Nick Smith Portrait

Nick Smith

Labour - Blaenau Gwent

Opposition Whip (Commons)
18th Oct 2016 - 6th Nov 2019
Standing Orders
1st Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Procedure Committee
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Sep 2015 - 18th Oct 2016
Public Accounts Committee
7th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015
Public Accounts Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 29th November 2021
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Local Government Finance system: Overview and challenges
29 Nov 2021, 3:30 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Jeremy Pocklington - Permanent Secretary at The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
Catherine Frances - Director General Local Government and Public Services at The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
Alex Skinner - Director Local Government Finance at The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
Will Garton - Director Public Services at HM Treasury
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Oral Question
Tuesday 30th November 2021
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral Question No. 21
What recent assessment she has made of the prospects for a negotiated peace settlement in Yemen.
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Oral Question
Wednesday 1st December 2021
11:30
Topical Question No. 8
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 1st December 2021
13:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: HMRC Annual Accounts 2020-21
1 Dec 2021, 1:30 p.m.
At 2.00pm: Oral evidence
Jim Harra - Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary at HMRC
Angela MacDonald - Second Permanent Secretary at HMRC
Joanna Rowland - Director General Transformation Business Group at HMRC
Justin Holliday - Chief Finance Officer at HMRC
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 6th December 2021
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: DWP Employment Support 2: Kickstart scheme
6 Dec 2021, 3:30 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Peter Schofield - Permanent Secretary at Department for Work & Pensions
Jonathan Mills - Director General, Policy Group at Department for Work & Pensions
Karen Gosden - Area Director Work and Health Services and SRO for Kickstart at Department for Work & Pensions
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 8th December 2021
13:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Financial Sustainability of Schools in England
8 Dec 2021, 1:30 p.m.
At 2.00pm: Oral evidence
Susan Acland-Hood - Permanent Secretary at Department for Education
Indra Morris - Director General Children Social Care at Department for Education
John Edwards - Interim Chief Executive at Education and Skills Funding Agency
Warwick Sharp - Director at Education and Skills Funding Agency
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Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Health and Care Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 176 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 191 Noes - 307
Speeches
Thursday 25th November 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

Test and Trace has been muddled and expensive. Along with personal protective equipment provision, it has been a profiteers’ paradise …

Written Answers
Wednesday 17th November 2021
Coronavirus: Public Inquiries
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress his Department …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 4th March 2014
Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2013-14
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
Tweets
Friday 26th November 2021
14:01
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Community
Address of donor: 465c Caledonian Road, London N7 9GX
Amount of donation or nature and value …
EDM signed
Wednesday 23rd June 2021
GKN Automotive alternative plan
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 16th June 2020
Automatic Electoral Registration Bill 2019-21
A Bill to impose certain duties upon Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the accuracy, completeness and utility of electoral registers; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Nick Smith has voted in 295 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Nick Smith 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
(14 debate interactions)
Jeremy Quin (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
(12 debate interactions)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(19 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(14 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(12 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Nick Smith's debates

Blaenau Gwent 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 the event of a spike we would like you not to close gyms as a measure to stop any spread of Covid. Also for gyms to not be put in the same group as pubs in terms of risk or importance. Gyms are following strict guidelines and most members are following rules in a sober manner.

Isolation essential to the Government’s strategy for fighting coronavirus, and UK citizens must remain healthy and exercise whilst keeping adequate distance between people. The Government should allow golf courses to open so families or individuals can play golf in order to exercise safely.


Latest EDMs signed by Nick Smith

22nd June 2021
Nick Smith signed this EDM on Wednesday 23rd June 2021

GKN Automotive alternative plan

Tabled by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of over 500 highly skilled jobs and work transferred to continental Europe; notes that GKN’s origins trace back to the industrial revolution, with over 260 years of history that include making …
67 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 63
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
19th October 2020
Nick Smith signed this EDM on Thursday 5th November 2020

Unionlearn

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House recognises the exemplary and invaluable role played by Unionlearn in helping people acquire skills and qualifications to boost their job prospects and make a valuable contribution to the economy; applauds Unionlearn for aiding hundreds of thousands of learners at all levels, from basic numeracy and literacy to …
94 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 59
Scottish National Party: 15
Liberal Democrat: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 6
Independent: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Nick Smith's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Nick Smith, 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 Smith has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Nick Smith has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Nick Smith


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to regulate the selling of tickets for certain sporting and cultural events; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 4th March 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision relating to signage and ticketing technology for parking charges used in publicly-available car parks; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 18th September 2012

91 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
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress his Department has made on (a) appointing a chair and (b) defining the terms of reference for the public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 will be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022. The independent chair of the inquiry will be appointed by the end of this year. Further details, including on the terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost was of the Minister of State, Lord Frost’s visit to Portugal in October 2021.

Details of Ministers’ overseas travel are published quarterly on GOV.UK.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to provide an Answer to Question 178999, tabled on 29 March 2021 by the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 178999 on 29 April 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he had (a) discussions and (b) text communication with former Prime Minister David Cameron on Government support for Greensill Capital.

The Prime Minister has asked Mr Boardman to conduct a review that will look into the decisions taken around the development and use of supply chain finance (and associated schemes) in government, especially the role of Lex Greensill and Greensill Capital. The full terms of reference are set out at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/review-into-the-development-and-use-of-supply-chain-finance-in-government-terms-of-reference

The review will report to the Prime Minister by 30 June 2021. The Government will publish and present to Parliament the Review’s findings and the Government’s response in due course thereafter.

Correspondence between the Cabinet Office and the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments is published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/crothers-bill-government-chief-commercial-officer-cabinet-office-acoba-recommendation

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Local Government Information Unit report entitled Free, fair and safe: 2021 local elections, what assessment he has made of the (a) capacity of councils for managing postal voting, (b) potential for implementing all-out postal voting and (c) the merits of developing a digital postal vote application service in time for the May 2021 elections.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQ138465 and PQ136458 on 20 January. The House will be kept updated.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral contribution by the Minister of State, the right hon. Member for Chelsea and Fulham, on 19 October 2021, Official Report, Column 611, whether he will be taking additional steps to support the steel sector’s transition to net zero given the £350 million Industrial Energy Transformation Fund is intended for multiple energy-intensive sectors including the steel sector.

The Government recognises the vital role that the steel sector plays in our economy and across all areas of the UK. We have taken specific steps to support the steel industry and we will continue to work with the sector regarding its decarbonisation.

In October 2021 we published the Net Zero Strategy, which committed to provide further support for research and innovation through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and initiatives led by the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre to support the fuel switch to low carbon hydrogen on industrial sites.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 152466 on OneWeb, how much the Government has allocated for future funding to OneWeb in the next (a) 12 and (b) 36 months; and which additional shareholders are being considered.

The Government do not propose to invest further in OneWeb. The Government, together with other OneWeb shareholders, is engaged in discussions with a range of potential partners about future funding and bringing in additional shareholders. For reasons of commercial sensitivity, the Government cannot provide details of potential investors before they are formally announced.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that wedding (a) venues and (b) suppliers are supported during the third covid-19 lockdown.

We have provided an unprecedented package of financial support since March 2020 to businesses, including those in the weddings sector. We keep this regularly under review, through discussions with HM Treasury.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much his Department spend on (a) external advisers and (b) consultant fees related to the Government's investment in OneWeb.

Details of the Department’s expenditure related to Government’s investment in OneWeb are commercially sensitive. The Government is obliged to treat this information with appropriate care to avoid damaging wider commercial interests and maintaining the trust of OneWeb’s shareholders.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much his Department has allocated for (a) further investment in OneWeb and (b) any other activity relating to OneWeb in the next (i) 12 months and (ii) three years.

The UK Government is working closely with the company and partners to maximise the value of our investment, including discussing with a range of potential partners about future funding and bringing in additional shareholders.

OneWeb plans to complete UK coverage and commence commercial services by the end of 2021, with global coverage planned for 2022.

It remains the Government’s ambition to supporting OneWeb in providing competitive global broadband and identifying opportunities to protect and promote UK jobs and supply chains.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department’s press release of 3 July 2020 announcing its investment in OneWeb, how many people were employed at OneWeb’s UK base as of 10 February 2021.

Employee and workforce details are a business matter for the company. OneWeb is fully aware of the UK Government’s ambition to boost domestic capabilities in research and development and bring high-level manufacturing jobs to the UK.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much further investment in OneWeb his Department estimates will be made by Bharti Global Ltd in (a) the next 12 months and (b) the next 36 months.

Details of further investment into OneWeb are a commercial matter for the company.

The UK Government’s focus is on securing additional private investment. We are in discussions with a range of potential partners about future funding and bringing in additional shareholders.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department’s press release of 3 July 2020 announcing its investment in OneWeb, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for OneWeb to support the UK’s national security interests.

The UK will continue to rely on the SKYNET programme for its defence and security global communications requirements.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has plans to encourage OneWeb to move the manufacturing of its satellites from the US to the UK.

Details of satellite production and manufacturing are a commercial matter for the company.

OneWeb is fully aware of the UK Government’s ambition to boost domestic capabilities in research and development and bring high-value manufacturing jobs to the UK.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many OneWeb satellites his Department estimates will be produced for orbit in the next 12 months.

Details of satellite production and future launches are a commercial matter for the company.

OneWeb plans to complete UK coverage and commence commercial services by the end of 2021, with global coverage planned for 2022.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will publish the governance structures for OneWeb with reference to the (a) role of Bharti Global Ltd and (b) arrangements for oversight by Ministers of his Department.

The Government recognises the importance of transparency in relation to its shareholding in OneWeb. Government involvement is outlined in the terms of the company’s articles of association, which are publicly available at Companies House.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will publish the primary objectives of OneWeb with reference to its provision of (a) internet communications, (b) surveillance and (c) GPS.

The Government and other shareholders are supporting OneWeb in the development of their long-term strategic plan.

OneWeb’s global Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation will provide high speed, low-latency global internet coverage.

OneWeb’s current generation of satellites does not offer any surveillance applications. However, moving forward, OneWeb’s capabilities in potential future-generation satellites, alongside those of the wider sector, will be reviewed in the context of the UK’s evolving Space requirements.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the outcome was of his Department's recent assessment of the value of its investment in the OneWeb company.

Investing in OneWeb provides the UK with a range of strategic and commercial opportunities, including the potential to create jobs, expand the UK's supply chain and boost the manufacturing sector.

OneWeb will contribute to the UK's ambition to become a world leader in the Space sector.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Dec 2020
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of ending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on levels of employment.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has safeguarded 9.6m jobs to date and will be reviewed in January. The Government is also supporting the recovery of the economy by focussing on job creation initiatives like Kickstart and Restart. The public health situation continues to evolve and we will continue to take the necessary steps to protect jobs and businesses.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 5366, when his Department plans to update its publications entitled (a) Steel procurement pipeline and (b) Steel Public Procurement: Compliance with the steel procurement guidance.

The data used for the publication of the steel procurement pipeline, and the compliance data on the steel procurement guidance, has been shared with UK Steel and the steel producers. These stakeholders have helped to quality assure the information prior to publication, which we intend to publish soon.

Data on steel procurement in the UK, including the origin, as well as information on infrastructure projects with significant steel content, is published annually at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/steel-public-procurement.

The next iteration of this data will be published in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that employers provide sufficient levels of personal protective equipment to their employees once they return to work after the covid-19 lockdown.

We have provided guidance on how to work safely in a number of different working environments, such as offices, factories, and working outdoors – so that employers can use the guidance which is most relevant to them. The safety of all workers is at the forefront of this guidance. Our approach is clinically led, based on the expert advice of the UK’s Chief Medical Officer for England, the NHS and Public Health England. We are led by the evolving science in this work and as the scientific and medical advice changes, the guidance will be updated to reflect this.

Where workers already wear PPE for protection against non-COVID risks, such as dust, they should continue to wear this PPE.

The best way to manage the risk of COVID-19 is to implement robust social distancing measures and other physical controls. Outside of a clinical setting there is very little evidence to support the use of PPE and we would anticipate that an employer’s risk assessment and risk management decisions would reflect that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.

