Peter Gibson Portrait

Peter Gibson

Conservative - Darlington


Scheduled Event
Tuesday 7th December 2021
16:00
Westminster Hall debate - Westminster Hall
7 Dec 2021, 4 p.m.
Darlington's bid to become the home of Great British Rail
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Scheduled Event
Friday 21st January 2022
09:30
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
21 Jan 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety): Remaining Stages
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Division Votes
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 296 Conservative No votes vs 1 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 299
Speeches
Tuesday 9th November 2021
SMEs: Access to Finance

I beg to move,

That this House has considered access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises.

It is …

Written Answers
Tuesday 30th November 2021
Coroners: Data Protection
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about licensing in relation to taxis and private hire vehicles for purposes relating to the …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 18th October 2021
1. Employment and earnings
15 October 2021, received £85. Hours: 1 hr 42 mins. (Registered 18 October 2021)

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Peter Gibson has voted in 340 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Peter Gibson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
View All Peter Gibson 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.

View all Peter Gibson's debates

Darlington 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

Current legislation allows for public use of fireworks 16 hours a day, every day, making it impossible for vulnerable groups to take precautions against the distress they can cause. Better enforcement of existing law is insufficient; limiting their sale & use to licensed displays only is necessary.

The SNP government appears solely intent on getting independence at any cost.

Schools should move to online learning from 9 December so that all students and school staff have a chance to isolate for two weeks and then can safely meet older relatives.

The Government should cancel GCSEs and A Levels in 2021 due to the disruption of Covid-19. By the time students go back to normal learning, 6 months will have passed since schools were closed to most pupils. This has already had a huge impact on the studying of so many.

Close down schools and colleges due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. We are seeing cases of students and teachers catching the virus since schools have reopened.

The threat of covid19 is real. Children can’t be expected to maintain sufficient social distancing to keep this virus from spreading. They are social creatures. Allowing them back to school could cause a new spike in cases. They could bring it back home, even if they are a-symptomatic.

Matthew was taken to, ‘a place of safety’, and died 7 days later.
24 others died by the same means, dating back to the year 2000. An indicator that little was done to address the growing problems.
Something went terribly wrong with the NHS Mental Health Services provided to my son.

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.

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

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.

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.

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 Peter Gibson

Peter Gibson has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Peter Gibson, 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.


Peter Gibson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Peter Gibson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Peter Gibson


A Bill to make provision about licensing in relation to taxis and private hire vehicles for purposes relating to the safeguarding of passengers and road safety; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - Committee Stage (Commons)
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 3rd Reading (Commons)
Friday 21st January 2022

Peter Gibson has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


79 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
3 Other Department Questions
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of limiting the number of takeaway food outlets permitted in town centres.

Planning permission will always be required to create or change use to a hot food takeaway. This will allow local planning authorities to fully consider any such proposals through the planning application process, in line with the local plan for the area.

Planning practice guidance is clear that planning policies and supplementary planning documents can, where justified, seek to limit the proliferation of particular uses where evidence demonstrates this is appropriate (and where such uses require planning permission), and many local planning authorities have done so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of existing powers local authorities have to manage the number of takeaway food outlets in town centres.

Planning permission will always be required to create or change use to a hot food takeaway. This will allow local planning authorities to fully consider any such proposals through the planning application process, in line with the local plan for the area.

Planning practice guidance is clear that planning policies and supplementary planning documents can, where justified, seek to limit the proliferation of particular uses where evidence demonstrates this is appropriate (and where such uses require planning permission), and many local planning authorities have done so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what further powers in the planning system can be provided to local authorities to manage the number of fast food restaurants in town centres.

Planning permission will always be required to create or change use to a hot food takeaway. This will allow local planning authorities to fully consider any such proposals through the planning application process, in line with the local plan for the area.

Planning practice guidance is clear that planning policies and supplementary planning documents can, where justified, seek to limit the proliferation of particular uses where evidence demonstrates this is appropriate (and where such uses require planning permission), and many local planning authorities have done so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to prosecute individuals charged with fraud by false representation particularly in relation to fraudulent property transactions.

In March 2021, the CPS launched its first ever Economic Crime Strategy to ensure they keep at pace with the constant changing nature of crime. It is a high-level strategy which allows the flexibility to respond and adapt to new and emerging threats.

The CPS has a dedicated Specialist Fraud Division to ensure it has the right skills and resources to prosecute complex cases.

The CPS also has a Proceeds of Crime unit dedicated to asset recovery and in 2018, the CPS created three new Fraud Centres in CPS Areas to increase capability and resilience in dealing with fraud casework.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, if she will examine the length of sentence handed to Sam Pybus under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

My office received a number of referrals to review the sentence in this deeply disturbing case. I agree that the sentence appears too low, and I have referred it to the Court of Appeal to be reviewed. The case will be heard in due course and the Court of Appeal will decide whether to increase the sentence.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
23rd Sep 2021
What steps the Government is taking to deliver civil service jobs outside London.

The Government is committed to levelling-up through relocating high quality Civil Service Jobs. At Budget 2020 we set out our ambitions to relocate 22,000 roles out of London by 2030, bringing new jobs and investment to all nations and parts of the UK, with senior roles being created in areas such as Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, Darlington and Wolverhampton. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during his time as Chief Secretary to the Treasury encouraged Departments to frontload the majority of moves over this next Spending Review. I can confirm that we now have early commitments to move up to 15,000 civil service roles by 2024/25.

Departments will decide on their locations taking into account a range of factors including skills, transport links and capacity to meet their needs and flourish in their chosen locations, as well as ensuring locations are suitable for the long term success and sustainability of the civil service.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of awarding retrospective awards for exceptional feats of gallantry.

National gallantry awards are considered by the independent George Cross Committee and recognise the bravery of those who have put themselves in danger to save, or attempt to save someone’s life. The committee makes recommendations based on the degree of risk and how aware the nominee was of the danger.

The Committee only considers nominations for actions that took place within the previous five years. This reflects a need to ensure awards are timely, can draw on the judgement and knowledge of those involved at the time and can benefit from assessment against other contemporaneous actions. The only exception to this is where it is necessary to wait for the outcome of judicial proceedings, for example an inquest. Even in those circumstances, it is generally expected that the actions meriting an award would have taken place within, or only very little beyond five years.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to (a) limit the impact of disruptive fireworks and (b) update guidance for businesses selling fireworks to the public for private use.

The Government takes the issues associated with the sale and use of fireworks seriously. That is why there is a comprehensive framework already in place for fireworks which controls their availability and use, as well as setting a curfew and 120 decibel noise limits to reduce disturbance to both people and animals.

The 2021 fireworks public safety information programme is now underway. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is working with animal welfare groups, safety charities, local authorities, and the industry, to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks to the general public. The messaging also raises awareness of retailers’ responsibilities when selling fireworks, including promoting the range of guidance available through Local Authority Trading Standards and published on GOV.UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) limit the effect of fireworks on pets and livestock, (b) prohibit the illegal import of unsafe fireworks, (c) make an assessment of the adequacy of existing legislation on the sale of safe fireworks and (d) control the use of fireworks between the hours as set out in the Fireworks Regulations 2004.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework in place for fireworks to reduce the risks to people and disturbance to animals. Existing legislation controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit.

Using fireworks outside the curfew hours is a criminal offence, enforced by the police and can lead to imprisonment and a substantial fine. Local Authority Trading Standards work with retailers to ensure fireworks sold are safe, and they have powers to enforce against those who place non-compliant fireworks on the market, including those imported illegally or via the internet.

It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, including through the misuse of fireworks, and is enforced by authorities including the police and Local Authority Trading Standards.

We remain committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks through the effective legislative framework and through non-legislative measures.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will review the threshold at which statutory bereavement leave is provided for parents that lose a child during the second trimester.

Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay was introduced earlier this year, in April 2020, and applies to parents who lose a child under the age of 18, including individuals whose child is stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy. ‘Parent’ is broadly defined and employees have 56 weeks from the date of their child’s death or stillbirth to take their leave and pay.

Where a mother experiences a miscarriage before 24 weeks, it is often the case that a GP will sign her off work. The duration of this leave will depend on her personal circumstances, and the pay she is entitled to will be dictated by her standard workplace sick leave policy (for which there is a statutory minimum).

A partner will also be entitled to time off for dependents under the Employment Rights Act. Many employers will also have an existing compassionate leave policy or will operate one on a discretionary basis following such loss.

We strongly encourage employers to be sensitive and considerate at such a time.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support heritage rail.

The UK is a true pioneer in the history of railway development, nurturing and benefitting from the talents of Brunel and Stephenson among others. We are rightly proud of this legacy and must ensure that the next generation is endowed with both the skills and the passion to protect this legacy for the future.

The heritage railway sector is not only a fundamental component of our national heritage, it is an important aspect of our visitor economy with heritage railways attracting around 13 million visitors and bringing an estimated £250 million to the economy annually. It is because of this cultural and economic significance that the Government has supported the heritage rail network over the past year through its unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, which has awarded approximately £15.7 million to railway related organisations across the country.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Ministerial Correction of 9 December 2020 to the Answer to Question 124870, what the status is of the Metropolitan police investigation into the former chief executive of the Liberal Democrats following a request by the Electoral Commission for a prosecution.

The Commission is responsible for regulating political finance in the UK. In performing this role it may ask other law enforcement bodies, like the police, to consider investigating matters that sit outside the Commission's remit or enforcement powers. Whether the law enforcement body investigates, and what it concludes, are not matters for the Commission.

The Commission was notified in March 2019 by the Metropolitan Police that it had concluded its investigation in respect of a former campaigns officer of the Liberal Democrats, and that no further action would be taken.

Christian Matheson
Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to support amateur boxing during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government recognises the many benefits that boxing can bring, such as relieving stress, stimulating endorphins, and building physical strength and self-confidence. Boxing clubs are also based in the heart of many communities and are therefore in a unique position to be able to engage people who may feel disconnected. We welcome the work done by organisations such as England Boxing to bring communities together through projects that tackle issues such as knife and gun crime, extremism and holiday hunger; whilst also engaging people with mental health issues, long term health conditions and those from lower socio-economic groups and BAME backgrounds.

Following the end of national restrictions, on Wednesday 2 December, gyms and indoor sport facilities reopened across all tiers. As part of this, the government has published guidance to support the phased return of Contact Combat Sports including boxing in as safe a way as possible.

Contact combat sports can now take place provided they follow the COVID-secure guidance set out in the contact combat sport framework and adhere to wider restrictions including legal gathering limits. Contact combat sports need to have their National Governing Bodies action plans approved in order to resume activity above Phase 0 of the Framework. The Framework sets out the Phases which are allowed in each tier of restrictions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many electronic devices to support remote learning have been distributed to each educational institution in Darlington during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people, 920,000 of which were delivered to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers by 1 February.

As of 1 February, 543 devices have been delivered directly to Darlington Local Authority. Devices have also been allocated to academy trusts that include schools in Darlington, which are not included in this figure.

More information on the number of devices delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities can be viewed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-5.

The number of devices allocated is based on recent data on the number of free school meal eligible pupils at the school. On 12 January, the Department announced a further 300,000 devices will be provided nationally over the course of this term.


9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle bullying of (a) LGBT and (b) other students in schools.

The government has sent a clear message that bullying should never be tolerated, and we are committed to supporting schools to tackle it. All schools are legally required to have a
behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying, and have the freedom to develop their own anti-bullying strategies and monitoring approaches to best suit their environment. The department provides advice for schools, which outlines schools’ responsibilities. The advice makes clear that schools should make appropriate provision for a bullied child's social, emotional and mental health needs. It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

We have published a research report which details common strategies that specific schools have found to be effective for combating bullying, including case studies with examples about actions schools have taken to improve preventative practices and support for LGBT pupils. It is available here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/approaches-to-preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

We have also published ‘Respectful School Communities’, a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can combat bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind, including hate-based bullying. It is available here: https://educateagainsthate.com/school-leaders/?filter=guidance-and-training-school-leaders.

On 7 June, we announced more than £750,000 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust - to help hundreds of schools and colleges build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and continue to tackle bullying both in person and online. This includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups, such as those with SEND, those who are victims of hate related bullying and those pupils who identify as LGBT.

We are also making sure that all children in England will learn about respectful relationships, in person and online, as part of new mandatory Relationships, Sex and Health Education. This includes content on the different types of bullying, the impact it has, the responsibility of bystanders, and how to get help.

We are investing £10 million through behaviour hubs. Schools with exemplary positive behaviour cultures can work closely with schools that want to turn around their behaviour, alongside a central offer of support and a taskforce of advisers. The aim is to improve their culture, and spread good practice across the country. ?The first hubs are planned to launch in spring 2021, and will run for an initial period of 3 years.

The Government Equalities Office invested £4 million over 4 years, from 2016, to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2250 schools in England. This funding concluded in March 2020, and the Department for Education is currently evaluating next steps, as the department responsible for anti-bullying in schools. The department will confirm what funding is available for the financial year 2021-22, in light of the Spending Review outcome. We will also consider what more the department can do to ensure that schools have the right support to prevent bullying of pupils with protected characteristics.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a later start time to the school day; and what research his Department holds on that matter.

The decision on when to start the school day lies with individual schools.

The Government has given all schools the ability to set their own school hours. All schools have the autonomy to make decisions about the timetable and duration of their school day, including the flexibility to decide when their school day should start and finish. Guidance on the school day and the school year is available within the Department’s guidance on school attendance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-attendance.

The Department has not made an assessment of the decisions taken by individual schools. We trust schools to decide how best to structure their school day to support their pupils’ education.

Schools should organise the school day and school week in the best interest of their pupil cohort, to provide them with a full-time education suitable to their age, aptitude, and ability.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of fireworks on (a) domestic pets and (b) livestock.

Defra understands concerns about the distress fireworks can cause to domestic pets and livestock. Our assessment is that noisy fireworks have the capacity to cause distress to pets, livestock and wildlife. This is one of the reasons that there is a noise level limit of 120 decibels on fireworks for home use.

It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to cause an animal any unnecessary suffering and this includes through the misuse of fireworks. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act came into force on 29 June 2021 and has increased the maximum penalty for cruelty to animals to five years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

The Government also publishes a statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs, which applies to all owners/keepers of dogs and which encourages dog owners/keepers to avoid exercising dogs in extreme weather or during times when fireworks could be let off. Further advice about pets and fireworks can be found on the Blue Cross website, here: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/fireworks-and-pets

Fireworks should not be set off near livestock or close to buildings that house livestock, or near to horses in fields. Anyone planning a firework display in rural areas should warn neighbouring farmers.

Fireworks used for professionally organised displays, classified as F4, are available for sale only to people who have undertaken an accredited course of training in pyrotechnics and who hold relevant professional insurance. It is up to local councils to decide whether or not to put on public displays.

We would encourage livestock owners who are concerned about planned firework displays to contact the organisers to see if any compromises can be made, such as using less noisy fireworks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect hedgerows across the UK.

Hedgerows are one of the most important ecological building blocks in our farmed landscape. They maintain the distinctive character of our countryside and provide crucial habitats and food for wildlife. Legal protection for hedgerows in England and Wales is provided by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997.

These regulations prohibit the removal of most countryside hedgerows (or parts of them) without first seeking approval from the local planning authority. It decides whether a hedgerow is ‘important’ because of its wildlife, landscape, historical or archaeological value and should not be removed.

A local authority also has the power to impose enforceable planning conditions on a developer to protect hedges or trees assessed as being worthy of retention, which might otherwise be harmed by construction or the new land-use. Land managers in receipt of Basic Payment Scheme payments are also required to protect hedgerows on their land.

Agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship fund the management of hedgerows to deliver recognised benefits for wildlife, landscape and the historic environment. Hedgerow management is one of the most popular options within Countryside Stewardship.

Following our exit from the European Union the development of our new environmental land management schemes will continue to recognise the role and fund the management of hedgerows. The hedgerow standard, part of the new Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme, will pay farmers to plant more hedgerows, leave them uncut or raise the cutting height.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to strengthen local authority powers on tackling fly tipping from (a) members of the public and (b) commercial operators.

Fly-tipping is unacceptable and illegal wherever it occurs. It blights local communities and the environment and is an issue we are committed to tackling.

We have recently provided local authorities with enhanced enforcement powers to tackle fly-tipping. Since January 2019 local authorities have been able to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of up to £400 to householders who fail in their duty of care and give their waste to fly-tippers. We had previously given local authorities the power to issue FPNs to those who were caught fly-tipping.

We have also given local authorities, that are also waste collection authorities, the power to search and or seize vehicles that they suspect have been involved, are involved or are about to be involved in fly-tipping and other waste crimes.

Going forward, we are seeking powers in the Environment Bill to ensure agencies and authorities can work more effectively to combat waste crime through better access to evidence and improved powers of entry.

In addition to enhancing enforcement powers, we committed in the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) to develop a fly-tipping toolkit to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle fly-tipping. The RWS is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-andwaste-strategy-for-england.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department's transparency commitments of reports that the EU plans to classify the interim report into Palestinian textbooks jointly commissioned by the UK.

Following the UK’s calls for international action, an independent review of Palestinian textbooks is currently underway, conducted by the Georg Eckert Institute, a specialist textbook analysis centre.

DFID continues to favour transparency and the UK has repeatedly lobbied the EU to push for publication of the interim report.

To ensure the review could begin immediately on the signing of the contract, the UK commissioned the Georg Eckert Institute to produce a separate inception report to establish its methodology in advance. We plan to publish this report in the coming weeks.

We will continue to raise our concerns about allegations of incitement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) as I did most recently with the PA Minister for Education on 4 June.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with train operators on (a) extending or (b) replicating the Network Railcard in the North East.

We are working with the rail industry to develop a number of recovery initiatives, focused on restoring passenger confidence in travelling by rail.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle (a) delays in the processing of applications by the DVLA and (b) the underlying causes of those delays.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services are the quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days. However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The latest information on DVLA services and the turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

The DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham to help reduce waiting times while providing future resilience and business continuity.

The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day and has also been working with a significantly reduced number of staff on site to ensure social distancing in line with Welsh Government requirements. Industrial action between April and September by members of the Public and Commercial Services union has also led to delays for customers.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of stations have tactile paving on platforms; what plans he has to increase the number of platforms with tactile paving; and what the challenges are in installing tactile paving in older stations.

Network Rail estimate that around 60 percent of British mainline station platforms are fitted with tactile surfaces. We are committed to making this 100 percent and Network Rail has received an initial £10 million to install tactile paving at priority stations not already funded. I will make further announcements on future rounds of funding in due course. I am confident in the industry’s ability to deliver the programme.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of classifying taxi drivers as key workers.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) define “Critical worker” occupations. Transport workers currently defined as “critical workers” include those who keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response and EU transition; those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass; and those constructing or supporting the operation of critical transport and border infrastructure through which supply chains pass.

The government is committed to keeping taxi drivers safe, and has published safety guidance specifically for owners, operators and drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-taxis-and-phvs).

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support taxi drivers in covid-19 tier 3 areas.

The Government has announced several measures available to UK businesses, including the taxi and private hire sector, to support them through this challenging time, and launched a ‘support finder’ tool to help businesses and self-employed workers quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

From 2 December, councils in England in Tier 2 and Tier 3 will receive funding to provide grants to closed businesses and to be able to run local discretionary grant schemes to provide support to affected businesses. These allocations will be published shortly and are in addition to the £2.3bn already provided to local councils since the start of the pandemic. The Local Authority administers the scheme and determines on a case-by-case basis where to allocate this funding.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support single parents in receipt of universal credit with young children to find work that fits around their childcare needs.

Under Universal Credit, working families can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month

The UC childcare aligns with the wider government childcare offer. This includes the free childcare offer which provides 15 hours a week of free childcare in England for all 3 and 4 year olds and disadvantaged 2 year olds, doubling for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. The UC childcare cost element can be used to top up a claimant's eligible free childcare hours if more hours are worked and childcare is required. This means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Additional safeguards apply during this period and any work-related expectations will be limited to a maximum of 16 hours per week whilst they are caring for a pre-school age child.

To assist single parents with making necessary childcare arrangements, work coaches can reduce the maximum time the claimant is expected to spend travelling to and from work. All Work-related requirements will be tailored according to the claimant’s capability and personal circumstances, to ensure they are realistic and achievable.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support people transitioning from legacy benefits to universal credit in Darlington constituency.

We currently spend over £95 billion a year on working age benefits including Universal Credit and remain committed to supporting the most vulnerable in society.

Recent changes to Universal Credit include temporarily increasing the standard allowance by up to £1,040 per year and increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates, including the Shared Accommodation element, so that it covers the lowest 30% of local market rents benefiting over one million households by £600 a year on average.

The Department has delivered a number of improvements to support claimants during their first assessment period, such as removing waiting days and paying those claimants moving from Housing Benefit on to Universal Credit a two week ‘transitional housing payment’. Since July 2020, an additional two-week run has been introduced to assist eligible claimants moving from Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB). Advance payments are available so nobody has to wait five weeks for payment.

We are also doubling the number of work coaches across our network of jobcentres, from 13,500 to 27,000, so that every jobseeker receives tailored support to get back on their feet, build skills and move into work

We recognise that some people will need extra help to successfully establish a claim to Universal Credit. Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, have supported in excess of 250,000 individuals through ‘Help to Claim’ since April 2019, offering tailored and practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim and up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. ‘Help to Claim’ is funded by the Department and is available online, on the phone and face-to-face in locations including Jobcentres and Citizen’s Advice offices.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the correlation between obesity rates and availability of fast-food outlets.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has not completed an analysis to assess the correlation between obesity rates and availability of fast-food outlets.

In 2018, Public Health England published ‘Fast food outlets: density by local authority in England’. This used Food Standards Agency data from 2017 to calculate the density of fast-food outlets by local authority. The analysis did not assess the correlation between obesity rates and availability of fast-food outlets but showed that there are higher concentrations of fast-food outlets in England’s most deprived communities. Evidence from health survey data shows that the prevalence of overweight and obesity also rises with deprivation and fruit and vegetable consumption falls with deprivation.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help people who have participated in the NOVAX covid-19 trial to receive international recognition of their vaccination status.

The Government continues to make the case internationally, through groups such as the G7, G20, the European Commission and the World Health Organization, that COVID-19 vaccine trial participants should be treated the same in terms of certification as someone who has received a deployed vaccine. Ultimately it is for Governments to set their inbound travel policy, including for clinical trial participants on Novavax and other trials.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that all trans people are included in necessary cancer screenings applicable to them.

Public Health England (PHE) has published a leaflet advising both trans men and women to contact their general practitioner (GP) about breast screening, as long-term hormone therapy may increase their risk of developing breast cancer. The leaflet also advises that transgender men registered as male should ask their GP to update their records to ensure that they are invited for cervical screening.

PHE also provides advice to health professionals on working with trans men and women, to ensure that patients feel comfortable or can access services in other ways if necessary.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support victims of racial discrimination in the NHS.

The NHS People Plan sets out actions to address racial discrimination, including the appointment of an equalities champion in every National Health Service organisation, equipping line managers to discuss equality, diversity and inclusion as part of wellbeing conversations, and launching a joint training programme for Freedom to Speak Up Guardians and Workforce Race Equality Standard Experts. NHS England and NHS Improvement will publish a race equality strategy later this year, building on the actions in the People Plan.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on the recognition of covid-19 vaccines administered in Saudi Arabia for use on the NHS Covid pass.

Work is ongoing to determine which non-United Kingdom vaccines we might be confident to recognise, including those administered in Saudi Arabia. A pilot scheme to enable some UK residents vaccinated overseas to demonstrate their vaccination status through the NHS COVID Pass will be launched in England from the end of September. Further development will be undertaken once the pilot is underway.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) physical and (b) mental effect of a second trimester miscarriage on an expectant mother.

We have made no such assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of miscarriages that occur during the second trimester each year.

The information is not collected in the format requested. NHS Digital records most incidences of miscarriage in Hospital Episode Statistics, but this does not include data on the length of the gestation period.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of second trimester miscarriages on expectant parents who are unable to take statutory bereavement leave.

We have made no such assessment.

We encourage employers to provide appropriate support to women who have suffered a miscarriage and respond sensitively to each individual’s specific needs.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding his Department has allocated to hospices in (a) Darlington and (b) England (i) during the covid-19 outbreak and (ii) over winter 2020-21.

Over £150 million in additional funding to the hospice sector was made available between April and July. This will be used to enable hospices to provide more capacity for step down and community care alongside their existing palliative and end of life services.

Further funding of up to £125 million has now been announced in the COVID-19 Winter Plan, published 23 November.

Funding allocation is led by NHS England and NHS Improvement. NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that St Teresa’s Hospice in Darlington received £424,579 between April and July this year. St Teresa’s, like other hospices, will also be eligible to apply for the further additional funding now being made available.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of the cost to the NHS of missed appointments without prior notice.

Many general practices make patients aware of the cost of missed appointments through information displayed in practice waiting rooms or via other channels. Patients are encouraged to attend booked appointments by text messages and other means of communication that remind them about appointments.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to focus on improving access to services to ensure patients can access an appointment at a time and in a way that is most convenient to them, including via face to face, online or telephone consultations. Projects to increase appointment compliance are locally led by National Health Service trusts/providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what strategy his Department has to tackle Foetal Alcohol Syndrome; and what steps his Department is taking to make pregnant mothers aware of the risks to their unborn child of the consumption of alcohol.

The United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines published in 2016 provide clear advice to women not to drink alcohol if they are planning for a pregnancy or are pregnant.

Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and local commissioners continue to raise awareness and provide education on the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant; for example, the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership ‘Drymester’ campaign to raise awareness of drinking alcohol when pregnant.

Midwives and health visitors have a central role in providing clear, consistent advice and early identification and support.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 lockdown measures on child oral health in the North East; and what steps he is taking to improve levels of child oral health in that area.

No such assessment has been made.

The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to increase levels of service as fast as possible, taking into account the ongoing infection prevention and control and social distancing requirements. Of paramount importance must continue to be the safety of dentists, their teams and patients.

Children living in Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead and North Tyneside continue to benefit from the existing fluoridation of local water supplies. Water fluoridation is known to reduce the prevalence and severity of tooth decay and reduce dental health inequalities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions his Department has had with NICE on the appraisal of Kuvan as a treatment for phenylketonuria.

Departmental Ministers and officials regularly discuss a range of matters with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, including the availability of medicines for the treatment of a number of conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the health effects of the misuse of nitrous oxide; and if the Government will bring forward legislative proposals to regulate the sale of canisters of that product.

No recent assessment of the health effects of nitrous oxide has been made. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs considered nitrous oxide in 2015 and concluded that there is evidence that the use of nitrous oxide, other than in line with designated guidance and for purposes other than for which it was manufactured, can cause harm. Under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 it is an offence to supply a psychoactive substance. Those who supply nitrous oxide who know, or who are reckless as to whether, it will used for its psychoactive effect may be subject to a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that hospices have a reliable supply of personal protective equipment.

The Department recognises the vital services that hospices provide, and are aware of issues they have been facing in obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE). The Department is working on putting a sustainable solution in place to ensure continuity of supply for the hospice sector, which has recently stepped up to take the pressure off the National Health Service as part of a £200 million funding arrangement announced by the Chancellor on 8 April.

To address continuity of supply concerns, central delivery points provided by hospices to the Department will get weekly drops of PPE until they can be added to the PPE e-commerce ordering portal. The Department will continue to work with the hospice sector to ensure they have the support they need during this challenging period.

The Department holds regular calls at Ministerial level with representatives of the hospice sector to better understand the specific issues facing the sector in delivering palliative and end of life care, including PPE supply, during this challenging period.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps he can take to protect members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan.

Minister for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights. The impact of the crisis in Afghanistan on women and girls and other vulnerable groups, including religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people, is of deep concern. The Taliban must respect the rights of all minority groups, both now and in the future and we will hold them to account for their actions. The UK is urgently developing a new settlement scheme for 20,000 Afghans most at risk who will be eligible to apply. We are prioritising vulnerable groups in the UK's response.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the safety of members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan.

We will use every humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and the gains made over the last two decades. The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights, humanitarian access, safe passage and preventing terror. Minister for Human Rights Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure safe passage. As the Prime Minister said in his statement of 6 September, we will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion. The impact of the crisis in Afghanistan on women and girls and other vulnerable groups, including religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people, is of deep concern. The Taliban must respect the rights of all minority groups, both now and in the future and we will hold them to account for their actions. The UK is urgently developing a new settlement scheme for 20,000 Afghans most at risk who will be eligible to apply. We are prioritising vulnerable groups in the UK's response.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan.

Minister for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. The UK also led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure for safe passage.

As the Prime Minister said in his statement of 6 September, we will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion. The impact of the crisis in Afghanistan on women and girls and other vulnerable groups, including religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people, is of deep concern. The Taliban must respect the rights of all minority groups, both now and in the future and we will hold them to account for their actions. The UK is urgently developing a new settlement scheme for 20,000 Afghans most at risk who will be eligible to apply. We are prioritising vulnerable groups in the UK's response.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications of reports of the torture of LGBT+ prisoners in Egypt.

The UK is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of LGBT+ people and to supporting the legal, cultural and social change required to make equality a reality for LGBT+ people around the world.

Egypt is a human rights priority country for the UK. We are concerned about reports of torture and mistreatment in detention of LGBT+ people in Egypt. We regularly raise human rights with the Egyptian Government, which is well aware of our position on LGBT+ rights and we call on the government of Egypt to uphold and protect the rights of everyone in Egypt. We monitor and will continue to raise these issues with the Egyptian authorities and internationally.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the increased numbers of arrests of members of the LGBT+ community in Egypt.

The UK is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of LGBT+ people and to supporting the legal, cultural and social change required to make equality a reality for LGBT+ people around the world.

Egypt is a human rights priority country for the UK. We are concerned about reports of torture and mistreatment in detention of LGBT+ people in Egypt. We regularly raise human rights with the Egyptian Government, which is well aware of our position on LGBT+ rights and we call on the government of Egypt to uphold and protect the rights of everyone in Egypt. We monitor and will continue to raise these issues with the Egyptian authorities and internationally.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps he has taken to support small breweries during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that breweries have been acutely disrupted by recent necessary restrictions to hospitality businesses.

On the 5 January the Chancellor announced that £594 million is being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support businesses ineligible for grants for closed businesses, but who might be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. This funding comes in addition to the £1.1 billion discretionary grant for Local Authorities previously announced. Local Authorities have discretion to determine how much funding to provide to businesses and have the flexibility to target local businesses that are important to their local economies.

Breweries have and will continue to benefit directly from Government support schemes, and indirectly from the support offered to the pubs and restaurants they supply, protecting jobs in the industry. The Government has acted to deliver support through:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which has supported over 9 million jobs across the UK, including supporting jobs in sectors and their supply chains, that have been directly impacted by restrictions. The CJRS has been extended until the end of April 2021.
  • A VAT deferral ‘New Payment Scheme’ whereby businesses which deferred their VAT due between March and June until March 2021 will have the option of making 11 payments spread throughout the year rather than one lump sum.
  • Access to affordable, Government backed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBLS) for larger firms and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises, which have been extended until the end of March.
  • ‘Pay as You Grow’ options for businesses who have taken out loans through BBLS or CBILS, providing businesses with a longer repayment period and allowing further flexibility on repayments.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on the effect of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy on client-focused independent financial advisers.

The Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) both share the objective to ensure that the market for financial advice works well and are in regular discussions with one another about relevant developments in the market. We are aware of concerns about the effect of the increased Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) levy on financial advisers. We are working closely with the FCA, who are monitoring the issue and engaging with the financial advice sector to understand their concerns.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of free ports on the level of international trade.

The government plans to establish Freeports across the UK. These will be national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK. They can attract new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

Our Freeports consultation response, published on Wednesday 7 October, sets out in more detail how Freeports will unleash the potential of ports across the country.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of enabling the British Transport Police to access train operating companies' on board CCTV in real time for the purposes of tackling county lines drug trafficking.

This Government is determined to crack down on the county lines gangs who are exploiting our children and have a devastating impact on our communities.

We are aware that rail networks remain a key method of transportation for county lines gangs. As part of our County Lines Programme investment, we have increased disruption on the rail networks through the British Transport Police’s (BTP) dedicated County Lines Taskforce. BTP work collaboratively with national police forces and rail industry partners to grip the national rail network, providing targeted disruption to help tackle the lines and safeguard vulnerable individuals involved in this exploitative and violent model of drug distribution.

The Department for Transport has no plans to mandate BTP being able to access on-board CCTV on trains, but BTP are currently in the process of connecting to real-time forward-facing train cameras with several operators. This is being delivered this financial year with the ambition that, if expected benefits are proved, this would be rolled out across the industry.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support victims of fraud by false representation seeking redress for damages, particularly in fraudulent land transactions.

The Government is boosting police capacity and is committed to strengthening our criminal justice system to put victims first. As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force. We have also channelled additional officer resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud.

The Government is also aware of the harms caused by identity theft and that criminals use this to commit and enable a range of offences, from benefit fraud, credit card fraud to fraudulently obtaining property.

We are actively working on a number of initiatives to reduce identity-enabled crime and deny criminals the opportunity to exploit false or stolen personal data. This includes developing proposals for a digital identity system that would enable people to prove their identity easily and securely, without the need to provide physical documents, with the aim of reducing identity-enabled fraud and crime. However, the Government recognises there is more to do, and we are working closely with industry, regulators, and consumer groups to tackle fraud and close those vulnerabilities that criminals too easily exploit.

Reporting incidents of fraud helps us stop fraudsters and protect other people from becoming victims. Any experience of property fraud should be reported directly to HM Land Registry through their dedicated Property Fraud Line at reportafraud@landregistry.gov.uk. Owners who are concerned their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage should also register an Anti-Fraud Restriction with HM Land Registry. We also continue to ask the public to report fraud to the police through Action Fraud by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

It is important that victims of fraud receive the support that they are entitled to. Action Fraud also provides protective advice to individuals who contact the service and Citizens Advice can provide options for redress.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to crack down on fraud by false representation particularly in relation to fraudulent property transactions.

The Government is boosting police capacity and is committed to strengthening our criminal justice system to put victims first. As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force. We have also channelled additional officer resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud.

The Government is also aware of the harms caused by identity theft and that criminals use this to commit and enable a range of offences, from benefit fraud, credit card fraud to fraudulently obtaining property.

We are actively working on a number of initiatives to reduce identity-enabled crime and deny criminals the opportunity to exploit false or stolen personal data. This includes developing proposals for a digital identity system that would enable people to prove their identity easily and securely, without the need to provide physical documents, with the aim of reducing identity-enabled fraud and crime. However, the Government recognises there is more to do, and we are working closely with industry, regulators, and consumer groups to tackle fraud and close those vulnerabilities that criminals too easily exploit.

Reporting incidents of fraud helps us stop fraudsters and protect other people from becoming victims. Any experience of property fraud should be reported directly to HM Land Registry through their dedicated Property Fraud Line at reportafraud@landregistry.gov.uk. Owners who are concerned their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage should also register an Anti-Fraud Restriction with HM Land Registry. We also continue to ask the public to report fraud to the police through Action Fraud by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

It is important that victims of fraud receive the support that they are entitled to. Action Fraud also provides protective advice to individuals who contact the service and Citizens Advice can provide options for redress.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to support serious fraud investigation units in England particularly in relation to fraudulent property transactions.

The Government is boosting police capacity and is committed to strengthening our criminal justice system to put victims first. As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force. We have also channelled additional officer resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud.

The Government is also aware of the harms caused by identity theft and that criminals use this to commit and enable a range of offences, from benefit fraud, credit card fraud to fraudulently obtaining property.

We are actively working on a number of initiatives to reduce identity-enabled crime and deny criminals the opportunity to exploit false or stolen personal data. This includes developing proposals for a digital identity system that would enable people to prove their identity easily and securely, without the need to provide physical documents, with the aim of reducing identity-enabled fraud and crime. However, the Government recognises there is more to do, and we are working closely with industry, regulators, and consumer groups to tackle fraud and close those vulnerabilities that criminals too easily exploit.

Reporting incidents of fraud helps us stop fraudsters and protect other people from becoming victims. Any experience of property fraud should be reported directly to HM Land Registry through their dedicated Property Fraud Line at reportafraud@landregistry.gov.uk. Owners who are concerned their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage should also register an Anti-Fraud Restriction with HM Land Registry. We also continue to ask the public to report fraud to the police through Action Fraud by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

It is important that victims of fraud receive the support that they are entitled to. Action Fraud also provides protective advice to individuals who contact the service and Citizens Advice can provide options for redress.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to launch the fourth round of Safer Streets Fund.

The recent Spending Review continues funding for the Safer Streets programme and we will provide further details on this in the new year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department are taking to help asylum seekers to (a) integrate with local communities and (b) rebuild their lives.

Our accommodation providers (ClearSprings, Mears and Serco) work closely with Local Authorities to ensure asylum seekers are accommodated where shops, hospitals, places of worship and other facilities are within manageable travelling distance.

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help. Here asylum seekers can raise any concerns regarding accommodation or support services, and they can get information about how to obtain further support.

Positive Move On advice is designed to help Service Users to integrate in the UK. It will assist with organising important issues like accommodation, finances and employment for when someone leaves the Home Office support and/or accommodation. Migrant Help offer both telephone and face to face appointments to help service users understand their circumstances and signpost to relevant organisations.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps her Department has taken to prevent illegal channel crossings in small boats.

I refer the Honourable Gentleman to the answer given to the Member for Romford on 20 September. These crossings are dangerous and unnecessary, and we are determined to bring them to an end and to tackle the criminality behind them.

From January to September 2021, Immigration Enforcement has arrested 46 individuals engaged in small boats activity, with 8 individuals already convicted and a further 94 investigations ongoing. Recognising that much of the criminality involved lies outside of the UK, we are also supporting wider law enforcement activity to tackle the threat of organised immigration crime. In its first 12 months, the Joint Intelligence Cell was involved in almost 300 arrests relating to small boats activity in France.

We must ensure that those involved in people smuggling are punished with the severity it rightly deserves. The Nationality and Borders Bill (Nationality and Borders Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament (https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3023)) will enable this and will also act as a much stronger deterrent for those tempted to pursue that despicable path. These long overdue reforms will break the business model of the criminal trafficking networks and make their activities unviable.

There remains an immediate challenge and a need to stop the boats leaving France in the first place and we are working closely with the French to tackle these crossings, both on a policy and operational level. In July 2021 UK/French joint action led to strengthened law enforcement deployments along the coast of France, more than doubling again equipped police resource focused on addressing illegal migration; enhanced intelligence-sharing; greater use of surveillance technology; and more border security at key transport infrastructure along the Channel coast.

Progress so far this year between January and September 2021 has resulted in the French stopping more than 15,000 people from crossing. This is a significant increase on the same point last year.

Our New Plan for Immigration will address the challenge of illegal migration for the first time in over two decades through comprehensive reform of our asylum system, making big changes and building a new system that is fair but firm.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to allow members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan to seek asylum in the UK.

The UK has a proud record of providing protection for people who need it, in accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.  However, there is no provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge.  Whilst we acknowledge the increasingly complex situation in Afghanistan, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here.  Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.

While we do not allow asylum claims from abroad, all asylum claims that are lodged from within the UK, including those from Afghan nationals that are based on sexual orientation or gender identity, will be carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Those who need protection will normally be granted five years’ limited leave, have full access to the labour market and mainstream benefits, and can apply for settlement after five years.

We do not remove asylum seekers who have had to leave their countries because their sexuality or gender identity has put them at risk of persecution and no one who is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there. Enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and have exhausted all rights of appeal are also currently paused while we consider the situation.

The UK’s new resettlement scheme will, however, offer a route welcoming Afghans most at risk who have been forced to flee the country, prioritising resettling women, girls and children to the UK. Further details on the scheme will be published in due course.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of adding time left on an individual's old passport onto their new one.

The UK was the last country to carry over validity from a previous passport, with the maximum validity carried over on renewal being up to nine months. However, the international guidelines for passports state a passport should be valid for a maximum of 10 years, and a passport for a child should be issued for a maximum of five years.

As part of its work to prepare for all eventualities ahead of the UK leaving the European Union, Her Majesty’s Passport Office determined, for third-country nationals travelling to most countries in Europe, any period of validity of a passport older than 10 years may not be accepted. This highlighted the potential for confusion to passport holders about validity dates if the validity period was not set in line with the international guidelines.

Additional validity therefore ceased to be carried over from a previous passport since 10 September 2018, and there are currently no plans to re-introduce this policy

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the status is of the Metropolitan police investigation into the former chief executive of the Liberal Democrats following a request by the Electoral Commission for a prosecution.

The Hon. Member may wish to ask the same question to the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, as this information may be held by the Electoral Commission.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to help Commonwealth veterans immigrate to the UK upon discharge.

The Government highly values the service of all members of the Armed Forces, including Commonwealth nationals and Gurkhas from Nepal. As part of specific Home Office immigration rules for the Armed Forces and their families, Commonwealth and Gurkha Service personnel who have served for at least four years on discharge are able to apply to settle in the UK. We do, however, recognise that settlement fees place a financial burden on Service personnel wishing to settle in the UK after service, and we are working with the Home Office to consider how we can offer greater flexibility for these individuals in future.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on the upper age limit for applicants to that Academy during the covid-19 outbreak.

Candidates seeking a commission in the Regular Army should generally be over 17 years and 9 months and under 30 years on entry to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Anyone over 30 is considered on a case by case basis and age waivers can be supported. Officer recruitment is very healthy with the supply of high-quality candidates consistently meeting the demand for places. Places are filled well in advance of the intake date and due to the unique accommodation arrangements at the Academy social distancing measures are less complex to implement, meaning it continues to operate at full capacity. Covid 19 restrictions have not affected the application inflow and there has been no discussion regarding the upper age limit for applicants to the Academy during the covid-19 outbreak.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if his Department will assist in the awarding of a posthumous medal for the bravery shown by William McMullen in 1945.

I pay tribute to the bravery of Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot Officer William McMullen in ensuring that his aircraft did not crash onto a built-up area; and to all others who sacrificed themselves in similar circumstances.

However, no matter what the circumstances it is considered that those who had full access to the facts of the case contemporaneously were best placed to make judgements regarding medallic recognition.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, (a) how many and (b) which local authorities have used the Government New Homes Bonus Scheme to provide authorised traveller pitches for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community.

We do not centrally hold data on how local authorities spend New Homes Bonus allocations. Bonus payments paid to local authorities are unringfenced, meaning the bonus can be spent as they see fit. This approach is in recognition of local areas being best placed to understand local priorities.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what standards his Department sets for authorised permanent sites and traveller sites for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community; and what level of inspection is carried out to ensure that local authorities' provision of sites meets those standards.

We encourage local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites and in producing their local plan, to identify sites to meet that need. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about the number and location of such sites locally, having had due regard to national policy and local circumstances.

Privately run Gypsy and Traveller sites with appropriate planning permission are subject to the local authority site licencing regime under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Local authorities have discretion to attach conditions to a licence and can issue a compliance notice for a breach of a condition.

Local authorities are responsible for repairs and maintenance of permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites they own, under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Local authorities set out these responsibilities in individual Mobile Homes pitch agreements.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that local authorities are providing a sufficient quantity of traveller pitches to meet the needs of the Gypsy, Roman and Traveller community.

We encourage local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites and in producing their local plan, to identify sites to meet that need. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about the number and location of such sites locally, having had due regard to national policy and local circumstances.

Privately run Gypsy and Traveller sites with appropriate planning permission are subject to the local authority site licencing regime under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Local authorities have discretion to attach conditions to a licence and can issue a compliance notice for a breach of a condition.

Local authorities are responsible for repairs and maintenance of permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites they own, under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Local authorities set out these responsibilities in individual Mobile Homes pitch agreements.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the level of unmet demand for authorised traveller sites across the UK.

We encourage local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites and in producing their local plan, to identify sites to meet that need. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about the number and location of such sites locally, having had due regard to national policy and local circumstances.

Privately run Gypsy and Traveller sites with appropriate planning permission are subject to the local authority site licencing regime under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Local authorities have discretion to attach conditions to a licence and can issue a compliance notice for a breach of a condition.

Local authorities are responsible for repairs and maintenance of permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites they own, under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Local authorities set out these responsibilities in individual Mobile Homes pitch agreements.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many houses have been built in Darlington in each of the last 20 years.

Estimates of building control reported new build dwelling completions for Darlington in each of the last 20 years, are shown in Live Table 253, at the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building

These cover new build dwellings only and should be regarded as a leading indicator of overall housing supply.

The Department also publishes an annual release entitled ‘Housing supply: net additional dwellings, England’, which is the primary and most comprehensive measure of housing supply. This can be found at the following link


https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-net-supply-of-housing

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to extend the Help to Buy scheme to mitigate for delays in construction because of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the disruption Covid-19 has caused to housebuilding; that is why we took decisive steps to re-open the housing market and ensure housebuilding could safely recommence.?The Government published a “Plan to Rebuild” on Monday 11 May, setting out the United Kingdom Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy. This makes clear that construction work can be undertaken across England providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new Covid-19 secure guidelines. We continue to monitor the situation.

As announced at Budget 2018, there is a new two year Help to Buy scheme commencing from 1 April 2021, specifically for first time buyers, so supporting people onto the housing ladder. Where new build properties are not completed within the current Help to Buy scheme deadlines, they may be eligible for sale through the new scheme. More information on the new Help to Buy scheme can be found at https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/equity-loan/eligibility/.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to enable the hospitality industry to utilise outside space to comply with social distancing.

Ahead of any decision to reopen hospitality, the Government will consider how to support pubs, restaurants and cafes to open up and serve customers safely. Any changes would be supported by updates to the Covid-19 Secure: Safer Public Places guidance as appropriate.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the data collected by coroner's courts; and whether he plans to take steps to gather that data centrally.

The Government recognises the good work done by volunteers who support bereaved families and others who attend coroners’ courts. However, extending support services - such as the Coroners Courts Support Service - to cover all 85 coroner areas remains subject to affordability.

The Ministry of Justice collects annual data on coroners’ inquests which is then used to inform policy making. An annual statistical bulletin is published on the GOV.UK website at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coroners-statistics-2020. Coroner statistics for 2021 will be published on 12 May 2022.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the role of the volunteers service in the coroner's court system; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding to that service to help ensure uniformity of access.

The Government recognises the good work done by volunteers who support bereaved families and others who attend coroners’ courts. However, extending support services - such as the Coroners Courts Support Service - to cover all 85 coroner areas remains subject to affordability.

The Ministry of Justice collects annual data on coroners’ inquests which is then used to inform policy making. An annual statistical bulletin is published on the GOV.UK website at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coroners-statistics-2020. Coroner statistics for 2021 will be published on 12 May 2022.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
3rd Nov 2021
What assessment he has made of the potential benefits of the Levelling Up Fund for Scotland.

The chancellor has announced £171,708,259 of UKG investment directly in Scotland under round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund.

From the Inverness Zero Carbon Cultural Regeneration to improvement to the B714 in Ayrshire, these are projects championed by local areas which will make a real difference to communities.

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
19th May 2021
What steps his Department is taking to strengthen the Union.

This Government is clear in our commitment to the Union as an unparalleled and successful partnership between our four great nations.

My Department and I are working across Whitehall to deliver strategic priorities for Wales that will level up communities, improve infrastructure, create jobs and economic growth.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales