their application for citizenship refused on such a basis.

Regulations set out the requirements which EEA nationals needed to follow if they wished to reside here lawfully on the basis of free movement. In the case of students or the self-sufficient – but not those who were working here – the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of any particular case. UKVI will consider cases sensitively, taking into account the nature and reasons for any period of unlawful residence alongside other information relevant to the individual.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether citizenship applications where the applicant has gaps in Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) due to maternity leave or childcare responsibilities have been successful in instances where the gaps in CSI mean the applicant has not fulfilled the CSI requirement.

No woman who had gaps in comprehensive sickness insurance as a result of maternity leave or childcare responsibilities has had their application for citizenship refused on such a basis.

Regulations set out the requirements which EEA nationals needed to follow if they wished to reside here lawfully on the basis of free movement. In the case of students or the self-sufficient – but not those who were working here – the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of any particular case. UKVI will consider cases sensitively, taking into account the nature and reasons for any period of unlawful residence alongside other information relevant to the individual.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of tracking and routinely supervising repeat offenders of stalking and domestic abuse on a national basis.

People who have been convicted of one of the offences specified in Schedule 15 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003, including stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and who have been sentenced to 12 months or more of imprisonment or youth detention or who have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, are automatically managed under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). Of those people, those who pose a higher risk of harm - where formal multi-agency meetings are held to inform the shared Risk Management Plan - are included on the ViSOR Dangerous Persons Database.

People who do not meet those criteria, but who have been convicted or cautioned for, or reprimanded or warned about, an offence which indicates that they pose a risk of serious harm to the public, and who are considered by the MAPPA agencies to require the active involvement of several agencies via regular multi-agency public protection meetings, are also managed under MAPPA and included on ViSOR. Additionally, a person who has not been convicted of an offence, but whose behaviour gives reasonable grounds for believing that there is a likelihood of them committing an offence which will cause serious harm (known as a Potentially Dangerous Person), may also be included on ViSOR.

The College of Policing has issued guidance to police forces on the ‘Identification, assessment and management of serial or potentially dangerous domestic abuse and stalking perpetrators’. The key principles set out that forces should have processes in place to identify serial or potentially dangerous domestic abuse or stalking perpetrators and ensure that information about the perpetrator is recorded on the Police National Computer, the Police National Database or ViSOR as appropriate.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of people charged for repeated offences of (a) stalking and (b) domestic abuse in each of the last three years.

Information the Home Office collects on stalking outcomes can be found in the Home Office Open Data Tables, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

Information on domestic abuse-related outcomes is published by the Office for National Statistics and is available here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwalesoverview/november2019

From the data the Home Office collects from the police, it is not possible to identify how many people are charged for repeated offences of either stalking or domestic abuse-related offences.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to suspend the minimum income requirements for people applying for (a) Further Leave to Remain and (b) Indefinite Leave to Remain as a spouse or partner during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the situation closely and take these exceptional circumstances into account.

To ensure a spouse or partner applying for entry clearance, leave to remain or indefinite leave are not unduly affected by circumstances beyond their control, for the purpose of the minimum income requirement:

  • A temporary loss of employment income between 1 March and 31 July 2020 due to COVID-19, will be disregarded provided the requirement was met for at least six months up to March 2020.
  • An applicant or sponsor furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be deemed as earning 100% of their salary.
  • A temporary loss of annual income due to COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded for self-employment income, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications. Income received via the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will also be taken into account.
  • Evidential flexibility may be applied where an applicant or sponsor experiences difficulty accessing specified evidence due to COVID-19 restrictions.

These concessions are set out for customers on GOV.UK here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

The minimum income requirement can also be met in several ways in addition to or instead of income from employment or self-employment. For example, income from the couple’s investments, property rental or pension may also be taken into account, together with their cash savings.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 21 June 2021 to Question 16977 on United Nations: Peacekeeping Operations and the reference in that Answer to the deployment of Military Staff Officers to seven UN Peacekeeping missions, what costs were incurred by the UK Government for that deployment; and how many personnel made up that deployment.

In answering the hon. Member's Question 16977, I wrongly referred to deployment of staff officers on seven UN missions. In fact, UK staff officers are deployed on six missions. I apologise for this error.