We recommend that PPE is not used in working environments where it would not normally be required. Good hygiene and minimising social contact remain the most effective way of managing the risks of COVID-19. However, if an employers’ risk assessment does show that PPE is required, employers must provide this PPE free of charge to employees.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will require employers to publish comprehensive covid-19 risk assessments in advance of the return of their employees to work after the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has published guidance developed with industry experts, unions, business organisations, local Government, and other stakeholders, requiring employers to carry out risk assessments as part of normal health and safety practice in order to get employees back to work safely.

Employers need to develop their risk assessments with input from unions and workers, as they do under normal circumstance. All businesses should share the results of their risk assessment with their employees. We are asking employers to publish the results of these assessments whenever possible.

The Government expects larger organisations – those with over 50 workers – to publish the results of their risk assessments. We think businesses will want to do this to help build the confidence of their workers and their customers. In order to help with this, the Government has provided a new notice which employers can display on their website to show they have followed the guidance on managing the risks of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department plans to issue to businesses in the beauty sector on health and safety standards in relation to the covid-19 outbreak.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out a roadmap to get the UK back to work in his speech on 11 May. Hairdressers and other beauty businesses remain closed in this phase because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher due to the indoor environment and closer physical contact. The ambition is to reopen these businesses as part of Step 3 of the roadmap and we will work with the beauty sector ahead of that to ensure that that the guidance supports hairdressers to work safely.

This will add to the guidance already published by the Government which was developed with industry, unions, local government, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive to support businesses that have been allowed to open during the pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that workers in the beauty sector receive adequate supplies of personal protective equipment in order to re-open businesses.

We continue to work with stakeholders on developing sensible guidance for businesses that will give UK workers the utmost confidence on their return to work.? We will now focus on sectors, such as the personal care sector, that are not currently open to help them plan for when they can open.

The needs of staff in non-health and non-care settings are covered in the United Kingdom-wide Personal Protective Equipment Plan published on 10 April 2020. This provides clear guidance on who needs Personal Protective Equipment and in what circumstances they need to use it, and how sufficient supplies will be secured to manage the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan can be accessed on the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what quantity of (a) hot-rolled steel, (b) steel pipe and tubes and (c) total steel and steel products was procured from UK steel manufacturers by government departments in 2019.

This Government is committed to supporting the UK steel industry.

The Department collates information from across Government where large amounts of steel are procured, including information about steel spend and origin, where known. This information is published annually at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/steel-public-procurement

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 5 November 2019 to Question 8232, when the proposals for the long-term protection of Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme bonuses will be implemented in full.

Officials are working with the Trustees on implementing the proposals. This requires changes to the Scheme Rules which are being drafted by the Trustees’ lawyers. Further updates will be provided in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Parkrun’s covid-19 operating framework; and what plans he has to include Parkrun in his Department’s list of approved sports published on the Government’s website.

Government has prioritised the safe return of sport including team sports, contact combat sports and organised sports participation events. Organised outdoor sport, such as Parkrun, is exempt from legal gathering limits and can take place with any number of participants, as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance. As such, Parkrun has been able to take place since 29 March as part of Step 1 of the government’s response to the Covid-19 Roadmap.

We are aware of issues at local levels around this, which is why I met with ParkRun on the 21 March to discuss the issues regarding their return. As the Secretary of State announced on 20th May, DCMS will be writing jointly with MHCLG to all Local Authorities to ensure these important events take place. I am committed to supporting them to return as soon as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure bureaucracy at a local authority level does not restrict the return of safe and legal community sports events as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Government has prioritised the safe return of sport including team sports, contact combat sports and organised sports participation events. Organised outdoor sport, such as Parkrun, is exempt from legal gathering limits and can take place with any number of participants, as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance. As such, Parkrun has been able to take place since 29 March as part of Step 1 of the government’s response to the Covid-19 Roadmap.

We are aware of issues at local levels around this, which is why I met with ParkRun on the 21 March to discuss the issues regarding their return. As the Secretary of State announced on 20th May, DCMS will be writing jointly with MHCLG to all Local Authorities to ensure these important events take place. I am committed to supporting them to return as soon as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken with the Local Government Association and others on the return of parkrun.

Government has prioritised the safe return of sport including team sports, contact combat sports and organised sports participation events. Organised outdoor sport, such as Parkrun, is exempt from legal gathering limits and can take place with any number of participants, as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance. As such, Parkrun has been able to take place since 29 March as part of Step 1 of the government’s response to the Covid-19 Roadmap.

We are aware of issues at local levels around this, which is why I met with ParkRun on the 21 March to discuss the issues regarding their return. As the Secretary of State announced on 20th May, DCMS will be writing jointly with MHCLG to all Local Authorities to ensure these important events take place. I am committed to supporting them to return as soon as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for Parkruns to return in England in June 2021.

Government has prioritised the safe return of sport including team sports, contact combat sports and organised sports participation events. Organised outdoor sport, such as Parkrun, is exempt from legal gathering limits and can take place with any number of participants, as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance. As such, Parkrun has been able to take place since 29 March as part of Step 1 of the government’s response to the Covid-19 Roadmap.

We are aware of issues at local levels around this, which is why I met with ParkRun on the 21 March to discuss the issues regarding their return. As the Secretary of State announced on 20th May, DCMS will be writing jointly with MHCLG to all Local Authorities to ensure these important events take place. I am committed to supporting them to return as soon as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support will be offered to self-employed people in the arts after the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme closes.

We recognise the crucial role that self-employed individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading. The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has helped millions of people across the UK, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This has covered 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

In addition to this scheme designed to support the self-employed, the Government announced an unprecedented £1.57bn support package for organisations in the Arts and Culture sectors. This funding will help preserve and resume cultural activity, initially with socially distanced audiences and subsequently kick start employment opportunities for freelancers.

To complement the funding for organisations made available by Government, Arts Council England have announced £95m of additional support for individuals, including freelancers. This involves:

  • An additional £75m in project grants. These will be focused on applications that maximise employment opportunities and those from under-represented groups. Freelancers are eligible to apply directly. National Portfolio Organisations can also apply to create new work with bids that create employment opportunities prioritised.

  • A further round of the ACE programme ‘Discover Your Creative Practice’ will open in the autumn. This will make approximately £18m available for individuals looking to develop new creative skills that will help them to further develop their career.

  • ACE will also be adding £2m into relevant benevolent funds to support those less well supported by the programmes outlined above, including stage managers and technicians.

The government remains committed to supporting our prestigious and internationally renowned arts and cultural sector and is clear on the vital importance the Arts contribute to the well being of the nation at this time. We are committed to continuing to work with these sectors to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of hydrogen technology on improving air quality.

Improving air quality is a top priority for this Government. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group considered hydrogen in its recent report Impacts of Net Zero pathways on future air quality in the UK. Furthermore, the Department for Transport published in 2018 the outputs of the Transport Energy Model, which provides a clear assessment for the period to 2050 of the relative environmental impacts, including air quality, of a range of fuel and powertrain options for cars, vans, buses and heavy good vehicles, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 61707 on Agriculture: Seasonal Workers, if his Department will publish the estimates made of demand for seasonal workers for (a) July, (b) August and (c) September 2020.

We are working closely with industry to monitor labour needs over the remainder of the 2020 harvest season. This is difficult to pin down in exact numbers, since employers are making their own commercial decisions on the number of workers they need, depending on their individual circumstances. We understand from industry feedback that labour needs are currently being met and that the majority of businesses have sourced sufficient workers for the remainder of the season.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 61710 on Agriculture: Seasonal Workers, if his Department will publish details of (a) the Government’s co-investment partners and (b) the amount they have invested.

In addition to Defra, the partners for the Pick for Britain website are the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the National Farmers Union (NFU), the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), The British Growers Association (BGA) and Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Links to the websites of all of these organisations are shown on the Pick for Britain website.

The AHDB provides the digital infrastructure for the Pick for Britain website using existing in-house resources and at minimal additional cost, all other partners have contributed their time and knowledge.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 61707 on Agriculture: Seasonal Workers, what form the evaluation of Pick For Britain is taking; and when the results of that evaluation will be published.

We understand that the demand for labour has been fully met for the earlier harvest months and that growers are increasingly confident that they will be able to access the labour they need as the season progresses. We are working with industry on an ongoing basis to review this year's seasonal labour provision, including the Pick for Britain campaign which has been just one of a variety of routes through which growers have sourced labour successfully. As explained in my response to Question 61707, we are carrying out ongoing evaluation; this is part of our normal internal process in which evidence specialists will assess supply and demand issues over this year based on intelligence from a range of industry partners. As such there will be no formal publication. We will, however, share the key findings with our stakeholders as part of our ongoing development of labour supply policy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people have been recruited to the Pick For Britain scheme as of 19 June 2020; and whether that number has been sufficient to meet demand.

The Pick for Britain website was launched in April as a joint Defra and industry initiative to bring together people who are looking for work on UK farms with recruiters who have roles to fill. As well as the website, we have worked across industry and with commercial partners and others to widely promote the Pick for Britain campaign. At its busiest point 27 businesses, including recruiters who worked for multiple individual horticulture businesses, were listed on the ‘Jobs’ page. The website has had over 1.5 million unique page views since its launch, and several recruiters and growers have now filled their vacancies for the season and have asked to be removed from the website. The campaign’s benefits have been felt beyond the website, and industry have confirmed that many more businesses have benefited from the wider campaign.

We know that there is a lot of interest from domestic workers, but we are not able to share any information about specific vacancies, interviews or people in jobs as that information is commercially sensitive and held by individual companies. Defra has therefore not set a target for the total number of workers the Pick for Britain campaign aims to have directly or indirectly recruited.

We are closely monitoring the situation, and although labour supplies can change quickly industry is indicating that the demand for seasonal workers is currently being met.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to review the effectiveness of the Pick For Britain scheme; and whether that review will include analysis of the effect of (a) the UK leaving the EU and (b) the covid-19 outbreak on that scheme.

The Pick for Britain website was launched in April as a joint Defra and industry initiative to bring together people who are looking for work on UK farms with recruiters who have roles to fill.

We are evaluating the impact of the Pick for Britain website on an ongoing basis through engagement with the recruiters and businesses who use it. Industry feedback indicates the demand for seasonal workers is currently being met, but we know this may change in the coming months and we will continue to closely monitor the situation. Although Pick for Britain was launched in direct response to the Covid-19 outbreak we will, as part of our evaluation, consider how positive lessons from the campaign might be applied beyond the end of the Transition Period.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what targets he has set for the Pick For Britain scheme; and what assessment he has made of whether those targets have been met.

The Pick for Britain website was launched in April as a joint Defra and industry initiative to bring together people who are looking for work on UK farms with recruiters who have roles to fill. As well as the website, we have worked across industry and with commercial partners and others to widely promote the Pick for Britain campaign. At its busiest point 27 businesses, including recruiters who worked for multiple individual horticulture businesses, were listed on the ‘Jobs’ page. The website has had over 1.5 million unique page views since its launch, and several recruiters and growers have now filled their vacancies for the season and have asked to be removed from the website. The campaign’s benefits have been felt beyond the website, and industry have confirmed that many more businesses have benefited from the wider campaign.

We know that there is a lot of interest from domestic workers, but we are not able to share any information about specific vacancies, interviews or people in jobs as that information is commercially sensitive and held by individual companies. Defra has therefore not set a target for the total number of workers the Pick for Britain campaign aims to have directly or indirectly recruited.

We are closely monitoring the situation, and although labour supplies can change quickly industry is indicating that the demand for seasonal workers is currently being met.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the combined effect of the UK leaving the EU and covid-19 travel restrictions on the agricultural labour market in 2020.

Free movement continues until the end of the Transition Period, which is the end of this year. In future, any EU citizen wishing to come to live and work in the UK will need to apply under the UK’s future immigration system. Agricultural businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. We have guaranteed the rights of all EU citizens and their families already living in the UK. The EU Settlement Scheme, which opened in March 2019, has already received more than 3.5 million applications from EU citizens who are able to stay and work in the UK and there is still over a year until the application deadline of 30 June 2021

The Seasonal Workers Pilot is providing thousands of workers to farms across the UK this year. Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have delayed the arrival of some Pilot workers. Defra and the Home Office are working closely with the operators of the Pilot to enable workers to reach the UK, including facilitating the re-opening of Visa Application Centres in Ukraine and Belarus on 1 June. This has allowed significant numbers of Pilot workers from those countries to obtain a visa and travel to the UK.

Defra has been working closely with the sector and other Government departments to closely monitor and respond to the agricultural labour market this year. Industry feedback indicates the demand for seasonal workers is currently being met, but we know this may change in the coming months and we are closely monitoring the situation.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimates his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of the Pick For Britain scheme.

The Pick for Britain campaign has been a joint industry-Government initiative with co-investment from partners, which has ensured that the successful campaign has been at little direct cost to the Government. So far £16,500 has been spent by Defra on the Pick for Britain campaign and a small budget for potential future spend to the end of the season is available should this be needed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2021
What recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of her Department’s trade policies on growth for British businesses.

We have set out the potential impacts of Free Trade Agreements in our published Scoping Assessments for the US, Australia, New Zealand and CPTPP. An Impact Assessment has also been published on the recently signed agreement with Japan, which shows that it goes beyond the existing EU deal, providing a long-run boost to the UK economy of around £1.5bn, compared to a situation without the deal. Output in the North West and Wales could increase by £64 million and £34 million respectively.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many bilateral meetings her Department has had on trade in steel or steel products at (a) ministerial and (b) official level since September 2019.

Since September 2019 the Department for International Trade has engaged bilaterally on trade in steel or steel products once at a ministerial level and on six occasions at official level. Ministers have also attended roundtables on issues which related to trade in steel or steel products, for which the steel industry were also in attendance.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether there is a backlog in (a) opening and (b) responding to postal enquiries at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

The DVLA’s 6,000 staff are largely based at a single site in Swansea and to adhere to Welsh Government social distancing requirements the number of staff on-site had been greatly reduced. While there are not generally delays in opening paper applications, processing them may take longer as they have to be dealt with in person. The DVLA has reconfigured its accommodation to maximise staff numbers while meeting the requirement in Wales to maintain the two-metre social distancing and ensure it remains Covid secure.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has a range of online services available which offer quick and easy ways of transacting. The DVLA’s online services have worked well and as normal throughout the pandemic. Between March and the end of August, the DVLA has issued nearly seven million vehicle registration certificates and three and a half million driving licences.

The DVLA has also accelerated the development of additional online services to further reduce the number of paper applications and supported the take up of these through a publicity campaign. In June, the DVLA launched a new service allowing vehicle keepers to change their address online. This service was developed and introduced at pace and has been very successful with more than 213,000 change of address transactions completed online by the end of August. Further digital service enhancements are underway.

Additionally, drivers with a licence that expires between 1 February and 31 December 2020 have been given an automatic extension from the date of expiry. This means they will not need to renew their entitlement to drive until 11 months after the original expiry date.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the role of hydrogen passenger vehicles in de-carbonising transport.

In 2018, the Department for Transport published the outputs of the Transport Energy Model. The model provides a clear assessment of the relative environmental impacts of a range of fuel and powertrain options for cars, vans, buses and heavy goods vehicles over the period to 2050, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The Government’s approach to delivering greener transport is technology neutral and we have provided support for hydrogen as a transport fuel where the market favours its use. For road transport this includes support through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, the £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme, £2m Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle support scheme and funding for the purchase of 62 hydrogen fuel cell buses. Across road, rail, maritime and aviation Government is supporting research and development into hydrogen technologies recognising its potential to be a key fuel on the pathway to zero emissions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of total cost of UK steel and steel tubes as a proportion of all steel procured by his Department in 2019.

In DfT, steel is only purchased directly by Network Rail. Between Jun 2018-19 the value of their UK steel procurements was approximately 93% percent of the total value of their steel contracts. The next report will be on data from Jun 2019-20. Both Highways England and High Speed Two Ltd procure steel through their respective supply chains.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of total cost of UK steel and steel products as a proportion of all steel procured by his Department in 2019.

In DfT, steel is only purchased directly by Network Rail. Between Jun 2018-19 the value of their UK steel procurements was approximately 93% percent of the total value of their steel contracts. The next report will be on data from Jun 2019-20. Both Highways England and High Speed Two Ltd procure steel through their respective supply chains.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many young people living in Blaenau Gwent constituency were registered with the Kickstart scheme as of 23 February 2021.

Data regarding the number of young people registered for the Kickstart scheme by constituency is not currently available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to enforce the adoption by employers of required health and safety measures to protect their employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

Where it is found that employers are not complying with Covid-19 guidelines, then appropriate action will be taken by the relevant enforcing authority including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Local Authorities. Action can range from specific advice through to serving enforcement notices so as to ensure that practicable measures are implemented to protect workers and others.

In addition, HSE has been given access to additional funding to support their advice and regulatory activity as businesses implement the new guidance on working safely. HSE’s plans will develop as more businesses return to work and this will include checks that appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from Covid-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether there are provisions to transfer out of defined benefit pension schemes into alternative investments in Pension Schemes Bill.

In answering this question, the term ‘alternative investments’ is assumed to refer to investments that the individual chooses themselves, either that are unconventional in that they carry more risk, or are not typical of investments offered by personal pension schemes.

The Pension Schemes Bill 2019-20 has no provisions that restrict how members transferring from defined benefits pensions should invest their pension rights.

Clause 124 of the Pension Schemes Bill contains provisions to amend the statutory right to transfer and thereby restricts the types of pension arrangements under which a member can compel trustees to approve a transfer request. Members can still use their statutory right to transfer to an authorised Master Trust or an FCA authorised pension arrangement.

In accordance with the principles of freedom and choice, members with defined benefit pension rights have the right to transfer to a defined contribution scheme to self-invest. These self-invested personal pension schemes can offer the member a range of investment funds, including alternative investments.

Members with a cash equivalent greater than £30,000 must seek financial advice before they transfer or convert their pension rights into flexible benefits, that can be used for alternative investments. FCA rules for pension transfer advisers require that the form of investment the member is considering on transfer is considered as part of their recommendation to the member to transfer or not. However, the member retains the right to follow or ignore the advice they receive. Where trustees’ have concerns with the alternative investments in a members’ choice of destination, they should make the member aware as part of their overall requirement to carry out due diligence in the member’s interest.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 158899, and the letter from Baroness Harding and Mr David Williams CB to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee dated 11 February 2021 outlining the cost per test at the testing site in Cwm, Marine Coillery, Ebbw Vale from October 2020 to December 2020, what the cost per test for that site was in each month since its opening in July 2020.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost per test has been at the covid-19 testing site in Cwm, Marine Colliery, Ebbw Vale, in each month since its opening in July 2020.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle low stocks of the flu vaccine (a) for healthcare and other key workers and (b) in general.

There is no national shortage of the flu vaccine. There is sufficient vaccine for up to 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

General practitioners, pharmacists, and trusts are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November. Guidance for GPs, pharmacists and trusts on accessing the additional stock will be issued shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is offering to healthcare settings to ensure adequate stocks of the flu vaccine for winter 2020-21.

There is no national shortage of the flu vaccine. There is sufficient vaccine for up to 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

General practitioners, pharmacists, and trusts are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November. Guidance for GPs, pharmacists and trusts on accessing the additional stock will be issued shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 21 September 2020 to Question 81767 on Randox Laboratories: Coronavirus, how many Randox sampling kits were recalled following Randox’s Field Safety Notice of 7 August 2020.

The recall applied to all unused Randox kits in circulation at the time the recall notice was announced; up to 750,000 kits. This figure may be significantly less due to wastage and the majority have now been returned to Randox. We continue to work across the testing channels to remove any remaining kits from circulation. The specific data is not held in the requested format.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of Randox covid-19 tests administered by individuals prior to the recall announced on 7 August 2020.

The recall applied to all unused Randox kits in circulation at the time the recall notice was announced; up to 750,000 kits. This figure may be significantly less due to wastage and the majority have now been returned to Randox. We continue to work across the testing channels to remove any remaining kits from circulation. The specific data is not held in the requested format.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Randox covid-19 tests have been distributed to (a) care home settings and (b) individuals, and what proportion of the UK’s total covid-19 tests were distributed by Randox up to 31 July 2020.

The recall applied to all unused Randox kits in circulation at the time the recall notice was announced; up to 750,000 kits. This figure may be significantly less due to wastage and the majority have now been returned to Randox. We continue to work across the testing channels to remove any remaining kits from circulation. The specific data is not held in the requested format.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the Government has made on implementing the recommendations set out in Chapter 2 of its Childhood Obesity Plan since the publication of that plan in June 2018; and if he will make a statement on the timescale for completing the implementation of those recommendations.

We published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ on 27 July. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

We are also delivering the Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme working with five local authorities to reduce child obesity locally through ground-breaking schemes. A key part of the programme is to share this learning with others to encourage and empower wider local action across the country.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy/tackling-obesity-empowering-adults-and-children-to-live-healthier-lives

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
What steps his Department is taking to tackle obesity.

This is our decade of change to drive forward this important work.

To achieve our bold ambition of halving childhood obesity by 2030, we are delivering a wide range of measures through the three chapters of ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of supply of hormone replacement therapy; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of ongoing supply issues with some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) preparations due to a range of issues including manufacturing issues, regulatory issues and problems accessing the raw pharmaceutical ingredient as well as commercial decisions made by some companies to divest these products. Although some HRT products are affected by supply issues, supplies of other alternative HRT products remain available.

We regularly update the National Health Service on the supply situation and availability of HRT products and are continuing to engage with organisations such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and the British Menopausal Society. As part of this engagement, in November 2019 the British Menopausal Society with the support of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published clinical guidance to aid prescribing during this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the volume of contraceptive drug supplies; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is aware of supply issues affecting a limited number of contraceptives due to manufacturing issues. Most contraceptive medicines and products remain available, including alternatives to those experiencing supply issues.

We have been working closely with affected suppliers of contraceptive medicines to maintain overall access to patients and have provided regular updates about these issues and management advice to the National Health Service.

We understand the importance of maintaining access to contraceptives medicines to people in this country and will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to resolve the supply issues as quickly as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with pharmaceutical suppliers on the supply of Hormone Replacement Therapy medications at (a) Ministerial and (b) official levels since 1 January 2020.

We are aware of ongoing supply issues with some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) preparations due to a range of issues including manufacturing issues, regulatory issues and problems accessing the raw pharmaceutical ingredient as well as commercial decisions made by some companies to divest these products. Although some HRT products are affected by supply issues, supplies of other alternative HRT products remain available.

We regularly update the National Health Service on the supply situation and availability of HRT products and are continuing to engage with organisations such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and the British Menopausal Society. As part of this engagement, in November 2019 the British Menopausal Society with the support of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published clinical guidance to aid prescribing during this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Money and Pensions Service's press release entitled Helplines forecast a call about debt every four minutes in January, published on 20 January 2021, what additional resources his Department plans to provide to ensure the sector is well-placed to scale up quickly to meet increased demand and additional need.

The Government recognises the importance of providing a strong financial footing for the debt advice sector and is committed to helping people access the support they need to get their finances back on track.

The Government has agreed to maintain record levels of debt advice funding for the Money and Pension Service in 2021-22, bringing the budget for free debt advice in England to £94.6 million. This is more than a 70% increase since 2019-20 and reflects the Government’s commitment to ensure that appropriate support is available for people in problem debt, especially during this challenging time.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he had (a) discussions and (b) text communication with former Prime Minister David Cameron in Government support to Greensill Capital.

I refer the honourable member to the recent publication by HM Treasury on this matter on gov.uk

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-a-freedom-of-information-request-on-greensill

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take to support self-employed people whose industries have not re-started during the covid-19 outbreak after the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme closes on 19 October 2020.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said there will be no further extension or changes to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The SEISS will remain open for applications for the second and final grant until 19 October.

Some businesses will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support these businesses appropriately.

Those who require more support may be able to benefit from other elements of the comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support,?increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

As the economy reopens, it is right that state support is reduced and the focus shifts to getting people back to work. On 8 July, the Government introduced the Plan for Jobs which will make available up to £30 billion to assist in creating, supporting and protecting jobs. The Plan supports jobs through the Kickstart Scheme, protects jobs by reducing the level of VAT for the hospitality and accommodation sector, and creates jobs through £8.6 billion of infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. This is alongside many other measures that will help support people and kickstart the economic recovery. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-plan-for-jobs-documents/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

16th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Minister for the Cabinet Office's oral statement of 13 July 2020, Official Report, column 1268, on EU Exit: End of Transition Period, how much has been spent on developing HMRC border trading systems as at 16 July 2020; and what estimate his Department has made of the future cost for that development.

HMRC’s spending on EU Exit and Transition in 2017/18 was £46.8m, and in 2018/19 was £261.7m.

HMRC’s spending in 2019/20 will be confirmed with the publication of their annual accounts in October.

Funding for the systems to meet the requirements of the end of the transition period is included within HMRC’s EU transition budget allocation.

Previous year figures include the Border and Protocol Delivery Group (BPDG), which was located with HMRC.

HMRC funding for 2020/21, excluding BPDG who have now moved to the Cabinet Office, consists of the £357m at Main Estimate with the addition of £50m for intermediaries support, £69m agreed by HMT, and £185m announced by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for border readiness. HMRC remain in regular contact with HMT to ensure that HMRC are resourced sufficiently to carry out requirements.

Future costs will be subject to the forthcoming comprehensive spending review.

16th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Minister for the Cabinet Office's 12 July 2020 news story entitled Government accelerates border planning for the end of the Transition Period, what improvements are required to HMRC border systems; and what his timeframe is for their (a) development and (b) completion.

HMRC are making changes to ensure that border systems have the capacity and functionality to process anticipated volumes of declarations by the end of the Transition Period. HMRC’s delivery for December 2020 requires the scaling of key IT systems, integration with other Government department systems, and trader and border industry readiness to comply with new requirements. HMRC also need to develop new functionality and processes to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol and get traders, and the wider border industry, ready to use them. HMRC’s plans are on track to meet the requirements of the Northern Ireland Protocol at the end of December 2020 and the staging in of customs controls by July 2021.

HMRC have clear plans to develop delivery plans with carriers and operators, accommodating technical build and testing activity in line with their individual plans to December. Technical discussions with carriers and operators to supplement this testing are in progress and will continue through to 31 December 2020. HMRC are also working with Community System Providers (CSPs), Software Developers (SWDs) and the wider border industry to ensure they are aware of and can prepare for border arrangements. HMRC are also undertaking calls with stakeholder groups following the publication of the Border Operating Model on 12 July.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 2.182 of Budget 2020, what the timeframe is for the publication of the call for evidence on pension administration.

The Government recognises the different impacts of the two systems of paying pension tax relief on pension contributions for workers earning below the personal allowance. At Budget 2020, the Government announced a call for evidence will be published on pensions tax relief administration, in line with our manifesto commitment to comprehensively review this issue. In the light of COVID-19, the Government is considering the publication of this and other Government documents on a case by case basis, taking into account the impact of COVID-19 on stakeholders, and will provide more information on the timeframe for publication of this call for evidence in due course.

The Government has sought to support low earners through a range of measures, including increasing the personal allowance to £12,500 and committing to a new ambitious target for the National Living Wage.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support economic recovery in Wales after the covid-19 outbreak; and whether he plans to introduce the Shared Prospeity Fund to help aid that recovery.

The Treasury’s priority is to support the whole UK economy through the immediate crisis – including in Wales. We have taken unprecedented steps to keep as many people as possible in their existing jobs, support viable businesses to stay afloat and protect the incomes of the most vulnerable. These measures aim to protect the productive capacity of the whole UK economy and to enable a strong and sustainable recovery from this crisis.

The government will use the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to level up opportunity in each of our four nations. This means investing in people, improving their life chances. The government will set out plans for the Fund in due course.
Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to raise professional indemnity cover limits which independent financial advisers are required to have to practise.

The requirement for Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) to hold adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) cover is an important element in protecting consumers who receive financial advice. The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) handbook sets out the various requirements around the PII cover that IFAs are required to hold.

There is no intention to raise the minimum PII cover levels for IFAs at present. The minimum limit of indemnity of PII is specified by FCA rules and European legislation such as the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD), depending upon the type of IFA. The UK is no longer a Member State of the European Union. However, both the UK and the EU are committed to a period of transition – lasting until the end of 2020 – where common rules for businesses and consumers will remain in place, including the IDD.

Many IFAs are in scope of the IDD, because they undertake life assurance type transactions. IDD limits are reviewed every five years via regulatory technical standards and were last reviewed in November 2019 and the revised limits, which have increased slightly, will apply to IFAs that are IDD firms from 12 June 2020.

The FCA are continuing work to examine consumer harms, and potential claims that may arise from certain business activities carried out by IFAs; and these findings may prompt a further examination of the minimum levels of indemnity in the future.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to introduce penalties in respect of negligent independent financial advice on transferring pensions.

The Government works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the independent financial services regulator, to ensure that the market for pensions advice works fairly.

The FCA already has considerable powers to take enforcement action where consumers are harmed by poor financial advice and where an FCA authorised firm has breached FCA rules. The FCA has the power to impose a range of sanctions, including fines on firms or individuals, requirements to carry out redress exercises, and bans on firms or individuals. There are currently no plans to introduce further penalties in respect of negligent pensions transfer advice.

If the FCA suspects that criminal fraud has been committed, the FCA will refer the case to the relevant authorities for further action to be taken. The FCA can also take action through the courts against firms or individuals who carry out regulated activity without authorisation.

The FCA have recently consulted on a number of interventions in the Defined Benefit (DB) pensions transfer market to reduce the number of consumers transferring their pensions when it is not in their best interests. The FCA are in the process of considering the feedback they have received and plan to publish a Policy Statement on the outcome in the first quarter of 2020.

In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions are introducing legislation, through the Pension Schemes 2019-20 Bill, to allow regulations to be made to stipulate the destinations and circumstances under which a pension scheme member will have a right to transfer their pension savings to another pension scheme. This will further protect members from pension scams by helping trustees of occupational pension schemes ensure transfers are made to safe and not fraudulent schemes.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the multiple governing bodies for many sports played in different nations throughout the Union, which of those governing bodies her Department consults when formulating policy on visa requirements for professional athletes.

Home Office officials are in regular contact with each of the recognised Sports Governing Bodies [SGB], including annually reviewing the bespoke criteria that applies to each sport. This process of review ensures we strike the right balance between enabling top level international athletes to come to the UK, whilst protecting opportunities for resident sportspeople, based on the expertise of the SGB. The Home Office approved SGBs are listed at Appendix M of the Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-m-sports-governing-bodies.

Any sport seeking to employ migrant professional sportspeople must be listed within Appendix M of the Immigration Rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to consult governing bodies of sports not recognised by the home nations on visa requirements for professional athletes after the end of the transition period.

Home Office officials are in regular contact with each of the recognised Sports Governing Bodies [SGB], including annually reviewing the bespoke criteria that applies to each sport. This process of review ensures we strike the right balance between enabling top level international athletes to come to the UK, whilst protecting opportunities for resident sportspeople, based on the expertise of the SGB. The Home Office approved SGBs are listed at Appendix M of the Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-m-sports-governing-bodies.

Any sport seeking to employ migrant professional sportspeople must be listed within Appendix M of the Immigration Rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what meetings she has had with governing bodies of sport on the granting of visas to self-employed professional athletes entering the UK after 1 January 2021.

Home Office officials are in regular contact with each of the recognised Sports Governing Bodies [SGB], including annually reviewing the bespoke criteria that applies to each sport. This process of review ensures we strike the right balance between enabling top level international athletes to come to the UK, whilst protecting opportunities for resident sportspeople, based on the expertise of the SGB. The Home Office approved SGBs are listed at Appendix M of the Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-m-sports-governing-bodies.

Any sport seeking to employ migrant professional sportspeople must be listed within Appendix M of the Immigration Rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of state, what recent progress has been made on the delivery of the Defence Equipment Plan 2020; and if he will make a statement.

An update on the Equipment Plan was published in January 2021 but did not reflect the impact of the Spending Review and a £24 billion cash increase in the Defence Budget over four years. An updated Equipment Plan reflecting this increase in funding and the Defence Command Paper will be published in due course.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the full complement of Ajax vehicles is expected to be delivered to the Army.

I refer the hon. Member to HCWS260, the written statement I laid in this House on Monday 6 September which provided a comprehensive update on the Armoured Cavalry (Ajax) programme.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent progress his Department has made on the Ajax programme.

I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement HCWS260 laid before this House on Monday 6 September 2021.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many personnel suffered injury or illness as a result of testing Ajax vehicles; and how many and what proportion of those personnel are receiving ongoing treatment.

I take the right hon. and Hon. Member’s questions as being in relation to the recent reports of noise and vibration identified in the ongoing Ajax demonstration phase. As such I would refer you to HCWS260, the comprehensive written statement I laid before this House on Monday 6 September.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether all variants of the Ajax vehicles will have the capability to travel at the intended maximum speed of 40mph when they enter service.

All variants of the Ajax vehicles are expected to be able to travel at speeds greater than 40mph when they enter service.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence,what estimate he has made of total cost of UK steel and steel products as a proportion of all steel procured by his Department in 2019.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 21 January 2020 to Question 4322 to the hon. Member for Newport East (Ms Morden).

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timeline is for the implementation of the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government has committed to creating a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to succeed European structural funds and bind together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. The Government recognises the importance of reassuring local areas on the future of local growth funding and of providing clarity on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Final decisions on the design of the fund will need to be taken after a cross-Government Spending Review. In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with interested parties whilst developing the fund.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
30th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government what his plans are for the consultation on the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government has committed to creating the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as the successor to EU structural funds. The fund will bind together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. The Government recognises the importance of reassuring local areas on the future of local growth funding now we have left the European Union, and of providing clarity on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Government officials have held 25 engagement events across the UK, attended by over 500 representatives from a breadth of sectors, which has helped inform progress on policy design. Government looks forward to continuing to work closely with partners as we develop the fund.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he has taken to ensure that court hearings proceed during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our courts provide a vital public service and it is important that justice is delivered wherever possible. We are working closely with the courts and judiciary to ensure that cases are progressed through the system as quickly as possible, including through greater use of audio and video hearings.

The courts are expediting sentencing hearings and prioritising remand hearings to ensure that public protection remains a core goal. Magistrates’ court trials are now being listed wherever it is safe to do so and every effort is being made to resume Crown Court trials. Representatives from across the criminal justice system are working at pace to agree the best way of doing this safely.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps he is taking to support the Welsh hydrogen economy.

The Government aims to consult on a preferred business model for low-carbon hydrogen production in 2021. This will be key to stimulating the deployment of hydrogen across the UK.

In addition, I am pleased to see that the South Wales Industrial Cluster is being supported by UK Research and Innovation’s £170m Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, which is looking at options for decarbonising the region’s industrial base, including using hydrogen.

My officials regularly engage with officials in other departments across the UK Government to raise awareness of the opportunities in Wales for hydrogen energy generation.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the Shared Prosperity Fund.

I speak regularly with Welsh Government Ministers about a range of matters including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. In particular, I have had regular dialogue with Jeremy Miles MS, Counsel General and Minister for European Transition, to discuss the UKSPF. My officials and those from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government are also in regular discussion with their counterparts in the Welsh Government.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether his plans for economic recovery in Wales after the covid-19 outbreak include the commencement of the consultation on the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government is committed to tackling inequality and ensuring jobs and growth in all four nations of the UK. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will play a key role in delivering on those aims and in driving economic growth in Wales following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Government officials have held 25 engagement events across the UK, attended by over 500 representatives from a breadth of sectors, which has helped inform progress on policy design. The Government looks forward to continuing to work closely with partners as we develop the Fund.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales