Nick Smith Portrait

Nick Smith

Labour - Blaenau Gwent

First elected: 6th May 2010

Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

(since September 2023)

Electricity and Gas Transmission (Compensation) Bill
18th Jan 2023 - 25th Jan 2023
UK Infrastructure Bank Bill [Lords]
16th Nov 2022 - 22nd Nov 2022
Pension Dashboards (Prohibition of Indemnification) Bill
19th Oct 2022 - 26th Oct 2022
Elections Bill
15th Sep 2021 - 26th Oct 2021
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


Department Event
Thursday 7th December 2023
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 14th December 2023
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 11th January 2024
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th November 2023
Data Protection and Digital Information Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 140 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 194 Noes - 275
Speeches
Thursday 30th November 2023
Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the debate, Sir Robert. It is a pleasure to serve under your …
Written Answers
Monday 4th December 2023
Greensill: Redundancy Pay
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the Answer of 23 April 2021 to …
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 …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th May 2023
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Community Trade Union
Address of donor: 465c Caledonian Road, London N7 9GX
Amount of donation or nature …
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 15th March 2022
Quad Bikes Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require quad bike riders on public highways to wear helmets; to make provision about the registration of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Nick Smith has voted in 639 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)
(24 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(17 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(46 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(43 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(27 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(22 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Financial Services and Markets Act 2023
(1,790 words contributed)
Elections Act 2022
(1,659 words contributed)
Pension Schemes Act 2021
(639 words contributed)
Procurement Act 2023
(508 words contributed)
View All Legislation 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).

Petitions with highest Blaenau Gwent signature proportion
Petitions with most Blaenau Gwent signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

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.

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.


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 …
68 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 60
Independent: 5
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Alba 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: 57
Scottish National Party: 15
Liberal Democrat: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 6
Independent: 5
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.

Commons - 20%

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

Commons - 20%

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

202 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
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June to Question 186376 on Government Departments: Apprentices, if he will provide a breakdown by Department of the percentage change in digital, data and technology apprenticeships between October 2021 and December 2022.

Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) apprenticeships are a way to gain industry standard qualifications whilst working full time in a salaried DDaT role in the Civil Service. During their programme, apprentices receive training from an apprenticeship provider in their chosen field, and apply their emerging knowledge and skills to their full time role as a DDaT professional.

The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) is working with departments and commercial teams to address barriers to fully utilising the apprentice levy, including through increasing apprentice provider choice.

We have also grown our early talent offers. CDDO is now in the process of building a cross-government digital apprenticeship programme ‘Tech Track’ which aims to upskill existing Civil Servants into the DDaT profession through apprenticeships, targeting 350-500 roles in its first year from Q1 2024.

Apprentice numbers regularly fluctuate year to year as apprentices begin and finish their courses at different stages throughout the year. External factors play a significant role in decisions to invest in apprenticeships. These include the impact of Covid-19 on recruitment and operation of apprenticeships, and proposed reductions to overall Civil Service headcount, prompting departments to prioritise fully developed staff. Changes to the recruitment of apprentices will not be reflected in the number of apprentices in departments until the following year.

Data provided by the Civil Service Apprenticeship Unit (CSAU) shows that, between September 2021 and December 2022, the number of apprentices fluctuated as per the below table:

Department

On programme Apprentices September 2021

On programme Apprentices December 2022

Percentage Change

Ministry of Justice

2

22

1000%

Ministry of Defence

39

116

197%

Department for International Trade

1

2

100%

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

7

12

71%

Department for Education

20

23

15%

United Kingdom Statistics Authority

9

10

11%

Attorney General's Departments

1

1

0%

Department for Work and Pensions

169

163

-4%

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

15

12

-20%

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (and former partners)

70

53

-24%

National Crime Agency

4

3

-25%

Cabinet Office

35

23

-34%

Competition and Markets Authority

2

1

-50%

Department For Digital Culture Media And Sport

4

2

-50%

HM Revenue and Customs

248

117

-52%

Home Office

89

41

-54%

Department for Transport

53

22

-58%

Department of Health and Social Care

34

13

-62%

Charity Commission

3

-

Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

-

1

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the report from the National Audit Office entitled Digital transformation in government: addressing the barriers to efficiency, published on 10 March 2023, what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) his policies and (b) digital transformation in Government of that report's finding of a reduction of 20 per cent in the number of digital, data and technology apprenticeships between October 2021 and December 202.

Government is committed to strengthening digital and technology specialist skills and has increased the number of recorded specialists by 10% since the establishment of the Transforming for a digital future: 2022 to 2025 roadmap for digital and data.

Individual departments are ultimately responsible for their own resourcing decisions and will have their own rationale for specific choices made. Additionally, apprenticeship headcounts will fluctuate over time linked to factors like the procurement of suppliers and the cohort based nature of apprenticeship recruitment.

Apprentices are a core part of our thriving digital community, as are graduates and interns, and we are committed to ensuring that the trend in reduction of apprentices is reversed. Indeed, since the report was published, the number of recorded apprentices has increased by 6.2%.

The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) are currently working with departments and commercial teams to address some of the barriers to fully utilising apprentice levy’s in government, including through increasing supplier choice.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason his Department has not agreed to the Second Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray, from serving as a witness in the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s investigation into the lobbying and access affair involving Greensill Capital in July 2021.

It is the Government’s longstanding position, as set out in the Osmotherly Rules, that officials do not attend Committees in their own capacity, but as representatives of their Ministers. It is therefore open for Ministers to decide to attend instead. In this instance, successive Cabinet Office Ministers declined the invitation for Ms Gray to appear before the Committee and in so doing offered to attend instead to answer any questions the Committee might have had on this subject.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 11 October 2022 to Question 55048, if Mark Fullbrook was (a) on secondment from and (b) paid through Fullbrook Strategies at the time of his appointment; and whether he was subject to the checks and vetting the Cabinet Office guidance requires of Government officials.

Mr Fullbrook has a standard Special Adviser employment contract which covers his entire appointment as Chief of Staff. While a secondment was initially discussed, it was decided to instead employ Mr Fullbrook directly and a secondment agreement was never put in place.

The Model Contract for Special Advisers, which sets out the terms of employment for special advisers, is available on GOV.UK. Together, with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers and the Civil Service Code, this constitutes a special adviser’s contract of employment with the Crown.

All civil servants, whether on secondment or directly employed, are subject to the necessary checks and vetting, as was Mr Fullbrook.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information Mark Fullbrook was asked to declare upon his appointment as Chief of Staff.