In the Financial Year (FY) 2019-20, the UK deployed personnel into 20 Military Staff Officer roles in UN Peacekeeping and Special Political Mission Headquarters across five missions at a cost of £224 000.

The sixth mission, Operation TOSCA in Cyprus, includes a deployment of 12 individual Military Staff Officers and a troop contingent of around 250 personnel, which in total cost the UK £18.1 million, in FY 2019-20. We cannot accurately separate the staff costs for the wider deployment.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of military spending is spent on UK contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.

In the financial year 2019-20, the UK expenditure on Defence's operational contributions to UN Peacekeeping was £29.3million, which equates to 6.2% of total expenditure on operations. This includes the deployment of contingent troops to Cyprus and Somalia, residual costs from the drawdown in South Sudan, net additional costs to prepare for the deployment to Mali, and the deployment of individual Military Staff Officers to seven UN Peacekeeping missions in total.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the joint military manoeuvres with the USA, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Canada, Brazil, Tunisia, Morocco and Senegal will take place in (a) Morocco or (b) occupied Western Sahara.

The Ministry of Defence can confirm that no UK personnel participating in Exercise AFRICAN LION will be conducting training in Western Sahara. The UK regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many local authorities have included provision for sites for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in their local plan.

This Department does not keep a record on how many local authorities have included provision for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in their local plan. This information is held by each individual local authority


The Planning Policy for Traveller Sites asks local planning authorities to assess the need for gypsy and traveller sites in their area, and then plan to meet that need, in the same way that they plan for all forms of housing.

Plans are robustly tested at examination by an independently appointed Inspector before they can be adopted. The examination of the plan will consider whether adequate site provision has been made for gypsies and travellers based on assessed needs.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many bids have been successful and how much funding has been allocated through the Affordable Homes Programme to support the provision of permanent traveller sites.

Between 2011 and March 2015, the Homes and Communities Agency spent around £44 million delivering more than 500 new pitches and refurbishing and nearly 400 more refurbished pitches, through the Traveller Pitch Funding programme


In addition, Under the 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme allocations were agreed for 76 new pitches with £4.9 million funding. A further 2 allocations have been made as part of the 2016-21 Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, delivering a total of 30 pitches.


Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 21 June 2021 to Question 16972 on Travellers: Caravan Sites, if he will publish the programme that the Planning Advisory Service used for its recent series of events it provided for local authorities to enhance their understanding of planning for Gypsies, Roma and Traveller communities to support the future site provision for those communities; and how many local authorities took part in those events.

Details of the main topics covered in recent events held by the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) to support authorities in planning for gypsies and travellers are published on the PAS website (under past events). Any further details can be obtained by contacting PAS directly.

A total of 102 local authorities registered to attend one or more of the six events that were held.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 21 June 2021 to Question 16970 on Hate Crime and the statement in that Answer that the Government is now considering a range of options to tackle hate crime beyond the current action plan, what range of options is the Government considering.

It is not yet possible to share the options for tackling hate crime beyond the Hate Crime Action Plan as these are under development.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to reintroduce pitch targets and statutory duties for local authorities to meet the assessed needs for sites for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

The Government encourages local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites, and in producing their local plan to identify sites to meet that need. This includes setting pitch targets for gypsies and travellers and plot targets for travelling showpeople. These plans are robustly tested by an independently appointed Inspector before they can be adopted by the authority.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to renew its strategy on hinduphobia; and which stakeholders the Government plans to engage as part of that process.

The Hate Crime action plan (2016) and the Hate Crime action plan Refresh (2018) set out the Government's plans to tackle hatred directed at anyone for their race, sexuality, disability, gender identity or religion, including that of the Hindu community.

The Government is now considering a range of options to tackle hate crime beyond the 2018 plan. We will work with other departments and civil society partners to explore possible approaches, and to ensure a range of views from communities are taken into consideration.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to raise awareness of hate crime and encourage reporting in addition to the Hate Crime Action Plan, published in 2016, and the 2018 Refresh.

The Government is now considering a range of options to tackle hate crime beyond the current action plan. We will work with other departments and civil society partners to explore possible approaches, and to ensure a range of views from communities are taken into consideration.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support the Government is giving to local authorities to provide permanent and temporary sites for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

The Government encourages local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites and in producing their local plan, to identify sites to meet that need


Local authorities and Registered Providers (like housing associations) can bid for funding through our £11.5 billion 2021-2026 Affordable Homes Programme. They can use this funding for permanent traveller sites, along with other forms of affordable housing


On behalf of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) recently held a series of events for local authorities to enhance their understanding of planning for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers to support future site provision.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what evidence the Government plans to review to determine whether the Decent Homes Standard requires updating in the first stage of the review of the housing standards white paper.

The Social Housing White Paper announced a review of the Decent Homes Standard. The aim of the first stage of the review is to understand whether the Standard is the right ask of the social housing sector today.

Primarily, my department will consider evidence relating to the case for change provided by the expert Decent Homes Review Sounding Board set up to support Part 1 of the review, and the other stakeholders who have registered an interest. We will also consider evidence heard during consultation events held prior to the publication of the Social Housing Green Paper, and the responses received following publication.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to tackle Hinduphobia in the UK.

The Government is committed to tackling hatred against people of all faiths, including the Hindu community. The Hate Crime Action Plan (2016) and Refresh (2018) set out our plans to tackle hatred directed at anyone for their race, religion, sexuality, disability or gender identity, which includes raising awareness of hate crime and encouraging reporting. We are now looking at ways to renew our strategy and will be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders from religious communities.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the use of the term Indian variant to refer to a variant of covid-19 on levels of (a) racism and (b) hate crime towards Indians and people of Indian heritage in the UK.

The World Health Organisation on 31st May announced a new naming system for SARS-CoV-2 variants, with a view to providing easy-to-pronounce, non-stigmatising labels, such as Delta Variant, and Public Health England has incorporated this into our own naming system.

We have one of the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to protect communities from hostility, violence and bigotry, and racism will continue to be tackled wherever it is found.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has allocated additional funding to local authorities to help ensure that the Decent Homes Standard is implemented.

Between 2011 and 2016, the Government provided a total of £1.76 billion between 2011 and 2016 to 45 councils across England with more than 10 percent non-decent stock to help them bring homes up to standard and tackle their backlog. It helped to make over 158,000 homes decent.

The Social Housing White Paper committed to review the Decent Homes Standard to consider if it should be updated. The Review is in two stages, with the first step considering the case for change. If the evidence demonstrates that we need to revise the Standard, we will consider the strategic, economic and management case for new criteria as a second stage of the review.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 6503 on Housing: Standards, which stakeholders are being consulted as part of the Decent Homes Standard review.

The Decent Homes Review began in February 2021 with the first meeting of the Decent Homes Review Sounding Board.  The full list of Sounding Board members is listed below.

In addition, Government invited other interested stakeholders to register their interest in the review.  To date,122 organisations and 13 individuals have registered.

Association of Retained Council Housing

Building Research Establishment

Chartered Institute of Housing

Confederation of Cooperative Housing

Councils with ALMOs Group (CWAG)

G15

G320

The Housing Ombudsman

Local Government Association

London Councils

National Federation of ALMOS

National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations

National Housing Federation

Northern Housing Consortium

Regulator of Social Housing

Rural Services Network

Tenants and Resident Organisations of England (Taroe)

Tenant Participation Advisory Service

UNIFY (cross-housing BAME Network)

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if his Department will commit to ensuring that upon completion of the review of the Decent Homes Standard local authorities and housing associations will be allocated funding to undertake improvements required as a result of that review.

The Social Housing White Paper committed to review the Decent Homes Standard to consider if it should be updated. The Review is in two stages, with the first step considering the case for change. If the evidence demonstrates that we need to revise the Standard, we will consider the strategic, economic and management case for new criteria as a second stage of the review.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Answers of 24 November 2020 to Questions 115838 and 115839 on Buildings: Disability and Housing: Construction, whether he plans to amend building regulations to require (a) all new homes to be accessible and adaptable as a minimum standard and (b) 10 per cent of new homes to be accessible for wheelchair users.

We are currently considering responses to the consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes, and will be publishing a Government response setting out next steps.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish the findings of his Department's consultation entitled Raising accessibility standards for new homes.

We are currently considering responses to the consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes, and will be publishing a Government response setting out next steps.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many injunctions (a) local authorities and (b) social housing providers sought for anti-social behaviour in (a) England and (b) Stockport during (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

MHCLG does not collect information on the number of applications made by local authorities or social landlords in respect of injunctions concerning anti-social behaviour.

The Government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour. The Social Housing White Paper sets out proposals to support the victims of anti-social behaviour by clarifying the responsibilities that police, local authorities and their landlords have in tackling anti-social behaviour. This will signpost tenants to the most relevant agency where they can receive the most appropriate support to deal with the issues they are facing.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many households were claiming under local council tax support schemes in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what additional support is available to local authorities that have experienced an increase in claimants for council tax support during that period.

Data on local council tax support claimants at the end of each quarter, at both England and local authority level, is available in this published table: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/961905/LCTS_claimants_2020-21_Q3.xlsx

Through the local tax income guarantee, the Government is compensating councils for 75% of irrecoverable losses in council tax and business rates income for 2020-21, including those as a result of increased local council tax support claimants. We are also providing councils with £670 million of new funding to enable them to continue providing local council tax support in 2021-22, at a time when caseloads may be higher than in previous years.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to implement a time limit for building owners to carry out EWS assessments on buildings under 18 metres.

All multi-occupancy residential buildings should have an up-to-date fire risk assessment which includes the external wall system. In view of the forthcoming Fire Safety Bill, building owners should ensure their buildings are promptly assessed.

The EWS1 valuation process is not a Government or regulatory requirement, therefore the Government has no intention to legislate on its delivery.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many cases the Housing Ombudsman received in respect of housing associations not tackling items of disrepair and carrying out maintenance in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

Statistics on Housing Ombudsman cases are published annually in their Annual Report and accounts. These can all be found on the link below.

https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/corporate-information/publications/

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recourse leaseholders have when a sale on their property falls through as a result of the building owner not undertaking an EWS assessment in a timely manner.

The EWS1 process is not a Government or regulatory requirement.

The Government is providing nearly £700,000 funding to RICS to train up to 2,000 assessors to undertake EWS assessments. So far over 700 professionals have enrolled.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many rogue (a) landlords and (b) property agents are listed in the national database; and how many orders banning landlords have been issued in (a) Stockport borough and (b) Stockport constituency.

There are 38 landlords and property agents listed on the database of rogue landlords and property agents. The database does not distinguish between landlords or property agents, only individuals and organisations.

There have been no banning orders issued in Stockport Borough or Stockport constituency.

Banning Orders and the database of rogue landlords and property agents are two of a range of tools available to local authorities to tackle rogue and criminal landlords, including civil penalties of up to £30,000 and rent repayment orders.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of civil fines that have been issued to landlords and property agents; and how much the average fine is.

Civil penalties were introduced in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 as an alternative to prosecution for certain housing offences under the Housing Act 2004 and a breach of a banning order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. The Department does not currently collect data from local housing authorities on the number of civil penalties issued.

Local housing authorities are expected to develop and document their own policy on when to prosecute and when to issue a civil penalty and should decide which option it wishes to pursue on a case-by-case basis in line with that policy. The amount of the civil penalty should be determined by the local housing authority in each case, up to a maximum penalty of £30,000.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the value of the applications to the existing Help to Buy scheme in (a) England and (b) Stockport.

From the start of the scheme on 1 April 2013 to 30 September 2020, the total value of equity loans has been: (a) £17,413,247,594 in England and (b) £45,697,965 in Stockport.

Statistics for Help to Buy: Equity Loan to 30 September 2020 can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/help-to-buy-equity-loan-scheme-data-to-30-september-2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many orders have been issued banning landlords under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

There are 7 landlords who have been issued with a banning order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. Only banning order offences committed after 6 April 2018 are eligible for a local authority to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for a banning order.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support to local authorities with the development of new social housing.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing and has given local authorities a comprehensive range of tools to deliver a new generation of council housing.

To support the development of new affordable homes we are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme. We are keen to see local authorities playing a key role in the delivery of this programme alongside housing associations.

To further support local authority development, in March 2021 we announced a package of reforms that will give local authorities increased flexibility over how they spend their Right to Buy receipts on replacement homes. This package will make it easier for authorities to fund new homes using Right to Buy receipts including homes for social rent.

In addition, since the abolition of the Housing Revenue Account in 2018 that enables local authorities to borrow for building, we have given social landlords a longer term rent deal for 5 years from April 2020 allowing them to charge rents of up to CPI +1% per annum, and reduced the Public Works Loan Board interest rates for borrowing for housing, providing a stable investment environment to deliver new homes.

We want to see local authorities using these tools to build more affordable homes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the regional price caps on the effectiveness of the new Help to Buy scheme in (a) England and (b) Stockport.

The new Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme will introduce regional property price caps which set the maximum purchase price in each region. For example, the cap for the North West is set at £224,400.

The regional caps are aligned to the first-time buyer market. They are all set at 1.5 times the forecast regional average first-time buyer price, in line with the Office of Budget Responsibility’s house price inflation forecast for 2021/22 as at Budget 2018, up to a maximum of £600,000 in London.

The caps were designed to support the purchase of properties that are more consistent with the wider first-time buyer market. This in turn helps optimise the resources available to enable purchasers to achieve the dream of home ownership. The Government has reviewed the caps and continues to be satisfied they allow good availability of first-time buyer type properties in each region


There will of course be local hotspots within each region that are more expensive. However, the approach is aimed at striking the right balance between better targeting the scheme so it can assist more first-time buyers, whilst accounting for a degree of price variation within regions without the additional complexity that may arise from more localised caps. Therefore, there are no plans to revise the caps.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of first time buyers that have used the existing Help to Buy scheme in (a) England and (b) Stockport.

From the start of the scheme on 1 April 2013 to 30 September 2020, there were (a) 240,083 first-time buyers in England and (b) 709 first-time buyers in Stockport.

Statistics for Help to Buy: Equity Loan to 30 September 2020 can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/help-to-buy-equity-loan-scheme-data-to-30-september-2020

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect of the number of households receiving Council Tax Support on the income of local authorities in (a) England, (b) the Northwest and (c) Stockport in the last five years.

Local authorities are responsible for the design of their council tax support schemes, including eligibility for help with bills. The Government recognises the importance of local council tax support for those in financial need, and that caseloads have increased as a result of the pandemic. It was announced at the Spending Review that local authorities in England would be provided with £670 million of additional grant funding to enable them to continue to provide support to households that require it.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made on the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes programme.

We are committed to delivering affordable homes of a variety of tenures so that we can support a range of people in different circumstances and stages in their lives. Our £9 billion Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, running to 2023, will deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes


Since 2010, we have delivered over 517,100 new affordable homes, including over 365,800 affordable homes for rent, of which 148,000 were homes for social rent.

This Government is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing and is investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over the next 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, which will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow.

The new Affordable Homes Programme will deliver more than double the number of homes for social rent than the current programme, with around 32,000 social rent homes due to be delivered

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824.

This is a complex issue which is why the Government reviewed the Act. We have been looking at the options and will update on our findings in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2021 to Question 11550, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of repealing the Vagrancy Act 1824.

This is a complex issue which is why the Government reviewed the Act. We have been looking at the options and will update on our findings in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many households have received Council Tax Support in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport in the last 12 months.

The Government publishes a snapshot of the number of Local Council Tax Support claimants in England on a quarterly basis. This data sets out the number of pensioner and working-age claimants at a local authority level, as well as for England as a whole. The Government most recently updated this data on 17 February to reflect the number of claimants as of 31 December 2020. The latest data release is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-local-government-finance#local-council-tax-support .

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will estimate the number of households on council housing waiting lists in (a) the UK, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport.

The number of households in local authorities' waiting lists by local authority and region since 1997 is published in live table 600 which is published here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-rents-lettings-and-tenancies.

The latest available figures refer to 31 March 2020


It should be noted that the number of households on the waiting list is not the same as the number of households waiting. Households may apply to multiple authorities and authorities only "clean" their lists periodically. Local authority waiting list size can be affected by other factors, including reviews by local authorities to remove households who no longer require housing. The frequency of reviews varies considerably and so the total number of households on waiting lists is likely to overstate the number of households who still require housing.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing and is investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, which will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow.

The new Affordable Homes Programme will deliver more than double the social rent than the current programme, with around 32,000 social rent homes due to be delivered


At Budget 2020 we introduced a lower PWLB rate for borrowing for a local authority’s Housing Revenue Account to support the delivery of new council housing


The Government has also taken steps to ensure that home moves can continue to take place, including into and within social housing, and that landlords can take steps to carry out repairs and safety inspections, provided these are undertaken in line with public health advice and the relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) legislation. The government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak includes advice for social landlords which makes clear that they will need to consider how to carry out their allocation and lettings activities in line with the current guidance on practical steps to reduce transmission of the virus, including for example how they conduct viewings and tenancy sign-ups. Guidance for landlords and tenants provides advice on how to carry out repairs and maintenance safely.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of changes in the level of demand for social housing in (a) the UK, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to provide support to local authorities and housing associations during that outbreak.

The number of households in local authorities' waiting lists by local authority and region since 1997 is published in live table 600 which is published here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-rents-lettings-and-tenancies.

The latest available figures refer to 31 March 2020


It should be noted that the number of households on the waiting list is not the same as the number of households waiting. Households may apply to multiple authorities and authorities only "clean" their lists periodically. Local authority waiting list size can be affected by other factors, including reviews by local authorities to remove households who no longer require housing. The frequency of reviews varies considerably and so the total number of households on waiting lists is likely to overstate the number of households who still require housing.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing and is investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, which will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow.

The new Affordable Homes Programme will deliver more than double the social rent than the current programme, with around 32,000 social rent homes due to be delivered


At Budget 2020 we introduced a lower PWLB rate for borrowing for a local authority’s Housing Revenue Account to support the delivery of new council housing


The Government has also taken steps to ensure that home moves can continue to take place, including into and within social housing, and that landlords can take steps to carry out repairs and safety inspections, provided these are undertaken in line with public health advice and the relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) legislation. The government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak includes advice for social landlords which makes clear that they will need to consider how to carry out their allocation and lettings activities in line with the current guidance on practical steps to reduce transmission of the virus, including for example how they conduct viewings and tenancy sign-ups. Guidance for landlords and tenants provides advice on how to carry out repairs and maintenance safely.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support is being provided to local authorities and housing associations facing increased costs for maintaining and improving their ageing housing stock to meet current standards and those under the Charter for Social Housing Residents: Social Housing White Paper.

The Charter for Social Housing Residents: Social Housing White Paper sets out a package of measures that will improve the lives of social housing residents in England, including a review of standards on decency and energy efficiency of existing stock.

The Regulator of Social Housing requires homes to be maintained to at least Decent Homes Standard.

The Decent Homes Standard has driven improvements to the quality of social housing. Between 2011 and 2016 Government provided a total of £1.76 billion to 45 councils across England to tackle the backlog of non-decent homes, making over 158,000 homes decent. In 2019, 12 per cent of dwellings in the social rented sector failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard. This is lower than the proportion of private rented (23 per cent) and owner occupied (16 per cent) homes.

At the Chancellor’s summer economic update, the Government announced a £50 million demonstrator project and at the Spending Review 2020, the Chancellor announced £60 million of further funding to upgrade the least efficient social housing. The Fund will bring a significant amount of the social housing stock that is currently below EPC C up to that standard.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the (a) level of council tax arrears nationally and (b) effect of those arrears on local authorities.

The cumulative amount of council tax outstanding since 1993 was £3.6 billion at March 2020. The Government has confirmed that councils will be able to spread any deficits on their collection fund arising in 2020-21 over the next three years, and has provided a £500 million hardship fund this year to councils to further reduce council tax bills of low income households.

The Government will also provide councils with £670 million in 2021-22 to recognise the increased costs of providing local council tax support and other help to economically vulnerable households.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has made an estimate of the (a) additional expenditure incurred and (b) revenue lost by local authorities as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 25 January, MHCLG published a summary of results from the first eight rounds of the local authority COVID-19 financial monitoring survey. These rounds of the survey collected financial data from March until December 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-covid-19-financial-impact-monitoring-information ).

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make landlord registration schemes mandatory for all local authorities in England to improve protections for tenants from rogue landlords.

Local authorities have a range of powers and tools to protect tenants and support enforcement activities. This includes civil penalties of up to £30,000, banning orders for the worst offenders and powers to tackle illegal evictions.

In April 2018, using powers under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, we introduced a national database of rogue landlords and property agents alongside banning orders for the worst landlords.

We will consider further measures, such as expanding the scope of the database, as part of preparation for the Renters Reform Bill.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has made an estimate of the (a) additional expenditure incurred by and (b) amount of revenue lost by local authorities during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer to Question UIN 143147 on 28 January 2021.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an (a) estimate of the national level of council tax arrears and (b) assessment of the effect of that matter on local authorities.

The cumulative amount of council tax outstanding since 1993 was £3.6 billion at March 2020. The Government has confirmed that councils will be able to spread any deficits on their collection fund arising in 2020-21 over the next three years, and has provided a £500 million hardship fund this year to councils to further reduce council tax bills of low income households.

The Government will also provide councils with £670 million in 2021-22 to recognise the increased costs of providing local council tax support and other help to economically vulnerable households.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many local authorities have used debt collection companies since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not collect data on the use of debt collection companies by local authorities.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to support local authorities to meet their statutory duties in (a) road maintenance, (b) library services and (c) waste collection in the event that the covid-19 outbreak continues to adversely affect local authorities' finances.

Spending Review 2020 has been drawn up in unique circumstances. Our primary aim has been to ensure local government has the resources and stability it needs to continue to provide vital public services and tackle the pandemic. The Spending Review has confirmed that Core Spending Power is forecast to rise by 4.5 per cent in cash terms next year. This real terms increase follows the largest real terms increase in Core Spending Power for a decade at Spending Review 2019. This means local authorities will be able to access an additional £2.2 billion in resources to support Adult and Children’s Social Care and maintain universal services. We will bring forward proposals for the annual local government finance settlement for 2021-22 as soon as we can.

This is all in addition to an unprecedented package of support for local authorities to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. At the Spending Review the Chancellor announced more than £3 billion of additional support for Covid-19 pressures next year. This is on top of the support committed this financial year, including over £7.2 billion for local authorities, even before the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund for those authorities under the highest level of restriction – potentially worth over £200 million a month – announced as part of the Covid-19 Winter Plan. This takes the total support committed to councils in England to tackle the impacts of Covid-19 to over £10 billion.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to make parts (a) M4(2) and (b) M4(3) of building regulations mandatory.

We are consulting at present on options to raise accessibility standards in new homes, including options for making M4(2) for accessible and adaptable dwellings a mandatory standard. Our consultation also asks for views on either fixed or evidenced proportions of M4(3) wheelchair user dwellings. The Government will respond to this open consultation in due course, and evidence submitted in response will inform an assessment of the costs and benefits of building homes to M4(2) and M4(3) standards.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the additional cost of building a home compliant with parts M4(2) and M4(3) of the building regulations.

We are consulting at present on options to raise accessibility standards in new homes, including options for making M4(2) for accessible and adaptable dwellings a mandatory standard. Our consultation also asks for views on either fixed or evidenced proportions of M4(3) wheelchair user dwellings. The Government will respond to this open consultation in due course, and evidence submitted in response will inform an assessment of the costs and benefits of building homes to M4(2) and M4(3) standards.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has issued guidance to local authorities on engagement with disability organisations on matters relevant to their interests.

Whilst no specific guidance has been issued to local authorities on engagement with disability organisations, all local authorities are required to uphold the Public Sector Equality Duty.

This requires that public bodies, including local authorities, pay due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not.

Protected characteristics include disability. Local authorities therefore have a legal obligation to consider the potential impact of their policies, services and decisions on people with protected characteristics.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of potential evictions in the private rented sector after the end of the covid-19 related eviction ban; and what support he is providing to (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations to rehouse people who have been so evicted.

The Government has established an unprecedented package of support to protect renters throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to support tenants and landlords as we head into winter.

To keep tenants in their homes over the winter, the Government has legislated to require landlords to give tenants six months’ notice before they can seek repossession, except in the most egregious cases.

Where possession cases do go to court, the judiciary will look to prioritise the most egregious cases such as those involving anti-social behaviour. New court rules have been introduced by HMCTS requiring landlords to set out any information they are aware of in relation to how their tenant, or any dependant of their tenant, has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Where this information is not provided, judges have the ability to adjourn proceedings. Additionally, bailiffs have been advised not enforce possession orders in places where local public health restrictions have been introduced by Government through legislation, or between 11 December 2020 to 11 January 2021.

This Government remains committed to tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping and is clear that no one should be without a roof over their heads. We have provided £4.3 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19 which includes their work to support homeless people, including £3.7 billion which is not ringfenced, and £600 million to support social care?and a further £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to support vulnerable rough sleepers.

We are also providing a Flexible Homelessness Support Grant of £200 million to help local authorities plan and respond to their local homelessness pressures alongside delivering the Homelessness Reduction Grant of £63 million to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act and enable local authorities to do more to prevent and relieve homelessness in their areas.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make it a statutory requirement to consult disability organisations on all planning applications where Changing Places toilets are included.

Local planning authorities are required to publicise and consult on all planning applications, including those for Changing Places lavatories. Whilst disability organisations are not statutory consultees on planning applications, we would expect local planning authorities to consider whether there are planning policy reasons to engage local disability organisations who are likely to have an interest in a proposed development.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he plans to take to tackle the recording of breastfeeding in public without consent.

This behaviour may already be captured by existing offences.

However, we are keenly aware of concerns that have been expressed over the changes in technology, including the misuse of photography, social media, imagery, and the opportunities to abuse and upset others that such developments can bring.

We have therefore asked the Law Commission to review the law in this area to ensure victims are properly protected.

It is important that any changes to the law in such sensitive areas, are thoroughly assessed and fully evidenced.

The review has looked at the question of non-consensual photography in public places, including whether recording and sharing images of breastfeeding should be captured as “intimate” imagery for the purposes of any reformed criminal law.

The Government awaits the Law Commission’s findings with interest and shall consider them carefully.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of personal independence payment decisions where claimants were awarded zero points have been overturned at independent tribunals in each of the last five years.

This information is not held centrally.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s statistical records do not include information on the number of points awarded to appellants by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Tribunal outcomes including overturn rates are published at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will ensure that any proposed reforms to the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, will apply equally to (a) same-sex marriages, (b) heterosexual marriages and (c) civil partnerships.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 June 2020 and the Government is working to implement its provisions. When implemented, the Act will deliver important reforms to minimise the potential for conflict in the legal process for obtaining a divorce, dissolving a civil partnership or obtaining a separation order.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people are currently on remand in Stockport.

There are no prisons in Stockport and so remand populations for the three closest prisons (HMP Styal, HMP Manchester and HMP Forest Bank) have been provided.

Data obtained from the latest published quarterly prison population statistics indicates that on 30 June 2020 the total numbers of individuals remanded in custody in each of these prisons was 71, 51 and 515, respectively.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what was the average amount of time spent on remand in 2019.

Centrally held court data does not include the amount of time spent remanded in custody, and therefore obtaining this information would result in a disproportionate cost to the department.

Prison receptions data has enabled an approximation of the data that has been requested. The attached table provides information on the mean and median amount of time that individuals were remanded in custody up to the point that they were sentenced.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners from Stockport have been released under the Early Prison Release scheme during the covid-19 outbreak; and how many prisoners released during that period are resident in Stockport.

On 4 April, this Government announced the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR). This scheme enables risk-assessed prisoners, who are within two months of their release date, to be temporarily released from custody, as part of the national approach to managing public services during this challenging period. No high-risk offenders, including those convicted of violent or sexual offences, anyone of national security concern or a danger to children, will be considered for release, nor any prisoners who have not served at least half their custodial term.

To date, no offenders released under this scheme have been released to addresses in Stockport.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)