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Written Question
Ministry of Defence: Cost Effectiveness
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure (a) value for money from his Department's projects and (b) that those projects are completed (i) on time and (ii) within budget.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

In line with Treasury Green Book guidance the Department considers a range of options for projects to determine which is the most effective at meeting the Armed Forces' needs whilst offering best value for money.

To ensure value for money is delivered through the life of a project, the Department has invested additional resource to monitor and evaluate cost, time and performance through life and embed a culture of evaluation.

As set out in our Annual Report, we continue to transform the way we do business, driving improvements in the processes and skills required to delivery programmes successfully.

We are setting projects up for success through early consideration of strategic factors, focusing expertise on areas of highest risk and complexity to support robust, evidence-based investment decisions and improve overall project outcomes. We are also improving the resourcing of projects with suitably qualified and experienced people through measures set out in the Department’s Project Delivery Functional Strategy on gov.uk.


Written Question
Ofsted: Directors
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether there are measures in place to ensure that the executive board of Ofsted is representative of the demographics of the teaching profession and its pupils in England.

Answered by Robin Walker

Ofsted has a non-executive board, which is separate from Ofsted’s executive team. The board is responsible for setting the strategic priorities, targets, and objectives for Ofsted and overseeing its corporate governance.

Appointments to the board are made by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and are conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governance-code-for-public-appointments.

Ofsted’s remit is extensive, covering early years, schools, further education and skills, and social care. When appointing to the Ofsted board, the department ensures that board members have knowledge and understanding of these remits, as well as experience of ensuring good governance.

The department is committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion. When running recruitment campaigns, the department strongly encourages applications from a diverse range of applicants to secure a diverse and representative board.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Epilepsy
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what procedures are in place to ensure people with uncontrolled epilepsy are assessed accurately when making a personal independence payment claim.

Answered by Chloe Smith

All Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Health Professionals (HPs) complete training on neurological conditions, including epilepsy. HPs maintain knowledge through Continuing Professional Development Activity.

All claimants, including claimants with epilepsy are assessed in accordance with the DWP PIP Assessment Guide.


Written Question
Pregnancy: Ethnic Groups
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the forthcoming Women’s Health Strategy will tackle health inequalities, including in maternal health for Black, Asian and ethnic minority women.

Answered by Maria Caulfield

Work is ongoing to develop the Women’s Health Strategy, which will tackle health inequalities and address improving outcomes for mothers and babies, including a focus on reducing maternal and neonatal disparities. The Women’s Health Strategy will be published in spring 2022.


Written Question
Eating Disorders: Mental Health Services
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make additional funding available for the treatment of eating disorders in young people in response to the data published by NHS Digital, Hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of eating disorders, published on 4 January 2022.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

We have no such plans at present. However, we are investing an additional £79 million in 2021/22 to expand children’s mental health services to allow 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also announced a further £40 million in 2021/22 to address the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health, including eating disorders. This is in addition to at least £53 million a year being invested in children and young people's community eating disorder services to 2023/24 under the NHS Long Term Plan.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Disability
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what procedures are in place to ensure people with hidden disabilities are assessed accurately in telephone assessments when making (a) a personal independence payment and (b) universal credit claim.

Answered by Chloe Smith

All Healthcare Professionals (HPs) have extensive and rigorous training in undertaking assessments.

Each referral is initially reviewed by a HP, if there is sufficient supporting evidence to provide paper based advice to the department, the HP will assess the claimant on this evidence alone. If they cannot, the claimant will be invited to attend a telephone, video or face to face assessment.

All claimants, including those with hidden disabilities, are assessed in accordance with the PIP Assessment Guide for Providers or Work Capability Assessment Handbook.

We have continuously improved our processes and guidance to minimise the number of customers for whom a telephone or video assessment is not suitable. In such instances, these claimants will be prioritised for a face to face assessment.


Written Question
Health: Females
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish its response to the Women’s Health Strategy consultation, which closed on 13 June 2021.

Answered by Maria Caulfield

On 23 December 2021, we published ‘Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England’ and the results of the call for evidence survey. We will publish the analysis of written submissions in due course and the Women’s Health Strategy in the spring.


Written Question
Food Supply
14 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) mitigate the impact of increasing costs of food for consumers and (b) ensure that suppliers of food are adequately supplied.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

Consumer food prices depend on a range of factors including food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, and Sterling exchange rates, all of which fluctuate over time. Some of these factors are influenced by our trading arrangements with other countries.    Most food sectors businesses (retail etc) are accustomed to fluctuations in supply chain costs so they do not necessarily translate into consumer price rises. Food prices are set individually by businesses and it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.


Written Question
Art Works: Nigeria
13 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has plans to return (a) the Benin Bronzes and (b) other historically and culturally significant artifacts to Nigeria.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Museums and galleries in the UK operate independently of the government. Decisions relating to their collections are a matter for the trustees of each museum.

Some national museums are prevented by law from deaccessioning objects in their collections unless, broadly, they are duplicates or unfit for retention. The two exceptions to this are when the objects are human remains that are less than 1000 years old, and objects that were spoliated during the Nazi-era. The Government has no plans to change the law.


Written Question
Kazakhstan: Demonstrations
12 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help prevent human rights infringements against protestors in Kazakhstan; and what discussions the Government has had with authorities in that country since that unrest began.

Answered by Chris Heaton-Harris

The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs is following developments in Kazakhstan closely and is very concerned by the violent clashes witnessed in recent days. Protests should be peaceful and law enforcement responses proportionate and in line with Kazakhstan's international commitments. At the beginning of the protests, President Tokayev signalled his intention to engage with the legitimate demands of peaceful protestors, a fact that we welcomed. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon spoke to the Kazakh Ambassador to the UK on 6 January, and with Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Alimbayev on 7 January. During these meetings, Lord Ahmad was that clear that the right to peaceful protest should be protected, that internet services should be restored, and that the Kazakh authorities should respect their commitments to freedom of speech and expression. Our Ambassador and her team in Nur-Sultan are in contact with the authorities in Kazakhstan and we will continue to engage in the coming days.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Screening
11 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of lateral flow tests in (a) Stockport constituency, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) across England.

Answered by Maggie Throup

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


Written Question
Surgery: Greater Manchester
10 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what measures his Department is putting in place to alleviate the backlog of elective treatments in light of their recent pause across Greater Manchester.

Answered by Edward Argar

The National Health Service in Greater Manchester is prioritising the safety of patients and staff and the treatment of patients who need urgent and emergency care, including cancer treatment. The Christie and Rochdale Infirmary will continue to provide cancer care and surgery. The temporary pause in elective activity aims to prevent further spread of the Omicron variant.

We are providing £2 billion this year and a further £8 billion in the following three years to increase elective activity and tackle backlogs in elective services in England. The NHS will maintain services wherever possible, with cancer and urgent care such as cardiac and vascular surgery and transplantation unaffected. Diagnostic services, including endoscopy, and the majority of out-patient services will continue wherever possible.


Written Question
NHS: Coronavirus
10 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of staff shortages in the NHS in (a) Stockport constituency, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) the North West due to the omicron variant of covid-19.

Answered by Edward Argar

The information is not held in the format requested as while data for COVID-19 related absences is collected, it does not distinguish whether this is related to the Omicron variant.

However, the following table shows the number of staff absences due to COVID-19 related reasons, including self-isolation, in the week to 2 January 2022 for the acute trusts in Stockport constituency, Greater Manchester and the North West National Health Service region.

Region/NHS trust

COVID-19 absences per Day

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

215

Greater Manchester:

Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust

590

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

336

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

215

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

164

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

315

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

1,293

North West

6,426

Source: NHS England and NHS Improvement Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Reports 2021-22 for acute trusts.


Written Question
Clean Air Zones: Greater Manchester
10 Jan 2022

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone on jobs in (a) Stockport and (b) across Greater Manchester.

Answered by Jo Churchill

It is for local authorities to develop local plans that will achieve statutory NO 2 limit values within the shortest possible time. Research from 2012 indicated that the burden associated with a range of pollutants, including NO2, had a total cost of up to £2.7bn nationally through its impact on productivity. High levels of air pollution will continue to have a significant impact on productivity, alongside its significant impact on public health.

Work on developing the underpinning evidence for the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) has been undertaken by Greater Manchester authorities including an assessment of the effects and impacts on local residents and businesses. This takes account of employment factors. The latest publicly available analysis published by Greater Manchester authorities is available at: https://cleanairgm.com/technical-documents. Greater Manchester have identified in their analysis that there were 224 points predicted to remain in exceedance of NO2 levels in 2021 without further action, with a maximum predicted in 2022 of 53 µg/m3 NO2. The Government has provided Greater Manchester authorities with £168 million funding to support delivery of the CAZ.


Written Question
British Council
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: Navendu Mishra (LAB - Stockport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what cultural affairs activity it will no longer carry out as a result of the reduction in size of the British Council.

Answered by James Cleverly

The unprecedented impact of the pandemic required the Government to take tough but necessary decisions on the British Council's global presence and reinforced the need for the Council to do more to adapt to a changing world. We have allocated over £600 million since the pandemic hit to secure the Council's future. Final Spending Review allocations for 2022/2025 will be confirmed after the conclusion of the FCDO business planning process, after which future cultural and other programme activity will be decided. The British Council are in the process of finalising their future operating model, including how professional services will be delivered. Matters relating to workforce planning and talent management are for the British Council to determine.