Patrick Grady Portrait

Patrick Grady

Scottish National Party - Glasgow North

First elected: 7th May 2015


Electronic Trade Documents Bill [HL]
14th Jun 2023 - 19th Jun 2023
Powers of Attorney Bill
22nd Feb 2023 - 1st Mar 2023
Elections Bill
15th Sep 2021 - 26th Oct 2021
SNP Chief Whip
20th Jun 2017 - 9th Mar 2021
European Statutory Instruments
18th Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee of Selection
12th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Selection Committee
12th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
European Statutory Instruments Committee
18th Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Administration Committee
6th Nov 2017 - 22nd Oct 2018
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development)
20th May 2015 - 20th Jun 2017
Procedure Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 11th March 2024
16:00
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 39 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 0 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 44 Noes - 285
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
Why do the UK Government think it is good thing for Northern Ireland to have access to parts of the …
Written Answers
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Israel: Military Aircraft
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason Israeli military planes have used UK airports on each …
Early Day Motions
Monday 18th December 2023
Closure of Bank of Scotland, Byres Road
That this House notes with concern the announcement by Lloyds Banking Group to close the Bank of Scotland branch on …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
8. Miscellaneous
From 29 November 2023, Member of the Executive Committee of the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. This is an …
EDM signed
Wednesday 28th February 2024
No confidence in the Speaker
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 25th April 2023
Universal Jurisdiction (Extension) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to provide that offences of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes may be tried in the United …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Patrick Grady has voted in 586 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

22 Oct 2021 - Prayers - View Vote Context
Patrick Grady voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 8 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
View All Patrick Grady Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(54 debate interactions)
Kemi Badenoch (Conservative)
President of the Board of Trade
(44 debate interactions)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(37 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(100 debate contributions)
Home Office
(74 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(71 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Elections Act 2022
(25,149 words contributed)
Illegal Migration Act 2023
(4,599 words contributed)
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
(2,941 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Patrick Grady's debates

Glasgow North Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Patrick Grady

21st February 2024
Patrick Grady signed this EDM on Wednesday 28th February 2024

No confidence in the Speaker

Tabled by: William Wragg (Conservative - Hazel Grove)
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
93 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 46
Scottish National Party: 41
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
21st February 2024
Patrick Grady signed this EDM on Thursday 22nd February 2024

75th anniversary of Troon Art Club

Tabled by: Philippa Whitford (Scottish National Party - Central Ayrshire)
This House congratulates Troon Art Club on their 75th anniversary and celebrates that the club, founded shortly after the second world war, has gone from strength to strength over the years, working to advance the arts in Ayrshire through their set programme of art demonstrations, professional appraisals, exhibitions and competitions, …
14 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 13
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Patrick Grady's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Patrick Grady, 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.



654 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
9 Other Department Questions
17th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Vegan Society's report entitled Catering for Everyone: How far are councils catering for vegans, published in September 2023.

I refer the Honourable Member to my response to UIN 1516 on 21 November 2023.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether members of refugee community choirs who are seeking asylum in the UK but have not yet had their applications decided will be permitted to take part in the Coronation Choir at Windsor Castle on 7 May 2023.

On Sunday, 7th May 2023, a special Coronation Concert will take place at Windsor Castle. Produced, staged and broadcast live by the BBC and BBC Studios, the Coronation Concert will bring global music icons and contemporary stars together in celebration of the historic occasion.

Alongside the stars of the concert, the show will also see an exclusive appearance from The Coronation Choir. This diverse group will be created by the BBC from the nation’s community choirs and amateur singers from across the United Kingdom, such as Refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs.

The BBC has not yet taken decisions on exactly which choirs will participate. They still plan to have a refugee choir but all applications need to be assessed in the round.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether participants in the Coronation Choir at Windsor Castle on 7th May 2023 will be required to hold (a) British Citizenship, (b) the right to work in the UK or (c) leave to remain in the UK.

On Sunday, 7th May 2023, a special Coronation Concert will take place at Windsor Castle. Produced, staged and broadcast live by the BBC and BBC Studios, the Coronation Concert will bring global music icons and contemporary stars together in celebration of the historic occasion.

Alongside the stars of the concert, the show will also see an exclusive appearance from The Coronation Choir. This diverse group will be created by the BBC from the nation’s community choirs and amateur singers from across the United Kingdom, such as Refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs.

The BBC has not yet taken decisions on exactly which choirs will participate. They still plan to have a refugee choir but all applications need to be assessed in the round.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with UNICEF on the UK becoming a signatory to the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate action.

The UK Presidency team has regular meetings with UNICEF. We support many of the principles in the declaration on children, youth and climate action and are carefully considering how to engage with it.

The UK has been committed to amplifying the voices of young people from across the world through our COP26 presidency and domestic frameworks. COP26 agreed a new 10 year work programme on Action for Climate Empowerment which significantly increases youth engagement in climate processes.


In the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs 25 Year Environment Plan, the government sets out a plan for how the natural environment will be protected and enhanced for our, and future, generations. One of the actions it commits to is to help children and young people from all backgrounds engage with nature and improve the environment.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will make it his policy to seek the inclusion of carbon emissions from military activities on the agenda for COP27.

Emissions from the military were not on the agenda at COP26 and as such, were not discussed during preparations for the conference.

The agenda for each meeting is agreed by consensus through the UNFCCC.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will make it his policy to sign the UN Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action on behalf of the UK.

The UK has long recognised the unequivocal threat that climate change and environmental degradation pose to the lives and wellbeing of individuals and communities across the world, including the most marginalised and vulnerable.

The UK has been committed to amplifying the voices of young people from across the world through our COP26 presidency and domestic frameworks.

In the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government sets out a plan for how the natural environment will be protected and enhanced for our, and future, generations. One of the actions it commits to is to help children and young people from all backgrounds engage with nature and improve the environment.

We support many of the principles in the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action and will carefully consider how to engage with it.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the President of COP26, whether he will make arrangements with the Leader of the House for the President of COP26 to answer (a) written and (b) oral parliamentary questions.

I will answer Oral Questions in the House on a regular basis. Written questions can be tabled to myself as the President of COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the hon. Member, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission has received a request from the Government to arrange for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK's departure from the EU.

The House of Commons Commission has not received a request from the Government to arrange for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Commission is aware of EDM No. 2, tabled by the right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford, which calls on Mr Speaker and the House Authorities to make arrangements for Big Ben to chime at 11.00 pm on 31 January 2020.

The Commission is further aware that an amendment in the names of Mark Francois and other signatories has been tabled to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill that moves the following clause;

Exit day chimes of Big Ben

(1) The United Kingdom leaves the European Union, in accordance with Article 50 (2) of the Treaty on European Union, at 11.00pm Greenwich Mean Time on Friday 31 January 2020.

(2) The Speaker of the House of Commons and the Corporate Officer of the House of Commons, together with any other relevant parliamentary authorities, must make arrangements for the occasion in subsection (1) to be marked by the sounding of the hourly chimes including eleven strikes of the principal bell (Big Ben) of the Great Clock in the Elizabeth Tower of the Houses of Parliament at 11.00pm Greenwich Mean Time on Friday 31 January 2020.

In May 2018, the Commission agreed that, during the Elizabeth Tower refurbishment project, Big Ben should sound only for Remembrance Sunday, Armistice Day and over the New Year.

12th Dec 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, if he will publish a list of post-holders and the dates of service of the Military Assistants to the Prime Minister since 2010.

Military assistants are serving members of the Armed Forces, seconded to Downing Street. The release of their details is a matter for the Ministry of Defence.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency has had with representatives of the music industry in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK on the potential impact of Brexit on the ability of musicians to (i) tour for performances and (ii) sell merchandise within the European Union.

The Minister for Brexit Opportunities does not meet music industry representatives on this issue, as this falls largely within the remit of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The Government is committed to supporting the touring sector to adapt to new arrangements with the EU. We have worked with the sector and directly with Member States to clarify arrangements, press for specific changes from Member States, and introduce unilateral measures where possible.

Government ministers and officials regularly engage with the music sector, including on the important issue of touring. This includes the DCMS-led touring group, which last met in June 2022, with attendance from the former DCMS Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, officials from across government and devolved authorities, and representatives of the creative and cultural sectors.

25th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Scottish Government on his Department’s review into retained EU law in the UK.

The Government remains committed to engaging with devolved governments on the reviews into retained EU law, including engaging at Ministerial level.

To date, there have been regular official level discussions with the devolved administrations. We will continue to engage at an official level in areas of interest.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the appointment of an hon. Member as Head of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit is (a) a political appointment accountable to the Prime Minister or (b) a Government appointment accountable to Parliament.

The Hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs was appointed as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office on 3 February 2022. He is a Minister of the Crown.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether any employees of the Conservative Party will report to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in his role as Downing Street Chief of Staff.

As has been the case under successive administrations, issues relating to staff employed by the governing party are a matter for that party.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many staff the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will be responsible for in his role as Downing Street chief of staff.

I refer the Hon. Member to the reply I gave to the Hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne on 7 February 2022 (Hansard Volume 708, Column 695) and the answer I gave on 10 February to PQ 119903 to the Hon. Member for Luton South.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the appointment of an hon. Member as Downing Street Chief of Staff is (a) a political appointment accountable to the Prime Minister or (b) a Government appointment accountable to Parliament.

I refer to the reply I gave to the Hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne on 7 February 2022 (Hansard Volume 708, from Column 695).

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a Minister of the Crown.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the remit of the public inquiry into the Government's handling of the covid-19 pandemic will include consideration of (a) the destruction of expired doses and (b) any potential wastage of covid-19 vaccines.

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

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on preparations for the public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic, announced on 21 May 2021.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group in the public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic, announced on 21 May 2021.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed the public inquiry into COVID-19 will begin in Spring 2022. The Government understands that to ensure we learn lessons from the pandemic, it is imperative that we engage and consult with bereaved families and others, before the terms of reference are finalised. Throughout the pandemic senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

I want to thank the Bereaved Families for Justice group for all their efforts in representing bereaved families throughout the pandemic. Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our deepest sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones. The Government remains steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that these families have the scrutiny of the Government’s response to managing the pandemic that they deserve.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment the Government has made to the potential merits of including the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group in the Commission on Covid Commemoration.

Every death during the pandemic has been a tragic loss, made so much harder for those unable to say goodbye or grieve as they would have wished. It is absolutely right that we come together to mark and remember this period appropriately.

The Prime Minister announced on 12th May that the Government will support these efforts by establishing a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Commission will carefully consider how communities across the country can remember those who have lost their lives and recognise those involved in the response in a fitting and permanent way.

The Government is aware of Bereaved Families for Justice’ call to be included in the membership of the Commission. I am thankful to them for all their efforts throughout the pandemic. We recognise the need for bereaved families to be represented on the Commission and are committed to ensuring this happens. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to (a) issue any official commemorative items and (b) organise any celebratory events to mark the end of the transition period and coming into force of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Government was elected on a manifesto which made clear our plans to exit the EU and that the transition period would end on 31 December 2020. The UK Government has agreed and delivered a deal with the EU which fully delivers on this manifesto commitment.

While efforts are currently focused on dealing with the pandemic and supporting businesses and citizens, many millions of people welcome this outcome and will mark it in their own private ways. Suggestions from colleagues and the public are always welcomed.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the value of goods (a) imported from and (b) exported to the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara was in 2019.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the value of goods (a) imported from and (b) exported to Morocco was in 2019.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will establish a full public inquiry into the Government's awarding of contracts during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Audit Office, the public spending watchdog, has published its report on Government procurement activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as outlined in the statement on gov.uk.

The Government has always been clear that there will be opportunities to look back, analyse and reflect on all aspects of COVID-19. This will include an independent inquiry at the appropriate time. For now the Government is focused entirely on responding to the pandemic and saving lives, particularly as the country is experiencing a second wave of the virus.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what plans he has to appoint a new Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

An appointment will be announced in due course.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish a response to the Early Day Motion tabled by the hon. Member for Glasgow North on 23 January 2020 entitled Scotland's representation in the European Parliament.

We have notified the Regional Returning Officer for Scotland of the MEP vacancy and asked them to take the necessary steps to fill the MEP seat in accordance with the European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 2004.

23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) human rights and (b) environmental protections are incorporated in the critical minerals supply chain strategy.

Last year my Department published the UK's Critical Minerals Strategy to accelerate domestic production, collaborate with international partners, and enhance international markets to strengthen supply chains.

The Strategy commits to boost global environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance to support a more transparent, responsible, and sustainable critical minerals and mining industry. The UK is playing a leading role in international efforts to drive up ESG performance through its bilateral and multilateral engagements, including the Minerals Security Partnership. The UK is also a strong supporter and implementing country of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Further, we will ensure UK domestic mining complies with permitting and planning regulations that protect the interests of communities and our natural environment.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the report entitled The results are in: the UK's four-day week pilot, published by Autonomy in February 2023, whether she has made an assessment of the implication for her Department's policies on working practices of the conclusions of that report.

The Department routinely considers the implications of evidence from a range of sources when assessing the effectiveness of its policies on working practices. The government has no plans to implement a four-day week but has recently supported the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023.

The Act makes changes to the right to request flexible working to better support employers and employees to agree flexible working arrangements that work for everyone.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Royal Mail on the compatibility of decreasing operating hours at customer service points with the universal service agreement.

Decisions on the opening hours of Royal Mail’s customer service points are an operational matter for the business. The Government does not have a role in Royal Mail's operational or commercial decisions.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the contribution of the Minister for Nuclear and Networks in the debate on the Energy Bill on 5 September 2023, Official Report, column 281, when her Department plans to publish (a) an annual report on community energy and (b) a consultation on the potential barriers facing the sector.

The Government is working with the Community Energy Contact Group on the content of the annual report and consultation. Whilst it hopes to publish these products as soon as possible, until these discussions have concluded the Government is unable to outline a definitive timeline.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the advertising of high-carbon products on (a) consumer choice and (b) the ability of the Government to fulfill its net zero ambitions.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is responsible for regulating advertising in the UK across traditional forms of media and operates independently of the Government. The ASA takes environmental issues seriously and addresses them through the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Codes, which set the rules and standards for advertising to the marketing industry.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what discussions her Department has had with energy providers on the provision of (a) financial and (b) welfare support to households which include a disabled person.

I have had regular meetings with energy suppliers, charities – including disability charities - and other external organisations in recent months on a range of consumer and affordability issues, including the energy needs of households that include a disabled person.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 April 2023 to Question 180105 on Energy: Prices, whether he plans to launch a consultation on an energy social tariff by 31 December 2023.

As set out in the 2022 autumn statement, the Government is exploring the best approach to consumer protection, as part of wider retail market reforms.

The Government continues to monitor the situation and will keep options under review.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 April 2023 to Question 181721 on Energy: Prices, what progress her Department has made on introducing a consultation on social tariffs for energy.

As set out in the 2022 autumn statement, the Government is exploring the best approach to consumer protection, as part of wider retail market reforms.

The Government continues to monitor the situation and will keep options under review.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of self-disconnection of prepayment meters.

Ofgem rules require suppliers to proactively identify and provide support to those that are self-disconnecting. My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State is writing to suppliers to stress the importance that the rules are followed and will publish his letter. There is also immediate financial support, including the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bills Support Scheme.

16th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to support flexible working arrangements for (a) parents, (b) people with disabilities and (c) older people.

On 5 December the Government published the response to the consultation “Making flexible working the default”[1]. This committed to make a number of changes to the existing Right to Request Flexible Working, including making it apply from the first day of employment. It also committed the Government to issue a call for evidence on non-contractual and ad hoc flexible working. These steps will support parents, people with disabilities and older workers who wish to remain in or return to work.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-flexible-working-the-default

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing an energy assistance payment to help families with the cost of running lifesaving medical equipment at home.

The Government is delivering the Energy Bills Support Scheme, a £400 non-repayable grant to support all families with their energy bills. The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will save a typical household in Great Britain £900 this Winter. In addition, families with disabled children are entitled to a one-off £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment. The Government is currently reviewing the EPG. The consultation will explore the best ways to ensure that vulnerable high energy users, such as those with medical requirements, are not put at risk of having to pay more.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he made of the needs of families with seriously ill and disabled children who need to run lifesaving medical equipment at home when determining his policy on the energy price guarantee.

The Government is delivering the Energy Bills Support Scheme, a £400 non-repayable grant to support all families with their energy bills. The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will save a typical household in Great Britain £900 this Winter. In addition, families with disabled children are entitled to a one-off £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment.

The Government is currently reviewing the EPG. The consultation will explore the best ways to ensure that vulnerable high energy users, such as those with medical requirements, are not put at risk of having to pay more.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of increasing employee rights for flexible working on (a) absenteeism and (b) staff retention.

As set out in the Flexible Working Post Implementation Review which was published in September 2021[1], research shows lower levels of absenteeism and higher levels of employer loyalty among those who have taken up a flexible working arrangement. However it remains difficult to isolate the specific impact of the role played by legislation.

[1] https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1398/pdfs/uksiod_20141398_en.pdf

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with external stakeholders about the potential merits of establishing a fashion industry regulator.

Ministers regularly meet with representatives from the fashion sector, including most recently from the Leicester textile industry, to discuss the key issues affecting the sector, including the introduction of a Fashion Watchdog / Garment Trade Adjudicator.

The Government continues to engage with enforcement bodies and industry partners to strengthen our understanding of the garment trade. The Government will continue to review this issue and consider options to drive up standards across the sector.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to cap the profits of Distribution Network Operators.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, uses the price control process to set the amount that Network Operators can spend and the returns they can make on investment, in a way that allows the funding needed for a more resilient, low-carbon network while protecting consumers from excessive costs. The Government engages regularly with Ofgem and the network companies throughout the development of the price controls. The next electricity distribution network price control will commence in April 2023, with Final Determinations from Ofgem expected shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what consideration he has given to the potential merits of reopening the public consultation on the RIIO-ED2 Draft Determinations, in the context of the cost of living crisis.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, uses the price control process to set the amount that Network Operators can spend and the returns they can make on investment, in a way that allows the funding needed for a more resilient, low-carbon network while protecting consumers from excessive costs. The Government engages regularly with Ofgem, the network companies and stakeholders, including consumer interest groups, throughout the development of the price controls. The new electricity distribution network price control will commence in April 2023, and Final Determinations from Ofgem were published on 30th November.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) energy workers and (b) consumers on price regulation for Distribution Network Operators.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, uses the price control process to set the amount that Network Operators can spend and the returns they can make on investment, in a way that allows the funding needed for a more resilient, low-carbon network while protecting consumers from excessive costs. The Government engages regularly with Ofgem, the network companies and stakeholders, including consumer interest groups, throughout the development of the price controls. The new electricity distribution network price control will commence in April 2023, and Final Determinations from Ofgem were published on 30th November.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of decoupling the cost of renewable energy from gas prices.

The Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) is considering how to reduce the role of gas as a price setter for electricity. This includes reforms for bringing forward investment in low carbon generation, leading to less frequent use of gas, as well as options around wholesale market reform.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Departments position on the UK's membership of the Energy Charter Treaty of the withdrawal of (a) Germany, (b) France, (c) the Netherlands, (d) Spain, (e) Poland and (f) Luxembourg from that treaty.

The UK is closely monitoring the situation surrounding the Energy Charter Treaty’s modernisation process, including the positions taken by other Contracting Parties.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential implications for his policies of changes to fireworks regulations in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has introduced legislative changes on fireworks in response to issues specific to Scotland. The Government continues to monitor these changes and work closely with all Devolved Administrations to ensure the safety of the public across the UK.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential role of solar energy generation in tackling the (a) climate and (b) cost of living crisis.

Solar is a key part of the UK’s energy mix and the Government’s strategy for decarbonising the electricity system by 2035. The Government needs sustained growth in both rooftop and ground mounted capacity in the next decade to support delivery of net zero. Utility scale solar is now one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation. Deploying more home grown solar will help limit household electricity bills and ensure Britain is less affected by fluctuations in volatile global gas prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase solar energy production.

The UK’s flagship Contracts for Difference scheme is the main mechanism for incentivising large scale renewable generation, including solar and will move to annual auctions from 2023, helping further to accelerate the deployment of clean, low-cost generation.

The Smart Export Guarantee ensures small-scale low-carbon electricity generators, such as homes or small businesses installing solar panels, get payment for electricity they export to the grid. The Government has removed VAT on residential solar panels and is providing financial incentives to encourage businesses to install rooftop solar. The Government is exploring options to facilitate low-cost finance to help households with installation costs and reviewing permitted development rights to support deployment in commercial settings.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the UK's membership of the Energy Charter Treaty does not affect progress towards environmental targets.

On 24 June 2022, Contracting Parties came to an agreement in principle on the amendments to modernise the Energy Charter Treaty. The modernised Energy Charter Treaty recognises the urgent need to address climate change and align with the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. It promotes an accelerated energy transition and reduces the risk of successful challenge to UK net zero policies.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to align regulations for the specification of charging ports on electronic devices sold in the UK with any common charging standard introduced by the EU for those devices.

The Government is aware of the EU’s proposal for a single charging solution for certain electronic devices and there are no current plans to introduce similar requirements in UK domestic law.

As we do with other international trading partners, we have an ongoing dialogue with EU institutions on relevant regulatory changes both in the EU and the UK. The Government will continue to monitor developments in this area.

9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency has had discussions with EU officials on proposals to introduce a common charging standard for electronic devices.

The Government is aware of the EU’s proposal for a single charging solution for certain electronic devices and there are no current plans to introduce similar requirements in UK domestic law.

As we do with other international trading partners, we have an ongoing dialogue with EU institutions on relevant regulatory changes both in the EU and the UK. The Government will continue to monitor developments in this area.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on garment workers in (a) Bangladesh and (b) Cambodia who are involved in UK supply chains.

No assessment has been made.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of creating a fashion watchdog to ensure that workers in overseas supply chains for fashion manufacturers operating in the UK are treated fairly and ethically.

The Government continues to engage with the enforcement bodies and industry partners to strengthen our understanding of levels of non-compliance across the garment trade. We will continue to review this issue and consider options to drive up standards across the sector.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will require fashion manufacturers operating in the UK to ensure high ethical and workplace standards for overseas garment workers.

The Government continues to engage with the enforcement bodies and industry partners to strengthen our understanding of levels of non-compliance across the garment trade. We will continue to review this issue and consider options to drive up standards across the sector.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to steps to accelerate the transition from animal research to human relevant science.

UK Research and Innovation is committed to ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of global efforts to reduce, refine or replace the use of animals in research, and provides core funding to the National Centre for 3Rs of £49.1 million over 5 years.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has just launched £4 million of funding targeted at developing the next generation of non-animal technology and driving the uptake of existing non-animal technology.

The Medical Research Council launched the new Experimental Medicine Panel in 2020, which has an annual budget of £10 million, and is dedicated to investigating diseases directly in humans using non-invasive techniques.

20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answers of 25 April to Question 156512 and to Question 156513 and with reference to (a) the trend of growth in domestic meter points and (b) the proposal to recover payments from meter points rather than individual accounts or households, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that energy companies do not ultimately profit from the repayment of the £200 loan under the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) will work within the existing energy system, regulated by Ofgem.

The Government recently closed a technical consultation on the Scheme and will publish a response in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what forecasts his Department has made for the total number of domestic electricity consumers in each of the next five years.

BEIS does not publish formal forecasts on future electricity customer numbers. However, as part of the supporting analysis for the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) consultation[1] an estimated profile of future domestic electricity meter points in Great Britain was included.

The Department does not hold an estimate on the number of future domestic electricity customers in Northern Ireland.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/technical-proposals-for-the-energy-bills-support-scheme

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the total number of domestic electricity consumers was in the UK in each of the last five years.

BEIS publishes statistics on the number of domestic electricity customers in Great Britain and also Northern Ireland. These statistics were last updated on the 31st of March 2022.[1],[2] [3]

A summary of the historic number of meter points from these published statistics is provided in table 1. (Figures are only available up to 2020 for Northern Ireland).

Table 1 - Total number of domestic electricity customers 2017 -2021

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

GB

28,217,000

28,439,000

28,663,000

28,831,000

29,082,000

Northern Ireland

886,000

895,000

904,000

907,000

-

Total

29,103,000

29,334,000

29,567,000

29,738,000

N/A


Note: the GB figures are taken from the December total for each year. Also, the total number of customers reported in the above statistics is based on the number of electricity meter points. As a result, these values are higher than from the total number of households in the UK, owing to some household having multiple meters.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/quarterly-domestic-energy-switching-statistics

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-national-electricity-consumption-statistics-in-northern-ireland

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-national-electricity-consumption-statistics-in-northern-ireland

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the energy industry on allowing customers to opt-out of receiving the £200 loan under the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme, as announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 February, is currently the subject of a government consultation issued on 11 April. The implementation of the policy will be reviewed following the conclusion of the consultation. Allowing consumers to opt out of receiving the reduction on their bills would likely increase the administrative costs and complexities of the scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions has he had with his EU counterparts on progressing the ratification of the UK’s association with the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have recently raised the ongoing delays by the EU to the UK’s association to Horizon Europe in discussions with our counterparts across Europe. In the last few months, I have spoken directly with colleagues in Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. The UK also raised the ongoing delays at the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes in December - the minutes from this meeting can be found on gov.uk.

In order to provide reassurance, the UK Government has guaranteed funding for the first and second waves of eligible successful applicants to Horizon Europe. If the UK is unable to associate to Horizon Europe we will be ready to introduce a comprehensive alternative programme of international science, research and innovation collaborations.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what consideration he has given to the potential of merits of obligating sellers to ensure that any electrical products reported as unsafe by purchasers can be removed from the site within 24 hours.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers, and distributors to ensure that consumer products, including electrical goods, are safe before being placed on the UK market. This applies to products sold online and offline.

The Government recognises that the growth of e-commerce, and particularly the sale of products by third-party sellers on marketplaces, presents a significant challenge. This challenge is a key aspect of a review of the Product Safety framework being conducted by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). A call for evidence to inform the review was carried out last year: (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-product-safety-review-call-for-evidence). Following on from this, a consultation, including proposals to further tackle the sale of unsafe goods online, will be published later this year.

Alongside the Product Safety Review, OPSS is leading a national programme of regulatory action to tackle the risks from unsafe and non-compliant goods sold on online marketplaces, including those sold by third party sellers. In 2021, 12,500 products were removed from supply due to OPSS interventions. OPSS has also expanded its test purchase programme, targeting, and assessing the compliance of products sold online by third parties, and continues to raise consumer awareness about the product safety risks when buying online.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to what steps his Department is taking to ensure that electrical goods offered for sale on online marketplaces by third party sellers are safe for use in the UK.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers, and distributors to ensure that consumer products, including electrical goods, are safe before being placed on the UK market. This applies to products sold online and offline.

The Government recognises that the growth of e-commerce, and particularly the sale of products by third-party sellers on marketplaces, presents a significant challenge. This challenge is a key aspect of a review of the Product Safety framework being conducted by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). A call for evidence to inform the review was carried out last year: (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-product-safety-review-call-for-evidence). Following on from this, a consultation, including proposals to further tackle the sale of unsafe goods online, will be published later this year.

Alongside the Product Safety Review, OPSS is leading a national programme of regulatory action to tackle the risks from unsafe and non-compliant goods sold on online marketplaces, including those sold by third party sellers. In 2021, 12,500 products were removed from supply due to OPSS interventions. OPSS has also expanded its test purchase programme, targeting, and assessing the compliance of products sold online by third parties, and continues to raise consumer awareness about the product safety risks when buying online.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that online marketplaces follow the same safety regulations as other UK retailers.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers, and distributors to ensure that consumer products, including electrical goods, are safe before being placed on the UK market. This applies to products sold online and offline.

The Government recognises that the growth of e-commerce, and particularly the sale of products by third-party sellers on marketplaces, presents a significant challenge. This challenge is a key aspect of a review of the Product Safety framework being conducted by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). A call for evidence to inform the review was carried out last year: (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-product-safety-review-call-for-evidence). Following on from this, a consultation, including proposals to further tackle the sale of unsafe goods online, will be published later this year.

Alongside the Product Safety Review, OPSS is leading a national programme of regulatory action to tackle the risks from unsafe and non-compliant goods sold on online marketplaces, including those sold by third party sellers. In 2021, 12,500 products were removed from supply due to OPSS interventions. OPSS has also expanded its test purchase programme, targeting, and assessing the compliance of products sold online by third parties, and continues to raise consumer awareness about the product safety risks when buying online.

29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether any of his Department’s spending in response to the Ukraine crisis will be accounted for as Official Development Assistance.

The Department’s spending on energy generators, donated to Ukraine, will be accounted for as Official Development Assistance.

14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing legislation to impose a duty on all companies, including parent companies, to prevent (a) human rights abuses and (b) environmental abuses in their global supply chains.

The UK has a strong record on human rights and environmental awareness and protection, much of which results from our framework of legislation. The UK Government expects all British companies to adhere to the rule of law and build respect for human rights and the environment into all aspects of their operations both domestically and in other territories.

The Companies Act 2006 includes the need for Public Interest Entities with 500 or more employees to describe its business relationships which are likely to cause adverse impacts, and how it manages risks arising from matters such as environmental considerations and human rights.

Under international law, there is no requirement for States to regulate the extraterritorial activities of their businesses. It is up to individual States to protect against and prosecute human rights and other abuses that are committed within their borders.

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what funding (a) categorised as Official Development Assistance and (b) not categorised as Official Development Assistance her Department has provided to programmes in Colombia in each year since 2019.

Information on the level of ODA funding for work in Colombia for 2019 and 2020 is available on the Government website for Statistics on International Development (SID). The 2021 amount will not be available until the completion of the SID return for 2022.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to reform copyright laws to ensure that (a) performers, (b) musicians and (c) other artists receive equitable remuneration for streaming income.

The Government has just launched a comprehensive programme of work to investigate the issues raised by the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Select Committee’s inquiry into the economics of music streaming. This includes research into the impact of an equitable remuneration right and extensive stakeholder engagement to strengthen the evidence base needed to determine whether intervention is warranted.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing a mandatory minimum cancellation period for the employment of freelance staff.

Although freelancers are generally understood to be self-employed, a freelancer could be either self-employed, a limb (b) worker or an employee depending on the reality of their relationship with their employer or engager.

Current legislation is clear that an individual’s entitlement to employment rights is based on whether they are a limb (b) worker or employee. The Government recently consulted on two policy proposals to tackle issues with non-guaranteed hours contracts, such as employers cancelling shifts at the last minute. These are a right to reasonable notice of work schedules and a right to compensation for short notice shift cancellation. We are analysing consultation responses, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will respond in due course.

Self-employed freelance workers do not have employment rights as they are in business for themselves, but their contract for services may specify a minimum cancellation period.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions the Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change and UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency had with representatives of the Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Empowered Resilience programme in Malawi on the impact of the Government's decision to reduce funding for that programme, during her visit to that programme in August 2021.

As part of my visit to Malawi in August, I visited the Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Empowered Resilience programme in Balaka district. I met with programme partners and, in my role as International Champion for Adaptation and Resilience for COP26, we discussed the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation in the district and the importance of locally led adaptation activities such as watershed management, climate smart agriculture, and access to finance.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he made of the potential merits of the Government exercising its powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to intervene in the acquisition of Morrisons by US private equity firm Fortress.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State, BEIS officials and I have regular discussions with the Competitions and Markets Authority on a wide range of issues.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Competitions and Markets Authority on the proposed takeover of Morrisons by US private equity firm Fortress.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State, BEIS officials and I have regular discussions with the Competitions and Markets Authority on a wide range of issues.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prevent private equity companies (a) taking over UK-based firms and (b) sending profits arising in the UK to overseas tax havens.

The UK is open for business, and we welcome investment in our economy. The details of mergers and takeovers are primarily a commercial matter for the parties concerned, and there is an established process for considering whether there are specific public interest reasons for Ministers to intervene in mergers under the Enterprise Act 2002. These include matters relating to national security, financial stability, media plurality and public health emergencies. The Government has recently strengthened those powers through the National Security and Investment Act 2021.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the takeover of strategically significant UK-based companies by private equity firms on the national interest.

The UK is open for business and we welcome investment in our economy. The details of mergers and takeovers are primarily a commercial matter for the parties concerned. However, the Government acknowledges that there are instances when such transactions might result in broader concerns. This is why there is an established process for considering whether there are specific public interest reasons for Ministers to intervene in mergers under the Enterprise Act 2002. These include matters relating to national security, financial stability, media plurality and public health emergencies. The Government has recently strengthened those powers through the National Security and Investment Act 2021.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of protecting UK author income as part of his Department's review of the future of the exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime.

The Government is currently consulting on the options for the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. Once the consultation has concluded, the Government will then assess evidence provided during the ongoing policy development process and consultation so that a decision may be made.

The Government welcomes all interested parties to contribute to the consultation.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Society of Authors on the future of the exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime.

The Intellectual Property Office (an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) who are responsible for the exhaustion regime has not yet specifically met with the Society of Authors on this matter. The Government has engaged with stakeholders across the publishing sector and continues to do so as part of the public consultation on the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime.

The Government welcomes views from businesses and consumers and encourages interested parties to respond to the consultation document.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 256, Accelerating human relevant life sciences in the UK.

The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe.   At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs, which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research. Across the UK, the NC3Rs has invested £71 million in research through grants to universities, and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions, mainly focusing on new approaches for the safety assessment of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that reduce the use of animals.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 1335, COP26 and deep coal mining in the UK.

The UK is a global leader in the fight against climate change: since 1990 emissions from the electricity sector have decreased by 72%, while the economy has grown by two thirds. The UK was the first major economy in the world to set a legally binding target to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In line with our Net Zero target, the Government has committed to phasing out unabated coal-fired power generation by 2025, and is consulting on moving this date forward to 2024. The UK has already made great progress in decarbonising its energy system, with coal’s share of electricity generation falling from 40% in 2012 to less than 3% in 2019. The UK Government has also shown strong leadership internationally on the shift from coal power generation to clean energy. We co-launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance with Canada, which has now grown to over 100 members and is leading the COP26 Energy Transition campaign to accelerate the global transition to clean energy. The Government have also announced that we will no longer provide any new direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas.

The planning application for the Whitehaven coal mine relates to metallurgical (coking) coal, rather than coal for electricity generation, and the Government recognises that some industrial processes, including steel production, are particularly difficult to decarbonise as there is currently no commercially viable alternative to coal in blast furnaces. Our priority is supporting innovation to help carbon-intensive industries to decarbonise further. We are taking steps to achieve this through initiatives such as the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, the Industrial Clusters Mission and the Clean Steel Fund. In addition, ahead of COP26, we are working in partnership with other countries to accelerate the pace of industrial decarbonisation, which includes the steel sector. The UK is coordinating action on the research, development and demonstration of new low carbon technologies with other countries, as well as exploring policy options for creating international markets for low carbon industrial products.

Planning decisions are made at a local level and this application is a matter for Cumbria County Council.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the effect of Amazon's commercial practices on (a) workers’ rights, (b) the environment, (c) public finances, (d) digital rights and (e) fair markets; and if he will make a statement.

All employers must comply with employment law. If a worker believes that they have suffered a breach of their employment rights, they can get support and advice from Acas. If they cannot resolve the issue with their employer, they can take a claim to an employment tribunal. The government also spends over £35m a year on enforcement of employment rights to protect vulnerable workers.

Regarding the environment, I welcome the steps that Amazon has taken so far in an effort to decarbonise and encourage the company to continue with its Science-Based Targets commitments and move quickly towards Net Zero, including working with companies in its supply chains.

Regarding public finances, I cannot comment on individual taxpayers.

Regarding digital rights, the UK has strong safeguards and enforcement regimes to ensure that personal data is collected and handled responsibly and securely. We would expect Amazon, like all organisations who process personal data, to comply with the UK’s Data Protection legislation, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

Regarding fair markets, the Government is committed to ensuring digital markets remain competitive and deliver positive outcomes for consumers, small businesses, and society. That is why we have announced funding to establish a new Digital Markets Unit within the Competition and Markets Authority from 2021-22. We will consult on proposals for a new pro-competition regime for digital markets in early 2021.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the determination of the UK's Nationally Determined Contributions under the terms of the Paris Agreement of the target of 75 per cent emissions reductions in Scotland by 2030 set by the Scottish Government's Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019.

The UK Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) will represent the highest possible ambition based on a number of factors including the scope and feasibility of emission reductions measures across the entirety of the UK. Delivering on the NDC will require a whole of UK effort and we will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations on this.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the calculation of the UK's Nationally Determined Contributions under the terms of the Paris Agreement.

There have been a series of discussions between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and counterparts in the Devolved Administrations at official and ministerial level on the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution, and these discussions will continue.

20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the number of businesses prevented from accessing the Bounce Back Loan Scheme due to being declined for feeder accounts by banks after a credit check.

The Department does not hold this information.

20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prevent lenders blocking businesses from accessing the Bounce Back Loan Scheme by requiring them to set up feeder accounts which are subject to credit checks that do not apply to the loan itself.

The Bounce Back Loan scheme (BBLS) rules do not mandate that the applicant must have a business relationship with the lender in order to receive a BBLS loan.

Certain lenders may require that you enter into a business relationship with them before you can apply and, within their standard policies and terms and conditions of business, some lenders may not permit an existing customer to operate their business via a personal account.

While all lending decisions remain solely at the discretion of the lender, the Government have always made clear to lenders that they should open to new customers as soon as it is operationally possible for them to do so.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's response to the consultation on the future of UK carbon pricing published on 1 June 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential (a) merits and (b) costs of a carbon free and dividend policy; and for what reasons his policy is not to implement that policy at this time.

A carbon fee and dividend is an alternative form of carbon pricing policy. The UK already prices carbon through, for example, our participation in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

The UK Government and Devolved Administrations are establishing a UK Emissions Trading System, with increased ambition on carbon pricing. The new system will ensure a smooth transition for businesses as the UK is set to leave EU system after the Transition Period at the end of the year, while also allowing us to have autonomy over its design and governance.

The UK Government has, on 21 July, also published a consultation on the design of a domestic carbon emission tax as an alternative to a UK ETS. This option will ensure a carbon price remains in place in the UK in all scenarios.

30th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether businesses are eligible to (a) apply for and (b) be approved for loans through the Bounce Back Loan scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme at the same time.

A borrower is not able to take out a loan under the Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) if they have been approved for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) facility, and vice versa.

However, a business that has already taken out a CBILS facility can apply to transfer to a BBLS facility if the BBLS facility will refinance the CBILS facility in full. All accredited lenders who have approved CBILS loans so far will allow customers to refinance their loan into the BBLS where appropriate, however, borrower protections under these schemes differ, and businesses should discuss these with their lender.

Businesses do not need to request the transfer immediately. In order to enable lenders to focus on dealing with new applications first, there will be a window for transfer requests until 4 November 2020.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 6620, Copyright: EU Law, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals equivalent to the (a) transparency obligations, (b) contract adjustment mechanisms and (c) right of revocation in the EU Copyright Directive.

The UK has one of the best intellectual property copyright frameworks in the world and the Government remains committed to high standards of copyright protection. The UK copyright framework will continue to provide proper rewards for creators, while considering the needs of consumers and ensuring a thriving digital economy. If, in the future, evidence demonstrates that the current framework is not effective, the Government will consider action to address this. As a result of the UK leaving the EU, the Government will not be required to implement the Directive. The Government plans to assess our options as part of our domestic policy process.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the UK’s creative industries of the decision not to implement the EU Copyright Directive.

The UK has one of the best intellectual property copyright frameworks in the world and the Government remains committed to high standards of copyright protection. The UK copyright framework will continue to provide proper rewards for creators, while considering the needs of consumers and ensuring a thriving digital economy. If, in the future, evidence demonstrates that the current framework is not effective, the Government will consider action to address this. As a result of the UK leaving the EU, the Government will not be required to implement the Directive. The Government plans to assess our options as part of our domestic policy process.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and (b) other UK nuclear research-related grant holders of losing access to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor after the conclusion of the current contracts.

The UK will remain a world-leader in fusion science. We recently approved an ambitious commitment to fund £220 million towards the first five-year phase of UK Atomic Energy Authority’s STEP programme. This phase will complete detailed design and development work, ensuring the UK’s fantastic nuclear researchers are well placed to deliver the world’s first commercial fusion power plant by 2040.

UK companies have secured around £500 million in commercial contracts from ITER in areas including remote handling, plasma heating, and diagnostics; we are well positioned to deliver more before operations commence in 2025. UK academics and researchers are valued ITER partners, including those at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

The UK will continue to participate in ITER via Fusion for Energy until the end of 2020.

Beyond the Transition Period, we are open to participating in specific EU programmes where it is in the UK’s interests. The Euratom Research and Training Programme, including membership of Fusion for Energy, will be considered alongside other EU programmes.

20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on how many occasions (a) she, (b) Ministers in her Department and (c) officials in her Department have met representatives of the music industry to discuss the ability of musicians to tour in Europe following the UK’s departure from the EU since January 2022.

The Government is committed to supporting the creative sector to adapt to new arrangements with the EU. We have worked with the sector and directly with Member States to clarify arrangements, press for specific changes from Member States, and introduce unilateral measures where possible.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) regularly engage with the music sector, including on the important issue of touring. This engagement includes the DCMS-led touring group, which last met in June 2022, with attendance from the former DCMS Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, officials from across government and devolved authorities, and representatives of the creative and cultural sectors. I have met with representatives of the music sector to discuss a variety of issues including touring.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure that large (a) tech and (b) social media companies take legal responsibility for preventing scam ads from running on their sites.

We recognise the devastating impact of scam adverts on people in the UK. The Department is determined to take action to ensure that, where advertising is used as a mechanism to perpetrate fraud, there is a strong regulatory framework to combat it.

The Government remains deeply concerned about the psychological and financial impact of fraudulent advertising, and has engaged widely with stakeholders on this issue. The draft Online Safety Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported with its recommendations, including on scam ads, on 14 December. We will consider the Committee’s recommendations and are committed to introducing the Bill as soon as possible.

Through the Online Advertising Programme, my Department will tackle the range of challenges posed by online advertising, including fraud. This work will include ensuring that all actors involved take responsibility to tackle this problem, including large ad funded platforms and social media companies who are not currently regulated. The Online Advertising Programme consultation will launch imminently, after which we will seek the earliest possible legislative vehicle to bring forward reform.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will publish a response to Early Day Motion 476 on Royal Parks cleaners and playground attendants dispute.

The management of the Royal Parks has been delegated by The Secretary of State to The Royal Parks Limited which is responsible for all operational decisions in relation to the maintenance of the Parks.

The Royal Parks Limited must, in the exercise of its public functions, have due regard to section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has with his counterparts in the EU on securing charge free roaming for UK travellers to the EU.

Since the end of the Transition Period the UK is no longer part of Roam Like at Home so surcharge-free roaming for UK consumers in the EU is no longer guaranteed.

During negotiations for the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, the UK proposed continuation of reciprocal agreements between the UK and EU for surcharge free roaming, or a review clause to consider the need for these should roaming surcharges return for consumers. The EU did not agree to either of these proposals. Therefore, mobile operators are now able to impose a surcharge on UK consumers travelling abroad to the EU for their mobile phone usage. We advise that consumers check with their operators before travelling.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the reintroduction of roaming charges on UK travellers to the EU.

Since the end of the Transition Period the UK is no longer part of Roam Like at Home so surcharge-free roaming for UK consumers in the EU is no longer guaranteed. Mobile operators are now able to impose a surcharge on UK consumers travelling abroad to the EU for their mobile phone usage.

The government will continue to promote a competitive marketplace that serves the interests of consumers.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to retain the UK General Data Protection Regulation 2018.

As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has said, we thank the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform for their report, which the Government will consider and respond to in due course.

Outside of the EU, the UK now controls its own data protection laws and regulations. We want our data regime to remain fit for purpose, and to support the future objectives of the UK. We will continue to operate a high-quality regime that promotes growth and innovation, and underpins the trustworthy use of data.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the recommendation contained in the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform report, published 16 June 2021, to replace the UK General Data Protection Regulation 2018 with a new UK Framework.

As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has said, we thank the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform for their report, which the Government will consider and respond to in due course.

Outside of the EU, the UK now controls its own data protection laws and regulations. We want our data regime to remain fit for purpose, and to support the future objectives of the UK. We will continue to operate a high-quality regime that promotes growth and innovation, and underpins the trustworthy use of data.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reasons the Government is not required to seek the approval of the House of Commons on the appointment of a new chair of Ofcom.

The Ofcom Chair is appointed by the Secretary of State in line with the provisions of the Office of Communications Act 2002. Pre-appointment scrutiny by the House of Commons Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is an important part of the public appointment process, once a preferred appointable candidate has been identified by the Secretary of State.

The government does not believe it is appropriate for the Committee to have the right to veto the appointment of the Ofcom Chair, or other similar public appointments, as the direct line of accountability and responsibility between the appointee and the Minister must be preserved.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to appoint a new permanent chair of Ofcom.

The process to appoint a new permanent Chair of Ofcom is underway and has been open for applications since 12th February. The campaign will be open to applications until Friday 26 March, and we encourage all qualified candidates, from a diverse range of backgrounds, to come forward.

The recruitment process will be fair and open, in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments and will be regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the rate of payment per book loan under the Public Lending Right.

The rate per loan is reviewed annually by the government following a recommendation from the British Library Board. The Department holds a public consultation with major groups representing the interests of authors, library authorities and other stakeholders in the public library sector in the UK, and to the devolved administrations. The consultation, and outcome following Ministers’ considerations, are posted on ghttps://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/public-lending-right-rate-per-loan-2019-to-2020-consultationov.uk

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing funding for the Public Lending Right.

The Public Lending Right fund amount is set for the Spending Review period. The British Library administers the Public Lending Right Scheme on behalf of the government and the funding level of the PLR would form part of the consideration of British Library’s overall funding at the next Spending Review.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the maximum payment threshold for the Public Lending Right.

DCMS will continue to work with the British Library, which administers the Public Lending Right on behalf of the Department, to consider the potential for future improvements to how PLR operates, including the maximum payment threshold. Any changes to this threshold would be considered at a future Spending Review.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of plans for Festival UK 2022.

Plans for Festival UK 2022 are progressing well. The Festival will showcase the very best of UK creativity and innovation across science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), both at home and abroad.

30 selected consortia, comprising almost 500 organisations and individuals from across the UK, are currently participating in the £3m R&D phase, which is investing in the creation of ideas for projects to take place across the UK in 2022. The ten final commissions will be announced in 2021.

Of the 30 teams, two are from Scotland and other Scottish organisations and individuals are involved in the 22 UK wide teams.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with officials at UNESCO on the UK’s (a) participation in and (b) ratification of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The UK’s cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, brings benefits to communities and individuals in every part of the country. Government is committed to protecting important intangible heritage, including through grants made by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Arts Council and the Cultural Recovery Fund. Ministers in the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport have not had recent discussions with UNESCO regarding the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, however we remain open to considering ratification when resource allows.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Nov 2020
What assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the (a) live music industry and (b) arts and culture sector of ending the transition period without a deal with the EU.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer from the Secretary of State to his topical question during DCMS Oral Questions today.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using the taxation system to disincentivise the collection of personal data by companies.

The Government has not made an assessment of the use of taxation as a disincentive to the processing of personal data. The better use of data can help organisations of every kind succeed – across the public, private and third sectors. Data can be a driver of scientific and technological innovation, and central to the delivery of a whole range of vital public services and societal goals, from tackling climate change to supporting the National Health Service.

All organisations in the UK that process personal data, whether large or small, have to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The DPA and the GDPR strengthen the obligations on companies to process people’s data fairly, lawfully and transparently and to keep it safe and secure. It also strengthens people’s rights to seek to access, rectify or delete their data.

The legislation is regulated and enforced by the independent Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO has issued comprehensive guidance for organisations on how to comply with the legislation and works closely with specific sectors to address areas of risk.

The ICO has a range of corrective powers and sanctions to enforce the GDPR, including:

  • issuing warnings and reprimands;

  • imposing a temporary or permanent ban on data processing;

  • ordering the rectification, restriction or erasure of data; and

  • suspending data transfers to third countries.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 718 on Audio-visual performers' rights.

Actors and other audiovisual performers enrich our lives and our culture and make an important contribution to our economy. The United Kingdom’s high standards of intellectual property protection include protections for audiovisual performers which reflect this contribution and allow them to be rewarded for it. These include economic rights in audiovisual performances which are consistent with those set out in the Beijing Treaty.

The United Kingdom is a signatory to the Beijing Treaty. However, while it was a Member State of the European Union, it was unable to proceed towards ratification by itself. Now that the UK has left the European Union, we are able to consider ratification as part of our future domestic and international policy agendas.

However, the Treaty contains certain optional provisions, which may be implemented in different ways. Before taking steps to ratify the treaty, these and other elements would need to be fully considered and their impacts assessed. This would include consultations with interested parties to best ensure that the most appropriate decisions are made for the United Kingdom’s creative industries and audiovisual performers in particular.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will publish guidance for (a) youth and child and (b) adult choirs on planning to recommence safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

Current Public Health England assessment is that singing carries a potential higher risk of transmission and that participation in this activity requires particular attention to the risk involved. Based on this, Government guidance proposes a precautionary risk-based approach to certain activities and aims to develop the ways activities can be carried out as the evidence base is better understood.

To help support the development of the evidence base in regards to singing, DCMS is engaged in a number of scientific activities focusing on the need to understand the different risks associated with singing, brass and woodwind. DCMS is working closely with SAGE and a number of specialists in aerosol transmission and ventilation, who will focus on a number of critical research questions. These groups will be examining existing and emerging evidence to provide advice to guide the future development of policy and guidelines.

Sector wide guidance for the performing arts returning to rehearsal and performance safely will be published in due course.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will issue a response to the Open Letter to the UK Government published by the Music Venue Trust on 23 June 2020.

Since the open letter from the Music Venue Trust was published, the Secretary of State has announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors, including live music venues.

We are working closely with DCMS’ Arm’s Length Bodies to develop guidance indicating who can apply for the different elements of this funding, and we will publish detailed guidance as soon as possible in July.

19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of students on long residence receiving support in each of the nations of the UK in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not held centrally.


Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
12th Oct 2020
What discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the effect of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill on Scotland’s education system.

I meet regularly with education ministers from all of the devolved administrations and value our dialogue on a range of matters. During the course of recent meetings we have discussed aspects of the UK Internal Market Bill that are relevant to education.

My officials continue to work closely with colleagues in the devolved administrations on a range of matters. They have also discussed the UK Internal Market Bill with their counterparts.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
7th Sep 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating additional funding for (a) further and (b) higher education.

In Further Education, we are providing up to £96 million to support disadvantaged students whose studies have been disrupted.

We have announced a number of measures to help ensure there are no barriers to students being able to progress to Higher Education in 20/21. We have lifted caps on domestic medicine and dentistry courses in the next academic year and we are supporting providers to offer places to as many students who have met the grades for their current offer as they have physical capacity for, and where there are clinical placements available, through additional grant funding to support the costs of this provision. Health Education England and the Office for Students will be contacting all medical and dental schools to discuss their capacity to take on additional students in the 2020/21 academic year.

I can now confirm that providers will be eligible to bid for a share of up to £10 million funding to support capital expenditure on infrastructure required to accommodate additional students recruited as a result of the changed policy on A level grades. The fund will be administered by the Office for Students, and providers will be eligible to bid for projects that support expansion in 2020/21.

Additional teaching grant funding will also be provided to increase capacity in medical, nursing, STEM and other high-cost subjects which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy. All high cost subjects, which already receive additional funding from the Office for Students will potentially see further increases where there is an unexpectedly high distribution of students. The Office for Students will consult the sector on the details of how the allocations are made.

We will also be considering all Departmental funding as part of the Spending Review.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing licences for (a) capturing and (b) keeping in captivity (i) whales and (ii) dolphins.

The UK Government considers cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) to be highly intelligent, social animals, with complex needs that are unlikely to be met when removed from their natural marine habitat and kept in captivity. The Government does not see merit in licensing either the capture or the private keepership of whales and dolphins.

In addition, under the EU Habitats Directive and the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to deliberately disturb, harm, capture, or kill wild cetaceans. This provides strong legal protection preventing the taking of cetaceans for captivity from EU and UK waters.

28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she plans to publish the consultation on keeping farmed animals in cages.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given on 12 June 2023 to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington, PQ UIN 188176 and the hon. Member for Scunthorpe, PQ UIN 188424

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she is taking steps to protect rural communities from anti-social behaviour by hunts.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act, and completely bans hare coursing. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law. Enforcement of the Hunting Act is an operational matter for the police.

Since the introduction of the Act, many hunt organisations across the country have worked hard to adapt their activities towards trail hunting, which is intended to retain important traditions as part of the fabric of rural life.

15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that fox hunts take place in compliance with the law.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act, and completely bans hare coursing. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law. Enforcement of the Hunting Act is an operational matter for the police.

Since the introduction of the Act, many hunt organisations across the country have worked hard to adapt their activities towards trail hunting, which is intended to retain important traditions as part of the fabric of rural life.

27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of profits earned by large supermarket chains during the rising cost of living.

Defra has regular discussions with food retailers about a range of issues, including the impact of food price inflation. UK supermarket profit margins have historically been low with their business model relying on increasing volumes, not margins, to increase profits. Recently discount retailers, who aim to keep prices low and increase their market share, have pressured margins even further.

Profit margins were around 3% in 2021. Recently, prices have increased throughout the supply chain. ONS data provides no evidence that recent increases in consumer food price inflation have been disproportionate compared to increases in input prices paid by food manufacturers or producer prices paid by retailers. We have no reason to believe that supermarket profit margins have significantly increased recently but Defra remains interested in the trends emerging from data released by the sector.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing regulations to tackle waste caused by disposable vape products.

Disposable vapes are covered by the Government’s regulations on producer responsibility for waste electrical and electronic equipment. Defra has not undertaken an assessment of the potential merits of introducing additional regulations at this time.

Our current priority is to work with regulators and the vaping sector to ensure producers, internet sellers and retailers of vaping products understand their obligations under environmental legislation and comply.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish a consultation on the law surrounding the use of cages for farmed animals.

The Government is committed to exploring the phasing out of confinement systems, supporting the industry to do so in a way which underpins UK food security. We need to work carefully and sensitively with all sectors, ensuring any move towards cage free systems does not have unintended animal welfare or business impacts.

This is an extremely challenging time for Britain’s farmers, with enormously increased input costs — of food, fuel and fertiliser — affecting almost all production systems, and for the general public who are faced with significant challenges around the cost of living. The poultry sector is also dealing with the largest ever avian influenza outbreak.

Any decisions by Government on the timing of public consultation around this issue must be carefully considered in light of these wider priorities. We will progress with plans to consult on the use of cages in farming systems as soon as the time is right.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he is taking to steps to ensure that (a) environmental protections and (b) ancient woodlands will not be negatively affected by the creation of investment zones.

We are committed to halting the decline of nature by 2030 and will not undermine our obligations to the environment in pursuit of growth. A strong environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. We have legislated through the Environment Act and will continue to improve our regulations, marine protections and wildlife laws in line with our ambitious vision.

Making sure that our ancient woodlands are adequately protected and suitably managed to provide a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits to society remains a key HM Government commitment.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees) should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists.

Natural England and the Forestry Commission have published 'standing advice' for ancient woodland, ancient trees and veteran trees. It is a material planning consideration for local planning authorities (LPAs) and as such should be taken into account when making planning decisions that affect ancient woodland, ancient trees or veteran trees.

HM Government have also recently updated the new Keepers of Time policy, providing updates to HM Government's policy to recognise the value of England's ancient and native woodlands and ancient and veteran trees. It restates our commitment to evaluate the threats facing these habitats and sets out our updated principles and objectives to protect and improve them for future generations.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish legislation on banning the import and export of foie gras.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare noted that HM Government has made clear that the production of foie gras from ducks or geese which have been force fed raises serious welfare concerns and that the production of foie gras by force feeding is already illegal in the UK.

The Action Plan also noted that now that the United Kingdom has left the EU, we are committed to building a clear evidence base to inform decisions on banning the import or sale of foie gras and other products derived from low-welfare systems.

HM Government is currently continuing to build this evidence base. No specific deadline has been set for this exercise.

Scott Mann
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish legislation on banning the import and export of animal fur products.

HM Government made a commitment to explore potential action in relation to animal fur, as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. We have since conducted a Call for Evidence on the fur sector along with other forms of engagement with interested parties.

We are continuing to build our evidence base on the fur sector and speak to a range of interested parties, to make sure we fully understand the issues at hand before taking any decisions regarding the import and export of animal fur products.

Scott Mann
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including a ban on all non-essential uses of (a) Perfluoroalkyl and (b) Polyfluoroalkyl substances as part of the UK Chemical Strategy.

In the UK REACH Work Programme for 2021-22, Defra asked the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive to examine the risks posed by Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and develop a 'Regulatory Management Options Analysis' (RMOA). The RMOA and other work across HM Government will help us assess levels of PFAS occurring in the environment, their sources and potential risks to inform future policy and regulatory approaches. The RMOA will be published in due course and will make recommendations for risk management measures. Defra and the Devolved Administrations will carefully consider its recommendations to inform future PFAS policy.

We have been engaging closely with external partners over the past few months to inform policy development across a range of chemicals issues. This builds on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to set out our strategy to tackling chemicals of concern. No publication date for a Chemicals Strategy has yet been set.

14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on the production of the UK’s Chemical Strategy.

In the UK REACH Work Programme for 2021-22, Defra asked the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive to examine the risks posed by Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and develop a 'Regulatory Management Options Analysis' (RMOA). The RMOA and other work across HM Government will help us assess levels of PFAS occurring in the environment, their sources and potential risks to inform future policy and regulatory approaches. The RMOA will be published in due course and will make recommendations for risk management measures. Defra and the Devolved Administrations will carefully consider its recommendations to inform future PFAS policy.

We have been engaging closely with external partners over the past few months to inform policy development across a range of chemicals issues. This builds on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to set out our strategy to tackling chemicals of concern. No publication date for a Chemicals Strategy has yet been set.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish legislation on banning the import and export of hunting trophies.

We have pledged to ban the import of hunting trophies from thousands of species. HM Government is committed to a ban that is among the strongest in the world and leads the way in protecting endangered animals. We welcome the Private Member's Bill, led by the hon. Member for Crawley, that will deliver this.

Scott Mann
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of requiring (a) full ingredient declaration and (b) meaningful, legal definitions of commonly-used marketing terms in its review of the Bread and Flour Regulations.

The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations committed to carry out a review of Bread and Flour Regulations across the UK. The key proposals for change are outlined in a public consultation published on 1 September 2022 which is open for responses until 23 November 2022. The proposals address the most pressing aspects identified for change including the addition of mandatory folic acid to flour to prevent neural tube defects in foetuses. Full ingredient listing is already required for all prepacked foods with loose foods subject to certain derogations for practical reasons. An update of existing guidance around commonly used marketing terms across all foods is planned for the future.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to remove unwanted ivory products from the UK.

The Ivory Act 2018 will introduce one of the toughest bans on elephant ivory sales in the world by banning the dealing in items made of or containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age, unless they fall within one of the narrow and carefully defined exemptions. The ban will come into force in the spring.

It is important to note that the Act will not affect the ownership of ivory items. We recognise that, for some low value items, owners may decide it is not cost-effective to register them for sale. This will be a decision for individual owners. Such items may of course be gifted, donated, or bequeathed rather than discarded. We will explain to owners what options are available to them as part of our awareness raising campaign.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2021 to Question 37500, Bomb Disposal: Seas and Oceans, what progress has been made on the first at sea trails of alternative clearance methods for unexploded ordnance which were planned to begin in October 2021.

The Danish Navy and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are working together to deliver the first at sea trials of deflagration on unexploded ordinance. The first trials were planned for October 2021 but have been rescheduled to January 2022 due to operational and logistical constraints. Working at sea in changeable conditions and with old and degraded explosives is challenging and it is essential that appropriate expertise and equipment are available, not least to maintain high safety standards.

The UK Government, marine regulators and statutory nature conservation bodies published a joint interim position statement last month on disposal techniques for unexploded ordnance. This demonstrates, for the first time, a preference for quieter alternative technologies and ensures low noise alternatives will be prioritized, wherever possible, over detonations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the UK Government is taking to reduce the environmental impact of underwater munitions disposal.

Defra recognises the significant impact underwater noise from unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance by detonation can have on vulnerable marine species. Therefore, Defra’s dedicated underwater noise team, as part of the Offshore Wind Enabling Actions Programme, is continuing to focus on reducing, monitoring and managing underwater noise to minimise harm to marine life.

In addition, the Government is working closely with scientists, industry, and regulators to investigate and collect the necessary evidence on the safety and efficacy of these alternative methods of UXO clearance in the marine environment. The very first at sea trails of alternative clearance methods are planned to begin in October. Further to this, Defra and BEIS officials are working together to expedite planning and creation of additional trials of historic UXO clearance using alternative methods in the North Sea


Once sufficient evidence is available, and on the advice of the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) (as the regulatory authority) will be able to make the strongest licensing decisions around the use of such low order techniques in England.

At present, UXO removal must be individually assessed by the MMO in accordance with the applicable marine licence, marine protected species licence and habitats regulation requirements and all forms of potential mitigation considered. For example, marine mammal specialists are deployed to ensure there are no marine mammals in the vicinity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce and (b) replace the use of toxicology testing on animals.

The UK is committed to maintaining a rigorous regulatory system which ensures that animal research and testing is carried out only where no practicable alternatives exist and under controls which keep suffering to a minimum. The Government ensures all research proposals are compliant with the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (the 3Rs). The UK has been at the forefront of opposing animal tests where alternative approaches could be used, known as the "last-resort principle". The last-resort principle will be enshrined as a protected provision in our landmark Environment Bill.

Defra, together with the Environment Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, are actively engaged in research and development work centred around the 3Rs principles. This work sits within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) chemical testing guidelines programme. Our regulators and scientists, alongside colleagues at Public Health England and The National Centre for the 3Rs, are working collaboratively with partner countries to develop new test methods and approaches with the potential to reduce or replace animal tests for chemical assessment, whilst maintaining a high degree of safety.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress his Department has made on bringing forward legislative proposals on animal sentience.

We have committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in an effective and credible way and will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the financial cost to pet owners making multiple trips between Northern Ireland and Scotland, England or Wales of having to obtain a new animal health certificate on each journey.

For the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme, Great Britain and the Crown Dependencies are considered a Part 2 listed third country which requires an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for travel to the EU. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. As such, an AHC is required when travelling to NI from Scotland, England or Wales.

The cost of completing and certifying pet travel documentation, including AHC, is set by individual veterinary practices.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the validity of animal health certificates for those travelling between Northern Ireland and Scotland, England or Wales to (a) allow multiple trips and (b) allow more than ten days before travel.

For the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme, Great Britain and the Crown Dependencies are considered a Part 2 listed third country which requires an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for travel to the EU. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. As such, an AHC is required when travelling to NI from Scotland, England or Wales.

The model AHC is set down in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 577/2013 and it states that the certificate is valid for 10 days from the date of issue until the date of entry into the Union, and that it is valid for onward travel within the Union for a period of four months subject to certain conditions. Great Britain cannot unilaterally choose to amend the conditions specified on this certificate.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of indefinitely suspending the requirement for wine imports to the UK to be accompanied with a wine-specific VI-1 certificate.

Further to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Ogmore on 27 November 2020, PQ UIN 117332, no assessment has been made of the potential benefits of removing the requirement for wine imports to the UK being accompanied by a VI 1 certificate.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reforming subsidies for recycling processing plants to incentivise the processing of packaging waste in the UK rather than exporting waste overseas.

The Government does not provide any subsidies to the sector and there has been no formal assessment of subsidies to incentivise the reprocessing and recycling of waste in the UK.

The Government has committed to reforming the current packaging producer responsibility scheme (‘the packaging recovery note’ system) whereby re-processors and exporters of packaging waste can issue evidence that packaging waste has been recycled. Together with the devolved administrations, the Government consulted on initial proposals in 2019 and will consult again in 2021.

The Government has committed to banning the export of plastic waste to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to reform the Packaging Recovery Note scheme to (a) levy costs on packaging producers and (b) reward recycling.

We committed in our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy to reform the UK's current packaging producer responsibility system and to introduce measures to incentivise packaging producers to make better, more sustainable design decisions and require them to fund the full net costs of managing packaging once it becomes waste, including collection, recycling and disposal costs.

In reforming the current system, the Government's aim is to reduce the amount of unnecessary and difficult to recycle packaging and increase the amount and quality of packaging that can be and is recycled. Measures being considered to drive and reward increased recycling through the reformed system include setting recycling targets on producers, and setting producer 'disposal' cost fees based on the design and recyclability of packaging. We are taking new powers in the Environment Bill to enable us to introduce these reforms and to place more responsibility on producers for products at end of life.

We plan to undertake a second consultation on these reforms in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure there is no duplication of chemical tests performed on animals from UK organisations which had previously supplied the relevant registration data to the European Chemicals Agency under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, after the end of the transition period.

Under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing

The grandfathering of all existing UK-held REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration.


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The UK has been at the forefront of opposing animal tests where alternative approaches could be used. This is known as the "last-resort principle", which we will retain and enshrine in legislation through our landmark Environment Bill.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the recommendations in the Horse Welfare Board's five year horse welfare strategy on the use of the whip in horse racing.

The Horse Welfare Board’s (HWB) five-year Horse Welfare Strategy (HWS) “a life well-lived” was published on 20 February 2020. The HWS contains 20 recommendations for improving horse welfare. The HWS recommends that, as a minimum, the penalties for misuse of the whip need to increase and that the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) should conduct a consultation on the use of the whip this year. As well as seeking views on appropriate sanctions for misuse of the whip, the HWS also recommends that the BHA uses the consultation to consider whether the use of the whip for encouragement should be banned or retained and whether the rules that restrict the use of the whip for encouragement need to be changed. Defra welcomes the publication of the HWS and officials will remain engaged with the BHA and the HWB on the progress being made.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether his Department has established a budget or accounting line to provide for ceremonial and official events to mark the formal exit of the UK from the EU.

Our focus is on getting the PM’s great Brexit deal through Parliament over the coming weeks. As I said during DExEU Oral Questions on 9 January 2020, we’ll keep you posted on plans to commemorate 31 January and announcements will be made in the usual way – we will of course be celebrating the day.

Financial accounts for this will be in line with normal processes.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the Answer of 28 October 2019 to Question 3722, when the Government will announce plans for ceremonial and official events to mark the formal exit of the UK from the EU.

Our focus is on getting the PM’s great Brexit deal through Parliament over the coming weeks. As I said during DExEU Oral Questions on 9 January 2020, we’ll keep you posted on plans to commemorate 31 January and announcements will be made in the usual way – we will of course be celebrating the day.

Financial accounts for this will be in line with normal processes.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2020 to Question 69595, on British Indian Ocean Territory: Overseas Aid, how many Chagossians in Mauritius have participated in English Language Training to date.

Since the commencement of English Language Training in August 2019, 65 Chagossians have enrolled on training courses offered by the British Council. There have been 157 enrolments in total and with around 4,500 hours of language training provided up to the end of April 2020.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2020 to Question 69595, on British Indian Ocean Territory: Overseas Aid, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of English Language Training on the livelihoods of Chagossians in Mauritius.

The British Council is still evaluating the impact of the English Language Training programme, a process which has been impeded by the COVID 19 outbreak. However, initial feedback from participants has indicated strong appreciation of the opportunity, including for some participants learning to read and write for the first time.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has been responsible for expenditure from the £40 million Chagossian support package announced in November 2016.

HMG continues to work with partners to identify effective ways to spend the £40 million Chagossian support package announced in November 2016, half of which is sourced from ODA. To date DFID has supported the British Council to provide English language training for Chagossians in Mauritius.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much expenditure from the £40 million Chagossian support package announced in November 2016 has been counted as Official Development Assitance in each financial year in which that expenditure occurred.

Since the Written Ministerial Statement in November 2016, neither the main Chagossian leadership nor the Government of Mauritius have engaged actively with the UK Government in the development of a support package for Chagossians in Mauritius. However, as a first step DFID has contracted the British Council in Mauritius to deliver English Language Training (ELT) to the Chagossian community. ELT courses commenced in late August 2019 and will continue into 2020/2021. Of the £20 million allocated as Overseas Development Assistance under the package, £37,944.37 was spent in 2019/20 on ELT as a means to help the Chagossian community improve their livelihoods. No funds were spent in earlier years or have been spent in 2020/21 to date.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to civil society organisations in Malawi that promote free and fair participation in the presidential election planned for 23 June 2020.

The UK, together with the US, is supporting two national civil society networks in Malawi to independently observe the election on the 23 June. Independent observation is an important contribution to free and fair elections. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Public Affairs Committee, an ecumenical body, will between them deploy 500 observers across the country to observe the polls and the counting of ballot papers.

The UK is also supporting the Centre for Multiparty Democracy, an association of political parties, to train political party monitors, disseminate peace messaging, and to host multi-party dialogue sessions in hotspot areas to prevent violence.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with stakeholders participating in the Aid Match scheme on (a) the potential merits of extending the Aid Match fundraising period and (b) basing Aid Match funding on income projected or anticipated before any effect of restrictions as a result of covid-19.

We are engaging directly with the seven charities who have UK Aid Match appeals live or due to launch, to discuss the potential impacts of Covid-19 on these appeals. If charities have had to postpone fundraising activities due to Covid-19, DFID has agreed that when these activities do take place we will continue to match the funds raised from these events, ensuring that through UK Aid Match we continue to give the UK public a say in how the aid budget is spent.

Whilst charities are asked to predict their anticipated income from a UK Aid Match appeal, the actual amount raised can vary widely and there is never a guarantee that anticipated income will be met. As such, whatever the circumstances, it would not be transparent to match fund projected figures.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with recipients of grant funding on the potential merits of extending project implementation timetables with full funding to take into account delays caused by restrictions imposed as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID is engaging with supply partners to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 and has had initial discussions with many of our highest delivery impact supply partners regarding contingency planning and their concerns. We will work collaboratively with supply partners and take a flexible and reasonable approach to find pragmatic solutions to support continuation of delivery where appropriate.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to end violence against children in conflict and humanitarian crises.

DFID is providing significant support to protect children from violence around the world in conflict and humanitarian crises. Our programmes assist children and reduce their risks of violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

In August 2019 at the G7 Summit, the UK Prime Minister announced £90 million of new UK support for education in emergencies and crises across the world, this will support 600,000 children living in conflict areas and areas of proacted crises. Girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in emergencies. This investment is a key plank of the PM’s plan to ensure more girls benefit from 12 years of education. This funding will provide safe spaces for girls and psycho-social support to those who have experienced violence and trauma.

The UK’s £16 million per year contribution to the UN Peacebuilding Fund is strengthening access to justice for children in Haiti; reintegrating children associated with armed groups in Myanmar; and preventing the recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia.

DFID’s ‘Children on the Move’ programme is working in Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan to develop and strengthen child protection systems for migrating, internally displaced, and refugee children. This is helping to prevent and respond to violence against some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to prevent violence against children when UK aid is being distributed.

The UK is reducing violence through dedicated investments to protect children, alongside interventions embedded in wider development and humanitarian programming. This includes our £10 million funding to the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, which drives international ambition and progress through campaigns such as ‘Safe to Learn’, that aim to inspire action to end violence in schools. We have also provided £10 million in funding to UNICEF to prevent and respond to violence, abuse and exploitation of children on the move in Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan through a strengthened child protection system.

We have recently introduced a stronger approach to safeguarding children throughout the department’s programming and will seek to effect change across the development sector.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to end child marriage worldwide.

The UK remains resolute in our commitment to end child marriage, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The UK’s Strategic Vision on Gender Equality is clear on this.

Through our flagship investments, DFID committed a total of £39 million over 5 years (2015-2020) to support international efforts to end child marriage, in twelve high prevalence countries across the world. Since 2015 the programme has reached over 7.7 million girls with schooling initiatives, skills training and girls’ clubs to prevent and respond to child marriage. Engagement with community and faith leaders has also shifted attitudes and practices related to girls’ rights, in programme areas reaching 4.2 million people.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what his policy is on contributing to the Global Survivors Fund to support survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

The UK welcomes this global initiative from Nobel Laureates Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad to support survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and plans to announce a contribution to the International Fund in due course. The FCO leads on this as part of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative. DFID and FCO continue to work closely together to ensure a survivor-centred approach to end conflict-related sexual violence.

Preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women and girls, including conflict-related sexual violence, is a priority for the Department for International Development. DFID provides substantial, long-term support to survivors of violence through the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women (£21 million, 2014-2020). In November 2019, DFID announced a new £67.5 million programme to prevent violence against women and girls – the largest investment by any single government donor to prevent such violence, including conflict-related sexual violence.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will publish a response to EDM 21 on Global Goals, Official Development Assistance, and the role of the Department for International Development.

The Global Goals are at the centre of our work to improve lives around the world. The international community is making progress but there is much more to do if we want to achieve them by 2030.

We are proud of our 0.7 commitment in legislation – a commitment shared by all parties in their manifestos at the recent general election.

The UK is and will remain a global champion for humanitarian relief and international development. Our aid budget is a major part of the UK’s contribution to deliver the international goals that shape global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of making the terms of any draft UK-India free-trade deal subject to a vote by the House of Commons.

The Government is committed to ensuring that Parliament can effectively scrutinise the UK’s trade deals. It is the Government’s view that to give Parliament binding votes over international agreements would fundamentally change the UK’s constitutional settlement and undermine the Government’s flexibility to negotiate deals that best serve the interests of UK businesses, consumers and communities.

The India trade agreement will be subject to pre-ratification scrutiny through the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act. Furthermore, any legislative changes required to give effect to the agreement will also be scrutinised and passed by Parliament in the usual way.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she intends to appoint a Trade Envoy to Malawi.

Though there are no plans at present to add Malawi to the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Programme, the Department for International Trade is constantly reviewing suitable markets to identify where the appointment of a Trade Envoy can be of greatest benefit to the trade and investment aims of the UK.

3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that cotton produced in Xinjiang province through the forced labour of Uyghur Muslims does not enter the UK supply chain.

HM Government has announced a number of measures to help make sure that no British organisation is complicit, through their supply chains, in the violation of rights and responsibilities occurring in Xinjiang.

The United Kingdom has taken a leading international role in holding China to account for such violations, including helping to secure the support of 43 countries for a joint statement at the UN in October that called on China to allow “immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers.”

We are committed to ongoing discussions on cotton and trade related matters at the WTO too, and recognise the importance of reform to the global cotton market, which will benefit the most vulnerable in particular.

4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with (a) US trade representatives and (b) industry bodies on efforts to (i) reach a resolution to the Section 232 dispute with the US and (ii) the removal of the 25 per cent tariff on imported US whiskey.

My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade has engaged with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, most recently on 12 November, to press for a resolution to the Section 232 tariffs. We have also been engaging with industry bodies, including The Scotch Whisky Association. UK importers are aware that our preference is the full removal of 232 tariffs, in which case the UK’s 25 percent tariff on imported US whiskey will not be required.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the World Trade Organisation on the development of intellectual property waiver agreements to facilitate the mass production of coronavirus vaccines.

The UK has engaged regularly in debates at the World Trade Organisation’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council and other international institutions to promote affordable and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, including in developing countries. As part of this, the UK has encouraged evidence-based discussions between WTO members to find real solutions to the issues at hand within the multilateral intellectual property framework.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) tear gas, (b) riot shields and (c) rubber bullets produced in and sold by companies based in the UK to law enforcement agencies in the US are not used against peaceful civilian protesters in that country.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she plans to negotiate a carve-out provision based on the definition by the European Public Services Union excluding (a) the NHS and (b) other public services from a trade deal with the US.

The UK’s public services, including the NHS, are protected by specific carve-outs, exceptions and reservations in the trade agreements to which the UK is a party, and the UK will continue to ensure that the same rigorous protections are included in future trade agreements. Decisions about public services will continue to be made by the UK Government (or the Devolved Administrations, where appropriate), not by our trade partners.

The Government has been clear that the NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or domestic and this position was reaffirmed in our negotiating objectives for a UK-US Free Trade Agreement published on 2 March 2020.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of protecting regulatory data exclusivity for innovative drugs in a UK-US trade deal.

The Government’s objectives for US negotiations state that we will secure provisions that protect the UK’s world-leading intellectual property standards and seek an effective and balanced regime which supports innovation within the pharmaceutical sector, while reflecting wider public interests such as ensuring patient access to medicines.

The Government is clear that when negotiating free trade agreements, the NHS and the price the NHS pays for medicines will not be on the table. We will not agree to measures which undermine the Government’s ability to deliver our NHS manifesto commitments.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to protect the role of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in regulating drug prices in the event of a UK-US trade deal.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department for Health and Social Care. Questions about NICE should be referred to my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care.

The Government has been clear that the price the NHS pays for drugs is not on the table in trade negotiations. This position was reaffirmed in our negotiating objectives for a UK-US Free Trade Agreement published on 2 March 2020.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the report by the International Council on Clean Transportation entitled Reassessment of excess NOx from diesel cars in Europe following the Court of Justice of the European Union Rulings, published on 22 March 2023, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his consumer rights policies of that report's findings of suspicious levels of NOx emissions in over 75 per cent of official government tests of diesel cars sold in Europe from 2009 to 2019 and the likely use of a prohibited defeat device in those cases.

The Government is committed to reducing air pollution from all forms of transport, and this pollution has significantly fallen since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 45% and emissions of PM2.5 by 10%.

The DVSA Market Surveillance Unit (MSU) conducts an annual emissions-testing programme to test vehicle emissions in the real world. Where MSU testing identifies non-compliant emissions, including suspicions of a prohibited defeat device, DVSA works with the manufacturer to implement improvement plans.

The results of the MSU annual emissions-testing programme are made publicly available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dvsa-vehicle-market-surveillance-unit.

In 2018 the Government strengthened restrictions against the use of illegal emissions technology by passing legislation making it an offence for manufacturers to place motor vehicles on the market which contain prohibited defeat systems. The Government will also bring forward legislation to enable it to require vehicles to be recalled on environmental grounds, as well as exploring other means to strengthen enforcement.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) prohibit traders across all business sectors from engaging in unfair commercial practices in connection with the promotion, sale and supply of products to consumers. Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority are responsible for enforcing these protections.

The Department has made no specific assessment of the impact of the case by the European Court of Justice judgement.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the European Court of Justice judgment that Mercedes-Benz must pay compensation for the use of illegal defeat devices in diesel cars on consumer rights.

The Government is committed to reducing air pollution from all forms of transport, and this pollution has significantly fallen since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 45% and emissions of PM2.5 by 10%.

The DVSA Market Surveillance Unit (MSU) conducts an annual emissions-testing programme to test vehicle emissions in the real world. Where MSU testing identifies non-compliant emissions, including suspicions of a prohibited defeat device, DVSA works with the manufacturer to implement improvement plans.

The results of the MSU annual emissions-testing programme are made publicly available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dvsa-vehicle-market-surveillance-unit.

In 2018 the Government strengthened restrictions against the use of illegal emissions technology by passing legislation making it an offence for manufacturers to place motor vehicles on the market which contain prohibited defeat systems. The Government will also bring forward legislation to enable it to require vehicles to be recalled on environmental grounds, as well as exploring other means to strengthen enforcement.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) prohibit traders across all business sectors from engaging in unfair commercial practices in connection with the promotion, sale and supply of products to consumers. Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority are responsible for enforcing these protections.

The Department has made no specific assessment of the impact of the case by the European Court of Justice judgement.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to (a) prevent and (b) sanction car manufacturers who use defeat devices to provide misleading emissions data in diesel cars.

The Government is committed to reducing air pollution from all forms of transport, and this pollution has significantly fallen since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 45% and emissions of PM2.5 by 10%.

The DVSA Market Surveillance Unit (MSU) conducts an annual emissions-testing programme to test vehicle emissions in the real world. Where MSU testing identifies non-compliant emissions, including suspicions of a prohibited defeat device, DVSA works with the manufacturer to implement improvement plans.

The results of the MSU annual emissions-testing programme are made publicly available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dvsa-vehicle-market-surveillance-unit.

In 2018 the Government strengthened restrictions against the use of illegal emissions technology by passing legislation making it an offence for manufacturers to place motor vehicles on the market which contain prohibited defeat systems. The Government will also bring forward legislation to enable it to require vehicles to be recalled on environmental grounds, as well as exploring other means to strengthen enforcement.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) prohibit traders across all business sectors from engaging in unfair commercial practices in connection with the promotion, sale and supply of products to consumers. Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority are responsible for enforcing these protections.

The Department has made no specific assessment of the impact of the case by the European Court of Justice judgement.

22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 614 on Aviation safety and licensing.

The UK Government recognises the essential commitment that aviation professionals have made to help secure the future of the Aviation industry, and that this is a time of uncertainty as the previous ways of working with Europe are changing. We continue to work closely with industry and stakeholders to ensure that we make best use of the opportunities we now have, to protect and enhance the sector’s skills and talent now and in the future as we recover from the Covid19 Pandemic.

The UK has now left the EU and EASA system and has agreed a high level Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), including an Annex on Aviation Safety. We maintain a productive dialogue with EASA and EU member states on aviation matters, and the Specialised Committee on Aviation Safety has been established.

The UK Government places the highest importance on ensuring that the opportunities arising from our exit from the EU are realised. Withdrawing from the EU means we have more autonomy to tailor aviation regulation according to the UK’s competitive needs, while also adhering to international standards. Should an agreement in the form of a further Annex on licensing be assessed to be in the UK’s overall interest, the Government could pursue this. However such an agreement would also require willingness from the EU, whose interest so far has been in implementing the current details of the TCA.

The UK Government cannot unilaterally commit to work that requires agreement from both parties. We will continue to work to ensure an effective licensing regime that supports UK aviation, to deliver effective implementation of the existing agreement with the EU, and to explore any possible future areas of co-operation.

The Department for Transport launched the Aviation Skills Retention Platform earlier this year, to offer support and help for UK license holders and the aviation sector. This platform will allow both current and former aviation sector workers who are currently out of work to register their skills, so they can be notified of relevant jobs opportunities, advice, and upskilling opportunities. This platform is a tool for the future, which will aim to retain vital skills within the industry and help address the skills gap that existed prior to the pandemic. The scheme is open to anyone from the aviation sector who is looking for a vacancy. More information can be found at: www.aviationtalent.co.uk

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Eurostar International Limited on the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the future of the service.

Ministers and officials, working with other Government Departments, have engaged extensively with Eurostar since March 2020 in relation to their financial situation to help the company access Government support schemes where it is eligible and appropriate. We will continue to engage, at both official and Ministerial level, withEurostar and the French government regarding the continuing impact of COVID-19 on Eurostar and on any potential financial support proposals.

We will also work with the international travel industry, including Eurostar, through the relaunch of the Global Travel Taskforce and as we look to support the restart of wider international travel when it is safe to do so.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a frequent flyer levy.

The Government has committed to consult on aviation tax reform. Due to the impact of Covid-19, we have delayed the publication of this consultation. Aviation must play its part in delivering the UK’s net zero commitment and we will be publishing a separate consultation on a net zero aviation strategy in the coming months. We have no plans to bring forward a frequent flyer levy.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the British Transport Police on its investigation into the death of Belly Mujinga.

The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with the British Transport Police on their investigation into the death of Belly Mujinga at Victoria Station on 21 March 2020. The investigation is an operational matter for BTP.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the British Transport Police on releasing the CCTV footage of the assault of Belly Mujinga at Victoria Station on 21 March 2020.

The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with the British Transport Police on releasing the CCTV footage of the alleged assault of Belly Mujinga at Victoria Station on 21 March 2020.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the (a) British Transport Police and (b) Crown Prosecution service on the decision by the British Transport Police not to refer the alleged assault of Belly Mujinga at Victoria Station on 21 March 2020 to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with either (a) the British Transport Police or (b) the Crown Prosecution Service on the alleged assault of Belly Mujinga at Victoria Station on 21 March 2020. The decision on whether to progress the case is one for BTP.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment she has made of the number of people who qualify to continue driving while waiting for the DVLA to process their application for renewal of their driving licence under Section 88 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 but cannot obtain car insurance coverage due to that situation.

No figures are available on the number of drivers who continue to drive under the Section 88 provisions of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This is because drivers must consider whether they can meet the relevant criteria.

Insurance cover in these circumstances would be a matter for the driver and their insurer.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the cycle to work scheme to self-employed people as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

No assessment of the potential merits of extending the cycle to work scheme to self-employed people has been made at this point.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2bn package of funding for cycling and walking. This includes £250m which will encourage cycling to work through the provision of pop up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, as well as vouchers for cycle repairs and greater provision for bike fixing facilities. This builds on the refreshed Cycle to Work Scheme Guidance published in 2019 which made it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment including e-bikes and adapted bikes worth over £1,000.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of of 18 May 2020 to Question 46711 on Driving Tests: Coronavirus, whether he plans refund people if their driving theory test certificate expires while they are unable to undertake their practical driving test due to restrictions during the covid-19 outbreak.

The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation. This is so the candidate’s theoretical knowledge and ability to identify developing hazards remains current. To extend the validity period would require legislative change.

Candidates who have had their practical driving test suspended as a result of COVID-19 will receive an email from the DVSA telling them the date of their rescheduled test. The test will be rescheduled automatically, and free of charge. The candidate can, if they prefer, request a refund of their practical test fee.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the validity period of theory test certificates for people who cannot undertake their practical driving test as a result of the coronavirus public health measures.

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

20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department have made of the potential merits of changing the requirements of past presence tests for applicants to the over 80 pension to take account of peoples inability to travel during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Category D State Pension is a non-contributory pension for those aged 80 and over who either have no basic State Pension or whose State Pension is less than the current Category D rate of £85.00 per week and who meet the residency conditions. The residency conditions include the requirement to have been resident in Great Britain for 10 years in a continuous period of 20 years which includes the day before the person’s 80th birthday or any day thereafter. This residence requirement is a different test to the “past presence test” which applies to certain disability and carers benefits.

The Category D State Pension does not form part of the new State Pension for those who reach State Pension age on or after 6th April 2016. No assessment has been made of the merits of changing the residence requirements in light of the Covid 19 travel restrictions.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if his Department will take steps to review social security benefit applications rejected on the basis of the past presence test, in the context of people's inability to travel during the covid-19 pandemic.

The past presence test (PPT) is a qualifying condition for the DWP disability and carer benefits and ensures claimants have a substantial and recent connection to the UK.

There are a number of exemptions to the PPT which are clearly set out in secondary legislation. The PPT policy is kept under review and changes are made when appropriate, as shown by the amendments that have been made over the last few years in response to different situations; for example, introducing exemptions for refugees, those granted humanitarian status and for some people fleeing the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Claimants who were abroad and could not return to Great Britain due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 epidemic were advised that they could continue to be paid for as long as those restrictions remained in place. Once restrictions were lifted, allowing for travel back, then claimants were expected to do so if they wanted to continue to receive payment.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department have made of the potential merits of changing the requirements of past presence tests for social security benefits to take account of peoples inability to travel during the covid-19 pandemic.

The past presence test (PPT) is a qualifying condition for the DWP disability and carer benefits and ensures claimants have a substantial and recent connection to the UK.

There are a number of exemptions to the PPT which are clearly set out in secondary legislation. The PPT policy is kept under review and changes are made when appropriate, as shown by the amendments that have been made over the last few years in response to different situations; for example, introducing exemptions for refugees, those granted humanitarian status and for some people fleeing the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Claimants who were abroad and could not return to Great Britain due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 epidemic were advised that they could continue to be paid for as long as those restrictions remained in place. Once restrictions were lifted, allowing for travel back, then claimants were expected to do so if they wanted to continue to receive payment.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to increase the uptake of pension credit among those who are eligible but not claiming the benefit.

Estimates for Pension Credit take-up are only available at the Great Britain level. The latest statistics are in the publication: Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2019 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Pension Credit provides vital financial support to pensioners on a low income and we want all those who are eligible to claim it. That’s why the Department launched a £1.2m nationwide communications campaign in April to raise awareness of Pension Credit and increase take-up. The campaign included:

  • Promotion of Pension Credit on social media, via internet search engines and sponsored advertising on targeted websites that pensioners, their friends and family are likely to visit;
  • Information screens in Post Offices and GP surgeries across GB;
  • Advertising in regional and national newspapers and on national and local broadcast radio;
  • Advertising on the sides of buses, interior bus panels and digital street displays;
  • Leaflets and posters in Jobcentres, as well as digital versions which could be used by stakeholders and partners across local communities;
  • Engagement with Local Authorities nationwide through the Government Communication Service local network and promotional materials to enable them to support the campaign; and
  • In June, we held a second Pension Credit awareness media ‘day of action’ working in close collaboration with broadcasters, newspapers and other partners such as Age UK, Independent Age and the private sector to reach out to pensioners to promote Pension Credit through their channels.
  • An updated digital toolkit with information and resources that any stakeholder can use to help promote Pension Credit.

This month we’re undertaking a further burst of communications activity, including press and radio advertising and social media focusing on highlighting to pensioners that if they apply for Pension Credit by 18 December, it will not be too late to qualify for a £324 Cost of Living Payment – subject to Pension Credit backdating rules.

On 7 December, around 40 MPs attended a Pension Credit event at Portcullis House which I hosted. I was pleased to hear about the work that a number of MPs are already doing to help their constituents make a claim and also that others pledged to help promote Pension Credit ahead of 18 December.

In the new year, DWP will again write to over 11 million pensioners as part of the annual uprating of State Pension. The accompanying leaflet has been updated to include the prominent campaign messaging promoting Pension Credit.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the total value of unclaimed pension credit in each of the nations of the UK in each of the last five years.

Estimates for Pension Credit take-up are only available at the Great Britain level. The latest statistics are in the publication: Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2019 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Pension Credit provides vital financial support to pensioners on a low income and we want all those who are eligible to claim it. That’s why the Department launched a £1.2m nationwide communications campaign in April to raise awareness of Pension Credit and increase take-up. The campaign included:

  • Promotion of Pension Credit on social media, via internet search engines and sponsored advertising on targeted websites that pensioners, their friends and family are likely to visit;
  • Information screens in Post Offices and GP surgeries across GB;
  • Advertising in regional and national newspapers and on national and local broadcast radio;
  • Advertising on the sides of buses, interior bus panels and digital street displays;
  • Leaflets and posters in Jobcentres, as well as digital versions which could be used by stakeholders and partners across local communities;
  • Engagement with Local Authorities nationwide through the Government Communication Service local network and promotional materials to enable them to support the campaign; and
  • In June, we held a second Pension Credit awareness media ‘day of action’ working in close collaboration with broadcasters, newspapers and other partners such as Age UK, Independent Age and the private sector to reach out to pensioners to promote Pension Credit through their channels.
  • An updated digital toolkit with information and resources that any stakeholder can use to help promote Pension Credit.

This month we’re undertaking a further burst of communications activity, including press and radio advertising and social media focusing on highlighting to pensioners that if they apply for Pension Credit by 18 December, it will not be too late to qualify for a £324 Cost of Living Payment – subject to Pension Credit backdating rules.

On 7 December, around 40 MPs attended a Pension Credit event at Portcullis House which I hosted. I was pleased to hear about the work that a number of MPs are already doing to help their constituents make a claim and also that others pledged to help promote Pension Credit ahead of 18 December.

In the new year, DWP will again write to over 11 million pensioners as part of the annual uprating of State Pension. The accompanying leaflet has been updated to include the prominent campaign messaging promoting Pension Credit.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing an ex gratia payment scheme to make sure that all families receive the same amount of Bereavement Support Payment as they would have done if they had been married or in a civil partnership.

The draft Remedial Order proposes to extend Widowed Parents Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees who have entitlement on, or from, 30th August 2018.

It is not routine for Social Security changes to be made retrospectively and we consider that the 30 August 2018 to be a logical and fair start date. This was the date that the incompatibility for Widowed Parents Allowance was accepted as final in the Supreme Court. To use an earlier start date would bring administrative complexity and costs to the taxpayer. Equally, it would not be appropriate to set up an ex-gratia scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of raising the level of Bereavement Support Payment in line with inflation since 2017.

The rate of Bereavement Support Payment is reviewed on a discretionary basis as part of the annual uprating process. Following this year’s review, Bereavement Support Payment will stay at the current rate. This means that claimants on the standard rate will continue to receive a first payment of £2,500 and 18 monthly payments of £100, and those on the higher rate will receive £3,500 followed by 18 monthly payments of £350.

Bereavement Support Payment is intended to provide working people with short-term financial support following the death of a spouse or civil partner, to help towards the additional costs associated with a death. It is not means-tested unlike income replacement benefits such as Universal Credit, which we are increasing in line with inflation to protect the least well-off. Families needing extra financial support are protected by this welfare safety net.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has he made of the impact of inflation increases on British pensioners living overseas in countries without a reciprocal uprating agreement with the UK.

DWP does not make such assessments. The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to those who meet the qualifying conditions. Entitlement is based on an individual’s national insurance record. The policy on up-rating UK State Pensions overseas is long-standing and has been supported by successive post-war Governments for over 70 years. We continue to up-rate UK State Pensions abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so – for example where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating. There are no plans to change this policy.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the weekly earning limits for Carers Allowance.

Many carers who are receiving Carer’s Allowance are also in households receiving Universal Credit, whose structure of tapers and work allowances (where applicable) effectively takes precedence over the earnings rules in Carer’s Allowance for these carers. This helps ensure that, if they wish to work, carers on the lowest incomes are better off doing so. There is, however, no requirement for those caring for 35 hours or more a week to undertake work search whilst receiving Universal Credit. In work or out of work, these carers may also receive the Universal Credit Carer Element, worth around an additional £2,000 a year.

Some carers may not be able to receive Universal Credit, for example due to their levels of household capital or income. These carers may only be receiving Carer’s Allowance. This is not means-tested and not based on National Insurance contributions. It has an earnings limit which permits carers to undertake some part-time work if they are able to do so. This recognises the benefits of staying in touch with the workplace, including greater financial independence and social interaction.

We know that some carers who are above Universal Credit thresholds are keen to maintain contact with the labour market, so we want to encourage carers in this position to combine some paid work with their caring duties wherever possible. That is why we regularly increase the earnings limit when it is warranted and affordable. The Carer’s Allowance earnings limit is currently £132 a week. Subject to Parliamentary approval, this will increase to £139 a week from April 2023. This will mean that the earnings limit will have increased by over one third since 2010.

It should be noted that Carer’s Allowance is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. While the Scottish Government builds its capacity to replace it with Scottish Carer’s Assistance, DWP Ministers have agreed that DWP will administer Carer’s Allowance on behalf of the Scottish Ministers under an agency agreement. For as long as that agreement is in place, the Scottish Ministers need to ensure that Carer’s Allowance rules and rates in Scotland maintains legislative parity with Carer’s Allowance in England and Wales.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many social security claimants receive their payments into a Post Office Card Account.

As of August 2021 the Department makes payments into less than 350k active Post Office Card Accounts. This is down from 1 million in 2019.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many social security claimants have migrated payment of their claims from a Post Office Card Account (POca) to a bank account since the closure of the POca scheme has been announced.

The Department does not hold information on the number of claimants who have migrated from a Post Office card account to a standard account.

The number of active Post Office card accounts has reduced from 1 million in August 2019 to less than 350k in August 2021.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many job centres and temporary job centres are currently opening on Sundays; and what discussions her Department has had with staff representatives on Sunday opening.

Jobcentres are open Monday to Friday, including Saturdays where this has been agreed. We do not open our Jobcentres on a Sunday, other than in exceptional circumstances to respond to local needs. We have not had any conversations with our Departmental Trade Unions about opening on Sundays.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the need for additional measures to increase pension credit uptake.

The Department assesses levels of take-up of Pension Credit on an annual basis. Latest official statistics on the take-up of income-related benefits at Great Britain level, including Pension Credit, can be found in the publication ‘Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up in 2018 to 2019', available at.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2018-to-2019

The Department continues to use available channels to promote Pension Credit and reach potential recipients, and their family and friends. This includes using proactive press activity and planned social media posts to encourage older people to check if they are eligible. As part of an internal review of communication products, we have identified improvements in our Pension Credit messaging at key customer “touchpoints” and are updating the products used to claim Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance accordingly. We have also improved the information about Pension Credit in the leaflet accompanying the letters to over 11 million pensioners informing them about the increase in their State Pension from April. No assessment has been made of the need for additional measures to increase Pension Credit take-up.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the level of uptake of pension credit.

The Department assesses levels of take-up of Pension Credit on an annual basis. Latest official statistics on the take-up of income-related benefits at Great Britain level, including Pension Credit, can be found in the publication ‘Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up in 2018 to 2019', available at.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2018-to-2019

The Department continues to use available channels to promote Pension Credit and reach potential recipients, and their family and friends. This includes using proactive press activity and planned social media posts to encourage older people to check if they are eligible. As part of an internal review of communication products, we have identified improvements in our Pension Credit messaging at key customer “touchpoints” and are updating the products used to claim Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance accordingly. We have also improved the information about Pension Credit in the leaflet accompanying the letters to over 11 million pensioners informing them about the increase in their State Pension from April. No assessment has been made of the need for additional measures to increase Pension Credit take-up.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the time taken by her Department to process applications for personal independence payments.

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment in a timely manner. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.

We are currently operating within expected levels. Average clearance times from initial claim to a decision being made for new claims are currently 16 weeks (October 2020).

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the Scottish Government's system of fast-track access to disability benefits for people who have terminal illnesses to (a) universal credit and (b) all other benefits administered by her Department.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; a consensus to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

The Scottish Government are able to develop their own policies and procedures as they introduce their replacement benefits. My Department works closely with the Scottish Government to ensure we understand how the two systems interact.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of amending the rules for universal credit to ensure that payments received from the Scottish Government’s Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund are fully disregarded so as not to result in deductions to benefit entitlement.

The eligibility criteria for the Scottish Government’s new £1,500 grant for private hire and taxi drivers is a matter for the Scottish Government not the UK government. While DWP was not consulted in advance about the eligibility criteria, it is our understanding that the grant is intended to assist with fixed costs and expenses, including license plate fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road. Legislation already provides that Covid-19 related grants which are intended to cover loss of business income and to aid business recovery will be disregarded for Universal Credit purposes for 12 months.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of universal credit claimants in part-time employment who are required by her Department to find alternative full-time work.

We do not require claimants who are in work with earnings above the Administrative Earnings Threshold to undertake any mandatory activity in Universal Credit. Claimants who work and earn below the Administrative Earnings Threshold may be required to participate in mandatory work-related activity. This depends on their personal circumstances, which vary from one claimant to another. For this reason, we are unable to make any such estimate of claimant numbers.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of suspending in-work conditionality requirements for universal credit recipients as a result of the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the job market.

Claimants who are in work with earnings above the Administrative Earnings Threshold are not currently expected to undertake any mandatory work-related activity in Universal Credit.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of (a) receipt and (b) non-receipt of furlough payments on in-work claimants in receipt of universal credit as a top-up to their wages.

No assessment has been made.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority on the applicability of the Kickstart scheme to employment in offices of Members of Parliament.

Engagement with stakeholders has been a vital part of developing the Kickstart Scheme. Throughout the rapid policy development phase, we have engaged with over 300 individual stakeholders and/or stakeholder organisations. This includes employers and business representative organisations, local and regional representatives, devolved administrations, and third sector organisations. Following the launch, we will continue to engage with organisations and reach out to those not yet consulted, such as the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, in order to encourage a wide range of delivery partners to support the scheme and make it a success.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what equality impact assessments her Department has undertaken on people who have been refused access to social security benefits as a result of being subject to No Recourse to Public Funds restrictions with in relation to (a) race and (b) other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

I can confirm that there have been no equality impact assessments undertaken. Non-UK nationals and family members who are issued with a residence permit with a NRPF condition are not eligible to access taxpayer-funded benefits such as Universal Credit, Child Benefit or housing assistance for the duration of their leave. Public funds does not include contributions-based benefits and the State Pension. DWP has no powers to award taxpayer-funded benefits to an individual whose Home Office immigration status specifies no recourse to public funds.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what equality impact assessments have been undertaken on the differential effect of No Recourse to Public Funds in relation to (a) race and (b) other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

The Home Office reviewed the policy on removing the No Recourse to Public Funds condition in relation to race and other protected characteristics earlier this year. A Policy Equality Statement was published in April and placed on GOV.UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880531/Policy_Equality_Statement__PES__21_April_2020.pdf

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to allow students in further and higher education to apply for Universal Credit during months when they are not in receipt of (a) grants or (b) loans from relevant awards agencies or loans companies.

Most students in full-time education do not qualify for Universal Credit (UC) unless an exception applies.

Under covid-19 regulations, those who do not receive student finance and who would ordinarily not have entitlement to UC, such as those undertaking a part-time course which would otherwise not be considered as compatible with the requirements for them to look for and be available for work, will have entitlement to UC. The DWP Secretary of State and Chief Secretary to the Treasury have agreed to dis-apply UC and both legacy and new style JSA work preparation, work search and availability requirements and related sanctions. This will initially be for a three-month period which commenced on the 30th March. After three months, consideration will be given as to whether a further extension is required.

Students are able to access funding to support their education courses through various loans and grants, which are the responsibility of the Department for Education (DfE). Students who do not ordinarily have entitlement to UC and who receive a maintenance loan or grant through the student finance system will continue to be able to draw upon this financial support until the end of this academic year. The adequacy of student finance is a matter for DfE.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants had their social security payments limited by the application of the benefit cap in (a) January (b) February (c) March and (d) April 2020 in each region of the UK.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. However, whilst the stats requested are not readily available, as part of a regular publication, new statistics for Benefit Cap Households to February 2020 are due to be published on Thursday 7th May at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-cap-statistics

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants had their social security payments limited by the application of the two child rule in (a) January (b) February (c) March and (d) April 2020 in each region of the UK

The information requested is currently not available. They will be issued in an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government's announcement of 20 March 2020 that the rate of universal credit standard allowance will be increased in response to the covid-19 outbreak, whether the Government plans to increase the rate of jobseeker's allowance.

There are no current plans to increase the amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance due to COVID19. Of course these benefits were increased by 1.7% from 6 April, following the Government announcement to end the benefits freeze in November 2019.

DWP and HMRC are experiencing significant increased demand and the Government has to prioritise the safety and stability of the benefits system overall, announcing measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised.

Taken together, DWP’s measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to COVID19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to improve outcomes for bowel cancer patients.

NHS England have been working with Cancer Alliances to facilitate the prioritisation and implementation of treatment-focussed recommendations from clinical audits and Getting It Right First Time reports that will make the biggest impact in terms of improving survival outcomes and reducing inequalities. This work was piloted in 2022/23 in lung cancer, and in 2023/24 this work is now expanding to cover three new tumour sites where there is an existing clinical audit: prostate, breast, and bowel.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the proposed reforms of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on the retention of (a) staff and (b) skills at the agency.

The Government has no proposed or planned reforms of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the BioIndustry Association and (b) other biotech industry representatives on the Government's proposed reforms to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The Government has no proposed or planned reforms of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Medicines Agency on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Since leaving the European Union, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has become an independent sovereign regulator. As set out in the Life Sciences Vision, MHRA is recognised as a global leader, playing a fundamental role in shaping global standards, acting with agility to allow safe and timely market access for vaccines, medicines, and technologies. MHRA received transitional funding from the Government from 2018 to 2020 and is primarily funded through fees, and also receives grant in aid funding from the Government. The Department receives regular updates on the performance and capacity of the MHRA through established mechanisms including quarterly and annual accountability reviews.

11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to replace the loss of European Union (a) resources and (b) staff at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Since leaving the European Union, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has become an independent sovereign regulator. As set out in the Life Sciences Vision, MHRA is recognised as a global leader, playing a fundamental role in shaping global standards, acting with agility to allow safe and timely market access for vaccines, medicines, and technologies. MHRA received transitional funding from the Government from 2018 to 2020 and is primarily funded through fees, and also receives grant in aid funding from the Government. The Department receives regular updates on the performance and capacity of the MHRA through established mechanisms including quarterly and annual accountability reviews.

11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of his Department's proposed reforms to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on the incentives for international pharmaceutical companies to approach the UK for regulatory approval of their products in the first instance.

There are no proposed reforms to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), therefore no assessment can be made on that basis. However, as set out in the Life Sciences Vision the MHRA is recognised as a global leader and plays a fundamental role in shaping global standards. As an independent sovereign regulator MHRA is able to act with agility to allow safe and timely market access for vaccines, medicines, and technologies to safeguard the health of the United Kingdom population.

17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Office of National Statistics on the funding of the Covid-19 Infection Survey beyond March 2023.

Discussions are ongoing on the future funding of the COVID-19 Infection Survey beyond March 2023, we are considering all options.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the potential merits of reforming visa regulations to enable more international trainee GPs to remain in the UK after completing their training.

Departmental officials are working with the Home Office to increase the number of practitioner (GP) practices registered as sponsors. NHS England is also improving the service to match newly qualified international GPs with practices in England to enable local planning and direct support to international medical graduates to find a recruiting practice.

NHS England is also increasing awareness with international medical graduates with guidance on preparing to enter the workforce, including applying for roles and visas.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a recovery and respite plan for unpaid carers.

We have no plans to publish a specific recovery and respite plan for carers. However, the white paper ‘People at the Heart of Care’ sets out the Government’s strategic approach to empower unpaid carers to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. We will invest up to £25 million to work with the sector on improving the services provided to support unpaid carers. We expect that this funding will identify and test new and existing initiatives, which could include respite and breaks, peer group and wellbeing support and how these could be combined to maximise the impact.

The Better Care Fund (BCF) will also be used to support carer breaks and respite services. The BCF Framework for 2022/23 will be published shortly and will ask that all local BCF partnerships set out how funding is used to support unpaid carers.

On 13 May 2022, I wrote to local authorities on the importance of respite support for carers and to understand any challenges in getting these services regaining full capacity.

Additionally, the Chancellor recently announced a package of support to help with the cost of living. Unpaid carers in low-income households will benefit from the Means-Tested Benefit Cost of Living Payment, and those living in the same household as the disabled person for whom they care will benefit from the disability Cost of Living Payment, while families with a pensioner in the household will benefit from the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 1110, NICE guideline on endometriosis diagnosis and management.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and reviews its published guidelines to determine whether they should be updated in light of new evidence or emerging issues not in the scope of the original guideline. NICE plans to review its guideline on endometriosis in 2022/23 to consider whether it should be updated.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 883, Campaign for an Osteogenesis Imperfecta national awareness month.

While we have no specific plans to officially recognise May as the national awareness month for osteogenesis imperfecta, the UK Rare Diseases Framework aims to improve the awareness of all rare diseases. England’s Rare Diseases Action Plan, published on 28 February 2022, sets out specific actions to increase knowledge and improve the resources available to health care professionals. This includes education and training programmes and developing innovative digital resources, integrated into existing digital platforms or websites to provide easily accessible information on rare diseases. Action plans from the devolved administrations will follow later in 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Glasgow North of 20 July 2021, reference PG23211.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 January 2022 to Question 93784.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Glasgow North of 20 July 21 with reference to case number PG23211.

We replied to the hon. Member on 16 December 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of covid-19 vaccines have been destroyed in the UK in each of the last 12 months as a result of (a) passing their expiration date or (b) any other reasons.

The information is not available in the format requested.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the UK joining the EU Digital Covid certificate scheme.

The NHS COVID Pass for international travel was launched on 17 May, prior to the European Union Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC). We have engaged with the European Commission on a technical basis to align the NHS COVID Pass with the EUDCC system. The United Kingdom already accepts the EUDCC as proof of vaccination for international travel, and UK COVID-19 certification is recognised in the majority of EU countries.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 479 on Staffing reductions at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

We support the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) objective to be a world-leading regulator that protects public health and puts patients first. As an executive agency of the Department, the MHRA will make a robust assessment of its transformation plans, including the structural changes involved.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure UK residents who have taken part in trials of the Valneva covid-19 vaccine are able to demonstrate to healthcare and other authorities that they are adequately vaccinated against covid-19.

All clinical trial participants can now gain access to a domestic NHS COVID Pass. Clinical trial participants who received the Valneva vaccine as part of their trial will continue to be able to prove their vaccination status and will be treated as fully vaccinated in domestic settings and at the United Kingdom border.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total amount of NHS charges that have been (a) charged to and (b) collected from refused asylum seekers was in each of the last ten years.

The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, include exemptions from charge for certain categories of vulnerable migrants and overseas visitors. Failed asylum seekers who are receiving state support are exempt from National Health Service charges on the basis of recognised barriers to return or because they have children. The Department continues to consider evidence relating to the Regulations under review, including evidence on charges for failed asylum seekers.

The Department does not hold the requested data on the amount charged to and collected from, failed asylum seekers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of exempting refused asylum seekers from NHS overseas charges.

The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, include exemptions from charge for certain categories of vulnerable migrants and overseas visitors. Failed asylum seekers who are receiving state support are exempt from National Health Service charges on the basis of recognised barriers to return or because they have children. The Department continues to consider evidence relating to the Regulations under review, including evidence on charges for failed asylum seekers.

The Department does not hold the requested data on the amount charged to and collected from, failed asylum seekers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with representatives of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on the time taken to publish updated guidance on Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is responsible for developing its guidelines in line with its established methods and processes.

NICE has advised that it plans to host a roundtable event in September to gain support for the guideline to ensure effective implementation.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to help support the recruitment and retention of medical and nursing staff.

We are on track to increase the number of nurses in the National Health Service by 50,000 over this Parliament. There are over 9,000 more nurses working in the NHS now compared to this time last year and 4,000 more doctors.

Applications to study nursing and midwifery are up 21% this year, following a 15% increase last year. Through the NHS People Plan we are working hard to support and retain the NHS workforce.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the total number of (a) covid-19 tests taken and (b) covid-19 tests returned positive by people required to go into managed isolation on arrival at the UK Border since the introduction of that requirement.

The data on the number of COVID-19 tests taken by people in managed quarantine is published as part of the weekly NHS Test and Trace statistics, which are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

The data on the number of COVID-19 tests returned positive by people in managed quarantine will be validated and published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the prioritisation of the covid-19 vaccination for foster carers.

Foster carers who are eligible for a vaccine because of their age or other clinical factors such as underlying health conditions, will have access to a vaccine in the first phase.

Phase two of the COVID-19 vaccine programme will cover all adults under 50 year old not already included in phase one. Prioritisation for phase two has not yet been decided, but interim advice by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends an age-based approach, which the Government has accepted in principle.

The JCVI has concluded that targeted vaccination to reduce transmission or give priority to occupational groups at higher risk of exposure would not be as effective or as fast in reducing mortality, morbidity and hospitalisation as direct protection of those at higher risk of serious disease.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 1314 on Sage care workers and cleaners.

All social care workers are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage. The National Living Wage is currently £8.72 an hour and applies to all workers aged 25 years old or over.

Our guidance has been clear that care workers should be paid their normal wages to self-isolate. The Infection Control Fund has given over £1.1 billion to support social care providers with the cost of infection control measures, including self-isolation pay. The Fund also supports providers with extra costs related to other infection prevention measures such as avoiding using public transport. In all other cases of illness other than COVID-19, eligible employees remain entitled to at least Statutory Sick Pay from the fourth qualifying day of sickness, paid by their employer.

Individual social care providers set the pay and terms and conditions for their staff. Since the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016, care worker pay has increased at a faster rate than before.

Health and safety concerns in the care sector are a matter for the Health and Safety Executive or relevant local authority and should be reported as appropriate. Employees are able to seek independent advice on matters of concern relating to their employment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 1340 on Fetal Pain.

The Department does not set clinical practice. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guidelines on ‘The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion’ and ‘Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, which are available at the following links:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on food business operators of the Food Standards Agency guidance on the co-location of food and pet food production, published on 21 December 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Food Standards Agency has produced the guidance for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to help Food Business Operators (FBOs) and enforcement agencies to better understand the controls and systems that must be put in place to manage the risks from the production of pet food in establishments that also produce food for human consumption. It was developed and published following a lengthy public consultation exercise and a high-level internal clearance process.

Food Standards Scotland has not been approached by FBOs in Scotland to approve co-located establishments and would consider any applications on a case-by-case basis.

This approach is only applicable to the manufacturing of pet food in approved/registered food establishments to the same high standards as for food for human consumption. This co-location of production is permitted in legislation and the guidance has been developed and published to assist food businesses and their enforcement agencies in improving their understanding of the controls and systems that must be in place.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on ensuring that asylum seekers are able to access the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly meets with the devolved administrations to discuss a range of topics. The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure successful delivery of the vaccination programme across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Entitlement to free National Health Service treatment is generally based on ordinary residence in the UK based on clinical need. As there is no charge for the COVID-19 vaccine, the immigration status of a patient is not relevant and therefore no proof of residence is required and there is no requirement to report anyone to the Home Office.

12th Jan 2021
What recent discussions he has had with (a) the devolved Administrations and (b) Cabinet colleagues on the Barnett consequentials of allocations from the Stronger Towns Fund for health and social care.

At the Spending Review last year, the Ministry for Housing,Communities and Local Government received funding for the Towns Fund, which includes the Stronger Towns Fund. Barnett consequentials do apply and are handled through the Ministry for Housing,Communities and Local Government and HM Treasury in this context.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the award of Government contracts to Medpro Ltd complied with procurement guidelines.

Contracting authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 using a direct award of a contract without a competitive tender process. The great majority of personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts let by the Department – including that for Medpro Ltd - were direct awards.

Suppliers are evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer in line with Departmental policy and procedures. All contracts have clauses in them that allow the Department to seek redress if the company supplies faulty products or misses delivery dates.

The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. Where any procurement meets the tests for the use of a direct award then that approach will be used. Where it does not, other approaches will be considered.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of adding nuclear medicine technologists to the list of professions registered with the Health and Care Professional Council.

The Government has no plans to extend statutory regulation to nuclear medicine technologists. Therefore, an assessment of the potential merits of bringing nuclear medicine technologists into statutory regulation has not been undertaken.

The statutory regulation of healthcare professionals should only be used where the risks to public and patient protection cannot be addressed in other ways, such as through employer oversight or accredited voluntary registration.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to evaluate the effectiveness of the contracts awarded by the Government in response to the covid-19 outbreak before awarding further contracts.

Contracting authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 using a direct award of a contract without a competitive tender process. The great majority of personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts let by the Department – including that for Medpro Ltd - were direct awards.

Suppliers are evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer in line with Departmental policy and procedures. All contracts have clauses in them that allow the Department to seek redress if the company supplies faulty products or misses delivery dates.

The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. Where any procurement meets the tests for the use of a direct award then that approach will be used. Where it does not, other approaches will be considered.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to review the process for awarding Government contracts related to the covid-19 outbreak in response to the report of the National Audit Office, published on 18 November 2020.

Contracting authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 using a direct award of a contract without a competitive tender process. The great majority of personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts let by the Department – including that for Medpro Ltd - were direct awards.

Suppliers are evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer in line with Departmental policy and procedures. All contracts have clauses in them that allow the Department to seek redress if the company supplies faulty products or misses delivery dates.

The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. Where any procurement meets the tests for the use of a direct award then that approach will be used. Where it does not, other approaches will be considered.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that face coverings sold privately for use by the general public are of a high standard and effective.

In the United Kingdom, face coverings are being sold by a large number of retailers online and in store. Details of a product’s conformance to any standards can be found under the product details section online, or on the packaging or label of the covering itself.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards has produced guidance for manufacturers and sellers of face coverings, which is available online.

In June 2020, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) approved a Workshop Agreement with performance requirements, methods of testing and uses of community face coverings.

The British Retail Consortium has released a specification for Textile Barrier Face Coverings designed for both disposable and reusable coverings. The specification sets out the design, performance and chemical requirements of coverings, as well as labelling instructions.

The British Standards Institution will not be creating a separate standard and intend to adopt the CEN Workshop Agreement. Copies of both the CEN and AFNOR documents are freely available for the public to download.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a response to EDM 521 on the UK law on disability-selective abortion.

Abortion is a sensitive area, Where there are strongly held moral and ethical views.

Parliament decided the circumstances under which abortion can legally be undertaken. It would be for Parliament to decide whether to make any changes to the law on abortion. As with other matters of conscience, abortion is an issue on which the Government adopts a neutral stance and allows Members to vote according to their moral, ethical or religious beliefs.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he plans to hold with his counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the findings of the Public Health England report on Disparties in the risk and outcomes of covid-19.

The Department is regularly in discussions with the devolved administrations at both ministerial and official level on a wide range of issues relating to COVID-19. COVID-19 presents a global challenge which requires a collaborative response. The Department will continue to work with the devolved administrations throughout the crisis and beyond.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) will be taking forward work off the back of Public Health England’s report on disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19. Stakeholder engagement will be a key part of that work, as set out in the Terms of Reference at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-steps-for-work-on-covid-19-disparities-announced

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using therapeutic plasma in the treatment of patients with covid-19.

On 25 April, the Department announced that the clinical trial REMAP-CAP was given approval to determine as part of a trial, if plasma donated by patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can help those with the virus. NHS Blood and Transplant has started to collect convalescent plasma to supply to REMAP-CAP and the first transfusion took place last week.

In parallel with the trial, NHS Blood and Transplant is scaling up a national programme for collecting plasma so the treatment can be widely rolled out if it is shown to be effective. The collection of plasma will be ramped up by mid-May to deliver up to 10,000 units of plasma to the National Health Service every week, enough to treat 5,000 COVID-19 patients per week.

Convalescent plasma has been used as an effective treatment for emerging infections in the past, and this step forward underpins the Department’s scientific approach to fighting this virus.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding his Department is providing for research into the potential merits of using therapeutic plasma in the treatment of patients with covid-19.

The Department invests £1 billion per year in health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR is prioritising clinical research activity on COVID-19 through its national prioritisation process for Urgent Public Health research. The REMAP-CAP trial is one of several studies that have been nationally prioritised. This is a platform clinical trial testing the effectiveness of multiple treatments on COVID-19 patients in intensive care. The NIHR is supporting prioritised studies such as REMAP-CAP to expedite their local set-up, management and delivery through the NIHR Clinical Research Network. As announced on 25 April, the Department is working in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant and the other United Kingdom blood services, Public Health England and NHS Digital to enable the testing of convalescent plasma through this trial. Details of funding for this will be made publicly available shortly.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using camostat mesylate in the treatment of patients with covid-19.

There are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19 and full evaluation of the merits of any potential treatments can only be made once clinical trials involving COVID-19 patients have been completed. The United Kingdom Government is considering a wide range of potential treatments in the current UK clinical trials. Drugs representing a range of relevant modes of action including - but not limited to - serine protease inhibitors, such as camostat, are being reviewed and prioritised by a panel of experts so that the most promising are put into clinical trials first.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the continued supply of isotope species for medical (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment after the transition period.

The United Kingdom has now left the European Union and entered the transition period, which will run until 31 December 2020.

EU regulations on medicines and medical devices, including medical radioisotopes, will continue to apply to the UK throughout the transition period, during which we will negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU.

All necessary measures are in place to ensure that civil nuclear sector can continue to operate in the UK after the end of the transition period.

Both the EU and the UK are committed to agreeing a future partnership by the end of 2020 and are working to achieve this. It is in the interests of both the UK and the EU to agree a future partnership that keeps goods flowing, services being provided, and business being done.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what representations he has made to his Pakistani counterpart on the persecution of Christians in that country.

The UK strongly condemns violence and persecution against Christians in Pakistan.  The former Foreign Secretary raised the persecution of religious communities, including attacks against the Christian community in Jaranwala, with Pakistan's Prime Minister, Anwaral Haq Kakar on 25 September.  On 21 August, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia wrote to Pakistan's caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, urging the Government to ensure the safety of the Christian community following the attacks in Jaranwala.  Lord Ahmad also raised the issue with Foreign Minister Jilani when they met on 13 September and in his meeting with the Pakistani High Commissioner on 6 September.

Alongside our diplomatic engagement, UK programmes seek to address the challenges faced by religious minorities in Pakistan. Our Aawaz II programme brings together community leaders and minority representatives to promote tolerance and reduce violence, and our Hate Speech and Disinformation programme works is working to protect marginalised communities from hate speech online.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent (a) violence against and (b) the persecution of Christians in Pakistan.

The UK strongly condemns violence and persecution against Christians in Pakistan.  The former Foreign Secretary raised the persecution of religious communities, including attacks against the Christian community in Jaranwala, with Pakistan's Prime Minister, Anwaral Haq Kakar on 25 September.  On 21 August, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia wrote to Pakistan's caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, urging the Government to ensure the safety of the Christian community following the attacks in Jaranwala.  Lord Ahmad also raised the issue with Foreign Minister Jilani when they met on 13 September and in his meeting with the Pakistani High Commissioner on 6 September.

Alongside our diplomatic engagement, UK programmes seek to address the challenges faced by religious minorities in Pakistan. Our Aawaz II programme brings together community leaders and minority representatives to promote tolerance and reduce violence, and our Hate Speech and Disinformation programme works is working to protect marginalised communities from hate speech online.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what steps his Department is taking to help provide humanitarian support following the recent outbreak of cholera in Malawi.

The UK was a key partner during Malawi's worst ever cholera outbreak in 2022/23, disbursing emergency funds, deploying an Emergency Medical Team and leveraging additional funding from other donors in support of the Government of Malawi's response. Although numbers are much reduced this cholera season, The BHC Lilongwe team continues to monitor the data and work with Ministry of Health and development partners to support the response and mitigate the risk of another outbreak. This includes recent new funding for resilience and preparedness activities in affected districts through our bilateral health programme, as well as pulling in support from a Centrally Managed health security programme (TDDAP2) to build the capacity of Malawi's health system and institutions to prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies such as cholera.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what support his Department is providing to organisations promoting freedom of religion or belief in Nigeria.

Rising insecurity in Nigeria has affected all faith and non-faith communities, including Christians. UK Government officials and I regularly raise freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), including the impact of insecurity on communities and the need to bring perpetrators to justice, with the Nigerian Government. The UK supports Nigeria to deliver on its constitutional commitment to FoRB through our development programming and security cooperation. We have funded peacebuilding projects to build dialogue between religious groups and, through the Strengthening Peace and Resilience in Nigeria programme, will help Nigeria to tackle the causes of intercommunal conflict.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what recent discussions he has had with counterparts in Nigeria on violent persecution of Christians in that country.

Rising insecurity in Nigeria has affected all faith and non-faith communities, including Christians. UK Government officials and I (Minister Mitchell) regularly raise Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), including the impact of insecurity on communities and the need to bring perpetrators to justice, with the Nigerian Government. In August 2023, the former Foreign Secretary discussed insecurity with President Tinubu and the National Security Advisor Nuhu Ribadu. In January 2024, the British High Commissioner raised the recent attacks in Plateau with the Nigerian National Security Adviser. Across Nigeria, the High Commissioner and his team work closely with the authorities, local communities and faith leaders to raise and address these issues, including through engagement with the Nigeria Governors' Forum, National Peace Committee and National Human Rights Commission.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Ethiopia on the treatment of prisoners from the Amhara community in the Awash Arba military camp.

We regularly raise human rights issues in our interactions with Ethiopian interlocutors. In August, the UK's ambassador to Ethiopia met with the Regional President of Amhara and highlighted the need to ensure the protection of civilians and meaningful dialogue to end hostilities. The Foreign Secretary also spoke with his counterpart in December when he raised the conflict in Amhara.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he will issue guidance for individuals considering travelling to (a) Israel and (b) Palestine with the intention of fighting in Gaza.

The UK recognises the right of British nationals with more than one nationality to serve in the armed forces of their additional nationalities. The Israel Defence Force is a recognised armed force and British nationals can volunteer for service with them. FCDO Travel Advice provides British nationals with information on the risks of travelling or living abroad, including in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories This guidance can be found on Gov.uk. Anyone who travels to conflict zones to engage in unlawful activity should expect to be investigated upon their return to the UK. Decisions on prosecutions are taken independently by the police and Crown Prosecution Service on a case-by-case basis.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what steps his Department is taking to help secure the release of UK nationals who are being arbitrary detained overseas.

The FCDO takes all allegations of human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, seriously. We tailor our support to British nationals depending on their specific circumstances, and what we consider to be in their best interests. Where appropriate, we raise allegations with the local authorities, often engaging at the highest levels. We expect all States to abide by their international human rights obligations.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what discussions his Department has had with its Iranian counterparts on the imprisonment of Alaa Abdel Fattah.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is detained in Egypt. The FCDO has not raised his case with the Iranian Government. Ministers and officials continue to raise Mr El-Fattah's case at the highest levels with the Egyptian government. The Prime Minister has raised Mr El-Fattah's case with President Sisi on a number of occasions, most recently on 1 December on the margins of COP28.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what discussions his Department has had with its Iranian counterparts on the imprisonment of Mehran Raoof.

We are supporting the family of Mr Mehran Raoof and have raised his case with the Iranian government. Mr Raoof's welfare is a top priority. It remains in Iran's gift to release any British National who has been unfairly detained. We urge the Government of Iran to stop its practice of unfairly detaining British and other foreign nationals. We will continue to work with like-minded partners to that end.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Colombia about reported criminalisation of environmental defenders in that country.

UK Ministers and senior officials regularly discuss human rights, security, and environmental issues with the Colombian Government. Most recently we attended the 44th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 7 November to discuss the human rights situation in Colombia with the Colombian Government. We recommended strengthening prevention mechanisms and advancing timely, independent, and impartial criminal investigations into allegations of attacks and threats against environmental activists.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether his Department has had discussions with the Colombian government on the compliance of AngloGold Ashanti with the referendum rejecting mining operations in Cajamarca.

During his visit to Colombia last May, the former Foreign Secretary met with President Petro and Foreign Minister Leyva to discuss shared priorities, including the environment and sustainable development. Whilst this specific company was not discussed, Colombia is an FCDO Human Rights Priority Country and since 2020, UK funding has supported the development of guides for joint risk assessments between extractive companies, public security forces and communities to help prevent community-corporate conflicts. We expect businesses to respect local and international law wherever they operate and look to extractive companies to comply with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether HM Embassy Bogota has met Robinson Arley Mejia Alonso to discuss his security situation.

On 12 September 2023, officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London met Robinson Arley Mejía Alonso to discuss his security situation. Officials at our Embassy in Bogotá will look to schedule a further meeting with him in Colombia at the next available opportunity.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has had discussions with his (a) international counterparts and (b) delivery partners in Malawi on the impact of the devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha on the delivery of UK aid-funded programmes in that country.

The approval of an $178 million Extended Credit Facility (ECF) in Malawi reflects important reform progress by the Government of Malawi to boost economic growth. The recent 44 per cent exchange rate realignment was a tough, but necessary measure to secure an ECF, as foreign exchange reserves were critically low and the overvalued currency was hampering export competitiveness. The UK development programme in Malawi will continue to provide support over this period of economic adjustment. In coordination with other partners, this support will include prioritising additional support for those facing food insecurity, through providing cash and food.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Government's pledge to spend £11.6 billion on international climate finance between 2021 and 2026, what steps his Department plans to take to support the delivery of that pledge.

We are delivering on our commitment to spend £11.6 billion International Climate Finance (ICF). The Written Ministerial Statement on International Climate Finance published on 17 October showed that we spent over £3.2 billion ICF in 2021/22 and 2022/23. It also sets out the trajectory of spend for the remaining three years of the pledge, providing all-important certainty and predictability for our developing country partners.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the reduction in the annual aid budget on the UK's ability to fulfill its commitment to support developing countries to tackle climate change, as announced on 21 September 2023.

We are delivering on our commitment to spend £11.6 billion International Climate Finance (ICF). The Written Ministerial Statement on International Climate Finance published on 17 October showed that we spent over £3.2 billion ICF in 2021/22 and 2022/23. It also sets out the trajectory of spend for the remaining three years of the pledge, providing all-important certainty and predictability for our developing country partners.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the impact of the Government's climate finance spending on climate vulnerable countries.

The recently published ICF Results (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/651fb0a97309a1000db0a99e/UK_International-Climate-Finance_Results_2023_rev.pdf) report shows that more than a 100 million people in developing countries have been directly supported to adapt to the effects of climate change through UK International Climate Finance. In addition, almost 70 million people and over 250 institutions have been provided with improved access to clean energy. At COP27 the UK committed to triple its adaptation climate finance from £500 million in 2019 to £1.5 billion in 2025. The UK also committed to helping climate vulnerable countries to better access finance through a new approach being pioneered by the UK co-led Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with cabinet colleagues about human rights in Saudi Arabia; and whether he has raised these issues with his Saudi Arabian counterpart.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly. Saudi Arabia remains an FCDO Human Rights Priority Country. We will continue to discuss human rights with the Saudi authorities through a range of Ministerial and official channels.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to make representations on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia with the Crown Prince of that country during his visit.

Saudi Arabia remains an FCDO Human Rights Priority Country. Our latest published assessment of human rights in Saudi Arabia can be found in the 2022 FCDO Human Rights and Democracy Report. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia enables us to engage candidly on human rights. The Minister for the Middle East, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, regularly discusses human rights with the Saudi authorities, including the Saudi Vice Foreign Minister and Saudi Ambassador in London. Lord Ahmad, senior HMG officials, and non-governmental figures and organisations engaged in constructive dialogue with the Saudi Human Rights Commission during their first official visit to the UK on 26-29 September. We will continue to discuss human rights with the Saudi authorities through a range of Ministerial and official channels.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the adequacy of the Saudi Arabian human rights record in preparation for the visit by the Crown Prince of that country.

Saudi Arabia remains an FCDO Human Rights Priority Country. Our latest published assessment of human rights in Saudi Arabia can be found in the 2022 FCDO Human Rights and Democracy Report. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia enables us to engage candidly on human rights. The Minister for the Middle East, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, regularly discusses human rights with the Saudi authorities, including the Saudi Vice Foreign Minister and Saudi Ambassador in London. Lord Ahmad, senior HMG officials, and non-governmental figures and organisations engaged in constructive dialogue with the Saudi Human Rights Commission during their first official visit to the UK on 26-29 September. We will continue to discuss human rights with the Saudi authorities through a range of Ministerial and official channels.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the human rights of the Saharawi people.

The UK is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide, including in Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps. We have consistently supported language in relevant UN Security Council Resolutions that encourages the parties to continue their efforts to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in Western Sahara, including the freedoms of expression and association. We strongly support the work of Staffan de Mistura, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, and welcomed his September 2023 visit to the region, including to Western Sahara, and we continue to engage key partners to encourage constructive engagement with the political process.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help prevent breaches of international humanitarian law in Western Sahara.

The UK is committed to the promotion of respect for International Humanitarian Law worldwide. With regard to Western Sahara, we strongly support the work of Staffan de Mistura, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, and welcomed his September 2023 visit to the region, including to Western Sahara, and we continue to encourage constructive engagement with the political process.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to provide support for (a) victims of the violence and (b) protesters in Suwayda in Syria.

The FCDO is following the protests in Suweida closely. The UK's permanent representative to the UN drew global attention to the protestors' cause in the UK's statement to the UN Security Council on 27 September. We condemned the regime's use of violence against peaceful demonstrators and demanded Damascus' adherence to international human rights standards. We will continue to monitor the situation and urge the regime to treat protestors with dignity respect. It is vital that Assad heed their calls for regime participation in the political process established by UNSCR 2254.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of UK Official Development Assistance in Syria.

FCDO aid budget is allocated in accordance with UK strategic priorities against a challenging financial climate.

There is a robust framework in place for allocating Official Development Assistance (ODA). In 2023, the UK committed up to £150 million at the Brussels Pledging Conference and up to £43 million to support the response to the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, raising our total commitment to over £3.8 billion.

However, the situation's scale is immense, with Syria's overall aid requirements for 2023 only 29.44% funded. HMG encourages all international actors to do everything possible to ensure that sufficient aid reaches those in need.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether officials in his Department have had discussions with their counterparts in Colombia on the adoption of collective and comprehensive protection measures for communities experiencing violence by armed groups in that country.

During his visit to Colombia last May, the Foreign Secretary met with the Colombian Foreign Minister to discuss our ongoing support to peace and security in Colombia. Through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), which has committed £79 million since 2015, the UK is helping the Colombian Government to strengthen the institutional capacity of the National Protection Unit and civil society organisations involved in the security and participation of communities in conflict-affected areas.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to support the adoption of a national action plan for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in Colombia.

The UK is committed to supporting the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda in Colombia. The UK has provided support to the development of Colombia's first WPS National Action Plan through co-funding consultation workshops with women's rights organisations across the country. We will continue to collaborate with the Colombian government to support implementation.

Colombia is also a FCDO Human Rights Priority country and focus country for the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) Strategy. The Colombian Government is a vice-chair of the UK-founded International Alliance on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. At the UN Security Council, we consistently highlight gender issues related to the implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has taken recent steps with international counterparts to help tackle gender-based violence in Colombia.

The UK is committed to supporting the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda in Colombia. The UK has provided support to the development of Colombia's first WPS National Action Plan through co-funding consultation workshops with women's rights organisations across the country. We will continue to collaborate with the Colombian government to support implementation.

Colombia is also a FCDO Human Rights Priority country and focus country for the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) Strategy. The Colombian Government is a vice-chair of the UK-founded International Alliance on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. At the UN Security Council, we consistently highlight gender issues related to the implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Colombia's recently established Ministry of Equality and Equity.

We welcome the creation of the Ministry for Equality and stand ready to further support the Vice President, in her capacity of Minister for Equality, and her Vice Ministers, as the new Ministry takes shape. During her visit to Colombia in April, the UK's Global Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, met with Colombia's Presidential Counsellor for Women's Equality to discuss advancing the rights of women and girls. Since 2015, the UK has committed £79 million through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) to support the peace process and improve stability and security in Colombia.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of coca substitution programmes in Colombia on levels of (a) coca production and (b) alternative economic opportunities for local coca growers in that country.

Colombia remains one of the largest producers of coca, which continues to fuel violence in some areas of the country as illegal armed groups fight for control of territory. We commend the Colombian Government's commitment to tackling the root causes of insecurity and to developing sustainable livelihoods for those living in conflict-affected areas. We remain committed to working with Colombia and international partners, including through our contribution to a multi-donor $2 million project for crop substitution and food security.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has provided (a) financial and (b) technical assistance to the (i) police and (ii) military in Colombia in the last 12 months.

Since 2015, the UK has committed £79 million through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) to support the peace process and improve stability and security in Colombia.  As part of the CSSF funding in Colombia, the UK launched a three year, £2.1 million Police Innovations for Stabilisation in Colombia Programme (SCIP) in 2020, which is helping the transformation of the Colombian National Police.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department (a) is providing and (b) plans to provide support to Colombia to help enable (i) structural reform of the National Police, (ii) a review of the protocols for the use of force and weapons and (iii) greater protection for the right to peaceful assembly.

Whilst structural reform and internal reviews are a matter for the Colombian Government, we are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and that the right to peaceful assembly and association must be guaranteed. Through the Conflict, Security, and Stabilisation Fund (CSSF) in Colombia, the UK launched a three year, £2.1 million Police Innovations for Stabilisation in Colombia Programme (SCIP) in 2020, which is helping the transformation of the Colombian National Police. The SCIP aims to contribute to the modernisation of the police service by scaling up and improving police practices with a preventive approach, focusing on i) building links and trust with communities to improve relations and reduce conflict; ii) putting human rights first when managing social tensions and preventing violence; iii) developing and implementing strategies for tackling and preventing gender-based violence.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on older people’s health care ahead of the United Nations High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September 2023.

The UK is committed to championing universal health coverage (UHC). In the 2019 Political Declaration on UHC, United Nations Member States committed to promote healthy and active ageing and to respond to the needs of ageing populations. We have been with other Member States to retain and build on that commitment at the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting. We continue to work with country partners, civil society and global organisations such as the World Health Organization on integrated and equitable approaches to strengthening health systems and achieving universal health coverage that meet the needs of people of all ages.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2023 to Question 190052 on British Indian Ocean Territory: Resettlement, whether his Department has ever considered the people removed from the British Indian Ocean Territory in the 1960s to have been inhabitants of that Territory.

The UK has made clear its deep regret about the manner in which Chagossians were removed from the British Indian Ocean Territory in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The islands were uninhabited until the French established copra plantations using enslaved people specifically brought to the Archipelago for this purpose from 1793. In 1814, the islands were ceded to the UK by France.

Over time, workers were recruited from Asia and Africa. By the time of their removal, all those on the islands were employees of the copra plantations or family members of an employee and were present on the islands because of the circumstances of that employment

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of using Official Development Assistance funding for programmes by the Home Department on his international development priorities.

Under the OECD rules, some support provided to asylum seekers or refugees is ODA-eligible for their first year in the UK if they came from ODA-eligible countries.

The UK uses internationally agreed OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) rules to determine what spending is classified as ODA.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Pakistani counterparts on allegations of (a) arbitrary detentions, (b) violent human rights violations, (c) torture of political prisoners and (d) targeting of journalists committed by Pakistani security forces.

We are aware of reports of detainments and human rights violations in Pakistan and continue to monitor the situation closely. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, spoke to the High Commissioner for Pakistan to the UK, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, on 9 May and to Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, on 10 and 13 May, where he emphasised the importance of peaceful democratic rights, including the right to protest, adherence to the rule of law, and transparency in legal processes. Where there are allegations of human rights violations, we expect these to be fully investigated in line with international human rights law.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 1253, Eritrea and the UN Human Rights Council, tabled on 5 June 2023.

We continue to take an active interest in the human rights situation in Eritrea and particularly press for national service reform and the end of arbitrary detentions, including for those detentions based on religion or belief. All of those who have been unfairly and unjustly incarcerated must be released. We urge implementation of the recommendations from the last Universal Periodic Review for Eritrea in 2019, and respect for the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Eritrea. We will be making a statement to this effect at the UN Human Rights Council's 53rd Session during an Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of legislating to incentivise private creditors to participate in debt relief for low-income countries.

The UK, alongside the G20 and Paris Club, expect private creditors to participate in debt restructurings on terms at least as favourably as bilateral (i.e. country) creditors.

The Government is focused on delivering a market-based (contractual) approach to private sector participation, for example recently developing Majority Voting Provisions for private loans.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
12th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to restore access to immunisation services around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted global health and immunisation. The UK Government is committed to supporting efforts to get routine immunisation back on track and has committed £1.65 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance from 2021-2025 to support their mission to immunise 300 million children and save up to 8 million lives from vaccine preventable diseases over this period.

Alongside our Gavi investment, we are committed to working with countries and with the wider international community to focus efforts on building stronger primary health systems for the future as a core part of restoring immunisation services around the world.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
12th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) whereabouts and (b) wellbeing of the Nigerian women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok in 2014.

The UK Government condemns the abduction and continued captivity of children by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) in North East Nigeria. This includes the 2014 kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls, around 100 of whom are understood still to be missing. I [Andrew Mitchell] raised this case specifically with incoming Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu, in December 2022. Through the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership, we have also provided mentoring and capacity building for the Nigerian Police Force to improve their response to kidnappings. We remain committed to supporting the Nigerian Government to secure the release of all those held captive.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to attend the United Nations Horn of Africa Conference 2023: High-level pledging event for the humanitarian response in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia on 24 May 2023.

Alongside Italy, Qatar, the USA and UN the UK will co-host a humanitarian pledging conference for the Horn of Africa on 24 May in New York. We will share details about Ministerial involvement at this event in due course.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made changes to its advice on the eligibility of British citizens who hold dual nationality for evacuation from Sudan since 18 April 2023.

Our priority has always been the safe evacuation of British Nationals, including dual nationals, and their eligible dependents. The UK has conducted the largest evacuation of any Western country from Sudan. As of 2 May the UK has facilitated the departure of over 2300 people, of which over half were British nationals or dual nationals.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 1064, 20th anniversary of shooting of Tom Hurndall, tabled on 17 April 2023.

The UK strongly believes that journalists and international aid workers should be able to conduct their work without obstructions. We recognise the Government of Israel's need to deploy security forces in order to defend itself but encourage Israel to deploy these in a way which minimises tension and to use appropriate force. In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we have advocated swift, transparent investigations.

The UK's position on settlements is clear. They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution. We want to see a contiguous West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 lines. We urge Israel to halt its settlement expansion.

The UK is a strong supporter of the International Criminal Court and we respect the independence of the Court. We do not consider that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance as the UK does not currently recognise Palestinian statehood.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in Somalia on reports of the use of the death penalty, including for teenagers, in the Puntland state of that country.

The UK Government is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country. Somalia is party to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which forbids executions of minors, including those who were minors at the time of their alleged crimes. We continue to lobby Somali authorities to uphold their commitments under the Convention and withhold from dispensing the death penalty to those underage. This includes Puntland, where we raised this issue with the Minister of Interior on 19 February. Children remain under threat across Somalia, including from recruitment into armed conflict, and we continue to lobby the Government to pass the Child Rights Bill to provide a foundation for children's rights in Somalia and encourage accountability.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to raise the issue of the mandatory residential school-system in Tibet with his Chinese counterparts at the G7.

We are aware of reports of human rights violations in Tibet, including severe restrictions on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), Tibetans dying in custody, coercive control, labour transfer schemes and Tibetan parents being coerced and intimidated into sending their children to boarding schools. We continue to raise the situation in Tibet with the Chinese authorities. We also coordinate with partners to draw international attention to the human rights situation in Tibet. In June 2022, a UK led lobbying effort helped to secure the support of 46 other countries for a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) which highlighted the situation in Tibet and called on the Chinese authorities to abide by their human rights obligations. In March, we raised the issue of boarding schools in our Item 4 statement at the UN HRC. We will continue to press China to cease human rights violations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Chinese counterparts on the mandatory residential school system for children in Tibet.

We are aware of reports of human rights violations in Tibet, including severe restrictions on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), Tibetans dying in custody, coercive control, labour transfer schemes and Tibetan parents being coerced and intimidated into sending their children to boarding schools. We continue to raise the situation in Tibet with the Chinese authorities. We also coordinate with partners to draw international attention to the human rights situation in Tibet. In June 2022, a UK led lobbying effort helped to secure the support of 46 other countries for a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) which highlighted the situation in Tibet and called on the Chinese authorities to abide by their human rights obligations. In March, we raised the issue of boarding schools in our Item 4 statement at the UN HRC. We will continue to press China to cease human rights violations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support communities affected by Cyclone Freddy in (a) Malawi and (b) Mozambique.

The UK is working closely with the Governments of Malawi and Mozambique to respond to Cyclone Freddy. In Malawi, we are supporting the Emergency Operations Centre established in Blantyre and working closely with partners to rapidly identify the needs of those affected. We are looking at options for further UK support including to help those still stranded, to help manage trauma cases and to extend our support to tackle the ongoing cholera outbreak. In Mozambique, we are providing shelter and dignity kits for up to 30,000 people and providing extra funding to reduce the cholera risk.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking in Eritrea to help ensure the right to free in-country and beyond border movements for the people of that country.

Freedom of religion or belief, of the media and of travel are important rights. The British Embassy in Asmara regularly raises human rights issues with the Eritrean Government, with the freedom of religion or belief being one of the UK's priorities; the Embassy has consistently called for the release of those arbitrarily incarcerated for their religion. The UK has encouraged the Eritrean Government to implement in full the agreed recommendations of the 2019 UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, through which we have raised our views, and to cooperate with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Eritrea.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking in Eritrea to help ensure the right to access of information for the people of that country.

Freedom of religion or belief, of the media and of travel are important rights. The British Embassy in Asmara regularly raises human rights issues with the Eritrean Government, with the freedom of religion or belief being one of the UK's priorities; the Embassy has consistently called for the release of those arbitrarily incarcerated for their religion. The UK has encouraged the Eritrean Government to implement in full the agreed recommendations of the 2019 UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, through which we have raised our views, and to cooperate with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Eritrea.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help protect religious freedom in Eritrea.

Freedom of religion or belief, of the media and of travel are important rights. The British Embassy in Asmara regularly raises human rights issues with the Eritrean Government, with the freedom of religion or belief being one of the UK's priorities; the Embassy has consistently called for the release of those arbitrarily incarcerated for their religion. The UK has encouraged the Eritrean Government to implement in full the agreed recommendations of the 2019 UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, through which we have raised our views, and to cooperate with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Eritrea.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has taken recent steps to help support (a) peace building and (b) food security in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

During the Foreign Secretary's visit to Ethiopia in December 2022 he met Prime Minister Abiy and discussed the importance of peace for the whole of Ethiopia. The UK has welcomed the commitment in the November 2022 Pretoria peace agreement to implement a comprehensive national transitional justice policy and is encouraging the agreement's full implementation. The UK's Ambassador to Ethiopia discussed the violence in Oromia in a meeting with Justice Minister Gedion in March 2023. Through our Human Rights and Peacebuilding Programme the UK is supporting the investigative capacity of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and facilitating dialogue between groups from across Ethiopia. I [Minister Mitchell] announced a £16 million package of humanitarian funding in January 2023 which will support more than 600,000 people facing the impact of drought and conflict across Ethiopia, including Oromia, with food supplies and other nutrition support.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
13th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to the (a) the Government of Malawi and (b) non-governmental organisations working in Malawi to help support their response to the outbreak of cholera in that country.

The UK is monitoring the worsening cholera outbreak in Malawi and has allocated £500,000 towards the Government of Malawi's response. This will contribute to the establishment of community oral rehydration points, provision of urgent cholera supplies, strengthening measures to prevent spread of cholera, rapid water testing, and repair and treatment of boreholes. In addition, the UK has funded the deployment of technical support and provided funding to support the response in refugee camps. We have also provided technical support to the World Health Organisation (WHO) through the Standby Partnership network by deploying a water sanitation expert in Lilongwe this month to help tackle the cholera outbreak in Malawi. Further UK funding is also being disbursed through the humanitarian Start Fund to support cholera work in refugee camps through the non-governmental organisation Welthungerhilfe. The UK will continue to work together with all organisations to strengthen coordination and support partners using both human and financial resources to tackle the cholera outbreak.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions his Israeli counterpart on the withdrawal of residency rights from (a) Salah Hammouri and (b) other Palestinians living in Jerusalem.

We have called upon the Government of Israel to fully respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of human rights defenders and organisations and to allow them to freely operate in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories. 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.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to raise the killing of 15-year-old Jana Majdi Issam Assaf in Jenin with his Israeli counterparts.

I extend my sympathies to the family of Jana Majdi Issam Assaf. Whilst we recognise Israel's legitimate need to deploy security measures, we encourage Israel to deploy these in a way which minimises tension and use of appropriate force. In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we advocate for swift, transparent investigations. We will continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly the need to protect children, and urge restraint in the use of live fire.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Brazilian counterpart on the protection of human rights defenders in that country.

The UK is committed to promoting and defending the human rights of all individuals and regularly engages with government and civil society in Brazil on that basis. In October the Foreign Secretary spoke to Brazilian Foreign Minister Franҫa and shared with him our hope for peaceful elections in Brazil. At COP27, Lord Goldsmith met newly elected Lower House Representatives Sônia Guajajara and Joênia Wapichana, prominent indigenous rights leaders, with whom he discussed the effect of environmental crime on these communities. In Advanced Questions submitted to the Universal Periodic Review in November, the UK referenced the murders of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira and asked how Brazil intends to strengthen protections of human rights including for environmental and human rights defenders, as well as women at risk of trafficking and the LGBT+ community. We will continue to engage with relevant partners to raise these issues following President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's inauguration on 1 January 2023.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans his Department has to update the 2015 Conceptual Framework on Agriculture to incorporate the commitments the Government made on (a) the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture and (b) the new Sharm el-Sheikh Work Programme at COP27.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has no immediate plans to update the 2015 Conceptual Framework on Agriculture. However, the current Independent Commission for Aid Impact review "UK aid to agriculture in a time of climate change" is likely to provide useful insights that would inform any future update. Resilience to climate change and environmental sustainability was identified as an important cross-cutting priority in the Conceptual Framework and this priority was reflected in the UK Government's initiatives to address the climate and environment impacts of agriculture at COP26. This focus was continued at COP27, with a dedicated Agriculture and Adaptation Day, a new set of Priority Actions to deliver the Agriculture Breakthrough goal and an extended mandate for the Koronivia Joint Working Group on Agriculture.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote civic links between organisations in the UK and those in countries where UKaid funds programmes.

Civil society is critical for development, humanitarian and foreign policy outcomes. Encouraging international civic links is key to supporting civil society and more open, freer societies around the globe. The FCDO promotes these links in a range of ways, including through Ministerial visits, diplomatic activity and programme funding. For example, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy promotes new ways of engaging internationally, working with parliaments, political parties and civil society. Many of our UK civil society grant holders under UK Aid Direct and UK Aid Match also work in close partnership with civil society organisations overseas.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 581, "Protests in Iran".

The sentencing to death of protestors in Iran is abhorrent. I [Minister Rutley] condemned this tragic development in the House on 16 November. The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and will challenge the Iranian regime's violent response to protests. On 14 November, the UK sanctioned 24 individuals for violations of human rights in the repression of protests. This is on top of sanctions on 10 October against Iran's 'so called' morality police and seven security officials. On 24 November, the UK supported a successful Human Rights Council resolution to establish a UN investigation into the regime's appalling human rights violations. The FCDO is also working closely with the United States and partners to seek the removal of Iran from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much Official Development Assistance spending was disbursed in (a) lower-income countries, (b) middle-income countries and (c) the UK in (i) each of the last five financial years and (ii) the 2022-23 financial year.

The official source of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) data is Statistics on International Development (SID) which is published on a calendar year basis. 2021 is the latest year for which data is available.

Table 1 shows the volume of UK region/country specific bilateral ODA disbursed for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries. Table 2 shows the volume of 'in-donor' ODA expenditure. There may be overlap between the figures in Tables 1 and 2 in cases where in-donor expenditure has been made for the benefit of low and middle income countries.

Table 1: UK region/country-specific Bilateral ODA by recipient/beneficiary Income Group, 2017-2021

£ thousands

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Lower Income Countries

2,825,620

2,483,537

2,810,333

2,392,750

1,429,993

Middle Income Countries

1,941,247

2,015,102

2,179,761

1,841,208

1,385,238

Table 2: UK 'In-donor' ODA expenditure, 2017-2021

£ thousands

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

In-donor expenditure*

1,078,530

1,205,614

1,384,763

1,518,344

1,895,677

* In-donor expenditure includes part of the ODA-eligible running costs of FCDO and other ODA-spending departments, support to refugees/asylum seekers living in a donor country, development awareness, costs for UK experts and UK scholarships. By definition, it could include a small amount of spend in other donor countries.

Source: Statistics on International Development

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of spending by other Government Departments, including the Home Office, being classed as Official Development Assistance on his Department's funding for programmes tackling poverty in East Africa.

The FCDO has considered the impact of Official Development Assistance (ODA) pressures across the whole of the FCDO ODA budget, including on humanitarian work.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has held discussions with his counterparts in Israel on providing access for Palestinians to (a) cancer and (b) other medical treatment outside of the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

The British Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly raises the importance of regularised access to healthcare with the Israeli authorities. We recognise that under International Humanitarian Law, Israel, as the occupying power, has a duty of ensuring and maintaining public health to the fullest extent of the means available to it. The wounded and ill in Gaza and the West Bank should be able to access the urgent medical care they need.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his Israeli counterpart on access for Palestinians to (a) cancer and (b) other medical treatment outside of the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

The British Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly raises the importance of regularised access to healthcare with the Israeli authorities. We recognise that under International Humanitarian Law, Israel, as the occupying power, has a duty of ensuring and maintaining public health to the fullest extent of the means available to it. The wounded and ill in Gaza and the West Bank should be able to access the urgent medical care they need.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of the Israeli government’s handling of applications for permits for (a) patients, (b) companions and (c) health workers travelling in and out of the Palestinian Occupied Territories for medical treatment.

We continue to call on the Israeli authorities to end the restrictions on movement and access of essential healthcare workers, and Palestinians seeking medical services. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly raises the importance of regularised access to healthcare with the Israeli authorities. The wounded and ill in Gaza and the West Bank should be able to access the urgent medical care they need.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the outcome of the 2022 presidential election in Brazil on UK-Brazil relations.

The UK has a deep and longstanding relationship with Brazil. We share commitments to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and enjoy strong bilateral ties in security, trade, climate and nature. We will be working to further develop these alongside the new administration. As the Prime Minister has also done, the Foreign Secretary publicly congratulated President-elect Luis Inácio Lula da Silva following his election victory. We look forward to the UK and Brazil working together as we continue to strengthen our historic partnership.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the outcome of the 2022 presidential election in Brazil on the UK’s climate ambitions for COP27 in Egypt.

The UK and Brazil have been working together increasingly closely on climate and nature. Both our countries committed to the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26: we need to deliver on our climate and biodiversity pledges. At COP26 the UK committed £300 million to help protect the rainforest throughout the Amazonian biome through the International Climate Finance Programme. We welcomed Brazil's commitments to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2028 and restore 18 million hectares of forest by 2030. The UK looks forward to engaging with Brazil at COP27 and to working with this Brazilian government and the next to protect Earth's natural resources.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of climate change on global poverty levels among children and young people.

People in developing, lower-income, fragile and conflict affected states are disproportionately affected by climate change, especially those in marginalised groups such as women, people with disabilities and young people. The UK is committed to delivering an inclusive approach to climate and nature action. During our Presidency of COP26, countries agreed to a new Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment, promoting youth engagement and education. Through our International Climate Finance programming, we have directly helped 95,000,000 people to adapt to climate change since 2011, including children and young people. The UK will continue to support countries as they put climate risk at the centre of decision making.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the impact of poverty and climate change on children and young people in Zambia.

The UK has been instrumental in establishing a social protection system in Zambia which will reach one third of households by next year. This programme specifically targets vulnerable children through its focus on child-headed and women-headed households, and supports climate adaptation for the most vulnerable. FCDO also supports the UN to provide improved nutrition, focused on the first 1000 days of life, to break the cycle of poverty.

Under the UK-Zambia Green Growth Compact, we increased our support for small and medium-sized businesses in Zambia, because jobs and economic opportunities are the best route out of poverty for young people.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions have taken place between (a) officials and (b) Government ministers of the UK and Mauritius on sovereignty over the Chagos Islands (i) at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June 2022, (ii) at the UN General Assembly meeting in September 2022 and (iii) on any occasions after those events.

Former Prime Minister Johnson and former Foreign Secretary Truss met their Mauritian counterparts at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in June. Former Prime Minister Truss held a constructive meeting with the Mauritius Prime Minister at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77) in New York in September. These meetings included discussions on the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)/Chagos Archipelago. UK and Mauritian officials engage regularly.

The Foreign Secretary's Written Ministerial Statement (UIN HCWS354) of 3 November 2022 stated that the UK and Mauritius have decided to begin negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)/Chagos Archipelago.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with counterparts in the Republic of the Maldives on that country's support for the International Court of Justice's Advisory Opinion of 25 February 2019 and the United Nations Generally Assembly Resolution 73/295 of 22 May 2019 regarding sovereignty over the Chagos Islands.

We have regular discussions with the Government of Maldives on a wide range of issues.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report by the Association of Detainees and The Missing in Sednaya Prison entitled The Administrative Structure and Organizational Ties of Sednaya Prison, published October 2022, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department’s policies that crimes against humanity may be being carried out against detainees in Sednaya Prison.

We are closely monitoring the human rights situation in Syria, especially Sednaya. Our policy is clear; we condemn these violations. We have contributed over £14 million to help gather evidence and assist victims of human rights violations since 2012. We are the penholder for the Syria Human Rights Council Resolution, which highlights these issues and was last adopted in September. We use our position at the UN Security Council to draw international attention to ongoing human rights violations in Syria, including within prisons. At the Security Council this month, we will again urge the release of detainees and condemn these violations.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he expects to announce the UK's contribution to the 7th Replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is proud to be the Global Fund's third largest donor historically, investing over £4.4 billion since 2002. At the seventh replenishment pledging conference the UK committed to remain a strong supporter of the Global Fund. A Written Ministerial Statement will be laid before Parliament to confirm our pledge in the coming weeks.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support organisations working to ensure the safety and security of the Barahle refugee camp in the Afar region of Ethiopia.

The UK works closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) to support refugees in Ethiopia, including Eritrean refugees. Between 2016 and 2022 the UK contributed £34.8 million to assistance to refugees in Ethiopia in partnership with UNHCR. The British Embassy in Addis Ababa speaks regularly to the Government of Ethiopia, separately and in coordination with other countries about the safety, security and access to rights of all refugees in Ethiopia, including Eritreans.

The return to conflict between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian Government is catastrophic for the people of Ethiopia. Conflict is increasing displacement and making humanitarian access even more difficult. The UK is urging all parties to the conflict to guarantee unfettered humanitarian access by immediately ceasing hostilities.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the displacement of Eritrean refugees from the Barahle refugee camp in the Afar region of Ethiopia.

The UK works closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) to support refugees in Ethiopia, including Eritrean refugees. Between 2016 and 2022 the UK contributed £34.8 million to assistance to refugees in Ethiopia in partnership with UNHCR. The British Embassy in Addis Ababa speaks regularly to the Government of Ethiopia, separately and in coordination with other countries about the safety, security and access to rights of all refugees in Ethiopia, including Eritreans.

The return to conflict between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian Government is catastrophic for the people of Ethiopia. Conflict is increasing displacement and making humanitarian access even more difficult. The UK is urging all parties to the conflict to guarantee unfettered humanitarian access by immediately ceasing hostilities.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions with UK based NGOs on their response to food shortages in East Africa.

I met with both the Secretariat and members of the Disasters Emergency Committee on 22 July and 22 June respectively to discuss the crisis in East Africa. We will continue to have further discussions with NGOs on wider humanitarian requirements in East Africa and will build upon the productive and regular engagement that has been undertaken thus far.

13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish a response to Early Day Motion 36 on arrests in Hong Kong.

As Minister Cleverly set out in this House on 12 May, the Hong Kong authorities' decision to target leading pro-democracy figures including Cardinal Zen, Margaret Ng, Hui-Po-Keung and Denise Ho under the National Security Law is unacceptable.

Freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest, which are protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, are fundamental to Hong Kong's way of life.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what commitments she plans to secure at the upcoming meeting of G7 foreign ministers to help achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in health centres in developing countries.

Improving access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services, including in healthcare facilities, is a key global health priority for the FCDO. It forms a core part of the UK's new Ending Preventable Deaths of mothers, babies and children strategy published in December 2021, and is critical to our wider global health objectives.

The UK will continue to work with our international partners, including through the G7, to ensure WASH is included in efforts to prevent the spread of infections including COVID-19, to prevent future pandemics, and to reduce the threat of anti-microbial resistance. We will also continue to pursue these objectives through our membership of the "WASH In Healthcare Facilities" international taskforce, through our bilateral programming such as our innovative hand hygiene partnership with Unilever, and through our core multilateral funding including to the World Bank and the World Health Organisation.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with representatives of the UNHCR on the establishment of credible mechanisms to actively monitor the protection situation inside Syria and the conditions for safe, voluntary and dignified return to Syria for refugees who wish to do so.

While the UK Government hopes that Syrian refugees will, ultimately, be able to return home, we agree with the UN judgement that conditions in Syria do not currently allow this. We are engaged with the UNHCR on its framework review which will address these issues more closely. However, only a political solution under UN Security Council Resolution 2254 can ensure conditions safe for returns. UN Envoy Geir Pedersen has our full support in this effort.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make it her policy to increase the UK’s contribution to the UN country-based pooled fund at the 6th Brussels Conference on supporting the future of Syria and the Region on 9 to 10 May 2022.

The Syrian crisis is one of the UK's top priorities and we are one of the largest bilateral donors to the regional crisis, having committed over £3.7 billion since 2012. We will continue to provide support to humanitarian efforts and to increasing sustainable interventions to help Syrians support themselves, and will set out our pledge at the 6th Brussels Conference in due course.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to monitor and reduce the number of forced deportations of Syrian refugees from (a) Lebanon, (b) Turkey and (c) other neighbouring countries.

Syrians have a right to return to their homes voluntarily, in safety and dignity, in line with International Refugee, Human rights and Humanitarian Law. Any Syrian refugees volunteering to return to Syria must be doing so of their own free will as verified by UNHCR. Involuntary or forced returns (refoulement) are a violation of International Refugee, Human rights and Humanitarian Law.

The UK recognises the generosity of Turkey, Lebanon and other neighbouring counties in hosting millions of refugees from Syria and elsewhere. Our strong bilateral relationship and dialogue with Turkey on humanitarian and development issues ensure we remain engaged on the issue of refugees.

Likewise with Lebanon and other neighbouring countries where we have made it clear it is important they abide by the international commitments they have made on refugees and continue to uphold the principles of non-refoulement to enable refugee registration by UNHCR to resume.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether funds allocated by her Department to the Government of Rwanda under the terms of the UK and Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership announced on 14 April 2022 will be counted as Official Development Assistance.

The funding for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda is not from the Official Development Assistance budget.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussion she has with her international counterparts on providing support to Somaliland to deal with the impact of the fire at the Hargeisa market.

We were greatly saddened by the news of the fire at Hargesia market, which caused injuries and extensive damage to businesses. Our thoughts are with the people who have been affected. The UK is leading diplomatic and development response efforts on the ground. We have established, and are chairing, an international community coordination group, which is working with the Somaliland authorities to identify the necessary response.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking in its role as penholder on Yemen at the UN Security Council to help secure international support for an end to violence in that country.

The UK welcomes the UN-brokered two-month truce in Yemen, which began on 2 April, and the creation of a Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen on 6 April. After seven long years of conflict, a negotiated political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and end the humanitarian suffering. The UK will continue to use its diplomatic relations and role as penholder on Yemen in the UN Security Council to support efforts towards political dialogue and peace, including through coordinated statements, regular briefings of the UN Special Envoy and through the targeted use of sanctions. The UK continues to encourage the conflict parties to engage constructively with UN-led peace efforts.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help secure a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Yemen.

The UK welcomes the UN-brokered two-month truce in Yemen, which began on 2 April, and the creation of a Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen on 6 April. After seven long years of conflict, a negotiated political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and end the humanitarian suffering. The UK will continue to use its diplomatic relations and role as penholder on Yemen in the UN Security Council to support efforts towards political dialogue and peace, including through coordinated statements, regular briefings of the UN Special Envoy and through the targeted use of sanctions. The UK continues to encourage the conflict parties to engage constructively with UN-led peace efforts.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with her Nigerian counterpart on the imprisonment of Mubarak Bala, president of the Nigerian Humanist Association.

The UK Government has followed Mr Bala's case closely, and has raised his case on multiple occasions with the Nigerian authorities, including following his recent sentencing. We believe that the right of individuals to express opinions is essential to a free and open society.

We are concerned by the severity and length of sentence received by Mr Bala at trial. The British High Commissioner has expressed these concerns to the Kano State Government and the Nigerian President's Chief of Staff. We will continue to follow developments in Mr Bala's case closely, and will continue to stress the importance of Mr Bala being treated in full accordance with his human rights, the rule of law, and the Nigerian constitutional right to freedom of religion or belief.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact of ODA spending in response to the crisis in Ukraine on total ODA spending to above the 0.5 per cent of GNI target.

The response to Ukraine is a priority for the FCDO and the international community. The UK has committed £394 million in aid to the current crisis in Ukraine the breakdown of which is in the Foreign Secretary's letter to the IDC [https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/9404/documents/161135/default]. This will come from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget this year and over the next three financial years. This year's contribution will all be met from contingency and emerging departmental underspends. The Department is currently finalising allocations for the next 3 financial years based on the Spending Review outcome and these will be published in due course.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate she has made of the amount and proportion of her Department’s Official Development Assistance expenditure in response to the crisis in Ukraine that will be met from (a) contingency funds and (b) redeployment of previously assigned funds.

The response to Ukraine is a priority for the FCDO and the international community. The UK has committed £394 million in aid to the current crisis in Ukraine the breakdown of which is in the Foreign Secretary's letter to the IDC [https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/9404/documents/161135/default]. This will come from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget this year and over the next three financial years. This year's contribution will all be met from contingency and emerging departmental underspends. The Department is currently finalising allocations for the next 3 financial years based on the Spending Review outcome and these will be published in due course.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of 23 March 2022, Official Report, column 367, what assessment she has made of the impact of humanitarian aid spending in Ukraine on her Department’s existing ODA spending plans.

The response to Ukraine is a priority for the FCDO and the international community. The UK has committed £394 million in aid to the current crisis in Ukraine the breakdown of which is in the Foreign Secretary's letter to the IDC [https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/9404/documents/161135/default]. This will come from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget this year and over the next three financial years. This year's contribution will all be met from contingency and emerging departmental underspends. The Department is currently finalising allocations for the next 3 financial years based on the Spending Review outcome and these will be published in due course.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the level of support available to refugees from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds leaving Ukraine.

The UK has pledged £394 million of aid in response to the conflict in Ukraine, including £220 million of humanitarian assistance. This is delivered through humanitarian partners such as UNHCR, who are committed to providing aid in line with fundamental humanitarian principles, based solely on need and with no discrimination according to race (or other characteristic). A key part of the UK's humanitarian strategy in Ukraine is also to support humanitarian partners who record data and develop consolidated assessments of humanitarian needs, enabling us to ensure that our aid is delivered on an equitable basis.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with international partners on the situation for international students trapped at the campus of the Sumy State University in Ukraine.

We are monitoring reports of trapped civilians in Ukraine. The UK continues to call on Russia to implement an immediate ceasefire that allows civilians safe passage, and to enable humanitarian access for civilians to flee the violence. We are working with our partners to demand that Russia complies with its obligations under international humanitarian law.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support her Department is providing to communities in Malawi affected by Tropical Storm Ana.

Tropical storm Ana recently caused extensive damage to a densely populated and already food insecure part of Malawi. Earlier this month Tropical Storm Gombe affected many of the same areas. I spoke to President Chakwera on 2 February to express my condolences.

The UK has given financial support to the multi-donor 'Start Fund'. This helped address the immediate needs of over 20,000 storm victims in the worst-hit districts, providing cash, food and clean water. FCDO Malawi's Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change programme also works in flood-affected districts, providing longer-term support for recovery including cash, agricultural support and infrastructure.

10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in Mauritius regarding (a) its claim to sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, (b) transfer of the Outer Islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory to Mauritius and (c) the right to return and resettle for the Chagossian community, following the recent scientific expedition under a Mauritian flag to those islands.

In November 2016, the UK Government announced that resettlement of Chagossians could not be supported on the grounds of feasibility, defence and security interests and cost to the British taxpayer. There remains no right of abode in BIOT.

The UK is currently delivering an approximately £40 million ($50 million) Chagossian Support Package over a ten year period, to improve Chagossian livelihoods in the communities where they now live: in Mauritius, the Seychelles and the UK.

As close friends and Commonwealth partners we remain open to dialogue with Mauritius on issues of mutual interest, including BIOT and its Marine Protected Area (MPA). The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over BIOT, which we have held continuously since 1814.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department has taken to prepare support for the passage of potential refugees fleeing conflict in Ukraine.

The PM announced on 27 February a significant new package of humanitarian support for Ukraine and the region, including £40 million of funding and the deployment of humanitarian experts to the region following Russia's invasion of the country, and announced further emergency and humanitarian aid on 1 March. This package of funding will help partners stand up their response to the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the region, ensuring Ukrainians have access to basic necessities and medical supplies including; medicines, syringes, dressings and wound care packs, as people are forced to flee from their homes and seek safety. The UK experts will bolster the UK's support to countries surrounding Ukraine to receive and support the increasing flow of refugees fleeing the country - including providing logistics advice and analysis of needs on the ground.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she had with her counterpart in Somalia on the four teenage boys sentenced to death by military courts in that country on 31 January 2022.

The UK is aware of this case and is working with our international partners. It is a longstanding policy of the UK Government to oppose the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We believe that use of the death penalty undermines human dignity. There is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value, and any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that small-scale farmers in developing countries receive funding from the Government's climate finance commitments.

FCDO's existing agriculture portfolio contains programmes that are specifically designed to help smallholder farmers in the most climate vulnerable countries to adopt sustainable and resilient agricultural practices. For example, with UK International Climate Finance (ICF), we are supporting the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme (CASA) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) which help countries, producer organisations and agri-businesses to address climate change through the adoption of mitigation and adaptation technologies and much-needed related capacity building.

The most recent review of the wider FCDO portfolio on agriculture (available at https://www.casaprogramme.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CAPR-2020_May_Final.pdf) found that 20 million farmers had their income improved (earning a total of £320 million more) and four million smallholders increased their agricultural productivity over the period under consideration.

The UK has committed to doubling its spend on International Climate Finance (ICF) to £11.6 billion over the next five years and as we mobilise these funds we will continue to support the most vulnerable people, including farmers, adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much her Department spent on (a) water, (b) sanitation and (c) hygiene in healthcare facilities in each of the last three years.

Annual UK bilateral ODA spend on water and sanitation, can be found in the respective Annual Statistics on International Development publications: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development. UK bilateral Official Development Assistance spend on water and sanitation for the last three years for which data is available was: £207 million in 2018, £176 million in 2019, and £110 million in 2020. The results for 2021 will be published in autumn this year.

UK Official Development Assistance expenditure is recorded in line with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee coding. These codes do not specifically record water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) spend for healthcare facilities. However, we support WASH services in healthcare facilities in our policy work through the "WASH In Healthcare Facilities" international taskforce, through our bilateral programming such as our innovative hand hygiene partnership with Unilever, and through our core multilateral funding including via the World Bank and the World Health Organisation. We also provide funding to the UNICEF-WHO Joint Monitoring Programme to track overall progress on Water and Sanitation, this initiative publishes data on the situation of WASH in Healthcare facilities.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration’s most recent Marine Protected Area Management Plan on the UK’s relations with Mauritius.

The BIOT Administration produced a draft Conservation Management Plan for BIOT's Marine Protected Area in 2019. There are no plans to publish the Plan.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions officials in her Department have had with the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration on publication of its most recent Marine Protected Area Management Plan.

The BIOT Administration produced a draft Conservation Management Plan for BIOT's Marine Protected Area in 2019. There are no plans to publish the Plan.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans are in place to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The British Indian Ocean Territory Administration will be participating in the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Beacons.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish a response to EDM 836 on Detention of Professor Faizulla Jalal.

We welcome the release of Professor Faizullah Jalal. Following his arrest, we joined international partners in raising our concern over his detention. FCDO officials continue to regularly raise human rights with the Taliban, including the importance of freedom of expression. We will continue to work closely with others to call for freedom of the media to be respected in Afghanistan, to respond to human rights violations and abuses and to push for those responsible to be held to account.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish a response to EDM 784, on Shortage of Medicines in Malawi.

As recently covered in international media, Malawi faces regular stock-outs of essential drugs, exacerbated by the global impact of Covid-19 on the cost of commodities including drugs. The UK is helping to address the underlying causes by working with the Government of Malawi and development partners to help make better and more efficient use of limited resources. We are advocating, through the Health Donor Group, for Malawi's Government to increase budgetary allocations and per-capita spending on health, and are working with the Government on their next Health Sector Strategic Plan and Health Financing strategy.

The UK funded Umoyo Wathu (Our Health) programme in Malawi aims to improve the health and survival of the most vulnerable, focusing on women and children. It helps to improve the quality of life-saving primary and community healthcare services; improve equitable resourcing and management of services; and strengthen accountability in district-level health service delivery. Through this programme, we are supporting the Ministry of Health to upgrade health facilities and provide cost free access to health services, including drugs, in remote areas. We are also working with UN partners to improve integration and quality of maternal, neonatal and child health services at district level.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the decision by Israel officials to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organisations.

The decision by the Israeli authorities to designate six Palestinian NGOs and the evidence which forms the basis of these designations is a matter for the Government of Israel. The UK maintains its own criteria for designation. We continue engagement with a number of these organisations on human rights issues and respect the role that NGOs and civil society organisations play in upholding human rights and democracy.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her Israeli counterpart on Israel's classification of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organisations.

The decision by the Israeli authorities to designate six Palestinian NGOs and the evidence which forms the basis of these designations is a matter for the Government of Israel. The UK maintains its own criteria for designation. We continue engagement with a number of these organisations on human rights issues and respect the role that NGOs and civil society organisations play in upholding human rights and democracy.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of work carried out by NGOs in Palestine.

We have not attempted to assess the effectiveness of every NGO working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We are clear that human rights and civil society organisations have a vital role to play in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including those focused on Israel's conduct in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to support the (a) delivery, (b) transport and (c) deployment of covid-19 vaccines in the developing world.

The UK is committed to ending the acute phase of the pandemic as soon as possible, and strongly supports the COVAX Facility as a key mechanism to deliver this. UK support for delivering vaccinations has been channelled through our investments in multilateral partners. The UK is one of the largest donors to the COVAX's Advance Market Commitment (AMC). Our £548 million commitment will support the COVAX AMC to deliver up to 1.8 billion doses for up to 92 low and middle-income countries. The COVAX Facility is a multilateral mechanism that pools resources to accelerate the development, manufacture, and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX and its Alliance partners work closely with governments to ensure robust and transparent distribution, and reporting plans are in place to ensure priority groups are reached.

Health system capacity, demand, and vaccine hesitancy are key factors in effective vaccine roll outs. Through the FCDO's Africa Vaccine Confidence Campaign, the UK is working with experts at Wits University in South Africa to build vaccine confidence. Along with COVAX partners, the UK is also working with countries to help health systems be better prepared in delivering vaccines. This includes engaging with communities and their leaders to build trust, provide correct information, and encourage uptake.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential implications for her policies of the announcement by the CEO of Serum Institute in India, Adar Poonawalla, that it will halve production of covid-19 vaccines.

The UK is committed to help bring the acute phase of the pandemic to an end as soon as possible and strongly supports the COVAX Facility as a key mechanism to deliver this. As of 17 December, over 738 million have been delivered by COVAX to 144 participants. COVAX continues to actively work to diversify supply bases and finalise new deals to manage ongoing risks and uncertainty. India, along with several other countries, will continue play a vital role in helping to meet international targets for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in 2022.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential implications for her policies of the statement by the CEO of Serum Institute in India, Adar Poonawalla, that the company has a stockpile of approximately 500,000 covid-19 vaccines.

The UK is committed to equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines and is one of the largest donors to COVAX. To date, COVAX has delivered over 738 million safe and effective vaccines to 144 participants. India, as the 'pharmacy of the world', will play a vital role in helping to meet international targets for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in 2022. The UK and India will continue to work together as a Global Force for Good in health, as exemplified by the collaboration between Oxford University, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute to develop COVID-19 vaccines at scale.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the circumstances surrounding the death threats received by human rights defender, Diego Enrique Salcedo Ladino, in Meta, Colombia.

The British Government remains concerned about persistent levels of violence and threats against human rights defenders in Colombia. UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government and in multilateral fora. The former Minister for Europe and the Americas spoke to Vice President Ramírez regarding the human rights situation on a visit to Colombia from 22 to 24 November.

Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we also consistently raise our concerns regarding violence against human rights defenders at the UN Security Council, as we did at meetings in July, and on 14 October. We urge the Colombian Government to further integrate its presence in conflict-affected areas, and strengthen the institutions that can investigate and prosecute the criminal actors responsible. We have called on involved institutions to heed the early warnings of the Ombudsman's Office to help prevent attacks from happening and protect those at risk.

Through our Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF) programme, which has provided £68 million in support of peace agreement implementation, security and stability in Colombia since 2015, we will continue to prioritise funding interventions to protect human rights defenders, social leaders and indigenous communities.

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent humanitarian support the Government had provided to people affected by the famine and conflict in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

The humanitarian context in Oromia region is very challenging due to widespread armed violence although famine conditions are not present. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forcibly displaced by active conflict with violence also making access to vulnerable communities extremely challenging. Some groups of internally displaced persons have not received food aid in over a year.

The UK has provided £58.8 million in humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia in financial year 2021/22. We do not have information regarding the level of UK funding directed towards Oromia or any other province. The UK is supporting humanitarian agencies that work throughout Ethiopia. UK funded partners in Ethiopia deliver aid according to need in-line with the UK's commitments towards the humanitarian principles.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when she will confirm the (a) dates of and 9b) the application process for delegates and observers to the Preventing Sexual Violence Against Women Summit she announced at the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council on 17 November 2021.

In 2022, the UK plans to host an international conference to mark 10 years since the launch of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. This will be an important opportunity to review progress, identify challenges and agree further action on sexual violence in conflict as well as wider gender and conflict issues. Further information on the conference will be available in due course next year.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which members of the Government will participate in the Summit for Democracy hosted by the President of the United States on 9 and 10 December.

The Prime Minister welcomes this initiative from President Biden to help rejuvenate the world's democracies and defend them from harm, particularly given his leadership on Open Societies commitments made as part of our G7 Presidency.

The UK is working closely with the United States on preparations for the virtual Summit in December, including finalising arrangements for UK attendance. The Prime Minister will lead the UK's engagement through a summit statement. As full details of the Summit emerge, we will consider further opportunities for UK engagement.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish a response to EDM 645 on Protection and support for environmental human rights defenders.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regularly raises freedom of expression with the Government of Guatemala. We work in conjunction with other international partners with the aim of promoting full respect for human rights for all.

The British Embassy in Guatemala has paid close attention to the cases of individual human rights defenders in Guatemala, particularly the case of Bernardo Caal. Officials from the Embassy virtually attended Mr Caal's hearing in May, following a visit to him in 2018, as well as undertaking a visit in 2017 to the Oxec Hydro Power Complex, located on the river which Mr Caal was defending. The British Embassy has also called on the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights on several occasions. During these calls, the Embassy has raised the issues of freedom of expression, media freedom, human rights and land defenders and progress on the Public Policy for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 493 on US-UK-Australia military pact.

The enhanced security partnership agreed between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (AUKUS) is a concrete articulation of the UK's ambition, made in the Integrated Review, to deepen defence, security and foreign policy ties with like-minded allies across the globe. It will help promote stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The first initiative under AUKUS will be a collaboration on future nuclear powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. The proposed submarines use a nuclear reactor uniquely as a power source. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does not prohibit the use of nuclear propulsion technology. The US and the UK take their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty extremely seriously. Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Our three nations are deeply committed to upholding our leadership on global non-proliferation.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support her Department is providing to (a) human rights organisations and (b) other non-governmental organisations in Bangladesh working to end religious and ethnic violence in that country.

The UK Government is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Bangladesh is a human rights priority country for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Ministers and our High Commission in Dhaka regularly raise human rights concerns as part of continued dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. The UK supports community leaders in Bangladesh to address the causes and effects of inter-religious, ethnic and political conflict. Through our development programming, we aim to ensure that the rights of minorities including, religious and ethnic minorities, are respected and that these communities are protected from discrimination. For example, our programming supports citizen groups across Bangladesh to come together to resolve grievances, mitigate religious and ethnic violence and advocate for inclusive and peaceful co-existence.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with representatives of (a) human rights organisations operating in Bangladesh and (b) non-governmental organisations in receipt of funding from her Department in that country on reported attacks on Hindu minority households and temples in Bangladesh during and after the Durga Puja religious festival.

The UK Government is concerned about the recent violence at Hindu Durga Puja celebrations across various districts in Bangladesh. We engage with the Government of Bangladesh on the importance of freedom of religion or belief, which remains a priority for the UK Government. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia, tweeted his concern on 21 October. The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh discussed the violence with Foreign Minister Momen on 26 October, and on 19 October expressed his condolences to the victims of the violence and the UK's support for those working for religious tolerance and harmony in Bangladesh and around the world.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department is supporting the development of a net zero carbon strategy for the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The UK Government, including through the Blue Belt Programme, works closely with the BIOT Administration and the US government - which has a leading role in the operation of the joint UK-US defence facility in the Territory - to protect and enhance the natural environment. This includes identifying opportunities to reduce the impacts of human activity in the Territory, for example through the introduction of renewable energy sources and reduction in the use of single use plastics.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she is taking steps to prevent companies that are domiciled or listed in the UK from threatening environmental protestors in Colombia with legal action, following lawful and legitimate protest against activities on land owned by those companies.

As set out in the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office's Annual Human Rights Report, we expect British businesses to respect local and international law wherever they operate. The UK was the first country to create a National Action Plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This plan sets out what is expected of the conduct of UK businesses, including compliance with relevant laws and respect for human rights; treating the risk of causing human rights abuses as a legal compliance issue; adopting appropriate due diligence policies; and consulting those who could potentially be affected.

Through our Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF) programme, which has provided £63 million in support of peace agreement implementation, security, and stability in Colombia since 2015, we will continue to prioritise funding interventions to protect human rights defenders, including environmental activists, and social leaders.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps she is taking to help protect environmental defenders in Colombia who may face threats and attacks for protecting their lands from corporate activity.

UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government. Most recently, the UK's Minister for the Environment, Lord Goldsmith, raised our concerns around violence and threats toward environmental defenders on a visit to Colombia from 5-8 October.

Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we consistently raise our concerns regarding violence against human rights defenders and social leaders at the UN Security Council, as we did at meetings in July. and on 14 October. We will continue to raise our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia. Through our Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF) programme, which has provided £63 million in support of peace agreement implementation, security, and stability in Colombia since 2015, we will continue to prioritise funding interventions to protect human rights defenders, including environmental activists, and social leaders.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps she is taking to help protect environmental defenders in Colombia who potentially face threatening actions by international companies as a result of their lawful and legitimate protest against potential illicit activities on their land.

UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government. Most recently, the UK's Minister for the Environment, Lord Goldsmith, raised our concerns around violence and threats toward environmental defenders on a visit to Colombia from 5-8 October.

Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we consistently raise our concerns regarding violence against human rights defenders and social leaders at the UN Security Council, as we did at meetings in July. and on 14 October. We will continue to raise our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia. Through our Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF) programme, which has provided £63 million in support of peace agreement implementation, security, and stability in Colombia since 2015, we will continue to prioritise funding interventions to protect human rights defenders, including environmental activists, and social leaders.

21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish a response to Early Day Motion 457 on Arrests and detentions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

We are aware of the detention and conviction of a number of journalists and activists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and we are following the situation closely.

I have raised my concerns over restrictions on media freedom in the KRI with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani. Our Ambassador in Baghdad and our Consul General in Erbil discuss these issues with their interlocutors in the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Foreign Secretary discussed the stability of Iraq and the KRI with the KRI's President Nechirvan Barzani during his visit to London over 15-17 September.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding the Government allocated to the Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Empowered Resilience programme in Malawi in each of the last five financial years; and how much the Government plans to allocate to that programme in each of the next three financial years.

The Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Empowered Resilience project is one of the investments supported by the Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change programme in Malawi. This programme began in July 2018 and is due to end in 2023. £4.2 million was allocated to the Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Empowered Resilience in financial year (FY) 2018/19, £17 million in FY2019/20, £12.9 million in FY2020/21. The planned allocation for FY2021/22 is £3 million. Allocations for future years will depend on the outcome of the Spending Review.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Mauritian counterpart on provision for Mauritius to operate an international mail processing centre in the British Indian Ocean Territory.

There have been no discussions with the Foreign Secretary's Mauritian counterpart on provision for Mauritius to operate an international mail processing centre in the British Indian Ocean Territory.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that outbound postal services from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) comply with the Universal Postal Convention following adoption of Resolution C15/2021 of the Universal Postal Union to no longer recognise BIOT postage stamps.

The UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over BIOT, which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the Archipelago and we do not recognise its claim.

The BIOT Administration is considering further the practical impact of the UPU resolution on the BIOT postal service and the future of commemorative stamps. The BFPO and the US civil postal system are not affected by the resolution and will carry on as normal.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he, his Ministers or officials had with the Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change and UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency on the Government's decision to reduce funding to aid and climate change programmes in Malawi (a) before and (b) after her visit to that country in August 2021.

Despite the fiscal pressures caused by the COVID pandemic, the UK Government remains a world-leading donor, spending 0.5% of GNI on aid to fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health; and we are committed to maintaining our five-year pledge to spend £11.6 billion on climate finance for developing countries. Earlier this year, cross-Whitehall Ministerial and senior official level discussions, convened by the Foreign Secretary, informed strategic decisions on how to allocate the UK's ODA budget of more than £10 billion for 2021/22. This included discussions with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In Malawi, the UK remains a significant development partner with support across a range of sectors including health, education, anti-corruption, private sector development, and climate and environment. Minister Trevelyan saw the positive impact of UK aid during her visit to Malawi earlier this month in her capacity as COP26 Champion for Adaptation and Resilience.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to secure the safe transport to the UK of people working for British animal welfare charities (a) Nowzad and (b) the Mayhew in Kabul.

We have already evacuated the overwhelming majority of those who to whom we have a direct obligation in an unprecedented effort from our military and Civil Servants. We are in contact with British nationals and others who are eligible for resettlement in the UK, and are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans have options for safe passage. We have been clear that the Taliban must allow safe passage for those who want to leave


Mr Pen Farthing and the animals in his charity's care were airlifted from Kabul on 29 August on a privately chartered flight, facilitated by the Ministry of Defence


We are now urgently working on how we can further support Afghan nationals in country, through the Afghan Resettlement and Assistance Programme (ARAP) and Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme (ACRS).

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 15 July 2021 to Question 31362 on the British Indian Ocean Territory, whether the UK's 1965 undertaking referred to in that answer and which was found to be legally binding by the Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in its Dispositif of 18 March 2015 was to return the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius rather than to cede sovereignty.

The United Kingdom has no doubt about its sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT, also referred to as the Chagos Archipelago), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. The United Kingdom has, however, a long-standing commitment, first made in 1965, to cede BIOT to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. We stand by that commitment. Use of the term 'return' in this connection has reflected the fact that before 1965 the Chagos Archipelago was administered as a dependency of Mauritius.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 33300, whether the value of any Special Drawing Rights channelled by the UK to low income countries will be counted towards the UK Government's target of spending 0.5 per cent of GNI on Official Development Assistance in 2021.

The UK counts a proportion of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) channelled for lending to low-income countries as Official Development Assistance, in line with the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) rules for concessional loans through multilateral organisations. The Government remains committed to international development and providing support to the world's poorest, and intends to return to the 0.7% target when the fiscal situation allows. The UK remains one of the leading development donors in the world, providing £10 billion this financial year towards our key international development priorities including poverty reduction, climate change, and global health security.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with organisations taking part in the UK Aid Match programme on the impact of the decision to delay funding until April 2022 on their operations in developing countries.

FCDO officials have been in touch with all 16 organisations affected by the delay to UK Aid Match round 4. The FCDO has agreed to sign grant agreements in advance of the project start dates in order to provide additional assurance to the partners and supporters of affected organisations that the FCDO is still matching their fundraising appeals pound for pound.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Government's decision to provide surplus UK vaccines to the COVAX programme on the Government's decision to spend 0.5 per cent of GNI on Official Development Assistance in 2021.

The UK is leading the international response to COVID-19. We have made available new public commitments worth up to £1.3 billion of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to counter the health, economic, and humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 and to support the global effort to distribute vaccines equitably.

The cost of donating the UK's surplus vaccine doses to developing countries will be classified as ODA. This will be in addition to the £10 billion already committed in aid this year. Final 2021 UK ODA spend will be published as usual in FCDO's Statistics on International Development report in 2022, which will also include COVID-19 related donations and support which is ongoing.

9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the (a) provision of covid-19 vaccines to the entire resident population of the Occupied Territories, (b) demolition orders on houses in the Al-Bustan area of East Jerusalem and (c) restoration of occupied land at Evyatar.

The British Embassy Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General Jerusalem are in regular contact with the parties on vaccine access. The UK regularly raises the issue of demolitions with the Government of Israel. The Foreign Secretary did so during his visit to the region on 26 May. We are clear that Israeli outposts in the West Bank, illegal under international law and Israeli law, should be removed entirely. The advancement of settlements across the West Bank should also be suspended immediately.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will provide covid-19 vaccines to the Palestinian Authority from supplies surplus to UK needs.

The UK is committed to global equitable access to effective vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines. We are pleased that the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) were among the first to benefit from the COVAX scheme with its first delivery on 17 March 2021. Since that initial shipment, we are pleased that several further deliveries have arrived in the OPTs, including most recently on 2 June 2021.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he last held discussions with his counterparts in (a) Turkey and (b) Cyprus aimed at securing a settlement of the Cyprus issue based on a UN-backed bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality.

The UK remains committed to supporting the UN process to reach a Cyprus Settlement, which will be good for Cyprus, regional stability and UK interests. On 27-29 April, in support of the efforts led by the UN Secretary General to find common ground on a way forward to resolve the Cyprus Issue, the Foreign Secretary represented the UK as a Guarantor Power at informal UN talks in Geneva.

At the meeting, the Foreign Secretary continued to urge all sides to demonstrate flexibility and compromise to find a solution to the Cyprus Issue within the UN Security Council parameters of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation which we believe are broad enough to meet the objectives of all sides. This followed UK messaging to the parties ahead of the talks, including the Foreign Secretary's visit to the island on 4 February, where he met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. Ahead of the talks, during my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue. Most recently, I spoke to Deputy Foreign minister Faruk Kaymakci during my visit to Turkey on 28-30 June, where I reiterated the importance of avoiding any action that could impact negatively on the Settlement process. FCDO ministers and officials are regularly in contact with all parties and partners across the EU, underlining the importance of a Cyprus Settlement for the stability and security of the island and the wider region.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the EU on the resumption of negotiations on Cyprus since the Crans-Montana Conference on Cyprus in 2017.

The UK remains committed to supporting the UN process to reach a Cyprus Settlement, which will be good for Cyprus, regional stability and UK interests. On 27-29 April, in support of the efforts led by the UN Secretary General to find common ground on a way forward to resolve the Cyprus Issue, the Foreign Secretary represented the UK as a Guarantor Power at informal UN talks in Geneva.

At the meeting, the Foreign Secretary continued to urge all sides to demonstrate flexibility and compromise to find a solution to the Cyprus Issue within the UN Security Council parameters of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation which we believe are broad enough to meet the objectives of all sides. This followed UK messaging to the parties ahead of the talks, including the Foreign Secretary's visit to the island on 4 February where he met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. Ahead of the talks, during my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue. Most recently, I spoke to Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci during my visit to Turkey on 28-30 June, where I reiterated the importance of avoiding any action that could impact negatively on the Settlement process. FCDO ministers and officials are regularly in contact with all parties and partners across the EU, underlining the importance of a Cyprus Settlement for the stability and security of the island and the wider region.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to announce a decision on the Government's participation in the planned one-day high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

The United Kingdom is committed to combatting all forms of racism, including antisemitism, both at home and abroad. We believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different religious and racial groups is to encourage all states to uphold their human rights obligations. Following historic concerns regarding antisemitism, the UK has decided not to attend the UN’s Durban Conference anniversary event, later this year.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the value of in-kind donations by the UK of (a) covid-19 vaccines, (b) ventilators, (c) oxygen-generating equipment and (d) PPE stocks to (i) India, (ii) countries in Africa and (iii) other Least-Developed or Middle-Income countries will be counted as Official Development Assistance.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is the official international standard used to measure aid flows, and is produced according to agreed definitions and methodologies. Final 2021 UK ODA spend will be published as usual in the FCDO's Statistics on International Development report in 2022.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to ensure access to humanitarian support for populations in West Africa that are experiencing chronic food insecurity as a result of (a) climate change, (b) the covid-19 pandemic and (c) conflict.

In West Africa, conflict is a significant driver of food insecurity. It is compounded by chronic poverty and climate change, and the impact of COVID-19 has made worse an already desperate situation for many people. As the Integrated Review makes clear, the UK will continue to prioritise humanitarian preparedness and response, especially food security and famine prevention.

In September 2020, the Foreign Secretary launched a Call to Action to Prevent Famine. Since then, the UK has pledged £180 million to tackle food insecurity and famine risk, providing aid to more than seven million vulnerable people in some of the world's most dangerous places, including in West Africa. In April I visited Nigeria and discussed the situation in the North East with humanitarian agencies, and international organisations and partners. The UK Government is providing a substantial package of assistance to North East Nigeria, worth £400 million over five years (2017-2022), including food assistance for up to 1.5 million people. In the Sahel, we are spending up to £163 million between 2019-21 to respond to food insecurity and other acute humanitarian needs across five Sahelian countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the (a) number of editions issued and (b) total value sold of postage stamps by the British Indian Ocean Territory in each year since 2015.

The regulation and production of postage stamps for the British Indian Ocean Territory is the responsibility of the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration (BIOTA) rather than FCDO. BIOTA should therefore be contacted directly regarding this request for information.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Universal Postal Union on its recognition of postage stamps issued by the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The Foreign Secretary is aware that the subject of British Ocean Indian Territory (BIOT) was raised at the Universal Postal Union's (UPU) Council of Administration session on 26-30 April 2021. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which leads on Her Majesty's Government engagement with the UPU, restated the UK position on sovereignty over BIOT at that meeting.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will list the occasions on which UK (a) Ministers and (b) officials have met with the Ambassador of Eritrea to the Court of St James's in each year since 2010.

FCDO Ministers have met the Eritrean Ambassador three times in the last three years. These were: a virtual meeting with Minister Duddridge in March 2021, a virtual meeting with Africa Union Heads of Mission, also March, which the Eritrean Ambassador chaired as Dean, and a bilateral meeting of the then Minister for Africa in 2019. Senior officials have also met the Eritrean Ambassador four times in the last three years. Information for the period 2010 - 2017 is not readily available, but we estimate that Ministerial and senior official contact was very limited during this period.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Government to taking to monitor and support the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

Eritrea's role in the conflict in Tigray, including the continued presence of its armed forces, is deeply concerning. There are numerous shocking reports of atrocities committed by Eritrean forces in Tigray, and their continued presence is fueling insecurity. However, seven weeks on from Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy's commitment that Eritrean troops would withdraw from Tigray we are yet to see any evidence that this is happening - in fact, we have received reports of Eritrean troops wearing Ethiopian National Defence Force uniforms. These forces must leave Ethiopia immediately. I made this clear to the Eritrean Ambassador on 16 March, and we set this out in our joint statement with the G7 on 2 April and a G7 Communiqué on 5 May. Our Ambassador in Addis Ababa met with the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian National Defence Force in the week of 26 April to press this point. We are closely monitoring the situation and are clear that their withdrawal must be swift, unconditional and verifiable. We continue to press hard for this commitment to be delivered.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the (a) United Nations (b) African Union and (c) Government of Ethiopia on political violence in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.

We are deeply concerned by the violent clashes in recent months in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. When I [Minister Duddridge] visited Ethiopia from 27-29 July 2020, I [Minister Duddridge] discussed growing ethnic tensions with the President and senior ministers, as well as the President of Oromia. Leaders on all sides must be clear ethnic-based violence and discrimination will not be tolerated, and must stress to all [those under their control] the importance of respecting human rights and avoiding civilian loss of life at all costs. The Foreign Secretary underlined the need for all Ethiopians to be respected and not be subject to violence and discrimination during his visit to Ethiopia on 22 January. The UK is committed to supporting a peaceful political transition in Ethiopia where all the rights of minorities are protected.

The UK has been consistent, alongside the UN and international partners, in calling for the protection of civilians in Ethiopia and respect for human rights. The Foreign Secretary raised the need for independent, international, investigations into allegations of human right abuses and violations when he met with Prime Minister Abiy during his visit to Ethiopia. We fully supported efforts by three African Union appointed envoys last November 2020 to push for peace. We welcome the visits of three UN Under-Secretaries General to Ethiopia in February, and their engagement with the Government of Ethiopia. We continue to monitor the human rights situation in Ethiopia closely.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions the HM Ambassador to Ethiopia has had with the Government of Ethiopia on the wellbeing of political prisoners on hunger-strike in Ethiopia.

The Foreign Secretary raised the importance of respect for human rights including political freedoms when he met with Prime Minister Abiy during his visit. We will continue to champion open and free political expression and respect of the fundamental human rights for all Ethiopians.

I [Minister Duddridge] note the recent announcement, by the prisoners’ defence lawyer, that Bekele Gerba, Jawar Mohammed and Hamza Borana have agreed to end their hunger strikes. Officials at our Embassy in Addis Ababa are engaging with Ethiopian officials on this issue and we will continue to monitor developments closely.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the (a) UN and (b) African Union on the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

The UK has been consistent, alongside the UN and international partners, in calling for the protection of civilians in Ethiopia, unfettered humanitarian access, and respect for human rights. We fully supported efforts by three African Union (AU) appointed envoys last November 2020 to push for peace. The Foreign Secretary has discussed Ethiopia in recent weeks with several African Heads of State and Government, including Kenya as a current UN Security Council member. He also raised these issues when he visited East Africa in January. I [MInister Duddridge] also regularly raise in my engagement. We welcome the visits of three UN Under-Secretaries General to Ethiopia in February, and their engagement with the Government of Ethiopia. As a complement to the efforts of the AU to find sustainable solutions to the conflict in Tigray, we will continue to press these messages with all relevant international partners, including at the UN Security Council where Ethiopia is expected to be discussed again on 4 March.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Ambassadors of (a) Ethiopia and (b) Eritrea to the UK on the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

We have, and will continue to advocate that a political process is essential to bring a full end to fighting and a sustainable settlement for Tigray. We have consistently urged all parties to end the conflict, prioritise the protection of civilians and allow unfettered humanitarian access. I [Minister Duddridge] pressed for political dialogue to end the conflict when I [Minister Duddridge] spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 24 February.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is providing to (a) faith-based actors and (b) other civil society organisations to support a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

We are concerned about the continued violence in Tigray region and have consistently urged all parties to end the conflict, prioritise the protection of civilians and allow unfettered humanitarian access. The Foreign Secretary raised these points when he met with Prime Minister Abiy on 22 January and also pressed for a political dialogue to bring a lasting peace to Tigray. We also continue to engage with a range of other actors, including faith based actors and civil society organisations.

The UK is facilitating capacity building in Ethiopia to ensure that democratic institutions fulfil their constitutional mandate. Since 2016, the FCDO has provided over £30 million to support Ethiopia's electoral process, support engagement with citizens and support civil society organisations so that they can play an increasing role in monitoring human rights.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support people affected by sexual and gender-based violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

We condemned in the strongest terms the reported killings of civilians and acts of sexual violence via a joint statement on Ethiopia with 41 other countries at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council. We also note the statement on 21 January by Pramila Patten, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. We support the UN's call for a "zero tolerance" policy for such crimes and we continue to call for independent, international, investigations into allegations of human right abuses. The UK is particularly concerned about the increased risks that conflict presents for women and girls in relation to gender-based violence and to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. We continue to lobby for the protection of women, girls and boys at official level. We encourage the Government of Ethiopia to invite an independent UN fact finding mission to support their current accountability effort on international law compliance.

We note that the Government of Ethiopia has declared a zero policy on sexual violence and the stated intention to establish a national joint taskforce (including the Ministry of Defence with the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth) to investigate alleged cases of sexual violence against women in Tigray. We will monitor the effectiveness of this taskforce in bringing perpetrators to justice. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are working hard to deliver support in challenging circumstances, including food, shelter, water and healthcare. The UK is currently working closely with its partners to ensure that survivors have an increasing access to specialised services and justice. I [Minister Duddridge] re-enforced the urgency of the need for humanitarian access when I [Minister Duddridge] spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 24 February.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans the Government has to send Observers to the first First Conference of States Parties to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons planned to be held by January 2022.

The United Kingdom will not send Observers to the First Conference of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Government has been clear it will not sign the TPNW. We do not believe this Treaty will bring us closer to a world without nuclear weapons. The Government believes that the best way to achieve our collective goal of a world without nuclear weapons is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated using a step-by-step approach, under the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he last raised the issue of the demolition of Palestinian homes with his Israeli counterparts.

Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities, in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the new US Administration on the issue of Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.

The UK works closely with the US on matters relating to the Middle East Peace Process. We strongly opposed any move to annex all or part of the West Bank. Such a move would be contrary to international law and deeply damaging to prospects for lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The UK welcomed the suspension of annexation as part of the normalisation agreement between the Government of Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and subsequent resumption of cooperation between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Biden Administration has also outlined their opposition to unilateral acts, including annexation, settlement construction and demolitions. We are now focused on building on these positive steps to encourage greater cooperation between the parties and further confidence-building measures. We look forward to working with the US, alongside regional partners, and the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships, to pursue that goal.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterparts on the issue of illegal settlements in Palestine.

Both the Foreign Secretary and I made clear our opposition to settlement advancement in the sensitive location of Givat HaMatos on 21 January 2021. I also raised settlement construction in Givat HaMatos with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 18 January 2021 and urged the Government of Israel not to proceed. Officials from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv have also urged the Israeli Authorities to cease the construction process in a meeting alongside European counterparts on 19 January 2021. The UK's position on settlements is clear: They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Sri Lankan counterpart on the rights of minority groups to lawful peaceful protest in that country.

The right to peaceful assembly is a vital part of a democratic society. The UK Government is aware of the recent demonstrations that took place in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, and are concerned at reports of threatening behaviour experienced by some demonstrators. Officials from the British High Commission in Colombo will continue to monitor the events closely.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Indian counterpart on the threat of imposing the death penalty on UK citizen, Jagtar Singh Johal, who is in prison in that country facing trial under anti-terror laws.

The UK Government is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We raise this opposition with India regularly as part of discussions on human rights concerns. In individual consular cases we raise our opposition to the death penalty at whichever stages we judge will be most effective.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the risk faced by UK citizen Jagtar Singh Johal of exposure to covid-19 in Tihar prison, India.

Mr Johal's welfare continues to be a priority. In-person consular visits in India are currently suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, consular staff have secured telephone access to Mr Johal in lieu of visits, and ask questions about Mr Johal's health on every call. We spoke to Mr Johal most recently on 20 January. Tihar prison, as the detaining authority, are responsible for managing any risk to Mr Johal's welfare due to exposure to Covid-19. Our consular staff therefore request regular updates from the prison management about Tihar's Covid-19 prevention measures, testing regime and news of any new cases in the prison.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Indian counterpart in respect of reports that UK Citizen, Jagtar Singh Johal, was forced to sign a confession under (a) torture and (b) coercion.

The UK Government takes all allegations of human rights violations very seriously and raises concerns with the local authorities where appropriate. We regularly raise Mr Johal's case directly with the Government of India, including his allegations of torture, his right to a fair trial, and concerns about delays to legal proceedings against him. The Foreign Secretary raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on 15 December 2020. The Secretary of State for International Trade raised the case with the Indian Minister for Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on 5 February. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, last raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian High Commissioner on 28 January 2021, and with the Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, on 3 November 2020.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterparts in Sri Lanka on the protection of marginalised Tamil and Muslim people in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

The UK has long supported efforts to promote peace and reconciliation for all communities in Sri Lanka, and made clear our concern about the marginalisation of minority groups in a statement delivered on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in June 2020.

The Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised the importance of protecting the rights of all communities including minority groups on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, most recently during calls on 9 February and 22 January respectively. We will continue to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka to underline the importance we attach to this issue.

The UK and Core Group have tabled a new resolution on Sri Lanka which signals the international community's continued commitment to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. The new resolution will call on the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that the human rights of people in all of its communities are protected.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on the animal welfare issues associated with the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

The Government is committed to raising standards of animal welfare at home and abroad. The sale and consumption of dog meat is legal in many countries, including China, and there are no international norms, laws or agreements governing this. We believe that it is necessary to work with governments around the world to gain agreement to animal welfare standards. We have raised our concerns on specific animal welfare issues with the Chinese authorities and will continue to do so.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Turkish counterpart regarding the European Court of Human Rights judgment ordering the release of Selahattin Demirtaş.

We regularly raise human rights issues with the Turkish authorities. I did so in December 2020 with my Turkish counterpart. We remain concerned about the four-year imprisonment of Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), in Turkey. With our international partners, we call on Turkey to meet its obligations as a founding member of the Council of Europe and release Demirtaş from his extended pre-trial detention. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will supervise the implementation of the judgment in Demirtaş (No.2) v Turkey, a process in which the United Kingdom actively participates. Working with our international partners, we will continue to encourage Turkey, including at Ministerial level, to act in line with the conventions of the Council of Europe and to make greater progress on wider human rights reforms.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the new US Administration on the cessation of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Ministers have not yet discussed with the Biden Administration the reported US suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The UK takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously and we assess all export licenses in accordance with strict licensing criteria.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of imposing (a) a UK travel ban and (b) an asset freeze on Chen Quanguo, senior official in the Chinese Communist Party, under the terms of the UK's Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations.

The Government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. On 12 January the Foreign Secretary announced robust, targeted measures to help ensure that British organisations, whether public or private sector, are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang. We also continue to play a leading role in holding China to account for its human rights violations in the region, working closely with international partners, including at the UN.

The FCDO are carefully considering further designations under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime, introduced in July 2020. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review. It is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated in the future, as to do so could reduce their impact.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussion he has had with his EU counterparts on preserving the right of UK citizens to retire to EU countries following the UK leaving the EU.

The European Commission has confirmed that, from the 1 January 2021, UK nationals who move or travel to a country in the Schengen area will be treated as third country nationals under EU and Member State immigration rules. UK nationals who wish to move to an EU Member State, whatever their age, will have to meet the domestic immigration and residency rules of the relevant country.

However, under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK State Pension will continue to be uprated for UK nationals who retire to the EU. The Agreement also ensures that, where the UK or an EU Member State is responsible for an individual's healthcare, individuals will be entitled to reciprocal healthcare cover. This includes healthcare cover for UK state pensioners who retire to the EU. No one, for example UK nationals living in EU Member States by the end of 2020, will lose their Withdrawal Agreement rights as a result of this new Agreement.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with international counterparts on helping to relocate refugees and asylum seekers at camps on the Aegean Islands in response to snowfall and below freezing temperatures in that region.

The UK recognises the challenges faced by Greece in dealing with the difficulties presented by the migration situation, including the conditions of migrant camps on the Greek islands. We regularly engage Greek ministers and senior officials on these issues and will continue to work with Greek and international partners to identify opportunities to further support improved conditions for migrants in Greece. The UK government responded to requests by the Greek Government for specific humanitarian goods after the Moria fire in September 2020 by providing kitchen sets to nearly 2,000 vulnerable families to prepare and cook food, and solar lanterns to help them stay safe. This is in addition to our commitment earlier last year of £510k worth of humanitarian supplies and equipment to help vulnerable migrants and refugees on Greek islands.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of funding that will become available to his Department to spend as Official Development Assistance once the UK has met all outstanding commitments to the European Development Fund.

The UK's contribution to the European Development Fund (EDF) for 2021 onwards will gradually reduce on an annual basis as programmes are finalised. In 2019, the contribution to the EDF was £852,683,097 and for 2020 it was £371,142,678. In late 2020, the Commission estimated that the UK's share of the EDF will be EURO 1,527,732,926 (approx. £1,374,107,687) for the four year period 2021-2024. The UK ODA that the FCDO will have available to spend once the UK has met all outstanding commitments to the EDF will be calculated, audited and officially reported on once all EDF programmes are implemented and finalised and the total UK commitments fulfilled.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department plans to co-ordinate the allocation of Official Development Assistance funding with the EU's forthcoming Neighbourhood, Development and International Development Instrument.

The FCDO has no plans to co-ordinate allocations of Official Development Assistance (ODA) with the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). We will take our own decisions about where we allocate our ODA in line with our own prioritisation decisions and the outcomes of the Integrated Review. However, following the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement we will continue to maintain an effective dialogue with the EU on global issues of common interest and coordinate when appropriate to maximise impact.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish a response to EDM 1139 on Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.

We consistently call for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of the two-state solution, including settlement expansion within the West Bank. As the UK made clear on 16 October, in a joint statement alongside France, Germany, Italy and Spain, we are deeply concerned by the recent decision taken by the Israeli authorities to advance more than 4,900 settlement building units in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I also expressed concern about settlement advancement in Givat Hamatos on 18 November and Har Homa on 25 November. We regularly raise settlements with the Government of Israel; UK officials raised settlements with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 18 November. The UK's position on settlements is clear. They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution. Settlement expansion is also a counterproductive move in light of the positive developments of normalisation agreements reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish a response to EDM 1140 on the Demolition of Palestinian homes.

As the EDM is a motion for a debate the FCDO has no plans to reply in writing. We consistently call for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of the two-state solution, including the demolition of Palestinian property in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process. I [Cleverly] raised demolitions of Palestinian structures with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 6 November. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv have repeatedly raised our concern about demolitions with Israeli Ministers and senior officials, and urged them to cease the counter-productive policy of demolitions, and provide a clear, transparent route to construction for Palestinians in Area C.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Government's decision to cut international aid spending on the civilian victims of the conflict in Syria.

Tackling the humanitarian impact of the Syria Crisis remains a priority for the FCDO. FCDO is currently running a prioritisation exercise across all its programmes, to ensure that every pound we spend goes as far as possible and makes a world-leading difference. We are in the process of assessing the impact of this decision on the UK's aid expenditure in Syria.

The UK has been one of the largest donors to the humanitarian response to the Syria Crisis. Since 2012, we have committed over £3.3 billion to help Syrian civilians displaced and vulnerable within their country, and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. This includes a pledge of at least £300 million for 2020 at this year's Brussels conference. In his statement to the House of Commons on 26 November, the Foreign Secretary stated that resolving conflicts and alleviating humanitarian crises will be focus areas for ODA.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to help prevent the spread of covid-19 in Syria during the conflict in that country.

The UK has committed £3.3 billion to the humanitarian response to the Syria Crisis since 2012, this includes a pledge of at least £300 million this year to the Syria Crisis. Our delivery partners' ongoing activities include healthcare, water, hygiene and sanitation support, which help and will continue to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The UK has provided £34 million in funding specifically to help partners respond to COVID-19 across Syria. This support includes interventions which target vulnerable Syrians and help to tackle the spread of the virus. These include training for health workers; food and water; and sanitation and hygiene support, including educational material to raise awareness of best hygiene practices.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary