Peter Grant Portrait

Peter Grant

Scottish National Party - Glenrothes

Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Chief Secretary)

(since January 2020)
1 APPG membership (as of 4 May 2022)
Personal Banking and Fairer Financial Services
5 Former APPG memberships
Credit Unions, Domestic Violence, France, Islamophobia, Macedonia
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)
20th Jun 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Committee on Exiting the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Exiting the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
European Scrutiny Committee
15th Jul 2015 - 28th Nov 2016


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 23rd May 2022
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Managing cross-border travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
23 May 2022, 3:30 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Alex Chisholm - Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office
Patricia Hayes - Second Permanent Secretary at Home Office
Shona Dunn - Second Permanent Secretary at Department of Health and Social Care
Gareth Davies - Second Permanent Secretary at Department for Transport
Phil Douglas - Director General at Border Force
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Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 24th May 2022
13:30
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 25th May 2022
13:00
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Secure training centres and secure schools
25 May 2022, 1 p.m.
At 1.30pm: Oral evidence
Antonia Romeo - Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Justice
Dr Jo Farrar - Chief Executive Officer at Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service
Helga Swidenbank - Executive Director, Youth Custody Service at Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service
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Oral Question
Thursday 26th May 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral Question No. 10
What discussions she has had with industry stakeholders on the Government's proposals to privatise Channel 4.
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 8th June 2022
13:00
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Whole of Government Accounts
8 Jun 2022, 1 p.m.
At 1.30pm: Oral evidence
Sir Tom Scholar - Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury
Cat Little - Director General Public Spending at HM Treasury
Vicky Rock - Director Public Spending at HM Treasury
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 13th June 2022
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: British Steel Pension Scheme
13 Jun 2022, 3:30 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Andrew Bailey - Governor at Bank of England
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Department Event
Tuesday 28th June 2022
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
28 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 40 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 0 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 312
Speeches
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
I do not think the Scottish Government need to take lessons in ferries from a Government who awarded a massive …
Written Answers
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Visas: Married People
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the average time taken …
Early Day Motions
Friday 18th March 2022
Fife Council and the Miscarriage Association’s Pregnancy Loss Pledge
That this House commends Fife Council on being the first local authority in the UK to sign up to the …
Bills
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to exclude requirements relating to National Health Services procurement, delivery or commissioning from international trade agreements; to require …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 4th October 2021
1. Employment and earnings
7 September 2021, received £75 for a survey completed on 31 August 2021. Hours: approx. 15 mins. (Registered 29 September …
EDM signed
Tuesday 10th May 2022
Roza Salih's election as a Councillor in Scotland
That this House celebrates the huge achievement of Roza Salih, a Kurdish-born, Scottish human rights activist and campaigner who has …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 18th December 2018
European Union (Revocation of Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Peter Grant has voted in 345 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Peter Grant Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
John Glen (Conservative)
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
(26 debate interactions)
Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Education
(22 debate interactions)
Paul Scully (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(132 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(42 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Peter Grant's debates

Glenrothes Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Glenrothes signature proportion
Petitions with most Glenrothes signatures
Peter Grant has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Peter Grant

10th May 2022
Peter Grant signed this EDM on Tuesday 10th May 2022

Roza Salih's election as a Councillor in Scotland

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House celebrates the huge achievement of Roza Salih, a Kurdish-born, Scottish human rights activist and campaigner who has become the first former refugee to be elected as a local councillor in Scotland; congratulates Roza on her election on May 6 2022 to serve as a councillor for the …
29 signatures
(Most recent: 18 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 25
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Independent: 1
Labour: 1
31st January 2022
Peter Grant signed this EDM on Thursday 21st April 2022

Bearskin caps and the armed forces

Tabled by: Kirsten Oswald (Scottish National Party - East Renfrewshire)
That this House expresses its concern that the ceremonial bearskin caps worn by members of the armed forces, most notably at the annual Trooping the Colour parade, involve the unnecessary slaughter of black bears; notes that each bearskin ceremonial cap costs the Ministry of Defence over £1,700 and sees no …
75 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 30
Labour: 28
Liberal Democrat: 9
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Peter Grant's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Peter Grant, 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 Grant has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Peter Grant

Wednesday 30th June 2021

1 Bill introduced by Peter Grant


A Bill to exclude requirements relating to National Health Services procurement, delivery or commissioning from international trade agreements; to require the consent of the House of Commons and the devolved legislatures to international trade agreements insofar as they relate to the National Health Services of England, Scotland and Wales and Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 5th February 2020

112 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
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment the Parliamentary Health & Services Ombudsman has made of the extent of the technical problems with its postal mailbox in summer 2021 which led to some submitted complaints not being processed.

We have been informed by officials at the Parliamentary Health & Services Ombudsman (PHSO) that the technical problems were caused by third-party servers used by the House of Commons. This issue was swiftly resolved by the House of Commons IT team. Members wanting to follow up on any cases submitted during this time should contact the PHSO directly via the MP mailbox as usual.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to raise awareness of the availability of the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

In the 2021/22 scheme year, all low-income pensioners who are potentially eligible for a rebate under the Warm Home Discount Core Group will have received a letter from the Government by mid-December 2021. Most will receive the rebate automatically; in 2020/21, around 95% of Core Group recipients received their rebates automatically. In addition, the Warm Home Discount website is widely signposted and used by consumer groups, charities, and energy comparison websites to maximise uptake.

Energy suppliers are responsible for administering their Broader Group rebates, including setting their eligibility criteria and providing the rebates to eligible households. Suppliers make their customers aware of the scheme and are usually over-subscribed with applications.

Last summer, the Government consulted on extending, expanding, and reforming the scheme such that from winter 2022/23 the vast majority of all Warm Home Discount rebates would be provided automatically.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2021 to Question 56668, on Green Deal Scheme: Appeals, how many Green Deal appeal cases are due to be processed as at 1 February 2022.

As of 1 February 2022, there are 421 live Green Deal complaint cases referred to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2022 to Question 96947, on Energy Supply: Fife, what discussions he has had with energy companies on (a) the levels of debt accrued by customers in Glenrothes and Central Fife during the first and second covid-19 lockdowns and (b) the plans those companies have to collect that debt.

Ministers and officials regularly met energy companies during the first and second covid-19 lockdowns to discuss a range of issues relating to the energy retail market. The Government’s Voluntary Agreement with energy suppliers prioritises customers at risk and supports those impacted by covid-19. Based on circumstances, this could include reassessing, reducing or pausing debt repayments for households in financial distress and support for prepayment meter customers to stay on supply. The Agreement was introduced in March 2020 and is still in place today.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with energy companies on the levels of debt accrued by customers in Glenrothes and Central Fife during the first and second covid-19 lockdowns and the plans those companies have to collect this debt.

Ofgem collects information from energy companies on average debt levels which can be sourced here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/energy-data-and-research/data-portal/all-available-charts?keyword=debt&sort=relevance.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57139 on Post Offices; how many of the applications to the Post Office's Historical Shortfall Scheme have been refused an award by the scheme.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent business. Decisions on making awards under the Historical Shortfall Scheme are for the Post Office to make.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57139 on Post Offices; how many of the applications to the Post Office's Historical Shortfall Scheme have been processed.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent business. Decisions on making awards under the Historical Shortfall Scheme are for the Post Office to make.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57139 on Post Offices; how many applications were made to the Post Office's Historical Shortfall Scheme, which was open from May 2020 to November 2020.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent business. Decisions on making awards under the Historical Shortfall Scheme are for the Post Office to make.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57139, on Post Offices, how many of the applications received after the Post Office's Historical Shortfall Scheme closed on 27 November 2020 have been assessed.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent business. Decisions on making awards under the Historical Shortfall Scheme are for the Post Office to make.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57139, on Post Offices, how many of the applications received after the Post Office's Historical Shortfall Scheme closed on 27 November 2020 have been refused payment from that scheme.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent business. Decisions on making awards under the Historical Shortfall Scheme are for the Post Office to make.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57139, on Post Offices, how many of the applications received after the Post Office's Historical Shortfall Scheme closed on 27 November 2020 have had an award made from that scheme.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent business. Decisions on making awards under the Historical Shortfall Scheme are for the Post Office to make.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of the applications received after the Post Office's Historical Shortfall Scheme closed on 27 November 2020 have (a) been assessed, (b) had an award made from that scheme and (c) been excluded from that scheme.

There are a small number of individuals (107) who did not apply to the HSS before 27 November 2020 and Post Office is seeking fair and consistent solutions for these cases. Post Office is keeping those affected updated.

The Historical Shortfall Scheme which opened in May 2020 was advertised in national, regional and local media and individual letters were sent to all former postmasters that Post Office was able to obtain records for, plus all current postmasters. The HSS mailing was sent to 19,972 former and 7,155 current postmasters.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many former postmasters applied to the Historical Shortfall Scheme after it closed on 27 November 2020.

One hundred and seven current and former postmasters applied to the Historical Shortfall Scheme after it closed on 27 November 2020.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Green Deal appeal cases are still due to be processed as at 18 October 2021.

As of 18 October 2021, there are 382 live Green Deal complaint cases referred to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for review.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many applications have been received for the Post Office’s Historical Shortfall Scheme after that scheme closed on 14 August 2020.

By 14th August 2020, 1481 applications had been received into the Historical Shortfall Scheme (HSS), which increased to 1962 by 21st August 2020 once applications received by the initial cut-off date has been processed. The application period was extended to 27 November 2020 to allow for late notifications and expanded eligibility criteria. The number of applications being considered by the HSS as of 3rd September 2021 is 2516.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many current and former postmasters were (a) contacted and (b) unable to be traced by the Post Office in response to the opening of the Historical Shortfall Scheme.

There were 27127 letters sent to current and former postmasters notifying them of the scheme.

Additionally, on the 4 May 2020 Post Office Ltd commenced a sustained paid for media campaign, which was used to highlight the scheme’s existence to postmasters in addition to the mailing campaign. This media campaign was covered in over 400 National, Regional and Local newspapers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his planned timeframe is for processing the remaining cases for review under the Green Deal Framework Regulations.

We are aiming to respond to all remaining Green Deal appeals as soon as possible taking account of the stages in place for the handling of appeals.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Green Deal appeal cases are due to be processed.

As of 7 June, the Department has a total of 334 cases for review by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framework Regulations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what specific steps his Department is taking in response to the statutory report filed with his Department by the Joint Administrators of Blackmore Bond plc on the conduct of the Directors of Blackmore Bond plc during the three years immediately prior to the company going into administration.

The content of the joint administrators’ report on the conduct of the directors of Blackmore Bond Plc is currently being investigated by the Insolvency Service.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of sanctions available to the Registrar of Companies in the event of repeated failures by company directors to meet statutory deadlines for submitting documents to Companies House.

A range of fines and criminal sanctions attaches to the late filing of statutory documents with Companies House, where compliance is monitored on an ongoing basis. Compliance rates suggest that the existing regime provides an appropriate balance between incentivising adherence to filing deadlines and penalising those who fail to meet them

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September 2020 to Question 83925, on Conditions of Employment: Re-employment, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to prevent businesses from firing and rehiring employees.

Despite the unprecedented package of support provided by this Government, some employers will need the flexibility to be able to offer different terms and conditions to ensure the sustainability of their business and avoid redundancies. However, using threats about firing and re-hiring as a negotiating tactic is unacceptable and if the employer changes any of the terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to seek legal redress.

Laws are in place to ensure that there is fair procedure in redundancy and dismissal matters as well as contractual terms and conditions cannot discriminate unlawfully. If the employer changes any of the terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to seek legal redress. Both employee and employers can contact ACAS, who provide free advice to workers and employers to enable them to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 to prevent or discourage companies from (a) laying off and (b) rehiring staff on less favourable terms.

Despite the unprecedented package of support provided by this Government, some employers will need the flexibility to be able to offer different terms and conditions to ensure the sustainability of their business and avoid redundancies. However, using threats about firing and re-hiring as a negotiating tactic is unacceptable and if the employer changes any of the terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to seek legal redress.

Laws are in place to ensure that there is fair procedure in redundancy and dismissal matters as well as contractual terms and conditions cannot discriminate unlawfully. If the employer changes any of the terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to seek legal redress. Both employee and employers can contact ACAS, who provide free advice to workers and employers to enable them to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2022
What steps she has taken to implement the recommendations of the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee.

The Government introduced the Online Safety Bill on 17 March, alongside our response to the Joint Committee’s report, which has significantly influenced the final Bill.

We have taken forward over 60 recommendations, including to:

  • put priority offences onto the face of the Bill

  • bring scam advertising into scope

  • include Law Commission recommendations on communications offences and cyberflashing

  • introduce a standalone provision to protect children from pornography on dedicated sites as well as social media.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the decision to cap the number of English students attending university in Scotland.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I have regular meetings with Scottish ministers, and with ministers from all the devolved administrations, about higher education issues. These discussions have included the development of student number controls policy. Departmental officials also have regular meetings and discussions with their counterparts.

Student number controls are a direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They are designed to minimise the impact to the financial threat posed by the outbreak and they form a key part of the package of measures to stabilise the admissions system. We want to make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

These controls are a temporary measure and will be in place for one academic year only. Student number controls for institutions in the devolved administrations only apply to the number of English-domiciled entrants who will be supported with their tuition fees through the Student Loans Company. They are set at a level which will allow every institution to take more first year English students than they took last year. The funding of English-domiciled students is not a devolved matter, and it is right and fair that this policy should apply as consistently as possible wherever they are studying in the UK.

Ministers will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what economic assessment he undertook of the potential effect on Scottish universities of capping numbers of students from England attending Scottish universities before making that decision.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I have regular meetings with Scottish ministers, and with ministers from all the devolved administrations, about higher education issues. These discussions have included the development of student number controls policy. Departmental officials also have regular meetings and discussions with their counterparts.

Student number controls are a direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They are designed to minimise the impact to the financial threat posed by the outbreak and they form a key part of the package of measures to stabilise the admissions system. We want to make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

These controls are a temporary measure and will be in place for one academic year only. Student number controls for institutions in the devolved administrations only apply to the number of English-domiciled entrants who will be supported with their tuition fees through the Student Loans Company. They are set at a level which will allow every institution to take more first year English students than they took last year. The funding of English-domiciled students is not a devolved matter, and it is right and fair that this policy should apply as consistently as possible wherever they are studying in the UK.

Ministers will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives of (a) The National Farmers Union of Scotland and (b) The National Farmers Union of England and Wales on proposed changes to the number of Seasonal Agricultural Worker visa routes from 2023.

Defra works closely with a wide range of industry stakeholders – including the National Farmers Union of Scotland and the National Farmers Union of England and Wales – to discuss current immigration policy and the needs of the farming sector.

Under the Seasonal Workers Visa Route agreed with the Home Office for the period 2022-2024 there will be 30,000 visas available in 2022, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary.

Immigration is a reserved matter and Seasonal Worker visas under this route for the horticulture sector will be available nationwide.

While acknowledging the sector’s reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the Government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

Therefore, the Home Office announced that the number of visas will begin to taper down from 2023 to account for this focus on British workers and automation, and Defra will bring forward further proposals in due course on ways to support the sector as well as progressing recommendations from the Automation Review.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities in the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposed reductions to the number of Seasonal Agricultural Worker visa routes from 2023 on the agricultural industry in (a) Scotland (b) the rest of the UK.

Defra works closely with a wide range of industry stakeholders – including the National Farmers Union of Scotland and the National Farmers Union of England and Wales – to discuss current immigration policy and the needs of the farming sector.

Under the Seasonal Workers Visa Route agreed with the Home Office for the period 2022-2024 there will be 30,000 visas available in 2022, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary.

Immigration is a reserved matter and Seasonal Worker visas under this route for the horticulture sector will be available nationwide.

While acknowledging the sector’s reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the Government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

Therefore, the Home Office announced that the number of visas will begin to taper down from 2023 to account for this focus on British workers and automation, and Defra will bring forward further proposals in due course on ways to support the sector as well as progressing recommendations from the Automation Review.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities in the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made with the European Commission in securing Part 1 listed status for pet travel between the UK and the EU.

The Department previously submitted an application to the European Commission to become a 'Part 1' listed third country in relation to non-commercial movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets. On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of, and has now adopted, the UK as a ‘Part 2’ listed status third country for the non-commercial movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets.

We are clear we meet all the animal health requirements to become a Part 1 listed third country and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. Our disease risk has not changed, and we recognise the challenges that Part 2 listed status poses for those travelling with pets and assistance dogs. We have reiterated this, and will continue to press the EU Commission on securing Part 1 listed status, alongside securing recognised tapeworm free status from the EU.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of postal applications for a driving licence, where further information on the applicant's medical condition is required from a GP or other health professional, have been completed within ten weeks for the period since 1 April 2021.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s performance against business plan targets is published at the end of the financial year to account for the full year’s performance. The figures to date reflect good performance across most measures and the DVLA is on track to meet or exceed all targets relating to online services, which account for the majority of its transactions. The targets for paper transactions and correspondence in 2021-22 were set in line with pre pandemic levels of customer service and the DVLA is unlikely to meet those this year. However, the business plan made clear that the targets had been set in the context of no further disruption to service through Covid or industrial action, which has not been the case.

The information requested on the proportion of postal and online applications that have been completed within the specified timescales is not readily available. Officials from the DVLA will write to the Honourable Member when the information is available.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of postal applications for a vocational driving licence, where further information on the applicant's medical condition is required from a GP or other health professional, have been completed within ten working days for the period since 1 April 2021.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s performance against business plan targets is published at the end of the financial year to account for the full year’s performance. The figures to date reflect good performance across most measures and the DVLA is on track to meet or exceed all targets relating to online services, which account for the majority of its transactions. The targets for paper transactions and correspondence in 2021-22 were set in line with pre pandemic levels of customer service and the DVLA is unlikely to meet those this year. However, the business plan made clear that the targets had been set in the context of no further disruption to service through Covid or industrial action, which has not been the case.

The information requested on the proportion of postal and online applications that have been completed within the specified timescales is not readily available. Officials from the DVLA will write to the Honourable Member when the information is available.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of postal applications for a driving licence, where further information on the applicant's medical condition is required from a GP or other health professional, have been completed within ten working days for the period since 1 April 2021.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s performance against business plan targets is published at the end of the financial year to account for the full year’s performance. The figures to date reflect good performance across most measures and the DVLA is on track to meet or exceed all targets relating to online services, which account for the majority of its transactions. The targets for paper transactions and correspondence in 2021-22 were set in line with pre pandemic levels of customer service and the DVLA is unlikely to meet those this year. However, the business plan made clear that the targets had been set in the context of no further disruption to service through Covid or industrial action, which has not been the case.

The information requested on the proportion of postal and online applications that have been completed within the specified timescales is not readily available. Officials from the DVLA will write to the Honourable Member when the information is available.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of online applications for a driving licence, where further information on the applicant's medical condition is required from a GP or other health professional, have been completed within three working days for the period since 1 April 2021.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s performance against business plan targets is published at the end of the financial year to account for the full year’s performance. The figures to date reflect good performance across most measures and the DVLA is on track to meet or exceed all targets relating to online services, which account for the majority of its transactions. The targets for paper transactions and correspondence in 2021-22 were set in line with pre pandemic levels of customer service and the DVLA is unlikely to meet those this year. However, the business plan made clear that the targets had been set in the context of no further disruption to service through Covid or industrial action, which has not been the case.

The information requested on the proportion of postal and online applications that have been completed within the specified timescales is not readily available. Officials from the DVLA will write to the Honourable Member when the information is available.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will provide the latest performance statistics for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency against each of the targets given in sections 1.1 to 1.4 of DVLA's Business Plan for 2021-22.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s performance against business plan targets is published at the end of the financial year to account for the full year’s performance. The figures to date reflect good performance across most measures and the DVLA is on track to meet or exceed all targets relating to online services, which account for the majority of its transactions. The targets for paper transactions and correspondence in 2021-22 were set in line with pre pandemic levels of customer service and the DVLA is unlikely to meet those this year. However, the business plan made clear that the targets had been set in the context of no further disruption to service through Covid or industrial action, which has not been the case.

The information requested on the proportion of postal and online applications that have been completed within the specified timescales is not readily available. Officials from the DVLA will write to the Honourable Member when the information is available.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog of applications for driving licences for people with medical conditions.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here. There will be additional delays in processing applications where medical investigations are needed.

The number of applications awaiting processing fluctuates on a daily basis as licences are issued and new applications received.

In December the Department of Health and Social Care asked the DVLA to temporarily pause referrals to the NHS for driver licensing purposes to allow the NHS to rightly prioritise the vaccination booster rollout. Referrals for lorry and bus drivers were prioritised and continued during this time and all referrals have now restarted. The large majority of drivers renewing a licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being considered, providing they can meet the criteria outlined here

The DVLA recognises the impact on drivers who have to renew their licence more regularly and is working hard to improve the process. Drivers with diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, a visual impairment, a sleep condition or a heart condition can renew their licence online.

The DVLA has also recently introduced a simplified licence renewal process for drivers with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and is piloting this for some mental health conditions. This renewal process has significantly reduced the need for the DVLA to seek further information from medical professionals and enabled more licensing decisions to be made based on the information provided by the driver. The DVLA is looking at adding more medical conditions to this new process.

These measures are having a positive impact and customers will see an improving picture in terms of turnaround times.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the timeframes for (a) applications and (b) renewals of driving licences being processed by the DVLA for applicants with medical conditions.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here. There will be additional delays in processing applications where medical investigations are needed.

The number of applications awaiting processing fluctuates on a daily basis as licences are issued and new applications received.

In December the Department of Health and Social Care asked the DVLA to temporarily pause referrals to the NHS for driver licensing purposes to allow the NHS to rightly prioritise the vaccination booster rollout. Referrals for lorry and bus drivers were prioritised and continued during this time and all referrals have now restarted. The large majority of drivers renewing a licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being considered, providing they can meet the criteria outlined here

The DVLA recognises the impact on drivers who have to renew their licence more regularly and is working hard to improve the process. Drivers with diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, a visual impairment, a sleep condition or a heart condition can renew their licence online.

The DVLA has also recently introduced a simplified licence renewal process for drivers with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and is piloting this for some mental health conditions. This renewal process has significantly reduced the need for the DVLA to seek further information from medical professionals and enabled more licensing decisions to be made based on the information provided by the driver. The DVLA is looking at adding more medical conditions to this new process.

These measures are having a positive impact and customers will see an improving picture in terms of turnaround times.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many outstanding (a) driving licence renewals, (b) applications for provisional licences and (c) other driving licence applications are pending processing by the DVLA for those with medical conditions.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here. There will be additional delays in processing applications where medical investigations are needed.

The number of applications awaiting processing fluctuates on a daily basis as licences are issued and new applications received.

In December the Department of Health and Social Care asked the DVLA to temporarily pause referrals to the NHS for driver licensing purposes to allow the NHS to rightly prioritise the vaccination booster rollout. Referrals for lorry and bus drivers were prioritised and continued during this time and all referrals have now restarted. The large majority of drivers renewing a licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being considered, providing they can meet the criteria outlined here

The DVLA recognises the impact on drivers who have to renew their licence more regularly and is working hard to improve the process. Drivers with diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, a visual impairment, a sleep condition or a heart condition can renew their licence online.

The DVLA has also recently introduced a simplified licence renewal process for drivers with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and is piloting this for some mental health conditions. This renewal process has significantly reduced the need for the DVLA to seek further information from medical professionals and enabled more licensing decisions to be made based on the information provided by the driver. The DVLA is looking at adding more medical conditions to this new process.

These measures are having a positive impact and customers will see an improving picture in terms of turnaround times.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 21 October 2021 to Question 57141 on Driving Licences: Internet, what his planned timetable is for his Department being able to offer the facility of renewing driving licences online for all applicants without a digital passport signature following the recent system interface enhancements between the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and Her Majesty's Passport Office.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has successfully delivered a digital service for customers applying for a provisional licence whereby they can upload their own signature. The immediate focus is on delivering further improvements to this provisional driving licence service to allow even more customers to be able to use it. The enhanced functionality is then expected to be rolled out to other driver services, such as renewals, during 2022.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 23 February 2021 to Question 157213 on Driving Licences: Internet, what progress his Department has made with implementing system interface enhancements between the DVLA and Her Majesty’s Passport Office to allow driving licences to be renewed online for applicants without a digital passport signature.

Since 24 June 2021, customers applying for their provisional driving licence are now able to upload their signature for the first time and track or update their application.

This functionality will enable the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to further develop services, including online renewals, without requiring a digital passport signature.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of covering the fees for Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) cards to help to alleviate the shortage of lorry drivers.

The Department for Transport is working with the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to support those returning to driving including with the renewal of their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) where appropriate.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2021 to Question 145054 on Driving Licences: Foreign Nationals, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to further extend the 12-month period for which holders of foreign driving licences can drive in Great Britain using that licence.

The Government does not intend to bring forward legislation to extend the period for which holders of foreign driving licences can drive in GB using that licence.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to resolve the interface issues between the DVLA and Her Majesty’s Passport Office which is preventing driving licences being renewed online for applicants without a digital passport signature, as detailed in the DVLA's letter to the hon. member for Glenrothes of 17 February 2021.

Since 2017, Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) changed its processes so that the passport holder’s’ signature is no longer collected when a passport application is made. Where digital signatures are already held by HMPO, the customer will be able to continue with the online driving licence application process.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is currently developing a new system which will allow customers to upload their own signatures. This is due to be launched later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to extend the grace period for non-GB licence holders to allow them to continue to drive in the UK.

There are no current plans to extend the 12-month period for which holders of foreign driving licences can drive in Great Britain using that licence. To continue driving after the 12-month period the driver must either exchange their licence, if it was issued by a country which has been designated for licence exchange purposes, or apply for a provisional driving licence and pass both a theory and practical driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is looking at a range of measures to increase testing capacity once current restrictions are eased. Immediately, it is responding to requests for driving tests from organisations on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers, who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role. This is a limited service but extends to foreign licence holders if they meet the criteria and are nominated by eligible organisations.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will respond to the correspondence dated 9 March 2022 from the hon. Member for Glenrothes on delays with state pensions in summer 2021, reference PG5490.

We are seeking to provide the hon. Member with a substantive response to the issue he raised in his correspondence and will provide an update as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will respond to the correspondence dated 9 March 2022 from the hon. Member for Glenrothes on delays with state pensions in summer 2021, reference PG5490.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether payments to hosts in the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be treated as income for the purposes of those in receipt of universal credit and other income-related benefits.

The Government is grateful to individuals who wish to play their part in supporting Homes for Ukraine. DWP is working at pace with DLUHC and the Home Office to ensure benefit claimants who feel they can support the scheme are able to do so, and will be no worse off.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of claimants who are due to reach the end of their 12 month entitlement to contributions-based employment and support allowance before the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments has completed its work capability assessment by the end of 2021.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support claimants who are awaiting a work capability assessment for contributions based employment and support allowance and whose assessment will not be able to take place before their award ends.

We are committed to assessing people as quickly as possible in order that they receive the benefit they are entitled to. Unfortunately, some Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(C) claimants were not completed as quickly as we would have liked due to the the Covid-19 pandemic. The resumption of face-to-face assessments, together with enhanced telephony assessment processes, now allow us to assess all cases. We are prioritising assessments for contributory Employment and Support Allowance claims that have exhausted or are at risk of exhausting.

Furthermore, the measures we implemented during the pandemic remain in place to support ESA(C) claimants at risk of exhausting before a WCA. This includes a dedicated operational team to identify contributory ESA claims that we can progress without face-to-face assessment – for instance, those where further evidence might exist on other DWP benefit systems. If claimants have further evidence they think might help progress their claim, they should contact the Department.

Claimants whose ESA(C) exhausts before they have had a WCA should continue to supply medical evidence (i.e. Fit Notes). This will ensure that their claim can be reinstated if they are found to have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) at a future WCA, with any arrears of the LCWRA component paid in full.

Where an individual’s contributory ESA ends, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of claimants who have reached the end of their 12 month entitlement to contributions-based employment and support allowance before the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments has completed its work capability assessment to determine whether their entitlement remains after the initial 12 month period.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the average waiting time to process personal independence payment applications in (a) Scotland and (b) Fife.

We are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a timely manner and reducing customer journey times for PIP claimants is a priority for the Department. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.

Average waiting times for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) new claims made under normal rules (i.e. excluding those processed under special rules for terminal illness, which typically take 3 days) are calculated as the median number of weeks from registration to DWP decision, and published as the “Average Actual Clearance Time”. For claims cleared in July 2021, which is the most recent data available:

(a) The Average (median) Actual Clearance Time for new claims in Scotland was 26 weeks.

(b) The Average (median) Actual Clearance Time for new claims in the Fife Local Authority was 26 weeks.

Notes:

Data Source: PIP Atomic Data Store (ADS)

  • Data for the Fife Local Authority is unpublished. It should be used with caution as there is likely to be more variability in clearance times at small geographical levels. It may be subject to future revision.
  • The status of claims as 'normal rules' and 'new claim' is shown as at the point of the DWP decision, in accordance with the measure. It is possible for claims to transition between normal and special rules, and between new claims and reassessments, during the course of the claimant journey.
  • Clearance time measures do not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant or claims that were disallowed by DWP prior to referral to the Assessment Providers (e.g. for failure to meet basic eligibility criteria).
Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2021 to Question 1111 on Universal Credit, what progress she is making on automating the identification of claimants impacted by the decision of the Court of Appeal in June 2020 in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

We have successfully delivered the automation which allows us to identify and take action when claimants are impacted by two earnings in the one assessment period.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that requests for National Insurance numbers are processed in an efficient and timely manner for people who have been granted a Turkish Businessperson visa.

We recently reviewed the National Insurance number process for Turkish Businesspersons and introduced a more streamlined process for this group on 9th June 2021. The new process accepts the Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of their self-employment, removing the previous need for them to provide evidence that they were gainfully self-employed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the £20 uplift in universal credit on levels of child poverty in (a) Scotland and (b) Glenrothes constituency.

No assessment has been made.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £112 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the levels of child poverty in (a) Scotland and (b) Glenrothes constituency.

This Government is wholly committed to tackling poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to support the most vulnerable including through spending an additional £7.4billion to strengthen the welfare system, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to an estimated £112 billion in 2020/21.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Glenrothes is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Latest statistics for the levels of children who are in low income in Scotland, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020,“children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2019-20-tables” in table 4.16ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and in table 4.22ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

In the three years to 2019/20, the absolute child poverty rate, before housing costs, in Scotland was 17%, down 2 percentage points since the three years to 2009/10.

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures on the number of children who are in low income in Glenrothes and in Scotland, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-fye-2015-to-fye-2020.

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable


Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on ensuring that monthly salaries are automatically reallocated within assessment periods for universal credit, where a claimant gets two monthly salary payments in a single assessment period following the decision made by the Court of Appeal in June 2020 in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

The legislation we introduced on 16th November 2020 provides a remedy to the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and others and allows us to reallocate monthly earnings to another assessment period. This means that claimants affected by this issue will have one salary payment taken into account in each assessment period rather than two.

To meet the Court of Appeal Judgment as soon as was practicable we introduced a solution based on a streamlined dispute process currently in place. This has enabled those who are affected to benefit under this regulation and claimants simply need to tell their work coach either in one of their regular discussions or via their journal if they think they are affected.

We expect to automate identification of affected claimants in mid-summer 2021. This will allow us to correct awards proactively before they are paid, without the need for the claimant to raise the issue.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were received by the Child Maintenance Service in (a) 2020 and (b) 2019.

The Department has received CMS complaints in these years as follows:

2018/2019

2019/2020

2020/2021

Caseload

475,200

515,600

548,400

Complaints

7,235

10,315

6,196

The data includes both Collect & Pay and Direct Pay. It should be noted that each case has at least two customers associated with it (Paying and Receiving parents) and on occasion, there may be two complaints relating to a single case.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total value of consolatory payments paid out for poor customer service by the Child Maintenance Service was in the 12 months since 16 March 2020.

The Department is unable to provide the data in respect of the total value of consolatory payments paid out for poor customer service by the Child Maintenance Service in the last 12 months. Data for 2020/21 is currently being finalised as part of the end of operational year activities.

Combined DWP figures for maladministration and redress are published in the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were received by the Child Maintenance Service in (a) 2020 and (b) 2019.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 157313 on National Insurance Contributions, what progress her Department has made on provision of a National Insurance Number service to the majority of people.

The National Insurance Number Service is now available to all applicants living in England and Wales and, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, will be available, in Scotland, from week commencing 26th April when our face to face service resumes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of using the consumer prices index including housing to calculate pension increases for defined benefit pension schemes.

No assessment has been made.

Private pension increases are calculated according to the rules of the scheme.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to resolve the problems with the CMS IT system which suspends the collection of Child Maintenance Service debt.

We are not aware of any issues regarding Child Maintenance System and the suspension of debt.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to resolve as soon as possible the problems with the computer system which writes off CSA debt.

Whilst some Child Support Agency (CSA) debt was automatically written-off in the main, once representation has taken place, where write off is appropriate, this is a manual process.

The majority of the CSA debt write off has been completed and CSA systems (CSCS and CS2) have now been decommissioned.

The write off process for CSA debt held on Child Maintenance System is ongoing and we are not aware of any issues with this process.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of delays by the Child Maintenance Service in pursuing payments for resident parents during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that the income of many separated parents is being impacted by the public health emergency and some receiving parents may receive less maintenance as a result of a paying parent’s drop in income.

Paying parents are still expected to pay child maintenance throughout this period. Our priority is to maintain the flow of maintenance that is currently being paid, by easing the financial pressure on paying parents and ensuring that we transfer the payments as quickly as possible to receiving parents.

In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, we will update calculations as soon as possible and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued. The small minority who might be found to be abusing the system at this difficult time could potentially find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers once the emergency passes.

Measures have been introduced to support both paying and receiving parents, whose income drops as a result of the public health emergency. These include increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by over £1000 per year, benefiting over 4 million of the most vulnerable households. We have also increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of her Department's staff have been seconded to other Government departments during the covid-19 outbreak.

As the Department for Work and Pensions is a critical department during the COVID-19 outbreak, and has experienced a significant increase in demand for our services, it has undertaken a small number of secondments and loans of members of staff to other Government departments.

As at April 2020, the Department had 78,138 staff and we have seconded or loaned out only a very low number of individuals.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department takes to ensure that claimants who are found to be eligible for employment support allowance but don't receive payments due to their household income, are encouraged to continue to apply to make sure that they receive their National Insurance contributions.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) the “new style” benefit is solely based on the claimant’s national insurance (NI) contributions. The income-related strands of the benefit have been removed. This means that New Style ESA (NS ESA) can be paid alongside Universal Credit (UC), where appropriate.

Claimants who don’t qualify for UC, due to the level of their household income, might still qualify for NS ESA.

If eligible for NS ESA, a claimant will be awarded a Class 1 NI credit for each complete benefit week that the benefit is in payment. A benefit week runs from Sunday to Saturday.

Where there is no entitlement to NS ESA, a person may still be entitled to NI credits provided they continue to meet the eligibility conditions.

Information about claiming NI credits is included in the decision letter sent to the claimant informing them that they are not entitled to ESA. It is also available on Gov.UK.

10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) provision of (i) uniforms and (ii) winter uniforms by the employer and (b) other working conditions at covid testing centres under contract to his Department.

Uniforms, personal protective equipment and special apparel, such as winter uniforms, are provided by the service management providers operating testing sites, according to local needs. COVID-19 testing centres are regularly audited and inspected by the Department, the UK Health Security Agency and by external organisations to maintain working conditions which are safe for test site operatives.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring inclusion of carbohydrate content on food menus to help people with diabetes to accurately calculate their insulin requirements.

Some respondents to our consultation on mandating calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector suggested the inclusion of other macronutrients, most notably carbohydrate content, particularly in connection with helping people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar. However, we believe there is a balance to be struck between providing accessible and useful information for consumers while not disproportionately impacting businesses and their ability to shape their menus or the appearance of menu boards.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Oct 2020
What recent discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that the NHS and social care sectors are adequately resourced during winter 2020-21.

This Government is committed to supporting the National Health Service and wider social care sector this winter, as it has throughout this year. In July, the Government announced £3 billion in additional funding, alongside £450 million for accident and emergency department upgrades and expansions. Similarly, we are supporting adult social care with a further £546 million of infection control funding over this winter. Where health policy is devolved, the devolved nations have benefitted from the appropriate Barnett consequentials.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Office of Tax Simplification's publication of May 2018 entitled Savings income: routes to simplification, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of its recommendations on (a) reviewing guidance relating to pension withdrawals and (b) the use of the emergency take code for personal pension lump sum withdrawals.

The Government ensures that all savers have access to free, impartial guidance as they approach retirement age through MoneyHelper, provided by the Money and Pension Service (MaPS). MoneyHelper Pensions provides guidance on all areas of UK pensions to the public regardless of age. Information relating to the tax implications of pension withdrawals is available on the MoneyHelper website, and is covered in Pension Wise appointments.

The use of PAYE for those who access pensions flexibly operates as expected for many individuals. Where tax is overpaid tax because of an emergency tax code, individuals can contact HMRC and will be repaid within 30 days. Moreover, anyone who does not contact HMRC will be automatically repaid following the end of the tax year. This approach helps to minimise the number of unexpected tax bills for those who access their pension savings flexibly.
John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) maintaining RPI beyond 2030 and (b) putting in place mitigating measures to ensure that defined benefits pensions are not reduced.

On 25 November 2020, the Government and UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) published their response to the consultation on the timing of reform to the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Owing to shortcomings in its calculation, UKSA intends to bring the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI.

The Government and UKSA are mindful of the widespread use of RPI in the economy, and, as such, sought views in the consultation on the broader impacts of reform. The Government and UKSA received approximately 550 responses from members of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes whose benefits are linked to RPI.

It is apparent that some DB pension schemes members will be affected by UKSA’s reform. The effect of reform on the members of such schemes will depend on whether their benefits are linked to RPI under the trust deed and rules of the scheme.

The announcement in the response by the Chancellor and UKSA Chair means that reform will not be implemented before 2030. The Government keeps the occupational pensions system under review and will continue to do so.

For further information please see the consultation response at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Financial Conduct Authority’s response to concerns raised in 2017 on the sales practices being used by Blackmore Bond plc and its representatives.

The Government is aware of the failure of Blackmore Bond plc and the latest report submitted by the Joint Administrators in December. Blackmore Bond plc issued non-transferable debt securities (sometimes known as mini-bonds). It is not a regulated activity for firms to issue their own non-transferable debt securities. However, in the UK, responsibility for regulating the promotion and marketing of mini-bonds lies with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

On 1 January 2021 the FCA made permanent rules banning the promotion of high risk ‘speculative illiquid securities’ (including some mini-bonds) to ordinary retail consumers. These rules were introduced in response to the failure of London Capital & Finance and concerns about the suitability of speculative illiquid securities for retail investors. This ban prevents future companies like Blackmore Bond plc marketing their products to retail investors. The Treasury is currently undertaking a review into the regulatory framework for mini-bonds and will launch a consultation later this year on the regulation of non-transferable debt securities.

In view of the FCA’s role as an independent non-governmental body it would not be appropriate for Government to comment on the FCA’s handling of Blackmore Bond plc. Investors who have concerns about the FCA’s handling of the failure of Blackmore Bond plc can make a complaint using the FCA Complaints Scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government plans to take in response to the statutory report submitted by the Joint Administrators of Blackmore Bond plc.

The Government is aware of the failure of Blackmore Bond plc and the latest report submitted by the Joint Administrators in December. Blackmore Bond plc issued non-transferable debt securities (sometimes known as mini-bonds). It is not a regulated activity for firms to issue their own non-transferable debt securities. However, in the UK, responsibility for regulating the promotion and marketing of mini-bonds lies with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

On 1 January 2021 the FCA made permanent rules banning the promotion of high risk ‘speculative illiquid securities’ (including some mini-bonds) to ordinary retail consumers. These rules were introduced in response to the failure of London Capital & Finance and concerns about the suitability of speculative illiquid securities for retail investors. This ban prevents future companies like Blackmore Bond plc marketing their products to retail investors. The Treasury is currently undertaking a review into the regulatory framework for mini-bonds and will launch a consultation later this year on the regulation of non-transferable debt securities.

In view of the FCA’s role as an independent non-governmental body it would not be appropriate for Government to comment on the FCA’s handling of Blackmore Bond plc. Investors who have concerns about the FCA’s handling of the failure of Blackmore Bond plc can make a complaint using the FCA Complaints Scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of protection for investors since the collapse of Blackmore Bond plc.

The Government is aware of the failure of Blackmore Bond plc and the latest report submitted by the Joint Administrators in December. Blackmore Bond plc issued non-transferable debt securities (sometimes known as mini-bonds). It is not a regulated activity for firms to issue their own non-transferable debt securities. However, in the UK, responsibility for regulating the promotion and marketing of mini-bonds lies with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

On 1 January 2021 the FCA made permanent rules banning the promotion of high risk ‘speculative illiquid securities’ (including some mini-bonds) to ordinary retail consumers. These rules were introduced in response to the failure of London Capital & Finance and concerns about the suitability of speculative illiquid securities for retail investors. This ban prevents future companies like Blackmore Bond plc marketing their products to retail investors. The Treasury is currently undertaking a review into the regulatory framework for mini-bonds and will launch a consultation later this year on the regulation of non-transferable debt securities.

In view of the FCA’s role as an independent non-governmental body it would not be appropriate for Government to comment on the FCA’s handling of Blackmore Bond plc. Investors who have concerns about the FCA’s handling of the failure of Blackmore Bond plc can make a complaint using the FCA Complaints Scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she will respond to the correspondence of 11 March 2022 from the hon. Member for Glenrothes on routes to settlement for Afghan refugees, reference PG5604.

The Home Office received the Member’s correspondence on 3 March 2022 and responded on 8 March 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the availability of priority applications for spousal visas for applicants in South Africa.

From mid-March 2022, UKVI temporarily suspended Priority and Super Priority visa services for new marriage applications in order to redeploy resource to process applications made under the in response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the invasion of Ukraine.

We will keep this under review and reintroduce the priority service when possible.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the average time taken for a standard spouse visa to be processed.

the Home Office would only be able to get the data via a manual trawl which would be at a disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Security Industry Authority on the potential merits of extending current licences for those who have been unable to work or been limited in working during the covid-19 pandemic, to allow more time to renew their licence in response to the recent changes to the renewal process.

Following the changes to mandatory training for Door Supervisors and Security Guards in April and October 2021, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) confirmed there continues to be record high numbers of licence holders, indicating a healthy throughput of labour into the private security industry.

To prepare for the introduction of these changes, the SIA worked closely with the industry to develop the new training requirements, following a public consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders over a period of years.

In recognition of the impact of Covid-19, the SIA delayed introducing the changes to allow the industry and training providers more time to prepare for the changes.

The SIA is responsible for ensuring that all licence holders are ‘fit and proper’ persons and have the required skillset and level of training suitable for their chosen sector, via checks made upon application. It would not therefore be appropriate on public safety grounds, to extend licences, without those licence holders being subject to the mandatory checks and training required at application and renewal.

The SIA works closely with the private security industry and with training providers to develop flexible and accessible licence-linked training for all current and prospective licence-holders across the UK. However, the SIA does not have the powers to deliver the training nor to determine the costs, scheduling, and availability of the courses being offered, this is the responsibility of the training providers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the communication of changes regarding mandatory training to Security Industry Authority licence holders by the Security Industry Authority.

Following the changes to mandatory training for Door Supervisors and Security Guards in April and October 2021, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) confirmed there continues to be record high numbers of licence holders, indicating a healthy throughput of labour into the private security industry.

To prepare for the introduction of these changes, the SIA worked closely with the industry to develop the new training requirements, following a public consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders over a period of years.

In recognition of the impact of Covid-19, the SIA delayed introducing the changes to allow the industry and training providers more time to prepare for the changes.

The SIA is responsible for ensuring that all licence holders are ‘fit and proper’ persons and have the required skillset and level of training suitable for their chosen sector, via checks made upon application. It would not therefore be appropriate on public safety grounds, to extend licences, without those licence holders being subject to the mandatory checks and training required at application and renewal.

The SIA works closely with the private security industry and with training providers to develop flexible and accessible licence-linked training for all current and prospective licence-holders across the UK. However, the SIA does not have the powers to deliver the training nor to determine the costs, scheduling, and availability of the courses being offered, this is the responsibility of the training providers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Security Industry Authority (SIA) on the recent implementation of mandatory training and the (a) associated costs and (b) availability of that training for applicants when renewing SIA licences.

Following the changes to mandatory training for Door Supervisors and Security Guards in April and October 2021, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) confirmed there continues to be record high numbers of licence holders, indicating a healthy throughput of labour into the private security industry.

To prepare for the introduction of these changes, the SIA worked closely with the industry to develop the new training requirements, following a public consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders over a period of years.

In recognition of the impact of Covid-19, the SIA delayed introducing the changes to allow the industry and training providers more time to prepare for the changes.

The SIA is responsible for ensuring that all licence holders are ‘fit and proper’ persons and have the required skillset and level of training suitable for their chosen sector, via checks made upon application. It would not therefore be appropriate on public safety grounds, to extend licences, without those licence holders being subject to the mandatory checks and training required at application and renewal.

The SIA works closely with the private security industry and with training providers to develop flexible and accessible licence-linked training for all current and prospective licence-holders across the UK. However, the SIA does not have the powers to deliver the training nor to determine the costs, scheduling, and availability of the courses being offered, this is the responsibility of the training providers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when people with outstanding Turkish Businessperson visa applications will receive a decision on their application.

We received a significant increase in Turkish ECAA overseas applications before the route closed. Caseworking teams in UKVI continue to process ECAA applications and are focused on resolving them as quickly as possible.

At times, we may identify further information which is required in individual applications and need to contact applicants for this.

Some applications also require additional checks to be undertaken by the Home Office which may cause delays pending these essential checks being undertaken.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made in assessing outstanding Turkish Businessperson visas, for applications made in 2020.

We received a significant increase in Turkish ECAA overseas applications before the route closed. Caseworking teams in UKVI continue to process ECAA applications and are focused on resolving them as quickly as possible.

At times, we may identify further information which is required in individual applications and need to contact applicants for this.

Some applications also require additional checks to be undertaken by the Home Office which may cause delays pending these essential checks being undertaken.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the case for and against removing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from the list of organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000.

In October 2020 the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission allowed the appeal against the Government’s decision to maintain the proscription of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the basis of a procedural error. The Home Secretary subsequently undertook to reconsider the application for deproscription and, having reconsidered the application, determined that the LTTE should remain proscribed. The Home Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee on 31 August 2021 notifying the Chair of her decision. A copy of the Home Secretary’s letter was deposited in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ensure that people who have been granted Turkish businessperson visas can request a national insurance number without having to provide evidence which has already been provided for their visa application.

The arrangements for processing National Insurance number (NINo) requests are the responsibility of the Department for Work and Pensions. It no longer requires a face-to-face interview as part of the process and will accept the Biometric Residence Permit of Turkish business persons as evidence of self-employment.

It is not mandatory for Turkish business persons to provide a NINo as part of their immigration application and the Home Office will ensure they are not penalised for any previous delays in issuing one.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the requirement for people who have proved their residency rights through the EU Settlement Scheme to do so again when applying for British Citizenship.

The EUSS only looks at physical presence and not lawful residence, and so there may be cases where nationality caseworkers need to satisfy themselves the person was here lawfully, when applicants are applying for British citizenship.

This is not a new requirement and was an assessment we have always been making. In most cases this will not involve any additional evidence, for example where the person was working in the UK and so clearly in the UK in accordance with EEA regulations.

There may be cases, however, where it is not clear on what basis a person was in the UK and so we will need to make further enquiries to establish lawful residence. This is a statutory requirement and cannot be ignored and applies to all applicants for British Citizenship.

We have amended the application forms to ensure we can gather as much of this information upfront at the application stage where possible.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for Turkish Businessperson visas were (a) submitted, (b) successful and (c) refused in 2020; and how many of those applications are still to be processed.

The Home Office publishes data on ECAA Business Persons in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on applications for ECAA Business Persons are published in table Vis_D01 of the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset. Data on the number of ECAA Business Persons issued and refused are included in table Vis_D02. These data may be selected using the ‘ECAA Business person’ visa type subgroup.

Information on how to use the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to year ending March 2021.

Home Office Migration Statistics do not capture the number of Turkish Businessperson visa applications which are still to be processed.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of EU citizens residing in the UK who still need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The total number of applications received up to 31 April 2021 was 5.42 million (5,423,300).

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received can be found on the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’ web page available at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics

The published figures refer specifically to applications made to the EU Settlement Scheme and cannot be directly compared with estimates of the resident population of EU/EEA nationals in the UK.

The published figures include non-EEA family members, Irish nationals, and eligible EEA citizens not resident in the UK, none of whom are usually included in estimates of the resident EU population.

Furthermore, the population estimates do not take account of people’s migration intentions and will include people who have come to the UK for a range of purposes, including some who have no intention to settle in the UK.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 181333 on Immigration: EU Nationals, what her Department's policy is in circumstances where an individual who is required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme is unable to prove that they had reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline.

In line with the general approach under the EU Settlement Scheme of looking to grant status, rather than for reasons to refuse, the Home Office will take a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering, in light of the circumstances of each case, whether there are reasonable grounds for an individual’s failure to meet the 30 June 2021 deadline.

Non-exhaustive guidance on what constitutes reasonable grounds for missing the deadline can be found at pages 26 to 44 of the main caseworker guidance for the scheme, which is available here:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-caseworker-guidance.

The guidance will underpin a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering late applications under the scheme, in light of the circumstances of each case.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 181333 on Immigration: EU Nationals, what her Department's policy is in circumstances where an individual who is required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme is unable to prove that they had reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the level of need to provide physical documentation to prove someone has Settled Status, particularly for people who do not have access to IT equipment or their digital documents.

As part of the development of the EU Settlement Scheme, including the policy to provide those granted status with online evidence of immigration status instead of a physical document, consideration was given to the impact on those who may have limited digital skills or access to IT equipment. The Policy Equality Statement for the scheme can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-policy-equality-statement/policy-equality-statement-eu-settlement-scheme

Since the launch of the scheme, we have continued to assess the needs of users, and take steps to ensure those who may be less able to interact digitally are not disadvantaged. This has included making information about an individual’s immigration status available automatically through system to system checks, at the point at which they seek to access the public services. Such checking services are already live for HM Revenue & Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and NHS England, and will reduce the occasions on which an individual has to use the online service to prove their status. We would be pleased to work with NHS Scotland to implement a similar checking service there relating to services which are the devolved responsibility of the Scottish Government if they wish to do so.

The UK Government has also put in place additional support services, to help those who require assistance to use the online immigration status service. We have a dedicated phone helpline (the Settlement Resolution Centre) where call operators can support users through the online journey, help them to access or recover their online account, help them to update their personal details and where necessary, share status on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves. The Settlement Resolution Centre will also be able to assist those who are experiencing technical issues with their online immigration status, and if necessary, enable an individual’s status to be verified through alternative means.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of including a downloadable paper application form for the EU Settlement Scheme on the Government website.

Where a person needs to apply to the scheme using a paper application form, this can be obtained from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre. This is open seven days a week to provide assistance to applicants over the telephone and by email, including in ensuring they can easily obtain the paper application form appropriate to their circumstances where they need one.

Assistance for applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme is also available via a network of 72 organisations across the UK, for which £22 million in grant funding has been made available by the Home Office, and via the Assisted Digital service, which can provide help over the telephone or in person in completing an application online.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of the Government directly contacting care home operators to ensure those operators are aware of the need for vulnerable and isolated residents to apply to the EU Settled Scheme.

Home Office officials have undertaken a range of work to reach care home operators and vulnerable applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

The Home Office is also working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care, and the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government to ensure local authorities and care provider organisations are aware of the need to support those in care to submit applications. NHS employers, Scottish Social services and Wales Social care also sit on EUSS advisory groups which have been running since the Scheme launched in 2018.

A comprehensive three-year campaign has increased awareness of the need to apply to EUSS, targeting employers, including social care sector employers, and EEA and Swiss citizens themselves.

The Home Office has also provided up to £17million in grant funding to a grant funded network of 72 organisations provide bespoke support to vulnerable and hard to reach EU citizens and their family members eligible to apply to EUSS. Grant funded organisations include the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), and the Institute Organization for Migration (IOM) who work closely with local authorities. Earlier this year, the Home Office announced a further £4.5 million of funding to the 72 organisations to continue the support services well beyond the 30 June 2021 deadline.

As of 31 March 2021, 5.3 million applications had been received to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), and 4.98 million applications have been concluded, delivering on the government’s promise to secure the rights of millions of Europeans in UK law for years to come.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government plans to take in the event that an individual who is required to apply for EU Settled Status is unable to do so before the 30 June 2021 deadline.

In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, the Government has made clear where a person eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

Non-exhaustive guidance on what constitutes reasonable grounds for missing the deadline can be found at pages 26 to 44 of the main caseworker guidance for the scheme, which is available here:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-caseworker-guidance.

The guidance will underpin a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering late applications under the scheme, in light of the circumstances of each case.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the need for paper applications to be made available for people with no access to online services or who are IT illiterate when applying for EU Settled Status.

Assistance for applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme is available via a network of 72 organisations across the UK, for which £22 million in grant funding has been made available by the Home Office, and via the Assisted Digital service, which can provide help over the telephone or in person in completing an application online.

Where a person needs to apply using a paper application form, this can be obtained from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre, which is open seven days a week to provide assistance over the telephone and by email.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that the processing time for EU Settled Scheme applications is five working days.

We currently have 1,500 UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) European Casework staff in post. We are committed to ensuring our operational teams have the resources they need to run an efficient and effective system, and we actively monitor workflows to ensure sufficient resources are in place to meet demand.

Our aim is to process all applications to the Scheme as quickly as possible. The majority of applications are concluded within 5 working days, but cases may take longer dependent on the circumstances of the case, for example if the applicant is facing an impending prosecution or has a criminal record.

The following link lists the expected processing times for EU Settlement Scheme applications, based upon current performance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to help ensure that EU citizens who are resident in care homes in the UK are made aware of the requirement to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Home Office has provided £17million in grant funding to a network of 72 organisations which provide bespoke support to vulnerable and hard to reach EU citizens and their family members eligible to apply to the EUSS, including those who are resident in care homes or receiving some element of support from the care sector

On top of the £17million in grant funding, the Home Office recently announced a further £4.5million of funding to the 72 organisations to continue the support services well beyond the 30 June 2021 deadline.

Of the 72 Grant-funded Organisations (GFOs), 56 support the elderly to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. These organisations are spread across the four nations.

In Scotland, Citizen’s Advice Scotland, have grant funding across their four consortiums, including thirty partner organisations who are working with 204 Care providers in the Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling local authority areas to target both EU citizens employed in the care sector, together with elderly EU citizens resident in care homes.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that EU citizens are able to access support to obtain their status through the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline of 30 June 2021 in light of the disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

We have worked extensively to promote awareness of the EUSS. The Home Office has already spent a total of £4.6 million on marketing campaigns to encourage those EU citizens and their family members who have not yet applied to do so. We recently launched a new £1.5 million wave of UK-wide advertising to ensure EU citizens and their family members are aware of the deadline and know they need to apply.

Guidance on how to apply and details of the support available to applicants (as it has been throughout the pandemic), is available through the EU Settlement Resolution Centre (SRC), which is open seven days a week to provide assistance over the telephone and by email. The SRC also provides a direct line for organisations working with vulnerable groups. In specific cases the SRC has the capacity to transfer customers to Assisted Digital for more bespoke support.

As well as the above process of “warm transfer” customers from SRC to our supplier We-Are-Digital (WAD), we signpost customers to our supplier WAD for the Assisted Digital service, which is available cost-free for customers who cannot access or struggle to use technology.

We remain committed to making sure everybody eligible for the EUSS can apply, including those who are vulnerable or need extra support. We have already awarded £17 million of funding to a network of now 72 organisations across the UK, to ensure important information and assistance gets through to those who are hardest to reach, and no one is left behind. These organisations have helped more than 250,000 vulnerable people to apply to the EUSS already.

In addition, we recently announced a further £4.5 million for the Grant Funded Network so it can continue to provide a wide range of invaluable support across the UK, including after the 30 June deadline, ensuring those most at-risk continue to get the help they need.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring EU Nationals with settled status to update their passport details with the EU Settlement Scheme each time they renew their passport.

Holders of EU Settlement Scheme status are issued with a letter from the Home Office which provides clear instructions as to how and when individuals can update their details using the online service.

In addition to this relevant information is available on gov.uk by following this link:

Update your UK Visas and Immigration account details - Update your details (update-your-details.homeoffice.gov.uk).

We advise applicants to use the online Update Your Details service to update their passport information whenever it changes. When an update is made, the applicant will then use their new passport number to access their digital status.

Updating document details is advised, but not mandatory. Applicants can continue to log into their status using the document number they applied with.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help make applicants to the EU Settled Status Scheme aware of the requirement to notify renewed passport details to that Scheme.

Holders of EU Settlement Scheme status are issued with a letter from the Home Office which provides clear instructions as to how and when individuals can update their details using the online service.

In addition to this relevant information is available on gov.uk by following this link:

Update your UK Visas and Immigration account details - Update your details (update-your-details.homeoffice.gov.uk).

We advise applicants to use the online Update Your Details service to update their passport information whenever it changes. When an update is made, the applicant will then use their new passport number to access their digital status.

Updating document details is advised, but not mandatory. Applicants can continue to log into their status using the document number they applied with.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that the rights of EU citizens to live and work in the UK are maintained in the event that those EU citizens have not been able to secure their status before the deadline for closure of the EU Settlement Scheme on 30 June 2021.

In line with the Withdrawal Agreement, EU citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, unless they have reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.

Those who apply before the deadline, but whose application is not decided until after it, will have their rights protected pending the outcome of their application (and of any appeal).

Where a person with reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline applies to the scheme after the deadline and is granted status, they will, consistent with the Withdrawal Agreement, enjoy the same rights from the time they are granted status as someone who applied before the deadline.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of updating the Government's passport renewal website to make applicants aware that they can enter a family or friend's email address if they do not have an email address themselves.

While people can provide the email address of a third party as part of their online passport application, for security purposes Her Majesty’s Passport Office strongly recommends the use of a personal email address. As such, there are no plans to change the guidance relating to this.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the length of response times for decisions on visa applications.

Data on visa processing times, including the percentage and number of visas that are processed within service standards, is usually published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data. However, due to Covid-19, it has not been possible to prepare and quality assure all of the data tables which usually make up the publication. Priority has therefore been given to those with the highest degree of public interest. We anticipate that all Q1 2020 data will be published as part of the Q2 2020 publication in August.

On 28 May the Home Office published a statistical report on the impact of Covid-19 on the immigration system, up to April 2020, which shows the impact on the visa system. This report can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what percentage of her Department's work force has been seconded to other departments during the covid-19 outbreak.

Based on the central data we hold, the Home Office has deployed 431 people to other government departments to support COVID-19 work. At 10 June 2020, this represents 1.23% of the workforce.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his oral contribution of 21 February 2022, Official Report, column 19, what progress officials in his Department have made on revisiting the internal review on the recognition of or compensation for nuclear test veterans and their families; and if he will make a statement on the findings of that review once it has concluded.

In relation to recognition, it is not within the Ministry of Defence's gift to award medallic recognition to the nuclear test veterans (NTVs). The Independent Advisory Military Sub-Committee (AMSC) was re-established in 2019 to offer advice to the Committee on the Grant of Honours Decorations and Medals (the HD Committee) in the Cabinet Office on historic military medals claims, including cases which may not have been previously considered or where new evidence has emerged. The HD Committee is the principal body with responsibility for making recommendations on honours, awards, and medals to Her Majesty The Queen.

The recommendation of the re-established AMSC was made in December 2020 in respect of the case of retrospective medallic recognition for all those who participated in the British Nuclear Test Programme during the period 1952 to 1991. The AMSC has an independent Chair, and independent Membership, and it has considered the case carefully, including submissions from relevant interested external parties. The AMSC's recommendation to the HD Committee was not to award a medal, and the HD Committee has accepted this advice. Any decision to revisit this decision would be a matter for the AMSC.

In relation to compensation, the Department is considering the findings of the final fourth phase of a longitudinal epidemiological study into health effects among nuclear test participants and any potential impacts on compensation policy. It remains the case that NTVs who believe they have suffered ill health due to service have the right to apply for no-fault compensation under the War Pensions Scheme, in respect of illness or injury as a result of service in the Armed Forces before 6 April 2005.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department has made in relation to war widows pensions since the Minister of State at his Department stated on 10 December 2020 that his Department was examining alternative methods to mitigate the impact on war widows who remarried or cohabited before the introduction of the pensions-for-life changes in 2015.

As previously stated by my Rt. hon Friend the Defence Secretary in the House, the Ministry of Defence is examining alternative methods to see whether we can mitigate the impact of these changes, and we have been in regular discussion with the War Widows Association on the matter.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the news story on the Veterans UK section of gov.uk entitled, COVID-19: changes to Veterans UK Services, published on 19 March, what steps he is taking to ensure that Veterans UK will be able to offer their full range of services as soon as possible as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Veterans UK has helped over 13,000 veterans since 23 March 2020.

All regular War Pension, War Widows Pension, Armed Forces Compensation and Armed Forces Pension payments continue to be paid into nominated bank accounts.

The full range of veterans' support services, including the Veterans UK Helpline and Welfare Service, has continued to be provided throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and all requests for help have been responded to.

Veterans Welfare Service and Defence Transition Services have continued to operate remotely and provide all services except face to face meetings. Work is ongoing to assess when the face to face service might be able to begin again and will be based on Government Guidance and risk assessments for staff and veterans.

Staff have been returning in a progressive manner to the office since this became possible by implementing the Government advice and maintaining social distancing in the workplace.

Veterans UK are currently in the process of assessing outstanding workloads and developing a recovery programme to process new and existing claims and appeals as quickly as possible.

11th Jan 2021
What recent discussions he has had with (a) devolved Administrations and (b) Cabinet colleagues on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government has been clear we intend to continue to work in partnership with the devolved administrations and local communities. We have demonstrated this commitment by confirming that devolved administrations will have a place within the governance structures for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Ministers regularly speak to Cabinet colleagues on the UKSPF and my officials routinely engage with their devolved administration counterparts on their priorities. To date, we have conducted 25 engagement events across the UK, many of which were attended by the devolved administrations. We will continue this engagement as we develop the UKSPF investment framework and in advance of its publication.

13th Jan 2020
What recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the UK shared prosperity fund.

Government regularly engages the devolved administrations, and I spoke to counterparts in the devolved administrations regarding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund during the last Joint Ministerial Committee on Europe. My officials have also held 25 engagement events across the UK, attended by over five hundred representatives from a breadth of sectors.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposed reductions in the number of Seasonal Agricultural Worker visa routes from 2023 on the fruit and vegetable industry in Scotland.

The UK Government is extending this visa route until the end of 2024, to allow migrant workers to come to the UK for up to six months to pick both edible and ornamental crops. There will be 30,000 visas available until 2023 when it will begin to taper down, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by a further 10,000 if necessary.

We appreciate that growers in Scotland are reliant on workers from overseas, nevertheless the UK Government is committed to the UK becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and we are clear that more must be done to attract UK workers into jobs through offering training, career options, wage increases, and to invest in increased automation technology. The extension to the route strikes the right balance of supporting the horticulture sector while it transitions to employing more domestic workers.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
3rd Nov 2021
What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government's representation of (a) Scotland and (b) Scottish interests internationally.

The FCDO provides a range of services to all parts of the UK, such as promoting trade and investment, delivering security and providing consular services. UK policy in this area was set out earlier this year in the Integrated Review. My Department is committed to representing Scottish interests on the world stage as demonstrated by my ministerial colleague, Lord Offord, on his recent visit to Mumbai.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland