Neil Coyle Portrait

Neil Coyle

Labour - Bermondsey and Old Southwark

First elected: 7th May 2015


Committees on Arms Export Controls
6th Jul 2020 - 16th Jan 2024
Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
7th Jun 2023 - 11th Jul 2023
Nationality and Borders Bill
16th Sep 2021 - 4th Nov 2021
Work and Pensions Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Work and Pensions Committee
1st Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017


Department Event
Tuesday 12th March 2024
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 18th March 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
18 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 30th April 2024
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
30 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Friday 1st March 2024
Conversion Practices (Prohibition) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 49 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 68 Noes - 15
Speeches
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Ukraine: Military Equipment
Will the Government retain UK air defence capabilities supporting NATO allies on the frontline, such as Poland? Can further medical …
Written Answers
Monday 4th March 2024
Wines: Excise Duties
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the impact of raising wine duty on …
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 30th October 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Government of Jordan
Address of donor: Abdali, King Hussein Street - Building No. 205, P.O. Box 72, …
EDM signed
Monday 18th December 2023
Imprisonment of Jimmy Lai
That this House notes with deep concern the forthcoming trial of Mr Jimmy Lai, a British citizen, founder and proprietor …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 31st January 2024
Police (declaration) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require police officers and certain employees of police forces to declare a membership of or affiliation to …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Neil Coyle has voted in 644 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)
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
(113 debate interactions)
Craig Whittaker (Conservative)
(35 debate interactions)
Bambos Charalambous (Independent)
(22 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(158 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(38 debate contributions)
Department for Business and Trade
(37 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
(22,281 words contributed)
Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21
(967 words contributed)
Fire Safety Bill 2019-21
(354 words contributed)
View All Legislation 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).

Neil Coyle has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Neil Coyle

13th December 2023
Neil Coyle signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 18th December 2023

Imprisonment of Jimmy Lai

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House notes with deep concern the forthcoming trial of Mr Jimmy Lai, a British citizen, founder and proprietor of the Apple Daily newspaper, under the National Security Law in Hong Kong; expresses alarm at the prospect that he will not receive a fair trial, and has been denied …
25 signatures
(Most recent: 18 Jan 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 6
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Conservative: 4
Liberal Democrat: 4
Labour: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
30th March 2023
Neil Coyle signed this EDM on Tuesday 25th April 2023

Show Racism the Red Card

Tabled by: Kim Johnson (Labour - Liverpool, Riverside)
That this House congratulates Show Racism the Red Card for engaging one million people through their anti-racist educational programmes; notes the contribution of footballers and other sportsmen and women in promoting equality and inclusion among adults and children in schools, workplaces and at sporting clubs; believes that Show Racism the …
46 signatures
(Most recent: 22 May 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 29
Independent: 4
Scottish National Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 3
Conservative: 2
Green Party: 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.


Neil Coyle has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Neil Coyle has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Neil Coyle has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


829 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
3 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
President of the Board of Trade
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
President of the Board of 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.

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.

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 Science, Innovation and Technology)
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
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
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
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
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.

Oliver Dowden
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made provision for (a) familiarisation costs and (b) other transition costs to help ensure Citizens Advice can answer queries on the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill.

My department works very closely with Citizens Advice, providing funding on behalf of all Whitehall departments and the Welsh Government to support the provision of advice and advocacy including consumer. We are providing total funding of £44 million in the current financial year. We were also able to provide an additional one-off uplift of £3 million at the end of the previous financial year and will continue to work closely with Citizens Advice on their priorities and resources as the current year progresses.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure trading standards representatives can access the information from (a) companies and (b) individuals they need.

Schedule 5 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides Trading Standards and other enforcers a power to request information by notice from any person – this includes requesting information from firms and individuals.

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill further strengthens these powers by adding provision for the imposition of penalties for non-compliance with an information request.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an estimate of the number of prepayment customers entitled to Energy Bill Support Scheme payments who have not been able to access this support.

In the first 3 months of the Energy Bills Support Scheme energy suppliers issued 6,020,560 (99%) vouchers to customers with traditional prepayment meters, of which 4,261,940 (71%) had been redeemed by end December, an increase from 66% in the previous month. Vouchers are valid for 3 months and so the Government expects this figure to rise in the coming months.

Full details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-bills-support-scheme-payments-made-by-electricity-suppliers-to-customers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department is taking steps with (a) the Post Office, (b) PayPoint and (c) other organisations to help ensure that prepayment meter users are able to access Energy Bill Support Scheme payments.

The Government continues to work with the Post Office and PayPoint, along with suppliers and an extensive range of charities, consumer groups and other stakeholders to communicate the Energy Bills Support Scheme and the importance of customers checking post, emails and text for prepayment meter vouchers and taking action to redeem them. We are issuing further communications including via local networks, community radio, and through material in different languages.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology when (a) CharcoalBlue in Southwark and (b) other firms will receive the Innovate UK R&D grants and associated tax relief and credits announced in 2020.

Innovate UK awarded CharcolBlue £99,578 of project funding in 2020, which was paid in full in 2020. Tax relief claims are administered by HMRC in line with legislation. The tax affairs of companies and individuals are confidential.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on bringing communal heating networks under OFGEM regulation and making them subject to the energy price cap.

The Government remains committed to the important measures in the Energy Security Bill to deliver change in the energy system over the long term, including giving new powers to Ofgem as the preferred regulator for the heat networks sector. The UK is facing a global energy crisis and the Government must ensure it prioritises, delivering the measures in the Energy Prices Act, including introducing the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bill Relief Scheme. The Energy Security Bill contains powers to set price caps in the heat network sector but government has committed only to utilising these powers in the future cautiously as ‘heat tariff’ caps would risk deterring investment and innovation in a nascent market key to lowering emissions and reducing consumer bills over the longer term.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to place a cap on energy price support provided to households such as those living in park homes or who are on heat networks who do not pay directly for mains gas and electricity.

Where intermediaries benefit from the Energy Price Guarantee, Energy Bills Support Scheme or Energy Bill Relief Scheme, they are required to pass the support they receive to their end users, such as residents of park homes or those on heat networks. Intermediaries should pass on the discount irrespective of how the end user pays for their energy use. If the intermediary charges based on the end user’s usage, they must do this at the same price they pay, including any benefit under the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bill Relief Scheme. If the intermediary charges an “all inclusive” rent the intermediary should pass the discount on in a fair and proportionate way.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the announcement made on 29 July 2022 on Energy Bills Support Scheme, whether it is his policy that people such as those living in park homes or on heat networks who do not pay directly for mains gas and electricity will need to make individual claims for energy bill support.

The Government will be announcing details in the Autumn for how these households, including park homes and those on heat networks, will receive the £400 of support.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to provide energy bill support for the two year duration of the energy price guarantee to households such as those living in park homes or on heat networks who do not buy mains gas and electricity directly.

Households in Great Britain that are eligible for these payments will receive £100 as a credit on their electricity bill this winter. Households who are eligible for, but do not receive Alternative Fuel Payment or the £100 heat network payment, because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier for example, will receive the £100 via the Alternative Fuel Payment Alternative Fund, which will be provided by a designated body. The Government will confirm details of the AFP Alternative Fund shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has held meetings with (a) Daniel Kretinsky and (b) representatives of VESA Equity Investment SARL in the last 12 months.

Ministers regularly meet with external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

The latest published data covers January to March 2022, further data will be published in due course. In line with Cabinet Office Guidance organisations are listed instead of individuals.

Details of meetings held by officials are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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 steps the Department will take to address the £120 million gap between allocations of research grants to universities and the commitments made by the Official Development Assistance programme.

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. 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. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer committed to increasing UK investment in R&D to £14.6bn in 2021/22 in this recent Budget.

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 their award holders to set out the process for reviewing 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take steps to help prevent premiership rugby clubs from closure due to the financial impact of covid-19.

Sport clubs are a vital part of our local communities and culture, which is why the government stepped in to provide significant financial support to them during the pandemic.

This support included the £600m Sport Survival Package (SSP), set up to provide direct financial support to sports reliant on spectators and impacted by the pandemic restrictions. £124m of this funding was provided to Premiership rugby clubs, who were the largest recipients of SSP funding.

DCMS continues to work closely with all SSP loan recipients, including rugby clubs, as well as Premiership Rugby and Rugby Football Union to understand the current situation and ensure a positive outcome for the sport.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Home Office)
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
Minister of State (Home Office)
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress the Government has made in securing an agreement on data adequacy with the EU.

Although the EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was agreed and implemented before the end of the transition period, the EU left insufficient time to complete and adopt its data adequacy decisions for the UK by the 31 December 2020.

We have therefore agreed with the EU a time limited ‘bridging mechanism’ as part of the TCA. The mechanism will allow personal data to continue to flow as it did previously whilst EU adequacy decisions for the UK are adopted, and for no longer than 6 months.

We continue to engage constructively with the European Commission and see no reason why the UK should not be granted adequacy and the process concluded promptly.

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.

5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of potential merits of making people with British National (Overseas) visas eligible for student finance.

To qualify for student finance in the UK, a person must have settled status or a recognised connection to the UK.

Subject to meeting the normal eligibility requirements, British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders will be able to qualify for student finance once they have acquired settled status, which is usually after five years, and have three years of ordinary residence in the UK.

The government believes that it is right that the support provided by the taxpayer should be targeted at those who have a history of a lawful and substantial residence in the UK. There are no plans to review BN(O) status holder’s access to student finance.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to publish the School Teachers’ Review Body report.

As part of the normal pay round process, the independent School Teachers’ Review Body has submitted its report and recommendations on teacher pay for 2023/24 to the Government. The Department is considering the recommendations and will publish its response and the report in due course.

29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to meet with the National Education Union on teachers pay.

The Government and the teacher and head teacher unions, the National Education Union (NEU), the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers, and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, took part in a period of intensive talks between 17 March and 23 March 2023. Following the talks, an in-principle offer was made by the Government on pay and non-pay related measures. The trade unions rejected this offer, and teacher pay for the 2023/24 academic year is now being determined through the independent pay review process. In line with this process, the School Teachers’ Review Body has submitted its recommendations to the Government and we are considering the recommendations and will publish our response in due course. The NEU announced further strikes on 5 and 7 July 2023. These strikes will only cause further disruption for pupils and parents.

15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of Confucius Institutes on UK universities.

Like all similar bodies, Confucius Institutes should operate transparently and with a full commitment to the department’s values of openness and freedom of expression. Universities have a responsibility to ensure that any partnership with a Confucius Institute is managed appropriately and that the right due diligence is in place. We encourage any providers with concerns to contact the department.

The government will continue to review its measures as appropriate.

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will address concerns about the possible influence of overseas money in higher education (HE) in England, without reducing the ability of our world-class universities to work with global partners.

The Bill will empower the Office for Students (OfS) to require registered HE providers to report certain overseas funding, including of educational partnerships, such as arrangements with Confucius Institutes. The Bill will also allow the OfS to take appropriate action, including issuing penalties, if there is evidence that an HE provider has breached its freedom of speech duties.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprentices have been funded by the Government in each of the last seven years.

Government-funded apprenticeship participation from the 2015/16 academic onwards is shown in the table below:

Academic Year

Learner Participation

2015/16 - Full Year

899,390

2016/17 - Full Year

908,660

2017/18 - Full Year

814,790

2018/19 - Full Year

742,390

2019/20 - Full Year

718,950

2020/21 - Full Year

712,990

2021/22 – August 2021 to April 2022, reported to date

692,920

1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10

2) Participation is a count of learners that participated at any point during the year. Learners undertaking more than one apprenticeship in a year will only be counted once.

Further information on apprenticeship participation can be found in the apprenticeships and traineeships statistics publication. This can be accessed at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships.

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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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.

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.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department’s decision to change the pupil premium eligibility date from January 2021 to October 2020 will lead to a £1.2 million reduction in funding for schools in the London Borough of Southwark.

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 the 2020/21 financial year to more than £2.5 billion in the 2021/22 financial year 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. In this way, 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 schools are receiving through the pupil premium for the 2021/22 financial year.

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.

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, 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.

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.

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, 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

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.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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.

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
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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/

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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many British businesses her Department has supported with the creation of new trading relationships outside the EU since the UK left the EU.

Since leaving the EU, the UK has agreed trade deals with 71 non-EU countries. Our Export Strategy sets out a 12-point plan to help businesses expand their export opportunities. Our Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ marketing campaign ensures UK companies are aware of the opportunities of our independent trade policy. Export Support Service – International Markets is a new offer focused on high potential small and medium-sized enterprises, providing advice and support on entering global markets, and referral to the private sector for specialist support. Additionally, Department for International Trade teams across 180 global markets use their knowledge and relationships to open doors for UK businesses.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support businesses which have lost trade with the EU since Brexit.

The Export Support Service, as part of the refreshed Export Strategy launched last November, helps businesses at every stage of exporting. It is a front door for businesses who require support adapting to changes following Brexit.

Furthermore, the Department has initiatives such as the Export Academy and the Export Champions scheme that help to give businesses the knowledge and practical help that UK businesses need.

Goods exported to the EU in the 12 months to July 2022 were up 17.9% in current prices compared to the previous 12 months, whilst Services exports to the EU and non-EU increased by 8.0% in current prices during the same period.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department takes to monitor and assess trade lost by British businesses with EU partners due to Brexit.

The Department has an extensive analytical function which monitors trade flows published by the Office for National Statistics. UK exports to the EU totalled 274.8 billion in the 12 months to March 2022.

The department has supported over 11,000 UK businesses to trade with Europe through the Export Support Service and, through our independent trade policy, we have opened up opportunities for UK businesses across the world. We have agreed trade deals with 71 countries and the EU, accounting for £808bn of UK trade in 2021 and including our first new deals negotiated from scratch with Australia and New Zealand.

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.

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.

28th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure (a) drivers living in the UK with EU licences and (b) UK licence holders seeking to drive in EU member states do not lose (i) licences and (ii) access to insurance after the age of 70.

Since EU exit, bilateral arrangements are in place with all European Economic Area (EEA) countries for the recognition and exchange of the vast majority of UK licences.

For drivers living in the UK with EU licences, an EU licence can be used to drive in the UK until its expiry, up to the age of 70. If an EU licence holder is 67 or over when they become resident in the UK, they can drive until they are 70 or have lived in the UK for 3 years, whichever is longer and provided the licence remains valid. After this time, they must exchange their EU licence for a UK licence. They do not have to retake their test.

For drivers visiting the UK, an EU licence can be used to drive in the UK as long as it is full and valid, regardless of age.

For UK licence holders seeking to drive in EU member states, valid UK licences are recognised for use by visitors. UK licence holders who become resident in the EU are able to use their licences in line with local arrangements. These arrangements vary from country to country, with some enabling extended recognition until the licence expires (after which the UK licence must be exchanged for a local licence). Other countries require that the UK licence is exchanged for a local licence within a specified time period, determined by that country.

The treatment of drivers over the age of 70 varies across EU countries, however being aged over 70 does not in itself prevent a UK licence holder from using that licence in the EU or exchanging it for an EU one.

The setting of premiums is a commercial decision for individual insurers based on their underwriting experience and the Government does not intervene or seek to control the market. They use a wide range of criteria to assess the potential risk a driver poses, including the age of the applicant, the type of vehicle being insured, the postal area where the applicant lives and the driving experience of the applicant. All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third-party cover to drive in the EU.

With respect to UK licence holders living in EU member states, insurance is a matter for insurance companies within those states.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of rail station ticket office closures on people who (a) cannot afford and (b) struggle to use digital technology on those people's ability to travel by rail.

Together with the industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide help and advice to passengers across stations where they need it. The consultation period has now closed, and we expect train operators to work collaboratively with the passenger bodies in the coming weeks, to listen to the concerns raised and to refine their proposals accordingly.

We have been clear that no currently staffed station should be unstaffed as a result of industry changes, and operators should ensure that staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future. This includes ensuring that staff remain available to help passengers use ticket vending machines, or their own devices to purchase tickets and they can assist those who need additional support or do not wish to use digital tickets. Exact staffing arrangements would vary by train operator and station and are subject to ongoing discussions with staff and their trade union representatives.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to take steps to improve the public accountability of the Port of London Authority.

The Department is content with the current level of accountability that exists for the Port of London Authority (PLA). The Department will keep this position under periodic review.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the press release entitled Transport Secretary sets out record investment plans for transport network, published on 9 March 2023, how many applications for Network Rail enhancement projects have been delayed as a result of that announcement.

Individual enhancement schemes are assessed on their alignment with Government priorities, the strength of their business case, and their affordability. Schemes seeking funding from the Department for Transport need to progress through the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) decision gateways before moving into delivery.

Detail on the decision gateways is set out in the March 2018 RNEP publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rail-network-enhancements-pipeline.

This process has not been affected by decisions on HS2 funding and no decisions on Network Rail enhancement projects have been delayed because of the announcement on the 9 March.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the average length of time taken to process Network Rail enhancement project applications since the announcement of increased funding for HS2.

Individual enhancement schemes are assessed on their alignment with Government priorities, the strength of their business case, and their affordability. Schemes seeking funding from the Department for Transport need to progress through the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) decision gateways before moving into delivery.

Detail on the decision gateways is set out in the March 2018 RNEP publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rail-network-enhancements-pipeline.

This process has not been affected by decisions on HS2 funding and no decisions on Network Rail enhancement projects have been delayed because of the announcement on the 9 March.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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.

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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
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.

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.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the average increase in journey times of 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.

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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if his Department will conduct analysis on the potential impact on NHS costs of proposed changes to the work capability assessment.

The WCA activities and descriptors consultation closed on Monday 30 October and received over 1300 responses.

The department does not intend to make an assessment of the potential impact on the NHS.

We are committed to ensuring our welfare system encourages and supports people into work, while providing a vital safety net for those who need it most. Working can help promote recovery, lead to better health outcomes, reduce long-term incapacity, and promote participation in society.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to establish a long-term disability strategy from 2024.

The Government set out its long-term disability strategy in the National Disability Strategy published in 2021. The National Disability Strategy sets out our ambition to improve the lives of all disabled people.

In addition, the Government has recently completed a consultation on the Disability Action Plan, which will set out the immediate action the Government is taking this year and in 2024 to improve disabled people’s lives, as well as laying the foundations for longer term change.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times on Access to Work applications.

Access to Work has continued to improve wait times for customers applying to the service. During the summer wait times have been halved.

Access to Work has received a significant increase in demand and applications over the last year. To address this and to reduce waiting times we have recruited new staff in the year and continue to redeploy staff to reduce decision times. Our latest cohort of redeployed staff started in November. We are now consolidating their learning, which will grow capability and build additional available resource into the next quarter.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of placing work advisors in community musculoskeletal services on employment levels of people with arthritis.

No such assessment has been made.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help support people with musculoskeletal issues into work.

The Government is taking several steps to help support people with musculoskeletal (MSK) issues into work.

In the spring Budget the Government set out a package of measures to provide an extra £406 million over the next five years to tackle the leading health-related causes keeping people out of work, which includes investment targeted at services for MSK conditions.

As part of this, the Government will pilot integrating vocational advice within MSK services to ensure people can access holistic support locally, scale up MSK Hubs in the community and ensure digital resources, such as apps for management of MSK conditions, are readily available, so that more people can easily and quickly access the support that is right for them.

We also have a new online service, which is currently in live national testing, offering tailored guidance to help employers better support disabled people and those with health conditions in the workplace: Support with Employee Health and Disability service.

In October 2022, we published the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Health Toolkit for employers and further education institutions, which encourages employers to support adolescents and young adults with MSK conditions. The Musculoskeletal health toolkit for employers was developed in partnership with Business in the Community and provides practical information for employers of all sizes to address MSK conditions in the workplace for the working age population.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department required local authorities to work closely with GPs on the allocation of the Household Support Fund.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not proactively gather data on the involvement of schools or GPs in the distribution of the Household Support Fund.

The Household Support Fund is a discretionary scheme allocated to Local Authorities to provide support those most in need towards the cost of essentials. It is for each local council to decide how to distribute their funding, within the parameters of the Fund’s terms and conditions.

Authorities have the flexibility to design and deliver the scheme through a variety of routes and are encouraged, but not required, where necessary and appropriate to work with third parties, which could include schools and GPs among other groups.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department took to monitor the involvement of schools and GPs in the distribution of the Household Support Fund.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not proactively gather data on the involvement of schools or GPs in the distribution of the Household Support Fund.

The Household Support Fund is a discretionary scheme allocated to Local Authorities to provide support those most in need towards the cost of essentials. It is for each local council to decide how to distribute their funding, within the parameters of the Fund’s terms and conditions.

Authorities have the flexibility to design and deliver the scheme through a variety of routes and are encouraged, but not required, where necessary and appropriate to work with third parties, which could include schools and GPs among other groups.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to open an alternative cost-of-living fund for people who are eligible for Universal Credit but are sanctioned during the month in question and receive nil award.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and is taking action to help through the Cost of Living Payments and through a wider package of support.

We will be delivering the up to £900 cost of living payment for eligible means-tested benefit claimants in three separate payments over 2023/24, which reduces the chance of households with fluctuating incomes missing out altogether. The first payment of £301 will be made from spring 2023, the second payment of £300 from autumn 2023 and the third payment of £299 from spring 2024. Individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits will receive a £150 payment in summer 2023.

Sanctions on UC only apply if claimants fail to meet their agreed requirements without good reason or refuse to take up or stay in employment without good reason. The majority of sanctions can be resolved quickly by claimants rebooking and attending their next appointment. We have a well-established system of hardship payments, available as a safeguard if a claimant demonstrates that they cannot meet their immediate and most essential needs as a result of a sanction. People who are receiving a hardship payment would also qualify for a Cost of Living Payment.

For those who require additional support the Government is providing an additional £1 billion of funding, including Barnett impact, to enable a further extension to the Household Support Fund in England. In England, this will run from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, backed by £842m. Local Authorities use the Fund to help households with the cost of essentials, and they are expected to help households in the most need, particularly those who may not be eligible for the other support the government has recently made available. The guidance makes specific reference to people with fluctuating incomes. It can be found here: 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024: Household Support Fund guidance for county councils and unitary authorities in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

It will be for the devolved administrations to decide how to allocate their additional Barnett funding.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he will open an alternative fund for people who are not eligible for 2023-2024 cost of living payments due to receiving no Universal Credit in one particular month due to fluctuating income.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and is taking action to help through the Cost of Living Payments and through a wider package of support.

We will be delivering the up to £900 cost of living payment for eligible means-tested benefit claimants in three separate payments over 2023/24, which reduces the chance of households with fluctuating incomes missing out altogether. The first payment of £301 will be made from spring 2023, the second payment of £300 from autumn 2023 and the third payment of £299 from spring 2024. Individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits will receive a £150 payment in summer 2023.

Sanctions on UC only apply if claimants fail to meet their agreed requirements without good reason or refuse to take up or stay in employment without good reason. The majority of sanctions can be resolved quickly by claimants rebooking and attending their next appointment. We have a well-established system of hardship payments, available as a safeguard if a claimant demonstrates that they cannot meet their immediate and most essential needs as a result of a sanction. People who are receiving a hardship payment would also qualify for a Cost of Living Payment.

For those who require additional support the Government is providing an additional £1 billion of funding, including Barnett impact, to enable a further extension to the Household Support Fund in England. In England, this will run from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, backed by £842m. Local Authorities use the Fund to help households with the cost of essentials, and they are expected to help households in the most need, particularly those who may not be eligible for the other support the government has recently made available. The guidance makes specific reference to people with fluctuating incomes. It can be found here: 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024: Household Support Fund guidance for county councils and unitary authorities in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

It will be for the devolved administrations to decide how to allocate their additional Barnett funding.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how access needs for people with mental health needs are met when making claims for Personal Independence Payments.

Many claimants who make a claim to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) may have a mental health condition.

PIP claimants with a severe mental health or behavioural condition, learning disability, developmental disorder or cognitive impairment, who may have difficulty engaging with the claims process, and with no support network in place, can be provided with additional support during the claims process if they need it.

This support can include help filling in the claim form or the claimant questionnaire, and additional protections for failing to return the questionnaire, or for failing to attend a face-to-face assessment.

If the claimant requests it, we can involve a third-party representative and engage with them at every stage, including the health assessment.

GOV.UK also contains links to Easy Read guides to PIP (Easy read: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and videos (Understanding PIP - YouTube) which help explain each of the elements of the PIP claims process for those who may find it difficult to understand.

We also ensure all staff in customer-facing roles undertake mandatory mental health awareness training to equip them with the knowledge and skills to be able to support claimants with mental health conditions.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an estimate of the number and proportion of calls from benefit claimants to jobcentres were disconnected before being answered in the last 12 months.

The Department operates a virtual telephony network, as such telephony data to Jobcentres is not available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average time is that benefit claimants are on hold when contacting the Department to discuss their claim.

The table below presents the Departments Management Information for the period February 2022 to January 2023, detailing the average speed to answer (ASA) an inbound call, and the total number of calls answered by month.

Month Year

ASA (hrs/mins/Seconds)

Calls Answered

FEB 22

0:07:35

3,200,789

MAR 22

0:07:43

3,538,351

APR 22

0:08:24

3,023,486

MAY 22

0:08:56

3,234,247

JUN 22

0:08:13

3,040,241

JUL 22

0:07:42

2,856,595

AUG 22

0:08:53

2,968,272

SEP 22

0:10:29

2,959,967

OCT 22

0:08:57

2,991,097

NOV 22

0:06:54

3,118,883

DEC 22

0:07:53

2,518,952

JAN 23

0:07:51

3,272,460

Please note - this information is derived from the Department’s management information designed solely for the purpose of helping the Department to manage its business. As such, it has not been subjected to the rigorous quality assurance checks applied to our published official statistics. As DWP holds the information internally, we have released it. However, it is possible information held by DWP may change due to operational reasons and we recommend that caution be applied when using it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2023 to Question 121021 on Social Security Benefits: Overpayments, how many claimants have contacted the Department's Debt Management team to discuss a temporary reduction in their rate of repayment in each of the last five years.

We have recently introduced a broad measure of the proportion of customers who have a reduction in their repayment terms. This currently stands at 13%.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants subject to benefit overpayment recovery have been contacted by his Department to establish whether they are experiencing hardship as a result of the cost of living crisis since February 2022.

Deductions are made under legislation and cover a broad range of contingencies, like the recovery of fines to prevent incarceration, the continuation of supply of electricity or gas, payment of rent arrears to prevent homelessness, child maintenance liabilities to their children, and provision for one-off items of expenditure through advances and the repayment of debts. Given this broad range of circumstances, there is no requirement to undertake an assessment of a benefit customer’s ability to make these payments. Instead, the amounts that can be deducted are capped in legislation; in effect, Parliament has made an affordability assessment through the exercise of this cap.

DWP remains committed to working with anyone who is struggling with their deductions and encourages customers to contact DWP to discuss any concerns.

The department has a well-established process for working with individuals to support them to manage repayment of Government debt to DWP. Our agents will always look to negotiate affordable and sustainable repayment plans. For overpayment deductions specifically, where a person feels they cannot afford the proposed rate of deduction for an overpayment recovery, they are encouraged to contact the department’s Debt Management to discuss a temporary reduction in their rate of repayment or cessation of the deduction. This message is included in all Debt Management notifications to customers.

There is no minimum amount that a customer has to pay, and we have recently extended the time period for any reduced payment to remain in place.

Customers who do contact Debt Management are routinely referred to the Money Advisor Network, who work in partnership with DWP, to offer free independent and impartial money and debt advice. We also remain committed to His Majesty’s Treasury’s Breathing Space policy, which provides those with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of 60 days to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living this winter and is taking action to support people with their energy bills. The Government's Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical household around £900 this winter, based on what energy prices would have been under the current price cap - reducing bills by roughly a third. This is in addition to the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

We have also made Cost of Living Payments worth up to £650 (paid in two lump sums of £326 and £324) providing targeted support for around eight million low-income households on means-tested benefits. In addition, six million eligible disabled people have received a one-off Disability Cost of Living Payment of £150 and pensioner households will have received a one-off payment of £300 alongside the Winter Fuel Payment.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for Pension Credit have been successful since the start of the 2022-23 financial year.

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

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will publish statistics on applications for Pension Credit in each of the last five financial years.

DWP has no plans to publish statistics on Pension Credit applications.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for Pension Credit have been received since the start of the 2022-23 financial year.

There have been 149,579 Pension Credit Claims received between April 2022 – October 2022.

Source: Customer Account Management System

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for Pension Credit have been processed since the start of the 2022-23 financial year.

There have been 118,598 Pension Credit Claims processed between April 2022 – October 2022.

Source: Customer Account Management System

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff were (a) recruited and (b) reassigned by his Department to work on the (i) awareness-raising campaign and (ii) applications for Pensions Credit in the latest period for which data is available.

We have reassigned the full time equivalent of 100.27 colleagues and recruited 85 temporary staff to process the increased levels of Pension Credit Claims following the successful Pension Credit Campaign.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to replace the provision provided to people over 50 seeking employment by the European Social Fund.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by some aged 50 and over, which is why we are providing a new enhanced offer for people aged 50 and over to remain in and return to work.

Eligible older job seekers on Universal Credit will receive more intensive, tailored support during the first nine months of their claim, on top of the support that work coaches offer all claimants on skills provision and job search support.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund, (UKSPF) will act as the successor to the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. The fund is being led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and aims to build pride in place and increase life chances across the United Kingdom.

Places have been empowered to identify and build on their own strengths and needs at a local level through three investment priorities: communities and place, local businesses and people and skills.

Local areas have been asked to consider local need and consider which cohorts they will support – including people aged over 50 – when developing local investment plans.

The Government is currently assessing local investment plans, with first payments due to UKSPF lead local authorities later in 2022.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants her Department plans on going through Universal Credit migration before April 2023.

The Department outlined its plan for Managed Migration in its publication “Completing the move to Universal Credit".

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to take steps to reduce the number of Personal Independence Payment assessments that remain outstanding prior to increasing the rate at which legacy benefit recipients are moved onto Universal Credit.

PIP assessments and decisions are made independently of other benefits and have no impact on the pace at which legacy benefit recipients are moved onto Universal Credit.

We are seeing a gradual improvement in PIP journey times. The latest statistics show that the end-to-end journey for new and renewal claimants has steadily reduced from 26 weeks in August 2021 to 20 weeks at the end of April 2022.

In May 2022 Universal Credit started to bring a small number of claimants across the country into the mandatory migration process. We will continue to develop our processes and systems to scale the migration process and complete by 2024.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

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.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the change to conditionality outlined on 27 January 2022 will affect her Department’s proposal to introduce a new approach to conditionality for disabled people and people with health conditions claiming out-of-work benefits, as set out in her Department’s recent Health and Disability Green Paper.

The Department for Work and Pension’s ‘Way to Work’ campaign launched 27 January 2022 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.

The approach described in the Green Paper is known as Tailoring Up, allowing work coaches to start claimants from a point of no mandatory requirements and build up, based on their health condition and personal circumstances. This approach to working with claimants with health conditions and disabilities is not affected by the introduction of the Way to Work.

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)
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.

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 Transport)
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.

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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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)
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)
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.
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.

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.

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.

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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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

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.

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.

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.

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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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.

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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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 Transport)
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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department plans to take to ensure surgical hubs are fully-staffed with (a) allied health professionals and (b) other staff.

Action is being taken to increase and support the existing NHS workforce capacity. The Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) surgical hub programme has published workforce guidance designed to assist providers and integrated care systems (ICSs) in planning the workforce requirements for new or expanded surgical hubs. The guidance outlines key enablers for successful workforce recruitment, retention and planning, as well as helpful operational tools such as e-rostering and staff passports. The guidance focuses on surgical and theatre teams as well as on the wider hub team including allied health professionals.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that patients are supported in the community once they are discharged from surgical hubs.

In September 2023, NHS England published the Intermediate Care Framework for Rehabilitation, Reablement and Recovery following Hospital Discharge. This best practice guidance aims to improve patient experience and outcomes, as well as improving flow and discharge, freeing-up National Health Service hospital capacity for those who need it most.

Alongside the Intermediate Care Framework, NHS England published good practice guidance for Integrated Care Boards on increasing community rehabilitation capacity to support people leaving hospital and after they have received intermediate care. This includes therapy-led reablement.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the most important factors for the (a) recruitment and (b) retention of NHS staff from EU countries.

No assessment has been made of the most important factors for the recruitment and retention of National Health Service staff from countries in the European Union.

The recently published NHS Long Term Workforce Plan states that we will reduce reliance on international recruitment and agency staff. In 15 years’ time, we expect annually approximately 9-10.5% of new joiners to the workforce to be recruited from overseas, compared to nearly a quarter now.

19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of new EU workers the NHS will need to meet its recruitment targets in each of the next five years.

Information on the planned recruitment of workers from the European Union over the next five years is not held centrally.

The recently published NHS Long Term Workforce Plan states that we will reduce reliance on international recruitment and agency staff. In 15 years’ time, we expect annually approximately 9-10.5% of new joiners to the workforce to be recruited from overseas, compared to nearly a quarter now.

22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plan to publish the pre-exposure prophylaxis action plan prior to Parliament’s 2023 summer recess.

The HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group is currently working to develop the roadmap, based on the PrEP Access and Equity Task and Finish group’s recommendations, to help guide our efforts to improve equitable access to PrEP for key populations. We will consider our response to the recommendations in due course.

17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to implement the framework on reducing waiting times for musculoskeletal treatments set out in the report by NHS England entitled An improvement framework to reduce community musculoskeletal waits while delivering best outcomes and experience, published on 10 January 2023.

Integrated care systems are responsible for commissioning musculoskeletal services for their local populations.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of surgeries were cancelled by speciality in the latest period for which data is available.

This data is not available in the format requested.

2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to include the charity sector in the process of designing musculoskeletal health and wellbeing hubs.

In the Spring Budget, the Government set out a package of measures to tackle the leading health-related causes keeping people out of work, which includes scaling up musculoskeletal community hubs. As part of designing this pilot, we are working closely with NHS England, local authorities, the leisure sector and the charity sector.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase access to advanced therapies for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

No specific steps are being taken. The National Health Service in England is legally required to make funding available for all treatments, including any advanced therapies, recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in technology appraisal and highly specialised technologies guidance, normally within three months of the publication of final guidance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Khan review: making smoking obsolete published 9 June 2022, what steps his Department is taking to address the findings of that report.

The Government is considering the independent recommendations made in the Khan Review and how these could be implemented.

We are undertaking a range of work to offer vaping as a substitute for smkoing, as at Recommendation 8 of the Khan Review. In September 2022, we published ‘Nicotine vaping in England: 2022 evidence update’ sets out the latest evidence on the health effects of vaping and addresses misconceptions surrounding vapes, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nicotine-vaping-in-england-2022-evidence-update

We will provide an update on our plans to meet the Smokefree 2030 ambition in due course.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children under the age of (a) four and (b) 11 were admitted to hospital for a tooth extraction due to decay in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency in each of the last five years.

This information is not held in the format requested.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when she expects adequate stocks of the monkeypox vaccine to be available in Southwark.

As of 19 October, 32,908 doses of monkeypox vaccine have been administered in the London area, of a total 48,801 administered in England. The UK Health Security Agency has procured over 150,000 doses of the vaccine used for monkeypox, with the final deliveries of vaccine expected by the end of October 2022. This has provided adequate stock of vaccine to cover the eligible vaccination cohort.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with HIV in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency in each of the last 5 five years.

This information is not collected in the format requested.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with diabetes in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency in each of the last five years.

The following table shows the number of people that were diagnosed with diabetes in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency in each of the calendar years from 2016 to 2020, broken down by diabetes type.

Year of diagnosis

Number of people diagnosed with diabetes

Type 1

Type 2 and Other

2016

25

585

2017

20

440

2018

10

560

2019

25

465

2020

15

405

Source: National Diabetes Audit

Notes:

  1. A person may have more than 1 diabetes diagnosis within the National Diabetes Audit. In this case, an algorithm is used to derive the best diagnosis date and diabetes type for each person. This is used in the analysis above.
  2. Disclosure control has been applied to all figures, as per the National Diabetes Audit publication – all numbers are rounded to the nearest 5, unless the number is 1 to 7, in which case it is rounded to ‘5’.
  3. Diabetes type is reported as ‘Type 1’ and ‘Type 2 and other’ within the National Diabetes Audit.
    1. ‘Type 1’ includes where a person is recorded as having Type 1 diabetes in the National Diabetes Audit.
    2. ‘Type 2 and other’ includes where a person is recorded as having Type 2 diabetes, Maturity-onset Diabetes of the Young, other or non-specified diabetes in the National Diabetes Audit.
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help support the (a) recruitment and (b) retention of midwives in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

NHS England retains oversight of local workforce plans and is updated on vacancy rates. However, recruitment and retention is undertaken at trust level.

In 2022, an additional £127 million has been invested in the National Health Service maternity workforce and improving neonatal care, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. This is in addition to the £95 million invested in 2021 to fund a further 1,200 midwives and 100 consultant obstetricians. The NHS People Plan focuses on improving the retention of NHS staff by prioritising staff health and wellbeing. In 2022/23, £45 million has been allocated to support the continuation of 40 mental health hubs, the Professional Nurse Advocates programme and expanding the NHS Practitioner Health service.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help support the (a) recruitment and (b) retention of mental health specialists in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

The NHS Long Term Plan stated the aim of increasing the mental health workforce in England by an additional 27,000 professionals by 2023/24. NHS England and Health Education England are working with local integrated care systems, including in South East London, to confirm plans for service models, supply, retention and recruitment until 2024.

NHS England continues to support local systems, including in South East London, to develop tailored health and wellbeing offers to meet the needs of the local mental health workforce. This includes mental health hubs in each integrated care system and occupational health services which are being supported through the Growing Occupational Health and Wellbeing national programme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of trends in rates of perinatal mortality in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

No specific assessment has been made. The Government’s national maternity safety ambition aims to halve the 2010 rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies occurring during or soon after birth, by 2025. Since 2010, the rate of stillbirths has reduced by 19.3%, the rate of neonatal mortality for babies born over 24 weeks gestational age of viability has reduced by 36% and maternal mortality has reduced by 17%.

We have introduced targeted interventions to accelerate progress, such as the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle and the Brain Injury Reduction Programme. NHS England has also invested £127 million in National Health Service maternity workforce and improving neonatal care. This is in addition to the £95 million investment made in 2021 to fund the establishment of a further 1,200 midwifery and 100 consultant obstetrician posts. NHS England is offering funding and support to trusts to recruit an additional 300 to 500 overseas midwives in the next 12 months.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of trends in the level of life expectancy in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

No specific assessment has been made. ‘Our plan for patients’, published on 22 September, sets out the immediate priorities to support individuals to live healthier lives, including improving access to health and care services in all areas and preventing ill-health. Further information on measures to address health disparities will be available in due course.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) financial and (b) other steps her Department is taking to help tackle NHS workforce shortages in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

The Department has commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term workforce plan. The plan will consider the number of staff and the roles required and will set out the actions and reforms needed to improve workforce supply and retention, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Leeds North West and Dulwich and West Norwood.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help support the (a) recruitment and (b) retention of GPs in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

We are working with NHS England, Health Education England and the profession to increase the general practice workforce in England, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. This includes measures to improve recruitment, address the reasons why doctors leave the profession and encourage them to return to practice.

The updated GP Contract Framework announced a number of new schemes, alongside continued support for existing recruitment and retention schemes for the general practice workforce. This includes the GP Retention Scheme, the GP Retention Fund, the National GP Induction and Refresher, the Locum Support Scheme, the New to Partnership Payment and the Supporting Mentors Scheme.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help support the (a) recruitment and (b) retention of mental health specialists in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

The NHS Long Term Plan stated the aim of increasing the mental health workforce in England by an additional 27,000 professionals by 2023/24. NHS England and Health Education England are working with local integrated care systems, including South East London Integrated Care System, to confirm plans for service models, supply, retention and recruitment until 2024.

NHS England continues to support local systems, including South East London Integrated Care System, to develop tailored health and wellbeing offers to meet the needs of the local mental health workforce. This includes mental health hubs in each integrated care system and occupational health services which are being supported through the Growing Occupational Health and Wellbeing national programme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of social care capacity in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

No specific assessment has been made. Local authorities have a responsibility under the Care Act 2014 to ensure that the care needs of the local population are met.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if her Department will take steps to increase the availability of face-to-face GP appointments in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

On 22 September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which contains measures to assist people make an informed choice on their general practitioner (GP) practice, book an appointment more easily, benefit from more care options and increase the diversity of general practice teams. This aims to increase the availability of appointment types, such as face-to-face, in England, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

NHS England’s guidance states that GP practices must provide face to face appointments and remote consultations and should respect preferences for face-to-face care unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary.  While remote consultations can provide additional choice, flexibility and convenience for patients, this is not suitable for all patients or in all circumstances.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department has provided additional (a) financial and (b) other support to help tackle (i) patient backlogs and (ii) increased workloads in GP surgeries in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’, published in February 2022, stated the ambition to reduce patient backlogs for planned National Health Service treatments and the Government plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25. We made £520 million available to expand general practice capacity during the pandemic. This was in addition to at least £1.5 billion announced in 2020 by 2024 which includes supporting increased workloads in general practitioner (GP) surgeries, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. In September 2022, ‘Our plan for patients’ announced measures to support GP practices increase access and manage workloads, such as the provision of 31,000 phone lines and funding to expand the staff roles working in general practice, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help reduce waiting times for elective surgeries in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ sets out how the National Health Service will recover and expand elective services over the next three years, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. We have allocated more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund already made available in 2021/2022 to increase elective activity. This funding aims to deliver the equivalent of approximately nine million additional checks and procedures and 30% further elective activity by 2024/25 than pre-pandemic levels. A proportion of this funding will be invested in workforce capacity and training and we have committed to invest £5.9 billion for new beds, equipment and technology.

The target to eliminate waiting times of two years or more for elective procedures was met in July 2022 and we aim to eliminate waiting time of eighteen months or more by April 2023. This will be achieved through increasing capacity, seeking alternate capacity in other trusts or the independent sector and engaging with patients to understand choices made regarding their care.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the NHS dentist provision in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

No specific assessment has been made. However, NHS England asked dental practices to return to full delivery of contracted activity from July 2022, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. In September, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

The plan includes improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work, allowing greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver National Health Service treatment, whilst enabling full use of the dental team. The plan also includes streamlining processes for overseas dentists and holding the local NHS to account for dentistry provision. In addition, Health Education England is also reforming dental education to improve the recruitment and retention of dental professionals.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help improve access to NHS dental services in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

No specific assessment has been made. However, NHS England asked dental practices to return to full delivery of contracted activity from July 2022, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. In September, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

The plan includes improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work, allowing greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver National Health Service treatment, whilst enabling full use of the dental team. The plan also includes streamlining processes for overseas dentists and holding the local NHS to account for dentistry provision. In addition, Health Education England is also reforming dental education to improve the recruitment and retention of dental professionals.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help support young people with eating disorders in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

In September we announced ‘Our Plan for Patients’, which outlines how we will increase access to National Health Service mental health and eating disorder services, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. Making it easier to access general practice through our ABCD priorities will expand this route as a gateway to mental health care.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to expand these services for adults, children and young people in England, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

We will invest approximately £1 billion in community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness, including eating disorders, by 2023/24 and an additional £53 million per year in children and young people's community eating disorder services to increase capacity in the 70 community eating disorder teams.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help improve access to mental health services in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

In September we announced ‘Our Plan for Patients’, which outlines how we will increase access to National Health Service mental health and eating disorder services, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. Making it easier to access general practice through our ABCD priorities will expand this route as a gateway to mental health care.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to expand these services for adults, children and young people in England, including in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

We will invest approximately £1 billion in community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness, including eating disorders, by 2023/24 and an additional £53 million per year in children and young people's community eating disorder services to increase capacity in the 70 community eating disorder teams.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help increase the uptake of breast cancer screening in Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

The Department is working with NHS England to finalise the delivery of £10 million for breast screening units, including determining which areas will benefit from this investment.

National Health Service breast screening providers are also encouraged to work with Cancer Alliances, Primary Care Networks, NHS regional teams and the voluntary sector to promote the uptake of breast screening and ensure access to services.

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 of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
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 of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
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 of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
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 of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to avoid a winter crisis in hospitals given the associated additional risks of a potential rise in covid-19 cases.

A range of measures are being employed to mitigate potential demand pressures on the National Health Service this winter, including COVID-19 booster vaccines for priority groups and the largest ever seasonal flu vaccination programme. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with NHS providers to ensure appropriate operational plans are in place, including meeting potential increases in the demand for emergency care driven by seasonal flu and COVID-19.

The NHS will receive an extra £5.4 billion over the next six months to support its response to COVID-19. This includes £2.8 billion to cover related costs such as enhanced infection control measures and £478 million to continue the enhanced hospital discharge programme, to maintain capacity.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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 of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
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.

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

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Ministry of Justice)
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 (Ministry of Justice)
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 (Ministry of Justice)
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 (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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/

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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report published by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education entitled UNRWA Education: Textbooks and Terror, published in November 2023.

We are aware of the findings of this report. We take any allegation of the promotion of racism and discrimination extremely seriously and have been clear that incitement to hatred or violence is unacceptable and should have no place in education. Any allegations of breaches of UN staff regulations and rules, including neutrality breaches, are reported to FCDO and investigated. We continue to urge all parties to condemn incitement wherever and whenever it occurs.

The UK-supported 2021 review of the Palestinian Authority (PA) curriculum found improvements in content, with previously flagged materials removed. What we really need to see is further curriculum reform from the PA and we continue to raise this with them regularly.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he will make it his policy to impose Magnitsky sanctions against Tucker Carlson.

The FCDO uses the Magnitsky sanctions regimes to designate those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses and serious corruption. It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on future sanctions designations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what his policy is on the use of the term genocide in reference to Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.

It is the UK Government's longstanding policy that any judgment as to whether genocide has occurred is a matter for judicial decision, rather than for the government. We are taking robust action in response to China's human rights violations in Xinjiang regardless. In October 2023, the UK led a joint statement with a record 50 signatories on Xinjiang at the UN, demonstrating a significant number of countries are prepared to call China out for its human rights violations. We have also imposed sanctions, enhanced export controls, provided guidance to businesses, and taken action to tackle forced labour in supply chains. The UK Government also consistently raises human rights violations with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels - the Foreign Secretary last did so during a call with China's Foreign Minister in December 2023.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether Ministers have met their Sierra Leone counterparts (a) virtually and (b) in person since the elections in that country on 24 June 2023; and whether any Ministerial visits to that country are planned.

The UK has engaged stakeholders including the government, opposition, election bodies and the international community, before and after the 24 June elections. We have given consistent messaging on good governance, the rule of law and the importance of an inclusive democracy that works for all. The UK remains committed to supporting a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Sierra Leone.

The UK commends the signing of the Agreement for National Cohesion on 18 October as part of the peace dialogue between the Government of Sierra Leone and opposition following the elections. We are coordinating closely with international partners to support implementation of the Agreement, including a national election review committee, a review of political prisoners and inter-party dialogue. These reforms are essential to strengthen the democratic process before elections in 2028.

The former Foreign Secretary spoke to President Bio on 8 August and, most recently, I [Minister Mitchell] met the Minister for the Environment, who represented Sierra Leone at COP28. There will be further opportunities for Ministers to meet, including at the UK-African Investment Summit. Officials in London engage with the Sierra Leone High Commissioner and his team to discuss current issues in Sierra Leone.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has summoned the ambassador of Sierra Leone to explain political developments in that country.

The UK has engaged stakeholders including the government, opposition, election bodies and the international community, before and after the 24 June elections. We have given consistent messaging on good governance, the rule of law and the importance of an inclusive democracy that works for all. The UK remains committed to supporting a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Sierra Leone.

The UK commends the signing of the Agreement for National Cohesion on 18 October as part of the peace dialogue between the Government of Sierra Leone and opposition following the elections. We are coordinating closely with international partners to support implementation of the Agreement, including a national election review committee, a review of political prisoners and inter-party dialogue. These reforms are essential to strengthen the democratic process before elections in 2028.

The former Foreign Secretary spoke to President Bio on 8 August and, most recently, I [Minister Mitchell] met the Minister for the Environment, who represented Sierra Leone at COP28. There will be further opportunities for Ministers to meet, including at the UK-African Investment Summit. Officials in London engage with the Sierra Leone High Commissioner and his team to discuss current issues in Sierra Leone.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the International Red Cross's processes in ensuring that funding is not distributed to projects that support proscribed organisations.

The FCDO has controls in place to ensure that UK aid goes direct to intended beneficiaries, and for its intended purposes. The FCDO carries out due diligence assessments of UK aid partners to ensure they have procedures in place to manage the risk of aid diversion, including the risk of support to proscribed terrorist groups. We assess that our aid partners, including the Red Cross Movement which plays a vital role in ensuring that people in need can be reached and protected in times of armed conflict, have adequate processes in place to ensure that aid reaches those that need it most.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what support the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong has given to imprisoned 75-year-old British citizen, Jimmy Lai, in the lead up to his trial due to take place on 18th December 2023.

We continue to press for consular access to Jimmy Lai and call for his release. Diplomats at our Consulate-General in Hong Kong continue to attend his court proceedings. The Foreign Secretary and I met with Jimmy's son Sebastien on 12 December to listen to his concerns for his father ahead of the trial starting in Hong Kong on 18 December. The Foreign Secretary raised Jimmy's case with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in their introductory call on 5 December, setting out his concern at the highly politicised nature of the prosecution.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong has contacted Jimmy Lai during his detention in Stanley Prison.

We continue to press for consular access to Jimmy Lai and call for his release. Diplomats at our Consulate-General in Hong Kong continue to attend his court proceedings. The Foreign Secretary and I met with Jimmy's son Sebastien on 12 December to listen to his concerns for his father ahead of the trial starting in Hong Kong on 18 December. The Foreign Secretary raised Jimmy's case with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in their introductory call on 5 December, setting out his concern at the highly politicised nature of the prosecution.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether officials in his Department have visited Jimmy Lai in Stanley Prison in Hong Kong ahead of his national security trial on 18 December 2023.

We continue to press for consular access to Jimmy Lai and call for his release. Diplomats at our Consulate-General in Hong Kong continue to attend his court proceedings. The Foreign Secretary and I met with Jimmy's son Sebastien on 12 December to listen to his concerns for his father ahead of the trial starting in Hong Kong on 18 December. The Foreign Secretary raised Jimmy's case with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in their introductory call on 5 December, setting out his concern at the highly politicised nature of the prosecution.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what his Department's policy is on whether Hong Kong should be represented at international economic organisations in the context of its changed status within China.

As noted by the former Foreign Secretary in the latest Six-Monthly Report Hong Kong, Hong Kong's economic, monetary and financial systems remain distinct and robust from the mainland. The Sino-British Joint Declaration states that Hong Kong "may participate in relevant international organisations and international trade agreements… such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade". However, Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China and the Chinese government is responsible for its decisions on representation at state level to international organisations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what recent assessment he has made of the stability of democracy in Sierra Leone; and whether his Department is taking diplomatic steps to help (a) stabilise democracy and (b) ensure legitimate institutions are restored in that country.

The UK has strongly condemned the unjustifiable violence which took place on Sunday 26 November. We have welcomed President Bio's call for unity and commitment to hold those responsible to account and the statements from all political parties calling out the violence. We continue to follow the situation closely and are engaged with Government, political parties and other stakeholders. The UK remains committed to supporting a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Sierra Leone and the aspirations of its people.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people distributing (a) UK aid and (b) other public funding overseas with (i) British and (ii) duel British nationality are not aiding or supporting proscribed terrorist organisations.

The FCDO has controls in place to ensure that UK aid - and other funds used overseas - goes direct to intended beneficiaries, and for its intended purposes. The FCDO carries out due diligence assessments of UK aid partners to ensure they have procedures in place to manage the risk of aid diversion, including the risk of support to proscribed terrorist groups, as appropriate. All UK aid fund disbursements are overseen by a Senior Responsible Owner who is accountable for ensuring procedures are followed. The FCDO Programme Operating Framework, which sets out the mandatory rules for FCDO programming, was reviewed by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) in 2023. The review, published in April, said that this was the right approach for the FCDO - calling it a credible and appropriate framework. To date, no individual from an International NGO or body corporate has been prosecuted in the UK for terrorism offences relating to humanitarian, development or peacebuilding work.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that people working for international aid organisations overseas with (a) British and (b) duel British nationality are not aiding or supporting proscribed terrorist organisations.

The FCDO has controls in place to ensure that UK aid - and other funds used overseas - goes direct to intended beneficiaries, and for its intended purposes. The FCDO carries out due diligence assessments of UK aid partners to ensure they have procedures in place to manage the risk of aid diversion, including the risk of support to proscribed terrorist groups, as appropriate. All UK aid fund disbursements are overseen by a Senior Responsible Owner who is accountable for ensuring procedures are followed. The FCDO Programme Operating Framework, which sets out the mandatory rules for FCDO programming, was reviewed by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) in 2023. The review, published in April, said that this was the right approach for the FCDO - calling it a credible and appropriate framework. To date, no individual from an International NGO or body corporate has been prosecuted in the UK for terrorism offences relating to humanitarian, development or peacebuilding work.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of creating a Minister for hostage affairs to help support families of (a) British and (b) dual nationals.

As Minister for consular policy I review all complex cases, including hostage and arbitrary detention for diplomatic leverage cases, with consular officials on a regular basis. When necessary, decisions on individual cases are made by the relevant geographical Minister who understands the region and has a relationship with their counterpart. They are supported in this by our Ambassadors and senior officials who hold the necessary geographic and thematic expertise alongside our consular team. At all times the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs holds ultimate responsibility. We also work closely with other Departments and agencies who also have relevant expertise.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Oct 2023
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 increase in exports to Russia from (a) the People’s Republic of China and (b) some other countries since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022; and what steps he is taking to help tackle attempts to undermine sanctions against Russia.

China's continued failure to condemn the invasion is deeply disappointing and harmful to China's interests and reputation in Europe. We have pressed upon China at all levels not to offer support for Russia's actions. The Foreign Secretary spoke to his Chinese counterpart in August to stress that message. Internationally, we are working closely with the EU and US to engage third countries where we have seen a spike in trade in sanctioned goods with Russia. This joint diplomatic engagement is producing results, with a number of third countries agreeing to control exports of goods that are critical to Russia's war effort.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Pakistani counterpart to help ensure that no Afghans in refugee camps in that country eligible for (a) the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, (b) the Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme and (c) other UK schemes, are deported back to Afghanistan.

We are not aware of any eligible individuals under either the ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) or ACRS (Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme) Pathway 3 schemes in refugee camps in Pakistan. Other schemes are for the Home Office to answer. We are monitoring the situation closely and the British High Commission is in frequent contact with the Pakistani authorities to try and ensure that no ARAP or ACRS Pathway 3 eligible individuals are deported while they await relocation to the UK and are seeking assurances to this effect.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to help ensure the safety of Afghan Chevening scholars after the conclusion of their studies in the UK.

Our Chevening scheme for Afghanistan requires that applicants have resident status in a third country and that they are able to leave the UK at the end of their studies.

The FCDO can provide letters of consent to scholars in the UK who have completed their studies and whose visas in other countries have expired, allowing them to apply for another UK visa, exempting them from the normal requirement to leave the UK on completion of study, given the situation in Afghanistan.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with political parties in Sierra Leone on resolving the disputed presidential election.

The UK has engaged stakeholders including the government, opposition, election bodies and the international community, in the run up, during and after the elections. We have given consistent messaging on good governance, the rule of law and the importance of an inclusive democracy that works for all. The Foreign Secretary raised these issues during his visit to Sierra Leone in March and in a telephone call with President Bio on 7 August. It remains vital that Sierra Leone's political leaders engage with efforts to support the democratic process. We remain committed to supporting the aspirations of the Sierra Leonean people.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to UN Security Council Resolution 2231, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of maintaining sanctions on Iran beyond the expiry date on 18 October 2023.

On 14 September the UK announced, alongside our French and German partners, that we would maintain UN and UK/EU sanctions on individuals and entities involved in Iran's nuclear programme, as well as UK/EU trade embargoes on arms, missiles and nuclear goods and technology, beyond 18 October 2023. This action is a proportionate and legitimate response to Iran's consistent non-compliance with its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) commitments since 2019. It sends a clear message to Iran that it will be held to account for its nuclear advances, which have no civilian justification.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent reports he has received on the security situation in Sierra Leone following the recent election.

It was inspiring to see Sierra Leoneans vote last month and the security situation has been largely calm following the announcement of results. As a friend of Sierra Leone, the UK noted irregularities in the electoral process, in particular the tabulation of votes. On 28 June, the British High Commission coordinated a press statement with international partners raising this and calling for people to refrain from violence and exercise restraint. It remains important political leaders and the judiciary allow issues to be addressed fairly.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the criteria for granting indefinite leave to remain to the Afghan Chevening scholar cohort have changed since 2022.

Chevening awards were offered to Afghans resident in third countries for 2022-23.

The FCDO will provide a letter of consent to current scholars whose visas in other countries have expired or will expire, allowing them to apply for another UK visa, exempting them from the normal requirement to leave the UK on completion of study, given the situation in Afghanistan.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps ensure that Afghan Chevening scholars are not forced to live in refugee camps in other countries after their UK visas expire.

Chevening awards were offered to Afghans resident in third countries for 2022-23.

The FCDO will provide a letter of consent to current scholars whose visas in other countries have expired or will expire, allowing them to apply for another UK visa, exempting them from the normal requirement to leave the UK on completion of study, given the situation in Afghanistan.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure Afghan Chevening scholars are not forced to leave the UK to go to third countries where they either have (a) no visa or (b) a temporary visa.

Chevening awards were offered to Afghans resident in third countries for 2022-23.

The FCDO will provide a letter of consent to current scholars whose visas in other countries have expired or will expire, allowing them to apply for another UK visa, exempting them from the normal requirement to leave the UK on completion of study, given the situation in Afghanistan.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) fairness and (b) ease of access to (i) polling and (ii) political information in Sierra Leone; and what reports he has received on those issues from UK election observers.

Violence has no place in a democracy and the UK condemns the use of violence by any party to elections. The outcome of the June 2023 elections in Sierra Leone was for the Sierra Leonean people to decide. The UK commends the dedication Sierra Leoneans displayed in exercising their right to vote. Our High Commission and the Foreign Secretary have consistently called for transparency and clarity from the Government of Sierra Leone, election management bodies and opposition parties. The UK has also funded a voter education programme to increase communities' engagement with, and understanding of, the electoral process. The High Commission deployed observers across the country during polling and tallying of results and, along with other partners, we note logistical problems hampered voting on election day in certain areas. We share the concerns of observation missions about the lack of transparency in the tabulation process. We remain committed to supporting democracy and the aspirations of the Sierra Leonean people. We are urging everyone to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law, and engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve disputes.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made representations to the authorities in Sierra Leone on verification of the results of the presidential election in that country.

Violence has no place in a democracy and the UK condemns the use of violence by any party to elections. The outcome of the June 2023 elections in Sierra Leone was for the Sierra Leonean people to decide. The UK commends the dedication Sierra Leoneans displayed in exercising their right to vote. Our High Commission and the Foreign Secretary have consistently called for transparency and clarity from the Government of Sierra Leone, election management bodies and opposition parties. The UK has also funded a voter education programme to increase communities' engagement with, and understanding of, the electoral process. The High Commission deployed observers across the country during polling and tallying of results and, along with other partners, we note logistical problems hampered voting on election day in certain areas. We share the concerns of observation missions about the lack of transparency in the tabulation process. We remain committed to supporting democracy and the aspirations of the Sierra Leonean people. We are urging everyone to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law, and engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve disputes.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential implications for his Department's policies of the security situation in Sierra Leone.

Violence has no place in a democracy and the UK condemns the use of violence by any party to elections. The outcome of the June 2023 elections in Sierra Leone was for the Sierra Leonean people to decide. The UK commends the dedication Sierra Leoneans displayed in exercising their right to vote. Our High Commission and the Foreign Secretary have consistently called for transparency and clarity from the Government of Sierra Leone, election management bodies and opposition parties. The UK has also funded a voter education programme to increase communities' engagement with, and understanding of, the electoral process. The High Commission deployed observers across the country during polling and tallying of results and, along with other partners, we note logistical problems hampered voting on election day in certain areas. We share the concerns of observation missions about the lack of transparency in the tabulation process. We remain committed to supporting democracy and the aspirations of the Sierra Leonean people. We are urging everyone to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law, and engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve disputes.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help (a) prevent intimidation and (b) encourage free and fair political campaigning in Sierra Leone.

The UK regularly raises good governance, rule of law and the importance of free, fair and peaceful elections with Government, opposition and key stakeholders in Sierra Leone. The Foreign Secretary has highlighted these messages, including with the President and opposition leader, during and since his visit in March 2023. The UK has been promoting peaceful political dialogue between and within communities through civil society, and voter education through media. On 21 June, the British High Commission coordinated a press statement with international partners, calling for people to refrain from violence and reject divisive, hateful language. The High Commission is deploying on-the-ground observers across the country throughout the election period.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of violence and alleged human rights abuses in Las Anod.

The fighting in Las Anod has seen credible reports of shelling of civilian areas, including a hospital. The humanitarian impact has been severe with more than 180,000 people displaced from their homes. The UK is providing a range of humanitarian support. We assess that there are risks of further escalation if a ceasefire is not agreed and we are working privately and publicly with a range of partners to press all parties to the conflict to end the fighting. On 15 April, the UK and 14 international partners held a joint call with President Bihi to press for de-escalation and humanitarian access. We have issued several statements independently and with partners, most recently on 15 April following the above call, calling for de-escalation, humanitarian access and dialogue. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and to press for a resolution to the conflict.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessmen he has made of (a) alleged bombings in and (b) the displacement of civilians from Las Anod and Somaliland.

The fighting in Las Anod has seen credible reports of shelling of civilian areas, including a hospital. The humanitarian impact has been severe with more than 180,000 people displaced from their homes. The UK is providing a range of humanitarian support. We assess that there are risks of further escalation if a ceasefire is not agreed and we are working privately and publicly with a range of partners to press all parties to the conflict to end the fighting. On 15 April, the UK and 14 international partners held a joint call with President Bihi to press for de-escalation and humanitarian access. We have issued several statements independently and with partners, most recently on 15 April following the above call, calling for de-escalation, humanitarian access and dialogue. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and to press for a resolution to the conflict.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help resolve conflict in (a) Las Anod and (b) Somaliland.

The fighting in Las Anod has seen credible reports of shelling of civilian areas, including a hospital. The humanitarian impact has been severe with more than 180,000 people displaced from their homes. The UK is providing a range of humanitarian support. We assess that there are risks of further escalation if a ceasefire is not agreed and we are working privately and publicly with a range of partners to press all parties to the conflict to end the fighting. On 15 April, the UK and 14 international partners held a joint call with President Bihi to press for de-escalation and humanitarian access. We have issued several statements independently and with partners, most recently on 15 April following the above call, calling for de-escalation, humanitarian access and dialogue. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and to press for a resolution to the conflict.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has raised violence in Las Anod and Somaliland with the UN for investigation.

The fighting in Las Anod has seen credible reports of shelling of civilian areas, including a hospital, and the humanitarian impact has been severe. We are working privately and in public with a range of international partners, including the UN, to press all parties to the conflict to end the fighting. On 15 April, the UK and 14 international partners held a joint call with President Bihi to press for de-escalation and humanitarian access. We have issued several statements independently and with partners, most recently on 15 April following the above call, calling for de-escalation, humanitarian access and dialogue. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and to press for a resolution to the conflict.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the monitoring of the 2023 General Election in Sierra Leone.

The outcome of the June 2023 elections is for the people of Sierra Leone to decide. The UK and Sierra Leone are close friends and we hold regular, frank conversations with senior government interlocutors and other key stakeholders on issues of good governance, the rule of law and the importance of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2023. The Foreign Secretary passed on these messages to Sierra Leone's President and Foreign Minister during his visit in March 2023. The British High Commission in Freetown's 'Promoting Democracy and Electoral Freedom' Programme supports cross community dialogue among voters in Sierra Leone, with a focus on inclusion and violence prevention. The High Commission will also be fielding on-the-ground observers across the country throughout the election period.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the distribution of Official Development Assistance funds within Sierra Leone.

The UK is a champion for international development and one of the most generous global aid donors. In Sierra Leone, as around the world, we work closely with the Government to support its own national development plans. Decisions on how to distribute funds are taken in Sierra Leone against the High Commission's business plan and guided by FCDO priorities, the Integrated Review, International Development Strategy and Africa Strategy. Most recently, UK Aid in Sierra Leone has supported inclusive education, maternal and new-born health, girls' and women's rights and energy access. Our funding goes to a range of implementing partners who are subject to rigorous procurement and due diligence. We adhere closely to best practice outlined in the FCDO's Programme Operating Framework, including results monitoring.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions had with the Pakistani Government on the treatment of Afghan refugees in that country.

The UK is a member of Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees, a policy group established in 2019 to bring together regional governments, the United Nations and donors to support long-term solutions for Afghan refugees. We encourage Pakistan to include refugees in services provided to the wider population. The Foreign Secretary raised Afghanistan, including the relocation of eligible Afghans, when he spoke to Foreign Minister Bhutto-Zardari on 20 December 2022. The UK has provided £6.5 million to support refugee preparedness in Pakistan and offer vital health services and additional nutritional support to communities hosting refugees.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with the President of Sierra Leone on taking steps to provide legal representation to people detained after the riots in August 2022.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular frank discussions with senior government interlocutors, international partners and other key stakeholders on governance, the rule of law, stability, and the importance of a free and fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and urge all to work collaboratively to reduce tensions. I (Minister Mitchell) spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. I reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the PSVI conference on 28 November.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the (a) UN and (b) EU on (i) support for the Sierra Leone Electoral Commission and (ii) ensuring the 2023 elections in that country are peaceful and democratic.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular frank discussions with senior government interlocutors, international partners and other key stakeholders on governance, the rule of law, stability and the importance of a free fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and urge all to work collaboratively to reduce tensions. I spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. I (Minister Mitchell) reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the PSVI conference on 28 November.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the President of Sierra Leone on people shot in a protesting in Freetown.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular, frank discussions with senior government interlocutors and other key stakeholders, on good governance, the rule of law and stability, and the importance of a free, fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and we work closely with civil society organisations in Sierra Leone to champion universal human rights, including freedom of speech and expression, and to advocate for their protection by the authorities.

The Foreign Secretary spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. I reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative conference on 28 November.

The British High Commission Freetown has recently observed the national voter registration process. The UK did not fund or provide assistance for the Mid-Term Census and we have made our views on its limitations known to the Government of Sierra Leone.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he discussed voter (a) registration, (b) exhibition and (c) verification during his meeting with the President of Sierra Leone in November 2022.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular, frank discussions with senior government interlocutors and other key stakeholders, on good governance, the rule of law and stability, and the importance of a free, fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and we work closely with civil society organisations in Sierra Leone to champion universal human rights, including freedom of speech and expression, and to advocate for their protection by the authorities.

The Foreign Secretary spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. I reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative conference on 28 November.

The British High Commission Freetown has recently observed the national voter registration process. The UK did not fund or provide assistance for the Mid-Term Census and we have made our views on its limitations known to the Government of Sierra Leone.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the Commonwealth Secretary-General on deploying independent Commonwealth Observer Groups to Sierra Leone ahead of its presidential election.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular, frank discussions with senior government interlocutors, international partners, and other key stakeholders, on good governance, the rule of law and stability, and the importance of a free, fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and urge all to work collaboratively to reduce tensions. I spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. I [Minister Mitchell] reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the PSVI conference on 28 November.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to the President of Sierra Leone to seek assurance that the police response to the violent scenes in the Sierra Leonean parliament on 23 November 2022 were not politically motivated.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular, frank discussions with senior government interlocutors, international partners, and other key stakeholders, on good governance, the rule of law and stability, and the importance of a free, fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and urge all to work collaboratively to reduce tensions. I spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. I [Minister Mitchell] reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the PSVI conference on 28 November.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the President of Sierra Leone on the steps being taken to help ensure freedom and fairness in the forthcoming Presidential election in that country.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular, frank discussions with senior government interlocutors, international partners, and other key stakeholders, on good governance, the rule of law and stability, and the importance of a free, fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and urge all to work collaboratively to reduce tensions. I spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. I [Minister Mitchell] reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the PSVI conference on 28 November.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has taken recent steps to help stabilise democracy in Sierra Leone; and what steps he is taking to ensure that UK official development assistance does not fund programmes that could restrict democratic activity.

As a close friend of Sierra Leone, the UK holds regular, frank discussions with senior government interlocutors and other key stakeholders, on good governance, the rule of law and stability, and the importance of a free, fair election in 2023. We condemn acts of political violence and we work closely with civil society organisations in Sierra Leone to champion universal human rights, including freedom of speech and expression, and to advocate for their protection by the authorities.

The Foreign Secretary spoke with the President of Sierra Leone in London on 22 November 2022 about the importance of the upcoming election and Sierra Leone's democratic process. The Minister for Development reiterated this message in a meeting with the Minister of Basic and Senior Education at the PSVI conference on 28 November. The British High Commission Freetown has recently observed the national voter registration process. The UK did not fund or provide assistance for the Mid-Term Census and we have made our views on its limitations known to the Government of Sierra Leone. We will continue to support processes underpinning free and fair elections next year.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of reducing UK funding to the Global Fund on the target to eliminate transmissions of HIV by 2030.

The UK has been a strong supporter of the global fund since its inception, having contributed over £4.4 billion to date and remaining the third-largest historic donor. Together with other donors, we have supported the Global Fund in saving over 50 million lives to date. Building on our previous contributions, our new pledge of £1 billion towards the Global Fund's latest replenishment will help to save over 1.2 million lives and avert 28 million cases and infections.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what guidance the Government has provided to consular staff in Qatar on supporting British citizens or dual nationals arrested during the World Cup.

The assistance the FCDO can provide to those who are arrested abroad is detailed in our publication: Support for British Nationals Abroad (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/support-for-british-nationals-abroad ). Consular staff are contactable 24/7, 365 days a year and strive to provide the right tailored assistance to those who request our help, doing more for those who need more help. The FCDO has existing, detailed guidance and training for consular staff who assist British nationals abroad. As with all major sporting events, we are working closely with the host authorities to support the safety of British nationals attending. Any fans considering travel to the World Cup should read the Qatar Travel Advice page (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/qatar) and sign up for email alerts to stay up to date on the latest information.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has received recent representations from other countries seeking sanctions against specific (a) individuals and (b) organisations.

The UK continues to engage extensively with international partners to coordinate sanctions. We do not provide a running commentary on our conversations with partners, and do not comment on future sanctions as this could blunt their impact.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support freedom of assembly laws in Sierra Leone, in the context of the arrest of the former Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The UK Government, alongside the wider international community, is a strong supporter of political stability, development and peace in Sierra Leone. We hold regular, frank discussions on good governance, the rule of law and stability and the importance of a free and fair election in 2023 with the Government of Sierra Leone, as well as with other stakeholders.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
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
Home Secretary
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Home Secretary
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 subsequen