Neil Hudson Portrait

Neil Hudson

Conservative - Penrith and The Border

First elected: 12th December 2019


3 APPG memberships (as of 24 Jan 2024)
Animal Welfare, Horse, Outdoor Learning
Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [HL]
1st Dec 2021 - 9th Dec 2021
Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill
3rd Nov 2021 - 18th Nov 2021


Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
09:25
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
5 Mar 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Waste Enforcement (Fixed Penalty Receipts) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2023
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
09:25
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
5 Mar 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Waste Enforcement (Fixed Penalty Receipts) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2023
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Department Event
Thursday 7th March 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 14th March 2024
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 2nd May 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 9th May 2024
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 293 Conservative No votes vs 2 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Zoological Society of London (Leases) Bill
I congratulate my hon. Friend on driving forward this important legislation. As he has mentioned, zoos do tremendous outreach and …
Written Answers
Friday 1st March 2024
Care Homes: Rural Areas
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to help improve …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 21st September 2022
Three Dads Walking campaign and suicide-awareness and mental health first aid in educational settings
That this House expresses its support for the brave, tireless and selfless campaigning of the Three Dads Walking, Andy Airey, …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 2nd May 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: (1) Awan Marketing plc. (2) Lords and Commons Cricket APPG
Address of donor: (1) Khyber Building Heaton …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 19th September 2023
Import of Dogs Bill 2022-23
A Bill to prohibit the import of puppies under six months; to prohibit the import of pregnant dogs in specified …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Neil Hudson has voted in 864 divisions, and 16 times against the majority of their Party.

9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Conservative No votes vs 341 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 351 Noes - 276
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative No votes vs 354 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 363 Noes - 267
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Conservative No votes vs 344 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 353 Noes - 277
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 4 Conservative No votes vs 353 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 353 Noes - 270
4 Nov 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Conservative No votes vs 330 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 331 Noes - 272
12 Oct 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 14 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 279
2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
20 Jul 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative Aye votes vs 323 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 263 Noes - 326
20 Jul 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative Aye votes vs 335 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 251 Noes - 337
13 May 2020 - Remote Division result: New Clause 2 - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Conservative Aye votes vs 326 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 277 Noes - 328
20 Sep 2021 - Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative No votes vs 299 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 55
16 Nov 2021 - Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill (Fourth sitting) - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 8 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 8 Noes - 8
16 Nov 2021 - Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill (Fourth sitting) - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 8 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 8 Noes - 8
16 Nov 2021 - Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill (Fourth sitting) - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 8 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 8 Noes - 8
18 Nov 2021 - Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill (Fifth sitting) - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 9 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 7 Noes - 9
18 Nov 2021 - Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill (Sixth sitting) - View Vote Context
Neil Hudson voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 8 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 7 Noes - 8
View All Neil Hudson 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
George Eustice (Conservative)
(19 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Andrew Selous (Conservative)
Second Church Estates Commissioner
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(26 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(20 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Neil Hudson's debates

Penrith and The Border Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Penrith and The Border signature proportion
Petitions with most Penrith and The Border signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to repeal the Dangerous Dogs Act and replace it with legislation that focuses on early intervention to prevent dog bites and tackle dog-related issues regardless of breed or type, based solely on their behaviour.


I believe that the XL bully is a kind, beautiful natured breed that loves children and people in general, and are very loyal and loving pets.

We want suicide spoken about in schools in a safe and age-appropriate way. Speaking about suicide saves lives
The Dept for Education are conducting a review of the RSHE curriculum; this petition calls on the DfE to include suicide prevention within the statutory guidelines of the new curriculum.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed numerous petitions calling for actions that the Government has included in the Kept Animals Bill. The Government should urgently find time to allow the Bill to complete its journey through Parliament and become law.

The Government should repeal breed specific provisions in dangerous dogs legislation. We believe these provisions are a flawed approach to public safety and an ethical failing with regards to animal welfare.

Now that we have left the EU, the UK has the ability to finally stop the importation of Shark Fins. They had previously stated that 'Whilst in the EU, it is not possible to unilaterally ban the import of shark fins into the UK.'

Plenty of dogs from UK breeders & rescues need homes. Transporting young pups long distances is often stressful, before being sold for ridiculous prices to unsuspecting dog-lovers. Government must adjust current laws, ban this unethical activity on welfare grounds & protect these poor animals ASAP.

Leading veterinary and welfare bodies are concerned by the alarming rise in ear-cropped dogs in the UK. Ear cropping is illegal in the UK and an unnecessary, painful mutilation with no welfare benefit. The practice involves cutting off part of the ear flap, often without anaesthesia or pain relief.


Latest EDMs signed by Neil Hudson

21st September 2022
Neil Hudson signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 21st September 2022

Three Dads Walking campaign and suicide-awareness and mental health first aid in educational settings

Tabled by: Neil Hudson (Conservative - Penrith and The Border)
That this House expresses its support for the brave, tireless and selfless campaigning of the Three Dads Walking, Andy Airey, Tim Owen, and Mike Palmer, who with their UK walk are raising awareness of young suicide and boosting charity funds following the tragic losses of their daughters, Sophie, Emily and …
44 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Apr 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Liberal Democrat: 8
Conservative: 6
Scottish National Party: 6
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Neil Hudson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Neil Hudson, 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 Hudson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Neil Hudson

Wednesday 23rd February 2022

Neil Hudson has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


214 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
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to help tackle refusal of entry of guide dogs into business establishments.

Under the Equality Act 2010, businesses and public bodies that provide goods and services to the public must not unlawfully discriminate against disabled people, including those with assistance dogs.

The Act places a duty on service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve access to premises, buildings and services. This could include allowing the use of assistance dogs so that disabled customers are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled customers.

The Disability Action Plan published on 5th February 2024 includes an action to establish an assistance dogs and animals working group, which will consider issues including how to educate businesses on the rights of assistance dog owners and to help simplify reporting access refusals.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2023, to Question 187338 on Guide Dogs: Business Premises, whether she plans to provide guidance to businesses on (a) reasonable adjustments and (b) protected characteristics they should consider for customers with assistance dogs.

Clear guidance has already been published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, one of its roles being to ensure that businesses and service providers are aware of their legal responsibilities towards customers with assistance dogs and are equipped with the knowledge to ensure the Equality Act 2010 is complied with.

Here is a link to “Assistance Dogs, A guide for all businesses”:

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/assistance-dogs-a-guide-for-all-businesses.pdf

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that users of guide dogs are not refused entry to public establishments.

No one should be refused access to businesses or services because they use a guide or other assistance dog. Ignorance of the law is not a defence.

Under the Equality Act 2010, businesses and public bodies that provide goods and services to the public must not unlawfully discriminate against disabled people, including those with assistance dogs.

The Act places a duty on service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve access to premises, buildings and services. This could include allowing the use of assistance dogs so that disabled customers have the same access to goods and services and are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled customers.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made a recent assessment of the impact of the disruption to shipping in the Red Sea on international trade.

My department is closely monitoring the situation and is working with key stakeholders, businesses and across government to identify and mitigate supply chain issues. We have held regular roundtables with industry exporting and importing into the UK, shipping companies, port operators and maritime representatives to hear their concerns and inform government. The Critical Import and Supply Chains Strategy is helping businesses work in partnership with the Government to build secure and reliable supply chains vital to the UK economy, national security, and the delivery of essential services.

We continue to monitor the Houthi attacks and activity in the Red Sea and are committed as a government to ensuring the Red Sea is safe for seafarers and traders to use, as shown through our commitment to Operation Prosperity Guardian.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department is taking steps to support hospices with energy costs.

The Government recognises that organisations within the care sector including hospices have faced significant energy and other cost of living increases. The Government values the contribution that this sector makes in supporting the National Health Service and the wellbeing of vulnerable people. The Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) provides a baseline level of support to all eligible non-domestic energy users paying the highest energy prices starting from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. The EBDS unit discount is capped at £6.97 per megawatt hour (MWh) for gas and £19.61 per MWh for electricity. This will be subject to a wholesale price threshold of £107/MWh for gas and £302/MWh for electricity. Suppliers will automatically apply the baseline reduction to the bills.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has made an assessment of the ability of the electrical power companies to respond to recent storm events.

The Government annually reviews the electricity industry’s preparedness for a range of scenarios including severe weather events ahead of each winter. This is in addition to specific reviews after major disruptive events, the latest being the Storm Arwen Review in 2022.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department has taken to help ensure that people who experience problems with work completed under the Sustainable Warmth Scheme can have their issues put right.

All work completed under the Sustainable Warmth Scheme must be installed to PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 2035 and lodged with Trustmark, the Government-endorsed Quality scheme for home improvements. TrustMark registration ensures installers have been vetted for technical competence, customer service and trading practices, and operate in accordance with the TrustMark Customer Charter and Framework Operating Requirements. This includes a comprehensive level of financial protection to customers. Information on the consumer protection offered by TrustMark can be found online at https://www.trustmark.org.uk/homeowners.

People who experience problems with work completed under the Sustainable Warmth scheme should follow Trustmark’s dispute resolution process.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has had discussions with mobile operators on the withdrawal of copper wire telecommunications networks.

Ofcom will monitor the withdrawal of copper services. Ofcom has set out high-level conditions for how the gradual deregulation of BT Group’s copper-based network will function.

Ofcom will consider the process which will trigger the complete deregulation of the copper network in the next regulatory review period, which will commence in 2026.

The withdrawal of analogue landlines, also known as the PSTN migration, is a separate process to the complete replacement of the copper network. DSIT meets regularly with Communications Providers to discuss their plans for migrating their customers to digital landlines, and to ensure they have adequate processes in place to protect vulnerable consumers.

On 14 December, the DSIT Secretary of State convened a meeting with the UK’s leading telecoms providers, including Sky, BT, VMO2 and TalkTalk, to discuss urgent steps to protect vulnerable households when upgrading phone lines to a digital network. In response, the major telecoms providers have now signed a Charter committing to concrete measures to protect vulnerable households, particularly those using telecare alarms. The move represents a positive step by the telecoms industry to make sure safety continues to be at the heart of the nationwide switchover. The Charter can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-switched-telephone-network-charter

Furthermore, DSIT meets regularly with Ofcom to ensure that industry adheres to its regulatory obligations throughout the migration process. In addition, we are working with telecare providers, Local Authorities, and Other Government Departments to take further steps to ensure the migration is a success. We also regularly engage with mobile operators on a variety of issues including the PSTN migration.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure mobile phone coverage in rural communities.

The Government is committed to improve digital connectivity in rural areas. Project Gigabit is the Government’s £5 billion programme to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to rural and hard-to-reach communities across the UK. Alongside suppliers’ commercial rollout plans, our target is to achieve 85% gigabit coverage of the UK by 2025, and then nationwide coverage by 2030. Over 78% of UK premises can now access gigabit-capable broadband, which represents significant progress since January 2019, when coverage was just 6%.

Through our 12 Project Gigabit contracts, including one in Cumbria, and 27 current live procurements, we have made over £2 billion of funding available to suppliers to bring gigabit-capable broadband to up to 1.1 million premises in hard to reach parts of the country.

Support is also available for homes and businesses in some rural areas through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. Over 100,00 vouchers have been used to connect rural homes and businesses with fast, reliable broadband.

In April 2023, the Government announced a capital grants scheme to provide up to 35,000 premises with help to access Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite equipment to improve their connectivity. The scheme will be open to premises that the department has identified as being unlikely to benefit from an improved fixed line, or fixed wireless access connection. More information on eligibility for this scheme will be announced shortly.

The department is also consulting on future policy solutions for Very Hard to Reach premises. In October 2023, we launched two consultations, one on the Broadband Universal Service Obligation and one setting out our proposed policy approach to connecting Very Hard to Reach premises across the UK. We welcome contributions to both consultations until they close on Monday 27 November.

To improve mobile coverage in rural areas, the Government is working with the UK’s four mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network. This agreement will see the Government and industry jointly invest over £1 billion to increase outdoor 4G mobile coverage across the UK to 95% by the end of 2025. The programme targets areas of the country with partial or no 4G coverage, in rural and hard-to-reach locations across the UK. 4G coverage across the UK is currently approaching 93%, which is up from 91% when the Shared Rural Network deal was signed in March 2020.

Alongside the Shared Rural Network, the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, published in April 2023, set out further steps to improve connectivity across the UK, including a new ambition for nationwide coverage of standalone 5G in all populated areas by 2030.

Finally, Simon Fell MP has been appointed as the Government’s Rural Connectivity Champion. His role will be to ensure that rural communities and businesses can access and adopt the connectivity that they need.

24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to support rural communities increase levels of broadband connectivity.

The Government is committed to improve digital connectivity in rural areas. Project Gigabit is the Government’s £5 billion programme to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to rural and hard-to-reach communities across the UK. Alongside suppliers’ commercial rollout plans, our target is to achieve 85% gigabit coverage of the UK by 2025, and then nationwide coverage by 2030. Over 78% of UK premises can now access gigabit-capable broadband, which represents significant progress since January 2019, when coverage was just 6%.

Through our 12 Project Gigabit contracts, including one in Cumbria, and 27 current live procurements, we have made over £2 billion of funding available to suppliers to bring gigabit-capable broadband to up to 1.1 million premises in hard to reach parts of the country.

Support is also available for homes and businesses in some rural areas through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. Over 100,00 vouchers have been used to connect rural homes and businesses with fast, reliable broadband.

In April 2023, the Government announced a capital grants scheme to provide up to 35,000 premises with help to access Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite equipment to improve their connectivity. The scheme will be open to premises that the department has identified as being unlikely to benefit from an improved fixed line, or fixed wireless access connection. More information on eligibility for this scheme will be announced shortly.

The department is also consulting on future policy solutions for Very Hard to Reach premises. In October 2023, we launched two consultations, one on the Broadband Universal Service Obligation and one setting out our proposed policy approach to connecting Very Hard to Reach premises across the UK. We welcome contributions to both consultations until they close on Monday 27 November.

To improve mobile coverage in rural areas, the Government is working with the UK’s four mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network. This agreement will see the Government and industry jointly invest over £1 billion to increase outdoor 4G mobile coverage across the UK to 95% by the end of 2025. The programme targets areas of the country with partial or no 4G coverage, in rural and hard-to-reach locations across the UK. 4G coverage across the UK is currently approaching 93%, which is up from 91% when the Shared Rural Network deal was signed in March 2020.

Alongside the Shared Rural Network, the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, published in April 2023, set out further steps to improve connectivity across the UK, including a new ambition for nationwide coverage of standalone 5G in all populated areas by 2030.

Finally, Simon Fell MP has been appointed as the Government’s Rural Connectivity Champion. His role will be to ensure that rural communities and businesses can access and adopt the connectivity that they need.

13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the retirement of the public switched telephone network on the broadband connectivity of rural communities.

The retirement of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will not have any impact on broadband connectivity. The replacement Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services only require a very basic internet connection to function correctly. As a result, rural communities with limited digital connectivity can be upgraded to digital telephony services. For additional information, I would like to refer the Hon. Member to the answer Minister Julia Lopez gave to Question 135333 on 7 February 2023.

16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the prospect of the UK re-joining the Horizon Programme.

Collectively, the Government continues to be ready to work constructively with the EU on a range of issues including UK association to Horizon Europe. The EU have not yet made any proposals to address the financial terms of UK association, given we are now over 2 years into a 7-year programme.

The Government has acted to support researchers and businesses across the UK by introducing the Horizon Guarantee - now extended until end June 2023 and, in November last year, announced £684m of investment into UK R&D.

17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the development of the nuclear energy sector in Cumbria.

The Department directly funds or has contracts with a number of nuclear establishments in Cumbria, including the National Nuclear Laboratory and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). A recent report found that NDA’s subsidiaries Sellafield Ltd and Nuclear Waste Services’ core sites in Cumbria contributed £1.3bn GVA across the local economy and supported 21,650 jobs.

The Government is taking action to support the development of the UK nuclear sector and has committed to setting up Great British Nuclear, which will be tasked with developing a resilient pipeline of new build projects. The Government is investing in nuclear, including through backing Sizewell C with £700 million, the launch of the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund and the Nuclear Fuel Fund.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the development of small modular nuclear reactors in the UK.

Small Modular Reactors could have an important role to play in the UK energy system as the UK transitions to net zero by 2050.

The Government has awarded £210m to support development of the Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design. The Rolls-Royce SMR entered the Generic Design Assessment process in April becoming the first SMR to begin UK nuclear regulation.

As outlined in the British Energy Security Strategy, the Government intends to initiate a selection process in 2023 for the next nuclear projects, including SMRs.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the energy cost needs of businesses that are (a) off grid and (b) rely on alternative fuels such as heating oil and LPG.

I refer my Hon. Friend to the answer I gave my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Vale of Glamorgan on 15th December 2022 to Question 105337.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to develop nuclear fusion technology.

The Government published its Fusion Strategy in 2021, which describes how the UK will build on its fusion research leadership to commercialise fusion energy. The Government is investing over £700m into fusion research and innovation over three years and boosting private sector innovation in fusion’s technical challenges through a £42 million Fusion Industry Programme. In 2022 the Secretary of State for BEIS announced West Burton in Nottinghamshire as the site for STEP, the UK’s prototype fusion power plant, to be built by 2040 and capable of putting electricity on the grid.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support businesses that rely on off-grid energy with their energy costs.

I refer my Hon. Friend to the answer I gave my Rt Hon Friend the Member for Vale of Glamorgan on 15th December 2022 to Question 105337.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of households in rural communities have full access to (a) television and (b) local radio services.

Freeview currently reaches nearly 99% of UK households. However, good terrestrial television signals may not be available to all households in rural areas due to a number of factors including local topography and spectrum availability. In these cases, Everyone TV – the organisation responsible for the day-to-day running of Freeview – advises that viewers consider other options to access free-to-air television such as the satellite service Freesat, which provides near total coverage in the UK.

Details of local radio coverage provided have been published by Ofcom in May 2022 and are available here.

More detailed data on the usage of free-to-air radio and TV is available from a variety of sources. For example, Ofcom produces its Media Nations report which reviews key trends in the media sector and sets out how audiences are served across the UK. The most recent report was published in August 2023 and can be found here. Ofcom also publishes the results of a number of annual surveys addressing these issues, as well as an interactive data set in the form of its annual Communications Market Report. Many of these publications include relevant analysis broken down by geographic area.

24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what funding the Government provides to grassroots sports clubs in England.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their age or background, is able to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that sport and physical activity provide.

We know that active people are fitter, happier and healthier - which is why in our new Sport Strategy - 'Get Active’ - we set out an ambitious strategy to boost our national health by getting 3.5 million extra active people by 2030. To help achieve this, Government is investing over £300 million between 2021 and 2025 to make essential facility improvements at grassroots sports clubs.

In 2021/22, 177 grassroots facilities projects across the UK were supported through the Football Foundation in England and the Football Associations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This includes the creation or resurfacing of over 80 artificial grass pitches, over 20 grass pitch improvements, and other projects such as changing rooms, floodlights and goalposts. Over 1,600 sites benefitted from funding in 2022/23 across a similar range of projects, improving both provision and quality of pitches.

We provide the majority of support for grassroots sport through our Arms Length Body, Sport England. Every year, Sport England invests over £250 million of National Lottery and public money to help people engage in sport and physical activity. Funding pots like the Small Grants and the Active Together programme offer over £18 million of funding for grassroots clubs across England to help get local communities active and to support clubs through specific issues such as adverse weather.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to ensure access to digital terrestrial television in rural communities.

The Government remains committed to digital terrestrial television (DTT), the technology which underpins Freeview. Millions of households across the UK rely on DTT, particularly rural communities and older people.

While Freeview currently reaches nearly 99% of UK households, good terrestrial television signals may not be available to all households due to a number of factors such as local topography and spectrum availability. In these cases, Everyone TV – the organisation responsible for the day-to-day running of Freeview – advises that viewers consider other options to access free-to-air television such as the satellite service Freesat, which has total coverage in the UK.

The Government recognises the crucial role that DTT services such as Freeview play in the wider UK broadcasting system, in particular in helping ensure that public service content continues to be widely available and free-to-air to all audiences. For these reasons, we have legislated to secure the continuity of DTT until at least 2034.

We have also recently launched a major research and engagement programme looking at how UK audiences will get their TV in the decades to come, including digital terrestrial television (DTT), satellite, cable, and online.

Before any decisions about the future of terrestrial television are made, close consideration will be given to how any changes would impact audiences, and especially those who rely on DTT as their primary means of watching television.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support sports clubs in rural areas.

We know that active people are fitter, happier and healthier - which is why in our new Sport Strategy - 'Get Active’ - we set out an ambitious strategy to boost our national health by getting 3.5 million extra active people by 2030. This includes bold targets to reach communities with the lowest levels of physical activity.

The Government provides the majority of support for grassroots sport through our Arms Length Body, Sport England. Since 2019, we have invested over £773,000 in the Penrith and Borders area supporting projects such as the refurbishment of the Hunsonby Community Centre, the Wigton Baths Trust and the Castle Park tennis project. A further £50,000 has been invested in the area as part of the Multi-Sports Grassroots Facilities Investment programme, providing funding for new goalposts, floodlights and improving grass pitch surfaces.

Building on their 12 local delivery pilot areas in areas such as Withernsea, Sport England is expanding their place-based work so that at least 75% of their investment is committed to areas with the lowest levels of physical activity and social outcomes.

Sport England are using a range of data sources to inform this approach, including physical activity data from the Active Lives Surveys as well as wider social data including IMD, community need and health inequalities data. These datasets help to identify a range of communities, including rural communities, across England that need support to become more active.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July to Question 191414 on Sports: Electronic Cigarettes, if her Department will collect information on the level of sponsorship of sports teams by vaping companies.

The department does not currently plan to assess the levels of sponsorships by vaping companies in sport, or the level of vaping advertising more broadly. Sports are responsible for their own commercial deals.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an assessment (a) of levels of sponsorship of sports teams by vaping companies and (b) the potential implications of those levels for her Department's policies.

No assessment has been made by the department into levels of sponsorships by vaping companies in sport. Sports are responsible for their own commercial deals.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an assessment (a) of levels of sports advertising by vaping companies and (b) the potential implications of those levels for her Department's policies.

No assessment has been made by the department into levels of sponsorships by vaping companies in sport. Sports are responsible for their own commercial deals.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of a ban on vaping advertisements on levels of vaping.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is responsible for regulating advertising in the UK. The ASA already has rules in place that prohibit adverts for nicotine-containing vapes not licensed as medicines from appearing on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and periodicals, online, and in commercial emails and text messages. Only a small number of nicotine-containing vaping adverts are permitted, and the ASA requires all vaping advertising to be socially responsible and not be placed in media targeted at under-18s or in media where more than 25% of its audience is under-18.

The Government currently has no plans to further ban the advertising of vaping products; however, we are working to close the loophole allowing retailers to give free samples of nicotine-containing vapes to children in England. Additional reviews are being carried out into banning retailers selling nicotine-free vapes to under-18s, and the rules on issuing fines to shops that illegally sell vapes to children. In April, we launched a call for evidence to explore where we can go further to reduce youth vaping, which closes on 6 June. This will help us explore where we can go further to reduce the number of children accessing and using vape products. We are also examining the regulatory model for online advertising to ensure it protects consumers and minimises harm through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Online Advertising Programme. The consultation closed last year, and we will be publishing a Government response in due course.

4th Feb 2021
What steps his Department has taken to support the (a) tech and (b) digital sectors during the covid-19 outbreak.

The tech and digital sector has really stepped up to the challenges posed by the pandemic, which has seen tech adoption reportedly advancing 10 years in 2 months.

TO support them in this vital work, the Government Future Fund has distributed over £1bn in loans to over 1000 companies. Our local digital skills partnerships are helping to address tech companies workforce and skills needs.

1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support land-based education.

Land-based colleges play a central role in meeting local and national skills needs, including supporting the department's commitments on Net Zero. These colleges are significant assets to their local communities, enabling people of all backgrounds to gain sought-after skills, get good jobs and climb the ladder of opportunity.

Departmental officials are working closely with Landex and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to develop a strategy for land-based colleges which recognises their central role in supporting the delivery of key national priorities. This strategy will position land-based colleges within the Green Jobs Plan as hubs of skills training and technical innovation, boosting take-up in rural areas of high-quality skills training and ensuring high-quality, updated technical qualifications are available in each local area.

In addition to receiving capital funding, land-based colleges have benefitted from the £300 million the department has invested in the 21 employer led Institutes of Technology, which are leading the development of technical qualifications in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related areas.

In the 2023/24 academic year, land-based colleges also benefitted from a significant uplift in the specialist programme cost weighting from 1.75 to 1.975. This means where young people are taking specialist land-based courses at these institutions, they now attract a 97.5% uplift on the core funding rate.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to support students in rural areas to be physically active.

In July 2023, the Department published an update to the School Sport and Activity Action Plan, which will support teachers and schools to deliver two hours of high quality physical education (PE) and to provide competitive and extracurricular opportunities to pupils in all areas of England.

The Department has announced over £600 million of funding across the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years for the Primary PE and Sport Premium, along with £22 million of funding for the School Games Organiser network.

The Department is funding up to £57 million to deliver phase three of the Opening School Facilities programme, which allows schools to open their sports facilities outside of the core school day to provide more extracurricular opportunities for pupils and communities to play sport and be physically active. The programme targets groups who have lower participation levels in sport, where funding will have the most positive impact. 1,419 schools across England have already signed up to deliver the programme, including 16 schools in Cumbria.

13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department have made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the statutory requirement for funding of educational and training transport to people aged over 16.

The department has given local authorities the flexibility to decide what transport arrangements to put in place to help young people aged 16 to 19 and those aged up to 25 with a special educational needs to access education or training, based on the needs of their population, local transport infrastructure and the resources they have available.

The department recognises that the cost and availability of transport can be difficult for some pupils. Many local authorities do offer some form of subsidised transport to young people over the age of 16. In addition, our 16 to 19 bursary provides financial support to pupils from low income households and this can be used to support travel costs. For example, Westmoreland and Furness Council offer concessionary fares and free transport for young people from low income families, and that local schools and colleges offer the 16 to 19 bursary fund.

In academic year 2023/24 the department allocated over £160 million of bursary funding to institutions to help disadvantaged 16 to 19 year olds with costs including travel. The department has also made available £20 million each year specifically to support pupils in defined vulnerable groups, such as those in care, care leavers and those supporting themselves in receipt of certain social security funds.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure the safety of students using public transport to access their place of education.

The Department for Transport is responsible for maintaining high standards of safety and security in transport.

The Department for Education is responsible for home to school travel. The Department requires Local Authorities to arrange free home to school travel for eligible pupils of compulsory school age. They decide what travel arrangements to make, provided they are suitable. They might provide a pass for free travel on public transport.

Local Authorities are also required to publish an annual transport policy statement specifying the arrangements they consider necessary to facilitate attendance at education or training by young people of sixth form age. The Department expects them to take account of local transport infrastructure in doing so.

The Department also publishes statutory guidance which highlights that everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe and sets out what professionals and organisations need to do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. A link to the statutory guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made an estimate of the number of schools using vaping sensors in school buildings.

The Department has not assessed the number of vaping sensors in schools. Schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy that sets out what is expected of all pupils, including which items are banned from school premises.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced that the Government will be ensuring pupils are made aware of the health risks of vaping. The Department will be including this important topic in relationships, sex and health education lessons (RSHE), as part of the review of the RSHE statutory guidance, to further discourage pupils from taking up vaping.

17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the Autumn Statement 2022 on students.

The 2022 Autumn Statement ensures the most vulnerable are protected from the worst of the price rises, with increases to benefits, targeted support with energy bills, one-off payments to people on benefits, disabled people and increases to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage.

There were significant increases in funding for other education sectors announced at the last Spending Review. The department is investing an additional £3.8 billion on skills over the course of this Parliament (comparing 2024/25 with 2019/20).

The government recognises the additional cost of living pressures that have arisen this year and that have impacted students. Many higher education (HE) providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance.

There is £261 million of student premium funding available this academic year to support disadvantaged HE students who need additional help. The department has also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to ensure universities support students in hardship using both hardship funds and drawing on the student premium.

In addition, all households will save on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount. The Energy Prices Bill, introduced on 12 October, includes the provision to require landlords to pass benefits they receive from energy price support, as appropriate, onto end users. Further details of the requirements under this legislation will be set out in regulations.

Students whose bills are included in their rent, including energy charges, will typically have agreed their accommodation costs upfront when signing their contract for the current academic year. Businesses, including those that provide student accommodation, are covered by the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which provides energy bill relief for non-domestic customers in Great Britain.

A Treasury-led review will be launched to consider how to support households and businesses with energy bills after April 2023.

The department provides a range of financial support for further education (FE) students aged 16-19 (or aged up to 25 with an Education and Health Care Plan) who need it to enable them to participate in post-16 education, including free meals, bursaries to help with the cost of education (such as travel, books, equipment, and trips), plus support for childcare and residential costs where required. We have increased total discretionary Bursary funding by 6.8% in 2022/23 to support disadvantaged students to continue in FE or training.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support post-16 students with the rising cost of living.

The 2022 Autumn Statement ensures the most vulnerable are protected from the worst of the price rises, with increases to benefits, targeted support with energy bills, one-off payments to people on benefits, disabled people and increases to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage.

There were significant increases in funding for other education sectors announced at the last Spending Review. The department is investing an additional £3.8 billion on skills over the course of this Parliament (comparing 2024/25 with 2019/20).

The government recognises the additional cost of living pressures that have arisen this year and that have impacted students. Many higher education (HE) providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance.

There is £261 million of student premium funding available this academic year to support disadvantaged HE students who need additional help. The department has also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to ensure universities support students in hardship using both hardship funds and drawing on the student premium.

In addition, all households will save on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount. The Energy Prices Bill, introduced on 12 October, includes the provision to require landlords to pass benefits they receive from energy price support, as appropriate, onto end users. Further details of the requirements under this legislation will be set out in regulations.

Students whose bills are included in their rent, including energy charges, will typically have agreed their accommodation costs upfront when signing their contract for the current academic year. Businesses, including those that provide student accommodation, are covered by the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which provides energy bill relief for non-domestic customers in Great Britain.

A Treasury-led review will be launched to consider how to support households and businesses with energy bills after April 2023.

The department provides a range of financial support for further education (FE) students aged 16-19 (or aged up to 25 with an Education and Health Care Plan) who need it to enable them to participate in post-16 education, including free meals, bursaries to help with the cost of education (such as travel, books, equipment, and trips), plus support for childcare and residential costs where required. We have increased total discretionary Bursary funding by 6.8% in 2022/23 to support disadvantaged students to continue in FE or training.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government has made an estimate of the potential cost or the provision of free school meals to primary aged children whose families are in receipt of Universal Credit in England.

The department does not have plans to assess the effects of changing the current eligibility conditions for free school meals (FSM). However, the department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of pupils are now provided with FSM. Extending FSM to all families on Universal Credit would carry a significant financial cost.

18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he has made an assessment of the potential cost of providing free school meals to all primary aged children in England.

The department does not have plans to assess the effects of changing the current eligibility conditions for free school meals (FSM). However, the department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of pupils are now provided with FSM. Extending FSM to all families on Universal Credit would carry a significant financial cost.

18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government has made an assessment on the potential benefits of the provision of free school meals to all primary aged children in England.

The department does not have plans to assess the effects of changing the current eligibility conditions for free school meals (FSM). However, the department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of pupils are now provided with FSM. Extending FSM to all families on Universal Credit would carry a significant financial cost.

23rd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of solar farms on the availability of agricultural land.

Solar and farming can be complementary, and the Government encourages deployment of solar technology that delivers environmental co-benefits, with consideration for ongoing food production.

The Government recognises the need to preserve our most productive farmland as far as possible. The recently published and updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, including the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land.

Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, areas of poorer quality land should be preferred to those of a higher quality. The availability of agricultural land used for food production should be considered, alongside the other policies in the NPPF, when deciding what sites are most appropriate for development.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help support farmers with their mental health and wellbeing.

Defra recognises the vital work the charity sector is already doing to support farmers who are struggling to cope with the pressures of farming. Initiatives include in-person counselling support for farmers, crisis helplines, online services, mental health training for the farming sector and other outreach events designed to reach more farmers in need. Defra also established the Farmer Welfare Forum to bring together England's largest farming welfare organisations to ensure that Defra is fully informed on farmer wellbeing challenges.

The Prime Minister recently announced that Defra is exploring options to work with and support charitable organisations over the next 12 months. A share of £500,000 will be awarded to a number of farmer welfare charities to support their vital work in 2024/25. The main objective is to partner with charities that focus on farmer wellbeing, particularly those that help farming people struggling with stress, anxiety and/or depression and are in the most remote or hard to reach areas.

In addition, we are already providing expert business support to farmers under the Farming Resilience Fund. One of the key required outcomes for the Resilience Fund is that farmers’ mental health and wellbeing are supported, where required. Some delivery providers are offering this support from in-house experts and others are signposting support available from specialist external services. The Resilience Fund runs until March 2025 and any Basic Payment Scheme recipient in England is eligible to receive support. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help support Ukraine's agricultural sector.

The UK remains committed to supporting Ukrainian agriculture, a key sector of Ukraine’s economy.

The UK’s support includes committing £8 million to President Zelenskyy’s ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative, which supports grain production in Ukraine and ensures that Ukrainian grain reaches some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.

Ukraine’s maritime corridor in the Black Sea, established with UK and other partners’ support, will help enable Ukraine to export its entire harvest this year, if current export volumes are maintained.

Following a request from Ukraine in 2022, the UK has also committed £2.2 million to develop a grain verification scheme, designed to tackle the well-documented appropriation of Ukrainian grain by Russian forces in occupied regions of Ukraine. This will help Ukraine to deter continued Russian theft of grain.

In May 2022, the UK was the first country to liberalise all tariffs and quotas with Ukraine, supporting Ukraine’s economy. This liberalisation will be extended until at least 2029 for most products.

Last year, the UK provided £16 million to help fund the Ukrainian response to the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, which affected agricultural land, including donating pumping equipment and temporary barriers from the Environment Agency.

The UK was also pleased to host an agricultural roundtable at the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 to further facilitate investment in the Ukrainian agricultural sector.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve food security.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption.

Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 73% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years.

UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. The next Food Security Report will be published by the end of 2024.

The Farm to Fork Summit also took place on 16 May 2023. Discussions focused on bringing great British food to the world; building resilience and transparency; strengthening sustainability and productivity across the supply chain; and growing an innovative, skilled food and farming sector. Engagement with the entire supply chain continues as we deliver the commitments from the summit.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to stop the export of horses to Europe for slaughter.

The Government is banning the export of horses for slaughter through the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill which is progressing through Parliament.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help prevent the spread of African Swine Fever to the UK.

African swine fever (ASF) cases in Germany in 2022 represented new “jumps” in disease distribution towards the United Kingdom, following similar movements elsewhere in Europe. While we consider that the overall risk of entry of ASF virus into the UK from all combined pathways remains at medium, the particular pathway of human-mediated transport of non-commercial, infected products from the EU is considered to be high risk (please see the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s risk assessments for more detail).

As a result, we announced controls restricting the movement of pork and pork products into Great Britain (GB) to help safeguard Britain's pigs (please see further information here).

Travellers are no longer allowed to bring pork or pork products weighing over two kilograms into GB, unless they are produced to the EU’s commercial standards. The controls, which came into force in September 2022, strengthen the standards for bringing pork and pork products into GB from the EU and EFTA states.

This measure helps limit possibly infected pig meat being brought into GB through various means, such as in passengers’ luggage or in vehicles. The measure does not apply to commercial imports, which remain unaffected by the control.

There are Defra-sponsored checks carried out under the ASF safeguard measure and enforced by Port Health Authority officers and Border Force officers at ports and airports.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to detect the illegal carrying of meat products into the UK.

African swine fever (ASF) cases in Germany in 2022 represented new “jumps” in disease distribution towards the United Kingdom, following similar movements elsewhere in Europe. While we consider that the overall risk of entry of ASF virus into the UK from all combined pathways remains at medium, the particular pathway of human-mediated transport of non-commercial, infected products from the EU is considered to be high risk (please see the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s risk assessments for more detail).

As a result, we announced controls restricting the movement of pork and pork products into Great Britain (GB) to help safeguard Britain's pigs (please see further information here).

Travellers are no longer allowed to bring pork or pork products weighing over two kilograms into GB, unless they are produced to the EU’s commercial standards. The controls, which came into force in September 2022, strengthen the standards for bringing pork and pork products into GB from the EU and EFTA states.

This measure helps limit possibly infected pig meat being brought into GB through various means, such as in passengers’ luggage or in vehicles. The measure does not apply to commercial imports, which remain unaffected by the control.

There are Defra-sponsored checks carried out under the ASF safeguard measure and enforced by Port Health Authority officers and Border Force officers at ports and airports.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the Border Target Operating Model on biosecurity.

The Border Targeting Operating Model (BTOM) successfully delivers a science based dynamic approach to border controls and is designed to change responsively to ensure controls are targeted where risk is greatest. This will provide assurance to our trading partners and the UK consumer that imported food and feed products meet our high safety standards. This approach seeks to bring in critical biosecurity controls as soon as possible, but uses a global risk-based model, data and technology to reduce the burden on businesses wherever possible.

Health certification will provide assurance that an official vet or plant health inspector in the exporting country has checked the goods and confirmed that they are free of pests or diseases and comply with GB’s import health requirements. Inspections increase our surveillance capability to intercept non-compliant goods, detect emerging pest or disease threats, and identify any problems with the certification process in exporting countries. Local authority food standards officials have found examples of pork imported from EU countries with widespread African Swine Fever (ASF). Such countries are not allowed to export pork under EU rules due to the biosecurity threat posed by ASF. The controls in the BTOM, specifically the requirement for Export Health Certificates, would have prevented this: an official vet would refuse to certify such a consignment.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of funding a redevelopment of the Animal Plant and Health Agency Headquarters in Weybridge.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) provides high-quality surveillance, preparedness, detection and response to biosecurity threats from animal diseases - both those that might affect our ability to trade and those which pose a threat to animal and human health. To keep APHA’s Weybridge facility fit for purpose, support a major programme of essential maintenance, and secure the long-term future of critical capability, Defra established the Science Capability in Animal Health (SCAH) programme. This is backed by almost £400 million of funding in the current Spending Review period, including £200 million investment for SCAH and £197 million for critical works on site. The work which has commenced to safeguard and enhance the Weybridge site will enable its excellent scientists to continue at the forefront of science which protects the country, boosting our resilience against animal diseases.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of installing cameras on fishing vessels to gather data on marine mammal bycatch.

Defra acknowledged in several 2023 fisheries consultations that remote electronic monitoring (REM), including the installation of cameras, can tell us more about interactions between fishing activity and sensitive species. Specifically, our REM consultation set out our proposals in more detail. Using the information which REM provides will allow us to collaborate with the fishing industry to develop better methods for bycatch mitigation, supporting the UK Bycatch Mitigation Initiative.

Defra have funded several mammal focused remote electronic monitoring research and development programmes in recent years, including the ongoing Insight360 programme. This programme aims to develop a comprehensive 360° view of marine mammal bycatch, above and below fishing vessels. If successful, this programme will inform the implementation of technology, such as cameras, on fishing vessels to monitor marine mammal bycatch in the years to come.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department is providing for those affected by flooding.

On Saturday 6th January the Government announced a significant package of support that will be available to areas in England that have experienced exceptional localised flooding as a result of Storm Henk (2nd – 12th Jan).

DLUHC has activated the Flood Recovery Framework and its package of support measures include;

  • Community Recovery Grant: Eligible Local Authorities will receive funding equivalent to £500 per flooded household to support local recovery efforts.
  • Business Recovery Grant: DBT may provide eligible Local Authorities up to £2,500 per eligible small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), which has suffered severe impacts from flooding that cannot be recovered from insurance.
  • Council Tax Discount: The Government will reimburse eligible Local Authorities for the cost of a 100% council tax discount for a minimum of three months.

Following approval from Defra’s Secretary of State, Defra also activated the PFR Grant scheme and the Farming Recovery Fund.

The PFR Scheme is a package of funding for property owners directly flooded by a specific weather event that grants them up to £5,000 per property to install PFR measures. The Farming Recovery Fund pays out to farmers with uninsurable damage for grants of up to £25,000 for repair and reinstatement costs.

All schemes, with the exception of the Farming Recovery Fund, will be administered through local authorities, who will confirm application process to eligible households and businesses in the coming weeks.

The Farming Recovery Fund is administered by the Rural Payments Agency and not Local Authorities. Defra will confirm detailed eligibility for the Farming Recovery Fund over the coming weeks.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the number of bluetongue virus cases in cattle and sheep in (a) Kent and (b) Norfolk.

Upon detection of bluetongue disease in Kent in November during our routine surveillance, Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency officials took immediate and robust action, and an investigation is ongoing to understand the origin of the disease. The animals on the affected premises in Kent and Norfolk have been humanely culled to prevent further potential spread of disease and surveillance and epidemiological assessments are on-going.

We have also put Temporary Control Zones in place in Kent and Norfolk to prevent potential spread of disease. Within the Zones, there are restrictions on the movement of susceptible animals, except under licence. The Control Zones will stay in place until we have ascertained if there is any circulating virus and that removing it would not affect disease control. We will review the need for the Zones when we have completed surveillance. We continue to work closely with industry representatives to ensure that keepers are kept up to date with developments and that issues and concerns are addressed promptly.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will extend the neutering deadline for exempted XL bully dogs that are under seven months on 31st January 2024 to 30 June 2025.

Owners of XL Bully type dogs who want to keep their dogs after the end of the transition period should apply to Defra for a Certificate of Exemption before the 31 January. Owners must arrange for their dogs to be neutered by set deadlines for this Certificate to remain valid. We took the health and welfare implications of neutering at a young age into account and therefore set a neutering deadline of 31 December 2024 for dogs that are aged less than one year old on the 31 January 2024.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress his Department has made on (a) its investigation into and (b) the management of the cases of bluetongue virus in cattle in Kent.

After the finding of bluetongue in a single cow in Kent on 10 November, Defra and Animal and Plant Health Agency officials took immediate action, humanely culling the animal and putting in place a 10km Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) around the affected premises, whilst a veterinary investigation was carried out to understand the origin of the disease and check for potential spread.

Surveillance in the Kent TCZ has found another 8 cases, including two cases in animals that had been grazing outside of the zone. As a result, the TCZ has been extended as a precaution to prevent the potential spread of disease. Routine surveillance in higher risk counties has identified a further two cases of bluetongue in cattle on a farm in Norfolk - a 10km TCZ has been declared around the affected premises and both animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. This brings the total number of cases to 11 on six different holdings. There is currently no evidence that there is circulating virus in the GB midge population. Surveillance and our investigations are ongoing.

Within the TCZs, a range of controls are in place to prevent potential spread of disease, including restrictions on the movement of susceptible animals. Keepers of susceptible animals in the TCZs can apply for licences to move for most purposes including for welfare and to slaughter. We continue to work closely with industry representatives to ensure that keepers are kept up to date with developments and that issues and concerns are addressed promptly.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of swine influenza A viruses in pigs.

Swine influenza is endemic in the UK pig population, generally causing mild disease.

Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are providing specialist veterinary and scientific support to the UK Health Security Agency incident response.

APHA provides free testing for swine influenza in pigs to detect new and emerging strains.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the case of bluetongue virus in a cow in Kent on (a) biosecurity and (b) animal health.

Bluetongue is an exotic notifiable disease of ruminants (cattle, sheep, deer and goats) and camelids (llamas and alpacas). It is caused by a virus that is spread by biting midges. It does not affect people or food safety and cannot be spread in meat or milk. Defra's approach to bluetongue disease is based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice and is set out in the GB Bluetongue Virus Disease Control Strategy, supported by the Contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases of animals in England. These plans are in line with international standards of best practice for disease control.

Defra and Animal and Plant Health Agency officials took immediate action to safeguard animal health and prevent potential spread from the single infected cow: the animal which tested positive for Bluetongue serotype 3 (BTV3) was humanely culled and a 10km Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) has been put in place around the affected premises. Within the TCZ, a range of controls are in place to prevent potential spread of disease, including restrictions on the movement of susceptible animals, except under licence. A veterinary investigation and surveillance are underway to consider the origin of the disease and check for potential spread. There is no authorised vaccine for BTV3 so good biosecurity practices are essential - we are working with industry representatives to provide keepers with advice on how they can protect their animals from bluetongue.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of cases of feline infectious peritonitis in Cyprus on (a) biosecurity and (b) feline health in the UK.

A single nine-month-old kitten imported from Cyprus in August has been diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis as a result of being infected with a strain of Feline Coronavirus contracted in Cyprus. While this virus is estimated to have killed 8,500 cats in Cyprus (in the first half of this year, mostly in the large feral cat population) the risk to UK cats is very low.

We will continue to use our established systems to monitor feline coronavirus through our Veterinary Risk Group and Animal Disease Policy Group, and review our domestic or import policies should risks change.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she is taking steps with Cabinet colleagues to help support victims of flooding (a) by remedying flood damage and (b) with their mental health.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding her Department has provided to help protect communities at risk of flooding in the last 12 months.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help prepare communities for future flooding events.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to tackle fly tipping.

The PM’s Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan sets out how we will help councils take tougher action against those who fly-tip. We significantly raised the upper limit of on-the-spot fines in July, to £1,000 for fly-tipping and £600 for householders who give their waste to an unauthorised waste carrier. We have also increased transparency on the use of these fines by publishing league tables on fly-tipping enforcement and consulted stakeholders on ringfencing the money raised from fines for enforcement and clean up activity.

This builds on the £1.2m Defra has provided in grant funding to help more than 30 councils implement projects cracking down on fly-tipping. We intend to launch another grant opportunity for councils later this year.

With the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group, we are developing a toolkit to help councils and others tackle fly-tipping. So far, the group has published a guide on how to present robust cases to court and a new framework which sets out how to set up and run effective local partnerships. The toolkit, and other resources, are available online at https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/national-fly-tipping-prevention-group.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 28 July 2023 to Question 192229 on Horses: Exports, how many Equidae were recorded leaving the UK via (a) Dover and (b) other ports in each year from 2016 to 2023.

We do not hold data on horse exports by place of departure.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with Ofwat on the enforcement of regulations relating to storm overflows.

Defra ministers meet with Ofwat regularly to discuss a range of environmental delivery priorities for water companies, including Storm Overflows. This includes, for example, quarterly meetings with the chair and CEO of Ofwat to discuss performance of the sector and Ofwat enforcement, including on the use of Storm Overflows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of Ofwat's enforcement powers in relation to water companies.

Last year, Ofwat levied penalties of £132 million against 11 water companies, which is being refunded to customers this year. Additionally, Ofwat has also opened a major enforcement investigation into 6 water companies regarding their compliance at sewage treatment works.

The Government has backed steps to strengthen Ofwat’s enforcement powers. In March 2023, Ofwat were able to strengthen its ability to stop water companies making dividend payments if the company’s financial resilience is at risk thanks to powers provided in the Environment Act 2021. This also enables Ofwat to take enforcement action against companies that don’t link dividend payments to their performance for customers or the environment, or those failing to be transparent about their dividend pay-outs.

Furthermore, in May this year government trebled Ofwat’s enforcement capacity with an additional £11.3m increase in funding.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July to Question 191412 on Electronic Cigarettes: Waste Disposal, if her Department will collect information on the number of wildfires potentially caused by disposable vapes.

My officials are working closely with those in the Department for Health and Social Care, who have published a call for evidence on the impacts of vaping, including on the natural environment. We will publish the findings in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2023 to Question 191411 on Electronic Cigarettes: Waste Disposal, whether she plans to collect data on the potential harms of disposable vapes to animals.

My officials are working closely with those in the Department for Health and Social Care, who have published a call for evidence on the impacts of vaping, including on the natural environment. We will publish the findings in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of puppy yoga on animal welfare.

Defra maintains strong working relationships with key animal welfare organisations and sector groups. These relationships ensure that the department is kept abreast of developments in the pet sector especially where there is evidence of an emerging welfare issue.

Where appropriate, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) can be used to protect the welfare of animals in such settings as puppy yoga classes. The 2006 Act makes it an offence for anyone responsible for an animal to cause it unnecessary suffering, or to fail to provide for its welfare in line with current best practice.

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses were recorded entering the UK via (a) Dover and (b) other ports in each year from 2016 to 2023.

Port

2021

2022

2023

Birkenhead

6

0

0

Cairnryan

45

10

3

Dover

6672

8465

3497

Fishguard

100

243

100

Folkestone

743

1550

644

Harwich

488

601

341

Holyhead

7993

9485

4742

Hull

0

2

0

Immingham

13

3

12

Killingholme

101

112

41

Liverpool

0

9

2

Newcastle

0

2

0

Newhaven

3

37

3

Pembroke

597

952

411

Portsmouth

673

1197

464

Other

1058

939

215

Total

18,492

23,607

10,475

The data provided is in respect of GB imports only.

We do not hold data on the port of entry into GB prior to 1 January 2021 as this information is not available on TRACES NT System.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses were recorded leaving the UK via (a) Dover and (b) other ports in each year from 2016 to 2023.

The export management system does not record whether the animal is a horse or other breed of Equidae (e.g. donkey).

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information the Government holds on the number of wildfires potentially caused by disposable vapes.

We are aware that the use of disposable vaping products has increased substantially in recent years and are considering the implications of this trend for the environment. While we do not currently hold information on the number of wildfires caused by disposable vapes, my officials are working closely with those in the Department for Health and Social Care, who have recently launched a call for evidence on the impacts of vaping, including on the natural environment. We will use the responses to this to help gather our evidence base, which will in turn inform any future policy interventions to mitigate these impacts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential risks to animals of exposure to disposable vapes.

We are aware that the use of disposable vaping products has increased substantially in recent years and are considering the implications of this trend for the environment. While we do not currently hold information on the potential risks to animals from exposure to disposable vapes, my officials are working closely with those in the Department for Health and Social Care, who have recently launched a call for evidence on the impacts of vaping, including on the natural environment. We will use the responses to this to help gather our evidence base, which will in turn inform any future policy interventions to mitigate these impacts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June 2023 to Question 186538 on Animal and Plant Health Agency: Port of Dover, if she will provide a breakdown of the animals detained by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in the last 12 months by (a) species, (b) port and (c) reason for detention; and how many and what proportion of those animals were (i) leaving and (ii) entering the UK.

Animals leaving GB will be checked at their point of entry into the EU or the Rest of the World country. The data provided is for animals detained following an inspection when entering GB for the period from 1 May 2022 to 31 May 2023.

Animals can be detained for the following reasons:

  • Trade in Animals & Related Products Regulation (entering UK without correct documentation) – TARP
  • Rabies Import Order 1974 (not complying with requirements of this Order in place to prevent rabies entering the UK) - RIO
  • Welfare in Transport (unfit for travel due to ill health or pregnancy) -WIT

Dogs

DOGS

Dover

Coquelles

Folkestone

Harwich

Not specified

Total Detention Reason

RIO &TARP

16

2

15

0

0

33

RIO & WIT

55

2

3

0

13

73

RIO Only

89

31

17

0

10

147

TARP Only

25

3

3

4

0

35

WIT & TARP

37

16

5

0

0

58

WIT, TARP & RIO

38

7

13

0

1

59

WIT Only

19

23

4

0

0

46

Total at Port

279

84

60

4

24

Cats

CATS

Dover

Coquelles

Folkestone

Total Detention Reason

RIO & TARP

1

0

1

2

RIO & WIT

0

0

0

0

RIO Only

3

9

0

12

TARP Only

14

1

0

15

WIT & TARP

1

0

0

1

WIT, TARP & RIO

3

0

0

3

WIT Only

3

0

1

4

Total at Port

25

10

2

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she plans to answer Question 186536 tabled by the hon. Member for Penrith and the Border on 23 May for answer by 5 June 2023.

A response was published on 19 June 2023.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many Animal and Plant Health Agency staff are based at the Port of Dover on average each day in 2023; and what facilities those staff have to investigate vehicles containing animals suspected of contravening regulations on (a) smuggling and (b) biosecurity in (i) the Port of Dover and (ii) the area surrounding the port.

On an average day in 2023, 12 Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) staff are based at the Port of Dover working across 2 shifts. They also cover weekends, bank holidays and nights by on-call duty, responding to referrals from carriers or UK Border Force. Targeted checks are also performed outside of the routine shifts when information gathered suggest illegal landing(s) are suspected.

APHA have use of an office building within Dover Port. APHA share other facilities within each Port to complete inspections on vehicles. The inspection lanes and sheds are muti-agency facilities which APHA has full access of. APHA do not own any kennel facilities to detain non-compliant animals, these are provided by private businesses in the form of kennelling and APHA approved quarantines.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on how many occasions have officials working for the Animal and Plant Health Agency at the Port of Dover have (a) stopped and (b) detained vehicles containing animals suspected of contravening regulations on (i) smuggling and (ii) biosecurity in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

There is no data held on the total number of vehicles stopped and inspected in Dover, Eurotunnel, Harwich or Newhaven by the Dover APHA team.

Over the last 12 months, 218 vehicles have had 607 animals detained following an inspection by APHA at Dover Port, Eurotunnel or Harwich Port.

172 of the animals detained were for biosecurity contraventions – Rabies (Importation of, Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974. The remaining 435 were detained for other reasons including non-compliance under the Welfare of Animals (transport) (England) order 2006 and Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011.

55 animals (out of the 607) were detained for true smuggling (concealment).

No vehicles have been detained by APHA. APHA powers do not allow vehicles to be detained / seized.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s inspections regime at (a) the Port of Dover and (b) other UK ports for animals suspected of contravening regulations on (i) smuggling and (ii) biosecurity.

The inspections that take place at Dover, as well as other UK ports, are part of a broader end to end risk and or intelligence based import regime including official veterinary certification from exporting countries, Welfare in Transport Regulations and other regulatory frameworks that are used to manage biosecurity risks and the welfare of animals entering the country. These regulatory frameworks are based on current risk levels and can change if disease risk levels change.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at what locations animals suspected of contravening regulations on (a) smuggling and (b) biosecurity are inspected by the Animal and Plant Health Agency when identified by border officials at (i) Dover and (ii) other UK ports.

The term smuggling (concealment) is not common and reflective of the type of non-compliances identified. Smuggled (concealed) consignments will normally be identified by UKBF and referred to the APHA Dover Team for our response.

The APHA team in Dover carry out both targeted and random inspections within Dover Port and in Coquelles, France (Eurotunnel), also covering Harwich and Newhaven Ports. Checks are carried out within a secure area of the Ports. At Dover, Harwich and Newhaven, checks are performed by APHA upon arrival into GB. For Eurotunnel checks must be performed within the control zones in Coquelles, France.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to take steps to help mitigate the consequences of CF Fertilisers UK halting ammonia production at the Billingham plant, the sole fertiliser and carbon dioxide plant in the UK.

It is disappointing that CF Fertilisers has taken the decision to halt ammonia production at Billingham. However, since last autumn the CO2 market’s resilience has improved, with additional imports, further production from existing sources such as anaerobic digestion and bioethanol, and better stockpiles. We expect the supply of ammonia (from imports by CF Fertilisers), nitric acid and fertiliser to the UK market to be unaffected. While the Government continues to examine options for the market to improve resilience over the longer term, we urge industry to do anything it can to meet demand, which is in the best interest of businesses and the public.

National Fertiliser Supplies

CF Fertilisers produces ammonium nitrate fertiliser and nitric acid in the UK at Billingham. The Company expects to fulfil all ammonia and nitric acid contracts and all orders of Ammonium Nitrate contracted for delivery in the coming months. The supply and price of these products is a commercial matter for CF Fertilisers and we expect supply to continue.

Food Security

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 61% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.

Carbon Dioxide Supplies

The resilience of the UK’s CO2 supply has improved since last autumn and Defra do not expect any significant disruption to essential food supplies, such as meat production. We are in regular contact with representatives from the farming, food and drink sectors to help manage the situation. We will monitor the situation carefully and we are working with the meat industry to ensure that supplies of CO2 to the pig and poultry processing sector are maintained.

Defra is working with sector stakeholders to encourage contingency planning and resilience and understand that various CO2 supply companies in the UK are working on or have secured additional CO2 to mitigate shortages. We are confident CO2 stocks are secure for the coming winter. Since last autumn, the market’s resilience has improved, with additional imports, further production from existing domestic sources and better stockpiles.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on (a) national fertiliser supplies, (b) food security, and (c) carbon dioxide supplies for abattoirs and the food and drink sector of the CF Fertilisers halting ammonia production at the Billingham plant.

It is disappointing that CF Fertilisers has taken the decision to halt ammonia production at Billingham. However, since last autumn the CO2 market’s resilience has improved, with additional imports, further production from existing sources such as anaerobic digestion and bioethanol, and better stockpiles. We expect the supply of ammonia (from imports by CF Fertilisers), nitric acid and fertiliser to the UK market to be unaffected. While the Government continues to examine options for the market to improve resilience over the longer term, we urge industry to do anything it can to meet demand, which is in the best interest of businesses and the public.

National Fertiliser Supplies

CF Fertilisers produces ammonium nitrate fertiliser and nitric acid in the UK at Billingham. The Company expects to fulfil all ammonia and nitric acid contracts and all orders of Ammonium Nitrate contracted for delivery in the coming months. The supply and price of these products is a commercial matter for CF Fertilisers and we expect supply to continue.

Food Security

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 61% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.

Carbon Dioxide Supplies

The resilience of the UK’s CO2 supply has improved since last autumn and Defra do not expect any significant disruption to essential food supplies, such as meat production. We are in regular contact with representatives from the farming, food and drink sectors to help manage the situation. We will monitor the situation carefully and we are working with the meat industry to ensure that supplies of CO2 to the pig and poultry processing sector are maintained.

Defra is working with sector stakeholders to encourage contingency planning and resilience and understand that various CO2 supply companies in the UK are working on or have secured additional CO2 to mitigate shortages. We are confident CO2 stocks are secure for the coming winter. Since last autumn, the market’s resilience has improved, with additional imports, further production from existing domestic sources and better stockpiles.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to progress legislative proposals on pet theft.

The theft of a much-loved pet causes emotional trauma and impacts pet owners and families. The Government launched a Pet Theft Taskforce in May 2021 in response to concerns about a perceived increase in pet theft during COVID restrictions.

The Pet Theft Taskforce concluded that a new offence of pet abduction would best address concerns that the criminal law is only currently capable of treating the theft of a pet as a theft of property; and also, to recognise the potential impact on their welfare when they are taken by strangers.

The offence as currently drafted in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill focuses on dogs, with enabling powers. The inclusion of the enabling powers means that the Secretary of State will be able to extend the offence to other species of companion animal in the future by making regulations.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill completed its Commons Committee Stage in November. A carryover motion was passed by the House on 25 April 2022. The Bill will continue its passage as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of increased reported acts of (a) canine blood sampling, (b) canine artificial insemination and (c) other veterinary surgery being carried out by laypersons and not veterinary surgeons.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 prohibits anyone who is not a veterinary surgeon registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) from undertaking any surgical procedure. Concerns about a person’s legitimacy to practice should be reported to the RCVS as Regulator for the Act. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires owners or handlers of animals to protect them from harm and to provide for their welfare in line with good practice. A breach of these provisions may lead to imprisonment, a fine, or both.

The 2006 Act is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs which provides owners and keepers with general welfare information, including a specific section on how to protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease. That section of the Code of Practice recommends owners seek veterinary advice before breeding their dogs and that owners should take all reasonable steps to ensure that they are able to provide the care required during pregnancy.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of the reported increase in unregulated canine fertility clinics that are not operating under veterinary supervision.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 prohibits anyone who is not a veterinary surgeon registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) from undertaking any surgical procedure. Concerns about a person’s legitimacy to practice should be reported to the RCVS as Regulator for the Act. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires owners or handlers of animals to protect them from harm and to provide for their welfare in line with good practice. A breach of these provisions may lead to imprisonment, a fine, or both.

The 2006 Act is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs which provides owners and keepers with general welfare information, including a specific section on how to protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease. That section of the Code of Practice recommends owners seek veterinary advice before breeding their dogs and that owners should take all reasonable steps to ensure that they are able to provide the care required during pregnancy.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he is taking steps to encourage investment in plastic reprocessing facilities in Cumbria.

From April this year the Government introduced a Plastic Packaging Tax on plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. This will provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for this material and also give the private sector the certainty to invest in more recycling capacity, including in Cumbria.

The Government has also stimulated the development of industry through support for research and innovation notably through a package of over £100 million to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund and Resource Action Fund for research and development, including £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also put £60 million of funding into the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the resilience of carbon dioxide supplies for use in abattoirs.

Towards the end of 2021, approximately 80% of UK carbon dioxide (CO2) was sourced from a single UK producer. The market has now diversified and reliance on a single producer has now diminished. Currently, only 42% of supply comes from this producer, with the rest of CO2 supply met by other producers ranging from biofuel plants, anaerobic digestion plants (AD) and European imports. In addition, the Government is supporting the further diversification of the market though work to ensure that CO2 from AD plants meets food and beverage or industrial grade standards.

All major slaughterhouses were surveyed earlier this year on their CO2 resilience. The majority of these slaughterhouses have mitigation strategies in place or do not use CO2. The Government continues to analyse the situation to ensure that UK food and drink businesses and abattoirs, are able to secure CO2.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the resilience of carbon dioxide supplies for the food and drink sectors.

Towards the end of 2021, approximately 80% of UK carbon dioxide (CO2) was sourced from a single UK producer. The market has now diversified and reliance on a single producer has now diminished. Currently, only 42% of supply comes from this producer, with the rest of CO2 supply met by other producers ranging from biofuel plants, anaerobic digestion plants (AD) and European imports. In addition, the Government is supporting the further diversification of the market though work to ensure that CO2 from AD plants meets food and beverage or industrial grade standards.

All major slaughterhouses were surveyed earlier this year on their CO2 resilience. The majority of these slaughterhouses have mitigation strategies in place or do not use CO2. The Government continues to analyse the situation to ensure that UK food and drink businesses and abattoirs, are able to secure CO2.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the National Audit Office's report on Improving the UK's science capability for managing animal diseases, what steps the Government plans to take to (a) support and (b) improve animal disease monitoring and prevention through development and upgrade of the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s Weybridge site.

The Government is committed to the strongest possible standards of protection against animal diseases. It is investing £1.4 billion (including £200 million in this Spending Review period) to secure the long-term future of the Weybridge facility. This substantial investment recognises the essential role of this laboratory, and will enable its excellent scientists to continue to protect the country, boosting our resilience and strengthening our understanding of health risks to, and from, animals and plants.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the announcement of the closure of CF Industries’ carbon dioxide and fertiliser plant in Ince, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure sufficient carbon dioxide and fertiliser supply in the UK.

We understand this will be distressing news for CF Industries' workers and their families. We are in regular contact with the company and stand ready to support those impacted.

The proposed closure of their Cheshire plant is a commercial decision for CF Industries, it will not impact supplies of CO2. The Billingham plant remains operational.

We source imports of fertiliser and carbon dioxide from a globalised market from a wide range of countries, and continue to produce it domestically at Billingham. The Government continues to analyse the situation to ensure that UK businesses are able to secure fertilisers and carbon dioxide.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the closure of CF Industries' Ince plant on supplies of fertiliser and carbon dioxide for the UK.

We understand this will be distressing news for CF Industries' workers and their families. We are in regular contact with the company and stand ready to support those impacted.

The proposed closure of their Cheshire plant is a commercial decision for CF Industries, it will not impact supplies of CO2. The Billingham plant remains operational.

We source imports of fertiliser and carbon dioxide from a globalised market from a wide range of countries, and continue to produce it domestically at Billingham. The Government continues to analyse the situation to ensure that UK businesses are able to secure fertilisers and carbon dioxide.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to stop sewage discharges in Cumbria.

Restoring water quality in Cumbria and across England is a Government priority. The Environment Agency (EA) is currently working with the water sector to tackle threats to the water environment in Cumbria and reduce nutrient inputs into Windermere. For example, the EA has been working closely with United Utilities on delivering wastewater and agriculture interventions on the River Petteril catchment.

We are going further and faster than any other government to protect our rivers in Cumbria and across England. We have recently launched our consultation on new legally binding targets for water, which will provide a strong mechanism for driving long-term environmental outcomes. We have doubled investment in the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme to £30 million to help reduce impacts from agriculture, and the EA is hiring 50 more inspectors to ensure action is taken against non-compliance.

We have also launched our consultation on the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, which proposes that water companies must completely eliminate all ecological harm to the environment from storm sewage discharges. The plan will revolutionise how water companies tackle sewage discharges and will represent the largest investment and delivery programme in tackling storm sewage discharges in history.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help improve water quality in Cumbria.

Restoring water quality in Cumbria and across England is a Government priority. The Environment Agency (EA) is currently working with the water sector to tackle threats to the water environment in Cumbria and reduce nutrient inputs into Windermere. For example, the EA has been working closely with United Utilities on delivering wastewater and agriculture interventions on the River Petteril catchment.

We are going further and faster than any other government to protect our rivers in Cumbria and across England. We have recently launched our consultation on new legally binding targets for water, which will provide a strong mechanism for driving long-term environmental outcomes. We have doubled investment in the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme to £30 million to help reduce impacts from agriculture, and the EA is hiring 50 more inspectors to ensure action is taken against non-compliance.

We have also launched our consultation on the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, which proposes that water companies must completely eliminate all ecological harm to the environment from storm sewage discharges. The plan will revolutionise how water companies tackle sewage discharges and will represent the largest investment and delivery programme in tackling storm sewage discharges in history.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to launch a call for evidence on the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering prior to the introduction of the revised GBSF planned for Summer 2022.

We will be consulting on public sector food and catering policy following publication of the Food Strategy White Paper due to launch shortly. The consultation will seek views on ways to promote greater take-up of local, and sustainable produce and make public procurement more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The consultation will be an exciting opportunity for producers and consumers of public sector food to have their say and make suggestions to help shape future policy. We look forward to receiving input to the consultation from the sector, and more information will be released in due course once the consultation date has been confirmed.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the National Food Strategy White Paper will be published.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy will set out the Government's ambition and priorities for the food system, considering the evidence set out in Henry Dimbleby's independent review and building on additional topics.

We are actively collaborating across Government to cover the entire food system and consider the unforeseen challenges that the agri-food sector has faced this last year since the independent review was published.

We expect to publish the Government Food Strategy shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to improve animal welfare and biosecurity following the consultation on Commercial and Non-Commercial Movement of Pets into Great Britain.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June with second reading on 25 October. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an eight-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. This included proposals to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement into Great Britain of puppies under the age of six months, heavily pregnant dogs and dogs which have been subjected to low welfare practices such as ear cropping or tail docking. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary response in due course. This will allow us to take onboard the views of the public and interested groups on puppy smuggling and low welfare imports in order to shape our future policy.

Defra has no immediate plans to change the animal health requirements for pets entering Great Britain. Defra continues to monitor the disease situation carefully and our future policy will be guided by risk assessment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to raise to six months the minimum age for cats and dogs to be transported into the UK.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June with second reading on 25 October. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an eight-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. This included a proposal to raise the minimum age dogs can be non-commercially or commercially imported into Great Britain from 15 weeks to six months. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary response in due course. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle puppy farming in the UK.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the licence requirements for animal related activities such as pet selling or dog breeding. They therefore hold details of the enforcement activity being undertaken in their area, including information relating to low-welfare and illegal breeding activity. This Government takes the issue of low-welfare and illegal supply of puppies very seriously. Significant steps have already been taken to improve and update the laws on dog breeding in England to crack down on unscrupulous breeders who breed dogs purely for financial greed at the expense of animal welfare.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs and/or who breeds three or more litters in a twelve-month period needs to have a valid licence from their local authority. Licensees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards, including provisions to protect dogs from being bred from too often or at an early age, which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. Any licensee advertising dogs for sale will need to include their licence number in the advert and specify the local authority who issued the licence. Additional requirements placed on advertisements include that the age of the dog for sale must be displayed along with a recognisable photograph.

We banned the commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England from 6 April 2020. This ban aims to disrupt the low-welfare trade that supports puppy farming by preventing pet shops, pet dealers and other commercial outlets from selling these animals in England unless they themselves have bred them. It means anyone looking to get a puppy must buy direct from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead.

Meanwhile my department maintains a national communications campaign (Petfished) to raise awareness of issues associated with low-welfare and illegal supply of pets. This includes providing clear signposting to where responsible breeders and rehoming centres can be found and encouraging prospective buyers to research the seller thoroughly before they visit and decide to purchase. The campaign provides a list of red flags for buyers to look out for when searching for a pet online. More information can be found here: https://getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk (opens in a new tab).

We have also endorsed The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), which was created to combat growing concerns about the irresponsible advertising of pets for sale, rehoming and exchange, and backed a set of minimum standards that PAAG developed, which several of the UK’s largest classified websites have agreed to meet.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

The Government launched a consultation on 21 August on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, including our proposal to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement of puppies under the age of six months into Great Britain. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the presence of puppy farming in the UK.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the licence requirements for animal related activities such as pet selling or dog breeding. They therefore hold details of the enforcement activity being undertaken in their area, including information relating to low-welfare and illegal breeding activity. This Government takes the issue of low-welfare and illegal supply of puppies very seriously. Significant steps have already been taken to improve and update the laws on dog breeding in England to crack down on unscrupulous breeders who breed dogs purely for financial greed at the expense of animal welfare.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs and/or who breeds three or more litters in a twelve-month period needs to have a valid licence from their local authority. Licensees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards, including provisions to protect dogs from being bred from too often or at an early age, which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. Any licensee advertising dogs for sale will need to include their licence number in the advert and specify the local authority who issued the licence. Additional requirements placed on advertisements include that the age of the dog for sale must be displayed along with a recognisable photograph.

We banned the commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England from 6 April 2020. This ban aims to disrupt the low-welfare trade that supports puppy farming by preventing pet shops, pet dealers and other commercial outlets from selling these animals in England unless they themselves have bred them. It means anyone looking to get a puppy must buy direct from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead.

Meanwhile my department maintains a national communications campaign (Petfished) to raise awareness of issues associated with low-welfare and illegal supply of pets. This includes providing clear signposting to where responsible breeders and rehoming centres can be found and encouraging prospective buyers to research the seller thoroughly before they visit and decide to purchase. The campaign provides a list of red flags for buyers to look out for when searching for a pet online. More information can be found here: https://getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk (opens in a new tab).

We have also endorsed The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), which was created to combat growing concerns about the irresponsible advertising of pets for sale, rehoming and exchange, and backed a set of minimum standards that PAAG developed, which several of the UK’s largest classified websites have agreed to meet.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

The Government launched a consultation on 21 August on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, including our proposal to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement of puppies under the age of six months into Great Britain. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to introduce a 12 week wait period post rabies vaccination for small animals entering the UK.

The Government launched a consultation on 21 August on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) into Great Britain, including our proposal to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement of puppies under the age of six months into Great Britain. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

Defra has no immediate plans to change the import health requirements in relation to rabies for pets entering Great Britain. Recent quantitative risk assessments have concluded that the risk of a pet animal with rabies entering the UK under the pet travel rules is very low. Defra continues to monitor the disease situation carefully and our future policy will be guided by risk assessment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to re-introduce the rabies titre test for entry of small animals to the UK.

The Government launched a consultation on 21 August on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) into Great Britain, including our proposal to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement of puppies under the age of six months into Great Britain. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

Defra has no immediate plans to change the import health requirements in relation to rabies for pets entering Great Britain. Recent quantitative risk assessments have concluded that the risk of a pet animal with rabies entering the UK under the pet travel rules is very low. Defra continues to monitor the disease situation carefully and our future policy will be guided by risk assessment.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward proposals to reintroduce the requirement for small animals to be treated for tapeworm before entering the UK.

Defra has no immediate plans to amend the tapeworm requirements for dogs, cats and ferrets entering Great Britain. However, we remain aware of the concerns around tapeworm and our future policy will be guided by risk assessment.

There are no plans to introduce tapeworm treatment to imports of other small animals.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to reintroduce the requirement for small animals to be treated for ticks before entering the UK.

Tick surveillance has shown that tick distribution and abundance is changing throughout the UK for many reasons, including habitat and climate change. Small numbers of localised infestations with non-native tick species have been reported in recent years. For these reasons, Defra strongly encourages pet owners to treat their pets to safeguard their animals against ticks and tick-transmitted diseases when travelling abroad.

Defra has no immediate plans to amend the tick controls for dogs, cats or ferrets entering into Great Britain. However, we remain aware of the concerns around ticks and tick-borne disease, and future policy will be guided by risk assessment.

There are no plans to introduce tick treatment to imports of other small animals.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) increasing the age at which puppies can be imported into the UK to six months and (b) reintroducing the requirement for dogs to have a rabies blood test and wait period equivalent to the incubation period of rabies before entry into the UK.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

The Government launched a consultation on 21 August on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, including our proposal to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement of puppies under the age of six months into Great Britain. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

Defra has no immediate plans to change the import health requirements in relation to rabies for pets entering Great Britain. Recent quantitative risk assessments have concluded that the risk of a pet animal with rabies entering the UK under the pet travel rules is very low. Defra continues to monitor the disease situation carefully and our future policy will be guided by risk assessment.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cats entering the UK commercially were under six months of age in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

Prior to 2021 TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) was used to record imports of animal/animal product movements into the UK. TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal movements into and throughout the EU.

Following the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU, all imports are notified via IPAFFs with the relevant information required. The data collected previously under TRACES and now IPAFFS covers all commercially imported cats and dogs, including commercial kittens, rescue cats and kittens, research cats and unaccompanied pets. The number of animals imported into the Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) is recorded on these systems but not the age of animals. Therefore, unfortunately we are unable to provide this level of data.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cats entering the UK non-commercially were under six months of age in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

We operate one of the most rigorous and robust pet travel checking regimes in Europe. All non-commercial dogs, cats and ferrets entering Great Britain on approved routes (every route other than ROI and NI) under the Pet Travel rules undergo 100% documentary and identity checks by authorised pet checkers.

There are numerous approved routes into the UK by which pets can travel. These diverse routes are managed by independent pet checkers and by a variety of carriers including ferries, air travel and trains. Pet checkers and carriers independently record the number of how many cats, dogs, ferrets and assistance dogs have travelled and are required to record additional details of the animal where non-compliance is discovered. They may also independently record identifying details for their own records.

The data regarding the Pet Travel Rules is based on information provided by checkers employed by approved carriers of pet animals. Raw data on the number of animals travelled via each authorised pet checker or carrier is provided to the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Border Force to enable effective enforcement action. This new system, with carrier captured data, records the number of pet animals entering the country more accurately than the previous legacy database (Pets database) which was initially deployed in 2006, but it is not a requirement to record the age of the animals travelling on those routes. Therefore, we cannot provide this data.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses left the UK for France in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of equines exported from the UK to France from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Equines travelled on an ITAHC or EHC

Equines travelled on a DOCOM

Total

Jan 2020

71

106

177

Feb 2020

48

120

168

Mar 2020

58

114

172

April 2020

26

115

141

May 2020

18

76

94

June 2020

30

418

448

July 2020

29

337

366

Aug 2020

91

198

289

Sept 2020

36

195

231

Oct 2020

96

274

370

Nov 2020

61

78

139

Dec 2020

82

241

323

Jan 2021

8

N/A

8

Feb 2021

79

N/A

89

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animals entered the UK from the EU in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of live animals imported from the EU to the UK from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Live Animals

Jan 2020

1,480,131

Feb 2020

870,907

Mar 2020

1,357,395

April 2020

1,297,715

May 2020

1,540,619

June 2020

1,586,510

July 2020

1,046,970

Aug 2020

823,823

Sept 2020

1,145,903

Oct 2020

1,263,498

Nov 2020

939,216

Dec 2020

823,948

Jan 2021

12,169,207

Feb 2021

110,935,911

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animals left the UK for the EU in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of live animals exported from the UK to the EU from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Live Animals

Jan 2020

2,588,293

Feb 2020

1,911,125

Mar 2020

2,073293

April 2020

2,862,619

May 2020

2,239,639

June 2020

3,009,449

July 2020

2,158,253

Aug 2020

2,347,465

Sept 2020

1,990,329

Oct 2020

2,066,370

Nov 2020

1,356,446

Dec 2020

1,031,599

Jan 2021

N/A

Feb 2021

N/A

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

There are no records of individual animal numbers travelling from the UK to the EU for 2021.

EHC Online does have a section for APHA to note the total number of animals exported, but as we have changed the requirement for certified copies to be returned, this information can only be captured for livestock and camelids.

Export Health Certification issued using the new EHC Online service contains a module for Certifying Officers (CO) to record when they have approved, rejected or cancelled a certificate. As a result, APHA no longer routinely require COs to return certified copies of EHC to APHA. APHA can no longer provide data on the exact number of live animals being exported from Great Britain to the EU.

The EHC Online service was enhanced in February 2021 to include an area for APHA to record the total number of animals exported on an EHC, but this data field will only be completed by APHA for exports of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and camelids where there remains a requirement for the return of a certified copy of the EHC. The return of certified copies of these EHCs remains due to legislative requirements for the UK to trace and report the export of animals form a holding where a disease outbreak has occurred post-export.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses entered the UK from the EU in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of equines imported from the EU to the UK from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Equines

Jan 2020

284

Feb 2020

283

Mar 2020

310

April 2020

72

May 2020

182

June 2020

361

July 2020

278

Aug 2020

379

Sept 2020

363

Oct 2020

433

Nov 2020

464

Dec 2020

379

Jan 2021

258

Feb 2021

801

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses entered the UK from France in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of equines imported from France to the UK from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Equines travelled on an ITAHC or EHC

Equines travelled on a DOCOM

Total

Jan 2020

18

148

166

Feb 2020

15

102

117

Mar 2020

17

112

129

April 2020

4

61

65

May 2020

18

201

219

June 2020

22

73

95

July 2020

23

84

107

Aug 2020

27

70

97

Sept 2020

28

78

106

Oct 2020

37

145

182

Nov 2020

23

112

135

Dec 2020

27

187

214

Jan 2021

61

N/A

61

Feb 2021

244

N/A

244

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs entered the UK from the Republic of Ireland in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of dogs imported from the Republic of Ireland to the UK from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Dogs

Jan 2020

694

Feb 2020

658

Mar 2020

467

April 2020

99

May 2020

309

June 2020

480

July 2020

461

Aug 2020

449

Sept 2020

640

Oct 2020

572

Nov 2020

508

Dec 2020

477

Jan 2021

97

Feb 2021

532

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses left the UK for the EU in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of equines exported from the UK to the EU from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Equines

Jan 2020

495

Feb 2020

422

Mar 2020

389

April 2020

295

May 2020

364

June 2020

542

July 2020

309

Aug 2020

506

Sept 2020

333

Oct 2020

395

Nov 2020

242

Dec 2020

320

Jan 2021

344

Feb 2021

991

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animals entered Great Britain from Northern Ireland in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of live animals imported from Northern Ireland to Great Britain from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Live Animals

Jan 2020

7554

Feb 2020

9147

Mar 2020

13644

April 2020

7397

May 2020

6918

June 2020

8225

July 2020

7230

Aug 2020

6687

Sept 2020

8219

Oct 2020

3630

Nov 2020

3696

Dec 2020

4534

Jan 2021

16

Feb 2021

32

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

The data is correct according to APHA records. However, APHA is now receiving an increased number of Importer Notifications that do not specify country of origin of the consignment. This may account in the reduction of figures for January and February.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs entered the UK from the EU in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of dogs imported from the EU to the UK from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Dogs

Jan 2020

3810

Feb 2020

3391

Mar 2020

1987

April 2020

934

May 2020

4,90

June 2020

5202

July 2020

6309

Aug 2020

5273

Sept 2020

6826

Oct 2020

7031

Nov 2020

6944

Dec 2020

8293

Jan 2021

1225

Feb 2021

5923

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animals entered the UK from the Republic of Ireland in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of live animals imported from the Republic of Ireland to the UK from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Live Animals

Jan 2020

1,250,272

Feb 2020

406,040

Mar 2020

7,757,702

April 2020

9,117,860

May 2020

7,263,557

June 2020

2,868,940

July 2020

1,108,790

Aug 2020

1,341,426

Sept 2020

620,357

Oct 2020

207,214

Nov 2020

793,702

Dec 2020

725,924

Jan 2021

2,107,612

Feb 2021

2,649,697

This data was extracted from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses travelled between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and France under the Tripartite Agreement in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of equines exported from the UK to France and the Republic of Ireland from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

UK to France

France to UK

Jan 2020

106

148

Feb 2020

120

102

Mar 2020

114

112

April 2020

115

61

May 2020

76

201

June 2020

418

73

July 2020

337

84

Aug 2020

198

70

Sept 2020

195

78

Oct 2020

274

145

Nov 2020

78

112

Dec 2020

241

187

Jan 2021

N/A

N/A

Feb 2021

N/A

N/A

When the TPA was renegotiated between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and France it was decided that there would be no requirement for certification and/or electronic moves to be recorded between the UK and the Republic of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the UK. Therefore, there are no records held on the number of TPA equidae moves between the UK and the Republic of Ireland on any APHA database or TRACES.

There are no figures for 2021 as the Tripartite Agreement ended when the UK exited the EU on 31 December 2020.

This data was extracted from the TRACES. TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by the APHA from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses entered Great Britain from Northern Ireland in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has completed a report in the Trade Control and Expert System and the Post Import Management System, and has not identified any matching consignments of these imports for 2020 or 2021.

When the TPA was renegotiated between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and France it was decided that there would be no requirement for certification and/or electronic moves to be recorded between the UK and the Republic of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the UK. Therefore, there are no records held on the number of TPA equidae moves between the UK and the Republic of Ireland on any APHA database or TRACES.

This was also the case for all other moves of unregistered Equidae between to UK and Republic of Ireland. As part of the TPA renegotiations, it was determined that no paperwork was required for these moves either. Therefore APHA does not hold any records on these movements.

From 1 January 2021, these agreements ceased and export health certification is required for all Equidae moves between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs entered Great Britain from Northern Ireland in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

APHA have competed a report in the Trade Control and Expert System and the Post Import Management System, and have not identified any matching consignments of these imports for 2020 or 2021.

As dogs from Northern Ireland moving to Great Britain do not require any notification or health certification, we are not able to provide any data regarding this.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses entered the UK from the Republic of Ireland in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency has completed a report in the Trade Control and Expert System and has not identified any matching consignments of these imports for 2020.

The following information is for 2021:

Month

Total Number of Equines

Jan 2021

91

Feb 2021

235

There are no records of movements for 2020. The UK, Republic of Ireland and France all formed the Tripartite Agreement and there was no requirement for certification or electronic moves to be recorded. From 1 January 2021,this agreement ceased and export health certification is required for all Equidae moves between the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses left the UK for the Republic of Ireland in each month from January 2020 to February 2021 inclusive.

The number of equines exported from the UK to the Republic of Ireland from January 2020 to February 2021 are as follows:

Month

Total Number of Equines

Jan 2021

88

Feb 2021

471

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has completed a report in Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) and has not identified any matching consignments of these imports for 2020.

There are no records of movements for 2020. The UK, Republic of Ireland and France all formed the Tripartite Agreement and there was no requirement for certification and/or electronic moves to be recorded. From 1 January 2021, this agreement ceased and export health certification is required for all Equidae moves between the UK and Republic of Ireland.

This data was extracted from the TRACES. TRACES is a European Commission system employed by EU member states to facilitate and record animal/animal product movements into and throughout the EU.

This response has been compiled by APHA from data provided by third parties, and as such is reliant on the providers for the accuracy of the information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for the equine population in the UK of the recent equine herpes virus 1 outbreak in Europe.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Newton Abbot on 11 March 2021, PQ UIN 162616.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with the Leader of the House on parliamentary scrutiny of trade agreements including the Australia agreement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 11th June 2021 to Question UIN: 7771.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will take steps to ensure that animal welfare clauses or chapters are inserted into the Australia trade agreement.

Prime Ministers Johnson and Morrison secured an historic free trade agreement on 15 June at Number 10 Downing Street. The Government expects to publish an agreement document outlining what has been agreed for Agreement in Principle (AiP) in the coming days.

This agreement with Australia secures positive steps on animal welfare. The Government has secured a non-regression clause with Australia to ensure that neither country lowers current or future animal welfare protections. The Government has also secured commitments to cooperate together on animal welfare internationally.

The UK produces high quality, premium produce that is globally sought after, and maintaining high domestic standards is a red line in all the UK’s trade negotiations, as the Government works to bring new export opportunities to British farmers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether clauses or chapters on animal welfare may be inserted into the Australia Trade Agreement.

Prime Ministers Johnson and Morrison secured an historic free trade agreement on 15 June at Number 10 Downing Street. The Government expects to publish an agreement document outlining what has been agreed for Agreement in Principle (AiP) in the coming days.

This agreement with Australia secures positive steps on animal welfare. The Government has secured a non-regression clause with Australia to ensure that neither country lowers current or future animal welfare protections. The Government has also secured commitments to cooperate together on animal welfare internationally.

The UK produces high quality, premium produce that is globally sought after, and maintaining high domestic standards is a red line in all the UK’s trade negotiations, as the Government works to bring new export opportunities to British farmers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when the Trade and Agriculture Commission will be constituted and will able to scrutinise forthcoming trade agreements.

On 7 June, the Department launched a call for expressions of interest for expert advisors to join the new Trade and Agriculture Commission. The Commission will be established in time to scrutinise the planned Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia, to inform parliamentary scrutiny following signature. It will also scrutinise other planned FTAs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will take steps to ensure that produce from animals that have had (a) high use of antimicrobials or (b) use of growth promoters will not be permitted to enter the UK under trade deals.

All agri-food products imported into the UK under existing or future free trade agreements will, as now, have to meet the UK’s food safety and other Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standard requirements for imports. These include clear controls on limits of veterinary medicine residues in meat and other animal products. That will not change under any trade deal.

The UK is a world leader in the battle against antimicrobial resistance – significantly cutting use of antibiotics in farming, with sales of antibiotics for livestock reduced by 40% over the five years to the end of 2018. The UK will ensure that Antimicrobial Resistance remains a global priority by continuing to lead international policy dialogue at the highest political levels through the G7, G20 and other international and regional fora, and as a major supporter of the United Nations and wider multilateral system.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to help support individuals that wish to donate vehicles to Ukraine.

Yes. Whilst the Government does not provide direct assistance to individuals looking to donate their vehicle to Ukraine we are supportive of efforts to make routes to donation available.

Following the Transport Secretary's letter to the Mayor of London on 31 January, the Mayor has now announced vehicles can be donated to Ukraine through TfL’s ULEZ scrappage scheme.

This will give ULEZ scrappage scheme applicants the option to donate suitable vehicles to Ukraine instead of scrapping them, and still receive the grant payment.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent fatal road accidents in (a) rural and (b) urban areas.

Britain’s roads are some of the safest in the world, but we are always looking at ways to help keep drivers and all road users safe. To date, £147.5 million has been allocated to Local Authorities (LAs) in England via the Government's Safer Roads Fund. This has been targeted at improving the safety of over 80 of the most high-risk, rural, and urban ‘A’ roads.

The Department for Transport is working closely with Local Authorities (LAs) and the Road Safety Foundation to provide tailored safety interventions specific to each road’s risk; encouraging safe system principles and improving infrastructure for active travel. This scheme is expected to save 2,200 lives over the next 20 years and is already improving safety for all road users.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the ability of the rail industry to respond to recent storm events.

The Department is engaging regularly with Network Rail, train operating companies and the wider rail industry to ensure their seasonal preparedness plans are in place with clear mitigations outlined to minimise disruption due to storms.

Network Rail and train operators have well-established operational measures to manage services safely during incidents affecting railway operations, including extreme weather events.

In context, it has been a particularly stormy autumn and winter, with ten named storms this season so far.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of Cumberland Council's road safety policies on roads on which (a) major accidents and (b) fatalities have taken place.

The Department for Transport takes road safety for all road users seriously. The Department's road safety flagship project, the Safer Roads Fund, focuses on treating the highest risk A road sections. To date £147.5m has been invested in helping local authorities, alongside the Road Safety Foundation, improve the safety of England’s most high risk A roads.

Cumbria County Council was awarded £1.9m in 2018/19 and £7.4m in 2020/21 from the Safer Roads Fund for improvements to the A684 and A592. The Department assesses the plans submitted for this funding and monitors progress on implementation for those that have been allocated Safer Roads Funding. However, the Department has not otherwise made a specific assessment of the council’s road safety policies because the local council has responsibility for making decisions about local roads, based on its local knowledge and taking into account local needs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of Westmorland and Furness Council's road safety policies on roads on which (a) major accidents and (b) fatalities have taken place.

The Department for Transport takes road safety for all road users seriously. The Department's road safety flagship project, the Safer Roads Fund focuses on treating the highest risk A road sections. To date £147.5m has been invested in helping local authorities, alongside the Road Safety Foundation, improve the safety of England’s most high risk ‘A roads.

Cumbria County Council was awarded £1.9m in 2018/19 and £7.4m in 2020/21 from the Safer Roads Fund for improvements to the A684 and A592. The Department assesses the plans submitted for this funding and monitors progress on implementation for those that have been allocated Safer Roads Funding. However, the Department has not otherwise made a specific assessment of the council’s road safety policies because the local council has responsibility for making decisions about local roads, based on its local knowledge and taking into account local needs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of proposed train ticket office closures on disabled people living in rural areas.

When proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours, including closures, operators are required to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers who are disabled; and to include this in the notice of the proposal sent to other operators and passenger groups.

Together with industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide more help and advice in customer focused roles. No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes, and train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of proposed train ticket office closures on rural communities.

When proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours, including closures, operators are required to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers who are disabled; and to include this in the notice of the proposal sent to other operators and passenger groups.

Together with industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide more help and advice in customer focused roles. No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes, and train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of proposed train ticket office closures on elderly people living in rural areas.

When proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours, including closures, operators are required to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers who are disabled; and to include this in the notice of the proposal sent to other operators and passenger groups.

Together with industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide more help and advice in customer focused roles. No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes, and train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of proposed train ticket office closures on tourism in rural areas.

When proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours, including closures, operators are required to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers who are disabled; and to include this in the notice of the proposal sent to other operators and passenger groups.

Together with industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide more help and advice in customer focused roles. No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes, and train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of proposed train ticket office closures on the accessibility of transport in rural areas.

When proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours, including closures, operators are required to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers who are disabled; and to include this in the notice of the proposal sent to other operators and passenger groups.

Together with industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide more help and advice in customer focused roles. No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes, and train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Nov 2022
A66
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress his Department has made on implementing the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine scheme.

Good progress has recently been made on the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine scheme.

The planning application for the scheme was accepted by the Planning Inspectorate on 19 July. The examination of the application is due to commence next week and is expected to take six months.

On 13 October National Highways awarded contracts to the four contractors helping to develop the scheme.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking with the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to support the proposed movement of the A66 Trans-Pennine Project further north and away from local communities.

The Department continues to closely follow the development of the A66 Trans-Pennine project and is leading on the cross-Government stakeholder engagement. In parallel, National Highways regularly liaises with the local communities and stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Defence and Natural England (sponsored by DEFRA) on the project’s progress.

National Highways’ aim is to design the best scheme possible, taking into account all feedback and policy. Following feedback from the 2021 public consultation and from the recent targeted consultations with the local communities, National Highways has revisited a number of options, including moving sections of the Warcop road further north. This has resulted in the identification of the opportunity to dual the western section of the scheme directly to the north of the existing A66 rather than to the south as previously proposed (i.e. using the existing A66 largely as the westbound rather than the eastbound carriageway). There are a number of benefits to this and other changes. Further information can be found in the project’s March update brochure which is available on the scheme’s website.

24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of financial support provided to people on the State Pension.

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

In April, the State Pension saw its biggest ever rise, increasing by 10.1%. The full yearly amount of the basic State Pension will be over £3,050 higher, in cash terms, than in 2010. That’s £790 more than if it had been uprated by Prices, and £945 more than if it had been uprated by earnings (since 2010).

The Government understands the pressures people including pensioners are facing with the cost of living and has put in place a significant package of measures. To ensure stability and certainty for households, the Government is providing a further £26bn in cost-of-living support for 2023/24. This is a substantial package of support which recognises the current additional costs faced by pensioners.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help support people with increases in the cost of living.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and is taking action to help. Overall, we are providing total support of over £94bn over 2022-23 and 2023- 24 to help households and individuals with the rising cost of bills.

This includes up to £900 in Cost of Living Payments for households on eligible means-tested benefits. The next payment of £300 will be made between 31 October 2023 and 19 November 2023 for most people who are eligible, which follows on from the £301 payment issued in April 2023 to 8.3 million households. A further payment of £299 will be made by spring 2024 for those entitled. In addition, more than eight million pensioner households across the UK will receive an additional £300 Cost of Living Payment during winter 2023-24 paid as a top up to the winter fuel payment and 6.4 million individuals on eligible ‘extra-costs’ disability benefits have also received a further £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment.

For people who require additional support, in England, the Household Support Fund will continue until March 2024. This year long extension allows Local Authorities in England to continue to provide discretionary support to those most in need with the significantly rising cost of living. Local Authorities are expected to support households in the most need, and in particular those who may not be eligible for the other support Government recently made available but are nevertheless in need of support. In the case of Westmorland and Furness, the local authority has been allocated £3,045,591 for this period. The Devolved Administrations will receive consequential funding as usual to spend at their discretion.

From April, we uprated benefit rates and State Pensions by 10.1%, and in order to increase the number of households who can benefit from these uprating decisions the benefit cap levels also increased by the same amount.

To support those who are in work, from 1 April, the National Living Wage (NLW) increased by 9.7% to £10.42 an hour for workers aged 23 and over - the largest ever cash increase for the NLW.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to maintain the pensions triple lock.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is currently conducting his statutory annual review of State Pension and benefit rates. We cannot pre-empt the outcome of that review, which will be announced in due course.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to uprate benefits in line with inflation.

The Secretary of State is conducting his statutory annual review of State Pension and benefit rates. The outcome of the review will be announced shortly.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to help improve access to care homes in rural communities.

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

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to reduce waiting times for (a) urgent and (b) non-urgent referrals of patients from General Practice to hospitals in (i) Cumbria and (ii) England.

Cutting waiting lists is one of this Prime Minister’s top priorities. We are making good progress on tackling the longest waits, and ensuring patients get the care they need when they need it. That is why we have published the elective recovery plan, which sets clear ambitions to eliminate long waits for planned National Health Service treatment. The overall vision is to eradicate waits of longer than a year for elective care by March 2025.

To facilitate this across elective services, we are increasing activity, with plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25. This will expand capacity though creating a new network of community diagnostic centres, including three in Cumbria, and maximising all available independent sector capacity. We are managing demand through specialised advice in primary care and giving patients more control over where they receive their care. We are also increasing productivity through transforming outpatient services, developing new surgical hubs to increase theatre productivity, and working actively with trusts to support and challenge their performance.

The latest published figures show that the 62-day backlog has fallen 36% since its peak in the pandemic. The NHS introduced the Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS), which aims to ensure patients have cancer diagnosed or ruled out within 28 days of urgent suspected cancer referral from a general practice or screening services. Latest FDS performance was at 71.9% in November 2023 against the national standard of 75%.

To achieve the FDS target, NHS England are streamlining cancer pathways, including timed cancer pathways, to speed up diagnosis in the three key cancer pathways: lower gastrointestinal, prostate, and skin.

We are also implementing non symptom specific pathways for patients who present with non-specific symptoms, or combinations of non-specific symptoms, that can indicate several different cancers.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps her Department has taken to support hospices.

As part of the Health and Care Act 2022, the Government added palliative care services to the list of services an integrated care board (ICB) must commission, which will ensure a more consistent national approach and support commissioners in prioritising palliative and end of life care, including from hospices.

The majority of palliative and end of life care is provided by NHS staff and services. However, we also recognise the vital part that voluntary sector organisations, including hospices, play in providing support to people at end of life and their families. Most hospices are charitable, independent organisations which receive some statutory funding for providing services within the National Health Service. The amount of funding hospices receive is dependent on many factors, including what other statutory services are available within the ICB footprint. Charitable hospices provide a range of services which go beyond that which statutory services are legally required to provide. Consequently, the funding arrangements reflect this.

At a national level, NHS England supports children’s hospices through the Children and Young People’s hospice grant. It has confirmed that it will be renewing the grant for 2024/25, once again allocating £25 million of grant funding for children’s hospices using the same prevalence-based allocation approach as in 2022/23 and 2023/24.

The Government has provided additional funding to help deliver the one-off payments to eligible staff employed by non-NHS organisations, which employ their staff on dynamically linked Agenda for Change contracts. Organisations, such as hospices, were able to apply for the funding if they were able to show they had been negatively financially impacted by the pay deal, and that their staff are employed on dynamically linked Agenda for Change contracts.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to ensure that General Practices have adequate funding in (a) Penrith and The Border constituency and (b) Cumbria.

The majority of the Department’s funding is allocated to NHS England. In turn, NHS England allocates funding to integrated care boards (ICBs) for primary care, taking account of nationally agreed contracts, such as general practitioner (GP) contracts. The Department and NHS England set the contract and associated funding for GPs each year in consultation with the profession. ICBs have delegated responsibility for commissioning healthcare services, including GP services, for their populations.

In 2022/23, practices in NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB received £171.07 per registered patient and practices in NHS North East and North Cumbria ICB received £173.00 per registered patient. This is higher than the England average of £163.50 per registered patient.

Spending on GPs has risen by almost a fifth in real terms, or 19%, between 2017/18 and the most recent data in 2021/22, from £11.3 billion to £13.5 billion. The Government continues to invest in GPs to ensure it is sustainable in the long-term.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to support General Practices in rural areas.

Our Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care outlines how we will support general practices (GPs), including in rural areas, by empowering patients to manage their own health, implementing the Modern General Practice Access model, expanding community pharmacy services, and cutting bureaucracy to reduce workload.

We acknowledge that some areas of the country are experiencing recruitment and retention issues with regard to National Health Service GPs, and we are taking steps to address this. In 2016, the Government launched the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme, which has attracted hundreds of doctors to train in hard to recruit locations, including many rural areas, by providing a one-off financial incentive of £20,000.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the risk of cardiac arrest among young people.

The NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme tests for 11 specific physical conditions including congenital heart disease. All parents are also offered a physical examination of their baby within 72 hours of giving birth, which includes checking the baby for heart murmurs.

To improve survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases, on 29 December 2022 the Government announced a new £1 million one-off fund that will expand defibrillator access in the community. The Government is acting on the drivers of cardiovascular diseases, including smoking. We have set out plans to create the first smokefree generation and announced significant new funding to support current smokers.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department have taken to support the NHS to mitigate the impact of (a) flooding and (b) storms on the provision of healthcare.

The National Health Service has well established measures in place to prepare for, and respond to, flooding and storms. The Department for Health and Social Care works closely with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Met Office and the Environment Agency to monitor risks from storms and flooding. This information is shared with NHS England to support their planning and response activity.

Prior to flooding or storm events, notice is given through Environment Agency and Met Office warning systems. The Department for Health and Social Care coordinates with NHS England, the Environment Agency, and other cross-Government partners to monitor impacts and coordinate the response.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress he has made on investigation of the human case of influenza A(H1N2)v.

Since the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) identified a confirmed case of influenza A(H1N2)v, surveillance has been increased in parts of Northern Yorkshire, including expanding monitoring programmes in primary care and hospitals.

UKHSA and partner organisations are tracing contacts of the case and are offering testing. The source of their infection has not yet been ascertained. The individual concerned experienced a mild illness and has fully recovered.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will take steps to restrict the sale of high-strength nicotine pouches to people under 18.

Prevalence of nicotine pouches remains low, and whilst there is currently no age of sale restrictions on nicotine pouches, manufacturers do print age restrictions on their packs.

The UK Government and devolved administrations recently launched a consultation on our proposals for a smokefree generation. This includes whether the government should regulate other consumer nicotine products, such as nicotine pouches, under a similar regulatory framework as nicotine vapes. The consultation can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/creating-a-smokefree-generation-and-tackling-youth-vaping

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of restricting the supply of vape products to be only available through pharmacies to people with a prescription.

No formal assessment has been made. There are no medicinally licensed vaping products approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. As such, the Government is not currently considering making vaping products prescription-only.

6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July to Question 191416 on Electric Scooters: Injuries, if his Department has plans to collect data centrally on the number of injuries caused by e-scooters.

The Department has no specific plans to collect data centrally on the number of injuries caused by e-scooters.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many injuries have been recorded by the NHS related to e-scooters.

The information requested is not held centrally.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an estimate of the levels of (a) nickel, 9B0 chromium and (c) lead in vaping products.

No assessment has been made of the estimated levels of nickel, 9B0 chromium or lead in vaping products. However, the Government recently announced £3 million of funding for a new national illicit vaping enforcement unit to tackle illicit and underage vape sales across the country. This includes the testing of products thought to be non-compliant.

The Office of Health Improvements and Disparities has published detailed evidence updates on vapes (e-cigarettes) since 2014. These reports include systematic reviews of the respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer risks as well as reports on the risks from fires, explosions and poisonings, including relating to the harmfulness of cinnamaldehyde and other chemicals. The full report is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1107701/Nicotine-vaping-in-England-2022-report.pdf

Businesses supplying vapes and e-liquids to the United Kingdom market must ensure their products comply with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, including relating to the safety of their products. Local trading standards have enforcement powers to remove non-compliant products.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has produced guidance on ingredients and emission testing that companies making or importing e-cigarettes and e-liquids are required to follow, Chapter 3 - Emissions Guidance and Chapter 6 - Ingredient Guidance. This states that companies wishing to place their products on the UK market must submit information on key emissions and ingredients to the MHRA.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the harmfulness of (a) cinnamaldehyde and (b) other chemicals found in vaping products.

No assessment has been made of the estimated levels of nickel, 9B0 chromium or lead in vaping products. However, the Government recently announced £3 million of funding for a new national illicit vaping enforcement unit to tackle illicit and underage vape sales across the country. This includes the testing of products thought to be non-compliant.

The Office of Health Improvements and Disparities has published detailed evidence updates on vapes (e-cigarettes) since 2014. These reports include systematic reviews of the respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer risks as well as reports on the risks from fires, explosions and poisonings, including relating to the harmfulness of cinnamaldehyde and other chemicals. The full report is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1107701/Nicotine-vaping-in-England-2022-report.pdf

Businesses supplying vapes and e-liquids to the United Kingdom market must ensure their products comply with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, including relating to the safety of their products. Local trading standards have enforcement powers to remove non-compliant products.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has produced guidance on ingredients and emission testing that companies making or importing e-cigarettes and e-liquids are required to follow, Chapter 3 - Emissions Guidance and Chapter 6 - Ingredient Guidance. This states that companies wishing to place their products on the UK market must submit information on key emissions and ingredients to the MHRA.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department Has made an assessment of the potential impact on demand for vaping products of making such products available by prescription only.

No assessment has been made. There are no medicinally licensed vaping product approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. As such, the Government is not currently considering making vaping products prescription only.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the dementia diagnosis rate in Penrith and The Border constituency.

In December 2022, the recovery of the dementia diagnosis rate to the national ambition of 66.7% was included in the National Health Service priorities and operational planning guidance 2023/24. This reinforces the importance of dementia as a key priority for NHS England and provides a clear direction for integrated care boards to support delivery of timely diagnoses within systems.

North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board is undertaking a number of actions to improve the dementia diagnosis rate in Penrith and the borders. This includes ensuring every individual with a diagnosis of dementia is accurately coded on their patient record and streamlining dementia pathways across the area.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department are taking to support research into the causes of baby loss.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and is the largest public funder of health research in the United Kingdom.

The NIHR funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health focussing on the safety of maternity and neonatal services, and the national maternity ambition to halve maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths and brain injury by 2025.

Since 2011, NIHR Research Programmes have invested £21.5 million on 27 awards conducting research into miscarriage and stillbirth. Additionally, the NIHR Policy Research Programme funds a Policy Research Unit dedicated to Maternal & Neonatal Health & Care research which is based at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, and led by Professor Jenny Kurinczuk.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to stop vaping by under 18-year olds.

The Government has introduced a range of measures to prevent vapes being used by people under 18 years of age. The law restricts sales to over-18s only, limits nicotine content, refill bottle and tank sizes, and has specific requirements on labelling and through advertising restrictions.

To make young people aware of the risks of using vapes, in October 2022 we published new vaping content on the Talk to Frank and Better Health websites and developed a suite of resources for schools to use, including the recently published Year 9 lesson plan published by the PSHE Association. These can be found at the following link:

https://pshe-association.org.uk/resource/vaping?hsLang=en

The Department for Education (DfE) is also bringing forward the review of the relationships, sex and health education statutory guidance. DfE will consider whether content on vaping should be included in this.

14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the known medical risks of vaping.

The Department’s assessment of the medical risk of vaping is based upon a series of evidence reviews commissioned over the past several years. The latest, The Nicotine Vaping in England: 2022 evidence update report was published in September 2022.

This current report focuses predominantly on the potential health risks of vaping. It carried out reviews on biomarkers of exposure to nicotine and potential toxicants; biomarkers of potential harm to health cutting across several diseases, including cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases; biomarkers specifically associated with cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular or other health outcomes; poisonings; fires and explosions; nicotine and flavours.

The report concludes that in the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking, but that vaping is not risk-free, particularly for people who have never smoked.

7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential impact of vaping on people who do not smoke tobacco.

The Department has commissioned and published a series of evidence reviews on vaping which included an assessment on the impact of vaping on people that do not smoke tobacco. The final report of the series, Nicotine vaping in England published in September 2022, found that in the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking, but that vaping is not risk-free, particularly for people who have never smoked.

7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential impact of vaping on the health of young people.

Whilst the Department has not made a formal assessment on the impact of vaping on young people, we are clear that vapes should not be used by children under the age of 18 years old. Vapes are not risk-free, nicotine is highly addictive and can be harmful and there are unanswered questions on the effects of longer-term use.

1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to improve access to primary care in rural areas.

‘Our plan for patients’, announced in September 2022, outlined how we will bolster general practice teams with additional staff, give patients more options when they need care, meet oral health needs and increase access to National Health Service dental care, including in rural areas. We acknowledge that some areas of the country are experiencing recruitment and retention issues with regard to NHS dentistry and GPs and we are taking steps to address these.

The Pharmacy Access Scheme supports access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies by financially supporting those pharmacies. In 2016, the Government launched the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme, which has attracted hundreds of doctors to train in hard to recruit locations, including many rural areas, by providing a one-off financial incentive of £20,000.

In the Penrith and The Border constituency it is estimated that there was a 38.4% increase in total full-time equivalent clinical staff working in general practice in September 2022 compared to September 2019 (published data: General practice workforce estimates by constituency: 2019 to 2022).

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the cancer care backlog in (a) Penrith and The Border and (b) Cumbria.

The Department committed an additional £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million targeted Investment Fund made available last financial year, 2021/2022, to increase capacity in elective services, including for cancer care.

£2.3 billion was awarded at the Spending Review 2021 to transform diagnostic services over the next three years. Most of this will help increase the number of Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) up to 160 by March 2025. These new CDCs have included Penrith CDC (a large hub), which opened in October 2021.

Across Cumbria, the local Cancer Alliances work with together with hospitals, general practices, local authorities, charities, and other support organisations to detect cancer as early as possible, improve results for patients, and provide the best possible patient experience.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage uptake of the NHS Breast Screening Programme in (a) Penrith and The Border constituency and (b) Cumbria.

The Department and NHS England are committed to the recovery and improvement of screening uptake for breast screening nationally. As part of the Women’s Health Strategy, published in July 2022, £10 million funding was awarded to the NHS breast screening programme. This funding will provide 29 new mobile and static breast screening units as well as upgrades to existing units. Funding is now in place for National Health Service trusts to spend within the 2022/23 financial year

NHS Breast Screening Providers are also being encouraged to work with cancer alliances, primary care networks, NHS England regional teams and the voluntary sector, to bring together work to promote uptake of breast screening and take action to ensure as many people as possible can access services.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to work with NHS bodies in Cumbria to reduce surgery waiting times.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has successfully applied for funding from the Department’s Targeted Investment Fund to reduce waiting lists and increase capacity. The Trust has eliminated waiting times in excess of 104 weeks, is on schedule to remove waiting times of 78 weeks and reduce those waiting more than 52 weeks.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to work with NHS bodies in Cumbria to reduce ambulance waiting times in the region.

NHS England has allocated an additional £150 million for ambulance service pressures in 2022/23, supporting improvements to response times through additional call handler recruitment, retention and other funding requirements, including in Cumbria. The National Health Service is also investing £20 million to upgrade the ambulance fleet in each year to 2024/25, reducing its age profile, increasing productivity and reducing emissions.

NHS bed capacity will be increased by the equivalent of at least 7,000 general and acute beds to reduce waiting times for admission from accident and emergency and ambulance handover delays and improve ambulance response times. NHS England is also providing targeted support to some hospitals with the greatest delays in the handover of ambulance patients into hospitals to identify short and longer-term interventions.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the backlog of cases of people requiring diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Cumbria.

Cumbria stretches across both NHS England and NHS Improvement North East and Yorkshire, and NHS England and NHS Improvement North West.

Urgent cancer diagnostic and surgical cases were prioritised in north Cumbria during the COVID pressures, with clinics and operations being protected so urgent cases can be clinically prioritised. NHS England and NHS Improvement North East and Yorkshire have worked closely with partners within the Northern Cancer Alliance and created a Surgical Coordination Cell to ensure cancer surgeries were expedited across the region.

Additionally, a new Modular Endoscopy Unit opened at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle in November 2021 to expand capacity and ensure more timely appointment for patients. The £1.2 million modular unit will aim to see 500 patients a month over a six-month period and has sustained this trajectory to date since its launch.

The Cumberland team will also recruit four new cancer nursing specialists and is developing new pathways and developments, such as the launch of a Serious Non-Specific Symptoms Rapid Diagnostic Centre (RDCs) Pathway.

NHS England and NHS Improvement North West have worked with its clinical commissioning group to introduce RDCs in colorectal, upper gastrointestinal tract (UGI), hepatobiliary and cancers of unknown primary, with a prostate RDC also in development.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of GPs in Cumbria.

The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England and the profession to boost recruitment, address the reasons why doctors leave the profession, and encourage them to return to practice.

To boost recruitment, we have increased the number of general practitioner (GP) training places and in 2021/22, we saw a record 4,000 trainees, up from 2,671 in 2014.

The Targeted Enhanced Recruitment scheme (TERs) is a national incentive scheme that funds a £20,000 salary supplement to attract GP trainees to work in areas of the country, including in Cumbria. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams continue to deliver a number of projects at local levels through the GP Retention Fund.

The updated GP Contract Framework announced a number of new retention schemes alongside continued support for existing schemes for the general practice workforce. These include The GP Retention Scheme, The International Induction Programme, The Return to Practice Programme, the Fellowship Programme, the New to Partnership Payment and Supporting Mentors Scheme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of medical school places in England.

The Government has funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places each year for domestic students in England, which represented a 25% increase over three years. This expansion was completed in September 2020 and has delivered five new medical schools in England. In addition, the Government temporarily lifted the cap on medical school places for students who completed A-Levels in 2020 and in 2021 and who had an offer from a university in England to study medicine, subject to their grades.

The Government currently has no plans to increase the number of places beyond this.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of nurses in Cumbria.

We are committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament. This expanded nursing workforce will be available to support all National Health Service trusts in England, including Cumbria, through improving the domestic training, international recruitment and focusing on retention of existing staff. The Learning Support Fund provides non-repayable grants for student nurses studying in England, with all eligible students receiving at least £5,000 per year. We have also introduced an apprenticeship pathway from healthcare assistant to registered nurse.

In addition, the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust is expanding its nursing workforce, including working with the University of Cumbria to develop domestic recruitment and introducing support for overseas nurses.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of midwives in Cumbria.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust is undertaking a recruitment campaign which has attracted five new midwife appointments, with a plan to recruit twelve midwives through international recruitment. In 2023, there will be twice as many places available for student midwifery training to maximise the number of midwives qualifying in Cumbria.

A new apprentice midwifery course at the University of Cumbria has been validated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. This will allow staff within the organisation to achieve a midwifery registration within Cumbria. From April 2022, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has appointed a resource dedicated to supporting internationally recruited midwives and student and midwifery retention.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of hospital doctors in Cumbria.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has recruited 123 substantive new doctors and reduced its medical agency usage by 40% in 2021. The Trust has a number of medical recruitment and retention initiatives, such as alternative routes to develop and retain consultant grade staff.

The Department is working with Health Education England and NHS England and NHS Improvement to review the distribution of specialty training posts in England, including in Cumbria. This will align specialty training placements to the areas of greatest need in England. We have also funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places each year for domestic students in England.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve the provision of mental health care for children and youths in Cumbria.

North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group has advised that, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been improvements in waiting times and quality of services, especially in community children and young people’s services with a focus on stabilising services.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System is investing an additional £10.7 million to improve children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. This will deliver a transformation programme in the next three years based upon the THRIVE model of care, including reducing waiting times, improving experience and quality of care, recruiting more primary mental health workers and ensuring young people receive consistent levels of care in the region. There will also be a focus on developing crisis care, reducing the need for young people to be admitted to hospital.

In addition to existing mental health support teams in Carlisle, Allerdale and Barrow-in-Furness, further support teams will be established across Cumbria over the next three years. The children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health transformation programme for Cumbria will continue to be delivered by the children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health partnership board.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve the provision of mental health care for adults in Cumbria.

North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is improving crisis services for adults with mental health needs through street triage services in Carlisle and West Cumbria. The CCG is also investing in mental health services for people with serious mental illness, including ensuring that physical health checks are completed and services users are given the appropriate community support. The local voluntary community and social enterprise sector is working with service users from disadvantaged backgrounds or areas of high deprivation via a grant funding programme to improve engagement with mental health services and develop a community support plan where required.

In South Cumbria, the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System is improving access to mental health assessment for people in crisis and aims to reduce adult inappropriate out of area placements to zero over the next year. There has been an increase in community-based mental health hubs and access to talking therapies, to support mental health and wellbeing and provide low to medium level interventions. The number of community mental health workers has increased, with additional peer support workers in teams and increased home treatment capacity.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made a recent assessment of the impact of the disruption to shipping in the Red Sea on food supplies to the developing world.

The Houthi's attacks in the Red Sea are putting innocent lives at risk, threatening the global economy and destabilising the region. Risks to food security and price increases are higher in the region, especially in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

The Government is working closely with shipping operators to mitigate any potential impact on consumers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of the disruption to shipping in the Red Sea on international food security.

The Houthi's attacks in the Red Sea are putting innocent lives at risk, threatening the global economy and destabilising the region. Risks to food security and price increases are higher in the region, especially in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

The Government is working closely with shipping operators to mitigate any potential impact on consumers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made a recent estimate of the volume of food and grain being shipped out of Ukraine via the Black Sea.

Ukraine's military successes are generating positive economic outcomes in the Black Sea. In the face of Russian aggression, with our support and that of international partners, Ukraine established a maritime corridor to export goods via its Black Sea ports in September 2023.

Commercial confidence in the corridor has grown at such a pace that monthly exports of agricultural produce have now reached 4.6 million tonnes, the highest levels since the war began. If these levels are maintained, Ukraine is likely to export all its harvest this year.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of the disruption to shipping from Ukraine via the Black Sea on food supplies to the developing world.

As a result of Ukrainian resilience and innovation, as well as our support and that of international partners, over 13 million tonnes of agricultural produce has been exported through the Black Sea since September 2023. These are the highest levels since the war began, which is a remarkable achievement.

These supplies are crucial for the resilience of global grain markets and global food security, which are especially important for the developing world. Developing countries, including Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan, have directly received significant quantities of grain from Ukraine via the corridor.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made a recent assessment of the scale of food shortages in Yemen.

The UN's Humanitarian Response Plan for 2024 identifies that 17.6 million people continue to suffer from acute food insecurity in Yemen. The ongoing conflict, insecurity and economic crisis remain the main drivers.

Furthermore, the disruption to shipping in the Red Sea caused by Houthi attacks risks driving up costs of food and humanitarian aid supplies to Yemen. The Houthis have been attacking the very sea lanes that the Yemeni people depend on: 90 percent of food staples, such as wheat are, imported.

The UK is committed to provide continued humanitarian assistance to help alleviate the dire conditions faced by millions of Yemenis. This financial year (FY23/24), the UK's £88 million humanitarian pledge has contributed to providing food to at least 100,000 of the most vulnerable every month, providing lifesaving healthcare through 400 healthcare facilities and treating 22,000 of severely malnourished children.

The UK is committed to ensuring freedom of navigation and trade.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made a recent assessment of the scale of food shortages in Gaza.

The UK is increasingly concerned over the growing food insecurity in Gaza. Palestinian civilians are facing a devastating and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We want to see an end to the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible. We are calling for an immediate pause to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to destruction, fighting and loss of life.

We remain committed to getting humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza who desperately need it. The UK is providing £60 million in humanitarian assistance to support partners including the British Red Cross, UNICEF, the WFP and Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS) to respond to critical food, fuel, water, health, shelter and security needs in Gaza. We will continue to support and have supported the WFP to deliver a new humanitarian land corridor from Jordan into Gaza. 750 tonnes of life-saving food aid arrived in the first delivery and a second delivery of 315 tonnes has been made.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made a recent assessment of the scale of food shortages in Sudan.

17.7 million people in Sudan (37 percent of the population) are now thought to be experiencing acute food insecurity. This is likely to worsen in the coming months. As much as 70 percent of the population could be experiencing acute food insecurity by June. The conflict has now spread to the "breadbasket" state of Jazira, where food production, grain milling, storage and transportation, are heavily impacted. The UK is pushing for a concerted international community response. In November, at the Global Food Security Summit in London, the UK pledged a further £14.3 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan, bringing our total support package for Sudan to £38 million for 2023-2024, which includes some food and nutrition assistance.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
20th Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to ensure that tackling poverty and inequality throughout the world remains a priority for his Department.

Poverty reduction is at the core of the mission of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. It is fundamental to all seven of our strategic priorities for development and ODA spending.

By bringing our development and diplomatic expertise together in the new FCDO, and coordinating all UK activity in country better, we are using the full resources of Her Majesty’s Government to tackle poverty and reduce inequality.

23rd Feb 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of banking services to rural communities.

The Government believes that all customers, wherever they live, should have appropriate access to banking and cash services, and is monitoring this issue closely. It is imperative that firms recognise the needs of all their customers, including those who need to use in-person services.

UK customers can access banking services through a number of different channels. This includes in branches, Post Offices or Banking Hubs, as well as via telephone banking and through digital means such as mobile or online banking.

The Post Office allows personal and business customers to carry out everyday banking services at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK. The Post Office is required by the Department for Business & Trade to ensure that 95% of the total rural population across the UK is within 3 miles of their nearest Post Office.

Banking Hubs are an initiative which enable customers of participating banks to access cash and banking services in shared facilities. Over 100 Banking Hubs have been announced so far, and the Government hopes to see these all open as soon as possible.

Bim Afolami
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to support the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The Government is committed to supporting the hospitality and tourism sectors, which provide a significant contribution to the UK economy and society. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, over £37 billion has been provided to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks.

At Autumn Statement 2023, the government announced it will extend the business rates Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief scheme at 75 per cent, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business for 2024-25. Around 230,000 retail, hospitality and leisure properties will be eligible for this relief, a tax cut worth nearly £2.4 billion.

Over this Spending Review period – the Government has allocated over £100m to the British Tourist Authority to support VisitBritain and VisitEngland with marketing activity to promote Britain as a destination.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to help support community pubs.

The Government values the important contribution that pubs make to our culture and the UK economy, including fostering a sense of place and community.

Under the new alcohol duty system, Draught Relief provides a 9.2% duty reduction on draught beer and cider products below 8.5% alcohol by volume. This ensures that there will always be a lower duty rate for draught products to recognise the value of our great British pubs. This means that every pint, in every pub across the UK pays less duty than their supermarket equivalent - this is the Government's Brexit Pubs Guarantee.

In addition, at Autumn Statement 2023, the government announced it will extend the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief scheme at 75 per cent, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business for 2024-25. Around 230,000 retail, hospitality and leisure properties, including pubs, will be eligible for this relief, a tax cut worth nearly £2.4bn.

The Government is also funding a wide range of community assets, including pubs, through the Community Ownership Fund. To date, the Fund has allocated £71.3m to 257 projects, including many rural pubs.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to help support the brewery industry.

The Government values the important contribution that the brewery industry makes to our economy and society. The new duty system, introduced on 1 August 2023, contains many benefits for brewers, including two new reliefs.

The new Small Producer Relief means that small producers now see reduced duty rates on all products below 8.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) up to a production threshold.

The new Draught Relief means that all alcoholic products under 8.5 per cent ABV which are sold in containers of 20 litres or more and are sold to connect to a dispense system qualify for reduced duty rates. This relief provides a reduction in the duty on draught beer and cider products by 9.2 per cent.

As with all tax policy, the Government keeps the alcohol duty system under review as part of the annual Budget process.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to maintain appropriate banking access in areas with (a) closing banks and (b) poor digital connectivity.

Whilst the Government acknowledges that decisions to open or close a branch are commercial decisions for banks, and does not intervene on individual closures, it is imperative that banks and building societies recognise the needs of all their customers, including those who still need to use in-person services. The impact of branch closures must be mitigated where possible so that all customers, wherever they live, continue to have appropriate access to banking services.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s guidance sets out that firms must carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs, and put in place reasonable alternatives. This seeks to ensure the implementation of closure decisions is done in a way that treats customers fairly. Where firms fall short, the FCA may ask for closures to be paused or other options to be put in place.

Alternative options to access everyday banking services can be via telephone banking, through digital means such as mobile or online banking and via the Post Office or Banking Hubs. The Post Office allows personal and business customers to carry out everyday banking services at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK, and Banking Hubs are an initiative which enable customers of participating banks to access cash and banking services in shared facilities. Over 100 Banking Hubs have been announced so far, and the Government hopes to see these Hubs open as soon as possible.

With the increasing shift in customer behaviour to online and mobile banking, access to digital services is key, which is why my colleagues in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology are working with Building Digital UK (BDUK) to connect at least 85% of UK premises to gigabit-capable broadband by 2025, and for nationwide connectivity (at least 99%) to be realised by 2030. Over 80% of UK premises can now access gigabit-capable broadband, a huge leap forward from 2019, when coverage was just 6%.

Bim Afolami
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to support pubs and small breweries.

I refer the hon member to the answer I gave on 20 October 2023 to PQ UIN 203159.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of fiscal support his Department is providing to pubs.

The Government believes that pubs make an important contribution to our culture, fostering a sense of place and community, and to the UK economy.

The Government is aware that the high street faces long-term challenges and is committed to supporting the businesses that make our high streets and town centres successful. Therefore, at Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced a package of support worth £13.6 billion over the next five years, including:

  • a freeze to the business rates multiplier for 2023-24, a tax cut worth £9.3 billion over the next 5 years, meaning all bills are 6% lower than without the freeze;
  • an increased 75% relief for retail, hospitality and leisure properties including pubs, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business for 2023-24. This is a tax cut worth over £2 billion for around 230,000 RHL businesses, to support the high street and protect small shops.

Furthermore, to support pubs, our 'Brexit Pubs Guarantee,' confirms that the duty on a draught pint will always be lower than its equivalent in a supermarket. And the new alcohol duty system implemented in August of this year included a new Draught Relief that provides a significant duty discount on beers below 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) sold in containers of 20 litres or more in the on-trade.

The Community Ownership Fund has awarded £49.3 million to 195 projects across the UK, including rural pubs, with £35 million allocated to 131 projects across England, £6.2 million allocated to 28 projects in Scotland, £4 million to 18 projects in Wales and £4.1 million to 18 projects in Northern Ireland.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps they have taken to support hospitality and tourism in rural areas.

The Government believes that pubs make an important contribution to our culture, fostering a sense of place and community, and to the UK economy.

The Government is aware that the high street faces long-term challenges and is committed to supporting the businesses that make our high streets and town centres successful. Therefore, at Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced a package of support worth £13.6 billion over the next five years, including:

  • a freeze to the business rates multiplier for 2023-24, a tax cut worth £9.3 billion over the next 5 years, meaning all bills are 6% lower than without the freeze;
  • an increased 75% relief for retail, hospitality and leisure properties including pubs, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business for 2023-24. This is a tax cut worth over £2 billion for around 230,000 RHL businesses, to support the high street and protect small shops.

Furthermore, to support pubs, our 'Brexit Pubs Guarantee,' confirms that the duty on a draught pint will always be lower than its equivalent in a supermarket. And the new alcohol duty system implemented in August of this year included a new Draught Relief that provides a significant duty discount on beers below 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) sold in containers of 20 litres or more in the on-trade.

The Community Ownership Fund has awarded £49.3 million to 195 projects across the UK, including rural pubs, with £35 million allocated to 131 projects across England, £6.2 million allocated to 28 projects in Scotland, £4 million to 18 projects in Wales and £4.1 million to 18 projects in Northern Ireland.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The Government believes that pubs make an important contribution to our culture, fostering a sense of place and community, and to the UK economy.

The Government is aware that the high street faces long-term challenges and is committed to supporting the businesses that make our high streets and town centres successful. Therefore, at Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced a package of support worth £13.6 billion over the next five years, including:

  • a freeze to the business rates multiplier for 2023-24, a tax cut worth £9.3 billion over the next 5 years, meaning all bills are 6% lower than without the freeze;
  • an increased 75% relief for retail, hospitality and leisure properties including pubs, up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business for 2023-24. This is a tax cut worth over £2 billion for around 230,000 RHL businesses, to support the high street and protect small shops.

Furthermore, to support pubs, our 'Brexit Pubs Guarantee,' confirms that the duty on a draught pint will always be lower than its equivalent in a supermarket. And the new alcohol duty system implemented in August of this year included a new Draught Relief that provides a significant duty discount on beers below 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) sold in containers of 20 litres or more in the on-trade.

The Community Ownership Fund has awarded £49.3 million to 195 projects across the UK, including rural pubs, with £35 million allocated to 131 projects across England, £6.2 million allocated to 28 projects in Scotland, £4 million to 18 projects in Wales and £4.1 million to 18 projects in Northern Ireland.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help improve access to cash in rural areas.

The way consumers and businesses interact with their banking and make payments continues to develop at pace, bringing significant benefits to those who choose to opt for the convenience, security, and speed of digital services.

Nonetheless, in recognition that cash continues to be used by millions of people across the UK, the government is currently taking legislation to protect access to cash across the UK through Parliament as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022. The legislation will establish the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the lead regulator for access to cash with responsibility and powers to seek to ensure reasonable provision of withdrawal and deposit facilities.

The government also believes that all customers, wherever they live, should have appropriate access to banking services. The government does not intervene in commercial decisions on branch closures, but guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority sets out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on the everyday banking and cash access needs of their customers and consider possible alternative access arrangements.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to improve access to banking services in rural areas.

The way consumers and businesses interact with their banking and make payments continues to develop at pace, bringing significant benefits to those who choose to opt for the convenience, security, and speed of digital services.

Nonetheless, in recognition that cash continues to be used by millions of people across the UK, the government is currently taking legislation to protect access to cash across the UK through Parliament as part of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022. The legislation will establish the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the lead regulator for access to cash with responsibility and powers to seek to ensure reasonable provision of withdrawal and deposit facilities.

The government also believes that all customers, wherever they live, should have appropriate access to banking services. The government does not intervene in commercial decisions on branch closures, but guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority sets out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on the everyday banking and cash access needs of their customers and consider possible alternative access arrangements.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle hare coursing.

The Government is committed to driving down rural crime, which is why we are providing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the National Rural Crime Unit (NRCU).

The Home Office committed to provide one-off funding of £200,000 to the NRCU this year to assist with set up costs of the new unit. The NRCU will provide support to forces nationally in their responses to rural crime, such as the theft of farming or construction machinery, livestock theft, rural fly tipping, rural fuel theft and equine crime.

New measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act came into force on 1st August 2022, which empower and equip the police and courts with the powers they need to combat hare coursing. These powers included creating two new criminal offences; trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare; and being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare.

The Government supported the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023 will help to prevent the theft of agricultural equipment such as quad bikes, by requiring immobilisers and forensic markings to be fitted before new equipment is sold to customers, and equipment to be registered on a database. The Act gained Royal Assent on 20 July.

Police Uplift Programme (PUP) funding has been used to tackle rural crime by forces and led to the formation of new teams and to bolster capabilities. For example, the Uplift enabled Cumbria constabulary to place officers back out 'on the beat' in rural communities.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle rural crime.

The Government is committed to driving down rural crime, which is why we are providing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the National Rural Crime Unit (NRCU).

The Home Office committed to provide one-off funding of £200,000 to the NRCU this year to assist with set up costs of the new unit. The NRCU will provide support to forces nationally in their responses to rural crime, such as the theft of farming or construction machinery, livestock theft, rural fly tipping, rural fuel theft and equine crime.

New measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act came into force on 1st August 2022, which empower and equip the police and courts with the powers they need to combat hare coursing. These powers included creating two new criminal offences; trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare; and being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare.

The Government supported the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023 will help to prevent the theft of agricultural equipment such as quad bikes, by requiring immobilisers and forensic markings to be fitted before new equipment is sold to customers, and equipment to be registered on a database. The Act gained Royal Assent on 20 July.

Police Uplift Programme (PUP) funding has been used to tackle rural crime by forces and led to the formation of new teams and to bolster capabilities. For example, the Uplift enabled Cumbria constabulary to place officers back out 'on the beat' in rural communities.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July to Question 191415 on Buildings: Fires, if her Department will record the number of fires potentially caused by disposable vapes.

The Home Office has just completed a competitive process to award a £2.4m contract to replace the existing Incident Recording System (IRS). We are reviewing the existing system as a part of this replacement programme, and considering what additional categories should be recorded in the future.

Adding disposable vapes to the data collection will be considered as part of this workstream as the replacement system to be delivered is seeking to implement a more modern, secure, and flexible system. This programme is expected to conclude in June 2025.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information the Government holds on the number of fires in buildings potentially caused by disposable vapes.

Data collected through the Fire and Rescue Service Incident RecordingSystem (IRS) does not include data on whether fire incidents attended were caused by or involved disposable vapes.

The Home Office collects data on incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs), with this data including the cause of the fire and the source of ignition but disposable vapes are not currently an option for source of ignition, the lowest level of granularity is smoking materials. This data is published in a variety of publications, available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an estimate of the amount of illegal vaping products seized at UK ports.

Border Force does not hold the data in an easily accessible format.

The latest transparency returns can be found at the link here Border Force transparency data: Q1 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle rural crime (a) in Cumbria and (b) across England.

Our manifesto committed us to use police resources to tackle rural crime. As well as recruiting 20,000 additional police officers, we are also taking steps to address issues that we know affect rural communities. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act empowers and equips the police and courts with the powers they need to combat hare coursing. The Government is also providing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit. As at 31 March 2022, Cumbria Police has recruited 117 additional uplift officers against a combined year 1 and 2 allocation of 101 officers. The force has been allocated 68 additional uplift officers in the final year of Uplift. The deployment of these officers is an operational decision for Chief Constables.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has plans to take steps with the (a) Department for Transport and (b) Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to support the movement of the A66 Trans-Pennine Project further north and away from local communities.

Ministry of Defence officials have welcomed the opportunity to work with National Highways on their statutory consultation on the A66 Trans-Pennine Project to ensure proposed routes meet the needs of Defence now and in the future.

23rd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help support Ukrainian refugees living in the UK.

As set out previously, local authorities will continue to receive a tariff payment to support our Ukrainian guests. Sponsors are also eligible for an ‘Thank You payment’ of £350 per month for the first 12 months of a Ukrainian guest’s stay in the UK and £500 thereafter.

We recognise through engagement with guests, other government departments, local councils, VCS organisations and sponsors that English is one of the main barriers to employment, so we announced £11.5 million in the Spring Budget 2023 to fund intensive English language courses and employment support for up to 10,000 eligible individuals under the Ukraine visa schemes.

This programme provides free online English lessons and employment support to Ukrainian arrivals to help them improve their job prospects.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what support his Department is providing to people who have purchased properties through the Help to Buy Scheme with rising interest rates.

The Help to buy Equity Loan Scheme has helped over 369,000 households to own their own home and will continue to help many people until March 2023.

To support Help to Buy customers, the loan scheme is already interest free for five years. We are actively supporting customers who are struggling to make their interest repayments so if customers are in this position they are encouraged to speak to Target about options available to manage these.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the number of second homes in Cumbria in each year between 2010 and 2022.

The Department collects data on second homes classified for the purposes of council tax at the local authority district level on an annual basis, which can then be aggregated to cover the area of Cumbria.

The time series can be compiled from the published local authority level datasets which can be found at the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/council-taxbase-statistics

for each year. Line 11 relates to second homes and the local authority level can be found in the ‘Data’ tab. The latest data is taken from a snapshot in October 2021.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of second homes in Cumbria between 2010 and 2022.

The Department collects data on second homes classified for the purposes of council tax at the local authority district level on an annual basis, which can then be aggregated to cover the area of Cumbria.

The time series can be compiled from the published local authority level datasets which can be found at the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/council-taxbase-statistics

for each year. Line 11 relates to second homes and the local authority level can be found in the ‘Data’ tab. The latest data is taken from a snapshot in October 2021.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure long-term access to veterinary medicine supplies in Northern Ireland.

We secured a three-year extension to the grace period for veterinary medicines at the end of 2022. This ensures that Northern Ireland’s supply of veterinary medicines is protected for the foreseeable future and we have the time to find a long-term, sustainable solution.

To support our work towards a long-term solution, we will continue to work with the EU and industry throughout the grace period.

Steve Baker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure adequate (a) access to and (b) supplies of veterinary medicines in Northern Ireland.

We would like to reach a negotiated agreement with the EU that would safeguard the supply of veterinary medicines and vaccines to Northern Ireland. If that is not possible, we reserve the right to take action to ensure that farmers and pet owners in Northern Ireland can continue to access the veterinary medicines and vaccines they need for their animals.

Steve Baker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the continued availability of veterinary (a) medicines and (b) vaccines in Northern Ireland after December 2022.

We are facing a supply challenge at the end of 2022 when many of the veterinary medicines supplied to Northern Ireland will be at risk of discontinuation. We would like to reach a negotiated agreement with the EU that would safeguard the supply of veterinary medicines and vaccines to Northern Ireland. If that is not possible, we reserve the right to take action to ensure that animals in Northern Ireland can continue to access the veterinary medicines and vaccines they need.

If we cannot reach a negotiated solution, the Protocol Bill aims to ensure that there are no barriers in domestic law that prevent medicines, for either human or veterinary use, from being supplied to Northern Ireland.

Steve Baker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)