Nickie Aiken

Conservative - Cities of London and Westminster

Highgate Cemetery Bill Committee
16th Jun 2021 - 16th Jun 2021
Backbench Business Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 20th Jul 2020
Women and Equalities Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 20th Jul 2020


Oral Question
Monday 29th November 2021
14:30
Topical Question No. 7
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Scheduled Event
Friday 3rd December 2021
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Pedicabs (London) Bill: Adjourned debate on Second Reading [19 November]
View calendar
Division Votes
Monday 22nd November 2021
Health and Care Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 296 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 192 Noes - 300
Speeches
Friday 19th November 2021
Pedicabs (London) Bill

That is the crux of the matter: a pedicab driver does not need a driving licence and does not need …

Written Answers
Thursday 25th November 2021
Coronavirus: Vaccination
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to allow vaccines …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Pedicabs (London) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to provide for the regulation of the carrying of passengers in Greater London by pedal cycles and power-assisted …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 1st November 2021
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar
Address of donor: Qatar Embassy, 1 South Audley Street, London W1K 1NB …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Nickie Aiken has voted in 323 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Nickie Aiken voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
View All Nickie Aiken 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(11 debate interactions)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
(11 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(33 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(20 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Nickie Aiken's debates

Cities of London and Westminster 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 Cities of London and Westminster signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

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

The Home Secretary said what happened to victims of child sexual exploitation gangs was “one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.” Last year local authorities identified 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation. We want an independent public inquiry into Grooming Gangs.

The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the “public interest”.

We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.


Latest EDMs signed by Nickie Aiken

Nickie Aiken has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Nickie Aiken, 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.


Nickie Aiken has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Nickie Aiken has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Nickie Aiken


A Bill to provide for the regulation of the carrying of passengers in Greater London by pedal cycles and power-assisted pedal cycles for hire or reward; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 19th November 2021

A Bill to provide for the regulation of the carrying of passengers in Greater London by pedal cycles and power-assisted pedal cycles for hire or reward; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 9th June 2020
(Read Debate)

Nickie Aiken has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


101 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
1 Other Department Questions
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of repealing Section 618 of the Housing Act 1985 which imposes an additional restriction on a City of London resident councillor when no equivalent restriction applies to a resident councillor of other local authorities.

The City of London has brought this matter to the Department's attention. The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL)'s review of Local Government Ethical Standards made a number of recommendations that relate to disclosable pecuniary interests. Ministers are considering the CSPL's report and recommendations and will issue the government response in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of adopting British Summer Time permanently on road traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.

The Government believes that the current daylight-saving arrangements represent the optimal use of the available daylight across the UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of job losses in the wedding industry sector in the event that additional fiscal support from his Department is not made available to that sector in response to the third national covid-19 lockdown.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) wedding venues and (b) wedding suppliers are supported during the third covid-19 national lockdown.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether hair, beauty and wellness services in (a) salon and (b) mobile settings will be allowed to reopen in Tier 3 areas after the national lockdown ends on 2 December.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Monday 23 November setting out Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan. The COVID-19 Winter Plan sets out that the current national restrictions will be lifted on 2 December. Close Contact Services can open in all tiers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of the extended closure of hair, beauty and wellness services beyond the end of the national lockdown on 2 December would have on (a) businesses and (b) jobs in that sector.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Monday 23 November setting out Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan. The COVID-19 Winter Plan sets out that the current national restrictions will be lifted on 2 December. Close Contact Services can open in all tiers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of distributing the November 2020 local authority discretionary grant on the basis of per head of population (a) in urban centres where the ratio of businesses to residents is significantly higher than other areas and (b) more widely.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is allocated at £20 per head of residential population in line with wider support to areas, subject to Local Covid Alert Level ‘Very High’ restrictions, including Contain Outbreak Management Funds.

Overall, there is a strong positive correlation between business count and population. As a result, we see a fairly equal distribution of Additional Restrictions Grant value per business under the proposed allocation method.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is one of several grant funds being made available to local authorities to support businesses that are either being asked to close or have had their trade affected as restrictions are put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. All businesses required to close will receive grants of up to £3,000 per four-week period.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 87582 on Travel Agents: Coronavirus, what support his Department is providing to travel agents whose focus is on inbound travel from (a) the US and (b) other countries.

The Government recognises the travel sector has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19, and we know quarantine measures are having an impact on inbound travel, but the measures are necessary to mitigate the risk of imported cases.

Businesses in the travel sector whose focus is on inbound travel have access to the Government extensive support package previously mentioned, including the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, the business interruption loan schemes, VAT deferrals and cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending British Business Bank lending criteria to allow businesses which have accumulated losses greater than half of their share capital access to loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) lending criteria relating to accumulated losses are driven by State Aid rules. The Government continues to hold a regular dialogue with the British Business Bank and CBILS lenders to monitor its implementation.

We continue to receive feedback on all our support for businesses and will seek to identify any areas for improvement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that infrastructure projects support the Government’s commitment to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

The Government is committed to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Reaching this target will end the UK’s contribution to global warming.

Our decisions on infrastructure will help us to deliver net zero. At the Spring Budget we announced an ambitious support package worth over £2bn for low carbon infrastructure, including £800m fund for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and £1bn in support for ultra-low emission vehicles. In addition, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently announced plans for 4,000 new zero-emission buses and a new plan for cycleways as part of upgrades to transport infrastructure.

The replacement of traditional gas and electricity meters with smart meters is a vital national infrastructure upgrade that will enable a more flexible energy system, without which modelling for the Committee on Climate Change estimates the costs of delivering net zero emissions by 2050 could be up to £16 billion higher each year. We have been working with industry to re-mobilise smart meter installations after the disruption caused by COVID-19, and last month confirmed a new four-year policy framework which will take effect from 2021 to drive a market-wide rollout of smart meters across Great Britain.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps to maximise human wellbeing and minimise environmental harms under a sustainable programme of economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has undertaken an intensive programme of engagement to inform the Government's approach to economic recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the five key themes guiding this process is that of creating a 'green recovery'. In his speech of June 30, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear that in recovering from COVID-19, we must build back greener. The UK has shown that growing our economy and cutting emissions can be achieved at the same time. Last week, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a package of over £3 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, which will support up to 140,000 green jobs. This includes £50m to demonstrate innovative approaches to retrofitting social housing at scale, to start the decarbonisation of social housing over 20/21; a £2 billion ‘Green Homes Grant’ to help people improve the efficiency of their homes accelerating progress towards net zero, while supporting jobs and reducing energy bills; and, £1 billion investment over the next year in a new Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to upgrade public sector buildings, including schools and hospitals, making them fit to help meet net zero with energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures. This comes as part of our commitment to ensuring that the UK's economic recovery is sustainable, placing human well-being centre stage by promoting a safe, clean and healthy environment for citizens to live and work in.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the guidance published by his Department in respect of offices and contact centres, entitled Working safely during coronavirus, whether he has plans to amend that guidance to encourage staff to return to work in the event that occupiers have undertaken risk assessments and developed safe working environments and practices in line with that guidance.

We will keep the guidance under review and will consider updating it as circumstances change. We are being led by the science and we will make changes to the guidance when they are needed and as we learn best practices from businesses.

We know that every organisation is different. Employers can use the guidance to create specific plans for their business in consultation with those who are affected by their operations, including workers and contractors. Return to work plans will depend on the nature of each business, such as the sector, and the details of the workforce and operations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2020 to Question 128274, what support allocated to the cinema sector remains unallocated as at 25 January 2021; and how his Department plans to distribute the remaining funding.

The government recognises the significant cultural and economic value of cinemas, and has supported them through both sector-specific and economy-wide measures during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the first round of the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, more than 200 independent cinemas have so far received funding. As of 25 January 2021, £16.6m has been awarded from the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas, managed by the British Film Institute on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This is from the £30m pot allocated as part of the Fund’s first round.

We have agreed a thorough and robust assessment process for the Fund and are confident in the process established to support the sector. The BFI are continuing to process and assess a small number of outstanding applications, so we cannot confirm the final round one award total at this stage.

Further to this funding, we announced in December that cinemas will be able to apply to a pot of up to £14 million in grants as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund in 2021. This will support cinemas as they transition back to a viable and sustainable operating model from April to June 2021.

In addition to the Culture Recovery Fund, cinemas have also benefited from economy-wide measures including the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, a business rates holiday, access to Bounce Back Loans, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Local Restrictions Support Grants.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund has yet to be allocated; to what programmes and projects funding has already been allocated; and when he plans to announce the mechanism for allocating the remaining funding.

As of 11 December, £1 billion worth of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated across all four nations of the UK. That includes:

  • Direct support to national institutions and the Devolved Administrations, who have received £188 million through the Barnett formula;

  • Over £500million in recovery grants to almost 3000 arts and heritage organisations in England;

  • Over £100million in capital grants;

  • And over £160million in generous repayable finance to some of our most iconic national institutions

Some capital awards and independent cinema recovery grant awards are still to be allocated - this will happen over the coming weeks.

Additionally, a second round of funding was announced on 11 December, which utilises the remaining Culture Recovery Fund funding. There will be over £300m available in grants delivered by DCMS’ delivery partners, and £100m of repayable finance delivered by Arts Council England specifically.

Further information on this will be available shortly.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) equity of the distribution of the grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund; and if he will make a statement.

The Culture Recovery Fund has so far awarded grants to over 2000 cultural organisations, both big and small, with more funding to be awarded in the coming weeks.

This is public money, so rigorous criteria have rightly been applied to ensure we are supporting organisations that have national and local importance, and those that play a key role in the levelling up agenda. Criteria included applicants being able to show that they have a sustainable, viable plan and that this funding would help them to continue trading. The Arm’s Length Bodies delivering the funding (Arts Council England, British Film Institute, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England) are confident they have applied them in all decision making.

In addition, the independent Culture Recovery Board, chaired by Sir Damon Buffini, was created to increase assurance over the delivery of the Culture Recovery Fund programme, and to bring a range of external expertise across culture, heritage, creative industries and museums sectors to support decision making. The board members' role is to offer regional, sectoral and commercial expertise and to bring rigour to decision-making.


The split of organisations who have already been allocated funding demonstrates a balanced picture across regions. The last round of funding was announced on 7 November and allocated over £33 million to 170 arts and heritage organisations, of which 70% was allocated outside London.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) campaigners for a Government-backed insurance scheme for the UK live events industry and (b) representatives of the Let LIVE Thrive campaign.

We are aware that there are calls for a Government backed insurance scheme for live events. I am grateful for the evidence provided and I know DCMS and Treasury colleagues are monitoring the situation together with the sector.

We are continuing to meet with live events stakeholders to provide support and guidance for venues to re-open and stage live events.

16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to support and ratify the Beijing Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances to extend the economic and moral rights of actors and performers in audio-visual performances including films, videos and television programmes.

The UK fully supports the Beijing Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances (BTAP) and signed it on 11 June 2013. The UK has now left the EU, and the Government will consider when and how to ratify and implement BTAP as part of its future policy agenda. Any future changes to UK legislation in this area will need to be subject to public consultation and impact assessment.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department is providing to the commercial theatre sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including commercial theatre, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

£90 million is being made available to National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Creative People and Places (CPPs) lead organisations. £50 million is being made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council in order to maintain their survival through this crisis. Finally £20 million of financial support is being made available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Arts sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector. DCMS is engaging with other departments to support the economic response, by ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are understood. DCMS will continue to work with this valuable sector to understand the difficulties it faces and help it access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of universities that are continuing to run classes remotely, rather than returning to in-person learning.

We expect all universities to continue to deliver excellent learning, in line with guidance from the Office for Students (OfS), to provide students with a full experience. The OfS, as regulator of Higher Education in England, will be monitoring to ensure this is the case, and universities should be open about what students can expect.

As autonomous institutions, it is for HE providers to determine their own provision, taking account of government guidance. However, as we have now lifted restrictions on HE, providers should not be limiting access to face-to-face teaching based on COVID-19 controls.

Online learning should only be offered to enhance the student experience, not detract from it, by making learning more accessible for students, including those who cannot yet attend face-to-face lectures. It should not be used as a cost cutting measure.

Any policies and terms, or changes to existing policies and terms, must be clearly communicated to students. If students have concerns, they should first raise them with their HE provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at HE providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to encourage a higher number of universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of antisemitism.

This government abhors antisemitism and has been clear that we expect universities to be at the forefront of tackling the challenge of antisemitism, making sure that higher education is a genuinely fulfilling and welcoming experience for everyone.

The government has asked all English higher education providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition is an important tool in tackling antisemitism. Adopting this widely recognised definition sends a strong signal that higher education providers take these issues seriously. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to higher education leaders most recently in October 2020 to reiterate the importance of the definition and to urge all providers to consider adopting it.

The government is pleased to report that at least 91 providers have now adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, with many more preparing to adopt. The decision on adoption of the definition rests with individual providers, but the government will continue to urge them to adopt the definition, and ensure that higher education is a genuinely fulfilling and welcoming experience for everyone.

I am proud that so many providers have taken a positive step towards eradicating antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, but further progress is still needed to stamp it out. This is why, in the Secretary of State’s most recent strategic guidance letter to the OfS, the government asked the OfS to undertake a scoping exercise, to identify providers which are reluctant to adopt the definition. The letter asked them to consider introducing mandatory reporting of antisemitic incident numbers by providers, with the aim of ensuring a robust evidence base, which the OfS can then use to effectively regulate in this area.

The Secretary of State also asked the OfS to ensure that, if antisemitic incidents do occur at a provider, they should consider if it is relevant in a particular case whether the provider has adopted the IHRA definition when considering what sanctions, including monetary penalties, would be appropriate to apply.

We will continue to work across government to ensure that racism and religious hatred of any kind is not tolerated anywhere, including in our world-leading universities.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of universities that have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of antisemitism.

This government abhors antisemitism and has been clear that we expect universities to be at the forefront of tackling the challenge of antisemitism, making sure that higher education is a genuinely fulfilling and welcoming experience for everyone.

The government has asked all English higher education providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition is an important tool in tackling antisemitism. Adopting this widely recognised definition sends a strong signal that higher education providers take these issues seriously. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to higher education leaders most recently in October 2020 to reiterate the importance of the definition and to urge all providers to consider adopting it.

The government is pleased to report that at least 91 providers have now adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, with many more preparing to adopt. The decision on adoption of the definition rests with individual providers, but the government will continue to urge them to adopt the definition, and ensure that higher education is a genuinely fulfilling and welcoming experience for everyone.

I am proud that so many providers have taken a positive step towards eradicating antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, but further progress is still needed to stamp it out. This is why, in the Secretary of State’s most recent strategic guidance letter to the OfS, the government asked the OfS to undertake a scoping exercise, to identify providers which are reluctant to adopt the definition. The letter asked them to consider introducing mandatory reporting of antisemitic incident numbers by providers, with the aim of ensuring a robust evidence base, which the OfS can then use to effectively regulate in this area.

The Secretary of State also asked the OfS to ensure that, if antisemitic incidents do occur at a provider, they should consider if it is relevant in a particular case whether the provider has adopted the IHRA definition when considering what sanctions, including monetary penalties, would be appropriate to apply.

We will continue to work across government to ensure that racism and religious hatred of any kind is not tolerated anywhere, including in our world-leading universities.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will (a) provide access to counselling for all children in secondary schools and (b) extend access to counselling in further education colleges.

It is important for schools and colleges to have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs and drawing on an evidence base of effective practice. Our survey of mental health provision in schools and colleges in 2016 and 2017 found that 61% of schools and colleges (56% of primary schools, 84% of secondary schools and 93% of colleges) reported offering a counselling service for their pupils.

The department have published guidance on how to put in place effective school-based counselling, which schools can use to identify where further counselling support is appropriate for their pupils. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

As children and young people return to school and college, staff need to be equipped to understand that some pupils may be experiencing feelings, such as anxiety, stress or low mood, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, that these are normal responses to an abnormal situation, and how to respond.

From September, the government is investing £8 million to launch the new Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, which will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COIVD-19 outbreak. The programme is providing £8 million to local authorities to enable schools and colleges in England to have access to training during the autumn and spring terms, and expert advisers who will be able to support schools and colleges and can make links to available local authority provision, including counselling.

We have worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full
high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

In further education, the department has provided £5.4 million of competitive grant funding to certain colleges through the College Collaboration Fund. Five of the projects funded support student and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

Outside of school and college, access to mental health support has been more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. Leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. During Mental Health Awareness Week, the government also announced that a further
£4.2 million will be awarded to mental health charities, including the Samaritans, Young Minds, and Bipolar UK.

All NHS mental health trusts have ensured that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

In the long-term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS England. This includes introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help support home schooled pupils who were due sit exams in summer 2020 in the event that those pupils are unable to provide a sufficient level of evidence for exam centres to allocate assessment grades and rankings for those pupils unable to sit those exams as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Not all external candidates will be able to be awarded a calculated grade this summer because some will not have been in a position to provide sufficient evidence to enable their exam centre to include them in their centre assessment grades and rankings. The Department has therefore announced that there will be an opportunity for these and other students to sit exams in the autumn. Following Ofqual’s consultation on this autumn series, it has been confirmed that students will be able to sit exams in all subjects at A, AS level and GCSE.

Ofqual has also asked university and college representatives associations to consider the steps that universities and colleges could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any external candidates who do not receive a grade. They have said that they believe institutions will consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible.

13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to the national schools linking programme in each year since the establishment of that programme; what plans he has for the maintenance of that funding in each of the next five years; and whether he has made an assessment of the effectiveness of that programme.

Together with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), we have provided £1,339,240 to the Linking Network, since September 2016, to support their national school linking programme. The Department’s contribution to the programme over each year is as follows:

2016-17: £0

2017-18: £153,188

2018-19: £197,401

2019-20: £247,000

This has supported the Linking Network to expand their work into more areas and reach more pupils – with sustained linking programmes now taking place in 28 local areas; and in the last year, over 540 schools taking part leading to over 22,500 pupils participating in activities supporting integration.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what long term risk assessment his Department has made of the (a) likelihood and (b) severity of possible flooding scenarios of the proposed Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre site in Victoria Tower Gardens over the next 100 year period.

a) Victoria Tower Gardens, the location of the proposed Holocaust Memorial, is located within Flood Zone 3 but is protected by the Thames Tidal flood defences up to a 1 in 1000 (0.1%) chance in any year flood event. However, the Environment Agency’s most recent breach hazard modelling study shows the site to be impacted by flooding if there was to be a breach in the defences or they were to be overtopped.

The applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the structural integrity of the wall can be maintained throughout the construction phase of the development and that a continuous monitoring plan will be in place to identify any unacceptable movement within the wall together with contingency actions. The Environment Agency has requested that the requirements of the monitoring plan be secured by way of planning condition.

b) The Environment Agency’s modelling highlights that a breach in the tidal flood defences, while a low probability, could have an impact due to the depth and velocity of the flood water, increasing risk to life. The applicant, in discussion with the Local Authority’s Local Emergency Planning team, should asses the risks of internal flooding, access and exits of the building as part of a Flood Emergency Plan.

The Environment Agency does not assess or approve the adequacy of flood emergency response procedures accompanying development proposals as it does not carry out these roles during a flood.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what long term estimates his Department has made of the level of risk of flooding in the proposed Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre site in Victoria Tower Gardens from a potential (a) breach of river wall or (b) overtopping of the river wall if water levels were to rise as a result of global warming.

a) The Flood Risk Assessment required under paragraph 163 of the National Planning Framework, together with other associated assessments submitted by the applicant, has satisfactorily demonstrated that the integrity of the flood defence can be maintained throughout construction. This is subject to the actions of a detailed monitoring plan outlined within the application.

b) The applicant has demonstrated, through design and loading calculations, that the proposal will not preclude the requirement to raise the flood defences in the future as required by the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan.

It should be noted that while it may be impacted by this proposal, the flood defence is outside of the application boundary and will require cooperation between the applicant and the riparian owner to ensure that a continuous defence is maintained at all times.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to (a) coordinate with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure the latter Department duly considers the risk of flooding to the proposed Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre site in Victoria Tower Gardens in its planning consultation process, and (b) ensure that sufficient measures are taken to protect buildings in Thames Flood Zone 3 from an excessive risk of damages from potential flooding.

a) The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee as outlined in the Development Management Procedure Order (DMPO) 2015. The Environment Agency formulates its response based on evidence and the requirements set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and associated Planning Practice Guidance (Flood Risk and Costal Change). This was created by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

b) Within the Thames Estuary, a complex network of defences, including nine major barriers, around 330km of walls and embankments, and more than 900 other structures (such as flood gates, outfalls and pumps), work together to protect over 1.4 million people and £321 billion worth of property from tidal flooding.

The current tidal flood defences protect to a one in 1000 year flood event. To meet the challenge of climate change and sea level rises, the Thames Estuary 2100 plan details the requirements to raise flood defences in order to protect homes and businesses.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the operational effect on port health authorities of the new rules and guidance on inspections of animal and animal product imports from the EU following the end of the transition period; and what consequential support his Department has provided to those authorities.

SPS controls on animals and animal products imported into GB from the EU are being introduced in stages. From April, Port Health Authorities (PHA) will be required to carry out remote documentary checks on POAO, with physical and identity checks on animal products being carried out at BCPs from 1 July 2021.

Defra has provided £14 million funding to 21 local authorities in England to support PHAs with the recruitment and training of over 500 new staff. Defra continues to work closely with PHAs to develop the necessary training and guidance needed to deliver SPS controls on the import of animal products, and has a dedicated team in place to provide tailored support.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department plans to provide to UK-based international charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

DFID is engaging with civil society partners to understand the delivery and operational challenges they face as a result of COVID-19. We will work collaboratively with civil society partners in receipt of DFID funding to find pragmatic solutions to support both our partners and continuation of our programmes where appropriate.

The COVID-19 response will continue to develop rapidly, and we are assessing and monitoring the overall financial health of supply partners to identify organisations we believe are at risk due to COVID-19.

We will deliver a comprehensive COVID-19 response through programming to support the global health and economic response, funding for further vaccine development, preparing for the recovery phase and leadership within the international community.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if her Department will take steps to reduce bureaucratic requirements for UK-based international charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

DFID’s approach, in line with the government’s overall approach, is to work collaboratively with partners, including UK based international charities, to find flexible solutions that maintain delivery of essential programmes as far as possible. This applies across grants and contracts, and we are working hard to develop more comprehensive guidance for our partners in these areas.

DFID Smart Rules and programme delivery processes are kept under constant review to ensure that they are appropriate, both for partners and in meeting our responsibilities for spending public money.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to promote an inclusive humanitarian response to COVID-19 to meet deliverable 5 of her Department's Strategy for Disability Inclusive Development 2018-23, published in December 2018.

The UK is playing a leading role in the global response to COVID-19. The UK has, so far, pledged £744 million of UK aid to help end this pandemic as quickly as possible. In addition, we are urgently redirecting existing support and programmes to be more responsive to COVID-19.

The UK continues to work with international partners, including the United Nations and its agencies, to ensure aid reaches those most in need. We are providing expert advice to governments and international partners to act quickly to assess how and where social protection or humanitarian cash systems could be best used to support an efficient, coordinated response. We are prioritising inclusion across this support and ensuring that the needs of the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities, are central to our discussions with partners and governments.

Through DFID’s co-chairing role for the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) donor Network, DFID is pushing for a coordinated response to COVID-19 by GLAD members, comprising of bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations and the private sector.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what his Department’s policy objectives are on preventing sexual violence in conflict.

Preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), including conflict-related sexual violence, is a priority for DFID. The FCO leads HMG’s work on this important agenda through the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). DFID contributes towards PSVI’s objectives through investing in evidence revealing both the scale of the problem and effective interventions to prevent it. This has shown that violence is preventable.

In communities in the DRC, a project with faith leaders and community action groups resulted in domestic violence halving from 70% to 30% in less than three years, while conflict-related sexual violence reduced from 21% to just 4%. We are sharing this evidence across Government and with international partners to encourage increased investment globally in effective approaches to tackle sexual violence.

In November 2019, the Secretary of State announced a new £67.5 million programme to scale up interventions to prevent VAWG across development and humanitarian contexts, and to continue expanding the evidence base as a global public good.

The UK is also a leading member of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies – a global initiative working to drive system change to protect women and girls in emergency situations.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the international exhibitor funding scheme to domestic events as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) is designed to assist UK companies in learning about overseas tradeshows and how they can be used to help a business’s export development plans.

The Department for International Trade is currently reviewing TAP and looking at a number of possible changes to the support it will offer in the future.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of a trade agreement with the US on the environmental sustainability of UK agriculture.

The Government’s negotiating objectives, published 2nd March, included an impact assessment on the environmental implications of a UK-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA.) We are clear that we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

Recently, the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched the Trade and Agriculture Commission, an advisory group that will provide recommendations to the government. The Commission will help further ensure that the UK’s trade policy fully considers our agricultural industry, including our commitment to maintain our high standards.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of exempting parents who are separated and whose children live abroad from international travel quarantine restrictions, to allow such working parents to visit their children without the need to take a considerable amount of annual leave.

International travel is now governed by a new traffic light system. Health measures at the border, after arrival, will vary depending on whether travelling from a green, amber or red country. The decision to implement additional border measures is in direct response to scientific and medical data, which represents an increased risk to UK public health and an increased risk of community transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern identified in those countries. There are a range of border measures in place to protect the UK from the importation of coronavirus and variants of concern (VoCs). These are intended to be temporary measures and the government keeps data for countries and territories under constant review.

We have made enormous progress this year in tackling the pandemic across Britain. That progress has been hard won and it is important that we don't risk undermining it now. International travel is vital. It connects families who have been kept apart, boosts businesses and underpins the UK economy. It is absolutely essential that any steps we take now, lay the groundwork for a sustainable return to travel, as the situation improves globally.

The government has however put in place measures to reduce the impact of border measures on families. For arrivals who have not been in a red-list country in the previous 10 days children are required to self-isolate, however they can do so in the family home and may also move between family homes during that period of isolation. For managed quarantine facilities, family groups will be able to quarantine together as long as the hotel is able to accommodate them. This includes couples and parents with children.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the proposal by the online travel agent TravelUp to ringfence civil aviation fares until departure to prevent customers having to wait long periods of time to be reimbursed for cancelled trips.

The Department has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, but balancing the support businesses need during this unprecedented situation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of challenges. The department is keen to work with the regulator, industry and consumer groups to learn lessons from pandemic, to make changes that are practicable and deliverable.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of (a) the effect of the local housing allowance cap on the affordability of rented accommodation in Central London and (b) the potential merits of further increasing that cap to allow a higher proportion of tenants to afford rented accommodation in Central London.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates determine the maximum amount of housing benefit or universal credit housing costs available for renters in the private rented sector. LHA rates were increased in April 2020 to the 30th percentile of local market rents costing almost £1 billion and providing 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support per year than they would otherwise have received.

At the same time, we increased the national maximum caps, ensuring all rates including those in central and inner London received an increase. This year the monthly Central London rates were increased by:

Central London Increase in LHA monthly rate April 2020

Room

1 Bed

2 Bed

3 Bed

4 Bed

£40.63

£82.47

£196.32

£286.01

£657.57

In 2021/22 all LHA rates will be maintained at their increased level, meaning claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase in the rates applied this year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to make permanent the offer of phone or paper assessments for benefits currently in place during covid-19 outbreak.

Paper based reviews have always been a feature of Personal Independence Payment assessments and Work Capability Assessments and wherever possible Assessment Providers will conduct a paper-based review. Telephone-based assessments for suitable cases are a temporary measure replacing face-to-face assessments, which were suspended across all health and disability benefits from 17 March due to Covid-19. We are currently in the process of reviewing this measure in light of the latest public health advice and will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to allow vaccines administered in France to be recorded in the UK National Immunisation Management System to allow people vaccinated abroad to access an NHS Covid Pass.

Vaccines administered in France can already be recorded in vaccination records and displayed in the NHS COVID Pass. English residents vaccinated in France should contact their general practitioner or 119 to book an appointment at a regional vaccination centre to record their vaccinations through the National Immunisation Management Service. There are currently seven sites capable of reviewing vaccination evidence with an additional 13 pending. Further expansion of the service is planned in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce inequalities in healthcare and (b) prevent the avoidable death of Asian and Asian British babies.

The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) sets out a systematic approach to reducing health inequalities and addressing unwarranted variation in care by targeting a higher share of funding towards geographies with high health inequalities than would have been allocated using solely the core needs formulae. As a condition of receiving Long Term Plan funding, all major national programmes and every local area across England is required to set out specific measurable goals and mechanisms by which they will contribute to narrowing health inequalities by 2029.

On 1 October, we launched the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. Reducing health disparities is one of the core aims of the office and it will set out its plans for delivering on this objective in due course

To improve equity for mothers and babies from Black, Asian and Mixed ethnic groups, NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘Equity and Equality: Guidance for Local Maternity Systems’ on 6 September, which can be found at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/equity-and-equality-guidance-for-local-maternity-systems/

This guidance asks Local Maternity Systems (LMS) to produce an equity and equality analysis (covering health outcomes, community assets and staff experience) by 30 November 2021; and to co-produce an action plan to improve equity for mothers and babies from minority ethnic and other backgrounds, and race equality for NHS maternity staff by 28 February 2022. The guidance is supported by a £6.8 million investment.

LMS are being asked to include four interventions to prevent avoidable deaths of babies in their action plans: (1) targeted and enhanced continuity of carer with 75% of women from Black, Asian and Mixed ethic groups receiving continuity of carer by 2024 and additional midwifery time to support women from the most deprived areas, (2) smoke-free pregnancy pathways for mothers and their partners, (3) breastfeeding strategies to improve breastfeeding rates for women living in the most deprived areas, and (4) culturally-sensitive genetics services for consanguineous couples. The guidance is supported by a £6.8 million investment, which will support Local Maternity Systems to implement Equity and Equality Action Plans and implement targeted and enhanced Continuity of Carer.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing (a) free or (b) low-cost NHS covid-19 tests to parents whose children live abroad, to allow such parents to visit their children under legally agreed custody agreements between the UK and other countries whilst incurring reduced costs for covid-19 testing.

No assessment has been made.

Since requirements were introduced for international travel testing, the costs of travel testing have fallen significantly. The Government is committed to working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of travel testing whilst also ensuring travel is as safe as possible. NHS Test and Trace tests are priced at the mid-market level. We offer deferred payment plans and hardship support for people who cannot afford to pay for the cost of managed quarantine and testing. In some circumstances this may be available to those who are not in receipt of income related benefits.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the contractual requirements for NHS primary dental care from 1 April 2021.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Office of the Chief Dental Officer on contractual arrangements for 2021/22 onwards. An announcement will be made shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of amending the Units of Dental Activity (UDA) allocation of an urgent band of treatment from 1.2 UDAs to 3 UDAs retrospectively from 1 January 2021 until the end of the covid-19 outbreak to (a) reduce contractual pressures on dentists and (b) take into account the time taken to see urgent patients during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has no current plans to assess the units of dental activity (UDA) allocation for urgent dental treatment.

Contractual arrangements for the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement. The revised UDA threshold set at 60% is based on data that indicates practices may now have capacity to safely achieve more dental activity. Arrangements will be monitored on a monthly basis and are expected to be in place for six months in order to provide increased stability for dental practices. National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the effect on whole population levels of childhood obesity of (a) the Daily Mile and other activity-based options and (b) restricting the advertising of food and drink high in salt, fat and sugar.

There has been no such comparative assessment. Obesity is a complex problem caused by many different factors to which there is no single solution.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed online ban on advertising food and drink high in salt, fat and sugar on the ability of hospitality and food and drink businesses to market their products and develop their businesses.

We published an evidence note alongside the consultation on the proposal to introduce a total restriction of online advertising for products high in fat, salt and sugar. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/total-restriction-of-online-advertising-for-products-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt-hfss/evidence-note

This builds on the impact assessment that accompanied the 2019 consultation on further advertising restrictions on TV and online. This is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/786554/advertising-consultation-impact-assessment.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed ban on advertising online food and drink high in salt, fat and sugar on the ability of the (a) advertising industry and (b) food and drink (i) manufacturing and (ii) hospitality sectors to recover from the economic effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

We published an evidence note alongside the consultation on the proposal to introduce a total restriction of online advertising for products high in fat, salt and sugar. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/total-restriction-of-online-advertising-for-products-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt-hfss/evidence-note

This builds on the impact assessment that accompanied the 2019 consultation on further advertising restrictions on TV and online. This is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/786554/advertising-consultation-impact-assessment.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he publish a comparative estimate of the contribution of (a) personal care settings such as hair and beauty salons, barbershops and in mobile services and (b) hospitality and leisure sectors to the covid-19 R rate.

It is not possible to systematically identify where infection occurs in individual positive cases definitive data on the different locations where transmissions occur is not available.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making the drug known as Trikafta or Kaftrio available to people with Cystic Fibrosis through the NHS.

The European Commission formally issued the marketing authorisation for Kaftrio on 21 August. It is therefore now available to be prescribed by National Health Service clinicians to eligible patients through an interim access deal negotiated between NHS England and NHS Improvement and Vertex, the drug manufacturer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that all hospitals are able to facilitate visits of immediate family members to seriously ill patients in non-covid-19 related wards.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (Dr Dan Poulter MP) on 22 June 2020 to Question 53383.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to review the criteria for selection of rare diseases to be included in the newborn blood spot test.

There are no plans to review the UK National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC’s) 20-point criteria for the newborn blood spot test. The newborn blood spot screening programme enables early identification, referral and treatment of babies with nine rare but serious conditions, including sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and congenital hypothyroidism.

The UK NSC welcomes proposals to screen for new conditions through its annual call for topics. The call runs from September to December each year and allows members of the public and stakeholders to submit new conditions for the UK NSC to consider and assess against its internationally recognised criteria. It is important that the addition of any new conditions to the newborn blood spot programme is supported by robust peer-reviewed evidence, and that all of our population screening programmes do more good than harm.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the update on international travel published by his Department on 24 June 2021 and official correspondence on covid-19 and Israel between 2020 and 2021, for what reason Jerusalem is referred to in addition to Israel rather than being considered included in the naming of that state.

The position of the UK Government has remained constant since April 1950, when the UK extended de jure recognition to the State of Israel, but withheld recognition of sovereignty over Jerusalem pending a final determination of its status. We recognise Israel's 'de facto authority' over West Jerusalem. But in line with Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) and subsequent Council resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as under Israeli military occupation.

A final determination of the status of Jerusalem should be sought as part of a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. It must ensure Jerusalem is a shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states, with access and religious rights of both peoples respected.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans the Government has to use its presidency of the G7 to ensure that the 2021-25 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education is fully funded.

The UK has placed girls' education, and broader gender equality at the heart of our G7 Presidency. We have set out two ambitious global objectives to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years. We are using our G7 Presidency to rally others behind these objectives, and stand up for every girl's right to 12 years of quality education.

A well-funded Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will be central to delivering these global objectives, especially in securing education financing from developing countries' domestic budgets. We look forward to hosting the Global Education Summit to refinance GPE with the Government of Kenya in July. Details of the UK's next contribution to GPE will be announced in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government plans to announce a £600 million pledge to the 2021-25 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education at the G7 Summit to encourage other donors to commit funds.

The UK has placed girls' education, and broader gender equality at the heart of our G7 Presidency. We have set out two ambitious global objectives to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years. We are using our G7 Presidency to rally others behind these objectives, and stand up for every girl's right to 12 years of quality education.

A well-funded Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will be central to delivering these global objectives, especially in securing education financing from developing countries' domestic budgets. We look forward to hosting the Global Education Summit to refinance GPE with the Government of Kenya in July. Details of the UK's next contribution to GPE will be announced in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help improve maternal and child health throughout the world.

The UK Government remains committed to supporting maternal and child health interventions as part of our manifesto commitment to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030.

Globally we are working with agencies such as the WHO, GAVI the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Financing Facility to support governments to strengthen health systems in affected countries, provide technical assistance, improve quality of care and immunise children.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help end the preventable deaths of mothers, children and newborns in developing countries by 2030.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is committed to working with others to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and children by 2030.

Since 2000, UK aid has helped immunise over 760 million children, saving over 13 million lives. Our commitment of up to £1.65 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will help immunise a further 300 million children over the next 5 years. As we have set out in the Integrated Review, we will also prioritise supporting health systems, which are at the heart of the fight to end preventable deaths.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking at an international level to agree a global plan to ensure the safe return of all children to school.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, two thirds of the academic year have been lost on average worldwide. It is important that schools in low and lower middle income countries reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

The FCDO is playing a leading role in championing every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. We are using our G7 presidency to ensure the safe return of all children to school. We are asking our international partners to get behind two ambitious global targets - to see 40 million more girls into education, and a third more reading by the age of 10 in low and middle income countries by 2025. On 28 and 29 July, the UK and Kenya will co-host the Global Education Summit: Financing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in London. GPE aims to raise $5 billion over the next five years to help education systems build back better following COVID-19, and ensure all children return to school to learn.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure the return of (a) the poorest and most marginalised and (b) all children to school.

FCDO country offices are actively supporting partner governments to open schools up when it is safe to do so to ensure that the poorest and most marginalised are not left behind.

The UK is also supporting global efforts to ensure all children return to school. We have provided £20 million to UNICEF to protect vulnerable children, £5 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund to support emergency education in conflict-affected countries, and £5.3 million to UNHCR to fund the salaries of over 5,500 teachers in refugee camps across 10 countries. In the meantime, our bilateral support to 18 countries has pivoted to ensure that girls, children with disabilities, and those affected by conflict can continue to access learning materials so that they are ready to return to school once it is safe to do so.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what exceptions and general licences to the US Houthi terror designation will be issued to protect organisations supplying essential commercial and humanitarian produce to Yemen.

On 5 February, the US announced that they will reverse the previous administration's designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. We welcome this decision and have engaged closely with the US administration on this matter, sharing our concerns that designation would seriously disrupt humanitarian operations in Yemen.

However, we cannot ignore Houthi actions. These include the use of children and sexual violence as tools of war, the persecution of religious minorities and attacks on civilians. On 30 December, the Houthi attack on Aden airport killed 27 civilians and injured over 100 others. We must address the Houthi sense of impunity to make progress of the peace process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the humanitarian situation in Yemen of the US designation of the Houthis as a terror organisation.

On 5 February, the US announced that they will reverse the previous administration's designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. We welcome this decision and have engaged closely with the US administration on this matter, sharing our concerns that designation would seriously disrupt humanitarian operations in Yemen.

However, we cannot ignore Houthi actions. These include the use of children and sexual violence as tools of war, the persecution of religious minorities and attacks on civilians. On 30 December, the Houthi attack on Aden airport killed 27 civilians and injured over 100 others. We must address the Houthi sense of impunity to make progress of the peace process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the Global Partnership for Education’s 2021-2025 replenishment is fully funded.

The Prime Minister and President Kenyatta of Kenya will co-host the Global Education Summit: Financing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in London in July 2021. The UK is GPE's largest bilateral donor. No decision has yet been taken on the UK's next contribution to GPE, and details will follow in due course.

As co-hosts of the Summit, we are using all the means at our disposal to help the Global Partnership for Education secure its five-year financing target of up to $5 billion (2021-2026), in line with our commitment to stand up for the right of every girl around the world to gain 12 years of quality education.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) EU and (b) other international counterparts on the relaxation of visa term limits for UK citizens abroad while global travel restrictions remain in place due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The current advice for those across the UK remains to stay at home and not travel abroad unless it is for a legally permitted reason. Our advice to British nationals abroad is that they should follow the public health advice of the country which they are in, including current COVID-19 restrictions. Other countries maintain their own visa regimes. Requirements for stays beyond visa or visa free periods are subject to national procedures for each country. Any queries on applicable regimes are for the relevant immigration authorities in that country.

If a British national overseas requires consular assistance, the FCDO can be contacted by phone or email 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. The kind of assistance we offer is tailored to the individual circumstances of each case. Ministers raise specific issues of concern affecting British nationals overseas as appropriate. As of 1 January 2021, British Citizens do not need a visa when travelling to the EU for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism and similar activities.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to secure a political solution to the Syrian civil war and to ensure the ceasefire is upheld by all sides.

The UK continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Syria to adhere to agreed ceasefires and abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. We regularly raise this matter in bilateral discussions and multilateral fora, including the UN Security Council. On 22 October, the Foreign Secretary and likeminded counterparts issued a statement following a ministerial meeting of the Syria Small Group: a political settlement in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for a nationwide ceasefire as part of a political process, is the only way to end the Syrian conflict. To this end, we welcomed UN Syria Envoy Pedersen's convening of the Constitutional Committee for a fourth round of talks in Geneva on 29 November, but regret that due to regime obstruction there has been little progress to date.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the Government of India on the arrest of Fr Stan Swamy and other human rights activists; and if he will make a statement.

FCDO officials raised Father Stan Swamy's case with the Indian High Commission on 12 November. On 9 October, British High Commission officials in New Delhi highlighted to the Ministry of Home Affairs criticisms of recent amendments to Indian security legislation, including their impact on activists and human rights campaigners in India. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at ministerial level.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the steps that cruise ship operators have taken to ensure that their vessels are covid-19 secure; and when he plans to issue advice to enable cruise ships to operate and travel agents to sell places on cruises again.

The FCDO remains fully committed to working closely with public health experts, the Department for Transport and key industry leaders to agree on the steps required to restart cruises safely. We are in regular discussion with cruise representatives on this matter.

Our travel advice is based on medical risk assessments by public health officials. We keep this advice under continuous review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of lowering the requirement for freelancers to receive at least 50 per cent of their income from self-employed work to qualify for financial support from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The SEISS provides generous support to the self-employed, including freelancers who meet the eligibility criteria. Freelancers who are ineligible for the SEISS are likely to be those who receive less than half of their income from self-employment. The design of the SEISS, including the eligibility, requires that an individual’s trading profits must be at least equal to their non-trading income. This is intended to target support at those who need it the most, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income.

People ineligible for the SEISS on the basis of these criteria may be eligible for other elements of the substantial package of support available.

The CJRS has been available to all employers with a PAYE system and all employees on PAYE regardless of their employment contract. As such, freelancers and those on short term contracts could be eligible for the CJRS if they are on PAYE and meet the eligibility criteria.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether inbound tourist currency exchange shops serving inbound tourists are distinct from bureau de change shops serving local immigrants transferring currency out of the country, in respect of eligibility for covid-19 Business Rates Relief.

The Government has published guidance on eligibility for the business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure properties.

It is for Local Authorities to implement any reliefs and make decisions on eligibility in line with that guidance.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme for businesses affected by social distancing or travel restrictions until the end of Q3 2021, particularly in the live events and conference sectors.

The Government has provided a comprehensive economic response that is one of the most generous globally, including very substantial steps to protect jobs. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has helped to pay the wages of people in 9.9 million jobs across the country, providing £46.4bn worth of support as of 13 December. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has received claims from 2.7 million self-employed workers, amounting to £13.7bn as of 13 December.

The Government will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and support jobs at Budget 2021.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) extending the application date for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and bounce back loans for 12 months and (b) delaying the repayment start date for people who have already received this support for an additional 12 months.

The end date for new applications under Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has already been extended several times, ensuring businesses have more time to make loan applications, supporting them through the pandemic. The Government is continuing to work to introduce a new, successor loan guarantee scheme, set to begin in early April, following the closure of the existing schemes to new applicants on 31 March 2021.

In order to give the smallest businesses further support and flexibility in making their repayments for BBLS, the Chancellor has announced “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) options. PAYG will give businesses the option to repay their BBLS facility over ten years. This will reduce businesses’ average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. Businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times), or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months. Given the continued challenges businesses are facing, the Government has opted to make the full repayment holiday available to borrowers from the first repayment meaning a borrower would be able to make no repayments for 18 months from taking out their loan. If borrowers want to take advantage of this option, they should notify their lender when they are contacted about their repayments.

Furthermore, the Government has amended the CBILS rules to allow lenders to extend loan terms from six to a maximum of ten years at lenders’ discretion and where they judge that this will help borrowers repay their loan, helping them to reduce their monthly repayments.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing direct access to funding for the Bounce Back Loan to (a) non-bank organisations and (b) electronic money institutions whose clients may be unable to access the Bounce Back Loan through other lenders.

There are 29 accredited lenders under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) including challenger banks and non-bank lenders (NBLs) who have played a vital role in providing 1.4 million businesses with financial support worth over £42 billion throughout the Covid crisis.

The Government position remains that it does not provide capital to financial institutions, who must source their own funding. Last year, the Treasury issued a Call for Evidence in order to explore a possible private-sector led funding model that would support accredited NBLs to access finance to participate in the BBLS. Based on the feedback we received, including the significant commercial challenges highlighted by both non-bank lenders and the banks, the Government decided not to pursue this funding solution any further. Notwithstanding that decision, we have made changes to allow the transfer and assignment of the Government guarantee for all government-guaranteed loan schemes loans, which is something that NBLs have requested, to support their ability to access funding from commercial partners.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the results of the consultation on duty-free and tax-free goods carried by passengers which closed on 20 May 2020.

The Government continued to explore the potential digitisation of the VAT Retail Export Scheme in parallel with the consultation on the approach to duty-free and tax-free goods in Great Britain. There were a range of views submitted and the Government has today published a summary of responses to the consultation.

After reviewing the long-term approach to tax-free goods as part of that consultation, the Government announced today that the VAT Retail Export Scheme would be withdrawn from 1 January 2021 and would therefore not be digitised or extended to EU residents.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the digitalisation of the VAT Retail Export Scheme, announced in 2016, will be completed.

The Government continued to explore the potential digitisation of the VAT Retail Export Scheme in parallel with the consultation on the approach to duty-free and tax-free goods in Great Britain. There were a range of views submitted and the Government has today published a summary of responses to the consultation.

After reviewing the long-term approach to tax-free goods as part of that consultation, the Government announced today that the VAT Retail Export Scheme would be withdrawn from 1 January 2021 and would therefore not be digitised or extended to EU residents.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what proportion of responses to Question 9 in the consultation on duty-free and tax-free goods carried by passengers supported extending the VAT Retail Export Scheme to visitors from EU member states.

The Government continued to explore the potential digitisation of the VAT Retail Export Scheme in parallel with the consultation on the approach to duty-free and tax-free goods in Great Britain. There were a range of views submitted and the Government has today published a summary of responses to the consultation.

After reviewing the long-term approach to tax-free goods as part of that consultation, the Government announced today that the VAT Retail Export Scheme would be withdrawn from 1 January 2021 and would therefore not be digitised or extended to EU residents.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what activities the HMRC Policy Lab has undertaken in its research on the digitalisation of the VAT Retail Export Scheme; and which companies and organisations they have (a) met and (b) observed as part of that research.

The HMRC Policy Lab carried out site visits, observed processes and conducted interviews and surveys in relation to the VAT Retail Export Scheme. This involved a wide variety of stakeholders including Border Force, retailers, VAT refund providers, refund agents, airport operators and shoppers. This research took place in parallel with a consultation on tax-free and duty-free goods.

After reviewing the long-term approach to tax-free goods as part of that consultation, the Government announced today that the VAT Retail Export Scheme would be withdrawn from 1 January 2021 and would therefore not be digitised or extended to EU residents.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of applying a net-zero test to proposed (a) spending and (b) taxation in support of the Government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

The Government continues to work towards achieving the long-term changes in our economy that are necessary to achieve net zero by 2050. The Treasury is conducting a review into how the transition over the next 30 years will be funded and where the costs will fall. This will include principles to guide decision-making. In parallel, we are committed to applying an ambitious carbon price from 1 January 2021 and are legislating to establish a UK Emissions Trading System as well as a Carbon Emissions Tax. HM Treasury’s world-leading Green Book guidance on appraisal and evaluation provides detailed advice for valuing the costs and benefits of interventions, including climate change mitigation and other environmental impacts.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress the (a) UK and (b) EU has made in concluding equivalence assessments for financial services by the June 2020 deadline set out in the Political Declaration on the future relationship with the EU.

Equivalence assessments are unilateral processes and thus not part of the ongoing negotiations on the future UK/EU partnership. The UK and EU are currently conducting their own assessments in line with their internal processes, and collecting information from the corresponding authorities.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions have taken place between UK and EU regulators on progressing the equivalence assessments for financial services by the June 2020 deadline set out in the Political Declaration on the future relationship with the EU.

Equivalence assessments are made unilaterally by both the European Commission and Her Majesty’s Government. HM Treasury have engaged constructively and are working with our UK regulators to support HM Treasury’s ongoing equivalence assessments of the EU.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been made on agreeing supervisory co-operation agreements on future trade in financial services with the EU.

The UK and the EU have a common interest in an enduring relationship on financial services that is based on mutual trust and cooperation. We have discussed our respective positions in relation to the Political Declaration and our mandates.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2020
What steps he is taking to ensure that the level of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy is (a) equitable and (b) proportionate.

The FSCS is an independent non-governmental body. It operates within the rules set by the FCA and the PRA, who are also independent from government.

The FSCS levy is set annually, within the overall levy limits set by the FCA and PRA. It is for the FCA and PRA to consider the impact of the levy on the firms they regulate. The Government has no role in setting the levy.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 155387, how private individuals or households can employ skilled childcare workers from overseas since they are unable to register as approved UK employers.

It is possible for skilled professional childcare workers to be employed through the Skilled Worker route. This would require the salary to reach a sufficient threshold, along with the employment structure of such roles to be facilitated through a registered company, whom holds a valid sponsor licence.

In addition, there are other immigration routes which lead to general work rights in the UK, such as those who arrive under our family routes or our Youth Mobility Schemes (YMS). Although it should be noted our YMS is primarily an exchange system based on reciprocal arrangements, it is not intended as a one-way route to sourcing labour overseas.

While I recognise the importance of childcare for many people, immigration cannot be the first recourse for employers, especially at a time when many UK based workers are facing uncertainty due to the economic impact of the global pandemic. There are many childcare options available from within the resident labour market which should be considered in the first instance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to launch the new UK Resettlement Scheme; whether the scheme includes the Government's current ambition to resettle 5,000 refugees in its first year; and if she will make a statement.

The UK will continue to welcome refugees through resettlement following the completion of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). We continue to work closely with domestic and international partners on plans to complete the VPRS and to assess the UK’s capacity for resettlement activity, as we recover from the pandemic.

Resettlement will continue to play a primary role, alongside a reformed asylum system, which will see us continue to offer safe and legal routes to the UK for vulnerable people in need of protection.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how private individuals and households can register as an approved UK employer for the purposes of employing an au pair, child care assistant, child minder or nanny under the Skilled Worker visa scheme.

The sponsorship system is designed to ensure employers fulfil specific duties to confirm those who apply for permission to enter or stay in the UK to work are eligible and will comply with the conditions of their visa.

Businesses are able to comply with these duties and demonstrate a verifiable track record of operating lawfully in the UK, both within the immigration system and the wider employer regulatory regime, in a way individuals or households cannot. Individuals cannot therefore be licensed to sponsor workers. This approach ensures the integrity of the immigration system from abuse and safeguards migrants from exploitative practices.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to set up a serial number registration scheme to tackle the theft of catalytic converters from cars.

The Government recognises the negative impact this crime has on industry and the public, causing distress and disruption to victims. We continue to work closely with police and motor manufacturers through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, established by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime and overseen by the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce, to understand what more can be done to tackle the theft of catalytic converters.

The Government is committed to reducing both the opportunity for these crimes to occur and the ability to profit from acquisitive crime. We are working with the police to identify where and how stolen goods are sold and are examining ways to ensure property is identifiable and traceable.

We are committed to providing funding to set up the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership, ensuring national co-ordination of policing and law enforcement partners to tackle metal theft. Through this, the partnership has already started sharing intelligence and providing training to police forces, and the partnership will also enable intelligence sharing between police and industry partners such as transport, power, and telecommunications, to target offenders and implement crime prevention measures.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has issued on which calibres (a) qualify firearms for antique status and (b) are to be amended due to their usage by criminals so that antique dealers and military collectors can ensure they take the correct action to comply with changes in the law.

The Home Office Guide on Firearms Licensing Law includes guidance on which firearms can currently be regarded as antique. The Guide can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/518193/Guidance_on_Firearms_Licensing_Law_April_2016_v20.pdf.

Since 2007, the number of antique firearms recovered in criminal circumstances has increased significantly as criminals have taken advantage of the lack of a legal definition of ‘antique firearm’ to obtain old, but functioning, firearms for use in crime.

That is why on 9 November, the draft Antique Firearms Regulations 2020 were laid before Parliament. They will define ‘antique firearm’ in law, thereby providing legal clarity on which firearms can safely be regarded as antique, and therefore exempt from most firearms controls, and those which must be subject to licensing.

We will further strengthen the controls by removing from the definition of ‘antique firearm’ seven cartridges which have regularly been used in crime. This will mean that firearms chambered for use with those seven cartridges will become subject to licensing. However, owners will be able to keep such firearms on a firearm certificate. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/policing-and-crime-bill-proposals-to-implement-legislation-to-define-antique-firearms.

Subject to the regulations being approved by Parliament, we will publicise the changes in the law on gov.uk and through the media. We are also working closely with representatives of collectors, museums, dealers and shooting organisations on other ways of reaching people – for example, through their websites and newsletters.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what level of training has been provided to British armed forces on tackling sexual violence in conflict; and if he will make a statement.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is working with Whitehall Departments to implement the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security. To support this, Joint Service Publication (JSP) 1325 'Human Security in Military Operations' issues direction on how the UK Military can recognise and protect civilians from human rights violations including sexual violence. JSP 1325 is available on Gov.uk at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/human-security-in-military-operations-jsp-1325

All UK Military deploying on operations receive training on preventing and responding to conflict related sexual violence. In addition to this, the MOD continues to expand the Human Security in Military Operations Adviser training programme. This equips personnel with a gender perspective to implement preventative measures to threats such as conflict related sexual violence from planning to patrol.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the deadline by which local authorities must publish audited accounts to 30 November 2021 following audit delays caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government extended the accounts publication deadline to 30 November for accounting year 2019/20 to deal with delays caused by the Covid-19 outbreak


In line with the recommendations of the Redmond review, regulations extending the deadline from 31 July to 30 September for accounting years 2020/21 and 2021/22 came into force on 31 March


There is a balance to be struck in providing extra time for accounts to be completed and enabling the accounts to be published in a timely manner.

The Government will review these arrangement after 2 years.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to introduce measures to simplify licensing applications for hospitality businesses, with particular reference to trading outdoors, in order to support the reopening of business as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Last summer the Government introduced a series of measures to support hospitality businesses to open safely when lockdown restrictions were eased. The Secretary of State has made a statement in the House and written to local council leaders on planning and hospitality, setting out what these measures are, and confirming that they remain in place to support businesses as they reopen this year.

These measures include the temporary pavement licence provisions introduced in the Business and Planning Act 2020 which create a quicker and cheaper process for businesses to obtain a licence to place outdoor furniture, including tables, chairs and stalls outside their premise. The Government intends to extend the temporary pavement licence provisions for 12 months until September 2022, subject to Parliamentary approval.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the White Paper, Planning for the Future, whether Metropolitan Open Land will be included in the protected category of land.

Last year’s Planning for the Future White Paper proposed a new format of local plan where all land is put into one of three categories - areas for growth, for renewal or for protection. It proposed that protected areas would be those where recognised constraints exist, such as National Parks and the Green Belt, alongside open countryside.

Since publication, we have continued to engage with stakeholders to develop and refine the proposals as set out in the White Paper. We will publish a Government response setting out our decisions on the way forward.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his Department’s Rough Sleeping Strategy, published in 2018, what progress the Government has made on (a) improving understanding of LGBT homelessness and the experiences of LGBT homeless people and (b) improving interventions for LGBT homeless people.

We are committed to tackling all forms of homelessness and recognise that LGBT people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness due to their protected characteristics. We are working with the Government Equalities Office to undertake research into the nature of LGBT homelessness. This will be published in due course.

When delivering their homelessness duties and designing their services, local authorities must consider the needs of LGBT service users. The Government has worked with Stonewall Housing to provide training to staff working with LGBT individuals across various housing services about the issues they may face and how best to support LGBT people.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Questions 152648 and 152649, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending remote or hybrid meetings for local councils beyond 7 May 2021.

The Government keeps all policy under review. To extend the facility for all local authorities to continue to meet remotely or in hybrid form after 7 May 2021 would require primary legislation. We have received representations from local authorities and sector representative organisations making the case for the continuation of remote meetings beyond 7 May 2021 and we are carefully considering next steps in this area.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 152648 and 152649, what plans his Department has to bring forward additional primary legislation to extend remote or hybrid meetings for local councils when current provisions expire on 7 May 2021.

The Government keeps all policy under review. To extend the facility for all local authorities to continue to meet remotely or in hybrid form after 7 May 2021 would require primary legislation. We have received representations from local authorities and sector representative organisations making the case for the continuation of remote meetings beyond 7 May 2021 and we are carefully considering next steps in this area.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to extend the power to allow Councils to continue meeting remotely, such as in (a) licensing and (b) planning committees, after the expiry of the relevant powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 on 6 May 2021.

The Government keeps all policy under review. To extend the facility for councils to continue to meet remotely, or in hybrid form after 7 May 2021 would require primary legislation.   We have received representations from local authorities and sector representative organisations making the case for the continuation of remote meetings beyond 7 May 2021 and are carefully considering next steps in this area.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received from (a) local councils and (b) local government groups on extending the power to allow councils to continue meeting remotely, such as in licensing and planning committees, after the expiry of the relevant powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 on 6 May 2021.

The Government keeps all policy under review. To extend the facility for councils to continue to meet remotely, or in hybrid form after 7 May 2021 would require primary legislation. We have received representations from local authorities and sector representative organisations making the case for the continuation of remote meetings beyond 7 May 2021 and are carefully considering next steps in this area.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department made of the potential effect on access to justice for victims of trafficking prior to the introduction of the legal aid fixed fee for asylum and immigration legal aid work.

The Lord Chancellor is committed to ensuring that everyone can access justice and has a statutory duty as set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012) to ensure that legal aid funding is available for the civil legal services set out in Schedule 1 of LASPO 2012.

The legal aid fee scheme for asylum and immigration work is payable for all immigration and asylum matters that are in scope of LASPO, and the new fixed fees for immigration and asylum appeals apply to all legally-aided appeals before the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).

These new, temporary fees were introduced as part of our swift response to the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that the tribunal system could continue to function and vulnerable clients could still access justice. As such our consideration on access to justice was based on the immigration and asylum system as a whole rather than individual appellants or appeal types. The Lord Chancellor has already committed to a formal consultation before any permanent fee is set.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)