All government employees are subject to the necessary checks and vetting, and all special advisers declare their interests in line with Cabinet Office guidance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what basis Mark Fullbrook, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, is employed.

Mark Fullbrook is employed directly by the Government on a standard special adviser contract. The model special adviser contract can be found on gov.uk.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Prime Minister has made an assessment of the potential implications of the professional relationship between Mark Fullbrook and Julio Herrera Velutini.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Prime Minister was informed of Mark Fullbrook's role as a witness in an FBI investigation into electoral bribery in Puerto Rico.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Prime Minister has had discussions with (a) the National Crime Agency and (b) the Metropolitan Police on Mark Fullbrook's role in an FBI investigation.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office , what discussions the Prime Minister has had with Mark Fullbrook on his interview with the FBI in connection with bribery charges in Puerto Rico.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made for the implication of his policy of the professional relationship between Mark Fullbrook and the indicted Julio Herrera Velutini.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Cabinet Office sought legal advice on the continuation of Mark Fullbrook's role as the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, following the disclosure of Mr Fullbrook's status as an witness in an FBI investigation.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Mark Fullbrook, informed the Cabinet Office that he was a witness in an FBI investigation.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Cabinet Office's Propriety and Ethics team was informed that the FBI had asked the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Mark Fullbrook, to cooperate as a witness in an active case on electoral bribery in Puerto Rico.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on proceedings in a foreign country which do not involve the UK Government.

However, I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by Mr Fullbrook which is in the public domain, and the recent apology and retraction issued to him by the Rt Hon Member for Tottenham.



Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason a review has been conducted into KPMG by his Department; and what his timetable is for (a) concluding and (b) publishing that review.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

We closely monitor the financial health and performance of all our strategic suppliers and have regular discussions with KPMG’s senior management. We are looking carefully at the measures put in place by KPMG to address issues raised by the Financial Reporting Council; this forms part of the ongoing Cabinet Office monitoring process.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contracts the Government awarded to KPMG in the last two years; what the value of those contracts is; and which Department awarded those contracts.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

We closely monitor the financial health and performance of all our strategic suppliers and have regular discussions with KPMG’s senior management. We are looking carefully at the measures put in place by KPMG to address issues raised by the Financial Reporting Council; this forms part of the ongoing Cabinet Office monitoring process.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the Answer of 23 April 2021 to question 183281 on Greensill: Redundancy Pay, what estimate he has made of the amount of (a) statutory redundancy pay, (b) statutory holiday pay, (c) statutory notice pay and (d) the protective award settlement paid by from the public purse to former Greensill Capital employees since the collapse of that company.

The Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) is dealing with two cases: Greensill Capital Management Company (UK) Limited and its subsidiary, Greensill Capital (UK) Limited.

In respect of Greensill Capital Management Company (UK) Limited the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) has paid out the following statutory payments to date:

  • Redundancy Pay £188,920
  • Holiday Pay £321,639
  • Loss of Notice Pay £269,578
  • Protective Award £1,228,440

In respect of the subsidiary company, Greensill Capital (UK) Limited, to date no claims have yet been received and no payments made.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 16 March 2023 to Question 156109 on SIMEC Group: Subsidies, whether (a) Aar Tee Group, (b) Pentech, (c) Simec UK Energy Holdings, (d) Atlantis Resources and (e) Simec Atlantis Energy received public funding following the SIMEC Group's acquisition of the Uskmouth B Powerplant in Newport, South Wales in 2015.

The companies listed have received no public funding from the Department for Business and Trade since 2015.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether any companies owned by or subsidiaries of the SIMEC Group received any Government subsidies following the SIMEC Group's acquisition of the Uskmouth B Powerplant in Newport, South Wales in 2015.

The information requested is not held centrally by the Department for Business and Trade. To provide this information would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold of £850 that is set by the Cabinet Office.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department has put in place to help promote solar power in the UK.

The Government is incentivising large-scale solar through the Contracts for Difference scheme and rooftop solar through various financial and regulatory measures. These include the Smart Export Guarantee, removal of VAT on domestic panels, tax relief and business rate exemptions. The Government is exploring low-cost finance options to support upfront costs for households and businesses and reviewing permitted development rights to simplify planning for commercial projects.

The Government will publish a solar deployment roadmap in 2024 and is establishing a taskforce to drive forward further actions needed to achieve the Government's ambition of around a fivefold increase in solar capacity by 2035.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to review the system of standing charges for (a) electricity and (b) gas customers.

The standing charge includes the costs energy suppliers incur to provide a live supply of gas and electricity to individual properties, regardless of how much energy their customers use. If it was removed, these costs would be added to the unit price of energy. Otherwise, suppliers would not be able to recover the legitimate costs of serving customers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make a further assessment of the potential merits of the recommendations of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee's report on the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme, published on 27 April 2021.

In the Government response to the Select Committee inquiry into the Scheme we highlighted we continue to believe the arrangements agreed in 1994 with the Scheme Trustees still work well and are fair and beneficial to both Scheme members and taxpayers.

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
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
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, 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, what estimate he has made of the number of households in the UK that will benefit from enhanced broadband through OneWeb in the next 12 months.

OneWeb plans to have UK coverage of satellite broadband by the end of 2021, with global coverage planned by the end of 2022.

The UK Government is supporting OneWeb in providing competitive global broadband whilst being mindful of its responsibility to the UK Space Sector.

The commercial operation of OneWeb will be separate from Government’s duties to ensure the transparent and effective operation of markets.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

12th Dec 2022
5G
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the economic impact of the rollout of standalone 5G (a) in Blaenau Gwent constituency and (b) nationally.

In 2017, the government set an ambition for the majority of the UK population to have access to 5G by 2027. This has been met five years early, with basic “non-standalone” 5G - which uses 5G equipment on 4G infrastructure.

We expect the Mobile Network Operators to begin deploying Standalone 5G in 2023. This next phase of investment will help unlock the full potential of 5G as a foundational technology for the knowledge-based economy, to support uses in industrial and innovation in the provision of public services, bringing both significant economic and societal benefits to the UK.

We are developing a Wireless Infrastructure Strategy which will establish a new ambition for 5G rollout, and set out how the UK can realise the full socioeconomic benefits of advanced wireless connectivity. We aim to publish the strategy early next year.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criteria her Department plans to use to assess whether Parkrun events would be able to continue in the event that further covid-19 restrictions are introduced in response to increases in covid-19 cases.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health and all generations and communities should be able to enjoy the health, wellbeing, social and other benefits of being active. This includes ParkRun which the government supported the safe return of between March and June 2021.

We knew the coming months would be challenging, which is why the government set out our Autumn and Winter plan earlier this year. However, the data does not currently show Plan B is necessary. Plan B does not include proposals to prevent physical activity.

Vaccines will continue to be our first line of defence and our focus remains on delivering boosters, vaccinating 12-15 year olds, mass testing to identify and isolate positive cases, and developing new treatments through our Antiviral Taskforce. The Government will continue to support and work with local authorities and local areas directly to reduce the spread and minimise the impact of COVID-19.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to ensure that funding from the Culture Recovery Fund reaches self-employed workers in the arts sector.

We recognise the crucial role that self-employed individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading. The Secretary of State has announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors. By preserving many arts and cultural institutions, the self-employed and freelance workers will benefit with increased employment opportunities as these organisations resume cultural activities.

To complement the funding for organisations made available by Government, Arts Council England have also 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.

16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what impact the proposed Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will have on the work of animal rescue charities.

The Kept Animals Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation. The Bill also brings in measures establish a licensing regime for the private keeping of primates in England and Wales, to ensure that in the future all primates are kept at high levels of welfare.

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

During the implementation phase following Royal Assent of the Bill, we will continue to work with the local authority, zoo, and rescue sectors to identify suitable rehoming facilities for primates, and to foster network-building amongst these groups. Our proposals put forward a transitional measure, by means of the Registration scheme, which would ensure rescue centres are not overwhelmed by a sudden surge in primates needing to be rescued.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing exemptions for animal rescue charities to the prohibitions listed in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill on importations of animals which (a) are below a specified age, (b) have been mutilated and (c) are more than a specified number of days pregnant.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021 and completed committee on 18 November 2021. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

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

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many agricultural settings have benefited from the Pick For Britain scheme to date.

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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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
Attorney General
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.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
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.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the safety of commercial airline passengers when flying over areas of conflict.

Individual States are responsible for issuing advice in relation to their airspace, including overflying conflict zones. These roles and responsibilities are set out in guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The UK Government works to identify threats to civil aviation globally, and where appropriate, issues additional security NOTAMs to UK airlines. This information is then used by airlines to conduct their own risk assessments and plan flight routings.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the rules in place for commercial airplanes crossing areas of conflict; and whether his Department plans to amend those rules.

Individual States are responsible for issuing advice in relation to their airspace, including overflying conflict zones. These roles and responsibilities are set out in guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The UK Government works to identify threats to civil aviation globally, and where appropriate, issues additional security NOTAMs to UK airlines. This information is then used by airlines to conduct their own risk assessments and plan flight routings.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what rules are in place regarding the flightpaths of commercial airplanes crossing over areas of conflict (a) when guidance from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advises against all travel to the nation whose airspace the flightpath crosses and (b) more widely.

Individual States are responsible for issuing advice in relation to their airspace, including overflying conflict zones. These roles and responsibilities are set out in guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The UK Government works to identify threats to civil aviation globally, and where appropriate, issues additional security NOTAMs to UK airlines. This information is then used by airlines to conduct their own risk assessments and plan flight routings.

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.

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.

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
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether State Pension data will be included in the Pensions Dashboard Programme.

Pensions dashboards will allow individuals to view information about their pensions, including the State Pension, for free in one place online. Dashboards will show individuals the estimated State Pension amount they would get based on their current National Insurance contribution record, their forecasted State Pension amount that assumes they pay National Insurance contributions going forward, the date they will reach State Pension age, and supporting messages regarding the data displayed.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the cost of the (a) development of the Pensions Dashboard Programme to date and (b) programme on completion.

MaPS has been allocated £91.1M for the delivery of the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) through the relevant Spending Review periods covering financial years 2019/20 to 2024/25.

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) has spent £45.3M between 2019/20 and the end of May 2023 (with spend relating to 2022/23 and to 2023/24 subject to final audit). Further spend for the programme will be available on an annual basis.

Expenditure allocations for years beyond 2024/25 will be the subject of future Spending Review processes.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he plans that the Pensions Dashboard Programme will be ready for use.

The Dashboards Available Point will be when the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is satisfied that the dashboards ecosystem – which is being developed by the Pensions Dashboards Programme – is ready to support widespread use by the general public. This will come following consultation with the Money and Pensions Service, the Pensions Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 specify that the Secretary of State will provide notice of at least six months ahead of the Dashboards Available Point. The Secretary of State will consider factors including sufficient level of coverage, assurance of the safety, security and reliability of the service, and testing of the user experience.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many times the Cold Weather Payments scheme has been triggered in the last two years; how much money has been distributed as part of this scheme; and whether the scheme uses ringfenced funds.

A breakdown of triggers by country along with number of payments can be found in the official statistics for cold weather payment (CWP) estimates here: Cold Weather Payment estimates: 2021 to 2022- GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Expenditure on Cold Weather Payments can be found in the Annual Social Fund Reports here Social Fund annual report 2020 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The 21/22 report is due to be published in the near future and thus 21/22 expenditure is an estimate based on the Cold Weather Payment Official Statistics.

Cold Weather Payments are not ring-fenced. Funding for the Cold Weather Payment scheme is demand driven and expenditure varies each year depending on how cold the winter is.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Cold Weather Payments have been distributed since that scheme's inception; and how much her Department has spent on those payments per annum.

The current system of cold weather payments was introduced in 1988. The payment is a fixed amount for each week of cold weather. From 1995 this was set at £8.50 a week. The Cold Weather Payment was temporarily increased from £8.50 to £25 for the winters of 2008/9 and 2009/10. This increase was made permanent in November 2010.

The table below shows the number of Cold Weather payments made and total expenditure in each year since 1988-89. 21/22 is due to be published in the next Annual Social Fund Report so has not been included below.

No. of cold weather payments (000)

Expenditure (£m)

1988-89

0.5

0.003

1989-90

N/A

0.4

1990-91

N/A

9.3

1991-92

3,827

23.0

1992-93

2,503

15.0

1993-94

2,064

12.4

1994-95

11

0.1

1995-96

7,252

61.6

1996-97

4,964

42.2

1997-98

55

0.5

1998-99

26

0.2

1999-00

114

1.0

2000-01

3,535

30.0

2001-02

1,804

15.3

2002-03

1,675

14.2

2003-04

418

3.5

2004-05

213

1.8

2005-06

988

8.4

2006-07

402

3.4

2007-08

472

4.0

2008-09

8,416

210.4

2009-10

11,590

289.7

2010-11

17,232

430.8

2011-12

5,167

129.2

2012-13

5,845

146.1

2013-14

1

0.03

2014-15

422

10.6

2015-16

155

3.9

2016-17

131

3.1

2017-18

4,572

114.3

2018-19

1079

27.0

2019-20

10

0.3

2020-21

3,951

98.8

Notes

  1. N/A= not available
  2. Figures are for payments triggered in the relevant financial year.
  3. There was a single level of payment each year, except in 1990-91 when the level of payment was increased during the year. A breakdown of the number
    of payments for that year by level is not available. 3. Some people were made more than one payment in some years.
  4. Numbers of payments made are rounded to the nearest 1,000, except for
    1988-89 where the number of payments is rounded to the nearest 100.
    Amounts spent are rounded to the nearest £0.1 million, except for 1988-89
    where the amount spent is rounded to the nearest £1,000.
  5. Data are not available on the numbers of payments received (as opposed
    to made) or on the numbers of people who received payments. However, the
    vast majority of payments are now made direct into bank accounts.
  6. Source: Annual reports by the Secretary of State for Social Security/Work and
    Pensions on the Social Fund

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
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 Transport)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 16 May 2023 to Question 184346 on Protective Clothing: Contracts and with reference to the National Audit Office report entitled Investigation into the management of PPE contracts published 30 Mar 2022, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of that report's findings that not all due diligence checks on companies not were completed before contracts were awarded for personal protective equipment procurement.

The 2022 National Audit Office (NAO) refers to an ‘eight stage due diligence process’, a term used by the NAO to describe a structured process of checks and due diligence on potential suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) which formalised the checks quickly put in place by the cross-Government PPE procurement cell and which evolved in March and April 2020. The final step was the introduction of a central clearance board on 4 May 2020 to perform checks previously performed by the Department’s Accounting Officer to add an extra level of assurance that the deal met our requirements. From the start all suppliers were evaluated by officials on financial standing, technical compliance and ability to perform the contract.

10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many due diligence checks on companies not were completed before contracts were awarded for personal protective equipment procurement.

All offers of personal protective equipment submitted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic went through a structured, documented due diligence process before a contract was awarded by the Department.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January 2023 to Question 120948 on Unispace Global: Contracts, whether his Department made an assessment of the potential tax implications of the novation of the contracts from a limited company to a limited liability partnership.

Legal advice was not sought by the Department on the change in legal structure of the counterparties to the contracts nor of the potential tax implications of the novation of the contracts as this did not affect the terms of the contracts, including the payments to be made by the Department or the supply of products to the Department.

Under the change of structure, Unispace Global Ltd was acquired by Unispace Health Products LLP, which changed its name to Sante Global LLP shortly afterwards. A novation agreement was entered into to change the counterparty to the contracts, where the new counterparty agreed to perform all of the present and future obligations of the contracts.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January 2023 to Question 120948 on Unispace Global: Contracts, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the reasons cited for the novation of PPE contracts from Unispace Global Ltd to Sante Global LLP.

Legal advice was not sought by the Department on the change in legal structure of the counterparties to the contracts nor of the potential tax implications of the novation of the contracts as this did not affect the terms of the contracts, including the payments to be made by the Department or the supply of products to the Department.

Under the change of structure, Unispace Global Ltd was acquired by Unispace Health Products LLP, which changed its name to Sante Global LLP shortly afterwards. A novation agreement was entered into to change the counterparty to the contracts, where the new counterparty agreed to perform all of the present and future obligations of the contracts.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January 2023 to Question 120948 on Unispace Global: Contracts, whether his Department sought legal advice on the potential implications of novating a contract from a limited company to a limited liability partnership.

Legal advice was not sought by the Department on the change in legal structure of the counterparties to the contracts nor of the potential tax implications of the novation of the contracts as this did not affect the terms of the contracts, including the payments to be made by the Department or the supply of products to the Department.

Under the change of structure, Unispace Global Ltd was acquired by Unispace Health Products LLP, which changed its name to Sante Global LLP shortly afterwards. A novation agreement was entered into to change the counterparty to the contracts, where the new counterparty agreed to perform all of the present and future obligations of the contracts.

30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many PPE contracts were involved in his Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit’s recovery of £18 million in PPE fraud.

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has not been used to recover personal protective equipment (PPE) funds lost through fraud since March 2020. Four contracts were involved in the Department’s recovery of £18 million of PPE spend lost due to fraud.

30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on how many occasions his Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit has made use of its powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to recover funds lost through PPE fraud since March 2020.

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has not been used to recover personal protective equipment (PPE) funds lost through fraud since March 2020. Four contracts were involved in the Department’s recovery of £18 million of PPE spend lost due to fraud.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he held discussions with lobbyists for Sante Global LLP between April and September 2022.

There were no discussions held.

11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the PPE contracts awarded to Unispace Global Ltd were novated to Unispace Health LLP, now Sante Global LLP.

On 16 December 2020, contracts under Unispace were novated to Sante Global LLP, whom at the time were Unispace Health Products LLP, by a deed of novation made between the Department, Unispace and Sante Global LLP.

11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Unispace Global Ltd fulfilled its contractual obligations on all PPE contracts it was awarded prior to its novation to Sante Global LLP.

The Department contract with Unispace Global Ltd for gloves was not fulfilled prior to that contract being novated to Sante Global LLP. However, in July 2022, a settlement was reached and the contract has now performed.

2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant the Answer 15 November 2022 to Question 83599 on NHS: Protective Clothing, when he plans to publish details of legal fees for disputed contracts.

The Department continues to undertake due process on disputed contracts. While it would potentially be prejudicial to the legal process to provide the information requested, the Department expects to publish a summary of the total legal fees when the contract resolution process is concluded.

9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant of the Answer of 9 November 2022 to Question 69576 on NHS: Protective Clothing, what the employment arrangements are for people involved in resolving contractual disputes relating to personal protective equipment.

These staff are employed on temporary contracts.

9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant the Answer 9 November 2022 to Question 69577 on NHS: Protective Clothing, whether his Department has taken steps to include legal fees for disputed contracts in its budget; and when and in what format he plans to publish the forecast for these costs.

The Department plans to include legal fees for disputed contracts in its budget. Further information on these costs will be available in due course.

9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much unused PPE has been (a) donated, (b) sold, (c) recycled, and (d) incinerated from the start of the covid-19 outbreak to date.

The information requested is currently being collated and centrally validated.

9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2022 to Question 78673 on NHS: Protective Clothing, how this PPE is stored; and how much it is costing per day to store.

The majority is stored in sites in the United Kingdom in containers, warehouses and supplier storage and approximately 120 million items are currently stored in China. The cost of storage is £770,000 per day.

3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to dispose of unused PPE in the Government's possession.

As of October 2022, the Department holds 13.2 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE). We are maintaining sufficient supplies to respond to any future increases in demand. The Department is reducing excess stock, including through sales, repurposing, domestic and international donations and recycling. In addition, the Department is also resolving disputed contracts to enable the affected PPE to be used, replaced or refunded.

3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the amount of unused PPE in hid Department's possession.

As of October 2022, the Department holds 13.2 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE). We are maintaining sufficient supplies to respond to any future increases in demand. The Department is reducing excess stock, including through sales, repurposing, domestic and international donations and recycling. In addition, the Department is also resolving disputed contracts to enable the affected PPE to be used, replaced or refunded.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 October 2022 to Question 61011 on Protective Clothing: Contracts, what estimate she has made of the total cost to her Department of (a) management fees and (b) legal fees associated with the disputed contracts as of 24 October 2022.

The Department has not incurred management fees for disputed contracts. While an estimate of the total cost of legal fees is not currently held, we will finalise a forecast for these costs later this year.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant of the Answer of 24 October 2022 to Question 61010 on Protective Clothing: Contracts, how many people working on PPE-related contractual disputes are (a) direct employees of her Department, (b) contracted from consultancy firms and (c) on secondment from other Government departments.

There are no employees within the Contract Dissolution Team under direct employment, contracted through consultancy firms or on secondment from other Government departments.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate she has made of the outstanding balance of disputed PPE-related contracts.

At the end of March 2022, the Department was involved in resolving disputes for 176 contracts with an aggregate value at risk of £2.6 billion. Further information for the first quarter of 2022/23 will be available in due course.

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate she has made of the number of PPE-related contracts still in active dispute.

At the end of March 2022, the Department was involved in resolving disputes for 176 contracts with an aggregate value at risk of £2.6 billion. Further information for the first quarter of 2022/23 will be available in due course.

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate she has made of the number of personnel currently employed to resolve PPE-related contractual disputes.

There are currently 19 members of staff working on contract dissolution.

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Kingsbury Press over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Carlton Packaging over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Ascot Signs over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Sante Global, formerly UniSpace Health, over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Agile Medical over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Zest Trading UK over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Medco Solutions over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department is currently in dispute with Sterilabs over PPE contracts.

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

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to his Department has been of legal advice given to resolve contractual disputes in regard to personal protective equipment contracts, in particular the cost of (a) external legal advice and (b) consultants.

In 2021/22, the costs of external legal advice to support the personal protective equipment (PPE) programme was £2.5 million, which includes advice relating to the resolution of disputed contracts. This excludes the cost of advice provided by the Government Legal Department. The cost of consultants employed in the PPE programme was £15.2 million, including the costs associated with the resolution of disputed contracts.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has paid to PPE MedPro for the purchase of personal protective equipment; and whether that company has met its contractual obligations for providing adequate personal protective equipment under the contractual terms set by his Department.

The Department paid £202,850,000 to PPE MedPro for the purchase of personal protective equipment. However, we are unable to provide the information requested on contractual obligations as this commercially sensitive.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has paid to Ayanda Capital Ltd for the purchase of personal protective equipment; and whether that company has met its contractual obligations for providing adequate personal protective equipment under the contractual terms set by his Department.

The Department has paid £252,500,000 to Ayanda Capital for the purchase of personal protective equipment. We are unable to provide the contractual information requested as it is commercially sensitive.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many ventilators purchased by his Department since 2020 have been found unsuitable for use.

Since 2020, the Department purchased approximately 47,000 ventilators of all types in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of these, approximately 1,500 or 3.2% of purchases have been found to be unfit for use in the National Health Service following clinical and medical engineering testing and evaluation. Approximately 5,000 Philips Respironics Bipap ventilators are currently awaiting repair by the manufacturer following a general product safety recall.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has paid to Excalibur Healthcare for the purchase of personal protective equipment; and whether that company has met its contractual obligations for providing adequate personal protective equipment under the contractual terms set by his Department.

The Department paid £25,135,000 to Excalibur Healthcare for the purchase of personal protective equipment. However, we are unable to provide the information requested on contractual obligations as this commercially sensitive.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential (a) units and (b) purchased cost of personal protective equipment which the Department plans to incinerate in (i) 2022 and (ii) 2023.

A specific estimate has not yet been made. The Department has appointed two providers to assess the most cost efficient and environmentally sustainable options for the disposal of personal protective equipment. Where possible we aim to recycle items before considering incineration.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to work with the devolved Administrations to ensure consistency in how third and booster covid-19 doses are displayed on NHS Covid Passes across the UK while they remain essential for admission to many other countries.

We continue to ensure agreement between the devolved administrations to maintain consistency in the designs of the digital and non-digital NHS Covid Pass which meet international standards and domestic requirements. This includes working with the Welsh Government, as the digital service through NHS.UK is provided by England to Wales. There is United Kingdom-wide alignment on the display of third doses in the NHS COVID Pass.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many units of personal protective equipment are in storage in shipping containers; and what the cost is to the public purse of that storage.

As of 14 February 2022, 5.5 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) are being held in container storage. The Department does not store PPE in containers at ports. Storage costs for containers in that week were £249,000 per day.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the condition of personal protective equipment in storage as of 18 February 2022.

The quality assurance of personal protective equipment (PPE) is ongoing. As of 28 February 2022, the latest available information shows that 34.5 billion items have been received and 18 billion items have been distributed to the frontline. The following table shows categorisation of PPE items by quantity and proportion as of 28 February.

Category

Quantity

Percentage

Stock cleared for release

11.0 billion

66.9%

Assessment in progress or not started

1.4 billion

8.7%

Exit stock (all items not currently suitable for provision to health and social care, for any reason)

4.0 billion

24.4%

Of which:

New buy product on hold for stock management purposes

1.2 billion

7.0%

Temporary hold – investigating regulatory issues.

357 million

2.2%

Potential use in other settings

1.2 billion

7.2%

Wastage (not fit for any use)

1.1 billion

6.9%

Total quantity

16.4 billion

100%

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what safeguards his Department has put in place in respect of the awarding of contracts for personal protective equipment to avoid (a) groups of companies coordinating their bids and (b) applications from multiple companies with the same directors.

Regulation 24 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 requires contracting authorities to take appropriate measures to effectively prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in the conduct of procurement procedures. The Department has robust rules and processes in place to ensure that conflicts of interest do not occur, including declaration from suppliers, publication of Ministerial interests and Departmental guidance. All potential conflicts of interest must be declared by suppliers upon registering as a new supplier with the Department.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the consultation between his Department and NHS England on combining the costs for the two hormone replacement therapies, oestrogen and progesterone, into one prescription; and when that policy will be introduced.

Officials have regular discussions with NHS England and NHS Improvement on a range of issues, including whether the cost of two hormone products can be combined into one prescription charge. Work is currently focused on reducing the cost of hormone replacement therapy for all patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether any Government department has taken steps to investigate why payments made to Unispace Global Ltd were not reported by that company in its financial accounts; and if he will make a statement.

The Department paid £603 million to Unispace Global Ltd for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) in 2020. Unispace Global Ltd partially met its contractual obligations, supplying the National Health Service with £484 million items of PPE from April 2020 till December 2021. We are working with the company on a commercial resolution for the remainder of the contract. Issues concerning the accuracy of filed financial accounts are a matter for Companies House.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Unispace Global Ltd met its contractual obligations for providing adequate personal protective equipment under the contractual terms set by his Department in 2020.

The Department paid £603 million to Unispace Global Ltd for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) in 2020. Unispace Global Ltd partially met its contractual obligations, supplying the National Health Service with £484 million items of PPE from April 2020 till December 2021. We are working with the company on a commercial resolution for the remainder of the contract. Issues concerning the accuracy of filed financial accounts are a matter for Companies House.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department paid £600 million to Unispace Global Ltd for the purchase of personal protective equipment in 2020.

The Department paid £603 million to Unispace Global Ltd for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) in 2020. Unispace Global Ltd partially met its contractual obligations, supplying the National Health Service with £484 million items of PPE from April 2020 till December 2021. We are working with the company on a commercial resolution for the remainder of the contract. Issues concerning the accuracy of filed financial accounts are a matter for Companies House.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many units of personal protective equipment are in storage in shipping containers at UK ports; how many shipping containers are being used for such purposes and what the cost is to the public purse of that storage.

The information requested is not held as the Department is not storing personal protective equipment at ports.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's new story of 7 August 2020, Update on Randox test kits, which elements of Randox covid-19 tests did not meet required safety standards; and through what processes that determination was made.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reviewed the regulatory documents relating to Randox home sampling kits and revealed that documents for the swabs did not meet the regulatory requirements to support CE marking of the swab within the kit.

On 15 July the decision was made by the Department to pause the use of Randox kits pending further investigation.

Following confirmation from the Department that despite instruction to quarantine these kits, there were still cases of the kits being used. On 6 August 2020, the MHRA contacted Randox and asked them to conduct without delay a recall of those affected sampling kits which had been distributed to the United Kingdom in order to ensure that the kits are not used.

Randox communicated this action by means of a Field Safety Notice. The Department as a customer/recipient of the Field Safety Notice instructed their users to take the actions detailed in the Field Safety Notice.

Randox issued the Field Safety Notice on 7 August 2020.

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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the prospects for a negotiated peace settlement in Yemen.

A negotiated political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen. The UK supports fully the efforts of the UN Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, to drive forward the political process in Yemen. We urge the parties to engage constructively in negotiations to end the conflict.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to assist public sector organisations to support workers using their own cars for work.

Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) are used by employers to reimburse an employee’s expenses for business mileage in their private vehicle, including public sector workers.  These rates are also used by self-employed drivers to claim tax relief on business mileage (simplified motoring expenses). The AMAP rates are not mandatory, and employers can choose to pay more or less than the AMAP rate. It is therefore ultimately up to employers to determine the rate at which they reimburse their employees, including public sector employers. In considering changes to the AMAP/simplified motoring expenses rates, the Government has to balance support for individuals with the responsible management of public finances, which fund our essential public services.

However, the Government recognises that transport is a major cost for individuals and families. At Spring Statement 2022 the Government announced a temporary 12-month cut to duty on petrol and diesel of 5p per litre. In order to continue supporting all motorists, it will extend the 5p fuel duty cut, which is worth £100 to the average driver over the next year.

Like all taxes and allowances, the Government keeps the AMAP rate under review, and any changes will be announced at a future fiscal event.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the role of Lex Greensill in Credit Suisse's risk management failures.

The regulation of individual firms is a matter for the independent financial regulators to comment on.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to Answer of 17 January 2023 to Question 120941 on Safe Hands Plans: Finance, whether his Department holds data on (a) how many more consumers bought a Safe Hands Plan after July 2017, and (b) the estimated average loss to each consumer who had bought a plan.

Safe Hands Plans went into administration in March 2022. The government understands that this situation is very concerning for customers of Safe Hands.

Since being made aware of misconduct across the funeral plan sector in 2017, the government and Financial Conduct Authority have dedicated significant resource to regulate the sector fully. This has ensured that those trying to make financial arrangements for their funerals now have the right regulatory protections.

The government’s work to bring pre-paid funeral plans into regulation has ensured that – for the first time – 1.6 million funeral plan consumers are protected from poor practice within the sector. Because of the action taken, it is now a criminal offence to sell pre-paid funeral plans without FCA authorisation.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to Answer of 17 January 2023 to Question 120941 on Safe Hands Plans: Finance, whether his departmental officials contacted representative's of Safe Hands Plans to inquire into the risk those plans posed to consumers.

Safe Hands Plans went into administration in March 2022. The government understands that this situation is very concerning for customers of Safe Hands.

Since being made aware of misconduct across the funeral plan sector in 2017, the government and Financial Conduct Authority have dedicated significant resource to regulate the sector fully. This has ensured that those trying to make financial arrangements for their funerals now have the right regulatory protections.

The government’s work to bring pre-paid funeral plans into regulation has ensured that – for the first time – 1.6 million funeral plan consumers are protected from poor practice within the sector. Because of the action taken, it is now a criminal offence to sell pre-paid funeral plans without FCA authorisation.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 17 January 2023 to Question 120941 on Safe Hands Plans: Finance, whether his Department made an assessment of the potential merits of providing support to Safe Hands’ customers at the time that those concerns were raised.

Safe Hands Plans went into administration in March 2022. The government understands that this situation is very concerning for customers of Safe Hands.

Since being made aware of misconduct across the funeral plan sector in 2017, the government and Financial Conduct Authority have dedicated significant resource to regulate the sector fully. This has ensured that those trying to make financial arrangements for their funerals now have the right regulatory protections.

The government’s work to bring pre-paid funeral plans into regulation has ensured that – for the first time – 1.6 million funeral plan consumers are protected from poor practice within the sector. Because of the action taken, it is now a criminal offence to sell pre-paid funeral plans without FCA authorisation.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to Answer of 17 January 2023 to Question 120941 on 17 January 2023 on Safe Hands Plans: Finance, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his policies of the Financial Conduct Authority's response to concerns raised by his Department regarding Safe Hands Funeral Plans; and whether he will publish his Department correspondence with the Financial Conduct Authority on that issue.

Safe Hands Plans went into administration in March 2022. The government understands that this situation is very concerning for customers of Safe Hands.

Since being made aware of misconduct across the funeral plan sector in 2017, the government and Financial Conduct Authority have dedicated significant resource to regulate the sector fully. This has ensured that those trying to make financial arrangements for their funerals now have the right regulatory protections.

The government’s work to bring pre-paid funeral plans into regulation has ensured that – for the first time – 1.6 million funeral plan consumers are protected from poor practice within the sector. Because of the action taken, it is now a criminal offence to sell pre-paid funeral plans without FCA authorisation.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Treasury were first made aware of the financial risk posed by Safe Hands Plans funeral scheme.

During a wide-ranging meeting with industry in July 2017 to discuss pre-paid funeral plans, some concerns about Safe Hands Plans were raised with HM Treasury.

In response, officials advised that such concerns should more properly be reported to the Financial Conduct Authority, reflecting the fact that HM Treasury has no investigatory or enforcement powers of its own.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many (a) potential breaches of sanctions have been investigated and (b) penalties have been issued for non-compliance by the Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation since its establishment in 2016.

The Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) takes some form of compliance action in every suspected instance of non-compliance, and the majority of cases are resolved by enforcement activity short of a penalty. All suspected financial sanctions breaches reported are investigated. OFSI uses the figure of reports of suspected breaches of financial sanctions as our measurement of non-compliance in a given period.

OFSI has published information about the number of breach investigations since 2017 in its Annual Reviews, accessible via GOV.UK. The number of reported suspected financial sanctions breaches over these previous years is as follows:

  • 2017-18: 122
  • 2018-19: 99
  • 2019-20: 140
  • 2020-21: 132

Since its establishment in 2016, OFSI has issued 7 fines for non-compliance, ranging from £5000 to £20,471,809.83 in scale.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff the Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation has; and how many of those staff hold investigation and enforcement roles.

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, is the competent authority for financial sanctions in the UK. The staff in post in OFSI was 37.8 FTE as at 31 March 2021. This information can be found in HM Treasury’s Outcome Delivery Plan 2021 to 2022, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hm-treasury-outcome-delivery-plan/hm-treasury-outcome-delivery-plan-2021-to-2022.

The number of staff has since increased and is now increasing again, in light of recent developments in Ukraine. Releasing further details of OFSI’s budget and headcount by function could prejudice its operational effectiveness.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how the Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation works with (a) other Government departments and (b) UK regulators to ensure compliance with sanctions; and with which organisations that body has Memorandums of Understanding.

OFSI engages extensively and regularly with other Government departments and regulators involved in relevant work, to ensure a consistent cross-Government approach and aligned sanctions messaging.

This covers a broad range of areas, including (but not necessarily limited to):

  • international sanctions policy
  • trade sanctions/embargoes (including enforcement)
  • transport sanctions (including enforcement)
  • travel bans
  • financial sanctions enforcement
  • the UK financial system
  • regulated sectors (such as the legal, accountancy or charity sectors)

Its engagement with the above includes information-sharing (with information both received and provided) under the provisions of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 and associated relevant legislation.

OFSI has a number of Memoranda of Understanding with partner organisations. However, I am unable to provide details of those currently in force or being negotiated between OFSI and other Government departments/partner agencies and regulators. The provision of such information could jeopardise ongoing investigations.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
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
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
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
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
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.

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, whether his Department and HMRC plan to test border systems with industry representatives before the end of the transition period.

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
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
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
President of the Board of Trade
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
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
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
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her planned timetable is for bringing into force legislative provisions relating to safe access zones for abortion clinics.

The Public Order Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 2 May. Implementation of the Public Order Act measures is staggered.

The Government respects the will of Parliament and is working to commence Safe Access Zones as soon as is practicably possible. We have been considering what needs to be done to ensure Safe Access Zones can be implemented as effectively as possible, with law enforcement agencies having a clear and consistent understanding around enforcement, and abortion service providers and protestors being clear as to what is expected under the new law.

The timescales for commencing the new Section 9 offence of interference with access to, or provision of, abortion services will be confirmed in due course.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the size of the backlog of passport applications was within HM Passport Office for each of the four-week periods where data has been reported since 1 January 2022.

Since April 2021, people have been advised to allow up to ten weeks when applying for their British passport as more than 5 million people delayed applying due to the pandemic. The vast majority of all passport applications continue to be dealt with well within 10 weeks.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office carries work in progress across the year as part of normal operational planning, and approximately 250,000 passport applications are being processed each week.

25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much income has been received by HM Passport Office in the last three months from (a) premium passport and (b) fast-track passport applications.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office does not hold data on passport income by application or channel type. Full passport income is published annually in the Home Office Annual Report and Accounts. For 2021/22, this is planned for publication prior to the summer recess, and will be laid in the House.

20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many passport applicants have used the fast-track service for applications in each of the last six months.

Appointments for Fast Track and other urgent services are released three weeks in advance. While this means new appointments are released on a daily basis at each of the seven public counters, in busy periods these will be booked quickly.

In response, Her Majesty’s Passport Office has implemented measures to increase appointment capacity to further support its customers with urgent travel needs.

17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what metrics are currently being used by HM Passport Office as key performance indicators; and how did that Office perform against those metrics in the most recent reporting period for which data is available.

Since April 2021, HM Passport Office has been advising people to allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their passport from the UK. Overseas application processing times will vary.

Less than 1.4% of the passports for UK applications printed during the week ending 8 May had been in the system for longer than 10 weeks.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of passport applications were processed within 29 working days where additional information was requested from applicants in each month in the last 12 months.

The table below shows the percentage of passport applications where additional information was requested from the customer, and that were completed within 29 working days of processing commencing, between May 2021 and April 2022:

Month

% Processed within 29 Days

May-21

91.87%

Jun-21

91.28%

Jul-21

88.96%

Aug-21

86.13%

Sep-21

84.66%

Oct-21

84.61%

Nov-21

86.21%

Dec-21

86.35%

Jan-22

89.08%

Feb-22

93.87%

Mar-22

93.12%

Apr-22

86.45%

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of passport applications, where no additional information was needed to be requested from the applicant after receipt, were processed within 10 working days in each month in each of the last 12 months.

Ahead of unrestricted international travel returning, HM Passport Office prepared extensively to serve an unprecedented number of customers, with 9.5 million British passport applications forecasted throughout 2022.

These preparations, which include the recruitment of 650 additional staff since April 2021 and with plans in place to recruit a further 550 by this summer, have ensured that passport applications can be processed in higher numbers than ever before. This was demonstrated in March and April 2022 when HM Passport Office achieved record outputs by completing the processing of two million applications.

Since April 2021, HM Passport Office has been advising people to allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their passport from the UK. However, Her Majesty’s Passport Office will always endeavor to process applications as quickly as possible, and in the simplest of cases requiring fewer manual interventions these may be processed much more quickly.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average unit cost of processing a passport was in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021 and (d) 2022.

All information covering HM Passport Office costs up to financial year 2020/21 are included within the Home Office published Annual Report and Accounts which are available via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2020-to-2021

Data for financial year 2021/22 is due to be published ahead of summer recess.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of (a) fast-track passport applications were being processed within seven days and (b) premium passport applications were processed within four hours in each month in the last 12 months.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office provides urgent services for people who need their passport more quickly.

Where the processing time of an urgent service has been missed at no fault of the customer, they are encouraged to contact the Passport Adviceline to arrange a refund of the relevant element of the fee.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many passport applicants have used the fast-track service for applications in each of the last six months; and if she will make an assessment of the expected number of users in each of the next six months.

The table below shows the volume of applications made using the Fast-Track service between November 2021 and April 2022:

Month

Total Fast Track Intake

Nov-21

34,375

Dec-21

21,124

Jan-22

24,489

Feb-22

30,116

Mar-22

44,024

Apr-22

44,386

Total

198,514

The forecasted number of Fast Track applications by month is not held in a reportable format. However, between May and October 2022, Her Majesty’s Passport Office expects to receive over 240,000 Fast Track applications.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the cost to her Department was by bringing agency staff in to clear backlogs at HM Passport Office.

The addition of Agency staff is a routine management action which ensures the seasonal demand for passports is resourced in the most cost efficient way.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the estimated timeframe for passport renewals will be reduced to a three week turnaround.

Over 5 million people delayed their passport applications in 2020 and 2021. With demand for international travel having returned, Her Majesty’s Passport Office is currently receiving a higher number of passport applications than ever before. Some 9.5 million applications are expected in 2022, compared with approximately 7 million in a normal year, hence us advising since April 2021 of a longer turnaround time of 10 weeks.

We will continue to monitor when the demand for passports returns closer to normal levels and act accordingly.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the total cost of the Ajax programme is as at 22 July 2021; and what recent estimate his Department has made of that programme’s full cost at the point of completion.

As published in the Infrastructure and Projects Authority Annual Report and Transparency data in July 2021; the forecast 10 year programme cost of the Armoured Cavalry programme including Ajax is £6,354 million.

The bulk of the anticipated expenditure (£5.5bn) related to the contract with General Dynamics UK for the demonstration, manufacture, and initial support of Ajax. This is a firm price contract.

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.

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.

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
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what set of criteria he plans to use to appoint panellists to the Independent review: Teesworks Joint Venture.

On 7 June, the Department published letters appointing three reviewers to the independent review into the South Tees Development Corporation and Teesworks Joint Venture, alongside a copy of the review's terms of reference. This followed my Written Ministerial Statement to the House on 25 May, announcing the review (HCWS813).

As set out in Parliament on 7 June, in line with existing practice, we have matched the skills, expertise, and experience of the panel, all of whom have held senior positions in local government, to the specific requirements of the review.

Details of the government funding provided to Tees Valley Combined Authority for the development of South Tees Development Corporation site are available on gov.uk. No funding has been provided by the Government to the Teesworks Joint Venture.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much from the public purse the Government has provided to (a) the South Tees Development Corporation and (b) Teesworks Joint Venture as of 7 June 2023.

On 7 June, the Department published letters appointing three reviewers to the independent review into the South Tees Development Corporation and Teesworks Joint Venture, alongside a copy of the review's terms of reference. This followed my Written Ministerial Statement to the House on 25 May, announcing the review (HCWS813).

As set out in Parliament on 7 June, in line with existing practice, we have matched the skills, expertise, and experience of the panel, all of whom have held senior positions in local government, to the specific requirements of the review.

Details of the government funding provided to Tees Valley Combined Authority for the development of South Tees Development Corporation site are available on gov.uk. No funding has been provided by the Government to the Teesworks Joint Venture.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the planned duration is of his Department's advertising and marketing campaign for levelling up; and what the cost of that campaign will be.

The Levelling Up campaign ran from February to April 2022 and has now ended. We will be publishing its expenditure as part of routine transparency commitments in due course.

29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the cost has been to his Department of the recent advertising campaign for levelling up (a) in newspapers and (b) on billboards.

The Levelling Up campaign ran from February to April 2022 and has now ended. We will be publishing its expenditure as part of routine transparency commitments in due course.

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.

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
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment the Government has made of the potential effect on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement in the event of a failure to reach agreement with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

There is shared recognition of the serious problems experienced under the Protocol and the need for solutions.

Our preference is to settle this consensually and reach a positive, negotiated outcome. We have no interest in a fractious and difficult relationship with the EU but the UK Government is clear that all options remain on the table, including the invocation of Article 16.

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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip)