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Written Question
Preventing Sexual Violence against Women Summit
2 Dec 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by James Cleverly

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.


Written Question
Asylum
2 Dec 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of people applying for asylum in the UK for whom the UK was the first safe country of arrival, in each year since 2015.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on the number of asylum applications which received a third country refusal (where the applicant is believed to have reached a safe third country prior to claiming in the UK) are published in table ASY_D02 of the ‘asylum and resettlement detailed datasets’. The latest data cover up to the end of September 2021.

From 1 January 2021, following the UK’s departure from the EU, strengthened inadmissibility rules came into effect. Prior to the UK leaving the EU, most inadmissibility decisions were made according to the Dublin Regulation, which for the cases in its remit, established the criteria and mechanisms for determining which state was responsible for examining an application for international protection.

Data on the number of cases considered under inadmissibility rules since 1 January 2021 are published in table Asy_09a, and data on transfers into and out of the UK under the Dublin Regulation (prior to 2021) are available in Dub_01 of the ‘asylum and resettlement summary tables’.

Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbooks.


Written Question
Democracy: International Cooperation
30 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will carry out an assessment of how the (a) Elections Bill and (b) the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill align with the themes and goals of the Summit for Democracy being hosted by the President of the United States on 9-10 December 2021.

Answered by Kemi Badenoch

The Elections Bill delivers against the Government’s manifesto commitment to protect our democracy and ensure that it remains secure, fair, modern, and transparent.

The Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill seeks to return to tried-and-tested constitutional arrangements, which affirm the central role of the electorate. By repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act we will increase legal, constitutional and political certainty around the process for the dissolution of Parliament and the calling of a new Parliament, and reinforce public confidence in our democratic system.

The measures in these Bills, alongside wider work across government, support the core Summit for Democracy themes of strengthening democracy and defending against authoritarianism; fighting corruption; and promoting respect for human rights.


Written Question
Democracy: International Cooperation
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by Amanda Milling

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.


Written Question
Aviation: Safety
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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

Answered by Robert Courts

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


Written Question
Environment Protection: Human Rights
24 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by Wendy Morton

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.


Written Question
Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action
22 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by Alok Sharma

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.


Written Question
Streaming: Copyright
22 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by George Freeman

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.


Written Question
Asylum: Translation Services
17 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to make sure each individual applying for asylum in the UK has access to adequate translation services to support (a) their application and (b) communications with her Department.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Home Office Interpreter Language Services Unit (ILSU) delivers interpreting and translation services for most immigration customers. ILSU manages a database of 1,759 freelance interpreters as well as a commercial contract with TheBigWord for interpreting and documents translating. ILSU provides interpreters for 191 languages, including dialects.

ILSU arranges appointments, manages invoices and payments and has a quality assurance role to ensure reliability and to ensure the level of interpretation and translation is consistently high. ILSU works with other commercial providers and public sector bodies which provide interpreters and linguists (as well as the National Register of Public Service Interpreters) to ensure the best sector-wide standards are applied.

As with other Home Office contracts, ILSU works with commercial specialists to ensure contracted service are cost effective, and delivered to a high standard, with in-built quality measures. These contracts are reviewed annually.

ILSU operates tight quality control processes on interview appointments both internally and externally, whether face-to-face or by video. These measures include close management of interpreters through a dedicated team (recruitment, security, training and qualifications), virtual interviewing enablement training and mentoring, mandatory interviewer feedback forms, frequent dip surveys, and risk analysis and checking.


Written Question
Wealth: Taxation
16 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 420 on Introducing a wealth tax.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

The Government is committed to a fair tax system in which those with the most contribute the most. The UK already taxes assets and wealth across many different economic activities, including the acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of assets, and income derived from assets.

Notably, the Wealth Tax Commission, which has no connection or link to the Government, found that if considering Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty and Stamp Duty Land Tax, the UK is among the top of the G7 countries for wealth taxes as a percentage of total wealth.

The priority right now remains to support jobs and the economy. Getting people back to work and encouraging and incentivising businesses to take on new employees and new apprentices ultimately creates the wealth that funds our public services.


Written Question
AUKUS
16 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by James Cleverly

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.


Written Question
British Indian Ocean Territory: Carbon Emissions
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by Vicky Ford

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.


Written Question
Asylum: Death
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data her Department holds on the number of people who have died while waiting for a determination on asylum applications in each of the last five years.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The Home Office are unable to provide data on the number of people who have died while waiting for a determination on asylum applications in each of the last five years as this information is not held in a reportable format and to gather it would incur disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Import Duties: USA
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

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.

Answered by Penny Mordaunt

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.


Written Question
Armed Forces: Carbon Emissions
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

What steps his Department is taking to (a) monitor and (b) reduce carbon emissions from UK military activities.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

We monitor our carbon emissions from UK military activities and publish them in our Annual Report.

The Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach we published in March 2021 sets out our route to making Defence more sustainable and reducing emissions.