Nick Fletcher Portrait

Nick Fletcher

Conservative - Don Valley


Oral Question
Thursday 2nd December 2021
09:30
Department for International Trade
Oral Question No. 12
What steps her Department is taking to encourage foreign investment in South Yorkshire.
Save to Calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 7th December 2021
14:00
Division Votes
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 296 Conservative No votes vs 1 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 299
Speeches
Monday 29th November 2021
Access to Salbutamol Inhalers

I thank all Members for contributing, and the Minister and you, Mr Hosie. I thank the petitioners and the MHRA …

Written Answers
Wednesday 1st December 2021
No title given
To ask Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to reduce …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 1st June 2021
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Carlton Club
Address of donor: 69 St James St, London SW1A 1PJ
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Friday 20th December 2019
Big Ben chiming on the day of Brexit
That this House notes the ongoing refurbishment works on the Elizabeth Tower and the fact that during this period Big …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Nick Fletcher has voted in 355 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Nick Fletcher voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Nick Fletcher voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Nick Fletcher 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(18 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(12 debate interactions)
Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Education
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(10 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(9 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Nick Fletcher's debates

Don Valley 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

In 2014 the Human Medicines Act was amended so that schools could keep emergency stocks of salbutamol inhalers without prescription. Asthma is increasing in the UK and we believe that adult sufferers of Asthma working in high-risk commercial kitchens should have similar life-saving support.

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

The Government should allow golf courses to remain open during the second lockdown, and any future restrictions. Shops and clubhouses can close, but courses should be allowed to remain open, with social distancing in place.

The SNP government appears solely intent on getting independence at any cost.

Urgent call for the government to close all nurseries and early years settings in light of the new lockdown to protect early years staff.

Consider keeping gyms open during lockdown because so many people have mental health and stress and they need something to do to take their mind off it closing all fitness facilities can affect us pretty badly.

We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.

We're also calling for government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.

The Coronavirus Act grants potentially dangerous powers including to detain some persons indefinitely, to take biological samples, and to give directions about dead bodies. Powers last up to 2 years with 6 monthly reviews, and lockdown powers could prevent protests against measures.

Illegal immigrants are entering the UK in many different ways, including small boats from France which are not stopped by either French or British forces.

The government should consider delaying negotiations so they can concentrate on the coronavirus situation and reduce travel of both EU and UK negotiators. This would necessitate extending the transition period; as there can only be a one off extension, this should be for two years.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Nick Fletcher

19th December 2019
Nick Fletcher signed this EDM on Friday 20th December 2019

Big Ben chiming on the day of Brexit

Tabled by: Mark Francois (Conservative - Rayleigh and Wickford)
That this House notes the ongoing refurbishment works on the Elizabeth Tower and the fact that during this period Big Ben currently only chimes for Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve; further notes that the United Kingdom will now leave the European Union at 11.00pm GMT on 31 January 2020; …
53 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Jan 2020)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 48
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
View All Nick Fletcher's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Nick Fletcher, 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.


Nick Fletcher has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Nick Fletcher has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Nick Fletcher has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Nick Fletcher has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


86 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
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had Cabinet colleagues on allowing registry office ceremonies to resume by 2 July 2020.

Further to the answer given to PQs 54003, 54280 and 54102 on 8 June 2020, the Government understands the huge significance of weddings to couples planning to get married. We are working to ease restrictions safely to enable weddings to take place.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that momentum is maintained behind the future build of the UK’s nuclear fleet.

The Government made clear its commitment to new nuclear in the 2020 Energy White Paper, setting out its aim to bring at least one large-scale project to a Final Investment Decision this parliament, subject to value for money and all relevant approvals. Alongside the White Paper, the Government announced it was entering negotiations on Sizewell C. The Government will also provide up to £385m for an Advanced Nuclear Fund for the next generation of nuclear technology aiming, by the early 2030s, to develop a Small Modular Reactor and to build an Advanced Modular Reactor demonstrator.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure future investment in the UK’s nuclear sector after completion of Hinkley Point C.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper set out multiple plans and objectives for supporting the UK’s nuclear sector.

For large-scale nuclear, we aim to bring at least one large-scale nuclear project to a Final Investment Decision this Parliament and entered negotiations with EDF on Sizewell C. A large-scale nuclear power plant could support a peak of around 10,000 jobs during construction and provide significant investment opportunities. Having consulted on the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model for funding new nuclear, we are continuing to discuss this model with project developers and to consider the potential role of Government finance during construction, provided there is value for money and subject to relevant approvals.

We are also investing further in Small Modular Reactors and Advanced Modular Reactors. We announced the £385m Advanced Nuclear Fund, comprised of up to £215m to develop a domestic SMR power plant design and up to £170m for an ambitious AMR programme.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of continuity within the nuclear supply chain following the completion of Hinkley Point C on jobs and skills.

The Government is committed to further nuclear beyond Hinkley Point C, as set out in the Energy White Paper. Future nuclear projects can benefit from the expertise in the UK supply chain demonstrated at Hinkley, a project that EDF says will provide 25,000 employment opportunities and train over 1,000 apprentices. Alongside the White Paper, the Government announced it was entering into negotiations on Sizewell C, which EDF intends to replicate Hinkley - a strategy which should ensure continuity in UK supply chain jobs and skills.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the (a) monetary and (b) employment benefits from the UK’s nuclear supply chain to the North.

Oxford Economics’ Nuclear Economics Report 2016 suggests that the nuclear sector contributes approximately £6.4bn GVA to the UK economy, with each civil nuclear worker contributing an estimated average £96,600 – significantly higher than the UK average of £56,200.

In 2018, the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group – of which BEIS is a member - estimated that the sector employed approximately 89,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) across the UK, including in the north of England.

The estimated figures are across the UK, but not specific to each of the regions.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the expertise of the UK nuclear supply chain is protected when the existing nuclear fleet comes offline.

In June 2021, the Government announced new arrangements to work in partnership with EDF, the owners and operators of the UK’s existing nuclear power stations, to decommission the seven Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR) stations when they cease generation. These seven AGR stations are all due to have closed by 2030, while the Pressurised Water Reactor, Sizewell B, will continue to operate well beyond 2030. Under the new arrangements EDF will defuel the AGR stations (remove the nuclear fuel) and then the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will take ownership of the stations on a rolling basis to manage the long term decommissioning programme. These arrangements will harness EDF’s unique expertise in defueling the AGR reactors and the NDA’s extensive experience of decommissioning nuclear plants and facilities in the UK. This approach will provide significant potential cost savings for the taxpayer and will provide for the skilled jobs of UK workers to continue during defueling and beyond.

Meanwhile the Government is committed to ensuring that the UK nuclear supply chain has opportunities from future nuclear projects, whether further large-scale projects or Small Modular Reactors. Government support to help companies in the supply chain includes a commitment made in the Nuclear Sector Deal to develop – with industry – a £30m supply chain productivity and improvement programme designed in particular to help SMEs win work. Government is also requiring developers of future new build projects to set out opportunities for the supply chain in a Supply Chain Plan.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council was unsuccessful in its bid to receive funding from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator scheme.

Funds for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator were awarded through a competitive assessment process which was completed on 30th November 2020. The assessment was undertaken against the criteria set out in the scheme guidance and involved 3 independent assessors and a moderation panel. On this occasion, within the total funding envelope available and the success criteria, the bid from Doncaster Council was not successful. Feedback was provided to Doncaster Council on 11th December by Ricardo PLC who are acting as the scheme administrators. Following the Spending Review announcement in November 2020 there will be a further round of the scheme in the next financial year.

If you would like to get in touch with the SHDF Demonstrator team, please email SHDF.Demonstrator@beis.gov.uk.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses that need to increase the amount of money they have borrowed through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), businesses can apply for between £2,000 up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available under the Scheme is £50,000. Once a business has received a BBLS facility, it is not eligible to apply for a second loan under the Scheme.

Businesses using BBLS, who later decide that they need more financing, may be able to refinance under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provided they are eligible for the CBILS.

Businesses are not permitted to access more than one of either the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, CBILS, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) or the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) scheme at the same time.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2021
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the classification guidelines used by the British Board of Film Classification.

The Government has great trust in the BBFC best practice age ratings. The BBFC’s Classification Guidelines are based on consultations every 4-5 years with experts and over 10,000 members of the public. This ensures the guidelines remain in step with societal standards and parental expectations. More information on the guides themselves can be found on the BBFC’s website.

In addition, the latest public consultation in 2019 showed 83% of parents trust BBFC age ratings all or most of the time.



30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will reopen ice rinks in areas with Tier 3 covid-19 restrictions so that professional athletes can resume their training at those venues.

Elite and professional athletes may train and compete at ice rinks in all tiers.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reasons amateur music ensembles are not permitted to perform as lockdown restrictions are eased; and what criteria his Department will use to determined when they will be allowed to perform again.

As of 14 September non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than six at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than six (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.

We will continue to work with the Performing Arts sector to understand how the new regulations affect those engaging in activity. We have always been clear that the easing of restrictions depends on the prevalence of COVID-19.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reopen ice skating rings as covid-19 restrictions are eased to allow British athletes to train for international competitions.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. Ice-skating rinks were able to reopen from 15 August. These facilities are able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance. Elite athletes have been able to access specialist sports facilities for training purposes since mid April.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that martial arts clubs are able to reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased during the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. Martial arts are able to resume on a non-contact basis so long as they are done in alignment with Government guidance on group sizes, social distancing and venues. The Government is in discussions with representatives from martial arts governing bodies about the steps required to restart contact safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Apr 2021
What recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of educating children on financial responsibility.

Economic and financial education are important parts of a broad and balanced curriculum and provide the essential knowledge to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed.

Pupils currently receive financial education through the maths and citizenship curricula, both subjects are in the National Curriculum.

Finance education as part of the citizenship curriculum can be taught at all key stages. The curriculum seeks to develop young people’s financial awareness and skills by helping them to look after their money and realise that future wants and needs may be met through saving. This is built on at secondary school to cover income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent.

The Department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to make important financial decisions. In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on arithmetical knowledge; this knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money. There is also specific content about financial education, including calculations with money.

Schools are also free to include the teaching of financial education in their non-statutory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) provision if they wish, drawing on the PSHE Association’s non-statutory programme of study.

We trust schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular school, drawing on the expertise of subject associations and organisations.

The Department continues to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders such as Her Majesty’s Treasury, to consider what can be learned from a range of external initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that children are assessed fairly in their upcoming GCSE and A Level assessments.

Fairness to young people is fundamental to the Department and Ofqual’s decision making. We want to ensure all young people have the confidence that, despite exams not going ahead, they will receive a grade that reflects their ability and enables them to progress.

Pupils will receive grades determined by their teachers, with assessments covering what they were taught, and not what they missed. Teachers have a good understanding of their pupils’ performance and how they compare to other pupils this year and in previous years. They are best placed to undertake an assessment of the level of learning loss of individuals as they know their pupils best.

Entitlements to reasonable adjustments should be taken into account by teachers when deciding which evidence to use, with flexibility to use or discount evidence. The range of evidence can be tailored to an individual pupil according to coverage of the specification.

Teachers have been provided with grade descriptors and exemplar materials to support them in making an evidence-based judgement of the grade at which each pupil is performing. Pupils will also have multiple chances to show what they know and can do and will be able to see the evidence their teacher plans to submit for them.

Exam boards have set out clear requirements for quality assurance to centres. Every centre will need to produce a policy setting out their approach to assessment and quality assurance, and exam boards will check these. Heads of Centre will also be required to provide a formal declaration about the accuracy and integrity of the grades submitted and the processes supporting them.

Every pupil will have the safety net of the option to appeal their grade if they wish to. If a pupil believes their grade is wrong, they will be able to ask their centre to check for errors and make sure they have followed their own process correctly.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the cancellation of exams for summer 2021, for what reason schools are being billed fees by exam boards.

Given the ongoing disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department announced in January that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer.

The Department and Ofqual launched joint consultations on 15 January 2021 on how to award grades for both general qualifications and vocational and technical qualifications in 2021 so they are robust and fair. We received over 100,000 responses from pupils, parents, teachers, head teachers and other stakeholders. There was widespread support for our approach.

In terms of fees from exam boards, awarding organisations will need to cover their costs which, for example, will include the provision of assessment and support materials, managing the quality assurance and appeals processes. We expect they will make commercial decisions on fees and refunds on that basis. Given the unusual circumstances this year, it is not possible for them to have certainty about their 2021 costs in advance.

The Government will provide funding to awarding organisations with respect to formal appeals of teacher assessed grades submitted to them by state-funded providers and any providers on behalf of private candidates. These centres will not need to pay a fee to awarding bodies when submitting their appeal.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169074 and the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169981, on Abortion: Health Education, and with reference to the endorsement by Public Health England of the Abortion and Abortion Care Fact Sheet for use in schools, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on ensuring that the school curriculum (a) equally respects the views of people opposed to abortion and (b) educates pupils on alternatives to abortion.

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

The statutory guidance on the new curriculum for Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education, which came into force in September 2020, makes clear that by the end of secondary education young people should know the facts relating to pregnancy. It states that there should be medically and legally impartial information. Pupils should be made aware of the relevant legal provisions when particular topics are being taught, including abortion. It is for schools to decide how best to comply with this in order to meet the needs of their pupils. To support teachers to deliver these topics safely and with confidence, the Department has produced RSHE Teacher Training Modules which are available for all schools on GOV.UK. The ‘Intimate and sexual relationships including sexual health’ teacher training module covers pregnancy specifically. Each training module covers safeguarding to make sure teachers, pastoral staff and the designated safeguarding lead are equipped to deal with sensitive discussions and potential disclosures.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September 2020 to Question 90289 on Remote Education: Coronavirus, if he will make it compulsory for schools to remotely educate whole classes rather that stating that such schools should plan to do so.

On 1 October, the Department published a temporary continuity direction which makes it clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children unable to attend school due to COVID-19. This will come into effect from 22 October 2020. The direction poses no additional expectations on the quality of remote education expected of schools beyond those set out in this guidance.

Alongside the direction, the Department also announced further remote education support to assist schools and further education (FE) colleges in meeting the remote education expectations set out in the schools guidance for full opening, published in July, and the autumn term guidance for FE colleges, published in August, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools; and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

The support package will be available over the coming months to schools or FE colleges seeking additional support, and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

For schools, the Department’s support includes 250,000 laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and development resources for staff, including a good practice guide and school-led webinars. We are also investing £1.5m of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges. For colleges, the Department’s support package will include 80 grants of £1,000 to colleges across England, providing additional training and support for mentors and coaches specialising in assisting teachers with remote education.

The package is designed to help schools and colleges build on and deliver their existing plans in the event that individual or groups of pupils are unable to attend school because of COVID-19 in line with guidance and the law. This adds to existing support outlined in the Answer of 22 September 2020, including resources available from Oak National Academy.

Schools and colleges have worked hard over the summer and the autumn term to prepare for full reopening and to develop remote education contingency plans. This is testament to their commitment to ensuring any missed education is recovered and that we prevent the attainment gap from widening further. We have a shared responsibility for working to ensure this generation of young people do not face long-term disadvantage.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he (a) has made an assessment of the equity of student loan repayments being taken from probationary police officers in London whose allowance takes them over the threshold for repayment and (b) plans to change his policy on that issue.

Repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate, amount borrowed or borrower’s occupation. Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings, with only the amount of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold being considered – and if the borrower’s income drops, so do repayments made. No repayments are made on earnings below the repayment thresholds. Any outstanding debt is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower.

If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.

There are no plans to amend the regulations to apply different repayment terms to borrowers in different occupations.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether academies attended by 16 to 19 year-olds will have access to the £1 billion support package to tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

The £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package is made up of £650 million to be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year, and a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, which will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged pupils over the 2020/21 academic year. We will announce further details of how these will operate as soon as possible.

We are committed to supporting all children and young people to make up for time spent out of education. We know that remote education has been working well for many students in post-16 education, and we will continue to work with the sector to establish the best way to support students to make up for the disruption due to COVID-19.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops were provided to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council by his Department in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged and vulnerable children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. All local authorities and academy trusts can place orders for the devices they need.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers we have delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts as of 30 June, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. This includes 635 devices to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council for children with a social worker and care leavers.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to allow schools to re-allocate expenditure on examinations to online learning resources due to the cancellation of examinations due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that schools and colleges want clarity on exam fees following the cancellation of this summer’s exams. The Department for Education and the exam boards are working together to ensure that schools and colleges are provided with further information as soon as possible. The exam boards are looking at the costs that will be saved this summer, alongside new work they need to undertake to gather centre assessment grades and provide calculated grades to students.

Schools and colleges will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. This will ensure that they are able to continue to meet their regular financial commitments. We expect schools and colleges to pay any due invoices for exams, as the process is worked through.

The Department is committed to ensuring that students can continue to learn at home in these very difficult circumstances. We recognise that many schools and colleges have already shared resources for students who are at home, and we have issued guidance for schools and colleges which signposts to an initial list of free online resources identified by educational experts and teachers.

Leading state schools have collaborated to open The Oak National Academy, which was launched online on 20 April 2020. This free initiative is led by 40 teachers who have assembled video lessons and resources for any teacher in the country to make use of if they wish to do so. 180 video lessons will be provided each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from reception through to year 10. In addition, the BBC has developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive new education package, which is now available on television and online at BBC Bitesize.

We have also committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including giving free laptops and tablets to children from disadvantaged backgrounds across England, care leavers and those with a social worker, to help them learn from home during the lockdown. Additionally, if families of these children do not have good access to the internet, we will provide them with 4G routers so that these children can learn online and access social care services. The Department will also ensure that every school and college that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

7th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to provide schools with more buses to enforce social distancing when schools re-open after the covid-19 outbreak.

Parents and children and young people should be encouraged to walk or cycle where possible, and avoid public transport at peak times.

Home to school transport provided or organised by schools, academy trusts or local authorities varies widely. Schools, trusts and local authorities should work together and with relevant transport providers to put in place arrangements which fit the local circumstances, including the measures being put in place to reduce contact. Further guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings

This guidance sets out that local authorities or transport providers could consider the following:

  • guidance or training for school transport colleagues
  • substituting smaller vehicles with larger ones, or running 2 vehicles rather than one, where possible, to reduce the number of passengers per vehicle and increase the amount of space between passengers
  • cordoning off seats and eliminating face-to-face seating, where vehicle capacity allows, to help passengers spread out
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Education and Skills Funding Agency is taking to reassure training providers that seeking financial support from the Coronavirus Business Loan Interruption Scheme and bounce back loans scheme will not affect their financial health assessment calculation after the covid-19 outbreak.

As the full financial consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector emerge, we will assess the impact of the outbreak on the sector and the most appropriate means of how to approach to financial health assessments and intervention actions, including how to treat the Coronavirus Business Loan Interruption Scheme and other elements of government support.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2021
To ask Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to reduce the use of plastics during the remainder of the UK's COP presidency.

Tackling plastic pollution was a priority before our COP presidency, and will continue to be after it concludes. The single-use carrier bag charge has led to a 95% reduction in the consumption of these bags in the main supermarkets- and earlier this year we extended it to all retailers. We are consulting right now on plans to go further, and extend restrictions on single-use plastics to plates, cutlery and expanded and extruded polystyrene food and drinks containers. In April 2022, we will introduce the plastic packaging tax – significantly incentivising plastic recycling. The world-leading Environment Act will allow us to do more still – with Extended Producer Responsibility schemes to ensure polluters pay, Deposit Return schemes to cut littering and boost plastic bottle recycling, and Consistent Collections to make recycling plastic, and other materials, easier for householders. Taken together, this is an exciting and comprehensive package of measures to make a real and lasting difference.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Oct 2021
What steps his Department is taking to promote the consumption of British meat.

We want people at home and abroad to be lining up to Buy British. Our farmers produce high-welfare, high-quality meat and we are committed to supporting them. Our new farming schemes will offer the opportunity to move towards a more pastural system, producing higher quality meat that is reared in a sustainable way.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2021
What steps his Department is taking to promote the development of environmentally friendly pesticides to help support the domestic farming of rapeseed.

The consultation on the National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides outlines how the Government will support the development of nature-based solutions, low toxicity methods, and biopesticides, in line with the principles of Integrated Pest Management.

In partnership with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Defra is funding field trials for Integrated Pest Management in oilseed rape.

Defra also supports research on the genetic improvement of rapeseed to increase resilience to pests.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is considering extending grandfather rights to all those who possess a full driving licence in order to increase the number of potential HGV drivers.

Acquired rights (grandfather rights) for car drivers who passed their test prior to 1 January 1997 allowed drivers with a Category B (car) licence entitlement to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes (Category C1). We have no existing plans to amend the requirements for acquiring a C1 licence.

Drivers wishing to obtain a Category C or C+E licence for heavy goods vehicles are required to complete the driving test for that category of vehicle.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take to revert to the system for renewing driving licences that was in use prior to the covid-19 outbreak, including the process used for (a) renewing and (b) reapplying for a short-term medical licence.

The process for renewing driving licences, including for those with medical conditions, has not changed.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online services have been available throughout the pandemic and are the quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence.

Paper renewal applications will take longer. Ongoing industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union, fewer operational staff on site at the DVLA to allow for social distancing in line with Welsh Government requirements and an increased demand for services has led to delays in dealing with paper applications.

The DVLA has recently trialed a simplified renewal process for some medical conditions. This has significantly reduced turnaround times for some drivers. However, there will be further delays if the DVLA requires further medical information from NHS health care staff before it can make a licensing decision.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of (a) the potential merits of making the DVLA's off-road registration scheme mandatory for off road motorcycle users and (b) whether that scheme could be made mandatory with no cost to users.

There is no legal requirement for vehicles that are used off-road to be registered. In 1994 the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency introduced a voluntary scheme to register ‘off-road’ motorcycles. This scheme was extended in 1996 to include all mechanically propelled vehicles which are used off-road. The details of vehicles registered under this scheme are held on the DVLA’s database and on the Police National Computer.

There are no plans to make the registration of vehicles that are only used off-road mandatory.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that theory test pass certificates of learner drivers do not expire during the covid-19 outbreak.

The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation. This is so the candidate’s theoretical knowledge remains current. To extend the validity period would require legislative change, which would need the relevant Parliamentary process to happen. This situation is being given urgent attention.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of suspending medical examinations for people who need to renew their HGV licenses during the covid-19 outbreak.

To keep bus and lorry drivers on the road, the Government has made temporary provisions to remove the requirement to submit a medical report when applying to renew a bus or lorry driving licence, until further notice. Provided they have no notifiable medical conditions, drivers will be issued a licence that is valid for one year instead of the usual five. This only applies if the licence expired after 1 January 2020 or is due to expire.

As is always the case, drivers must ensure they are medically fit to drive and they are legally obliged to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about the onset or worsening of any medical condition.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a rail link from Doncaster Sheffield Airport to the East Coast Mainline.

The Department has been in dialogue with local stakeholders regarding proposals to construct a new station, and rail link, from Doncaster Sheffield Airport to the East Coast Mainline (ECML). An updated Strategic Outline Business Case for the proposal was submitted at the end of February 2020, and officials from the Department are currently reviewing this to allow for an assessment of its merits to be made.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the requirement that placements on the Kickstarter scheme be submitted in batches of 30 to batches of five.

We will keep the 30 vacancy minimum under review throughout the scheme, which is open until December 2021 for the funding of new jobs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will help companies by extending statutory sick pay to gardening leave so employees stay with the companies they work in.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that everyone should be supported to do the right thing.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending statutory sick pay to people who are not self-isolating due to covid-19 but their place of employment has no work as a result of that infection.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that everyone should be supported to do the right thing.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support parents that have (a) ongoing claims and (b) been waiting for payment of arrears for up to 10 years through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS); whether she plans to reduce the amount of time before the CMS seeks a court order for enforcement of payment of arrears; and what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing greater penalties for parents that avoid making payments in cases where there are substantial arrears.

Where paying parents fail to pay their maintenance on time and in full, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) aim to take immediate action to recover the debt and re-establish compliance using its range of enforcement powers.

If all efforts to re-establish compliance have been exhausted and the paying parent is employed, the Service can deduct their maintenance and any arrears directly from their earnings. The CMS can also deduct directly from bank accounts as a lump sum or regular amount. We have a range of other strong enforcement powers, including the use of Enforcement Agents to take control of goods, forcing the sale of property, disqualification from holding a UK passport or commitment to prison.

The CMS is committed to using its wide ranging enforcement powers proportionally, and in the best interests of children and separated families, and must consider on a case by case basis whether taking action will secure more money for children.

Since 2018 we have introduced new collection and enforcement powers. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new powers. At present we have no plans to further extend these powers.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to review its current guidance on the need for individuals to quarantine after arriving from France.

From 8 August passengers returning from France who have been fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine in the United Kingdom, United States of America or certain European countries for 14 days do not need to quarantine or take a day eight test.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timescale is for the European Medicines Agency to approve Covishield vaccines produced at the Serum Institute of India for the EU's Green Pass.

Licencing applications made to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a matter for individual pharmaceutical companies. The timescale for a decision to approve such applications is a matter for the EMA.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on whether businesses are planned to be required to ensure compliance on health and safety grounds for their employees with (a) social distancing and (b) face-covering requirements after 21 June 2021.

Ministers and officials across Government have regular discussions about the future direction of social distancing policy. These discussions include consideration of whether businesses may be required to ensure employees comply with social distancing and face covering requirements on health and safety grounds.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps with the Secretary of State for Education to make it his policy to prevent distribution of the Abortion and Abortion Care Factsheet produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare in 2019 in schools until it has been (a) peer reviewed and (b) updated with recent research developments on fetal pain.

The Department is not responsible for production of this factsheet and has no role in its distribution. It is for individual schools to determine whether they use the factsheet.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the appropriateness of the endorsement by Public Health England of the factsheet, Abortion and Abortion Care Factsheet which references IPAS as an authority on abortion care which advocates abortion without prescriptions and with or without the involvement of a health provider.

No such assessment has been made. The Abortion and Abortion Care Fact Sheet for schools was produced and published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. The contents of the factsheet were developed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Public Health England co-badged the factsheet on the basis that the Royal College represents the United Kingdom medical experts on abortion.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department taking to ensure that lateral flow testing is rolled out to visitors to supported living settings.

We recognise that in supported living environments, the accommodation is the person’s own home and that for many people in supported living, there are important reasons for having in-person visits. Our guidance for supported living settings includes guidance on visiting safely, and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supported-living-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living

We currently do not offer any lateral flow testing for visitors in supported living settings. However, this is under review. Our testing strategy is based on clinical advice about relative priorities and developed in consultation with the sector to ensure any testing programmes are practical, deliverable and meet the needs of both carers and people receiving care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to (a) change the rules on support bubbles and (b) permit individuals to visit both elderly parents in the same household to assist with their caring needs.

The Government regularly reviews its rules on social contact, assessing all restrictions to ensure that they continue to be necessary and proportionate. These decisions are based upon the best evidence available regarding their impact and effectiveness.

A support bubble is a close support network between a household of any size and a single occupancy adult and provide support for those that might be most isolated during the pandemic. Local restrictions provide an exemption to rules on household mixing for those providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to include consultation on reducing the general time limit for surgical abortions in his Department's upcoming consultation on at-home use for both stages of early medical abortion.

The Government has committed to undertake a public consultation on whether to make permanent the COVID-19 measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women. Further details on the consultation will be available in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many medical abortions have taken place at home since the introduction of temporary provisions permitting the application of both sets of abortion pills at home.

From April to June 2020, there were 23,061 medical abortions where both medications (Antiprogesterone and prostaglandin) were taken at home.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many maternal deaths have occurred among women who have taken home abortion pills since 1 April 2020.

The Department is aware of reports of two women who died after seeking abortion treatment earlier this year. Both sought care before the temporary approval came into force on 30 March and physically attended an abortion clinic. Both deaths have been appropriately investigated and in one case investigations are continuing. For the other case, the coroner concluded that there was “no indication either from the physical examination or toxicological evaluation to suggest the pregnancy or attempted abortion contributed directly or indirectly to the death.”

We continue to closely monitor the impact of the temporary approval for women’s homes to be classed as a place where both sets of medication for early medical abortion can be taken up to 10 weeks gestation.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to update guidance on allowing patients to be accompanied at (a) pregnancy scans and (b) other hospital appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is making arrangements to ensure that women are supported and cared for safely through pregnancy, birth and the period afterwards during this pandemic.

Decisions on partners attending scans and appointments is subject to local discretion by trusts and other NHS bodies. Local maternity teams will be able to advise women on their policy on partners attending antenatal appointments including scans.

Guidance produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is clear that women should be encouraged to have one birth partner, who has no symptoms of COVID-19, present with them during any type of labour and birth, unless the birth occurs under general anaesthetic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the level of risk of dentists using FFP2 masks instead of FFP3 masks when carrying out dental work; and what discussions he plans to have with representatives from insurance providers to ensure that dental practices using FFP2 masks are insured.

A risk assessment specifically relating to dentists using FFP2 instead of FFP3 respirators has not been made.

Government guidance for dentists states that FFP3 respirators are advised for all aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) to prevent inhalation of aerosols. Some dental work is classed as AGPs. The Health and Safety Executive carried out a rapid review of the evidence of the effectiveness of FFP3, FFP2 and N95 masks earlier this year. The review stated that FFP2 and N95 respirators offer protection against COVID-19 and so may be used if FFP3 respirators are not available. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/face-mask-equivalence-aprons-gowns-eye-protection-coronavirus.htm

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to allow pharmacy workers to be exempt from having to isolate as a result of the track and trace app.

Anyone who has had close recent contact with someone who has COVID-19 must self-isolate if the NHS Test and Trace service asks them to do so. There are no exemptions. If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with a workplace, employers should contact their local health protection team who will undertake a risk assessment, provide public health advice and, where necessary, establish a multi-agency incident management team to manage the outbreak.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether people who are shielding will have to continue to do so after June 2020.

On 1 June the shielding guidance was updated to advise that those shielding may wish to consider spending time outdoors once a day while following social distancing guidelines.

The Government continues to review the emerging evidence and we will continue to listen to medical advisers on the level of clinical risk the virus presents to different groups of people at different points in time.

At each review point for the social distancing measures, we will review the risks for the clinically extremely vulnerable and assess whether the shielding period needs to be extended or whether it is possible for the shielding guidance to be eased further.

The next review will take place the week commencing 15 June. As part of this, we will consider the next steps for shielding beyond 30 June. We will write to all individuals on the shielded patient list with information about next steps on shielding advice and the support that will be available to them after this review point.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the new Track and Trace app will be able to alert people who are hard of hearing.

We continue to work to ensure the National Health Service COVID-19 app is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We are committed to regular audits of the app by independent specialist assessors to conduct usability testing of the app, including dedicated research to solely focus on accessibility, as part of a wider strategy to ensure nobody is excluded. We have published an Accessibility Statement, which will be kept under review and updated as necessary.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons it is the Government's policy that people travelling to the UK from (a) France and (b) Ireland do not need to quarantine after their arrival in the UK during the covid-19 pandemic.

From 8 June, all passengers arriving in the United Kingdom without having travelled through another part of the Common Travel Area must provide their contact details, and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, apart from those who belong to an exempted group. This includes those travelling from France. Those travelling from Ireland, which is part of the Area, and who have remained within the Area for 14 days or more, are exempt from the new temporary measures. This allows us to maintain the unique arrangements of the Common Travel Area, and we are in close contact with the Irish Government as we each work to tackle COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that specialist daycare facilities for the mentally handicapped and disabled are considered for reopening in circumstances where there is no other provision for respite care during the covid-19 outbreak.

We know how beneficial it can be for people to access day care and respite settings. The Department recognises the importance of day centres and other forms of respite provision. However, it is important that they continue to follow the current social distancing guidelines, in addition to the shielding advice for vulnerable groups where this applies. Both the current advice and guidelines are available publicly on GOV.UK. We are working with the sector to understand where further national guidance would be beneficial.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients can still approach their local GP surgery to (a) book and (b) attend vital appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

The way in which people can access general practice services during the COVID-19 emergency response has changed: practices are offering more triage and remote consultations (video and online) to see as many patients as possible while protecting staff and patients from avoidable risk of infection. NHS England and NHS Improvement have produced a guide to support all general practitioner practices in England with the rapid implementation of a ‘total triage’ model using telephone and online consultation tools. This means that every patient contacting a practice is triaged before making an appointment. The guide is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0098-Total-triage-blueprint-April-2020-v2.pdf

Where a face-to-face appointment or a home visit is clinically necessary, practices will take all necessary steps to reduce the risk of infection, including using personal protective equipment.

The National Health Service ‘Open for Business’ campaign has been created to encourage all patients requiring urgent and emergency care to seek appropriate medical advice and treatment, and reassure them that they won’t be a burden on the NHS. Further information on the campaign can be found at the following link:

https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/nhs-resources-facilities/resources/open-for-business/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Spanish counterpart on that country's approach to British Nationals who cannot leave Spain by 31 March 2021 due to accident or injury and do not have a visa to stay.

The current advice for those across the UK remains to stay at home and not travel abroad unless it is for a permitted exempt reason. Our advice to British nationals abroad is that they should follow the public health advice of the country which they are in, including current COVID-19 restrictions.

Other countries maintain their own visa regimes. As of 1 January 2021, British Citizens do not need a visa when travelling to the EU for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism and similar activities. Requirements for stays beyond visa or visa free periods are subject to national procedures for each country. Any queries on applicable regimes are for the relevant immigration authorities in that country. If a British national overseas requires consular assistance, the FCDO can be contacted by phone or email 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. The kind of assistance we offer is tailored to the individual circumstances of each case. Ministers raise specific issues of concern affecting British nationals overseas as appropriate.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what his Department's advice is to clinically vulnerable British nationals who are shielding in the Schengen Area, who do not have travel visas and cannot remain isolated for longer than 90 days.

The current advice for those across the UK remains that you must stay at home and not travel abroad unless it is for a permitted exempt reason. Our advice to British nationals abroad is that they should follow the public health advice of the country which they are in, including current COVID-19 restrictions and whether they should take additional precautions due to underlying health conditions. As of 1 January 2021, British Citizens will not need a visa when travelling to the EU for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism and similar activities. Requirements for longer stays are subject to Member States' national procedures. Any queries should be directed to the relevant immigration authorities in that country. UK nationals lawfully resident in the EU before 31 December 2020, and their family members, will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. If a British national overseas requires consular assistance, the FCDO can be contacted by phone or email 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. The kind of assistance we offer is tailored to the individual circumstances of each case. More detail on the assistance the FCDO can provide to British nationals abroad is set out in the publication: 'Support for British nationals abroad: A Guide' (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide).

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has plans to reduce the VAT charged on the installation of water fountains for public use in public parks.

The installation of water fountains for public use in public parks is subject to the standard rate of VAT.

VAT raised around £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps to fund key spending priorities. Any reduction in tax paid is a reduction in the money available to support important public services, including the NHS and policing. In addition, this request should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum. Such costs would have to be balanced by increased taxes elsewhere, or reductions in Government spending.

There are no current plans to change the VAT treatment of the installation of water fountains for public use in public parks. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the affordability in terms of public finances of introducing a favourable tax regime for the purchase of electric vehicles.

The Government currently uses the tax system to encourage the uptake of vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions to help meet our legally binding climate change targets. This is why zero emission cars and electric vans are liable to pay no Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), and why users of zero and ultra-low emission cars have favourable company car tax (CCT) rates in comparison to conventionally fuelled vehicles.

The Net Zero Review interim report published by HM Treasury in December last year highlighted that structural changes in the economy related to net zero will have fiscal implications. Much of the revenue from fossil fuel-based taxes is likely to be eroded during the transition to a net zero economy. However, there is currently a high level of uncertainty regarding the rate at which receipts decline.

As the UK moves forward with the transition away from petrol and diesel cars and vans, the Government will need to ensure that revenue from motoring taxes keeps pace with this change, so that the Government can continue to fund the first-class public services and infrastructure that people and families across the UK expect. Any changes to the tax system will be considered by the Chancellor and any further steps will be announced in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department's news story entitled Government outlines new plans for Freeports to turbo-charge post-Brexit trade published on 7 October 2020, how many of the planned freeports are expected to be inland.

The government plans to establish Freeports across the UK. These will be national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK. Freeports will spread jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country by unleashing the economic potential of our ports.

We recently published our response to the Freeports consultation, clearly outlining a wide range of measures to create vibrant, innovative Freeports which are attractive to domestic and international investors looking to start or grow their UK operations. The Freeports consultation response is publicly available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/freeports-consultation

As outlined in the consultation response, we are inviting ports of all modes (air, sea and rail), and businesses, universities and local authorities from across the country to reach out to each other, collaborate and begin to build a strategy for how their region can best meet our ambition.

Specific locations will be chosen in due course according to a fair, transparent and robust bidding process; details of which will be published in due course.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that children's care facilities can benefit from the Small Business Grant fund administered by local authorities.

Children’s care facilities in England which were in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR) as of 11th March are eligible for the small business grant funding (SBGF) of £10,000. Nurseries occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage may also benefit from the 12-month business rates relief holiday.

Children’s care facilities may also benefit from a range of other business support measures. The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support coach companies which operate holidays and charter services during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including almost £300 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. Coach companies, along with other businesses, may benefit from a range of support measures including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England to make grants payments of up to £25,000 to businesses excluded from the existing grants schemes
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of enabling local authorities to suspend the collection of business licence fees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Licencing Act provides no legal framework for suspending or waiving premises licence fees. The Act requires that a premises licence be suspended in cases of non-payment or late payment of annual premises licence fees. However, the Minister of State for Crime and Policing has written to chairs of licensing committees to advise that where businesses experience difficulties in paying premises licence fees as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, licensing authorities should exercise their discretion and consider delaying any suspension of a licence.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department has taken to encourage the International Airlines Group to make use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help prevent British Airways staff from being made redundant.

All firms affected by coronavirus are encouraged to treat their employees fairly and carefully. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is already helping firms keep millions of people in employment by covering most wage costs. While there is no obligation for employers to take up the scheme, the scheme is open to all UK employers provided they have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme; enrolled for PAYE online; have a UK bank account; and that HMRC have received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

6th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that pensioners who are negatively affected by the marginal rate of income tax do not lose out during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to ensuring that older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and the State Pension is the foundation of state support for older people. The Government provides support for older people, such as Winter Fuel Payments, free eye tests and NHS prescriptions, and free bus passes.

Since 2010, the State Pension has been uprated by the highest of average earnings growth, price inflation or 2.5% - an approach known as the Triple Lock. The value of the State Pension is £1,903.20 a year higher than it was in 2010.

It is important to note that the personal allowance - the amount of income that each individual may receive before paying income tax - is currently set at a level high enough to ensure that those pensioners whose sole income is the new State Pension or basic State Pension do not pay any income tax.

The Government is committed to a fair tax system in which those with the most contribute the most. This is why the income tax system consists of three progressive rates of tax, which sit above an internationally high personal allowance.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to support travel agents during the covid-19 outbreak.

During this difficult time the Treasury recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on businesses, including important industries such as travel and tourism.

That is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for individuals and businesses to protect against the current economic emergency. This includes grants to smaller businesses, and a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans through the Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Together these schemes ensure almost all viable UK businesses can apply for a government backed loan.

Travel and tourism industries can also benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and travel agents occupying eligible properties will benefit from the retail, hospitality and leisure business rates holiday.

The government will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business, but these measures will support millions of families, businesses and self-employed people to get through this and emerge on the other side both stronger and more united.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of enabling businesses that have multiple premises in different local authority areas to access the £10,000 small business grant funding.

The Small Business Grant Fund has been designed to support the smallest businesses which have been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The design of the scheme has been tied to existing eligibility for Small Business Rates Relief and Rural Rates Relief, which together provide a straightforward framework for Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible. Any delay in the delivery of the grants schemes would be highly unwelcome during this time of crisis, when it is vital that Local Authorities make payments to hard-hit businesses as quickly as possible.

Under the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant Fund, properties operating in those sectors with a rateable value of £15,000 or under can receive a £10,000 even if they are not eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief. This is designed to help sectors which have been particularly hard hit by the closures necessary to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 1.99 of the Budget 2020 Red Book, if he will provide details of the process by which businesses will be reimbursed in the event that they are required to provide employees with statutory sick pay as a result of covid-19.

The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed for this purpose.

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 1.101 of the 2020 Budget Red Book, if he will publish details of the process by which small businesses will be able access the £3,000 cash grant.

The Chancellor announced on 17 March that this grant will be increased to £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, or Rural Rate Relief. In addition, retail businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a cash grant of £25,000.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will write to Local Authorities this week to outline these schemes and will provide detailed guidance as soon as possible. Eligible businesses will be contacted by Local Authorities shortly afterwards to provide details on how to claim this money.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing Doncaster Sheffield Airport as a freeport.

The Government is committed to running a fair, transparent and robust allocation process to select up to 10 freeports across the UK.

The Government is currently consulting publicly on freeports policy; the finalised policy and a bidding process will be announced in due course after the consultation has concluded.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the time taken to process passport applications and tackle the current backlog.

HM Passport Office continues to operate at a small percentage of its usual staffing levels so its people can continue to socially distance while on site in line with public health guidance, yet it has been rapidly acquiring additional office space, and since 23 March has so far added 172 COVID-secure desks.

Additionally, HM Passport Office is part way through developing a new system which digitises applications, including the supporting documentation, which will substantially increase the ability of staff to process applications from home. Currently, about 40% of passport applications are being processed through this system and, for those simplest cases where checks upon the application can be fully completed with minimal manual intervention, they are being processed quickly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department is making on its paper on group-based child sexual exploitation.

The Home Secretary has expressed her determination to ensure failures of the past are not repeated and to do all we can to bear down on offenders and support victims. That is why on 19th May the Government announced its intention to publish a paper on group-based child sexual exploitation by the end of the year, following consultation with subject matter experts. We intend this paper to present the best available evidence on the characteristics of this form of offending, bringing together insight from existing research, independent reviews, and all of the evidence from the Home Office's own work in this area.

The Home Office will set up an External Reference Group, comprising of broad membership with a range of experience and expertise, to review the Pape before its publication. We plan to engage with the External Reference Group over the summer. It is vital we allow time for the External Reference Group to play a proper part in scrutinising the findings and setting the direction for further work.

Subject to engagement with the External Reference Group, we intend to publish the Paper on group-based child sexual exploitation in the autumn.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to allow members of the armed forces to take advantage of salary sacrifice schemes used towards the purchase of electric vehicles.

There are currently no plans to offer members of the Armed Forces financial assistance with the purchase of any vehicle, including electric vehicles for private use, either through salary sacrifice or by any other means.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will work with local authorities to introduce a council tax discount for residents whose properties are on private roads.

The Government does not have plans to introduce a new council tax discount for residents whose properties are on private roads. Council tax contributes to the cost of delivering a wide range of local services, including adult social care, children’s services and police and fire services. The council tax system contains a wide range of discounts and exemptions to reflect personal circumstances and local authorities also have discretion to offer discounts where they consider it appropriate.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council's unsuccessful application for funding from the £830 million Future High Street Fund, what support is available to help local authorities formulate innovative bids to help them to secure Government funding for projects.

My officials are providing bespoke feedback to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council on their unsuccessful Future High Streets Fund application to help with future funding.

The Government is also providing support to local leadership through our High Streets Task Force, giving high streets and town centres expert advice to adapt and thrive. The Task Force is providing hands-on support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts. The Task Force will be rolling out experts, training and data offers across the country in due course and has launched a range of online support.

I am also pleased to see that both Doncaster and Stainforth Town Deal Boards will be submitting their Town Investment Plan proposals at the end of January 2021. These Town Deals have the potential to benefit the wider Doncaster area and I look forward to receiving these very soon.

Beyond this, our new £4 billion Levelling Up Fund will be open to all local areas across the country, including £600 million available later this year.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timescale is for the conclusion of the Voluntary Right to Buy pilot for housing association tenants in the Midlands; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential for that scheme to be rolled out more widely after that pilot's conclusion.

The final sales under the Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot are due to conclude in 2021, following some delays to sales caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The pilot is being fully evaluated, and the results of this evaluation will be published.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will list the (a) name and (b) value of each Government grant awarded to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council as a result of covid-19 outbreak.

Details are set out in the table below

Covid-19 Funding - first wave

£10,089,671

Covid-19 Funding - second wave

£8,591,546

Hardship Fund

£2,992,753

Business Rates Relief Measures

£37,024,117

Business Rates Support Grants

£64,402,000

Homelessness Covid-19 Funding

£18,000

TOTAL

£123,118,087

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to paragraph 2.91 of the Budget 2020 Red Book, HC 121, whether the Affordable Homes Programme will allocate funds to the Sheffield City Region.

We announced at Budget 2020 that we are investing £12 billion to build affordable homes between 2021/22 and 2025/26. This will be the biggest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade.

The Affordable Housing Programme is flexible, and providers are able to bid into the programme to deliver a range of affordable homes across the country. The exact location these homes will depend on the bids received. We will announce further details on the new programme in due course

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons individuals who are detained under certain circumstances of section 37 of the Mental Health Act are detained without a tariff or plan for their future.

A hospital order (section 37 of the Mental Health Act) authorises detention under the Mental Health Act for an offender who is suffering from a mental disorder, for as long as treatment in hospital is necessary and appropriate.

The order is made by a court as an alternative to a prison sentence, where the court thinks it appropriate that an individual should be diverted away from custody to hospital for treatment. There is no minimum term to be served for the purpose of punishment so the period of detention will be determined by the patient’s responsible clinician or the Tribunal based on the need for ongoing treatment in hospital.

As part of the planned reforms set out in the Mental Health Act White Paper, we want to ensure that all patients, including those subject to section 37 of the Act, have a high-quality care and treatment plan in place within days of their admission. This plan should set out the patient's needs, how these will be met whilst they are detained under the Mental Health Act, the objectives of detention and any proposed timescales before improvement might be expected.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)