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Written Question
Coronavirus: Testing
25 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the cost of covid-19 tests for people who are obligated to take those tests frequently as a result of their employment requiring rotational posts overseas.

Answered by Maggie Throup

We have expanded the inbound vaccination policy to recognise vaccinations from over 100 countries and territories. We have removed the pre-departure testing requirement for fully vaccinated passengers travelling from non- ‘red list’ countries and territories. From 24 October, eligible vaccinated passengers arriving from rest of world countries can take a cheaper lateral flow test on or before day two after their arrival.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Testing
25 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the cost of day two and day eight NHS covid-19 test packages used during the covid-19 outbreak was formulated.

Answered by Maggie Throup

The cost of the testing packages was formulated to ensure public sector pricing was at the approximate mid-point of the private sector market. Since the requirements were introduced for international travel testing, the costs have fallen significantly. We have now made tests available around the market mid-point to ensure testing is available at an appropriate cost.


Written Question
Pensions: Taxation
25 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending legislation on pension commencement lump sums in order to allow for the option of a minimum regular monetary sum as tax free, as an alternative to the 25 per cent tax free portion of the total pension pot.

Answered by John Glen

The Government keeps all aspects of the tax system under review, as part of the annual Budget process, and in the context of the wider public finances. In 2015, pension freedoms were introduced to give individuals the choice as to how to access their own pension savings including full pot withdrawal, purchasing an annuity, flexi-access drawdown or taking an uncrystallised funds pension lump sum. In the five years since pension freedoms were introduced, over £45bn has been accessed by over 1.8 million individuals. The Government believes it is right that individuals are trusted to choose how to access their pension income and provides a range of options for them to do so.


Written Question
Energy Supply: Older People
22 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing support to pensioners to avoid fuel poverty ahead of the energy bill increases expected in October 2021.

Answered by Greg Hands

This winter, the energy price cap will continue to protect around 15 million British households on default tariffs, saving them between £75 and £100 a year on dual fuel bills. A £500 million Household Support Fund has also been announced by the Department for Work and Pensions to help vulnerable people with essential household costs over this winter.

The Winter Fuel Payment provides pensioners with support for their energy bills over winter. The Government has committed to keeping the winter fuel payment and will continue to pay £200 to eligible households with those aged between state pension age and 79, and £300 to a household with those aged 80 or over.

The Warm Home Discount scheme, worth £354 million this year, further provides eligible low-income and vulnerable households with £140 off their fuel bill over winter. Around one million low-income pensioner households – in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit – will receive a rebate this winter. The scheme will be extended to 2026 and continue to support low-income pensioners with their energy bills.


Written Question
Warm Home Discount Scheme
22 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of energy companies on ensuring that the Warm Home Discount Scheme provided by those companies remains fit for purpose.

Answered by Greg Hands

In the summer, the Government consulted on extending, expanding, and reforming the Warm Home Discount scheme from 2022 until 2026 at least. The measures included expanding the overall spending envelope from around £350 million to £475 million (in 2020 prices) and increasing the value of the rebates to households to £150, which would mean 3 million low-income and vulnerable households each winter would receive a rebate. We also proposed reforming the scheme to better target those in fuel poverty and enabling the vast majority of households to receive their rebates automatically without having to apply, as around half of recipients currently do.

The consultation received responses from a large cross-section of stakeholders, including from energy suppliers. We will publish the Government’s response to the consultation in the coming months.

In addition, officials from BEIS, the Department for Work and Pensions, and Ofgem continue to engage regularly with energy suppliers on the functioning of the scheme.


Written Question
Warm Home Discount Scheme
22 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to increase the discounted sum available to eligible people through the Warm Home Discount Scheme provided by energy companies annually in line with inflation.

Answered by Greg Hands

When it was established in 2011, the Warm Home Discount scheme rebates were set at £120 per household. Since then, the rebates have been increased to £140, and this winter around 2.2 million low-income and vulnerable households will receive rebates off their electricity bills.

Over the summer, the Government consulted on extending and expanding the Warm Home Discount scheme from next year until 2026 at least. This included an expansion of the overall spending envelope from around £350 million to £475 million (in 2020 prices) and setting the rebates at £150. These proposals would mean around 3 million households every year would receive a rebate. The Government will publish its response to the consultation in the coming months.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Refugees
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on the clarity of advice issued to hon. Members and their staff about which Government department they should approach with enquiries from constituents who have relatives or friends in Afghanistan seeking (a) safe passage to or (b) refuge in the UK.

Answered by James Cleverly

The Government continues to press the Taliban to allow safe passage and to respect human rights, and to work to enable Afghan nationals who were employed by the UK Government, or who were notified by the Government that they were called forward or specifically authorised for evacuation, to come to the UK. Further guidance and helplines numbers for British and non-British nationals in Afghanistan are available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-british-and-non-british-nationals-in-afghanistan. This page will be updated when new information is available.

Hon. Members should approach the MoD with enquiries regarding Afghan nationals who might be eligible for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme. The eligibility criteria for the ARAP scheme are set out here, alongside details of how to apply: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy-information-and-guidance.

They should approach the Home Office regarding the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), information on which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme.

FCDO provides consular support to British nationals. We encourage all British nationals who remain in Afghanistan to confirm their presence using this form: https://www.register-afghanistan.service.csd.fcdo.gov.uk/afghanistan-20210828/confirm-your-presence-in-afghanistan-to-fcdo to give us detailed information of those remaining. All British nationals who have correctly registered their details with the FCDO will receive important updates via email.

If constituents' relatives or friends in Afghanistan are not British nationals and are not otherwise eligible to come to the UK, then there is a limit to what the British Government can do for them as individuals. The Government is committed to supporting Afghanistan and we will use every diplomatic and economic lever at our disposal to restore stability to Afghanistan.


Written Question
Pensioners: Fuel Poverty
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the steps her Department could take to help pensioners avoid fuel poverty ahead of energy bill increases.

Answered by Guy Opperman

The Government is committed to tackling fuel poverty and protecting low income and vulnerable households.

The Winter Fuel Payment provides pensioners with support for their energy bills over winter. Government has committed to keeping the Winter Fuel Payment and will continue to pay £200 to eligible households with someone between State Pension age and 79, and £300 to a household with someone aged 80 or over. The payment is intended to give reassurance to pensioners that they can keep warm during the colder months.

Cold Weather Payments are also available for periods of extreme weather to those in receipt of Pension Credit, including those receiving the Savings Credit element. The Scottish Government will in due course replace Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments with its own provision under the terms of the Scotland Act 2016.

The Warm Home Discount scheme, worth £354 million this year, further provides eligible low-income and vulnerable households with £140 off their fuel bill over winter. Around one million low-income pensioner households – in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit – will receive a rebate this winter. Most eligible pensioners will receive their rebates automatically, without having to take any action. The scheme will be extended to 2026 and continue to support low-income pensioners with their energy bills.

We recognise that some people continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £421 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable people in England with essential household costs over the winter as the economy recovers. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

This winter, the energy price cap will continue to protect around 15 million British households on default tariffs, saving them between £75 and £100 a year on dual fuel bills. In addition, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reached a Voluntary Agreement with energy suppliers last year which remains in place this winter. Vulnerable people and those experiencing financial difficulty should contact their supplier to discuss support available under the agreement, including reassessing, reducing or pausing debt repayments.


Written Question
Winter Fuel Payments
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she plans to take ahead of expected energy bill increases to help ensure that the Winter Fuel Payment is fit for purpose.

Answered by Guy Opperman

The Government has committed to keeping the winter fuel payment and will continue to pay £200 to eligible households with someone between state pension age and 79, and £300 to a household with someone aged 80 or over. The payment provides reassurance to pensioners that Government assistance is available and that they can keep warm during the colder months.

The Scottish Government will in due course replace these payments with its own provision under the terms of the Scotland Act 2016.


Written Question
Winter Fuel Payments
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to ensure that the Winter Fuel Payment will be uprated annually to keep pace with inflation.

Answered by Guy Opperman

The Government has committed to keeping the winter fuel payment and will continue to pay £200 to eligible households with someone between state pension age and 79, and £300 to a household with someone aged 80 or over. The payment provides reassurance to pensioners that Government assistance is available and that they can keep warm during the colder months.

The Scottish Government will in due course replace these payments with its own provision under the terms of the Scotland Act 2016.


Written Question
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent representations he has received on the discrepancy between the 5 per cent VAT incurred for home charging for electric vehicles and 20 per cent VAT for on-street electric vehicle charging.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

Electricity supplied at electric vehicle charging points in public places is subject to the standard rate of VAT (twenty per cent). In order to keep costs down for families, the supply of electricity for domestic use, including charging electric vehicles at home, attracts the reduced rate of VAT (five per cent).

Expanding the relief would come at a cost. VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances, raising around £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps fund the Government's priorities including the NHS, schools, and defence. Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere.


Written Question
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on tackling the discrepancy between the 5 per cent VAT incurred for home charging for electric vehicles and 20 per cent VAT for on-street electric vehicle charging.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

Electricity supplied at electric vehicle charging points in public places is subject to the standard rate of VAT (twenty per cent). In order to keep costs down for families, the supply of electricity for domestic use, including charging electric vehicles at home, attracts the reduced rate of VAT (five per cent).

Expanding the relief would come at a cost. VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances, raising around £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps fund the Government's priorities including the NHS, schools, and defence. Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere.


Written Question
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to take steps to tackle the discrepancy between the 5 per cent VAT incurred for home charging for electric vehicles and 20 per cent VAT for on-street electric vehicle charging.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

Electricity supplied at electric vehicle charging points in public places is subject to the standard rate of VAT (twenty per cent). In order to keep costs down for families, the supply of electricity for domestic use, including charging electric vehicles at home, attracts the reduced rate of VAT (five per cent).

Expanding the relief would come at a cost. VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances, raising around £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps fund the Government's priorities including the NHS, schools, and defence. Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere.


Written Question
Valneva: Coronavirus
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure diversity of (a) suppliers and (b) technology within vaccine provision in the context of the notice of termination of the covid-19 vaccine supply agreement with Valneva.

Answered by George Freeman

The Government’s approach to seeking a vaccine for COVID-19 has, from the outset, been to secure access to a portfolio of candidate vaccines from a range of developers. This has resulted in four regulated COVID-19 vaccines within the portfolio to date providing both diversity of supply and diversity of vaccine type.

The Government has secured early access to 332 million COVID-19 vaccines doses through supply agreements with five separate vaccine developers. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 135 million doses of its mRNA vaccine;
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses of its adenovirus vaccine;
  • Moderna for 17 million doses of its mRNA vaccine;
  • Novavax for 60 million doses of its protein adjuvant vaccine; and
  • Janssen for 20 million doses of its adenovirus vaccine.

Of these COVID-19 vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine is manufactured in the UK and Novavax has a UK supply chain subject to regulatory approval. Vaccine manufacture is a global business, and the response to COVID-19 a global effort, and we are proud of AstraZeneca’s contribution to that from the UK.


Written Question
Vaccination: Manufacturing Industries
27 Sep 2021

Questioner: Neale Hanvey (Alba - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will list those companies manufacturing vaccines or developing vaccines in the UK which use (a) messenger RNA and (b) inactivated virus.

Answered by George Freeman

The Government’s approach to seeking a vaccine for COVID-19 has, from the outset, been to secure access to a portfolio of candidate vaccines from a range of developers. This has resulted in four regulated COVID-19 vaccines within the portfolio to date providing both diversity of supply and diversity of vaccine type.

The Government has secured early access to 332 million COVID-19 vaccines doses through supply agreements with five separate vaccine developers. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 135 million doses of its mRNA vaccine;
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses of its adenovirus vaccine;
  • Moderna for 17 million doses of its mRNA vaccine;
  • Novavax for 60 million doses of its protein adjuvant vaccine; and
  • Janssen for 20 million doses of its adenovirus vaccine.

Of these COVID-19 vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine is manufactured in the UK and Novavax has a UK supply chain subject to regulatory approval. Vaccine manufacture is a global business, and the response to COVID-19 a global effort, and we are proud of AstraZeneca’s contribution to that from the UK.