Neil Coyle Portrait

Neil Coyle

Independent - Bermondsey and Old Southwark


Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
18:00
Department for Work and Pensions
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
4 Jul 2022, 6 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Governance and Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2022
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 5th July 2022
14:00
Foreign Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Implementing the Integrated Review: Tilt to the Indo-Pacific
5 Jul 2022, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Dr Alessio Patalano - Professor of War & Strategy in East Asia at King's College London
Dr Jamie Collier - Senior Threat Intelligence Advisor at Mandiant
Mihoko Matsubara - Chief Cybersecurity Strategist at NTT Corporation
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Bill Emmott - Writer and Consultant and Former Editor-in-Chief at The Economist
Robert Ward - Japan Chair at International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 6th July 2022
09:00
Work and Pensions Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Protecting pension savers – five years on from the pension freedoms: Saving for later life
6 Jul 2022, 9 a.m.
At 9.15am: Oral evidence
Guy Opperman MP - Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion at Department of Work and Pensions
Joanne Gibson - Acting Director of Private Pensions and ALBs at Department for Work and Pensions
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Department Event
Monday 11th July 2022
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
11 Jul 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
6 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 15th June 2022
Rail Strikes
voted Aye
One of 3 Independent Aye votes vs 1 Independent No votes
Tally: Ayes - 174 Noes - 286
Speeches
Wednesday 15th June 2022
Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda
We know that Ministers have form for breaking rules and wasting public funds, but will the Home Secretary stop hiding …
Written Answers
Monday 4th July 2022
Unemployment: Young People
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the impact of …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
Toy safety
That this House expresses concern on consumer’s safety in relation to unsafe products sold via online marketplaces in the UK; …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th March 2022
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: The Refugee, Asylum and Migration Policy (RAMP) Project
Address of donor: The Courtyard, High Street, Ascot SL5 …
EDM signed
Monday 23rd May 2022
Reducing levels of PM2.5 pollution
That this House recognises the danger that high levels of air pollution pose to human health; acknowledges the importance of …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 18th June 2019
Universal Credit Sanctions (Zero Hours Contracts) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Neil Coyle has voted in 400 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Neil Coyle 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
Tom Pursglove (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
(101 debate interactions)
Craig Whittaker (Conservative)
(35 debate interactions)
Bambos Charalambous (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)
(22 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(150 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(37 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(9 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Neil Coyle's debates

Bermondsey and Old Southwark Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Bermondsey and Old Southwark signature proportion
Petitions with most Bermondsey and Old Southwark signatures
Neil Coyle has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Neil Coyle

23rd May 2022
Neil Coyle signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 23rd May 2022

Reducing levels of PM2.5 pollution

Tabled by: Angela Eagle (Labour - Wallasey)
That this House recognises the danger that high levels of air pollution pose to human health; acknowledges the importance of reducing air pollution as quickly as possible; and urges the Government to commit to reaching annual levels of fine particulate matter in line with the World Health Organization’s interim target …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
9th November 2021
Neil Coyle signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 15th November 2021

Freedom of expression in Cuba

Tabled by: Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South)
That this House notes that the Cuban civil society movement, Archipiélago, has called for marches on the 15 November 2021 against violence, to demand that all Cubans’ rights are respected, for the release of political prisoners and for the solution to their differences via democratic and peaceful channels; further notes …
10 signatures
(Most recent: 24 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 4
Independent: 2
Conservative: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Neil Coyle's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Neil Coyle, 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.



635 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
15 Other Department Questions
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to review the gender pay gap reporting regulations now that five years have elapsed since they were first implemented.

Under The Gender Pay Gap Information Regulations 2017 we are required to produce a post-implementation review. This will be published in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to support leaseholders who have been affected by remedial fire safety works to help cover rising insurance costs for their homes.

I urgently want to relieve the financial pressures facing leaseholders due to unfair and unwarranted insurance premiums.
I have called on the FCA and the CMA to conduct a review of the buildings insurance market to get to the bottom of concerning year-on-year price increases, and the restricted cover on offer to leaseholders. The FCA is currently collecting data on market conditions to inform their review. By better understanding the root and scale of this issue in a thorough review, the Government can seek ways to ensure leaseholders get the value for money they deserve. The review is part of a wider raft of measures to protect innocent leaseholders from the impact of building safety issues.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many meetings he has held with developers since his announcement on 10 January 2022 that the Government plans to make developers and companies pay to fix the cladding crisis.

Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to work with the insurance sector to prevent rising costs for leaseholders affected by remedial fire safety works.

The Government is working with the insurance industry to address the challenges experienced by leaseholders facing increasing building insurance costs. On the 28 January, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities called on the Financial Conduct Authority and the Competition and Market Authority to review buildings insurance premiums for people living in medium and high-rise blocks of flats. The FCA has met with Chief Executives of key insurers and insurance brokers to explain their expectations for engagement in the review and affirm their regulatory expectations. The FCA is currently collecting data on market conditions to inform their review


In Minister Gove’s statement to parliament on 10th January, he noted Lord Greenhalgh's intention to work with insurers on new industry-led approaches that bring down the premiums facing leaseholders. On 4 January, Lord Greenhalgh wrote to the Association of British Insurers, encouraging them to investigate the possibility of an industry-led risk pool with their members. My officials are actively working with the Association of British Insurers to develop policy solutions, and Lord Greenhalgh met with the Association of British Insurers on 1 March to discuss progress.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to ensure that Capital Letters, a not-for-profit organisation that procures accommodation for homeless households on behalf of London boroughs, will continue to receive Government funding to enable it to continue playing a key role in the Government’s homelessness reduction strategy.

Capital Letters was set up in 2018 with the support of £37.8 million of Government funding. As announced at the Spending Review the Government will be spending over £2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the next 3 years. Allocations of funding for individual programmes will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how his Department plans to help protect homeless people from contracting the omicron covid-19 variant; and whether his Department plans to make extra resources available to (a) local authorities and (b) other organisations for the provision of safe accommodation.

We are monitoring the situation extremely closely and continue to prioritise the health of people sleeping rough and the homelessness workforce.

Currently, we are working to ensure people experiencing rough sleeping are encouraged to access vaccination and regular testing.

We are supporting local authorities through the £202 million Rough Sleeping Initiative this year, in addition to a £10 million Winter Pressures Fund for local authorities with the highest numbers of rough sleepers. We are in close contact with a range of stakeholders to monitor the situation.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress he has made on establishing a Housing Complaints Resolution Service.

In summer 2019, the Department established the Redress Reform Working Group to help improve redress across the housing market and consider the options for a Housing Complaints Resolution Service. We are currently considering next steps and are taking forward a range of measures designed to improve redress across housing the housing market including provision for the New Homes Ombudsman scheme in the Building Safety Bill and measures to speed up access to the Housing Ombudsman by removing the need for residents to go to a designated person or wait eight weeks before approaching them (the Democratic Filter).

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the homelessness funding announced in the Autumn Budget 2021 and Comprehensive Spending Review will be a three annual funding settlements or a three-year funding settlement.

The Spending Review 2021 set departmental budgets for the next three years. The settlement earmarked over £2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over this period. This includes resource funding rising to £639 million by 2024-25, an increase of 85% in case terms compared to pre-pandemic levels.

This additional funding will enable us to continue to support frontline services through the Rough Sleeping Initiative, support local authorities to fund their statutory duties to prevent homelessness and complete delivery of the 6,000 longer-term homes for rough sleepers under the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme.

The settlement demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to build on recent progress in ending rough sleeping. Multi-year funding will enable local partners to plan services more effectively and efficiently.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many buildings of five storeys or more that have been completed in each of the last four years are known to have combustible cladding and other materials in or on the building.

Information on the number of high-rise (over 18 metres) residential and publicly-owned buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations is available in the Building Safety Programme data release.

For high-rise residential buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding, the Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund at pace so more remedial works can begin as swiftly as possible. Information on the Building Safety Fund can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

We have begun a pilot data collection project for 11-18 metre residential buildings to identify materials in use and to inform the design of a wider national 11-18 metre data collection exercise. We will publish further details as soon as possible.

In January 2020, we consulted on the proposal to extend the ban of the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings. We continue to review and analyse the numerous and detailed responses we have received and develop our proposal. We will publish a response to the consultation as soon as possible.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the extent of the continued use of combustible materials in building materials.

Information on the number of high-rise (over 18 metres) residential and publicly-owned buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations is available in the Building Safety Programme data release.

For high-rise residential buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding, the Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund at pace so more remedial works can begin as swiftly as possible. Information on the Building Safety Fund can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

We have begun a pilot data collection project for 11-18 metre residential buildings to identify materials in use and to inform the design of a wider national 11-18 metre data collection exercise. We will publish further details as soon as possible.

In January 2020, we consulted on the proposal to extend the ban of the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings. We continue to review and analyse the numerous and detailed responses we have received and develop our proposal. We will publish a response to the consultation as soon as possible.

19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when the Government plans to finalise and publish the full details of the loan scheme for leaseholders affected by cladding related issues.

The Secretary of State is looking closely at this issue to make sure everything is being done to support leaseholders. We will continue to examine what more can be done to protect and support leaseholders and further detail on the support offer for leaseholders will be released when all options have been fully considered.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the composition of the (a) Gibbs and (b) Whitsey reviews are; and if he will place non-redacted copies of the reports in the Library.

The review by Dame Moria Gibb in 2017 into Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, and the Whitsey review undertaken by His Hon David Pearl in 2019 into Hubert Whitsey, the former Bishop of Chester, are both available in full on the Church of England’s website.

The Gibb review, ‘An Abuse of Faith’, is available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/report-of-the-peter-ball-review-210617.pdf

The Whitsey review is available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/overview/news-and-views/independent-lessons-learnt-review-bishop-whitsey-case

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent steps her Department has taken to end gay or gender conversion therapy in the UK.

The Government is committed to end conversion therapy, a practice that has no place in civilised society. We have been working at pace to establish a robust definition of conversion therapy and to review the legislative framework. The conclusion of this phase of work is necessary before taking final decisions about the best way to end the practice. We are considering various options and will outline in due course how the Government intends to proceed with an effective and proportionate response.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the COBRA Civil Contingencies Committee last met to discuss covid-19; and how many times that Committee has met each month in 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by Chloe Smith MP to PQ 66203 on 2 July 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the oral contribution of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 8 September 2020, Official Report, column 509, on how many occasions since May 2010 the Government has brought forward legislative proposals giving powers to Ministers to breach international law.

Parliament is sovereign as a matter of domestic law and can pass legislation, even if such legislation is in breach of the UK’s treaty obligations. From time to time tensions arise between our international obligations and domestic legislation. In 2012, The House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13 was brought forward with the statement that the Deputy Prime Minister at the time was ‘unable to make a statement of compatibility under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998’ which reflects the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (this Bill was later withdrawn for other reasons). Whilst pre-dating 2010, a further example from 2002 was when the then Government introduced the Communications Bill with a section 19(1)(b) certificate under the Human Rights Act 1998 (ie that whilst the Minster is unable to make a statement of compatibility the government nevertheless wishes to proceed with the Bill) because it was perceived that clause 309 of that Bill could be considered to violate our international obligations under article 10 of the ECHR. The current legislative proposal, if enacted, would deliver the wider objectives of the Protocol, which is to protect peace in NI and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what opportunities from the UK's withdrawal from the EU the Minister for Brexit Opportunities has identified to date.

This Government is driving forward an ambitious programme to seize the opportunities of leaving the EU, and deliver growth and innovation across the whole of the UK economy. On the 31st January, the Government published a policy document entitled ‘The Benefits of Brexit: how the UK is taking advantage of leaving the EU’, which set out in detail how the Government is seizing the opportunities of leaving the EU, and how the Government will transform the UK into the best regulated in the world. From artificial intelligence and gene-editing, to autonomous vehicles and data, our reforms will give businesses the confidence to innovate, invest and create jobs. We have set a target to cut £1 billion of red tape to help businesses innovate and grow and have set out plans to bring forward the Brexit Freedoms Bill which will end the special status of EU law and ensure it can be more easily amended or removed.

Furthermore, we now have an opportunity to develop and implement a new procurement regime which will enable us to create a simpler and significantly more transparent system that reduces costs for business and the public sector alike as well as supporting the levelling up agenda.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many Ministers’ connected parties have been granted Government contacts under the Government’s procurement policy since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

This information is not held centrally. A list of ministers’ interests is published periodically on GOV.UK.

Updated commercial guidance on the management of actual and perceived conflicts of interest has been published to provide commercial teams across government with further information on the roles and responsibilities of those involved in decision making, risk management and how provisions may be applied to suppliers.

The future legislative scheme, as set out in our proposals for procurement reform, will continue to place legal duties on authorities with respect to the prevention and remedy of conflicts of interest, with additional policy and guidance provided by the centre where the need arises.

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, what steps he is taking to tackle delays at UK customs on EU imports.

The Government has provided comprehensive guidance on the new arrangements for trade with the EU following the end of the Transition Period. Officials are monitoring trade flows at the border to identify any issues and to resolve them when they arise to allow goods to continue flowing freely.


We have delayed the implementation of full border import controls until January 2022 to minimise disruption and give traders a chance to prepare. Until these controls take effect, most importers of most goods are not required to file a customs declaration at the point of entry.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the report of the Intelligence and Security Committee on Russia will be published.

In line with his responsibilities in the Justice and Security Act 2013, the Prime Minister carefully considered and approved the report, and is content that its publication would not prejudice the functions of those bodies that safeguard our national security.

We acknowledge the public’s interest in the publication of the report, however the report itself is the property of the independent ISC, as such it is not for the Government to publish ISC reports; it is for the ISC to lay them before Parliament. Once a new Committee has been established, it will be up to them to choose when they wish to publish it. The process to establish a new Committee has already begun.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish the Pathway to Net Zero strategy.

We will publish a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26, setting out the Government’s vision for transitioning to a net zero economy. This will raise ambition as we outline our path to meet net zero by 2050, our Carbon Budgets and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support training and apprenticeships in the construction sector to increase the number of qualified insulators to help meet targets to reduce emissions from people’s homes.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched a £6.9m skills competition in September 2020 to provide training opportunities for energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains to deliver works and scale up to meet additional consumer demand. Funding is provided to support training individuals with existing skills and those new to the sector in energy efficiency and clean heat measures, along with support for installation companies to gain the required PAS 2030 standards or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation, including possible contribution to certification costs.

Applications for the scheme are now closed. 18 successful applicants have been awarded a total sum of £6.4 million and have now started training, offering free or subsidised courses covering a wide range of skills and certifications across both energy efficiency and clean heat measures.

The Government is investing in the UK workforce to ensure that people have the right skills and qualifications to deliver the low-carbon transition and thrive in the high-value jobs this will create. BEIS and the Department for Education (DfE) are jointly leading work to consider the skills and jobs needed to help deliver net zero, including green retrofit skills. The Green Jobs Taskforce is working with industry, unions and providers to develop solutions and recommendations that will be refined into a shortlist of high impact actions that will make up a final Green Jobs Action Plan due to be published in Summer 2021.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will introduce a car scrappage scheme which incentivises people to replace their higher-polluting vehicle with an electric or hybrid vehicle.

The Government is providing significant support to consumers and businesses to purchase and run ultra-low emission vehicles and therefore has no plans to introduce a car scrappage scheme.

The Government has already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market and remove barriers to zero emission vehicle ownership. Alongside the new phase out dates of 2030 and 2035 my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in his Ten Point Plan in November, we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the transition to zero emission vehicles. This package includes up to £1 billion for R&D and capital investments in strategically important parts of the electric vehicle supply chain, £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure and £582 million for plug in vehicle grants.

Additionally, the Government already provides a number of subsidies for consumers and businesses to purchase and run ultra-low emission vehicles, including the plug-in car and van grants (£2,500 towards eligible cars costing less than £35,000, small vans can receive up to £3,000 and large vans up to £6,000) lower tax rates, and grants towards the installation of chargepoints.

The transition to zero emission vehicles will help meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, contribute to reducing poor air quality in our towns and cities and can contribute to economic growth in the UK by providing skilled jobs in the automotive sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure umbrella companies comply with legislation on the payment of holiday pay.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason his Department committed to allocating research grants to universities through the Official Development Assistance programme before the budget was reduced.

Effective research and development programmes are frequently long-term and involve considerable planning and application stages in order to ensure value for money. It is standard therefore for some commitment to be made in advance of a project’s initiation. This commitment is always made on the understanding that there is no guaranteed funding past the point of the current Government spending review period.

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means having to make unexpected and difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the reduction in funding to the Official Development Assistance programme on levels of employment at UK universities.

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

On 2nd December last year, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to the Chair of the International Development Committee setting out the Strategic Framework for UK ODA, which details the UK’s foreign aid spending priorities. Specifically, these priorities include climate change and biodiversity, and tackling covid and global health issues, as you have outlined. This is in addition to tackling poverty, as all UK ODA does. In line with these priorities, he confirmed each Department’s total ODA settlement on 26th January.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting international research partnerships, and supporting the UK research sector. Our commitment to research and innovation has been clearly demonstrated by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget announcement of increasing investment in R&D across government to £14.6bn in 2021/22; and as has been set out in our Integrated Review ambitions, international collaboration is central to a healthy and productive R&D sector.

We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations. UKRI have written to many award holders setting out the next stage of the review of ODA funding next year, and to explore options for individual programmes. Full details have been published on the UKRI website.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of reducing funds to the Official Development Assistance programme on the ability of universities in (a) the UK and (b) their partner universities overseas to tackle (i) climate change, (ii) global health and (iii) poverty.

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

On 2nd December last year, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to the Chair of the International Development Committee setting out the Strategic Framework for UK ODA, which details the UK’s foreign aid spending priorities. Specifically, these priorities include climate change and biodiversity, and tackling covid and global health issues, as you have outlined. This is in addition to tackling poverty, as all UK ODA does. In line with these priorities, he confirmed each Department’s total ODA settlement on 26th January.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting international research partnerships, and supporting the UK research sector. Our commitment to research and innovation has been clearly demonstrated by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget announcement of increasing investment in R&D across government to £14.6bn in 2021/22; and as has been set out in our Integrated Review ambitions, international collaboration is central to a healthy and productive R&D sector.

We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations. UKRI have written to many award holders setting out the next stage of the review of ODA funding next year, and to explore options for individual programmes. Full details have been published on the UKRI website.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a reduction in Official Development Assistance funding to the UKRI on (a) UK universities and (b) their partner universities overseas where (i) funding for research has already been confirmed and (b) research using that funding is already underway.

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

On 2nd December last year, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to the Chair of the International Development Committee setting out the Strategic Framework for UK ODA, which details the UK’s foreign aid spending priorities. Specifically, these priorities include climate change and biodiversity, and tackling covid and global health issues, as you have outlined. This is in addition to tackling poverty, as all UK ODA does. In line with these priorities, he confirmed each Department’s total ODA settlement on 26th January.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting international research partnerships, and supporting the UK research sector. Our commitment to research and innovation has been clearly demonstrated by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget announcement of increasing investment in R&D across government to £14.6bn in 2021/22; and as has been set out in our Integrated Review ambitions, international collaboration is central to a healthy and productive R&D sector.

We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations. UKRI have written to many award holders setting out the next stage of the review of ODA funding next year, and to explore options for individual programmes. Full details have been published on the UKRI website.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the commercial arbitration system is obliged to ensure that crimes identified during hearings are raised with the appropriate investigating authority.

The general position is that in an English based arbitration, an arbitrator is not under a legal obligation to report to an appropriate investigating authority evidence of crimes arising in a hearing.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making commercial arbitration procedures and findings public.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has not made an assessment of making arbitration procedures and findings public.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to tackle unsafe toys being sold online.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe products can be sold in the UK. Both Local Authority Trading Standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) have powers to take action against manufacturers, importers or distributors who sell unsafe consumer products, including through online markets.

We are currently conducting a review of the Product Safety framework, including the impact of new technologies and e-commerce, to ensure it remains one of the best in the world in both protecting consumers and enabling businesses to innovate and grow.

In the coming months officials will be engaging with stakeholders on the current and future challenges and opportunities in relation to product safety, to inform the review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he plans to update consumer laws (a) to include terms and conditions applicable to consumers buying through online platforms and (b) for those terms to include warranties from online marketplaces on the quality and fitness for purpose of the products purchased.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all goods sold by traders to consumers, including through online marketplaces, must be as described, of a satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. The Government keeps this legal framework under review to ensure consumers remain adequately protected.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department are taking to ensure that online marketplaces are (a) enforcing safety regulations for third-party products sold on their platform and (b) accountable for the sale of unsafe products on their platform.

The UK’s national regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), works to ensure that major online marketplaces protect UK consumers from unsafe goods. As part of this, the OPSS is developing a voluntary, new commitment through which we will ask online marketplaces to agree additional actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online.

The Government is also conducting a wider review of the Product Safety framework to ensure it remains one of the best in the world in both protecting consumers and enabling businesses to innovate and grow. The review will consider the impact on product safety of new technologies and new business models, including e-commerce.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will introduce legislative proposals to give Trading Standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards the power to (a) remove unsafe products from online marketplaces and (b) take additional action against platforms selling those products.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe products can be sold in the UK. Both Local Authority Trading Standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) have powers to take action against manufacturers, importers or distributors who sell unsafe consumer products, including through online markets.

We are currently conducting a review of the Product Safety framework, including the impact of new technologies and e-commerce, to ensure it remains one of the best in the world in both protecting consumers and enabling businesses to innovate and grow.

In the coming months officials will be engaging with stakeholders on the current and future challenges and opportunities in relation to product safety, to inform the review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to prevent unsafe toys being sold by third party sellers on online marketplaces.

The UK has a strong product safety system which requires that products, including toys, should be safe before they can be placed on the market, including those sold online.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards works proactively with major online platforms to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe goods.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to restrict European Economic Area address for service rules at the Intellectual Property Office in the event that there are no reciprocal rights of representation before the EU Intellectual Property Office at the end of the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is aware that this is an important issue for stake holders, in particular UK-based patent and trade mark attorneys.

Rights of representation before EU institutions and courts are the preserve of the Single Market and so do not form part of the UK Approach to negotiations with the EU.

This means that UK representatives will no longer have the right to represent before the EUIPO at the end of the Transition Period. This is without prejudice to the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) which ensures that UK legal representatives can continue to represent their clients before the EUIPO in procedures that are ongoing at the end of the transition period.

Officials at the Intellectual Property Office and the Ministry of Justice are having ongoing conversations with stakeholders on representation rights and address for service once the transition period ends.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has estimated the number of jobs at risk in the event that the Government grants European Economic Area intellectual property practitioners unrestricted access to the UK Intellectual Property Office without reciprocal access for UK practitioners to the EU Intellectual Property Office at the end of the transition period.

The Government is aware that this is an important issue for stake holders, in particular UK-based patent and trade mark attorneys.

Officials at the Intellectual Property Office are having ongoing conversations with representative bodies over how to best address this matter once the transition period ends.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be extended to include (a) NHS and (b) private dental practices.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is open to eligible businesses in most sectors, including private dentists. In order to be eligible for the CBILS, businesses must:

  • be based in the UK;
  • have an annual turnover of up to £45 million.

Businesses also need to show that they:

  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic;
  • have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.

As with any other borrower, these businesses would need to meet the eligibility criteria for the Scheme which would be assessed by the lender on a case by case basis.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will introduce a telephone line for non-key workers to inform the Government in the event that their employer forces them to travel to and work in their workplace during the covid-19 pandemic.

In this unprecedented time, we would urge employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their workforce.

Employers should be taking all efforts to allow people to work from home, but where this is impossible, employees are able to travel to and be at work. This can include those who have not been designated as key workers. Our clear message for people to stay at home where they can will help lessen the risk for those who must go to work.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements and work together to adhere to the guidance from Public Health England on working safely. If individuals need advice they should approach ACAS where they can get impartial advice about in work dispute. The Acas website is at www.acas.org.uk.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure businesses do not compel people who are not key workers, and who rely on public transport, to travel to work.

The Government has advised that people should be working from home where it is possible to do so. If it is impossible for someone to work from home, then they can go to work. We understand that certain jobs require people to travel to their work for instance if they operate machinery, or are delivering front line services, such as train and bus drivers, construction workers, restaurant workers handling deliveries or health and social care workers.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements. There is a duty on all employers to make every effort to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Existing employment law already gives employees the right to request flexible working, which includes remote working. Where work must be done in the workplace, we have published tailored advice for how social distancing measures can be implemented by employers in England to help protect their workforce and customers from Coronavirus while continuing to trade.

Businesses and employees can get advice on employment issues, including the latest on homeworking, at: www.acas.org.uk. For further advice and support, businesses can also ring the Department’s Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the ability of small and medium-sized businesses to access the Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help cover the costs of coronavirus.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now live. Eligible businesses can apply for a loan or other form of finance through one of 40-plus providers accredited by the British Business Bank to offer the scheme. These include all the major UK banks. The application process is typically online for smaller amounts and the lending decision is made by the provider concerned.

Full guidance, including eligibility criteria, is available on the British Business Bank website at www.british-business-bank.co.uk/cbils and this information is being widely disseminated online, through the Government’s Business Support Helpline and by accredited providers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support (a) Facebook and (b) other social media companies to prevent the spread of Russian disinformation through their platforms.

Russia continues to use disinformation to attempt to justify its military action against Ukraine. Accompanied by baseless rhetoric and disinformation, Russian authorities falsely cast Ukraine as a threat to justify their aggressive stance.

The DCMS-led Counter Disinformation Unit (CDU) is working to identify and counter Russian disinformation targeted at UK and international audiences. We are working closely with the major social media platforms, including Meta (Facebook’s parent company), to ensure that they are cooperating at speed to swiftly remove disinformation and coordinated inauthentic or manipulated behaviour, as per their Terms of Service. We are also ensuring that platforms are promoting authoritative content which accurately depicts the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

The government welcomes the actions that Meta and YouTube have taken to block channels connected to RT and Sputnik in the EU and the UK, and the Secretary of State has written to other major platforms, including Twitter and TikTok, to ask that they take similar action. We also welcome the actions Twitter has taken to label Russian-state affiliated accounts and media links and prohibit Russian state media from running adverts or monetisation on the platform.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has evidence of Russian disinformation efforts aimed at disrupting UK society, including through (a) RT and (b) other front organisations such as the Internet Research Agency; and what steps her Department is taking to (i) monitor and (ii) counter Russian disinformation efforts.

Russia continues to use disinformation to attempt to justify its military action against Ukraine. Accompanied by baseless rhetoric and disinformation, Russian authorities falsely cast Ukraine as a threat to justify their aggressive stance.

The DCMS-led Counter Disinformation Unit (CDU) is working to identify and counter Russian disinformation targeted at UK and international audiences. We are working closely with the major social media platforms, including Meta (Facebook’s parent company), to ensure that they are cooperating at speed to swiftly remove disinformation and coordinated inauthentic or manipulated behaviour, as per their Terms of Service. We are also ensuring that platforms are promoting authoritative content which accurately depicts the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

The government welcomes the actions that Meta and YouTube have taken to block channels connected to RT and Sputnik in the EU and the UK, and the Secretary of State has written to other major platforms, including Twitter and TikTok, to ask that they take similar action. We also welcome the actions Twitter has taken to label Russian-state affiliated accounts and media links and prohibit Russian state media from running adverts or monetisation on the platform.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of China hosting the Winter Olympic Games on the reputation of that event.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is wholly responsible for the election process of the host nation of future Olympic and Paralympic Games. The host city is elected by a majority of the votes cast by secret ballot, with each active member of the IOC having one vote.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of how long international tourism will take to return to previous levels as covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

Since the start of the first lockdown, we’ve provided a range of targeted measures to see the UK tourism sector through COVID-19. On top of the Government’s wider economic support package, we've provided business rates relief and grants for many in the sector, as well as a substantial cut in VAT for tourism and hospitality activities until the end of March. The Chancellor will deliver the Budget on 3 March, in which he will set out the next phase of our plan to tackle the pandemic and build back better.

We recognise that heightened travel restrictions are significantly impacting international tourism and we are closely monitoring the situation. We will continue to engage with stakeholders via the Tourism Industry Council to assess how we can most effectively support the sector’s recovery.

The Global Travel Taskforce last year committed the Government to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the Spring, including plans for a marketing campaign to welcome visitors back to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.


The Department for Transport will lead a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce, with an ambition to develop a framework that can facilitate greater inbound and outbound travel as soon as the time is right, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants. It will report on 12 April.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional support his Department plans to offer to UK tourism businesses as covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

Since the start of the first lockdown, we’ve provided a range of targeted measures to see the UK tourism sector through COVID-19. On top of the Government’s wider economic support package, we've provided business rates relief and grants for many in the sector, as well as a substantial cut in VAT for tourism and hospitality activities until the end of March. The Chancellor will deliver the Budget on 3 March, in which he will set out the next phase of our plan to tackle the pandemic and build back better.

We recognise that heightened travel restrictions are significantly impacting international tourism and we are closely monitoring the situation. We will continue to engage with stakeholders via the Tourism Industry Council to assess how we can most effectively support the sector’s recovery.

The Global Travel Taskforce last year committed the Government to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the Spring, including plans for a marketing campaign to welcome visitors back to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.


The Department for Transport will lead a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce, with an ambition to develop a framework that can facilitate greater inbound and outbound travel as soon as the time is right, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants. It will report on 12 April.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to include provisions to prevent the sale of unsafe toys by third party sellers on online marketplaces in the Online Harms Bill.

Unsafe toys pose an unacceptable risk to children. The law is clear: only safe products should be placed on the market. To tackle the sale of unsafe toys online effectively, regulation must be consistent, transparent and joined-up.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards is in a unique position across Government to lead work tackling the sale of unsafe toys. However, their work must align with broader work on digital regulation, which DCMS leads. My officials engage closely with the Office for Product Safety and Standards on the issue of unsafe goods online.

Policy development for the Online Harms Bill is ongoing, including on the scope of the new regulatory framework, to ensure that regulation is clear and proportionate, and that it does not duplicate existing government activity. We will be publishing the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper Consultation later this year, before moving to legislation.

16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to replace the EU eCommerce Directive 2000/31/EC with UK law after the transition period.

At the end of the transition period, the EU eCommerce Directive will no longer apply to the UK. Many of its provisions have been implemented into UK domestic law. The government is making changes to ensure that, from 1 January 2021, online service providers based in the European Economic Area will be required to abide by UK legislation when providing services to UK consumers.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to issue updated guidance on valuation for site access agreements under the Electronic Communications Code for central government departments, arm’s length bodies and local authorities.

Our intention is to publish updated guidance on valuation under the Electronic Communications Code for public sector bodies as soon as possible. We hope to do so this summer.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of organisations in the cultural sector on eligibility for access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The government has announced unprecedented support for business, workers and the self-employed during this national emergency. We will continue to support the cultural sector through the financial measures announced, including loans tailored to the needs of businesses large and small.

Alongside this, DCMS continues to engage with the sector extensively in order to best understand the challenges faced, to hear how and where they are benefitting from support measures and to consider additional support that may be needed.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many organisations in the cultural sector have used the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The government has announced unprecedented support for business, workers and the self-employed during this national emergency. We will continue to support the cultural sector through the financial measures announced, including loans tailored to the needs of businesses large and small.

Alongside this, DCMS continues to engage with the sector extensively in order to best understand the challenges faced, to hear how and where they are benefitting from support measures and to consider additional support that may be needed.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with cultural organisations on their potential role in supporting vulnerable adults (a) during and (b) after the covid-19 outbreak.

This department continues to emphasise the important role arts and culture plays in health and wellbeing. I am keen that the sector reopens as soon as it is safe to do so, and this is in part to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to engage with and participate in cultural activities, which we know has significant health and wellbeing benefits.

My officials, together with DCMS arms length bodies, have spoken to over fifty organisations in the last two weeks to better understand what specific programmes they offer, and are looking to offer, with the aim of supporting social outcomes such as supporting vulnerable adults. For example, a number of library services across the country have been systematically ringing all their vulnerable users to ensure they are OK and to maintain some form of friendly human contact.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the permanent closure of long-standing cultural institutions which are financially affected by the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

We recognise that these are incredibly challenging times for cultural institutions and the Government will continue to support these organisations through the unprecedented financial measures we have announced. DCMS has worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding.

Alongside this, DCMS continues to engage with the sector extensively in order to best understand the challenges faced. We are working closely with the Arts Council to consider the additional support that may be needed to support the long-term recovery of the sector.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with internet providers to examine how to ensure isolated or disadvantaged families are able to access essential online services and help during the covid-19 pandemic.

The telecoms sector has undertaken a significant amount of work over recent years to prepare for a pandemic. DCMS is working closely with the main broadband providers to ensure the network remains stable and continues to have sufficient capacity for the increases in home-working and remote learning the country has seen as a part of its response to Covid-19.

My Department has brokered an agreement with the telecoms sector to ensure vulnerable consumers have access to critical services online. More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-telecoms-companies-to-support-vulnerable-consumers-through-covid-19.

11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to publish its response to the consultation on digital identity that closed on 15 September 2019.

The Department intends to publish its response to the Digital Identity Call for Evidence in Spring 2020.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on progressing the Government's plans for the Online Harms Bill.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including the proposed legislation on online safety. As the Prime Minister said in Prime Minister’s Questions on the 15th January, it was discussed at Cabinet in January.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to include steps to tackle Islamophobia in the forthcoming online harms Bill.

Anti-Muslim hatred is completely unacceptable and has no place in our society. The Online Harms White Paper will establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling harms occurring on their platforms, including hate crime. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has the cross-government lead on countering anti-Muslim hatred, and we will continue to work with them closely on this policy. The Secretary of State is looking to bring forward online harms legislation as quickly as possible

We are also ensuring that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and the Ministry of Justice have now engaged the Law Commission on a second phase of their review of abusive and offensive online communications. The Law Commission will review existing communications offences and make specific recommendations about options for legal reform in a final report in 2021.The Law Commission is also looking into the adequacy of protection offered by hate crime legislation. This strand of work is expected to report in 2021.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) affordability of early years education and childcare.

In terms of the availability of childcare spaces, we know from findings from the Childcare and early years providers survey 2021 that there is some spare capacity in the system. 7 in 10 (70%) group-based providers reported having spare places in their full day provision and almost half of childminders (49%) reported having spare capacity on average across the week. The Childcare and early years providers survey 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/childcare-and-early-years-providers-survey-2021.

The department continues to monitor sufficiency of childcare places and liaise regularly with local authorities. Local authorities are not currently reporting any substantial sufficiency or supply issues.

In terms of affordability, this government provides a substantial offer to parents regarding childcare. All 3 and 4-year-olds and disadvantaged 2-year-olds can benefit from 15 hours free early education, and eligible working parents can access an additional 15 hours (also known as ‘30 hours’), which can help save families over £6,000 per child a year. In 2021, 328,700 children had a government-funded early education entitlement place for 30 hours.

The tax-free childcare offer is also available for working families. This scheme means that for every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year (up to £500 every 3 months). Additionally, Universal Credit Childcare reimburses up to 85% of childcare costs for working parents on a low income. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children, payable in arrears.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department monitors the activities of Confucius Institutes in English schools and universities.

A number of education providers in England host Confucius Institutes (higher education) or Confucius Classrooms (schools) and they are responsible for ensuring their partnerships are managed appropriately with the right due diligence in place.

The department does not monitor the activities of these partnerships but takes seriously any concerns regarding the operation of international organisations at UK education providers. We will continue to support education providers to promote mutually beneficial international collaborations. We will look carefully at this important issue and if any provider has concerns regarding their international collaborations, they should inform the government.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the suitability of the IOE Confucius Institute as a provider of the Mandarin Excellence Programme in English schools.

The aim of the department’s Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) is to ensure that a high number of pupils in schools in England are on track to fluency in Mandarin, providing an increased pipeline of speakers to meet the future business and economic needs of the country.

In April 2021, the department considered tenders as part of a procurement for a new contract to run the MEP from September 2021 onwards. University College London’s Institute of Education (UCL IOE) Confucius Institute met the requirements of the department’s specifications and was awarded the contract in July as the successful bidder. UCL IOE delivers the MEP in partnership with the British Council.

UCL IOE has had a successful track record in delivering the MEP since its inception in 2016. The programme has grown from 14 schools in 2016 to 75 in 2022. There are currently over 7,800 pupils on the programme and over 8,000 pupils have benefitted from the programme since it began. In 2021, the first cohort sat their GCSEs in the language, with UCL reporting that 97% achieved at least Level 5 and 73% achieved either Level 8 or Level 9.

The department continues to monitor the provider and the programme closely through regular, on-going contract management.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the National School Breakfast Programme contract for provision up to July 2023 reaches children most at risk of hunger.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next two years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts.

The focus of the programme is to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the department’s Opportunity Areas. Schools’ eligibility for the programme is based on the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) – a nationally recognised indicator of need – to ensure provision is directed where it is most needed. Schools will be eligible for the programme if they have 50% or more pupils within bands A-F of the IDACI scale.

When schools join the programme, they will sign a partnership agreement that requires them to identify and target those children that are most in need of support. Our provider, Family Action, will monitor attendance data at each participating school and will support those schools with their targeting where needed. This will ensure that the programme benefits those most in need of support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Apr 2021
What estimate he has made of the cost to schools in the London Borough of Southwark of his Department’s decision to move the pupil premium eligibility date from January 2021 to October 2020.

Pupil premium rates will be maintained in 2021-22. We expect to increase pupil premium funding nationally to over £2.5 billion, and a typical school can expect an increase in their pupil premium funding. Data is not yet available on the impact of using the October 2020 census to determine eligibility. Basing pupil premium funding for 2021-22 on October 2020 census data, instead of using the January census, brings the pupil premium in line with how the rest of the core schools’ budget is calculated and provides earlier clarity for schools on their allocations.

Pupil premium will continue to be based on “Ever6 FSM”, whereby all pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous six years, will attract pupil premium funding. As a result, we expect a typical school to see an increase in pupil premium funding from 2020-21 to 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for FSM as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Alongside the pupil premium, we also intend to change the date for the FSM6 factor in the schools national funding formula (NFF). Without a change in dates, the FSM6 factor in the 2022-23 NFF would be based on January 2020 census data. Using the October 2020 census data instead will shorten the FSM6 funding lag in the NFF by nine months, and increase the amount of funding allocated through the FSM6 factor in 2022-23, as FSM eligibility increased significantly between January and October last year.

In addition to pupil premium funding, on 24 February 2021 the Government also announced a further £700 million package on top of the £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up already provided. This package includes £302 million for a one-off recovery premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. In this way, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts. The recovery premium also includes a “floor” to ensure that no primary school will receive less than £2000 and no secondary school less than £6000.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with (a) academy, (b) faith and (c) maintained school leaders on reducing pupil premium funding allocations in 2021.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the 2021-22 financial year. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census.

Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in the 2020-21 financial year, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding from £2.4 billion in 2020-21 to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals. In addition to this, the Government announced a further £300 million for a one-off recovery premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. As a result, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts.

The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the 2021-22 financial year in June 2021. This will provide information on the specific amounts that regions, local authorities, and individual schools are receiving through the pupil premium for the 2021-22 financial year.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil financial premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The pupil premium targets children who are, or have been, eligible for free school meals in the last six years. It does not specifically target children with disabilities. All pupils with disabilities should receive appropriate additional support from their schools, drawing on the schools’ core budgets and, for pupils whose special needs or disabilities will lead to additional costs of £6000 or more a year, drawing on top up funding from the local authority. The Department anticipates that special schools will typically attract more pupil premium funding in 2021-22 compared to the 2020-21 financial year, as a larger number of their pupils will be eligible for the pupil premium based on the October 2020 census than the January 2021 census.

Using the October census will also allow special schools to get certainty around their future funding levels earlier in the year by receiving their funding allocations earlier.

As part of the Department’s regular programme of engagement, we have had discussions on the change to the October 2020 census for pupil premium funding with stakeholders, including head teacher representatives.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children whose parents have become unemployed during the covid-19 outbreak will not receive pupil premium funding as a result of the eligibility dates changing from January 2021 to October 2020.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the 2021-22 financial year. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census.

Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in the 2020-21 financial year, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding from £2.4 billion in 2020-21 to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals. In addition to this, the Government announced a further £300 million for a one-off recovery premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. As a result, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts.

The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the 2021-22 financial year in June 2021. This will provide information on the specific amounts that regions, local authorities, and individual schools are receiving through the pupil premium for the 2021-22 financial year.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil financial premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The pupil premium targets children who are, or have been, eligible for free school meals in the last six years. It does not specifically target children with disabilities. All pupils with disabilities should receive appropriate additional support from their schools, drawing on the schools’ core budgets and, for pupils whose special needs or disabilities will lead to additional costs of £6000 or more a year, drawing on top up funding from the local authority. The Department anticipates that special schools will typically attract more pupil premium funding in 2021-22 compared to the 2020-21 financial year, as a larger number of their pupils will be eligible for the pupil premium based on the October 2020 census than the January 2021 census.

Using the October census will also allow special schools to get certainty around their future funding levels earlier in the year by receiving their funding allocations earlier.

As part of the Department’s regular programme of engagement, we have had discussions on the change to the October 2020 census for pupil premium funding with stakeholders, including head teacher representatives.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many disabled children will not receive pupil premium funding as a result of moving eligibility that premium back from January 2021 to October 2020.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the 2021-22 financial year. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census.

Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in the 2020-21 financial year, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding from £2.4 billion in 2020-21 to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals. In addition to this, the Government announced a further £300 million for a one-off recovery premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. As a result, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts.

The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the 2021-22 financial year in June 2021. This will provide information on the specific amounts that regions, local authorities, and individual schools are receiving through the pupil premium for the 2021-22 financial year.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil financial premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The pupil premium targets children who are, or have been, eligible for free school meals in the last six years. It does not specifically target children with disabilities. All pupils with disabilities should receive appropriate additional support from their schools, drawing on the schools’ core budgets and, for pupils whose special needs or disabilities will lead to additional costs of £6000 or more a year, drawing on top up funding from the local authority. The Department anticipates that special schools will typically attract more pupil premium funding in 2021-22 compared to the 2020-21 financial year, as a larger number of their pupils will be eligible for the pupil premium based on the October 2020 census than the January 2021 census.

Using the October census will also allow special schools to get certainty around their future funding levels earlier in the year by receiving their funding allocations earlier.

As part of the Department’s regular programme of engagement, we have had discussions on the change to the October 2020 census for pupil premium funding with stakeholders, including head teacher representatives.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the cost incurred by schools due to the decision to move the pupil premium eligibility date back from January 2021 to October 2020 by (a) Parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority area.

Pupil premium funding for the financial year 2021-22 will be based on the October 2020 census data provided by local authorities and academies.

The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil financial premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether an equality impact assessment was carried out in relation to the decision to move the pupil premium eligibility date back from January to October.

The move to using the October census for pupil premium funding will provide both schools and the Department with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year. The majority of schools’ funding is already calculated by using data from the October census.

Per pupil funding rates for the pupil premium in the 2021-22 financial year will be the same as in 2020-21, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

Pupil premium will continue to be based on “Ever6 FSM”, whereby all pupils eligible for free school meals at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous 6 years, will attract pupil premium funding. As a result, we expect a typical school to see an increase in pupil premium funding from 2020-21 to 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further information on this change can be found on gov.uk under “allocation changes from 2021 to 2022” at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium/pupil-premium.

Pupil premium funding for the financial year 2021-22 will be based on the October 2020 census data provided by local authorities and academies. Pupils who become eligible later in the year will be provided for in the following year.

We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The Department did carry out an equalities impact assessment for this change.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to ensure that the Education and Skills Funding Agency uses school and LEA data to finalise pupil premium allocations.

The move to using the October census for pupil premium funding will provide both schools and the Department with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year. The majority of schools’ funding is already calculated by using data from the October census.

Per pupil funding rates for the pupil premium in the 2021-22 financial year will be the same as in 2020-21, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

Pupil premium will continue to be based on “Ever6 FSM”, whereby all pupils eligible for free school meals at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous 6 years, will attract pupil premium funding. As a result, we expect a typical school to see an increase in pupil premium funding from 2020-21 to 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further information on this change can be found on gov.uk under “allocation changes from 2021 to 2022” at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium/pupil-premium.

Pupil premium funding for the financial year 2021-22 will be based on the October 2020 census data provided by local authorities and academies. Pupils who become eligible later in the year will be provided for in the following year.

We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The Department did carry out an equalities impact assessment for this change.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the number of children whose school will not receive pupil premium funding as a result of moving the eligibility date back from January to October.

The move to using the October census for pupil premium funding will provide both schools and the Department with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year. The majority of schools’ funding is already calculated by using data from the October census.

Per pupil funding rates for the pupil premium in the 2021-22 financial year will be the same as in 2020-21, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

Pupil premium will continue to be based on “Ever6 FSM”, whereby all pupils eligible for free school meals at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous 6 years, will attract pupil premium funding. As a result, we expect a typical school to see an increase in pupil premium funding from 2020-21 to 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further information on this change can be found on gov.uk under “allocation changes from 2021 to 2022” at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium/pupil-premium.

Pupil premium funding for the financial year 2021-22 will be based on the October 2020 census data provided by local authorities and academies. Pupils who become eligible later in the year will be provided for in the following year.

We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The Department did carry out an equalities impact assessment for this change.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the eligibility date used to finalise school pupil premium funding has been moved back from January to October.

The move to using the October census for pupil premium funding will provide both schools and the Department with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year. The majority of schools’ funding is already calculated by using data from the October census.

Per pupil funding rates for the pupil premium in the 2021-22 financial year will be the same as in 2020-21, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

Pupil premium will continue to be based on “Ever6 FSM”, whereby all pupils eligible for free school meals at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous 6 years, will attract pupil premium funding. As a result, we expect a typical school to see an increase in pupil premium funding from 2020-21 to 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further information on this change can be found on gov.uk under “allocation changes from 2021 to 2022” at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium/pupil-premium.

Pupil premium funding for the financial year 2021-22 will be based on the October 2020 census data provided by local authorities and academies. Pupils who become eligible later in the year will be provided for in the following year.

We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The Department did carry out an equalities impact assessment for this change.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Secretary of State for Education of 1 March 2021, Official report, col 19, what the terms of reference are for the joint review on how immigration status and No Recourse to Public Funds status interact with free school meals and other education entitlements.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whats steps he will take to ensure that teachers will be priortised for covid-19 vaccination now that one is available.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department for Education will input into this cross governmental exercise.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the guidance and instructions it has issued to schools in response to the covid-19 outbreak is consistent and non-contradictory.

The Department for Education is working closely with Public Health England and others to develop guidance for the education sector on COVID-19.

The Department is engaging closely and constructively with unions, serving school leaders and other school stakeholder organisations to respond to sector concerns and support schools as they open for more pupils.

We continue to update our guidance in response to feedback and to ensure it reflects the most up-to-date information to make sure that teachers, parents and young people are as well-informed as possible in the current rapidly changing circumstances.

If staff or parents need further advice after reading the guidance on GOV.UK, the Department has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline for queries relating to education and children’s social care.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what resources his Department has allocated to schools in Southwark to help ensure that pupils are aware that their school schedules may have changed during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Education has published a planning guide for primary schools to help them prepare for wider opening:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools

This makes clear that schools should communicate with parents to make sure they know whether their child will be able to attend school, and what they need to do with respect to taking their child to school and picking them up.

We have published guidance for secondary schools on how to welcome back students from year 10 and year 12 from 15 June:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools

The Department has also published advice to schools on communicating online with parents, carers, and pupils:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19#communicating-with-parents-carers-and-pupils

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect that the policy to charge children for bus travel in London will have on (a) school attendance, (b) late arrivals and (c) the ability of schools to maintain social distancing.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide free home to school transport for eligible pupils. The aim of the duty is to ensure that no child is prevented from attending school because they cannot walk there, whether that is because of distance, the safety of the route, or their special educational needs or disability. In London, local authorities do not need to provide free home to school transport for children who are able to travel for free on Transport for London (TfL) services.

On 15 May, the Government announced that, as part of a £1.6 billion funding package to protect TfL services, free travel for under 18s will be temporarily suspended. This will help reduce the risk of crowding on transport at busy times by encouraging those who can to walk or cycle instead. As part of the deal, arrangements will be put in place to ensure that children eligible for free home to school transport can still travel to school for free. The cost of this will not fall on London boroughs.

The Department for Transport has published guidance for the public on safer travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. Parents and children may wish to refer to this when planning their journeys to school. The guidance is available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to work with schools in London to ensure that children can travel to school while public transport limitations are in place as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide free home to school transport for eligible pupils. The aim of the duty is to ensure that no child is prevented from attending school because they cannot walk there, whether that is because of distance, the safety of the route, or their special educational needs or disability. In London, local authorities do not need to provide free home to school transport for children who are able to travel for free on Transport for London (TfL) services.

On 15 May, the Government announced that, as part of a £1.6 billion funding package to protect TfL services, free travel for under 18s will be temporarily suspended. This will help reduce the risk of crowding on transport at busy times by encouraging those who can to walk or cycle instead. As part of the deal, arrangements will be put in place to ensure that children eligible for free home to school transport can still travel to school for free. The cost of this will not fall on London boroughs.

The Department for Transport has published guidance for the public on safer travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. Parents and children may wish to refer to this when planning their journeys to school. The guidance is available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to reimburse schools in Southwark for additional costs resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

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

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, including those in Southwark, 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.

Further information on this funding can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support specialist higher education providers that are financially reliant on international student fee income and who have incurred losses as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education sector, including student recruitment, is no exception. We have been working closely with the sector, including specialist providers, to monitor the likely impacts of COVID-19 on student numbers in 2020-21. We understand the COVID-19 outbreak and a possible reduction in overall student numbers poses significant challenges.

In response to this and calls from the sector, on 4 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in higher education at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Temporary student number controls will be put in place for domestic and EU students for the academic year 2020/21 to ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers. Provider-level student number controls will be determined based on provider forecasts and allow for 5% growth above this. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places on top of the controls, of which 5,000 will be allocated to students studying nursing or allied health courses, to ensure growing numbers that will support our vital public services. This measure will only apply to full-time undergraduate UK/EU domiciled students, with certain specified exemptions. These controls will not apply to international (non-EU) students.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, has also consulted on a new temporary condition of registration. The OfS’ proposed condition would prohibit registered providers from engaging in any form of conduct which, in the opinion of the OfS, could reasonably have a material negative effect on the stability and/or integrity of the English higher education sector.

The government has also pulled forward tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more cash in the first term of academic year 2020/21, announced £100 million of public funding will be brought forward to the current academic year to help protect vital university research activities in England and confirmed providers are eligible to apply for the government financial support schemes estimated by the OfS to be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

Universities have an integral part to play in our economy, society and culture, which is highlighted now more than ever through their leading role in the fight against the virus. That is why we are introducing a package of measures to boost support for students, stabilise the admissions system and ease the pressures on universities’ finances.

I have written to all hon. Members with full details of the package, which have also been published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

On Friday 5 June, the department announced Sir Steve Smith as the International Education Champion, a key deliverable of the 2019 International Education Strategy. Sir Steve will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, tackling international challenges such as those posed to attracting international students and forging lasting global connections.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support higher education providers that are financially reliant on international student fee income and who have incurred losses as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education sector, including student recruitment, is no exception. We have been working closely with the sector, including specialist providers, to monitor the likely impacts of COVID-19 on student numbers in 2020-21. We understand the COVID-19 outbreak and a possible reduction in overall student numbers poses significant challenges.

In response to this and calls from the sector, on 4 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in higher education at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Temporary student number controls will be put in place for domestic and EU students for the academic year 2020/21 to ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers. Provider-level student number controls will be determined based on provider forecasts and allow for 5% growth above this. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places on top of the controls, of which 5,000 will be allocated to students studying nursing or allied health courses, to ensure growing numbers that will support our vital public services. This measure will only apply to full-time undergraduate UK/EU domiciled students, with certain specified exemptions. These controls will not apply to international (non-EU) students.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, has also consulted on a new temporary condition of registration. The OfS’ proposed condition would prohibit registered providers from engaging in any form of conduct which, in the opinion of the OfS, could reasonably have a material negative effect on the stability and/or integrity of the English higher education sector.

The government has also pulled forward tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more cash in the first term of academic year 2020/21, announced £100 million of public funding will be brought forward to the current academic year to help protect vital university research activities in England and confirmed providers are eligible to apply for the government financial support schemes estimated by the OfS to be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

Universities have an integral part to play in our economy, society and culture, which is highlighted now more than ever through their leading role in the fight against the virus. That is why we are introducing a package of measures to boost support for students, stabilise the admissions system and ease the pressures on universities’ finances.

I have written to all hon. Members with full details of the package, which have also been published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

On Friday 5 June, the department announced Sir Steve Smith as the International Education Champion, a key deliverable of the 2019 International Education Strategy. Sir Steve will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, tackling international challenges such as those posed to attracting international students and forging lasting global connections.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on business rate exemptions for nurseries during the covid-19 outbreak.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and other ministers at the department, meet regularly with colleagues to discuss the department’s agenda.

Guidance on the support available to businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Further information on business rates relief for nurseries and eligibility can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-nursery-is-eligible-for-business-rates-relief-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19 and;

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877772/Nursery_discount_guidance_April_2020.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to work with the higher education sector to attract international students to (a) creative and (b) specialist universities in the UK in the next academic year.

The government continues to recognise the huge value, both culturally and socially as well as economically, that international students bring to higher education in the UK. We recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education sector, including student recruitment, is no exception.

We have been working closely with the whole sector, including representatives of smaller and specialist higher education providers, to monitor the likely impacts of COVID-19 on international student recruitment. We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak and a possible reduction in the number of international students poses significant challenges. We stand ready to help the sector, including creative and specialist institutions, with various mitigations.

The government is working to ensure that existing rules and regulations, including visa regulations, are as flexible as possible for international students under these unprecedented circumstances. The latest visa guidance for students includes English language workarounds that will also benefit smaller and specialist higher education providers and providers of pre-sessional courses. Higher education providers are encouraged to be flexible in accommodating applicants’ circumstances where possible, including if applicants are unable to travel to the UK in time for the start of the academic year.

The government has also committed to publish a review of the International Education Strategy this autumn, which will respond to the new context and the challenges that are?posed by COVID-19 across all education settings. We look forward to continuing to welcome international students in the future - they are one of the reasons why our higher education sector remains world-class.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with internet providers about ensuring online access is free to education services during the covid-19 lockdown.

4G wireless routers will be provided to help disadvantaged children with a social worker in secondary school, and care leavers and Year 10s to access the internet.

The Government has also announced that the UK's major telecoms companies have committed to supporting vulnerable consumers by removing data caps for broadband services and treating fairly those who find it difficult to pay their bill.

We are currently in discussions with the major telecommunication providers to explore how they can further help us to support families without internet access.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to speed up the processing of applications for the National Voucher Scheme.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

We are monitoring the use of the scheme on a daily basis. Voucher codes are being processed and many thousands of families are already redeeming them. As of 28 April our supplier, Edenred, reported that over 16,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme and as of Monday 4 May, Edenred has reported that over £47 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme.

We continue to work closely with our supplier and with schools to increase the speed at which orders can be processed. We thank schools using the system for their patience while it is upgraded to meet increased demand.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on working with external partners to deliver the planned digital integration of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme once covid-19 social distancing measures are lifted.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and ministers at the department, meet regularly with colleagues to discuss the Department for Education's agenda.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to extend the temporary free school meals eligibility criteria once covid-19 social distancing measures are lifted.

Earnings thresholds are used widely across the government for determining eligibility for passported benefits. The threshold of £7,400 per annum is in line with the threshold for families applying for free school meals under the standard means-tested eligibility criteria.

We do not intend to revise the eligibility criteria to include children from undocumented families who are not receiving section 4 or section 17 support. We think that it is right that we have extended eligibility to those families with no recourse to public funds who have been identified as needing extra support.

This is a temporary extension that will last for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, until schools have reopened to all children. Plans to permanently extend eligibility to children with Zambrano carers, families receiving Section 4 support, and families with leave to remain under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights have been consulted on.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to revise the temporary free school meals eligibility criteria to (a) increase the household income threshold for families with no recourse to public funds and (b) allow children from undocumented families who are not receiving s4 or s17 support to claim for free school meals during the covid-19 outbreak.

Earnings thresholds are used widely across the government for determining eligibility for passported benefits. The threshold of £7,400 per annum is in line with the threshold for families applying for free school meals under the standard means-tested eligibility criteria.

We do not intend to revise the eligibility criteria to include children from undocumented families who are not receiving section 4 or section 17 support. We think that it is right that we have extended eligibility to those families with no recourse to public funds who have been identified as needing extra support.

This is a temporary extension that will last for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, until schools have reopened to all children. Plans to permanently extend eligibility to children with Zambrano carers, families receiving Section 4 support, and families with leave to remain under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights have been consulted on.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure childcare options are accessible and flexible once the covid-19 social distancing measures are lifted.

The government is committed to ensuring that vulnerable children and critical workers are able to access childcare places at this time, and that the sector is ready and able to support the country’s recovery as social distancing measures are altered.

To help achieve this, the government has announced unprecedented support for businesses, including the early years sector, to protect against the impact of COVID-19. For childcare providers, this includes business rates relief for nurseries, a range of loans and grants, access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the proportion of their pay bill which could be considered to have been paid for from private income, access to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and continued early years entitlement funding for local authorities. The government is monitoring the impact these measures are having and keeps all policies under review.

The Department for Education has published guidance for the early years sector on the eligibility criteria for this support, including the interaction between early years entitlements funding and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care#sector-specific-guidance.

The department is having regular conversations with local government about the availability of childcare locally and will continue this as we move through the COVID-19 outbreak to recovery.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of students who (a) are eligible for and (b) have signed up to National Voucher Scheme in the UK.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

We are monitoring the use of the scheme on a daily basis. Voucher codes are being processed and many thousands of families are already redeeming them. As of 28 April our supplier, Edenred, reported that over 16,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme and as of Monday 4 May, Edenred has reported that over £47 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme.

We continue to work closely with our supplier and with schools to increase the speed at which orders can be processed. We thank schools using the system for their patience while it is upgraded to meet increased demand.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the establishment of a support programme for families with children at risk of exploitation, following the introduction of the Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme in 2019.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with other ministers to discuss the Department of Education’s agenda.

We are committed to protecting children at risk of exploitation and this is why the government has commissioned a consortium, led by Research in Practice, and the International Centre at the University of Bedfordshire and The Children’s Society, to deliver the Tackling Child Exploitation (TCE) Support Programme.

The TCE Support Programme will help safeguarding partners in local areas develop an effective multi-agency response to a range of threats to children from outside the family, including sexual and child criminal exploitation, county lines, all forms of modern slavery of children and child trafficking. It will operate from 2019 up until 2022 with funding of up to £2 million.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions he has had with the Leader of the Opposition on nominations to the Intelligence and Security Committee.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member the Member for St Albans on 3 February 2020, UIN 9144.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-01-28/9144/

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to support obligated businesses that have experienced a significant rise in costs for packaging recycling notes in the final quarter of 2021.

We know recent prices increases for glass remelt PRNs have caused challenges for some businesses and have had discussions with both industry and regulators, including the Environment Agency, to understand the causes behind them.

In the past year, as a result of closures related to the pandemic, we have seen less glass collection from hospitality businesses, which is usually higher quality because it is collected separately. Instead, there have been higher collections from households, which often requires additional sorting to make it suitable for remelt, incurring additional cost.

These restrictions on supply will inherently raise the cost of the PRNs under the UK’s market-based system, alongside the end of year compliance pressures.

The Government cannot intervene in the market, but we will continue to monitor the situation and have asked the regulator to keep us informed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the statistics published in Packaging News on 9 December 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the factors that have led to the price increase from £9.75 in December 2020 to £190.00 in December 2021 of Glass Remelt Packaging Recycling Notes.

We know recent prices increases for glass remelt PRNs have caused challenges for some businesses and have had discussions with both industry and regulators, including the Environment Agency, to understand the causes behind them.

In the past year, as a result of closures related to the pandemic, we have seen less glass collection from hospitality businesses, which is usually higher quality because it is collected separately. Instead, there have been higher collections from households, which often requires additional sorting to make it suitable for remelt, incurring additional cost.

These restrictions on supply will inherently raise the cost of the PRNs under the UK’s market-based system, alongside the end of year compliance pressures.

The Government cannot intervene in the market, but we will continue to monitor the situation and have asked the regulator to keep us informed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Environment Agency on the cause of the recent increase in glass Packaging Recycling Notes.

We know recent prices increases for glass remelt PRNs have caused challenges for some businesses and have had discussions with both industry and regulators, including the Environment Agency, to understand the causes behind them.

In the past year, as a result of closures related to the pandemic, we have seen less glass collection from hospitality businesses, which is usually higher quality because it is collected separately. Instead, there have been higher collections from households, which often requires additional sorting to make it suitable for remelt, incurring additional cost.

These restrictions on supply will inherently raise the cost of the PRNs under the UK’s market-based system, alongside the end of year compliance pressures.

The Government cannot intervene in the market, but we will continue to monitor the situation and have asked the regulator to keep us informed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Red tape cut for wine imports to save British wine lovers £130m a year, published on 25 July, what his timescale is for implementing the removal the requirement for VI-1 certificates on all imports of wine into Great Britain.

On 25 July, the Government announced its intention to remove the requirement of VI-1 certification for all wine imports entering Great Britain. The removal of this barrier will cut unnecessary red tape for importers from both the EU and Rest of the World. This is great news for businesses and consumers, who will now see a significant trade burden lifted, which will ultimately lead to a reduction in the cost of wine. Industry analysis suggests that on average VI-1 certificates add 10p to every bottle of imported wine; British wine consumers can expect to save up to £130 million each year.

We are taking the necessary steps to begin the implementation process. On 9 September, we launched the consultation process for the removal for businesses who are directly impacted by the change. Once we have completed the consultation, we will then look to ensure that the necessary legislation is put in place as soon as possible.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions, on the effect on the food redistribution sector of his Department's decision to award £16 million of emergency funding in May 2020 and an additional £16 million Winter Support Grant in December 2020 to food redistribution charities; and what steps his Department is taking to monitor the effectiveness of that funding.

From the May 2020 funding of £16 million, £1.8 million is supporting over 100 not-for-profit organisations to carry out key redistribution activities such as storage and repackaging and redistributing to charities and/or end beneficiaries through the Covid-19 emergency food surplus redistribution programme. This programme is administered on behalf of Defra by the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) and is focused on preventing surplus food from becoming waste.

In addition, the Government has put in place a winter package to support the economically vulnerable. This package includes a £170 million Covid Winter Support Grant distributed by the Department for Work and Pensions to local authorities to support households with food and other costs, and £16 million of funding for Defra to support charities with food distribution to the vulnerable, which is being managed by the food redistributor FareShare.

After eight weeks of the £16 million grant scheme, the equivalent of 6.8 million meals have been distributed to 3,449 organisations across England. FareShare and Defra staff meet weekly for performance reviews, where FareShare presents delivery statistics against key performance indicators set at the start of the scheme.

Frequent discussions are ongoing at ministerial and official level to support this and wider work linked to this scheme.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2020 to Question 60862, what estimate he has made of the revenue to the Exchequer resulting from the decision to roll over EU import VI-1 certificates for wine.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will transfer existing EU wine regulations, including import certification requirements, onto the UK statute book. This will mean that EU wines will become subject to the same import requirements as wine arriving from countries like Australia, USA, Chile and South Africa, which currently account for 50% of wine on UK shelves. There are no plans to carry out an impact assessment of what this change will mean for EU wine imports or to estimate the effect it will have on Exchequer receipts. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has estimated that the cost of fulfilling new import certification arrangements would add approximately 10 pence to each bottle of EU wine, which equates to less than a 2% increase on an average priced wine.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether regulations that enable wineries to produce wine from grapes imported from EU countries will remain in place after the transition period.

UK-produced wine has a growing international reputation and the Government is committed to supporting a thriving UK wine industry.

After the Transition Period, the effect of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act means it will not be possible to use grapes from third countries (including those from the EU) for the purpose of producing wine in Great Britain (GB).

It will continue to be possible to use grapes from EU countries for the purpose of producing wine in Northern Ireland.

During the Transition Period, production of wine in the UK from grapes imported from the EU is permitted. This period allows GB operators time to adapt their practices in readiness for our departure from the single market and customs union.

The Government will keep the rules on the production and marketing of wine under review.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to reduce air pollution levels (a) throughout the UK, (b) in inner city communities and (c) in the London Borough of Southwark.

Air quality is a key policy area for this Government and a great deal of work is being done to tackle air pollution. Implementing the commitments set out in the Clean Air Strategy (CAS), which was published last year, will help to clean up our air faster and more effectively in towns and cities.

The upcoming Environment Bill, which will shortly be reintroduced to Parliament, will deliver some key commitments in the CAS. This includes introducing a duty to set a legally binding target for fine particulate matter concentrations, the pollutant of most harm to health. The Bill will also ensure that local authorities have a clear framework for tackling air pollution, and are better able to tackle a key source of fine particulate matter emissions – domestic solid fuel burning. It will also provide the Government with new powers to enforce environmental standards for vehicles and machinery.

The Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) is also working with a number of local authorities to deliver compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time. JAQU provides these local authorities with guidance and support to develop local plans to identify and implement suitable measures to achieve this objective, supported by £572 million dedicated funding. In some instances local authorities will be implementing charging clean air zones to deliver these reductions, and the Government is working closely with these authorities to ensure the necessary IT systems are in place and ready to use.

Further, Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities, funding projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses and residents. Defra has awarded over £60 million in funding to local authorities since the grant started in 1997.

These measures will improve air quality across the country, including in inner-city areas. For London, air quality is the responsibility of the Mayor of London.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that British manufacturers are prohibited from selling equipment to Israeli distributors to be used to demolish homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

For items that are subject to an export licence, HM Government takes its strategic export responsibilities seriously and will assess all export licences in accordance with the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria. We will not grant a licence authorising the supply of controlled items anywhere in the world, if to do so would be inconsistent with the Criteria.

We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely, and we will take action to suspend, refuse or revoke licences – in line with the Criteria – if circumstances require.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that British manufacturers that make products for Israeli distributors are not being used to demolish homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

For items that are subject to an export licence, HM Government takes its strategic export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’).

HM Government will not grant a licence authorising the supply of controlled items anywhere in the world, if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used for internal repression.

We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely, and we will take action to suspend, refuse or revoke licences – in line with the Consolidated Criteria – if circumstances require.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the UK does not levy new tariffs on wine from the EU; and if she will cancel the planned extension of the requirement for VI-1 forms to EU wines at the end of the transition period.

The UK Government intends to achieve an FTA with the EU therefore does not expect tariffs on wine, under the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) regime, to apply to EU imports.

Businesses can check what tariffs will apply after the transition period on GOV.UK, at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-tariffs-from-1-january-2021.

As referred to in answers 78691 and 78692, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will transfer existing EU wine regulations such as these to the UK statute book. As a result, EU wines will also now become subject to the same import requirements as wine arriving from countries like Australia, USA, Chile and South Africa, which currently account for 50% of wine on UK shelves.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to provide Transport for London with funding for urgent renovations to the Rotherhithe Tunnel in order to prevent its potential closure.

TfL is responsible for the maintenance of its assets, including Rotherhithe Tunnel.

This Government has demonstrated its commitment to transport in London throughout the pandemic, with over £4 billion in extraordinary support packages since May 2020. These support packages must be fair to taxpayers, and on the condition that action is taken to put TfL on the path to long-term financial sustainability.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to publish the data used to inform the covid-19 traffic light system to help the travel industry to plan for reopening.

The traffic light system categorises countries based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors.

Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

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.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support he is providing to maintain jobs in the travel industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation and travel sectors because of Covid-19 and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor.

In total, we estimate that by the end of September 2021, the air transport sector will have benefitted from around £7bn of Government support since the start of the pandemic. This includes support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was extended until 30 September 2021. From official statistics from HM Revenue and Customs, we estimate around 50% of air transport sector employees are currently furloughed using the CJRS.

In February the Department for Transport also launched the Aviation Skills Retention Platform which allows former and current aviation sector workers who are currently out of work to register their skills, so they can be notified of relevant jobs opportunities, advice and upskilling opportunities.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on whether any lives have been lost as a result of delays affecting emergency service vehicles that have been caused as a result of road closures to facilitate social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has made no assessment of how the emergency services have been affected by the introduction of new road layouts. It is for local authorities to ensure that any changes they propose to make to road layouts are delivered in line with relevant legislation, and consultation and noticing requirements.

Where road closures require a Traffic Regulation Order, the emergency services must be consulted as part of the order-making process, to ensure any concerns are addressed and that access is maintained. Emergency services have been generally supportive of road layout changes, such as low-traffic neighbourhoods and, in some cases, their access has improved because narrow, unsuitable roads are no longer full of traffic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to mandate the removal of temporarily imposed restrictions on road space for traffic introduced under emergency provisions during the covid-19 outbreak in the event that it is shown that those restrictions are causing deaths that would have been avoided without their imposition; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has made no assessment of how the emergency services have been affected by the introduction of new road layouts. It is for local authorities to ensure that any changes they propose to make to road layouts are delivered in line with relevant legislation, and consultation and noticing requirements.

Where road closures require a Traffic Regulation Order, the emergency services must be consulted as part of the order-making process, to ensure any concerns are addressed and that access is maintained. Emergency services have been generally supportive of road layout changes, such as low-traffic neighbourhoods and, in some cases, their access has improved because narrow, unsuitable roads are no longer full of traffic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish the Taxi and Private Hire Bill.

The Government will continue to engage with the sector on our plans for reforming the regulation of taxis and private hire vehicles, including options to introduce new legislation. The Department is supporting licensing authorities to make use of their extensive existing powers through the recently issued Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards. The Department will consult on updated best practice guidance on other matters later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will allocate additional resources to Transport for London to exempt school staff from the congestion charge in London.

Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and delivered by Transport for London. The administration of the Congestion Charge, including any exemptions, is a matter for Transport for London.

The government recently agreed a £1.6 billion funding and financing package for Transport for London to protect key services, helping people to stay safe during the pandemic and supporting the capital’s gradual recovery from COVID-19.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many train stations will (a) become step-free and (b) acquire an accessible toilet changing place through Access for All funding.

So far, more than 200 stations have been made step free through the programme, with a further 1500 receiving smaller scale access improvements. By 2024 more than 100 additional stations will receive a step free route, and 11 will acquire an accessible toilet, 2 of which will be changing places toilets.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effect of improving the accessibility of rail infrastructure on employment opportunities for disabled people.

Departments are working together through the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office which has been established in recognition of the barriers faced by disabled people in their lives.

The National Strategy for Disabled People due to be published later this year will focus on the issues that most affect disabled people: housing, education, transport and jobs. As part of this, Departments across Whitehall are considering how they can make the greatest contribution to the lives of disabled people in our nation.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is the Government's policy to support a third runway at Heathrow airport; and what assessment he has made of the potential cost of that programme.

The Airports National Policy Statement was designated as government policy in June 2018 following a vote in the House of Commons. It sets out that there is a need to increase airport capacity in the South East of England by 2030 by constructing one new runway and that this need is best met by the Northwest runway scheme at Heathrow Airport.

Expansion is a private sector project, therefore the cost of the scheme is a matter for Heathrow, who are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. It is for Heathrow to demonstrate that the project can be financed and built and that the business case is realistic. The Northwest runway scheme will receive no public money.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the impact of her Department's policies to help people under 25 get into work on levels of youth unemployment in the most recent period for which data is available.

The Department launched the Plan for Jobs as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes DWP’s Youth Offer and the Kickstart Scheme which are targeted at supporting young people aged under 25 to find employment.

The DWP Youth Offer provides intensive Work Coach support to young people aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit and in the Intensive Work Search group. It includes the Youth Employment Programme, Youth Employability Coaches for young people with complex needs and additional barriers, and over 150 Youth Hubs across England, Scotland, and Wales.

Since the Kickstart Scheme’s launch in September 2020 over 163,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people. We know that young people have been hardest hit by the economic impact of the pandemic and are delighted that employers up and down the country have made over 235,000 jobs available for them to apply to. The final Kickstart job starts took place on 31st March 2022 and the last jobs will come to an end on 30th September 2022.

The Department has a range of evaluation activities in train to assess the impact these policies on young people, in particular in relation to the department’s evaluation of the Plan for Jobs, including the DWP Youth Offer and the Kickstart Scheme.

Official Labour Market Statistics are produced by the ONS. The latest data (Feb-April ’22) shows that 455,000 young people are unemployed, this is a decrease of 7,000 on the previous quarter and a decrease of 59,000 compared to pre-pandemic levels (Dec-Feb ’20).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of cost of living payments on future Universal Credit payments for claimants.

The Cost of Living Payments will not will not affect a person’s entitlement to social security benefits, (including Universal Credit) or tax credits - either as ‘capital’ or as ‘income’. They will also not count towards the benefit cap. This approach will allow households to retain the full value of the payments they receive.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether all Universal Credit claimants will receive the proposed cost of living payments at the same time as everyone else.

Due to the volume of people entitled to the payment, it is not possible to issue all of the Cost of Living Support Payments at the same time. Issuing payments will be staggered, but not by benefit type, starting on 14/07/2022.

We currently expect the majority of payments to be made by the end of July, there may be potential delays for a small minority of cases due to their unique characteristics.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that receiving a Cost of Living Payment does not negatively affect claimants' subsequent Universal Credit payments.

The Cost of Living Payment will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

Further information on these payments will be discussed in Parliament as part of the legislative process to ensure their delivery.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions her Department has had with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to encourage employers to improve support for applicants and employees with complex disabilities.

My officials regularly engage with BEIS on work that will improve employer support for applicants and employees with complex disabilities.

This follows on from the Health Is Everyone's Business Consultation Response, which DWP and DHSC published jointly last year. The response set out the measures we will take to protect and maintain progress made to reduce ill-health related job loss and see 1 million more disabled people in work from 2017 to 2027. The measures in the Response provide greater clarity around employer and employee rights and responsibilities; address the need for employers to have access to clear and compelling information and advice; and encourage more employers to provide access to expert support services such as Occupational Health.

DWP is currently developing a new digital service to provide employers with better-tailored and integrated information, and BEIS is involved in the development of this service.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to live independent lives and start, stay and succeed in employment. These include the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Supported Internships, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services.

In particular, Access to Work is a demand-led, discretionary grant scheme that helps to remove the risks of the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers by contributing towards covering the costs of employment –related support above the level of reasonable adjustment. Access to Work provides employees with grants of up to £62,900 per year to cover workplace adaptations such as special equipment, support workers, and help getting to and from work. In 2020/21 35,990 disabled people and people with health conditions received tailored and flexible support to do their job from Access to Work.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department will take to ensure that the intensive one-on-one support as part of the Way to Work campaign will be tailored to the individual needs of any person with complex disabilities who receives it.

The Department for Work and Pension’s ‘Way to Work’ campaign is a step-change in our approach to supporting claimants and employers. This approach recognises that the benefits of a job are clear, both financially and for the wellbeing of claimants.

As now, not all claimants will be required to look for work. Claimants with a health condition or disability will continue to have tailored commitments based on their personal circumstances, including considering the impact of their health and wider situation. This may include setting work search activity if that is appropriate for the claimant. We do not, however, expect claimants with a current “Fit Note” to start work until it expires, or they are assessed as part of a Work Capability Assessment.

The Work and Health Programme provides a contracted employment scheme for people with a disability, or who are long term unemployed and seeking employment. We also have our Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) programme for people with a disability who also have complex barriers to employment and are further away from work.

Finally, our Work Coaches can offer additional support through advice and services. For those with a disability this could include Access to Work and the Flexible Support Fund which provide personalised support to enable disabled people and those with a health condition to move into or keep employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department will take to raise awareness of the Access to Work scheme among (a) employers and (b) employees.

DWP is committed to increasing awareness of the Access to Work scheme amongst individuals with disabilities and health conditions, employers and stakeholders.

Over the past 18 months Access to Work have delivered in-depth upskilling sessions to a wide variety of internal colleagues, including Work Coaches, Disability Employment Advisers and Employer Advisers. Externally we have also provided awareness of Access to Work to a range of organisations, employers and customer representative groups. This will continue throughout 2022, focusing activities in areas with the largest disability employment gap.

We frequently promote Access to Work through the Department’s social media channels and have introduced specific Access to Work pages on the JobHelp website (to maximise reach via our Jobhelp TV campaign), and on gov.uk. In addition, we are continuing to promote Access to Work to employers as part of the Disability Confident scheme.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that every jobcentre is equipped with the assistive technology disabled claimants need to apply for jobs.

DWP recently completed an upgrade of all Customer Computers across the Jobcentre network which now means that all devices provided for use by customers have the standard accessibility features available such as being able to change the screen size & colour, replacing sounds with screen alerts and using the screen reader to read text.

We currently have over 7,275 devices across our estate, registered with these accessibility features. The numbers of computers available for customers to use in jobcentres will differ depending on the COVID measures in place.

Further support is available to customers where reasonable adjustments are identified and recorded. Each Jobcentre District Office has been provided with the following items for use by customers if requested:

  • A keyboard with larger keys
  • A large trackball mouse
  • Headphones. However, many people will want to use their own

We have opened a number of new sites across the estate to support delivery of face to face public services. As part of this work, Customer Computers are available in these sites. Further work is also underway to provide accessibility hardware to those sites.

In addition to this, we have improved access to our Wi-Fi services in all jobcentres, allowing customers to use their own personal devices if they prefer, to access internet services.

We also constantly review the number of PCs available for customers and have capacity to increase the number of devices quickly, if the need arises.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to compel benefit claimants to participate in Restart placements.

Once a Universal Credit claimant has been referred to the Restart programme, participation on the programme is mandatory as part of their claimant commitment. Restart programme providers’ interactions must reflect their personal circumstances and preferences of each participant. All activities should be agreed together to encourage participants to complete them voluntarily, using a variety of methods and approaches to achieve this.

Providers may consider using mandation, where attempts to engage with participants have not been successful.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the data for Kickstart scheme (a) applications, (b) business registrations and (c) placement starts for young people seeking work by (i) constituency and (ii) local authority.

As of 2 November, there have been over 23,570 applications approved for funding from the Kickstart Scheme. These applications have come from over 900 Gateway organisations and over 14,000 employers and include 304,000 approved jobs. Employers and Gateways can make multiple applications, and the number of employers included within gateway applications is not included in these figures.

We are unable to provide the number of applications and business registrations by parliamentary constituency or local authority, however we have provided, in the attached document, tables listing the number of jobs made available for young people to apply for and jobs started on the Kickstart Scheme by Local Authority and Parliamentary Constituency. The figures provided are correct as of 2 November 2021 and these figures have been rounded according to departmental standards. There has been a delay in answering this question as additional time was needed to quality assure the information provided.

Job locations are as reported by the employer on the Job Placement Template. In some cases, employers will report the address of their head office rather than the precise location of the job.

The information provided shows the location of the job not the location of the young person who has started the job. Given we do not know where the remote job is being undertaken, we have removed remote jobs from the geographical breakdowns and have placed in a separate remote category.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Health and Disability Green Paper and its focus on encouraging disabled people into work, what recent assessment she has made of levels of poverty amongst disabled people who are (a) in work and (b) unable to work as a result of their disability.

Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low-income households over time, including disabled people and people living in disabled families, are set out in the annual "Households Below Average Income" publication.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/households-below-average-income-hbai--2

The following statistics on disabled people in absolute low-income are based on analysis of HBAI data.

The absolute low-income rate, before housing costs, among disabled working age people who were in work in 2019/20 was 11%. The latest Labour Force Survey reported that there were 4.4m disabled people in employment in the UK in Q2 2021. This is an overall increase of 1.5m since the same quarter in 2013.

The absolute low-income rate, before housing costs, among disabled working-age people who reported they were not working because they are permanently sick/disabled in 2019/20 was 28%. This is based on disabled working-age people who had not done any paid work in the prior 7 days, were not absent from work at the time of interview and who self-reported that the reason that they are not looking for work or working is that they permanently or long-term sick or disabled.

As well as receiving support through ESA or UC Health, disabled people may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment, which helps towards some of the extra costs arising from having a long-term health condition or disability. Spending on benefits for disabled people and people with long-term ill health has never been higher and is set to increase further. In 2021/22 we are forecast to spend £58 billion, £44.1 billion of which is spent on people of working age.

We are reviewing responses to the Health and Disability Green Paper and intend to publish a White Paper next year, setting out changes to the benefits system that will better meet the needs of claimants now and in the future by improving claimant experience of our services, enabling independent living and improving employment outcomes.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 September 2021 to Question 43541 on Post Office Card Accounts, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of the Payment Exception Service for benefit claimants unable to use Post Office card accounts from November 2021 for payment of (a) pensions, (b) benefits and (c) tax credits; and if she will make a statement.

The Department recognises that not everyone is able to open and operate a standard account. The new Payment Exception Service has been designed to enable customers who cannot open or manage a standard account to access cash payments via the PayPoint network or from a Post Office.

The Post Office card account (POca) contract that the Department holds has been extended to November 2022. The Department has begun to move customers from POca accounts to the new Payment Exception Service.

Tax credits are administered by HMRC and they are making alternative payment arrangements for tax credit customers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to inform claimants of the planned removal of the £20 per week uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit.

We have always been clear the uplift for Universal Credit was a temporary measure, responding to extraordinary circumstances and ensuring the welfare safety net was there for those encountering financial hardship. Now with record vacancies and the successful vaccination rollout, it’s right that we switch our focus to getting people back into work and improving their prospects.

In July 2021, DWP updated around 6 million Universal Credit statements to show claimants that they have been receiving an additional £20 a week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further messages are being sent this month and in October as the temporary uplift comes to an end, and as Work Coaches interact with their claimants they will be highlighting this change. We will continue to communicate with people via both their statement and their journal to inform them when their assessment period ends. These messages will also link to the page in the claimant’s account that signposts to organisations that can help with managing money and budgeting.

We are also issuing a bespoke communication to offer advice to those with phone claims prior to the removal. We advise claimants to speak to their Work Coach if they need particular help.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefit claimants currently hold Post Office Card Accounts; what assessment her Department has made of the impact on claimants of ending their use for benefit and pension payments from November 2021; and what steps her Department is taking to help claimants set up alternative accounts.

In 2015 there was circa 2.3m active Post Office Card Accounts (POca) users, which has now reduced to less than 350k.

The Department has a dedicated team, the Financial Inclusion Customer Contact Centre, to support all Post Office Card Account customers to transition to standard accounts. A new Payment Exception Service exists for customers who are unable to access a standard account to receive their payments.

The Department is actively contacting Post Office Card Account customers to provide support and advice on the future payment methods available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many EEA nationals in receipt of in work, out of work, or health and impairment-related benefit have yet to apply for Settled Status.

I refer the honourable member of Bermondsey and Old Southwark to my previous response on this subject : UIN 31481.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that citizens from EU member states living in the UK and in receipt of in-work social security payments, including universal credit do not stop receiving support after 1 July 2021 if (a) their application for the EU Settlement Scheme has not been resolved and (b) they have not applied to that scheme.

I refer the honourable member of Bermondsey and Old Southwark to my previous response on this subject : UIN 19715

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to ensure that Jobcentre users who are survivors of domestic abuse are able to choose the gender of their Work Coach.

It is standard practice in Jobcentres, that should a claimant request a Work Coach of a specific gender or to change their Work Coach for any reason, then this request should be acknowledged, with few, if any, questions being asked of the claimant.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to (a) raise awareness and (b) promote uptake of pension credit through targeted communications aimed at people in receipt of universal credit approaching state pension age.

Universal Credit claimants who are identified as approaching State Pension Age are sent a message via their personal online journal which directs them towards Pension Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary-Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of 25 January 2021, Official Report, column 16, if the Government will publish (a) the full list of changes to Government communications that have been made as a result of the review of communication products on pension credit and (b) an evaluation of whether those changes have improved uptake of pension credit.

The Pension Credit material on gov.uk has been updated, providing clear information on how Pension Credit can help pensioners and how easy it is to claim, particularly with the introduction of online service last year which enables family, friends and organisations to help pensioners make a claim. New State Pension information on gov.uk has also been refreshed and amendments to clerical products used to claim Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to promote Pension Credit.

The latest Pension Credit stats can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2018-to-2019

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will increase the timescale used to measure household food security in the annual Family Resources Survey from 30 days to 12 months.

The Department has no such plans.

The Family Resources Survey questions were developed in consultation with users, including experts from academia and others with experience of the subject, and with the Office for National Statistics, who deliver the survey for DWP.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the (a) benefit cap and (b) two child limit on people fleeing domestic abuse.

DWP is committed to supporting all our claimants, including the most vulnerable in society. This includes those who are, or have been, victims of domestic abuse.

The benefit cap and the two-child limit policies help to restore fairness between those receiving working age benefits and taxpayers in employment. However, important mitigations are in place to support the most vulnerable.

We provide a tailored service that recognises those with complex needs and ensures provision of appropriate support. This might include pausing job search requirements, initiating alternative payment arrangements or deferring repayments. In addition, claimants that are temporarily absent from home due to fear of violence can receive the housing element of Universal Credit, and/or Housing Benefit, for both the home that has been left and any new home for up to a year. Housing support for specified accommodation, including refuges, is excluded from the benefit cap calculation as is any Housing Benefit paid to a Universal Credit claimant.

Departmental training and awareness is now better than it ever has been, allowing Jobcentre staff to proactively identify, support and signpost victims of abuse.

Discretionary Housing Payments are available for households that need additional financial support to meet housing costs. While the allocation of this funding is at Local Authority discretion, we have strengthened the associated Guidance Manual to ensure that individuals or families fleeing domestic abuse are considered a priority group for DHP support.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department concluded its internal review of the factors driving the use of food banks.

The Department reallocated resources to prioritise work to help the COVID-19 effort.

Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses and, for those in most need, injected billions into the welfare system. The new Covid Winter Grant Scheme builds on that support with an additional £170m for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 57261, when she plans to place a copy in the Library of her Department's internal review of the drivers of food bank usage.

The Department reallocated resources to prioritise work to help the COVID-19 effort.

Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses and, for those in most need, injected billions into the welfare system. The new Covid Winter Grant Scheme builds on that support with an additional £170m for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the interaction between universal credit and housing benefit earnings tapers.

The income taper in Housing Benefit and the earnings taper in Universal Credit are designed to ensure that work always pays. They ensure that benefit is not reduced on a pound for pound basis. Whilst receiving Universal Credit, a claimant’s income is disregarded for Housing Benefit purposes and there is no change to the amount they receive.

If their Universal Credit claim ends, then their Housing Benefit claim is reassessed. Some of their earnings will be disregarded based on their personal circumstances. When a claimant’s income, after the disregards have been applied, is higher than their applicable amount, Housing Benefit is reduced by a fixed taper of 65p for every £1 of additional income, meaning that they will always be better off in work.

The applicable amounts in Housing Benefit are made up of personal allowances, paid according to age and family status, added to premiums which are designed to help particular groups of people who may have additional expenses. These amounts are uprated each year alongside other benefits.

Work allowances are already available to Universal Credit claimants who have children or limited capability for work, including those living in supported accommodation. Work allowances provide additional incentives and support for these particular groups who may find it more difficult to get into, or progress in work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will (a) increase the threshold at which the earnings taper is applied to housing benefit and (b) reintroduce a universal credit work allowance for young people living in supported accommodation.

The income taper in Housing Benefit and the earnings taper in Universal Credit are designed to ensure that work always pays. They ensure that benefit is not reduced on a pound for pound basis. Whilst receiving Universal Credit, a claimant’s income is disregarded for Housing Benefit purposes and there is no change to the amount they receive.

If their Universal Credit claim ends, then their Housing Benefit claim is reassessed. Some of their earnings will be disregarded based on their personal circumstances. When a claimant’s income, after the disregards have been applied, is higher than their applicable amount, Housing Benefit is reduced by a fixed taper of 65p for every £1 of additional income, meaning that they will always be better off in work.

The applicable amounts in Housing Benefit are made up of personal allowances, paid according to age and family status, added to premiums which are designed to help particular groups of people who may have additional expenses. These amounts are uprated each year alongside other benefits.

Work allowances are already available to Universal Credit claimants who have children or limited capability for work, including those living in supported accommodation. Work allowances provide additional incentives and support for these particular groups who may find it more difficult to get into, or progress in work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she plans to take to ensure that increasing working hours is economically advantageous for young people living in supported accommodation.

The income taper in Housing Benefit and the earnings taper in Universal Credit are designed to ensure that work always pays. They ensure that benefit is not reduced on a pound for pound basis. Whilst receiving Universal Credit, a claimant’s income is disregarded for Housing Benefit purposes and there is no change to the amount they receive.

If their Universal Credit claim ends, then their Housing Benefit claim is reassessed. Some of their earnings will be disregarded based on their personal circumstances. When a claimant’s income, after the disregards have been applied, is higher than their applicable amount, Housing Benefit is reduced by a fixed taper of 65p for every £1 of additional income, meaning that they will always be better off in work.

The applicable amounts in Housing Benefit are made up of personal allowances, paid according to age and family status, added to premiums which are designed to help particular groups of people who may have additional expenses. These amounts are uprated each year alongside other benefits.

Work allowances are already available to Universal Credit claimants who have children or limited capability for work, including those living in supported accommodation. Work allowances provide additional incentives and support for these particular groups who may find it more difficult to get into, or progress in work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claim decisions have been delayed as a result of claimants waiting for EU Settlement Scheme applications to be processed.

We do not hold the data in the Department that would allow us to provide figures for this question. DWP operates a Habitual Residence Test (HRT) in order to assess whether individuals have legal right to reside for the purpose of accessing benefits and are factually habitually resident.

EU citizens who are exercising a qualifying right to reside, such as worker or self-employed, and are habitually resident in the UK will pass the Habitual Residence Test

A Universal Credit claimant can still pass the HRT without either having applied to the EUSS, or whilst waiting for their application to be processed, provided they can prove their right to reside and factual habitual residency.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has paid out in response to findings of maladministration in each financial year since 2009-10.

DWP provides a high quality service to around 20 million people, and of those, less than 1% complain or receive redress for service failing. In instances where issues with payments arise, DWP operates a discretionary special payments scheme, which can provide financial redress if our maladministration has caused a customer hardship or injustice.

The table provides the special payment expenditure from April 2009 to March 2020. Information about payments for maladministration is also contained in DWP’s Annual Report and Accounts. The most recent published report can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896268/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-2020.pdf

We do not record data in respect of the number of people who have been awarded a special payment by DWP. Instead, we record the number of special payments we have authorised. The number of authorised payments will not necessarily equate to the number of customers because an individual might be awarded redress under different categories (financial loss or a consolatory payment) or receive more than one payment.

Special Payment Expenditure

Reporting Year

Number of payments authorised

Total amount paid*

2009 – 2010

18, 820

£5.3m

2010 – 2011

16, 280

£5.1m

2011 – 2012

12, 527

£3.1m

2012 – 2013

13, 628

£2.3m

2013 – 2014

13,382

£2m

2014 – 2015

9,197

£1.6m

2015 – 2016

6,671

£1.3m

2016 - 2078

7, 447

£1.1m

2017 – 2018

7, 079

£0.86m

2018 – 2019

6, 946**

£1.2m**

2019 - 2020

6, 708***

£0.98m

*The special payment figures exclude financial redress paid for Loss of Statutory Entitlement (LOSE), a special payment which can be made if maladministration has caused a claimant to lose entitlement to statutory benefit payments. LOSE is excluded as it is not an extra cost arising from maladministration, but payment that should have been made anyway.

** The special payment figures reported in the Departmental Report 2018/19 (24,175 payments totalling £2.496m) included 17,345 ex gratia payments totalling £1,674,770 (£1.7m). These were for support for mortgage interest and were paid to claimants whose benefit payments were not converted to a loan by 7 May 2019. There were 6,946 payments made for maladministration, totalling £1,221,070 (£1.2m)

***The figure in respect of the number of payments authorised in 2019/20 was not included in the 2019/20 Departmental Report, as that aspect of the special payment data had yet to be finalised prior to the report’s publication

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people qualified for a payment from her Department following a finding of maladministration in each financial year since 2009-10.

DWP provides a high quality service to around 20 million people, and of those, less than 1% complain or receive redress for service failing. In instances where issues with payments arise, DWP operates a discretionary special payments scheme, which can provide financial redress if our maladministration has caused a customer hardship or injustice.

The table provides the special payment expenditure from April 2009 to March 2020. Information about payments for maladministration is also contained in DWP’s Annual Report and Accounts. The most recent published report can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896268/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-2020.pdf

We do not record data in respect of the number of people who have been awarded a special payment by DWP. Instead, we record the number of special payments we have authorised. The number of authorised payments will not necessarily equate to the number of customers because an individual might be awarded redress under different categories (financial loss or a consolatory payment) or receive more than one payment.

Special Payment Expenditure

Reporting Year

Number of payments authorised

Total amount paid*

2009 – 2010

18, 820

£5.3m

2010 – 2011

16, 280

£5.1m

2011 – 2012

12, 527

£3.1m

2012 – 2013

13, 628

£2.3m

2013 – 2014

13,382

£2m

2014 – 2015

9,197

£1.6m

2015 – 2016

6,671

£1.3m

2016 - 2078

7, 447

£1.1m

2017 – 2018

7, 079

£0.86m

2018 – 2019

6, 946**

£1.2m**

2019 - 2020

6, 708***

£0.98m

*The special payment figures exclude financial redress paid for Loss of Statutory Entitlement (LOSE), a special payment which can be made if maladministration has caused a claimant to lose entitlement to statutory benefit payments. LOSE is excluded as it is not an extra cost arising from maladministration, but payment that should have been made anyway.

** The special payment figures reported in the Departmental Report 2018/19 (24,175 payments totalling £2.496m) included 17,345 ex gratia payments totalling £1,674,770 (£1.7m). These were for support for mortgage interest and were paid to claimants whose benefit payments were not converted to a loan by 7 May 2019. There were 6,946 payments made for maladministration, totalling £1,221,070 (£1.2m)

***The figure in respect of the number of payments authorised in 2019/20 was not included in the 2019/20 Departmental Report, as that aspect of the special payment data had yet to be finalised prior to the report’s publication

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people sought an advance payment of universal credit in each of the last 10 months.

Applications for a Universal Credit advance can be made in a number of ways: in person, by telephone and also online.

The department published a set of supplementary management information on the number of Universal Credit Advances paid by the four advance types. This information is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-declarations-claims-and-advances-management-information.

Information on unsuccessful advance applications is not held.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much is owed to her Department in total from people in receipt of advance payments of universal credit.

Advances are available to support those in immediate financial need until their first Universal Credit payment is made. This means that claimants will receive 13 payments in 12 months.

There were nearly 3 million additional claims to Universal Credit made in the period to July 2020 and nearly 2 million people who have received an advance.

The total value of advances is currently £939,795,907.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are currently in receipt of an advance payment of universal credit.

Advances are available to support those in immediate financial need until their first Universal Credit payment is made.

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

The department published a set of supplementary management information on the number of Universal Credit Advances paid by the four advance types. It is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-declarations-claims-and-advances-management-information.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how long it takes a claimant to repay a full advance of universal credit on average.

The average amount of time it takes to repay an advance is 12 months.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how her Department plans to ensure that intermediaries are available for the Kickstart scheme in every local authority region.

The department engaged with a wide range of organisations, charities, employers and local authorities across the country to encourage their participation in the Kickstart Scheme as gateway organisations. A list of over 500 organisations willing to act as a gateway organisation has been published alongside guidance on the gov.uk website with good regional and sector coverage.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether local authorities will be (a) required or (b) encouraged to participate in the Kickstart scheme.

Local Authorities are not required to participate in the Kickstart Scheme but we are keen that they do. Local Authorities are welcome to apply for Kickstart funding as an employer to create additional jobs for young people in their area. We also encourage Local Authorities to be among those participating in the scheme as gateway organisations.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason Kickstart intermediary agencies are required to run payroll functions.

Gateway organisations are not required to manage the payroll for employers included in their bids for Kickstart funding. They are responsible for forwarding the grant payment, once the wages have been paid. Some Gateway organisations may wish to offer this additional support to employers included in their bid, but this is a matter of choice for the Gateway and the employer.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing the requirement that Kickstart scheme intermediary agencies have to run payroll functions.

Gateway organisations are not required to manage the payroll for employers included in their bids for Kickstart funding. They are responsible for forwarding the grant payment, once the wages have been paid. Some Gateway organisations may wish to offer this additional support to employers included in their bid, but this is a matter of choice for the Gateway and the employer.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to provide additional funding to ensure the adequacy of the Universal Credit Transition Fund.

The outbreak of COVID-19, which led to an unprecedented surge of over 3 million new Universal Credit claims, resulted in the Department refocusing its resources to deliver frontline activities. This meant we regrettably had to take the decision not to pursue the Universal Credit Transition Fund as had been planned in April 2020. This decision was reported to the Work and Pensions Select Committee in July of this year.

The Universal Credit Transition Fund was intended to assist partner organisations in providing extra help to the most vulnerable claimants, improving access to welfare and labour market opportunities.

The Government has increased the funding for the Flexible Support Fund by £150 million in Great Britain, including to increase the capacity of the Rapid Response Service, which can be spent on delivering support to claimants in conjunction with local partners. The Department also continues to grant fund Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, worth up to £39 million, to deliver tailored, practical support to people making a Universal Credit claim up to their first full correct payment being received.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction and implementation of universal credit on its ability to meet Equality Act 2010 obligations towards disabled people compared to its ability to meet those obligations with legacy benefits.

The Department published an Equality Impact Assessment for Universal Credit in 2011, which stands overall, although in line with Ministers’ legal duties equality impacts have been considered on all major changes to Universal Credit.

We recognise that claimants with disabilities or health conditions may face extra challenges in their lives and so Universal Credit provides unprecedented personalised support for people by simplifying the benefit system. Universal Credit will provide an extra £2.1bn a year once fully rolled out, compared to the legacy benefit system it replaces. Millions of people who move onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits will be better off, including around a million disabled households who will gain on average around £100 per month.

Additionally, where people are unable to make or manage their Universal Credit claim online, telephone and face to face support in Jobcentres is available. Our Work Coaches are committed to delivering what is right for a person’s circumstances and receive training to ensure they can offer effective support to different claimant groups. This enables them to provide tailored support and gain an excellent understanding of whether their claimants have conditions that require extra support.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to reduce benefit levels for people deemed by her Department to be unfit for work.

Future decisions on benefit levels will be made at the next appropriate fiscal event.

In March 2020, the Chancellor announced a series of policies to support people, jobs and businesses during the Pandemic, including an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance for 12 months, in addition to planned uprating of 1.7%, both of which support new and existing claimants.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to reduce benefit levels for people deemed by her Department to be fit for work.

Future decisions on benefit levels will be made at the next appropriate fiscal event.

In March 2020, the Chancellor announced a series of policies to support people, jobs and businesses during the Pandemic, including an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance for 12 months, in addition to planned uprating of 1.7%, both of which support new and existing claimants.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many covid 19-related workplace inspections the Health and Safety Executive undertook in each of the last six months; and what the outcome was of each of those inspections.

The table below provides details of Covid specific site visits carried out by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) operational staff in each of the last 6 months and up until 15th September 2020. Where an outcome has been recorded this has been provided below and please note that there will be some instances where an outcome has not yet been recorded.

March

April

May

June

July

August

1st - 15th September

Total

No. of Covid Site Vists

1

35

126

159

1,820

1,103

475

3,721

No Action Taken

1

10

41

47

913

532

216

1,761

Verbal Advice

-

12

55

61

619

379

195

1,322

Written Correspondence

-

13

24

37

165

111

34

384

Enforcement Notices served

-

-

6

13

31

15

3

68

Notes:

i) As the above data is taken from a live operational database it is subject to change e.g. when the outcome of an inspection is determined and recorded, due to the delay between a site visit and details being recorded onto the database and as a result of data quality checks.

ii) The data also does not include site visits for other purposes which may have addressed Covid issues e.g. investigations of reported accidents and workplace concerns and inspections carried out for other purposes.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is the Government's policy to extend the £20 monthly uplift to universal credit beyond Spring 2021.

The Government has introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chancellor announced a series of policies to support people, jobs and businesses on 20 March 2020 during which he confirmed an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance for 12 months, in addition to planned uprating of 1.7%. Further decisions on spending will be made at the next fiscal event.

In addition to the standard allowance increase, Universal Credit claimants have also benefited from an increase in the Local Housing Allowance rates so that it covers the lowest third of local rents, and during Covid-19 the Minimum Income Floor, (an assumed level of earnings) has been relaxed to zero for self-employed claimants.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what types of change in circumstances are recorded by her Department when a benefit claim is ended as a result of a change in circumstances.

There are a significant number of reasons used to record a claim being closed due to a person’s change of circumstances. Some of these are generic across different benefits such as deceased, gone abroad, reached retirement age, in prison, etc. whereas others are specific to the benefit claimed and can include reasons such as the claimant failing to attend an assessment, failing to attend an interview, or closed following an assessment, etc. This list in not exhaustive. The reasons recorded will be dependent on the person’s individual circumstances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants who previously had access to public funds have had their claims ended as a result of No Recourse to Public Funds conditions being imposed, in each of the last 10 years.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what lessons her Department will be taking forward from the Harrogate managed migration pilot; and if she will make a statement.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, and the resulting increase in Universal Credit (UC) new claims since the middle of March 2020, the decision was taken to suspend the Move to UC pilot in the area served by Harrogate Jobcentre. As a result, it is premature to develop any definitive conclusions surrounding the pilot or to make public statements. The Department will share findings with stakeholders and Parliament when they become available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the reinstatement of the claimant commitment on 1 July 2020, how the findings of the Proof of Concept pilot which took place in the summer of 2019 will inform the reintroduction of the claimant commitment; and she will publish the findings of that pilot.

The health conditionality Proof of Concept (PoC) ran in 29 jobcentres from September 2019 to February 2020. We have now obtained staff feedback on the PoC and are considering our next steps.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the public purse of rolling on existing claims for housing benefit during the five week wait to receive universal credit.

As per the analysis for Autumn Budget 2017, the Department estimates the following expenditure in total for the Transition to Universal Credit housing payment is £550 million.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the public purse of rolling on existing claims of (a) income support, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) employment and support allowance during the five week wait to receive universal credit.

As set out in section 1.11 of the National Audit Office’s report ‘Universal Credit: getting to first payment’, the Department estimates that it will spend £750 million on benefit run-ons from 2018-19 to 2023-24.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the public purse of roll-on benefits for people in receipt of (a) income support, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) employment and support allowance during the migration of those claimants to universal credit.

As set out in section 1.11 of the National Audit Office’s report ‘Universal Credit: getting to first payment’, the Department estimates that it will spend £750 million on benefit run-ons from 2018-19 to 2023-24.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Audit Office report entitled Universal Credit: getting to first payment, published 10 July 2020, what steps her Department is taking to reduce fraud and error in universal credit claims.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) takes the issue of fraud and error extremely seriously and continues to implement new initiatives to tackle it.

The National Audit Office (NAO) report (Universal Credit: getting to first payment) recognises at paragraph 2.23, that DWP and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) categorise fraud and error differently. Under the Tax Credit regime, HMRC makes a provisional award to claimants based on the information it holds and then calculates their actual entitlement after the end of the year. Any overpayment, due to a change in the claimant’s income during the year, does not count as fraud and error. Therefore, it is not possible to compare directly with Universal Credit.

NAO also acknowledge that DWP’s fraud and error levels were always going to increase as claimants migrate from Tax Credits (administered by HMRC) onto Universal Credit. DWP maintains that Universal Credit is better designed than the benefits it replaces and that, once in steady state, we still expect it to lead to savings in fraud and error and overpayments across welfare. As the NAO reported at paragraph 2.24 of their report there are net fraud savings from the introduction of Universal Credit to the Exchequer of £62m in 2018/19.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we were making increased use of data and analytics as part of our approach to combatting fraud and error. We further optimised this capability following the outbreak of the pandemic by bringing together a number of intelligence teams from across the Department to create our Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service (IRIS). You will appreciate that it is not possible to describe the mechanics used by these teams without potentially compromising their effectiveness. However, by continuing to work across Government and with existing third party suppliers, IRIS helps to ensure a joined up approach to tackling fraud and error.

In addition, the verification of new claimants’ identities has remained at the core of the checks DWP undertakes before new claims are processed. Whilst DWP’s COVID-19 response has necessitated the removal of face to face contact with all but our most vulnerable customers, we have reduced the fraud and error risks this might pose, by introducing new and robust verification procedures. This includes the use of unique biographical questions (questions based on information DWP already holds about an individual), uploading ID documentation, and where appropriate, seeking additional verification via our newly established Enhanced Checking Service.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the public purse of ending the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment.

It is not possible to award a Universal Credit payment as soon as a claim is made, as the assessment period must run its course before entitlement to Universal Credit can be calculated.

Advances allow new claimants to request additional support during the first assessment period. Advances can be repaid over a year, allowing new claimants to receive 13 payments during that period instead of 12. We have temporarily increased the Standard Allowance by £86.67 a month (equivalent to £20 per week, or £1040 per year). For many claimants, this additional amount will cover the average £54 per month advance repayment.

A non-repayable grant at the outset of a claim would potentially increase fraud and error levels and become susceptible to organised criminal activity. It may also encourage more speculative UC claims, potentially repeatedly, in order to access funds.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of retaining online and telephone assessments for benefit claimants as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Assessments for health and disability benefits are not conducted online.

Paper based reviews have always been a feature of Personal Independence Payment assessments and Work Capability Assessments, and wherever possible Assessment Providers will conduct a paper-based review, if there is sufficient evidence available to make a recommendation. Telephone-based assessments for suitable cases across health and disability benefits were introduced from 17 March due to Covid-19. Whether an assessment is conducted on the paper-based evidence alone or via a telephone consultation is a decision made by assessment providers based on the available evidence and ability to assess to health condition via these channels.

Face-to-face assessments remain suspended but will be kept under review.

We remain fully committed to making continuous improvements to the support we provide to people with health conditions and disabilities, and are evaluating the changes temporarily introduced to inform the approach taken to conducting assessments in the future.

2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what role (a) claimants, (b) work coaches and (c) assessment providers have in determining whether benefit assessments are conducted (i) online, (ii) by telephone and (iii) face to face.

Assessments for health and disability benefits are not conducted online.

Paper based reviews have always been a feature of Personal Independence Payment assessments and Work Capability Assessments, and wherever possible Assessment Providers will conduct a paper-based review, if there is sufficient evidence available to make a recommendation. Telephone-based assessments for suitable cases across health and disability benefits were introduced from 17 March due to Covid-19. Whether an assessment is conducted on the paper-based evidence alone or via a telephone consultation is a decision made by assessment providers based on the available evidence and ability to assess to health condition via these channels.

Face-to-face assessments remain suspended but will be kept under review.

We remain fully committed to making continuous improvements to the support we provide to people with health conditions and disabilities, and are evaluating the changes temporarily introduced to inform the approach taken to conducting assessments in the future.

2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people waiting for an (a) online and (b) telephone benefit assessment as at 2 July 2020.

I am interpreting your question to relate to all benefits where an assessment is made to determine entitlement to benefit. The information requested is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Jobcentres will be operating with a full complement of staff from 6 July 2020 as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Jobcentres have remained open throughout, providing support to our most vulnerable customers. In line with the easing of restrictions in England, from 1st July, people will be able to make an appointment with their Work Coach if they can’t get the help they want online or over the phone. Work Coaches, as part of the individualised approach, will be calling all claimants to engage with them. We will continue to be align with current guidance from Scotland and Wales.

The Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. We have already committed to increasing the number of Work Coaches and Case Managers and recruitment is already underway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has issued to Jobcentres on the reintroduction of benefit sanctions on universal credit claimants as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are issuing guidance to support our re-implementation of Claimant Commitments in July. We are managing this in a phased approach to deliver a tailored and effective service for our customers, recognising the individual and prevailing circumstances including COVID restrictions. We have not needed to issue new guidance on benefit sanctions. We trust and empower our job centre managers and work coaches to work with their customers appropriately.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Jobcentres will be open at their usual operating times from 6 July 2020 as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased..

Jobcentres have remained open throughout, providing support to our most vulnerable customers. In line with the easing of restrictions in England, from 1st July, people will be able to make an appointment with their Work Coach if they can’t get the help they want online or over the phone. Work Coaches, as part of the individualised approach, will be calling all claimants to engage with them. We will continue to be align with current guidance from Scotland and Wales.

The Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. We have already committed to increasing the number of Work Coaches and Case Managers and recruitment is already underway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claims for universal credit that have been processed by her Department since 29 March 2020 have resulted in people not qualifying for a payment.

The Department has been working to ensure we get support as quickly as possible to those individuals and households most financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It has been a longstanding principle of Universal Credit that an assessment of earnings, other income and capital is needed to establish eligibility to target support to those most in need. There may be several reasons why someone is not eligible to receive Universal Credit, will have received a nil award or withdrew their claim. Among other reasons, this includes:

  • Speculative claims which were subsequently withdrawn.
  • Found new employment (which may at present include being rehired under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or taken advantage of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme),
  • Redundancy payments affecting their entitlement,
  • The last month’s salary taken account. The key principle of Universal Credit is that it’s calculated based on income, so if someone’s income from work drops, their Universal Credit payment will rise to top it up,
  • Their claim may have been found to be fraudulent, and
  • Individuals may have capital saved above the £16,000 limit for UC entitlement.

Between March 30th and April 19th there were 767,000 declarations made to Universal Credit, all of which are processed. Of these:

  • 71% have received a UC payment
  • 13% had a nil award due to earnings
  • 7% were withdrawn by the claimant
  • 9% closed due to ineligibility
  • 1% have outstanding verification preventing payment

The proportion of new claims which generated a Universal Credit payment therefore actually rose in the first month of the emergency, when compared to the January and February figures.

Notes

  • Percentages are rounded to the nearest 1% and the volume of declarations is rounded to the nearest 1,000.
  • Percentages may not total to 100% due to rounding
  • Figures relate to Great Britain only.
  • Data for the weeks following the 19th of April is not yet available as more time is needed for claims to progress.
  • It is possible the award for new claims has been reduced due to earnings from previous employment prior to claiming UC.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether accounting regulations prevent her Department classifying money provided in universal credit advance payments which are required to be paid back at a later date to be seen as loans.

Advances are provided for in legislation as payments on account of future entitlement to benefit. They are accounted for accordingly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to provide a substantive response to Question 41056 tabled on 28 April 2020 and Question 48473 tabled on 18 May 2020.

An answer to Written Parliamentary Question UIN 41056 was provided on 4/06/2020.

I apologise for the lateness of this reply.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new universal credit claimants received their first payment on time from 16 March 2020 to 30 April 2020.

Universal Credit’s system are standing up to the challenge in this unprecedented time. The Digital Approach of UC has allowed us to get support to over 2.2 million people over the last 3 months, which would not have been possible under our legacy system. Latest statistics show 90% of new claimants are paid in full and on time and we expect to achieve this level in the future.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people using the Pension Wise guidance service prior to accessing their pension savings.

Pension Wise have been successful in increasing demand for guidance appointments year on year from a standing start in 2015. During the 2019-2020 financial year there were 205,643 available appointments.

Since the 11th March 2020, the Money and Pension Service have been collating Covid-19 figures. From this point up until 2nd June 2020, 21,663 bookings for Pension Wise guidance sessions have been made. The Money and Pension Service has successfully adapted its methods for delivering Pension Wise guidance during the Covid-19 outbreak to ensure that it can maintain its service. As face-to-face appointments have not been possible at this time, the Money and Pension Service have focussed on digital and telephone delivery channels to maintain levels of service. This has involved working proactively with customers who were booked for a face-to-face session and offering channel shift to ensure that support is still given to meet customer needs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to increase the availability and access of impartial pension advice and guidance for pensioners before they make decisions on their financial situation in retirement.

The Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) have a national goal to have 5 million more people understanding enough to plan for, and in, later life. MAPS are working with a wide range of organisations across industry and consumer groups to harness the collective efforts to reach this ambitious target by 2030. MAPS are working across a multitude of different channels to ensure that they are driving take up of Pension Wise guidance.

https://moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk/uk-strategy-for-financial-wellbeing/

For example, MAPS recently ran trials to test different ways of delivering a nudge to guidance at the point someone wishes to access their pension pot, with a view to making receiving guidance a social norm. MAPS, with the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), will publish an evaluation report of the trials in Summer 2020 and the results will assist the FCA and the Government in making rules and regulations.

Furthermore, recent FCA rules changes mean that from 1 November 2019, providers are required to include strengthened messaging about Pension Wise guidance in the ‘wake-up’ packs they send to their customers in the run-up to retirement. Providers are now also required to send the packs more frequently. The FCA’s approach was informed by behavioural research, which showed a material improvement in customer contact with Pension Wise.

Pension Wise also run successful advertising campaigns across multiple channels, as well as working with employers nationally and locally to engage with their employees at their place of work.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on when the provisions under he Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 on usage of Pension Wise guidance will be implemented.

Existing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require firms to signpost to their customers the availability of pensions guidance via Pension Wise. These include, for example, rules requiring firms to issue wake-up packs, designed to be one of the main sources of information for consumers about their options for accessing their pension savings.

Furthermore, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has undertaken trials to gather evidence on the possible ways to help encourage more people to take Pension Wise guidance before accessing their pension, fulfilling the requirement upon Government and the FCA set out in the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018.

We are now considering the outcome of the initial findings from the trials. However, we will not pre-emptively reach any conclusions. Once MaPS, with Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), publish an evaluation report of the trials in Summer 2020, we will use the evidence provided from the trials to help inform and assess the impact of the trials and conduct a consultation prior to implementing any regulations. For the FCA this also includes a duty to consult on the proposed rules. The due processes that DWP must take to lay regulations and the FCA must take to make rules will be followed.

The Secretary of State has not had discussions with the FCA in relation to this matter, however the FCA, DWP and MaPS are working closely together on this to progress the rules and regulations in a coordinated and timely fashion following the publication of the evaluation report.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average value was of universal credit payments made to new claimants in each week since the beginning of March 2020.

Average weekly payments made to new Universal Credit claimants is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate costs.

However, the latest information on average monthly values of payments made to new Universal Credit claimants is published and can be found on Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Further guidance can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the average value of advance payments made to new universal credit claimants in each week since 1 March 2020.

Since 1 March, the average amount of a Universal Credit New Claim Advance has been £640.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the requirement for advanced payments under universal credit to be repaid to her Department, for what reason her Department does not treat those advanced payments as a loan for the purposes of departmental data publication.

Accounting regulations would not allow us to treat UC Advances as loans as they are not loans and so are not recognised as loans.

Advances are a mechanism for getting claimants faster access to their entitlement; allowing claimants to receive 13 payments over 12 months with up to 12 months to repay the advance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to provide a substantive Answer to Named Day Question 41056 on Universal Credit which was tabled on 28 April 2020 and was due for Answer on 5 May 2020.

An answer to Written Parliamentary Question UIN 41056 was provided on 4/06/2020.

I apologise for the time taken to provide this answer.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of removing the triple lock on state pensions on pensioners.

The Secretary of State has not made an assessment of the impact on pensioners of the effect of removing the triple lock on State Pensions.

The Government is committed to ensuring that older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and the State Pension is the foundation of state support for older people.

Since 2010, the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension in 2020/21 is around £700 higher than if it had just been up-rated by earnings since April 2010. That’s a rise of over £1,900 in cash terms.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the future of the triple lock on state pensions.

The Secretary of State has not had any recent discussions with her Cabinet colleagues on the future of the triple lock on state pensions.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the High Court's decision of 7 May 2020 on the Government's policy on no recourse to public funds, what estimate she has made of the total amount of backdated benefit payments owed to families who have been found to have been wrongfully denied them under the no recourse to public funds policy.

The department that takes the policy lead on determining whether people have access to public funds is the Home Office which has noted the court’s decision and will provide submissions when the judgement and full reasons are handed down.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the High Court's decision of 7 May 2020 on the no recourse to pubic funds policy, how her Department plans to administer backdated benefit payments owed to families who have been wrongfully denied them under the no recourse to public funds policy.

The department that takes the policy lead on determining whether people have access to public funds is the Home Office which has noted the court’s decision and will provide submissions when the judgement and full reasons are handed down.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of the 93 per cent of claims for universal credit that have been processed by her Department since 16 March 2020 have resulted in people not qualifying for a payment.

Between March 16th and March 29th there were 800,000 declarations made to Universal Credit, all of which are processed. Of these

  • 67% have received a UC payment
  • 16% had a nil award due to earnings
  • 16% were either withdrawn by the claimant or closed due to ineligibility
  • Less than 1% have outstanding verification preventing payment

For comparison, in January and February there were 580,000 declaration made to Universal Credit, all of which are processed. Of these

  • 63% have received a UC payment
  • 12% had a nil award due to earnings
  • 26% were either withdrawn by the claimant or closed due to ineligibility
  • Less than 1% have outstanding verification preventing payment

I apologise for the time taken to provide this answer.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on when the FCA plans to (a) publish and (b) implement regulations directing pension savers to Pension Wise when they choose to access their pension savings.

The Secretary of State has not personally had discussions with the FCA in relation to this matter, however senior officials at the FCA, DWP and MaPS are working closely together on this and will continue to do so.

Existing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require firms to signpost to their customers the availability of pensions guidance via Pensions Wise. These include, for example, rules requiring firms to issue wake-up packs, designed to be one of the main sources of information for consumers about their options for accessing their pension savings.

Furthermore, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has undertaken trials to gather evidence on the possible ways to help encourage more people to take Pension Wise guidance before accessing their pension, fulfilling the requirement upon Government and the FCA set out in the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018.

MaPS, with Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) will publish an evaluation report of the trials in Summer 2020. We will use the evidence provided from the trials to help inform and assess the impact of the trials and conduct a consultation prior to implementing any regulations. For the FCA this also includes a duty to consult on the proposed rules. The due processes that DWP must take to lay regulations and the FCA must take to make rules will be followed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if the Money and Pensions Service will publish a report on the behavioural trials it has conducted on nudging savers towards pensions guidance.

The Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has undertaken trials to gather evidence on the best way to encourage more people to take Pension Wise guidance before accessing their pension, fulfilling the requirement set out in the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018. MaPS appointed an independent contractor, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), to design, run, and evaluate the nudge to pension guidance trials. MaPS, with BIT will publish an evaluation report of the trials in Summer 2020.

We will not pre-empt the results of the trials. We believe it is essential to use the evidence base that the trials on a stronger nudge to guidance will help to provide, to assess the impact of the trial results when they are available and co.nduct a consultation prior to implementing any regulations.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of implications for her policies of the results of the behavioural trials led by the Money and Pensions Service to encourage people to take guidance from Pension Wise before accessing their pension savings.

The Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has undertaken trials to gather evidence on the best way to encourage more people to take Pension Wise guidance before accessing their pension, fulfilling the requirement set out in the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018. MaPS appointed an independent contractor, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), to design, run, and evaluate the nudge to pension guidance trials. MaPS, with BIT will publish an evaluation report of the trials in Summer 2020.

We will not pre-empt the results of the trials. We believe it is essential to use the evidence base that the trials on a stronger nudge to guidance will help to provide, to assess the impact of the trial results when they are available and co.nduct a consultation prior to implementing any regulations.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discusssions she has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on when it plans to (a) publish and (b) implement regulations on providing pension guidance on opting out of a workplace pension.

The Secretary of State has not had discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to this matter.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Government has to allocate funding to foodbanks to help them support people affected by covid-19.

Food banks are independent charitable organisations and, as such, are best placed to decide on the most appropriate arrangements for supporting people who use them. As both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

I also refer the honourable member to the response given by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in response to an oral question made on 19 March:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-03-19/debates/EBB8F3D7-F9F4-4C5C-B913-86FD27851B5D/VulnerablePeopleFoodSupplies

Additionally announcements were made at the Prime Minister’s daily briefings on 21 and 22 March in relation to food supply.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional resources she plans to allocate to job centres to ensure that those centres can support people affected by covid-19.

Our priority as a Department is ensuring people get their benefit payments and that we can continue to support those who need us the most. We have mobilised our robust business continuity plans to ensure we can do just that. We are already redeploying 10,000 staff from other parts of DWP and are also recruiting additional staff to assist with the processing of claims, including support from other government departments and the private sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that disabled people do not face delays in the absence of face to face assessments as a result of covid-19.

As announced on Monday 16 March we are stopping all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits and introducing alternative measures to assess from Tuesday 17 March. We are working at pace with our Assessment Providers to minimize any inconvenience and delays as much as possible.

No estimate has yet been made on the average waiting times for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit (UC) while these alternative arrangements are in place. Claims to ESA and UC will be payable prior to a Work Capability Assessment having been carried out and payments for Personal Independence Payment will be backdated from the date of decision in line with normal rules following an assessment.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an estimate of the expected average waiting time for (a) personal independence payment (b) employment and support allowance and (c) universal credit (i) phone and (ii) desk-based assessments during the outbreak of covid-19.

As announced on Monday 16 March we are stopping all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits and introducing alternative measures to assess from Tuesday 17 March. We are working at pace with our Assessment Providers to minimize any inconvenience and delays as much as possible.

No estimate has yet been made on the average waiting times for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit (UC) while these alternative arrangements are in place. Claims to ESA and UC will be payable prior to a Work Capability Assessment having been carried out and payments for Personal Independence Payment will be backdated from the date of decision in line with normal rules following an assessment.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria her Department uses to monitor the accuracy of desk-based benefit assessments.

I have interpreted ‘desk based’ to relate to paper-based assessments whereby the Health Professional has deemed there is enough existing evidence without the need to see the claimant face to face.

Audit, in relation to completed desk based and face to face benefit assessments, refers to a comprehensive check of the elements of the assessment, including the evidence collection, further evidence provided and the assessment report completed by the Health Professional. The check is completed against a set of guidelines to ensure a consistent approach is taken. This ensures that assessment reports are fit for purpose, clinically justified and sound, and provide sufficient information for the department to make a reasonable decision on entitlement to benefit.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the level of uptake of the Access to Work scheme in (a) Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency and (b) London.

The latest figures for Access to Work may be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2019

There are two main types of Access to Work provision: Assessments and Elements. More than one item of Access to Work provision of the same type or of different types can be approved for the same person in a given financial year or in different financial years. Table 3 of the Access to Work Statistics includes the number of people who had any Access to Work provision approved by various customer characteristics. Within the regions breakdown you will find the number of people who were approved for any Access to Work provision in London.

In 2018/19, 80 people in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency had any Access to Work provision approved. We do not routinely publish geographic breakdowns to constituency level. This figure was obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Disability Service Client (DiSC) administrative system and is rounded to the nearest 10.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce the time taken for Access to Work applications to be processed.

Access to Work is focused on reviewing and improving our customer journey to ensure we provide an excellent level of service. In order to support customers to move into work as quickly as possible we prioritise any applications where the customer is due to begin work in four weeks or less.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much money from the public purse was spent on legal fees for cases relating to the classification of panic rooms as spare rooms for the purposes of the spare room subsidy in each of the last five years.

Case “A” a property adapted under the sanctuary scheme, including the installation of a panic room, was heard from the Court of Appeal upwards alongside a number of other cases challenging the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS) policy. Therefore, we are unable to apportion the specific costs in relation to case A.

In the majority of the cases it was found that the removal of the RSRS policy was lawful and that Discretionary Housing Payments(DHPs) were an appropriate mitigation.

Since 2011 the Government has provided over £1bn in DHPs to local authorities (LAs) to help support vulnerable people affected by different welfare reforms including the RSRS. Additionally, we announced a further £40m for DHPs in 2020/21.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an estimate of the number of benefits claimants that will be affected by the European Court of Human Rights judgement of 24 October 2019 on the classification of panic rooms for the purposes of the spare room subsidy.

We are carefully considering the court’s decision.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of amending benefit claimants' payments in line with the European Court of Human Rights judgement of 24 October 2019 on the classification of panic rooms for the purposes of the spare room subsidy.

We are carefully considering the court’s decision.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people receiving disability living allowance are over state retirement age.

National Statistics on Disability Living Allowance recipients by client type is published and is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people over state retirement age receiving disability living allowance have had their lifetime awards reassessed in each of the last 10 years.

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to DWP as the Department does not have a business requirement for this information to be retained.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people receiving disability living allowance over state retirement age have had their lifetime awards reviewed in each of the last six years.

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to DWP as the Department does not have a business requirement for this information to be retained.

19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure there is greater clarity and transparency on legitimate expenses paid for UK surrogacy, including (a) compensation paid to a surrogate and (b) a recuperation holiday.

The Department is currently sponsoring an independent multi-year joint project of the Law Commissions for England and Wales and Scotland to review and update surrogacy legislation. The Commissions' public consultation covered proposals for greater clarity and transparency around legal parenthood provisions and expenses paid for United Kingdom surrogacy. We expect their final recommendations to include changes in these key areas. The Law Commissions intend to publish a report and draft Bill by autumn 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that, subject to appropriate safeguards, children born through surrogacy in the UK are legally recognised as their intended parents’ children immediately from birth.

The Department is currently sponsoring an independent multi-year joint project of the Law Commissions for England and Wales and Scotland to review and update surrogacy legislation. The Commissions' public consultation covered proposals for greater clarity and transparency around legal parenthood provisions and expenses paid for United Kingdom surrogacy. We expect their final recommendations to include changes in these key areas. The Law Commissions intend to publish a report and draft Bill by autumn 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reform surrogacy law in response to the proposals set out in the Law Commission’s 2019 Consultation Paper Building families through surrogacy: a new law; and what plans his Department has to support people currently involved in surrogacy until any changes to surrogacy law come into force.

The Department is currently sponsoring an independent multi-year joint project of the Law Commissions for England and Wales and Scotland to review and update surrogacy legislation. The Commissions' public consultation covered proposals for greater clarity and transparency around legal parenthood provisions and expenses paid for United Kingdom surrogacy. We expect their final recommendations to include changes in these key areas. The Law Commissions intend to publish a report and draft Bill by autumn 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent children from being born stateless and parentless in international surrogacy cases because their British parents are not currently recognised as their legal parents by UK law.

Sections 54 and 54A of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 provide for the transfer of legal parenthood from the surrogate to the intended parents by means of a parental order. This route for acquiring legal parenthood is available to residents of the United Kingdom who have undertaken an international surrogacy arrangement. The Law Commissions of England and Wales and Scotland are considering whether the current arrangements require amending as part of their review of surrogacy. Where a child does not acquire British citizenship automatically, because the intended parent is not their legal parent in UK law, there are registration options once the relationship has been formalised.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people acquired covid-19 in hospital in each of the last four weeks; and what steps is his Department is taking to prevent further cases.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold the data requested. This is because the incubation period of the virus and local differences in application of testing protocols mean it is not possible to definitively determine the number of people who contracted the virus while in hospital.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collect data as part of a daily COVID-19 SITREP on time between admission to hospital and first positive swab. Since October 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published data relating to the number of daily new hospital COVID-19 admissions and cases, the number of patients admitted from the community with the virus and patients who tested positive within seven days of admission.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-hospital-activity/

Data is also published for community admissions including cases diagnosed less than eight days after admission. It is therefore possible to determine the number of cases diagnosed eight or more days after admission. However, it should be noted that the definition of an infection definitely contracted because of an infection or toxin which exists in a certain location, such as a hospital, is greater than 15 days. Therefore, some of these cases diagnosed between eight and 14 days will be community acquired.

Mechanisms for infection prevention including physical distancing, optimal hand hygiene, equipment and environment decontamination and measures such as extended use of face masks by healthcare staff, patients and visitors, are continually reviewed in line with infection prevention and control guidance. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to ensure effective infection prevention and control in all areas.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how people with a (a) medical and (b) other exemption from the covid-19 vaccine will be able to prove their status through the NHS apps.

Individuals registered with a general practitioner in England can apply for official proof that, for medical reasons, they are unable to be vaccinated or vaccinated and tested for COVID-19. Individuals with this proof can access the domestic NHS COVID Pass. Residents in England who have taken part, or are taking part, in an official COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial can access a domestic NHS COVID Pass. Clinical trial participants who have been unblinded can get a NHS COVID Pass for travel once their vaccine details have been uploaded to the National Health Service vaccine database. Clinical trial participants do not need to apply for a medical exemption. Children under 18 years old are also exempt from certification requirements in England.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have died with covid-19 after receiving (a) one and (b) two doses of a covid-19 vaccine since the covid-19 outbreak began.

Public Health England (PHE) monitors the number of people who have been admitted to hospital and died from COVID-19 who have received one or two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and will publish this data in due course.

PHE’s technical briefing provides the latest data regarding deaths by vaccination status among Delta confirmed cases in England from 1 February 2021, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/investigation-of-novel-sars-cov-2-variant-variant-of-concern-20201201

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many health and social care workers who are required to register for the EU Settlement Scheme have not yet done so; and what estimate he has made of the number of people who are unlikely to do so before the deadline of 30 June 2021.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what most recent estimate his Department has made of the amount of staff accommodation that is unoccupied in the NHS estate in London.

No such estimate has been made. The Department does not collect data on availability of National Health Service staff accommodation or on the number of staff using that accommodation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the occupancy rate by (a) registered doctor and (b) registered nurse of NHS staff accommodation in London.

No such estimate has been made. The Department does not collect data on availability of National Health Service staff accommodation or on the number of staff using that accommodation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total number is of registered nurses that are living in staff accommodation provided by NHS trusts in London.

No such estimate has been made. The Department does not collect data on availability of National Health Service staff accommodation or on the number of staff using that accommodation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which NHS trusts in London provide staff accommodation for registered nurses.

No such estimate has been made. The Department does not collect data on availability of National Health Service staff accommodation or on the number of staff using that accommodation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total cost to NHS hospitals in London of using (a) agency and (b) bank staff was in each year since 2015-16.

The following table shows expenditure data for agency and bank staff in National Health Service trusts in London for the previous five financial years.

Expenditure type

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

Agency staff

£837,109

£714,955

£528,216

£498,228

£482,386

Bank staff

£646,595

£761,432

£909,542

£972,708

£1,020,580

Total

£1,483,704

£1,476,387

£1,437,758

£1,470,936

£1,502,966

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking under the NHS Long Term Plan to increase the number of learning disability nurses employed in NHS trusts in England.

In March 2020 the Chief Nursing Officer for England launched an 'All-England action plan for learning disability nursing'. The plan, delivered in partnership with Health Education England, sets a mandate for increasing and enhancing the number of people choosing a career in learning disability nursing.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service figures for 2020 show a 20% increase in the number of acceptances to learning disability nursing courses in England compared to 2019. In September 2020, the Government introduced a new training grant of at least £5,000 a year for all eligible new and continuing nursing and midwifery and allied health professions students on pre-registration courses at English universities. There will be up to a further £3,000 to support eligible students including an additional £1,000 to support those studying a shortage specialism which includes new students on learning disability nursing courses.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle low vaccine uptake amongst homeless people and rough sleepers.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recognises that many people who are homeless or sleeping rough are likely to have underlying health conditions which would place them in priority group six. These are likely to be under-diagnosed or not properly reflected in general practitioner (GP) records. The JCVI advised they should be offered the vaccine without the need for a National Health Service number or GP registration.

There is work being undertaken to update our operational guidance on reaching rough sleepers and homeless people based on this recent JCVI advice. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government are working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to support outreach and further work is being done to explore the availability of effective on-street models which could be used to support this work. Local teams are now prioritising all homeless people for vaccination alongside priority group six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people living in England hold a qualification as a learning disability nurse.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent professional regulator for nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom and is responsible for nurse and midwifery registration. According to the NMC’s latest registration data reports, as at 30 September 2020, there were 13,704 nurses resident in England registered in the field of practice ‘learning disability nurses’.

Although someone is registered with a learning disability nurse qualification, this does not necessarily mean they are actively practicing in that field at any given point in time. Nurses can also be registered in two or more fields of practice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS learning disability nurses were employed (a) in total and (b) in each NHS trust in England for the most recent period in which that information is available.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in social care, primary care, local authorities or private sector providers commissioned by the National Health Service.

As at November 2020, there were 3,239 full-time equivalent nurses in learning disabilities care settings employed in NHS trusts and CCGs in England. This is 3,541 in headcount.

A table showing the number of nurses in learning disabilities care settings in each NHS trust in England is attached.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of homeless people who have tested positive for covid-19.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the decision will be taken on the next priority groups to receive the covid-19 vaccine; and when that decision will be communicated to the NHS workforce responsible for inviting people for vaccination.

Phase two of the COVID-19 vaccine programme will cover all adults under 50 years old not already included in phase one. Prioritisation for phase two has not yet been decided, but interim advice has been published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommending an age-based approach which the Government has accepted in principle.

The JCVI’s final advice will be published in due course followed by a final decision by the Government on the approach to prioritisation for phase two. Once decided, the information needed to operationalise the decision will be cascaded to those delivering the deployment programme including those responsible for inviting people for vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether anyone working in the UK will be required to pay for a covid-19 vaccine.

Anyone living in or visiting the United Kingdom is entitled to receive the COVID-19 vaccination if they are eligible under the prioritisation categories set out by the Government for the general population. This entitlement is regardless of whether the person is working or whether they are in the UK legally or not. There is no charge for COVID-19 vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to work with medical research organisations to increase capacity to deliver the covid-19 vaccination.

There are no specific plans to do so. The capacity required for the successful vaccines programme in England is already provided by a network of local vaccination services, pharmacies, hospital hubs and large scale vaccination centres.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 117280, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the ability of podiatrists to provide their services to patients.

On 23 December 2020, NHS England wrote to the National Health Service outlining the operational priorities for this winter and 2021/22. This asked for systems to maximise their capacity to treat non-COVID-19 patients, including the delivery of podiatry services. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/important-operational-priorities-for-winter-and-2021-22/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 117281, what assessment his Department been made of the long term sustainability of podiatry.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, allied health professionals (AHPs), including podiatrists, were highlighted as being able to significantly support areas of increasing demand for treatment due to diseases such as diabetes.

Podiatry is acknowledged as a profession in shortage due to a small amount of training providers, with the NHS workforce decreasing over recent years. To tackle these issues, the Government has introduced the new, non-repayable, training grant of at least £5,000 per academic year in September 2020, for all eligible new and continuing pre-registration nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession students, including podiatrists, studying at English universities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many students registered for a podiatry undergraduate degree through UCAS in each year from 2016 to 2020.

The following table shows acceptances to podiatry courses between 2016 and 2020 in England.

Academic year

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Number of acceptances

305

230

215

180

275

Source: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service end of cycle data, 2020

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 117279, what steps his Department is taking in response to the covid-19 outbeak to recruit podiatrists into the NHS workforce.

The latest data from Universities and Colleges Admissions Service shows there were 275 acceptances on podiatry courses in England in the last year, an increase of 95 or 53% on 2019.

For podiatry and all professions with clinical placements funded through Health Education England (HEE), we are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and supporting local innovation to resolve challenges on the ground through close collaboration with Higher Education Institutions and placement providers. In addition, HEE are supporting placements innovation and local solutions, including supporting the expansion to support the increase in new students from September through a £15 million Clinical Education Placement Expansion funding.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how his Department monitors how effectively the NHS track and trace system service reaches schoolchildren identified as having covid-19.

Any positive case identified within the educational setting should reported to the school. The school should then use their risk assessment to identify close contacts of the index case and report cases via the Department for Education’s helpline. Advisors will inform them of any further action that may be required in response to the positive case.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to require NHS staff organising covid-19 vaccination appointments to report undocumented migrants to the Home Office.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is offered to every adult living in the United Kingdom free of charge, regardless of immigration status. Entitlement to free National Health Service treatment is generally based on ordinary residence in the UK. A person who can show they have taken up ordinary residence in the UK can access all NHS services immediately, including COVID-19 vaccinations, based on clinical need. No immigration checks are needed to receive these services and the NHS is not required to report undocumented migrants to the Home Office.

A NHS number is not needed to make a booking for a COVID-19 vaccine or when attending a vaccination appointment. If individuals are registered with a general practitioner (GP), then their GP will contact them in due course. We understand that not everyone is registered with a GP, including those experiencing homelessness, people who may not live in a fixed location, refugees and those seeking asylum or simply because an individual chooses not to.

If they are not registered with a GP, NHS regional teams, working with various appropriate local systems will contact unregistered people to ensure they are offered the vaccine. The General Practice COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification enables practices working within their Primary Care Network groupings from shared vaccination sites to vaccinate unregistered patients provided they are eligible for a vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to require NHS staff organising covid-19 vaccination appointments to ask patients for proof of residence in the UK.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is offered to every adult living in the United Kingdom free of charge, regardless of immigration status. Entitlement to free National Health Service treatment is generally based on ordinary residence in the UK. A person who can show they have taken up ordinary residence in the UK can access all NHS services immediately, including COVID-19 vaccinations, based on clinical need. No immigration checks are needed to receive these services and the NHS is not required to report undocumented migrants to the Home Office.

A NHS number is not needed to make a booking for a COVID-19 vaccine or when attending a vaccination appointment. If individuals are registered with a general practitioner (GP), then their GP will contact them in due course. We understand that not everyone is registered with a GP, including those experiencing homelessness, people who may not live in a fixed location, refugees and those seeking asylum or simply because an individual chooses not to.

If they are not registered with a GP, NHS regional teams, working with various appropriate local systems will contact unregistered people to ensure they are offered the vaccine. The General Practice COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification enables practices working within their Primary Care Network groupings from shared vaccination sites to vaccinate unregistered patients provided they are eligible for a vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make the covid-19 vaccination available to European nationals who have not confirmed their status under the EU Settlement Scheme after the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications has passed.

Entitlement to free National Health Service treatment is generally based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom. A person who can show they have taken up ordinary residence in the UK can access all NHS services immediately, including COVID-19 vaccinations, based on clinical need. This will be on a free of charge basis. They can apply to register with a general practitioner practice near where they live.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to administer the covid-19 vaccination to migrants in detention.

Working together with our partners across the secure and detained estate, vaccinations have begun in prisons and detention centres , as the vaccination programme expands to deliver to the top priority cohorts as defined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish the White Paper on mental health.

We will publish the White Paper as soon as possible.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is for people seeking talking therapies; and how many people are on talking therapy waiting lists as at 5 January 2021.

The average waiting time between referral and the first treatment session for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services, where treatment started in the latest available period, August 2020, was 15 days for England. Data for January 2021 are not yet available.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many schoolchildren have tested positive for covid-19 in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency in each of the last four months.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many schools have been contacted by the Government's track and trace system after a pupil or staff member has tested positive with covid-19 in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency in each of the last four months.

We publish weekly data on the number of incidents in each setting with at least one laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/945502/Weekly_Flu_and_COVID-19_report_w51_FINAL.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to review the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT programme) as part of the White Paper on mental health.

The White Paper will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and will concentrate on reform of the Act.

Over one million adults a year are now accessing Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services. Under the NHS Long Term Plan, access will be expanded to cover a total of 1.9 million adults a year by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department taking to ensure more people are recruited and trained as podiatrists in the NHS.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the National Health Service has the workforce it needs to deliver high quality care. As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year will be made available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration podiatry students, studying at English universities.

We know that for some professions there are particular challenges in recruiting suitable applicants to pre-registration courses and so as part of the new funding package we have also made available an additional specialist subject grant of £1,000 to eligible new students who choose to study in shortage professions, including podiatry. We will continue to monitor the impact of our policies, with data on numbers of acceptances onto podiatry courses expected to be available when the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service publish their end of cycle data later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on the (a) recruitment and training of new podiatrists and (b) delivery of preventative outcomes for patients by podiatrists.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the National Health Service has the workforce it needs to deliver high quality care. As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year will be made available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration podiatry students, studying at English universities.

We know that for some professions there are particular challenges in recruiting suitable applicants to pre-registration courses and so as part of the new funding package we have also made available an additional specialist subject grant of £1,000 to eligible new students who choose to study in shortage professions, including podiatry. We will continue to monitor the impact of our policies, with data on numbers of acceptances onto podiatry courses expected to be available when the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service publish their end of cycle data later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of reintroducing bursaries for people studying podiatry on (a) levels of recruitment, (b) the sustainability of the profession and (c) improvements in preventative health; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the National Health Service has the workforce it needs to deliver high quality care. As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year will be made available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration podiatry students, studying at English universities.

We know that for some professions there are particular challenges in recruiting suitable applicants to pre-registration courses and so as part of the new funding package we have also made available an additional specialist subject grant of £1,000 to eligible new students who choose to study in shortage professions, including podiatry. We will continue to monitor the impact of our policies, with data on numbers of acceptances onto podiatry courses expected to be available when the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service publish their end of cycle data later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional resources his Department is providing to public health teams in local authorities to help them manage the covid-19 outbreak.

National restrictions apply in England from 5 November until 2 December. The Government has already committed £6.4 billion directly to councils since the start of the pandemic and we are now providing additional funding support as we move from local to national restrictions. The new funding consists of the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund across England, Additional Restrictions Grant support, business grants for closed businesses, backdated cash grants for businesses in local alert level 2 and 3 areas and additional funding for the clinically extremely vulnerable. Individual allocations for each of these additional funding streams will be confirmed by the relevant departments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional resources his Department is providing to public health teams in local authorities to help tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

National restrictions apply in England from 5 November until 2 December. The Government has already committed £6.4 billion directly to councils since the start of the pandemic and we are now providing additional funding support as we move from local to national restrictions. The new funding consists of the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund across England, Additional Restrictions Grant support, business grants for closed businesses, backdated cash grants for businesses in local alert level 2 and 3 areas and additional funding for the clinically extremely vulnerable. Individual allocations for each of these additional funding streams will be confirmed by the relevant departments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Health and Social Care, whether all foreign nationals living in the UK will be able to access free covid-19 related healthcare treatment during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Regulations came into force on 29 January 2020 to add Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (now known as COVID-19) to Schedule 1 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015. This means there can be no charge made to any overseas visitor, including anyone living in the United Kingdom without permission, for the diagnosis, or, if positive, treatment, of COVID-19.

This information has been widely communicated to National Health Service staff and the public, including a public-facing message which has been translated into 40 languages.

Furthermore, migrants who are ordinarily resident in the UK are entitled to all NHS secondary care without charge and certain groups, such as asylum seekers, refugees and victims of modern slavery are exempt from charge under the Charging Regulations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether the covid-19 test booking system's algorithm is effective in allocating people a test close to their home if they live in an area where there is high demand for testing.

We have improved the system for allocating regional testing slots to ensure the distance limit does not go beyond 75 miles. As of 6 November, the number of testing sites stood at 621.

Between 22 October and 28 October, the median distance to an in-person test site decreased to 2.7 miles from 2.8 miles in the previous week. 90% of people who booked a test at a test centre lived 10.2 miles or less away.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how his Department is measuring the efficacy of PrEP impact trials during the covid-19 lockdown.

In total 22,525 people were enrolled on the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Impact Trial to June 2020.

Recruitment to the trial slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the Government’s advice for people to socially distance and stay at home. Arrangements were put in place during this period to enable those enrolled on the trial to access longer drug prescriptions and to order sexually transmitted infection tests online to reduce the need for face to face appointments.

The Trial is monitored by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In addition, the PrEP Programme Oversight Board, which includes representatives from the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England, the NIHR, the trial team and the community, has continued to meet virtually during the pandemic to provide support to the ongoing operation of the trial.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether covid-19 lockdown restrictions have affected the ability of people to participate in PrEP impact trials.

In total 22,525 people were enrolled on the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Impact Trial to June 2020.

Recruitment to the trial slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the Government’s advice for people to socially distance and stay at home. Arrangements were put in place during this period to enable those enrolled on the trial to access longer drug prescriptions and to order sexually transmitted infection tests online to reduce the need for face to face appointments.

The Trial is monitored by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In addition, the PrEP Programme Oversight Board, which includes representatives from the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England, the NIHR, the trial team and the community, has continued to meet virtually during the pandemic to provide support to the ongoing operation of the trial.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many PrEP impact trial places have been made available since the start of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

In total 22,525 people were enrolled on the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Impact Trial to June 2020.

Recruitment to the trial slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the Government’s advice for people to socially distance and stay at home. Arrangements were put in place during this period to enable those enrolled on the trial to access longer drug prescriptions and to order sexually transmitted infection tests online to reduce the need for face to face appointments.

The Trial is monitored by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In addition, the PrEP Programme Oversight Board, which includes representatives from the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England, the NIHR, the trial team and the community, has continued to meet virtually during the pandemic to provide support to the ongoing operation of the trial.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have participated in the PrEP trials in the UK since they have become available.

In total 22,525 people were enrolled on the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Impact Trial to June 2020.

Recruitment to the trial slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the Government’s advice for people to socially distance and stay at home. Arrangements were put in place during this period to enable those enrolled on the trial to access longer drug prescriptions and to order sexually transmitted infection tests online to reduce the need for face to face appointments.

The Trial is monitored by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In addition, the PrEP Programme Oversight Board, which includes representatives from the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England, the NIHR, the trial team and the community, has continued to meet virtually during the pandemic to provide support to the ongoing operation of the trial.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has published for Black, Asian and minority ethnic NHS (a) patients and (b) employees in response to the findings of Public Health England’s report: ‘Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups, published in June 2020.

In April, the Chief People Officer, launched a comprehensive programme to address the issue of impact of COVID-19 on the black, Asian and minority ethnic workforce underpinned by three principles of protecting, supporting and engaging staff. On 28 April NHS Employers published risk assessment guidance, which was subsequently updated on 29 May. On 12 May the Faculty of Occupational Medicine published a risk reduction framework to support risk assessments. In addition, on 24 June NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to all National Health Service trusts to encourage deployment of risk assessments for all ‘at risk’ groups within four weeks.

The Government has also provided a wide range of guidance to support the country in tackling COVID-19. Considerable efforts are now underway including work with stakeholder groups to help ensure messages are disseminated into different communities in culturally appropriate ways. For example, in Leicester, assets have been translated into 12 different languages, and a range of local community voices, such as faith leaders and local general practitioners, are engaged in supporting the campaign.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the £300 million provided to help local authorities deal with local lockdowns has been allocated; and which local authorities have received that funding.

The entirety of the £300 million has been allocated to local authorities in England. Allocations for the grant are shown in the attached table.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to resume publishing data on the number of people tested each day for covid-19.

The ‘people tested’ measure was initially used to count people who had not been previously received a test, deliberately excluding subsequent instances an individual would have been tested if they had been tested once or more previously. It no longer usefully reflects the volume of tests carried out as, for example, a healthcare worker receiving their second, third or fourth test since the start of the pandemic would not be counted as they have been tested once before. Therefore, the people tested figure will be published on a weekly basis within the NHS Test and Trace statistics rather than daily and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

The Department has also published transparency data for the number of people tested for coronavirus (England): 30 January to 27 May 2020 which is weekly and covers the period before Test and Trace. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-people-tested-for-coronavirus-england-30-january-to-27-may-2020

Daily data for the period 20 March to 2 July is available for the United Kingdom as daily and cumulative people tested (discontinued measure) as part of the time series of testing statistics is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

This data is not available to finer resolutions than whole UK or England depending on the publication.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were tested for covid-19 on each day from 23 May 2020 to 19 June 2020.

The ‘people tested’ measure was initially used to count people who had not been previously received a test, deliberately excluding subsequent instances an individual would have been tested if they had been tested once or more previously. It no longer usefully reflects the volume of tests carried out as, for example, a healthcare worker receiving their second, third or fourth test since the start of the pandemic would not be counted as they have been tested once before. Therefore, the people tested figure will be published on a weekly basis within the NHS Test and Trace statistics rather than daily and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

The Department has also published transparency data for the number of people tested for coronavirus (England): 30 January to 27 May 2020 which is weekly and covers the period before Test and Trace. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-people-tested-for-coronavirus-england-30-january-to-27-may-2020

Daily data for the period 20 March to 2 July is available for the United Kingdom as daily and cumulative people tested (discontinued measure) as part of the time series of testing statistics is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

This data is not available to finer resolutions than whole UK or England depending on the publication.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to make funding available to clinical research organisations who are able to offer free covid-19 tests to their local community.

Anyone in the United Kingdom who has COVID-19 symptoms can get a free test from NHS Test and Trace. The Government is working in partnership with industry, academia, the National Health Service and many others to double our testing capacity, protect local communities and save lives.

Anyone who needs a COVID-19 test can get one at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to meet its target of 200,000 covid-19 tests per day; and what plans his Department has to increase the number of covid-19 test centre locations.

We are working to ensure that we continue to scale up our testing capacity, allowing more people to be tested should they need it. We have exceeded the 200,000 testing capacity target, with current capacity standing at 338,413 as of 2 August 2020.

We have established a network of testing sites across the United Kingdom with 73 Regional Test Sites, 17 Local Test Services (walk through), 22 Satellite Testing Centre, 236 Mobile Testing Units, and we will look to increase this in the coming months to meet our needs.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the number of alcohol inpatient detoxification and inpatient rehabilitation beds available in England has decreased as a result of reallocation to covid-19 patients.

The information is not held centrally.

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 the Government is taking to support (a) people bereaved by covid-19 and (b) people who have turned to harmful alcohol use as a result of that bereavement.

A number of charities and voluntary organisations provide a range of valued services for people experiencing bereavement. The Government is taking a cross-Government approach to address bereavement support, and what is needed to ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need - particularly during this very difficult time. On 22 May, the Government announced £22 million funding to life-saving health charities, £4.2 million of which will be used to support mental health charities and charities providing bereavement support. This funding is part of an overall £750 million package for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April.

Local alcohol services and virtual support groups continue to operate during the pandemic, to ensure people receive the support they need. Public Health England continues to maintain the FRANK website and helpline, which provides a service for people who are concerned about their own or others’ drugs and alcohol consumption. The FRANK website can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.talktofrank.com/

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential risks to dentists of re-opening dental practices during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each National Health Services region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

The NHS England and Improvement guidance issued from the Chief Dental Officer on 25 March applied directly only to NHS dental care. When providing private care dentists should consider any advice or guidance issued by regulators, the relevant professional body, Chief Professional Officers, or the NHS, as appropriate. All official guidance should be considered in delivery of private or NHS treatment but guidance issued to the NHS is only binding for NHS care.

NHS England and Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety. The letter to dentists setting this out is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of the supply of personal protective equipment to dental practices to enable those practices to reopen.

We are working tirelessly to make sure frontline healthcare staff have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need and have set up special distribution routes for all urgent dental care centres.

Emergency dental services have already been receiving PPE during the pandemic and now PPE for dentists is being made available through their business as usual wholesalers.

We have 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.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to recommence (a) drug and (b) alcohol cessation support services once covid-19 lockdown restrictions have ended.

Stop smoking services are continuing to be provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, as outlined in the ‘COVID-19 Prioritisation within Community Health Services’ document available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0145-COVID-19-prioritisation-within-community-health-services-1-April-2020.pdf

Providers of community smoking cessation services have been asked to continue to deliver services, while considering how these services can best support smokers during the pandemic. Any changes to services which are impacted by COVID-19 and how this should be addressed will be an issue for local commissioners, working with providers, taking account of national guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent people developing (a) alcohol and (b) drug dependencies during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England (PHE) published advice and information for the public on looking after their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, which recommends people avoid using alcohol and drugs. The guidance can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

PHE continues to maintain the FRANK website and helpline, which provides a service for people who are concerned about their own or others’ drugs and alcohol consumption. The website can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.talktofrank.com/

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak drug and alcohol treatment providers are continuing to support and treat people misusing drugs and alcohol.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of coronavirus tests for people who live in the same household as an NHS worker.

The Government’s Testing Strategy, titled ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up testing programmes’, was published on 4 April and outlined the Government’s approach and strategy for COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. Since then, the Government has been working to implement the plans, including expanding testing capacity and expanding eligibility based on a clear rationale that includes clinical need and understanding how the virus is moving through the population, to support the focusing of resources.

Currently, all National Health Service staff (with and without COVID-19 symptoms) are eligible for testing, in line with NHS England guidance. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and lives with NHS or other essential workers is also eligible for testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding by the Royal College of Physicians that access to personal protective equipment declined over the month of April 2020.

We are working around the clock to give the social care sector and wider National Health Service the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. The Government published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis.

Systems set up to supply 226 NHS trusts have increased their operations in a matter of weeks to provide drops of critical equipment to 58,000 healthcare settings including general practitioners, pharmacies and social care providers. The creation of this PPE distribution network has required a huge increase in the logistics capability.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that potential shortages of personal protection equipment in primary care does not lead to an increase in patients attending secondary care.

We are working around the clock to give the social care sector and wider National Health Service the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak.

The Government published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis.

Sourcing sufficient supplies of PPE is a challenge that many countries are facing. We are working to expand supply from overseas, improve domestic manufacturing capability and expand and improve the logistics network for delivering to the front line.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that health professionals working in prisons have adequate provision to employ telemedicine when appropriate.

In the past 12 months, NHS England has helped to support the adoption of digital technology and solutions including the use of telemedicine across the secure and detained estate. A cross-Government digital working group to support the digital strategy has been set up which includes representatives from the Department, NHS England, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and the Ministry of Justice.

In response to COVID-19, telemedicine is expected to be deployed at speed across the English secure and detained estate, including prisons, over the next few weeks. Each site will have a telehealth starter pack which includes a licence to access telehealth approved software within prisons as well as some hardware to support. This solution will enable video calling for primary care, secondary care and mental health appointments within the dedicated healthcare facility.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of NHS plans to provide access to urgent dental care during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to ensure appropriate services are in place for all who need them.

NHS dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each National Health Service region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open across England. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure professionals in primary and secondary care have access to adequate training on how to fit personal protective equipment.

The United Kingdom Government and devolved administrations have published clear guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care workers. It is critical that health and care workers make themselves aware of and follow these procedures, so they do not risk exposing themselves to Covid-19 as they remove PPE.

The National Medical Director and Chief Nursing Officer of NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to NHS Chief Executives, Chief Nurses and Medical Directors, emphasising the importance of proper fit testing of disposable sessional personal PPE face masks (such as FFP3 masks).

The Government published “Coronavirus (COVID-19): PPE plan” on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan.

Health and Safety Executive have published guidance on fit testing including manual fit testing. In event of no fluid, staff should use the make and model of mask they have previously been fit tested for.

Lord Deighton, formerly Chief Executive of London 2012 Olympics, has been appointed to lead on our domestic efforts to increase the supply of PPE. Contracts have been signed for over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons, ensuring we build and maintain a domestic base for the future. Both the MAKE team and NHS England are looking specifically at the gender appropriateness of PPE.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people that need access to urgent dental care receive treatment as soon as possible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to ensure appropriate services are in place for all who need them.

NHS dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each National Health Service region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open across England. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that social care and support being provided to disabled people in their own homes by local authorities is sustained throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced £1.6 billion of additional funding to support local authorities to respond the COVID-19 pandemic across all service areas.

The Department is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities and providers to make sure the adult social care sector is ready, and that commissioners and providers work together to maintain services.

New guidance is now available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

This covers provision of residential care, supported living and home care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what the date presumed consent for organ donation will be implemented.

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 heralds a new system of consent for organ and tissue donation in England, known as ‘opt-out' or ‘deemed consent’. The new consent arrangements mean that all adults over 18 will be considered potential organ and tissue donors after death, unless they make a decision that they do not want to be a donor, they have nominated a representative to make a decision on their behalf after death or are in an excluded group.

The Government intends to implement the new system later this spring and is planning to announce the exact date shortly.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will convene a meeting between NHS England, Public Health England, the Local Government Association, London Councils and HIV stakeholders to ensure that the routine commissioning of PrEP is rolled out as soon as possible.

The Department is continuing to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and local authorities to plan for routine commissioning of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from April 2020.

The Department, Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement meet regularly to plan for a smooth transition to routine commissioning of PrEP, and Departmental officials also discuss this topic regularly with the Local Government Association, London councils and HIV stakeholders.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish his White Paper on reforming the Mental Health Act 1983.

We will publish our White Paper in the next few months, which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act.

Our intention is that this White Paper will pave the way for reform to the Mental Health Act 1983, and tackle issues addressed by the Review. We will ensure that people subject to the Act receive better care and have a much greater say in that care.

We will consult publicly on our proposals and we will bring forward a Bill to amend the Act when parliamentary time allows.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government has plans to expel personnel from the Russian Embassy in the UK.

We will continue to consider options in concert with our allies. Having Russian representatives in the UK allows us to deliver clear and tough messages directly to Putin's Government, as the FCDO summoning of the Russian Ambassador and the MoD summoning of the Russian Defence Attaché demonstrated.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support UK citizens who have been defrauded by individuals who reside in foreign countries.

Our global network of 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, 365 days a year. What we can and cannot do is set out clearly in:  Support for British nationals Abroad: A Guide,  which is available on gov.uk.  We help around 30,000 British nationals abroad each year. Cases range from supporting those who have lost their passports, been victims of crimes like fraud or robbery, through to complicated long-running consular cases such as people detained overseas.

If a British national is the victim of crime overseas they can contact the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate, or the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London to request consular assistance. We can provide general information about local police and legal procedures. We cannot give legal advice, but have lists of local English-speaking lawyers and interpreters available on gov.uk. Individuals should consider appointing a local lawyer who can look after their interests in any legal proceedings abroad. Individuals in the UK should report any crimes to the UK police; police forces can cooperate internationally through Interpol.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she is taking steps to ensure that the Government's diplomatic position is fully aligned with G7 condemnation of the Tunisian dissolution of the judicial council.

The UK believes that checks and balances are needed in all political systems and an independent judiciary is a core component of a functioning, transparent democracy. The UK's Ambassador to Tunisia, along with other G7 Heads of Mission, issued a joint statement on 8 February expressing concern about the decision to dissolve Tunisia's Supreme Judicial Council. These issues were also discussed in person in a subsequent meeting with Tunisian Foreign Minister Jerandi. The full statement can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/supreme-judicial-court-in-tunisia-ambassadors-joint-statement-8-february-2022.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her Tunisian counterpart about the dissolution of the judicial council in Tunisia.

The UK believes that checks and balances are needed in all political systems and an independent judiciary is a core component of a functioning, transparent democracy. The UK's Ambassador to Tunisia, along with other G7 Heads of Mission, issued a joint statement on 8 February expressing concern about the decision to dissolve Tunisia's Supreme Judicial Council. These issues were also discussed in person in a subsequent meeting with Tunisian Foreign Minister Jerandi. The full statement can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/supreme-judicial-court-in-tunisia-ambassadors-joint-statement-8-february-2022.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what Ministerial directions were issues by her Department in relation to the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan from the Nowzad charity.

No Ministerial directions were issued by FCDO Ministers in relation to evacuating animals from Afghanistan.

The decision to offer Nowzad staff evacuation was taken outside the FCDO.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the possibility of Iranian interference in Tunisia (a) in the last Presidential election and (b) since that election.

Successful Presidential and legislative elections in 2019 were important milestones in Tunisia's journey since the 2011 revolution. The British Embassy in Tunisia participated in election observation of Tunisia's 2019 Presidential elections, with international partners. We remain clear that free and fair elections and functioning democratic institutions are essential components of a democracy. We strongly support the people of Tunisia in their pursuit of effective, democratic, and transparent governance. The UK Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. Internationally, we actively support NGOs and other organisations in research to inform technology companies, partner governments and others about the misuse of online platforms for disinformation purposes, and to disrupt advertising revenues from websites.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the possibility of Russian (a) interference and (b) disinformation in Tunisia (i) at the last Presidential election and (ii) since that election.

Successful Presidential and legislative elections in 2019 were important milestones in Tunisia's journey since the 2011 revolution. The British Embassy in Tunisia participated in election observation of Tunisia's 2019 Presidential elections, with international partners. We remain clear that free and fair elections and functioning democratic institutions are essential components of a democracy. We strongly support the people of Tunisia in their pursuit of effective, democratic, and transparent governance. The UK Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. Internationally, we actively support NGOs and other organisations in research to inform technology companies, partner governments and others about the misuse of online platforms for disinformation purposes, and to disrupt advertising revenues from websites.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has plans to (a) monitor or observe the creation of a symposium of democrats in Tunisia, encompassing democrats from all parts of the political spectrum and (b) support those democrats in reaching conclusions on the best way to protect democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Tunisia.

The UK is closely monitoring the political situation in Tunisia. I [Minister Cleverly] spoke to Tunisian Foreign Minister Jerandi on this subject on 11 August and on 23 October. Heads of Mission in Tunis issued joint statements on 6 September and 10 December setting out our position (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/g7-ambassadors-in-tunisia-issue-joint-statement-6-september-2021 and https://www.gov.uk/government/news/heads-of-mission-joint-statement-on-tunisia-10-december-2021)

We strongly support the people of Tunisia in their pursuit of effective, democratic, and transparent governance. We have called for continued public commitment to and respect for all Tunisians' civil, political, social and economic rights, and to the rule of law.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has made representations to the Tunisian Government on access to family and legal representation for the former Justice Minister, Noureddine Bhiri, following his arrest on 31 December 2021; and if she will call on that Government to either bring specific legal charges against him or release him from detention.

We are aware of the arrest of former Justice Minister, Noureddine Bhiri, and are closely monitoring the case. We have publicly stated the importance of respect for all Tunisians' fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and we reiterate these points privately with the Tunisian Government.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many people and their families were approved as special cases by (a) her Department, (b) the Home Office and (c) the Ministry of Defence to leave Afghanistan under ministerial directions in the run up to the UK's departure from Kabul.

'Special cases' can refer either to Category 4 of the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), or to an arrangement by which, during the evacuation, FCDO Ministers, in consultation with Home Office and MoD Ministers, decided which cohorts of other especially vulnerable Afghans should be prioritised for military evacuation as and when flight capacity permitted under 'Leave Outside the Rules' (LOTR). The LOTR provision enabled the Government to offer evacuation to almost 1200 people who would otherwise have been unable to leave Afghanistan. In addition, some special cases were part of the ARAP cohort. However, as the ARAP application process does not enable distinction between categories of application, it is not possible to provide a definitive figure.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's capacity to monitor incursions and incidents in the Donetsk region, including shellings, sniping and military drone use.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) is the international community's eyes and ears on the ground in eastern Ukraine. It plays a crucial role to gather information and report on the security situation; and establish and report facts in response to specific incidents. In recent months, however, the SMM has faced unprecedented restrictions on its freedom of movement, overwhelmingly in non-government controlled areas, as well as the targeting of its technological capabilities. We continue to call on Russia to ensure the Mission has free, safe and unconditional access throughout Ukraine.
Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with Russian officials on whether they have considered releasing Ukrainian prisoners of war.

We regularly use our public communications and position in multilateral fora, such as the UN and the OSCE, to call on Russia to release Ukrainian political prisoners detained in Crimea and Russia.

We strongly support the objective of the International Crimea Platform to unite efforts aimed at achieving the immediate and unconditional release of Ukrainian citizens detained or convicted for political reasons.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions her Department has had with its Chinese counterparts on the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Since the Prime Minister's statement on 8 December, officials have reiterated to Chinese counterparts the announcement that no officials or ministers will represent the UK Government at the Beijing Winter Olympics and the reasons for this. We also engage closely with the Chinese authorities and Beijing Olympic Organising Committee in relation to the management and operation of the games, in support of the British Olympic Association.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the safety of athletes during the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

We have provided specific advice to the British Olympic Association, including in respect of security, Chinese law and society, to ensure Team GB are as well prepared as possible for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. We wish our athletes every success and they will continue to have our full support throughout the games. Officials in Beijing stand ready to provide consular assistance if needed.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to prohibit British companies profiteering from human rights abuses abroad.

The UK Government has consistently supported the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on business and human rights, which are widely regarded as the authoritative international framework to steer practical action by Governments and businesses worldwide on this important and pressing agenda. The UNGPs support access to justice and remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses, wherever these occur, and encourage businesses to voluntarily adopt 'due diligence' approaches to respecting human rights.

The Government is clear that it expects all UK businesses to respect human rights throughout their operations, in line with the UNGPs. In response to the Guidelines, the UK was the first State to produce a National Action Plan (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522805/Good_Business_Implementing_the_UN_Guiding_Principles_on_Business_and_Human_Rights_updated_May_2016.pdf). We continue to develop our approach in line with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the recent reports that 65 environmental defenders were murdered in Colombia in 2020.

The British Government remains concerned about the persistent level of violence towards human rights defenders and environmental activists in Colombia. Colombia is a UK Government 'Human Rights Priority Country' - UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government, and in multilateral fora. Most recently, as the UK's Minister for Europe and Americas, I spoke to Vice President Ramírez regarding the human rights situation on a visit to Colombia from 22-24 November.

Through our Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF) programme, which has provided £68 million in support of peace agreement implementation, security, and stability in Colombia since 2015, we will continue to prioritise funding interventions to protect human rights defenders, including environmental activists, and social leaders.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with HSBC executives on the freezing of bank accounts of Mr Ted Hui and other pro-democracy activists.

The Government engages in regular dialogue with businesses active in Hong Kong and as a matter of course monitors the operation of the financial sector and its participants. Financial institutions operating in Hong Kong do so within a strict legal and regulatory framework. We are concerned that a number of recent decisions by the authorities in Hong Kong are further evidence of a determined campaign to stifle opposition and silence dissent. As a signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, China must abide by the legally binding commitments it made to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years from 1997.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of the extension of China's Foreign Anti-Sanctions Law to Hong Kong on (a) HSBC and (b) other UK-based banks.

The Government monitors the operation and functioning of the financial sector and its participants on an ongoing basis, and does so across a wide range of matters. However, we do not comment on issues relating to individual companies.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with HSBC on allowing British National Overseas passport holders to withdraw their Mandatory Provident Fund pensions early.

The Government has raised our concerns with the relevant authorities. Hong Kong's Mandatory Provident Fund Authority is unfairly disrupting people's livelihoods by refusing to accept the British Nationals Overseas (BNO) visa when Hong Kongers apply for early withdrawal of their pensions. This is preventing Hong Kongers from accessing funds they are entitled to.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential for HSBC to split its operations outside of China and Hong Kong in response to China's National Security Law.

The Government monitors the operation and functioning of the financial sector and its participants on an ongoing basis, and does so across a wide range of matters. However, we do not comment on issues relating to individual companies.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she can request that the United Nations Secretary General send his Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict to the Tigray region in Ethiopia, as provided for by Security Council resolution 1888.

I am appalled by reports of sexual violence in Tigray and directly expressed my concerns in the strongest terms to the Ethiopian Ambassador during my first week as Minister for Africa. We support calls for the UN Secretary General to consider sending his Teams of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict to the Tigray region in Ethiopia. The UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, visited Ethiopia earlier in October and held discussions with British Embassy staff on our shared concerns.

In June we deployed an expert from our Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative UK Team of Experts to conduct an initial scoping mission to identify tangible ways to enhance the response to gender-based violence in Tigray. The UK is working with partners in Ethiopia to confirm next steps and implement recommendations from this scoping mission. We continue to explore options for addressing the immediate needs of survivors, preventing further sexual violence and delivering justice and accountability.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of sanctioning (a) the Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defence Forces, Filipos Woldeyohannes and (b) individuals responsible for human rights violations in Ethiopia.

We are deeply concerned by Eritrean involvement in the conflict in Tigray. My predecessor has made clear to the Eritrean Ambassador the UK's concern about reports of human rights violations by all parties to the conflict and the need for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray. The former Foreign Secretary raised the need for a political dialogue to bring a lasting peace to Tigray directly with Prime Minister Abiy on 5 August. I also raised these issues in my first meeting with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 22 September. The UK continues to consider the full range of policy tools at our disposal to protect human rights and deter violations of international humanitarian law. It is longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much each of the countries neighbouring Afghanistan will receive in Official Development Assistance in (a) 2021 and (b) 2022 as part of the UK aid uplift announced following the Taliban takeover.

On 3 September FCDO announced £30 million in additional humanitarian funding to assist the regional response to the surge in refugees. £10 million was immediately made available to humanitarian partners, such as the UNHCR, to enable essential supplies such as shelters, sanitation and hygiene facilities to be erected at the Afghanistan border. The remaining £20 million of funding is flexible to rapidly scale up the response to hosting communities in affected countries if a mass movement of population takes place.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if his Department can confirm the current whereabouts of the Afghans who guarded the British Embassy in Kabul; and when they will arrive in the UK.

We stand by our commitment to support those who have worked for us, and to take all remaining eligible cases. Securing their safe passage out of the country is an immediate priority. We are working through our diplomatic channels to that end. We have brought 2,000 people to the UK between April and August under the ARAP scheme. We have been clear that the Taliban must allow safe passage for those who want to leave.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish (a) advice and (b) briefings from the UK mission in Afghanistan to the UK Government in each of the last six months.

As a matter of course, we do not publish advice or briefings.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many Afghan nationals have worked for or with UK diplomatic staff posted in Afghanistan since 2001.

We worked tirelessly during Operation Pitting to evacuate safely the overwhelming majority of UK nationals and locally employed Afghan staff. We are now looking at all possible avenues to ensure that any British nationals and local staff remaining in Afghanistan, as well as at-risk individuals who have already been offered a visa to the UK, are able to leave safely if they wish to.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) tackle piracy and the disruption of commercial shipping routes in the Middle East and (b) establish proof in instances when piracy is suspected of being sponsored by the Iranian regime.

The Integrated Review outlines Her Majesty's Government's intention to contribute to maritime security, including tackling piracy and upholding the essential principle of freedom of navigation, in accordance with international law and our commitment to the Rules Based International System.

The UK is committed to assuring the safety of shipping in the Middle East region, including through the Strait of Hormuz. The UK is a member of the International Maritime Security Construct which addresses the threat in the region by providing reassurance to commercial shipping and deterring further threats.

The UK condemned the attack on the MV Mercer Street at the UN Security Council on 6 August and the Defence Secretary condemned Iran's actions at a UNSC debate on maritime security on 9 August.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that staff and volunteers working for or with UK NGOs in Afghanistan will be supported to leave Afghanistan and enter the UK.

In addition to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the existing Ex Gratia Scheme (EGS), which offer resettlement for Afghan staff who have assisted the UK government, and their families, we are also setting up the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). This scheme will welcome up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans over the next year and up to a total of 20,000 over four years. We will work with the UN to facilitate that process and set out more details in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the presence of Somali troops fighting alongside Eritrean forces in Tigray, Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement.

We have not received corroboration of reports of Somali troops being present in Tigray. The continued presence of Eritrean forces fuels insecurity. These forces must leave Ethiopia immediately. The UK has consistently urged for an end to the conflict in Tigray. There can be no military solution. We continue to urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of threat posed by the tripartite relationship between Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia to destabilising the Horn of Africa.

We welcome cordial relations between sovereign states, and also the important role that regional bodies such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union play in security in the Horn. The continued presence of Eritrean forces in Tigray, in Ethiopia, fuels insecurity. These forces must leave Ethiopia immediately. We continue to urge all parties to the conflict to end fighting and seek a political solution.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) monitor political unrest and (b) help ensure democracy is upheld in Sierra Leone.

The UK Government believes that democracy, human rights and the rule of law contribute to long term security and prosperity, including in Sierra Leone. The UK and Sierra Leone enjoy an historic partnership, and the UK Government, alongside the international community, is a strong supporter of Sierra Leone's democracy and development.

We enjoy close and enduring relationships with the government, institutions such as parliament and the judiciary, and civil society organisations in Sierra Leone. Through these relationships, the British High Commission in Freetown regularly engages on issues to help promote political stability, and progress democracy and peace for all Sierra Leoneans. For example, the UK urged political leaders in April that parliamentary debates should not result in violence. We will continue to work with international partners to encourage the use of dialogue to resolve tensions.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps is his Department is taking to support (a) journalists, (b) political figures, (c) students and (d) other human rights defenders in Eritrea who have been detained since the September 2001 Government crackdown.

We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Eritrea. The UK Government takes every opportunity to voice our concern about arbitrary arrests and detentions in Eritrea and has called for the release of those arrested and detained in this way. We have done so directly with the Government of Eritrea and publicly through our annual reporting on human rights and at the UN Human Rights Council, most recently in a statement by the UK's Ambassador for Human Rights on 21 June during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur at the 47th session. Eritrea remains a priority country under our annual human rights reporting, and we will continue to monitor the situation there.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has sent any experts from the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative to the Tigray region in Ethiopia.

We have deployed an expert from the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative UK Team of Experts. Recommendations from an initial scoping mission by them will outline options for supporting the Government of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and other key stakeholders to safely collect and preserve evidence, and bring the perpetrators of sexual violence to justice. The UK fully supports the joint investigation involving the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to bring together all sides in the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia to a negotiating table to help find a lasting political solution to that conflict.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the conflict in Tigray that has gone on for more than eight months and which has taken a terrible toll on the people of Tigray. It is more apparent than ever that there can be no military solution to this crisis. Political negotiation is the only way to resolve this and other conflicts in Ethiopia. So we urge, and have been urging, all parties to the conflict to begin an inclusive political process that can foster national reconciliation and consensus.

The UK endorses the views of African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Faki that a comprehensive and all-encompassing permanent ceasefire is necessary to pave the way for sustainable peace in Tigray. We support the efforts of the AU in this regard.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2020 to Question 124857, what assessment his Department has made of the specific needs of Palestinians with disabilities whose homes are demolished by Israeli authorities.

The UK is supporting communities in Area C, whose homes have been demolished, to remain on their land. When material assistance is provided, interventions are prioritised that address the needs of persons with disabilities, women and children including ensuring accessibility for people with mobility impairments. We continue to engage frequently with the Israelis on issues affecting Palestinians, including demolitions. Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised the issue of ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities, most recently in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2020 to Question 124857, what representations he has made to the Israeli authorities on the demolition of the home of Hatem Abu Riyala, a disabled Palestinian man, in Issawiya in East Jerusalem for the fourth time on 1 March 2021.

The UK is supporting communities in Area C, whose homes have been demolished, to remain on their land. When material assistance is provided, interventions are prioritised that address the needs of persons with disabilities, women and children including ensuring accessibility for people with mobility impairments. We continue to engage frequently with the Israelis on issues affecting Palestinians, including demolitions. Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised the issue of ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities, most recently in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February. I [Minister Cleverly] called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he will take to ensure UK nationals can qualify for an Article 50 Permit, where their move to the EU has been delayed until after the end of the transition period as a result of the suspension of travel between the UK and European destinations.

Despite the travel disruption caused by Covid-19, the conditions of the Withdrawal Agreement, as set in domestic and international law, remain the same. To be in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement and therefore be eligible to obtain a residence document issued in accordance with it, UK nationals must have been lawfully resident in an EU Member State before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. Those who move to the EU after the transition period will not be in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement unless they are a close family member of someone who is in scope, provided the relationship was established prior to the end of the transition period. Children born before or after the end of the transition period, to parents protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, are also entitled to join them. The Government has made this information available to UK nationals in our communications throughout negotiations and during the transition period, including in our Living in Guides on gov.uk.

UK nationals who planned to move to the EU and secure rights under the Withdrawal Agreement ahead of the end of the transition period, have been able to travel to the EU despite Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Although the transition period is over, citizens' rights will remain a key priority for the Government.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the findings of the Stop TB Partnership's assessment entitled, The TB response is heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, published on 8 April 2020, what steps he is taking to improve global detection of tuberculosis cases during the covid-19 pandemic.

We knew from previous health emergencies that COVID-19 would disrupt health services for diseases like TB. As the Stop TB Partnership's assessment highlights, TB case notifications have decreased this year, due in part to TB laboratory capacity being diverted to COVID-19 testing.

The UK has pledged over £1 billion of aid to fight COVID-19. We are working with organisations we fund to adapt their TB activities in light of COVID-19. For example, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is supporting countries to detect TB in a way that avoids individuals gathering in one place. The Global Fund is also helping countries procure additional diagnostic machines to ensure adequate testing capacity for TB. The UK has pledged up to £1.4 billion to the Global Fund to 2022.

The UK Government also supports developing countries to make their domestic health systems, including their TB programmes, stronger and more resilient.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to use the UK’s forthcoming presidency of the G7 to increase (a) investment and (b) coordination in global health systems strengthening in order to help (i) tackle covid-19 and (ii) ensure better preparation for future pandemics.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is working closely with other Government departments to define the objectives for the UK's G7 Presidency in 2021. These will be shared in due course.

Strengthening global health systems is a priority for the Government. As the Prime Minister made clear to the UN General Assembly, the UK will use its G7 Presidency to create a new global approach to health security based on a five-point plan to protect humanity against another pandemic. The 2021 UK Presidency is an opportunity to collectively support a recovery from COVID-19 and pursue our vision for a safer, healthier and more prosperous world, including protection against future pandemics and other health threats.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) strengthen his Department’s expertise on global health and (b) help ensure effective coordination with other development partners globally.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has excellent global health expertise. Health advisers, who are accredited public health professionals, are central to delivering the FCDO's work on global health and undergo continuing professional development to strengthen their expertise. Health advisers work closely with staff across FCDO and share learning with other sector specialists (such as education and humanitarian advisers); as well as engaging with external experts to strengthen the Department's expertise.

FCDO uses its full range of health, development and diplomatic expertise to support better coordination on global health with our development partners bilaterally, and at a global level through the WHO and the wider UN system.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure greater coordination of the UK’s overseas development budget (a) on global health research and development with the Department for (i) Health and Social Care and the (ii) Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (b) across Government Departments, more widely.

Our officials work closely with colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as well as with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Wellcome Trust and other organisations, to ensure the coherence and effectiveness of the UK Government's global health research and development portfolios.

Coordination is facilitated through higher level bodies. Examples include the Strategic Coherence of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) funded Research (SCOR) Board that includes senior representatives from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, DHSC, BEIS, UKRI and Wellcome; and the Global Health Oversight Group that brings together senior officials from departments across Government to oversee the UK's ODA to health. Similar boards exist in other sectors that the UK Government works in internationally. A Ministerial oversight group, chaired by the Foreign Secretary and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, mirrored by a senior officials' oversight group, oversees UK ODA from Whitehall. At country level, departments work closely together.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which NGOs (a) were consulted in advance of and (b) supported the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.

We engaged with 26 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including BOND, who in turn represent over 400 organisations, in round-table discussions with ministers to discuss the merger of the FCO and DfID and hear views. We have also engaged with organisations such as Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee and Amnesty International.

Engagement has also been carried out with key figures in several international organisations - Including Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the WHO, David Malpass, President of the World Bank, the International Committee of the Red Cross and UNHCR. We will continue ongoing engagement with UK and international CSOs, including on issues relating to the merger.

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the implementation of the recommendations of the September 2020 report from the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen.

The UK supports the UN Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), which is an important mechanism for ensuring accountability and supporting the promotion and protection of human rights in Yemen. We supported resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council to establish the GEE in 2017 and to renew its mandate in 2018 and 2019. The UK is deeply concerned by the allegations in the GEE's latest report. The UK calls on all the parties to the conflict to engage constructively with the GEE, investigate these allegations, protect human rights and comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. The Government takes its export responsibilities extremely seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Yemen is a human rights priority country for the UK. In the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights report, we highlighted our concerns over women's rights including girls' education, the recruitment of child soldiers, arbitrary detention, and attacks on freedom of religion or belief and on freedom of speech and association.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations in the UN Group of Eminent Experts' report on Yemen calling on (a) the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court and b) third states to stop transferring arms to parties to the conflict in Yemen.

The UK supports the UN Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), which is an important mechanism for ensuring accountability and supporting the promotion and protection of human rights in Yemen. We supported resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council to establish the GEE in 2017 and to renew its mandate in 2018 and 2019. The UK is deeply concerned by the allegations in the GEE's latest report. The UK calls on all the parties to the conflict to engage constructively with the GEE, investigate these allegations, protect human rights and comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. The Government takes its export responsibilities extremely seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Yemen is a human rights priority country for the UK. In the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights report, we highlighted our concerns over women's rights including girls' education, the recruitment of child soldiers, arbitrary detention, and attacks on freedom of religion or belief and on freedom of speech and association.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the British Council is adequately resourced through the transition period to provide an effective representation for the UK.

The FCDO remains committed to the British Council, which has been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The FCDO remains committed to the British Council, which has been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. On 24th September I met with the Chair & CEO, FCDO officials continue to work closely with the Council to address the impact on its operations and to ensure that it can carry out its work throughout the transition period and beyond. Further decisions about long-term funding for the British Council will be taken at the upcoming Spending Review.

FCDO officials continue to work closely with the Council to address the impact on its operations and to ensure that it can carry out its work throughout the transition period and beyond. Further decisions about long-term funding for the British Council will be taken at the upcoming Spending Review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assistance his Department is providing to the Greek Government to help the acquisition of accommodation for vulnerable women and children who have been affected by the fire in the Moria refugee camp.

The UK is responding to requests by the Greek Government to provide specific humanitarian goods and are urgently making plans for the delivery of these goods. We will work with our partners to ensure these supplies are fairly distributed and reach those most in need.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with the (a) Greek authorities and (b) UK’s European partners on finding long-term solutions to support asylum seekers and refugees who have been affected by the fire in the Moria refugee camp.

We have previously raised our concerns with the Greek government on conditions in overcrowded migrant camps, including with the Foreign Minister. We will continue to raise issues of long term management of migration pressures through our bilateral exchanges.

Officials from the British Embassy have been engaging with the Greek authorities locally following the fire in the Moria migrant camp. The UK is responding to requests by the Greek Government to provide specific humanitarian goods and is urgently making plans for the delivery of these goods. We will work with our partners to ensure these supplies are fairly distributed and reach those most in need.

The UK has presented a genuine and sincere offer to the EU on a future reciprocal arrangement for the family reunion of unaccompanied children seeking asylum (UASC) in either the EU or the UK, where it is in the child's best interests. Furthermore, individuals who have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK will continue to be able to be joined by family members under the refugee family reunion rules. These routes are unaffected by our exit from the EU.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the political and security situation in the Ivory Coast.

The UK Government has a strong partnership with Côte d'Ivoire. Stability and inclusive economic growth are shared priorities, with a view to consolidating peace after a decade of crisis and uncertainty.

The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections are the responsibility of the Government of Côte d'Ivoire, all political parties, and the Ivoirian people. Peaceful, free and credible elections, in line with international law, are an opportunity to build long term peace and stability in Côte d'Ivoire. We encourage all parties to work towards this goal.

We are concerned about reports of protests and violence, which resulted in a dozen deaths in August. We urge all parties to participate responsibly, engage fully in the process, avoid the use of inflammatory language, and denounce violence and hate speech. To support these aims, alongside members of the international community, our Embassy in Abidjan is working closely with the United Nations Development Programme to support fair and transparent elections. This includes £300,000 of funding to support dialogue and prevention management of the risks of electoral violence. This includes increasing the number of women mediators involved in election management and organising meetings between security forces, civil society and communities. We are also supporting the training of security forces, which is focused on ensuring that public security during the election period is maintained and that human rights are respected. We are following developments closely. We expect elections to be conducted transparently and that due process be followed before and during the polls.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Mauritian Government on whether steps will be taken against the Japanese firm responsible for causing the Mauritian oil spill in August 2020.

The UK Government is in close contact with the Mauritian Government on providing support to monitor and limit the impact of the oil spill. In phone calls with the Mauritian Foreign Minister on 14 and 19 August, I offered the UK's support and asked Mauritius how best we could assist in the aftermath of the spill. The UK subsequently deployed three ecology experts from the UK's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, and an additional expert to provide legal and technical advice to assist with the safe disposal of the stricken ship. I spoke to the UK experts in-country on 3 September to hear first-hand how their work is contributing to managing the environmental impacts of the disaster. Any action against the Japanese owners of the breached vessel is a matter for the Government of Mauritius. There are recognised international systems in place for pursuing liability and compensation.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the oil leak of August 2020 in Mauritius, what steps his Department is taking to support the Mauritian Government.

In phone calls with the Mauritian Foreign Minister on 14 and 19 August, I offered the UK's support and asked Mauritius how best we could assist in the aftermath of the spill.

I also spoke to two of the UK experts on 3 September to hear directly how their work has contributed in the aftermath of the oil spill. The UK subsequently deployed three ecology experts from the UK's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. They are assessing the scale of the damage and helping Mauritius identify the best ways to restore its coastline and protect species at risk. A package of legal and technical advice has been provided to assist with the safe disposal of the stricken ship. The UK has also committed funds to support the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation with urgent work on local nature reserves. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and assist the Mauritian Government to limit the impact of the spill.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of including Chinese officials who have allegedly committed human rights abuses in the next round of Magnitsky sanctions designations.

It is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated under the sanctions regime in the future. We do not want to reduce the impact of the designations. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to publish the process by which civil society organisations can share evidence of alleged human rights abuses with the Government for the purpose of the next round of Magnitsky sanctions designations.

We value the insights and information NGOs can provide in respect of the sanctions regime. We intend to set out a clear line of communication between NGOs (and other organisations) and the Government in order to ensure an effective approach to sanctions as a policy tool. We have already published an Information Note on gov.uk aimed at NGOs and civil society organisations, to support dialogue with Government, including on the sharing of information.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the Government plans to provide to the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the event that the Government of Israel attempts to annex parts of those territories.

The UK remains committed to excellent relationships with the Palestinians and our partnership with the Palestinians is improving healthcare, education and security. As we made clear at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the Middle East Peace Process on 20 May, we are concerned by reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law. The UK is committed to making progress towards a two-state solution. We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions which make peace more difficult.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of Israeli's compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 476 and 478 on the annexation of Jerusalem.

Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: The UK recognises Israel's "de facto authority" over West Jerusalem. But in line with Security Council Resolution 242 and subsequent Council resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as under Israeli military occupation. The UK believes that Jerusalem's final status must be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of Israeli's compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 on the annexation of the Golan Heights.

The UK position on the status of the Occupied Golan Heights is well-known and has not changed. In line with international law, and relevant Security Council resolutions, notably Resolutions 242 and 497, we do not recognise Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights, and we do not consider them part of the territory of the State of Israel. Annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law. Any declaration of a unilateral border change goes against the foundation of the rules-based international order and the UN Charter.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking with (a) TUI and (b) other flight operators to ensure they bring back UK nationals currently stranded abroad.

We are in daily touch with the travel industry. We are working together to respond to the unprecedented challenges created by the far-reaching entry restrictions and other measures countries are introducing, often without notice.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is providing to UK embassies and missions to enable them to support UK nationals trying to return to the UK as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Like other organisations, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be affected if large numbers of staff become infected with covid-19. The same will be true of our overseas network. In that context, we are reprioritising activities and reassigning staff to make sure that we can continue to lead a global response to Covid-19 and deal with other urgent matters as they arise.

We are continuing to work closely with local authorities, commercial airlines and other diplomatic missions to enable British people to get home. Our consular team is working around the clock to provide support, advice and information. The situation is fast moving, and our advice at this time is for British nationals to secure safe accommodation and to speak to their tour operator, airline and insurance company to discuss the options available to them.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support British nationals in (a) Lima and (b) Peru trying to return to the UK during the covid-19 pandemic.

We are working closely with local authorities, commercial airlines and other diplomatic missions to enable British people in Peru to get home. Our consular team is working around the clock to provide support, advice and information. The situation is fast moving, and our advice at this time is for British nationals to secure safe accommodation and to speak to their tour operator, airline and insurance company to discuss the options available to them.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to help bring forward a peace settlement in Yemen.

​We have been at the forefront of international efforts to reach a political settlement to the conflict in Yemen, and there are currently positive steps towards de-escalation. The UK has used its role as penholder at the UN Security Council to help push the Yemen peace process forward. In September 2019, the UK co-hosted a political event at the UN General Assembly to coordinate the international community's support for the UN-led peace process. We are supporting the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to protect progress on de-escalation and the Saudi-brokered Riyadh Agreement in preparation for wider political consultations.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the differences between tax rates for different categories of alcohol and applying one basic rate per litre of pure alcohol to all categories of drinks, in order to simplify and standardise the alcohol duty system.

The Government believes that the reforms announced at Autumn Budget 2021 will achieve a duty system that is simpler, fairer and better supports public health in the round.

There will be one duty band for all products between 8.5%-22% ABV based on their alcohol content. This simplifies the existing system by eliminating the different duty rates for still wines, sparkling wines, spirit-based liqueurs and stronger beers, and replacing them with a single rate.

In principle, the Government considers it is right to tax higher strength products a higher rate of duty per unit. Introducing one basic rate per litre of pure alcohol would fail to target higher strength products. As set out in the summary of responses published in October 2021, public health groups and economists have cited a link between cheap, high strength spirits (such as vodka) and alcohol-related harms, as the volume of drink needed to reach intoxication is smaller with higher strength drinks.

The Treasury is continuing to engage with other Government departments and interested stakeholders on these reforms. A consultation ran from 27 October 2021 to 30 January 2022, and the Treasury is now analysing the responses. Further updates will be provided in due course.
Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of whether the 27 new bands of taxation on wine in the proposed alcohol duty reforms will result in a simplification of the existing alcohol duty system.

The Government believes that the reforms announced at Autumn Budget 2021 will achieve a duty system that is simpler, fairer and better supports public health in the round.

There will be one duty band for all products between 8.5%-22% ABV based on their alcohol content. This simplifies the existing system by eliminating the different duty rates for still wines, sparkling wines, spirit-based liqueurs and stronger beers, and replacing them with a single rate.

In principle, the Government considers it is right to tax higher strength products a higher rate of duty per unit. Introducing one basic rate per litre of pure alcohol would fail to target higher strength products. As set out in the summary of responses published in October 2021, public health groups and economists have cited a link between cheap, high strength spirits (such as vodka) and alcohol-related harms, as the volume of drink needed to reach intoxication is smaller with higher strength drinks.

The Treasury is continuing to engage with other Government departments and interested stakeholders on these reforms. A consultation ran from 27 October 2021 to 30 January 2022, and the Treasury is now analysing the responses. Further updates will be provided in due course.
Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the impact of the proposed alcohol duty reforms on wine businesses and consumers, as compared to beer or cider drinkers.

The Government believes that the reforms announced at Autumn Budget 2021 will achieve a duty system that is simpler, fairer and better supports public health in the round.

There will be one duty band for all products between 8.5%-22% ABV based on their alcohol content. This simplifies the existing system by eliminating the different duty rates for still wines, sparkling wines, spirit-based liqueurs and stronger beers, and replacing them with a single rate.

In principle, the Government considers it is right to tax higher strength products a higher rate of duty per unit. Introducing one basic rate per litre of pure alcohol would fail to target higher strength products. As set out in the summary of responses published in October 2021, public health groups and economists have cited a link between cheap, high strength spirits (such as vodka) and alcohol-related harms, as the volume of drink needed to reach intoxication is smaller with higher strength drinks.

The Treasury is continuing to engage with other Government departments and interested stakeholders on these reforms. A consultation ran from 27 October 2021 to 30 January 2022, and the Treasury is now analysing the responses. Further updates will be provided in due course.
Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether an Equality Impact Assessment was carried out by his Department on the proposals set out in the Alcohol Duty Review.

The completion and publication of formal Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) documents is not a legal or procedural requirement. However, equality impacts are appropriately assessed and explained to ministers throughout the policymaking process.

Treasury Ministers carefully considered the equalities impacts of the reforms to alcohol duties and had due regard to the public sector equality duty when making decisions.

Further information on the equalities implications of the alcohol duty reforms will be published in a Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) when the policy is final, or near final, in the usual way.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses that have not sufficiently recovered from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic to be able to afford repayments on their Bounce Back Loans, even after they have taken advantage of the six month repayment holiday.

Any business concerned about repayments should get in touch with their lender who will be able to provide support and talk them through their options.

In order to give businesses who have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme further support and flexibility in making their repayments, the Chancellor announced “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) options in September 2020. In addition to the six month full repayment holiday, PAYG gives businesses the option to extend their Bounce Back Loan repayments over ten years, reducing their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. Businesses also have the option to move to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times). If borrowers want to take advantage of these options, they should notify their lender.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the potential number of jobs that will be lost in the event that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is ended before all firms can reopen.

In order to help businesses and employees through the next stage of the pandemic, at Budget, the Government extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of September 2021. This extension is designed to strike the right balance between supporting the economy as it opens up, continuing to provide support and protect incomes, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns.

So far, the CJRS has helped to pay the wages of people in 11.5 million jobs across the country, and between the end of January and end of April 2021 1.5 million left the scheme. The Government has been clear, however, that it will not be possible to preserve every job or business, and that it should not stand in the way of the economy adapting, or of people finding new jobs or starting new businesses.

The Government is therefore maintaining its focus on helping people back into work. As part of its comprehensive Plan for Jobs, the Government announced the £2 billion Kickstart scheme which will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people, and the new three year Restart programme, which will provide intensive and tailored support to over one million unemployed Universal Credit claimants across England and Wales and help them find work.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many (a) promoters and (b) operators of schemes now subject to the Loan Charge have been prosecuted.

A number of individuals are currently under criminal investigation by HMRC for offences linked to schemes subject to the Loan Charge.

In addition to schemes subject to the Loan Charge; since 1 April 2016, more than 20 individuals have been convicted for offences relating to arrangements which have been promoted and marketed as tax avoidance, including offences related to disguised remuneration. These have resulted in over 100 years of custodial sentences. The majority of these convictions relate to promoters.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Stephen Hoey v The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs case, whether HMRC plans to accept the decision of that case relating to contactors with pre-2010 open years in respect of owed tax.

HMRC are carefully considering the Upper Tribunal decision of 12 April in the case of Stephen Hoey v The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with HMRC on its reported engagement with contractors who used disguised remuneration schemes.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) do not engage in, or enter into, disguised remuneration (DR) schemes. It is possible for a contractor providing services to HMRC to use a DR scheme without the department’s knowledge or participation. Where HMRC become aware of a contractor who is using a DR scheme, they take robust compliance action, including immediate action to terminate the engagement. These individuals are subject to the same tax compliance action in respect of their DR scheme use as any other scheme user.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support small businesses that have reported a loss of earnings as a result of supplies not being delivered on time due to a backlog at UK customs.

There is no backlog of goods awaiting clearance by UK customs. The Government has put in place a number of measures to facilitate trade with the EU and to avoid disruption at ports including publishing comprehensive guidance on the new arrangements for trade with the EU and operating a staged approach to customs controls. Until 31 December 2021 most traders importing non-controlled goods from the EU can make a simplified declaration in their own records and defer making a customs declaration to HMRC for 175 days. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/delaying-declarations-for-eu-goods-brought-into-great-britain.

The Government has also provided a £20 million Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in adjusting to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

In addition, businesses can choose to use customs facilitations to make trading across borders quicker, cheaper and easier. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-delay-customs-duty-and-import-vat.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the expected timeframe for EU imports arriving into the UK to be checked at customs.

The Government’s priority is to keep goods moving and avoid delays at the border. HMRC use a risk based, intelligence-led response to compliance issues working alongside Border Force.

The Government has put in place a number of measures to facilitate trade with the EU and to avoid disruption at ports, including publishing comprehensive guidance on the new arrangements for trade with the EU and operating a staged approach to customs controls in Great Britain. Until 31 December 2021 most traders importing non-controlled goods from the EU can make a simplified declaration in their own records and defer making a customs declaration to HMRC for 175 days. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/delaying-declarations-for-eu-goods-brought-into-great-britain.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of exempting from VAT the fire safety works required for leaseholders under surveys deemed necessary to inspect cladding and other materials after the Grenfell tragedy.

The Government announced on 10 February 2021 that it would fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres and over in England.

It was also announced that for low rise buildings between 11 metres and 18 metres, with a lower risk to safety, there will be new protection from the costs of cladding removal. This would be made through a long-term, low interest, Government-backed financing arrangement to pay for cladding removal, where it is needed.

In most cases, the standard rate of VAT will be applied to the removal and replacement of cladding. However, the cost of replacing cladding can be zero rated if it is tied to the initial construction of the building and the cladding is shown to be defective.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on businesses of reclaiming Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans from firms that are unable to open until permitted to do so under the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has already taken action to give businesses the flexibility and space they need to repay Bounce Back loans. No repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan, giving businesses the breathing space they need during this difficult time. In addition, the Government covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

In order to give businesses further support in making their repayments, the Chancellor has announced “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) options. PAYG will give businesses the option to repay their Bounce Back loan over ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. Businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times). They can also pause their repayments entirely for up to six months – and given the continued challenges businesses are facing, HM Treasury has opted to enable borrowers to make use of this option from the first repayment, which means that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out. If borrowers want to take advantage of this option, they should notify their lender when they are contacted about their repayments.

Together, the 12-month payment holiday and interest-free period for borrowers, along with the PAYG options, form a generous part of the Government’s unprecedented support package for businesses to protect jobs - including paying wages through the furlough schemes and self-employed support payments, generous grants, tax deferrals.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will work with banks to allow businesses to defer repayment of bounce back loans until they can reopen once covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Under the Bounce Back Loan scheme, no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan, giving businesses the breathing space they need during this difficult time. In addition, the Government covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

In order to give businesses further support and flexibility in making their repayments, the Chancellor has announced “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) options. PAYG will give businesses the option to repay their Bounce Back loan over ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. Businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times), or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months. Given the continued challenges businesses are facing, HM Treasury has opted to make the full repayment holiday available to borrowers from the first repayment, which means that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out. If borrowers want to take advantage of this option, they should notify their lender when they are contacted about their repayments.

Together, the 12-month payment holiday and interest-free period for borrowers, along with the PAYG options, form a generous part of the Government’s unprecedented support package for businesses to protect jobs - including paying wages through the furlough schemes and self-employed support payments, generous grants, tax deferrals.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the scope of Pool Re insurance to cover all major incidents and disasters in the UK.

We are working closely with the insurers, the trade bodies and regulators to understand what more the industry can do to help individuals and businesses during the current crisis, and to learn lessons for future risks.

Whilst the scope of the current Government review of Pool Re is limited to its role as a reinsurer of terrorism risk, the conclusions from this work will also have important implications for how we manage systemic risks more broadly.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason he has nominated the Chief Executive of HM Revenue and Customs as the expert adviser to the Independent Inquiry on the Loan Charge.

In September 2019, the Chancellor at the time commissioned Sir Amyas Morse to lead an independent review of the loan charge policy. Sir Amyas Morse had full control over the management of the review and maintained complete discretion over the advisers appointed and the stakeholders with whom he engaged. The Chief Executive of HM Revenue & Customs was not nominated or appointed as an adviser to the Review, in any capacity.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what responsibilities the most senior contractors who used the loan charge scheme had while they were engaged at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and Revenue and Customs Digital Technology Services.

HMRC’s legal duty to maintain taxpayer confidentiality means they are unable to disclose information relating to identifiable taxpayers. The information requested could potentially lead to the identification of individual taxpayers.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of how many clients of loan scheme promoters may become bankrupt.

HMRC cannot provide an estimate for the number of people who have used disguised remuneration (DR) loan schemes who have been declared or may become bankrupt. Individuals may be declared bankrupt for many reasons, not necessarily as a direct result of tax liabilities arising from DR scheme use. HMRC are not always the only creditor; some individuals may be declared bankrupt as a result of a non-HMRC debt and some individuals may choose to enter insolvency themselves, based on their overall financial position.

The Government is aware that some unscrupulous promoters continue to sell DR loan schemes. The Government and HMRC remain committed to tackling those who promote tax avoidance schemes. In March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters, which set out HMRC’s work to date and outlined how HMRC will continue to take robust action against promoters of tax avoidance.

HMRC only ever consider insolvency as a last resort and encourage taxpayers to get in contact to agree the best way to settle their tax debts. Anyone who is worried about being able to pay what they owe is encouraged to get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the finding of the Independent Loan Charge Review that loans made pre-December 2010 were made before the law was clear, for what reason HMRC has pursued tax from people with pre-2010 open years.

The Independent Loan Charge Review set out that the loan charge should only apply to loans made on, or after, 9 December 2010. However, it also made clear that, for years before this, where there is an enquiry or assessment, HMRC still had the ability to pursue the tax due under the existing rules.

Where there are open enquiries for periods before 9 December 2010, HMRC will resolve these in line with the HMRC Litigation and Settlement Strategy. Closing open enquiries for less than the amount of tax due under the law is not within this Strategy, nor would it be fair to those who have already settled with HMRC on the basis of their full liability, or fair to taxpayers more generally.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how his Department determines who the employer is between the promoter and end user client engaged in the loan charge scheme in circumstances where HMRC and Customs Digital Technology Services are also the engagers of a contractor using a loan scheme.

Where a contractor is engaged, the identity of the employer will depend on the facts of the engagement and the tax rules that apply to that engagement. For example, if a contractor is employed by an employment agency or umbrella company, who then supply the contractor to the client organisation, that agency or umbrella company will be the employer.

Conversely, where the Agency legislation applies to an engagement, the first agency in the labour supply chain is usually deemed to be the employer for tax purposes. However, if the contractor is engaged under the current off-payroll working legislation, the person who pays the contractor’s intermediary will be the deemed employer for tax purposes. From 6 April 2021, the off-payroll working rules are changing so that the deemed employer will be the party in the labour supply chain who meets the relevant conditions.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a zero-rating of VAT on remedial fire safety works to buildings.

Under qualifying circumstances, the supply of fire safety equipment is already eligible for VAT relief when provided alongside the construction and renovation of residential or charitable buildings.

VAT plays an important part in funding public services such as the NHS and education. Extending the zero-rate could carry a significant cost to the Exchequer and must be viewed in the context of about £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT since the EU referendum. The Government keeps all taxes under review.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether (a) Mainstay and (b) other property management providers have received funding through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government is not able to provide information on organisations that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Owing to HMRC’s duty of confidentiality, HMRC cannot publish identifying information that relates to one of their functions.

The CJRS is one of HMRC’s functions and publishing a list of organisations would provide identifying information.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an estimate of the effect on the level of employment of the closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The CJRS has helped 1.2 million employers across the UK furlough 9.6 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods. Many of these employments will have already been resumed. Across the whole of the UK and all ages, the number of employments furloughed has decreased from a peak of 8.9 million on 8 May to about 4.8 million on 31 July. The CJRS must be temporary and the Government must ensure people can get back to work safely and get the UK economy up and running again.

Building on the action taken in the face of the immediate threat posed by the virus, the second phase of the Government’s response began with the targeted Plan for Jobs. The Plan places emphasis on job creation through the Kickstart scheme, a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, high-quality 6-month subsidised jobs for young people; as well as job protection through the Job Retention Bonus, which specifically encourages firms to keep on workers they previously furloughed. It also supports jobseekers with direct help to find work and to gain the skills they need to gain employment.

The Government is adapting its response to the changing context, evolving as restrictions have changed. On 24 September the Government introduced a Winter Economy Plan including the new Job Support Scheme, which targets support on those businesses that need it most; focusing on those that are being affected by coronavirus and can support their employees doing some work, but that need more time for demand to recover.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on introducing a tax-break-based hospitality voucher scheme to support businesses in the UK.

The Government understands the acute impact the pandemic is having on the hospitality sector. This sector is a vital source of employment across the country, and that is why – in addition to the CJRS, tax deferrals and loans – we have prioritised support for hospitality businesses and introduced several targeted measures to protect jobs. This includes:

• A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
• The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
• The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, which subsidised 100 million meals through August
• A temporary reduction in the VAT rate from 20% to 5% on most tourism and hospitality-related activities.

The Government is continuing to collect evidence on the impact of the pandemic, including on specific sectors, and to work with businesses and representative groups to inform our efforts to support the recovery as we head into the Autumn.

The Chancellor and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy meet regularly to discuss support for businesses and the economy as a whole.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a tax-break-based hospitality voucher scheme to support businesses in the UK.

The Government understands the acute impact the pandemic is having on the hospitality sector. This sector is a vital source of employment across the country, and that is why – in addition to the CJRS, tax deferrals and loans – we have prioritised support for hospitality businesses and introduced several targeted measures to protect jobs. This includes:

• A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
• The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
• The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, which subsidised 100 million meals through August
• A temporary reduction in the VAT rate from 20% to 5% on most tourism and hospitality-related activities.

The Government is continuing to collect evidence on the impact of the pandemic, including on specific sectors, and to work with businesses and representative groups to inform our efforts to support the recovery as we head into the Autumn.

The Chancellor and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy meet regularly to discuss support for businesses and the economy as a whole.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that reforms to off-payroll working rules do not result in contractors being subject to role-based blanket IR35 assessments that incorrectly classify them as operating inside IR35.

Organisations must take reasonable care when making status determinations for the off-payroll working rules. The Government is clear that determinations must be made on a case-by-case basis, although it is acceptable to make a determination for a group of workers where the terms and conditions of contracts and working practices are the same.

HMRC’s dedicated education and support team will be delivering an enhanced programme of targeted support ahead of April 2021. This will include working with client organisations to make sure they are able to correctly determine their contractors’ status for tax.

The Government has also already ensured that from April 2021 client organisations are required to introduce a client-led status disagreement process where contractors can raise their concerns with their client organisation if they disagree on how they have been categorised.

HMRC will also commission independent research into the impacts of the reform six months after it has taken effect, which will look at how status decisions are being made. This research will be presented to Parliament.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many prosecutions for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage there have been (a) in total since 2010 and (b) in each year since 2010.

HMRC enforce the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) in line with the law and policy set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff. HMRC will not hesitate to take action to ensure that workers receive the pay to which they are legally entitled.

A majority of NMW cases relate to civil (non-criminal) offences, which attract penalties of up to 200% of the identified wage arrears and public naming.

Alongside civil sanctions, HMRC have a clear approach for how they consider prosecutions in appropriate cases involving potential criminal breaches in the most serious cases.

Where potential criminality has occurred, HMRC refer these cases to the Crown Prosecution Service who decide whether or not to prosecute.

Since 2010-11 HMRC have completed nearly 25,000 NMW investigations, identifying over £100 million in national minimum wage arrears for over 950,000 workers. During this period, HMRC investigations have also led to the successful prosecution of 8 employers for NMW related offences. A yearly breakdown of NMW prosecutions is included in the table below.

Year

Number of prosecutions

2010/11

1

2011/12

0

2012/13

1

2013/14

0

2014/15

0

2015/16

0

2016/17

4

2017/18

1

2018/19

0

2019/20

1

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what additional steps his Department is taking to secure prosecutions for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage.

HMRC enforce the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) in line with the law and policy set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff. HMRC will not hesitate to take action to ensure that workers receive the pay to which they are legally entitled.

A majority of NMW cases relate to civil (non-criminal) offences, which attract penalties of up to 200% of the identified wage arrears and public naming.

Alongside civil sanctions, HMRC have a clear approach for how they consider prosecutions in appropriate cases involving potential criminal breaches in the most serious cases.

Where potential criminality has occurred, HMRC refer these cases to the Crown Prosecution Service who decide whether or not to prosecute.

Since 2010-11 HMRC have completed nearly 25,000 NMW investigations, identifying over £100 million in national minimum wage arrears for over 950,000 workers. During this period, HMRC investigations have also led to the successful prosecution of 8 employers for NMW related offences. A yearly breakdown of NMW prosecutions is included in the table below.

Year

Number of prosecutions

2010/11

1

2011/12

0

2012/13

1

2013/14

0

2014/15

0

2015/16

0

2016/17

4

2017/18

1

2018/19

0

2019/20

1

15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing business rate exemptions for nurseries in England.

On 18 March, the Chancellor announced that non-local authority childcare providers would benefit from a business rates holiday for 2020-21.

14th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of insurance providers on ensuring that business interruption clauses are upheld for claims made as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

The Government is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis and fully supports the regulator in its role. The FCA rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

However, it is important to note that most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from non-property damage. Additionally, while some policies cover losses arising from any disease classed as notifiable by the government, or a denial of access to a building, most of these policies only cover a specific list of notifiable diseases or an incident specifically on the premises of the business. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. The terms of a policy cannot be changed retrospectively.

The Government encourages businesses to seek assistance through the wider support package if they are in financial difficulty. Businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor in recent weeks, including measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Financial Conduct Authority takes to oversee and regulate loans made by the Department for Work and Pensions.

In 2014, regulatory responsibility for the consumer credit market was transferred to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Whilst the FCA is responsible for regulating this market, HM Treasury sets the regulatory perimeter which informs the types of agreements that fall under the FCA’s remit. Loans made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) do not fall within the FCA’s regulatory remit. For that reason, the FCA has not assessed the impact of these loans on the functioning of the market.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what proportion of short term loans are made by the Department for Work and Pensions; and what assessment the Financial Conduct Authority has made of the effect of those loans on the functioning of the market.

In 2014, regulatory responsibility for the consumer credit market was transferred to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Whilst the FCA is responsible for regulating this market, HM Treasury sets the regulatory perimeter which informs the types of agreements that fall under the FCA’s remit. Loans made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) do not fall within the FCA’s regulatory remit. For that reason, the FCA has not assessed the impact of these loans on the functioning of the market.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of supporting self-employed people during the covid-19 outbreak by providing grants that cover 80 per cent of their average salary, using the last three years as a basis.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced new support for the self-employed on 26 March 2020.

The new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will help those with lost trading profits due to COVID-19. It will allow eligible individuals to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed and is one of the most generous self-employed support schemes in the world.

To qualify, an individual’s self-employed trading profits must be less than £50,000 and more than half of their income must come from self-employment. Some 95% of people who receive most of their income from self-employment will benefit from this Scheme.

HM Revenue & Customs will contact individuals if they are eligible and will invite them to apply online using a simple form. HMRC are working on this urgently and expect people to be able to access the Scheme no later than the beginning of June.

More information about the Scheme, including the full eligibility criteria and how to claim, is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

The Scheme supplements the significant support already announced for UK businesses and employees, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and deferral of tax payments.

More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the guidance published by Public Health England on 16 March 2020, what plans he has to provide additional underwriting to SMEs that will be affected by social distancing.

For businesses which have a policy that covers pandemics, the government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy. Furthermore, we are providing £10,000 grants to over 700,000 SMEs across England, and increased grants for qualifying retail, hospitality and leisure businesses of up to £25,000 per property. These measures are part of a wider, unprecedented package of support for businesses and workers to ensure as best we can that people remain employed and firms financially secure. The Government stands ready to do whatever it takes to support businesses through this outbreak.
John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when each of the measures announced in Budget 2020 to mitigate the effects of covid-19 will be implemented to support businesses that are adversely affected.

On 17 March, in response to Covid-19, the Government introduced a 12 month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England, including Southwark, with no cap on rateable values. Eligible businesses, large and small, will benefit from this exceptional step worth an additional £9.5bn in 2020-21.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the viability of businesses affected by coronavirus in (a) north Southwark and (b) other areas with higher than average business rates which are not covered by the business rates exemption for companies with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

On 17 March, in response to Covid-19, the Government introduced a 12 month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England, including Southwark, with no cap on rateable values. Eligible businesses, large and small, will benefit from this exceptional step worth an additional £9.5bn in 2020-21.

11th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with UK-based winemakers on (a) importing and (b) making wines from non-UK grapes after the transition period.

The Government is committed to reviewing the alcohol duty regime. As part of this review, ministers and Treasury officials will continue to meet regularly with representatives of the UK alcohol industry, including winemakers.

Details of ministerial meetings can be found on the GOV.UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) preparedness of businesses for the reforms to off-payroll working rules due to be implemented in April 2020 and (b) the potential merits of delaying that implementation date.

As announced at Budget 2018, the reform of the off-payroll working rules will come into effect from 6 April 2020. The Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) published in July 2019 sets out HMRC’s assessment that the reform to the off-payroll working rules is expected to affect 170,000 individuals. The TIIN can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020.

As part of the review published on 27 February 2020, HMRC engaged with a number of affected individuals and businesses through a series of stakeholder roundtables to test business readiness.

The Government is committed to working with organisations to ensure changes to the off-payroll working rules are implemented correctly from April 2020. HMRC are undertaking an extensive programme of education and support to help organisations prepare for the reform. This includes:

  • Offering one-to-one support to more than 2,000 of the UK’s biggest employers, and writing directly to 43,000 medium sized businesses and other organisations.
  • Providing large and medium sized businesses, public bodies, and charities with factsheets to share with their contractors, and publishing this factsheet on gov.uk.
  • Holding workshops with small tax agents, recruitment agencies, charities, and public bodies.
  • Holding at least weekly webinars, with small tax agents, recruitment agencies, charities, public bodies and contractors.
  • Publishing an enhanced version of the Check Employment Status for Tax online tool in November 2019 to help individuals and organisations make the right status determinations and apply the off-payroll rules correctly.
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing regulations to prevent companies who employ temporary agency contractors operating disguised remuneration schemes before the reforms to off-payroll working rules are made in April 2020.

It is possible to comply with the off-payroll working rules without using disguised remuneration schemes. The Government remains committed to tackling the continued use of disguised remuneration schemes, and set out further action to tackle these schemes at the Budget. HMRC have already published a factsheet to support contractors to prepare for the changes to the off-payroll working rules, and are continuing to step up their communications in the run up to implementation. HMRC have also launched further products to support contractors in understanding the changes, including a self-help guide on how to spot tax avoidance schemes.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on employment rights of the proposed reforms to off-payroll working rules.

It is fair that two people working as employees pay broadly the same tax and NICs, even if one of them works through their own company and the other is directly employed. There is no direct link between employment status for rights and employment status for tax; however, those who wish to challenge their employment status for rights can take their case to an employment tribunal, regardless of their tax status.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on labour market flexibility of the proposed reforms to off-payroll working rules.

As announced at Budget 2018, the reform of the off-payroll working rules will come into effect from 6 April 2020. The Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) published in July 2019 sets out HMRC’s assessment that the reform to the off-payroll working rules is expected to affect 170,000 individuals. The TIIN can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020.

As part of the review published on 27 February 2020, HMRC engaged with a number of affected individuals and businesses through a series of stakeholder roundtables to test business readiness.

The Government is committed to working with organisations to ensure changes to the off-payroll working rules are implemented correctly from April 2020. HMRC are undertaking an extensive programme of education and support to help organisations prepare for the reform. This includes:

  • Offering one-to-one support to more than 2,000 of the UK’s biggest employers, and writing directly to 43,000 medium sized businesses and other organisations.
  • Providing large and medium sized businesses, public bodies, and charities with factsheets to share with their contractors, and publishing this factsheet on gov.uk.
  • Holding workshops with small tax agents, recruitment agencies, charities, and public bodies.
  • Holding at least weekly webinars, with small tax agents, recruitment agencies, charities, public bodies and contractors.
  • Publishing an enhanced version of the Check Employment Status for Tax online tool in November 2019 to help individuals and organisations make the right status determinations and apply the off-payroll rules correctly.
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to improve the usability of the Check Employment Status Tool ahead of the introduction of reforms to the off-payroll working rules.

HMRC developed the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) online tool to help organisations and individuals determine employment status for tax and decide whether the off-payroll working rules apply.

The CEST service was developed in conjunction with tax specialists, contractors and other stakeholders. It was rigorously tested against established case law and settled cases to ensure it provides accurate results in line with current binding judgments. In the vast majority of uses, CEST will determine whether the engagement is employed or self-employed for tax purposes. HMRC will stand by CEST’s results provided accurate and correct information is used, in accordance with their guidance.

In November 2019, HMRC launched an enhanced version of CEST, having worked with over 300 stakeholders to identify improvements. The tool’s enhancements included making questions and the results clearer, increasing the number of questions to provide a more thorough assessment, and building in features to reduce user errors.

Since launch, HMRC have monitored customer feedback and have updated the tool’s language where this improves the customer experience. This includes providing additional help text and links to off-payroll guidance in HMRC’s Employment Status Manual. HMRC are continuing to monitor feedback with a view to making future usability updates.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will allocate resources to HMRC in the forthcoming Budget to help ensure that people who promoted the Loan Charge scheme are held accountable.

The Government is determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes, including disguised remuneration schemes. HMRC are on track to deliver the Government’s commitment to double the resources dedicated to tackling promoters by the end of 2019-20.

In the response to the Loan Charge review, the Government announced a package of measures to reduce the scope for promoters to market tax avoidance schemes. HMRC have committed to publishing a revised strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes by the end of March 2020.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the HMRC Alcohol Duty Statistics (October 2019), what assessment he has made of the effect of the increase in duty on wine in 2019 Budget on duty receipts from wine.

Announced at Budget 2018, Wine Duty rates on ‘wine of fresh grape’ and ‘made-wine’ at or below 22% Alcohol by Volume (ABV) increased by Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation from 1 February 2019.

Between February 2019 and January 2020, HMRC received £4,406 million from Wine Duty; an increase of £94.9 million (2.2%) compared to February 2018 to January 2019. The latest Wine Duty receipts are published in ‘HMRC tax receipts and National Insurance contributions for the UK’: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hmrc-tax-and-nics-receipts-for-the-uk.

HMRC do not receive information on brands, prices and volumes and are therefore unable to disaggregate how much of this increase is linked to the 1 February 2019 RPI rate rise compared to other wine market changes.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if the Government will take steps to reduce excise duty on UK spirits.

All taxes are kept under review, and any changes to tax will be announced through the Budget process.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will undertake a review of alcohol duty and postpone changes to excise duty collection arrangements for post duty point dilution until the results of that review are available.

As committed to in the manifesto, the Government will undertake a review of alcohol duties. Further announcements will be made in due course.

However, there are no plans to postpone the prohibitive actions against post duty point dilution for wine. UK drinks manufacturers have been given over 18 months’ notice to adapt their business models. The Treasury does keep all taxes under review, including their impact on drink manufacturers.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to further regulate tax advisers.

As announced in the response to the independent review of the loan charge, the Government will launch a call for evidence on what steps it can take to raise standards in the tax advice market.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament’s report on the Russian threat to the UK is published without delay.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the Hon. Member the Member for Midlothian on 5 February 2020, Official Report, Col. 314.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-02-05/debates/9EAB35C6-1EF6-4A18-B345-56F34D5D4504/Engagements

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the manufacturing cost per coin of the commemorative 50 pence coins that are due to enter circulation on 31 January 2020 to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.

Any coins issued into circulation will meet existing demand for 50ps. There is no additional cost in minting coins with one design over another.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) designing, (b) producing and (c) publicising the commemorative 50 pence coins that are due to enter circulation on 31 January 2020 to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.

The cost of designing all UK coins, including the coin to mark the UK’s departure from the European Union, is met by the Royal Mint out of its own revenues.

Any coins issued into circulation will meet existing demand for 50ps. There is no additional cost in minting coins with one design over another.

This announcement was promoted in the same way as any Treasury announcement, and there were no specific costs associated with it.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) designing, (b) producing and (c) publicising the 50 pence coins that were due to enter circulation on (i) 29 March 2019 and (ii) 31 October 2019 to mark the UK’s departure from the EU but were subsequently melted down.

The cost of designing all UK coins, including the coin to mark the UK’s departure from the European Union, is met by the Royal Mint out of its own revenues.

No coins were due to enter circulation on 29 March 2019. Approximately 1 million coins were minted in October to mark the UK’s departure from the European Union. The cost of minting these coins is commercially sensitive.

The Treasury announced at Budget 2018 that the Royal Mint would produce a coin to mark the UK departing the European Union, and there were no specific costs associated with this announcement.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the independent review of the Disguised Remuneration Loan Charge.

The Government published Sir Amyas Morse’s independent review of the Loan Charge on 20 December, alongside the Government’s response to his recommendations. Further detail can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-independent-loan-charge-review/guidance

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people in each of the last five years who successfully claimed asylum in the UK were from Pakistan.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on asylum outcomes at initial decision by nationality are published in tables Asy_D02 of the ‘asylum and resettlement detailed datasets’. Please note the breakdown published is the nationality of the applicant rather than the country the applicant came from.

Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to the end of March 2022.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to track foreign nationals who have defrauded UK citizens; and what role INTERPOL plays in identifying criminals and taking action in other states when a UK citizen has been defrauded.

The Government take fraud very seriously and are committed to tackling it.

The Home Secretary regularly engages with her international counterparts to build collaboration against this and other crime types. International collaboration on fraud includes the work of the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and City of London Police as the national lead force for fraud. Both partner with law enforcement and industry to combat fraud from overseas jurisdictions. Together they have recently implemented a new tasking and coordination process to ensure the most serious and organised fraudsters are targeted effectively.

UK authorities continue to work with their international counterparts on a case-by-case basis to target criminals responsible for defrauding members of the public and businesses. Law enforcement in the UK work closely with both INTERPOL and Europol to share information with international partners and facilitate collaborative work to tackle fraud w