Rachael Maskell Portrait

Rachael Maskell

Labour (Co-op) - York Central

Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

(since April 2020)
Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights
7th Jan 2020 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Minister (Transport)
3rd Jul 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
31st Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Jun 2016 - 1st Feb 2017
Shadow Minister (Defence)
18th Sep 2015 - 27th Jun 2016
Health and Social Care Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015


Oral Question
Monday 23rd May 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral Question No. 20
What steps he is taking to help ensure that children at risk of harm have adequate access to safe placements.
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Oral Question
Thursday 26th May 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral Question No. 13
What steps she is taking to support bids for the Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
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Department Event
Thursday 26th May 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 May 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (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.
Department Event
Thursday 7th July 2022
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (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 176 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 312
Speeches
Thursday 19th May 2022
Food Price Inflation
When my constituent goes to Collective Sharehouse, she has to select items that do not need to be cooked, because …
Written Answers
Friday 20th May 2022
Great British Railways
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of how Great British Railways can advance …
Early Day Motions
Monday 21st February 2022
York City Knights
That this House thanks the former Chief Executive of the York City Knights, Jon Flatman, and the staff and players …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: GMB
Address of donor: Grove Hall, 60 College Grove Road, Wakefield WF1 3RN
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Fur, foie gras and trophy hunting imports
That this House expresses concern and dismay at the Government reneging on its promise to strengthen animal rights through legislation …
Supported Legislation
Automatic Electoral Registration (No. 2) 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, Rachael Maskell has voted in 425 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Rachael Maskell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 135 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Rachael Maskell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 189 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Rachael Maskell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Labour No votes vs 124 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Rachael Maskell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 4 Labour No votes vs 125 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
View All Rachael Maskell Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(41 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(34 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(27 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(104 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(42 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(41 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Rachael Maskell's debates

York Central 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 most York Central signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

For the most recent hunting season, Forestry England gave hunting licences for 34 fox & hare “trail hunts”. Despite hunting wild mammals with dogs being illegal, two of the licensed/previously licensed trail hunts have been associated with convictions under the Hunting and Animal Welfare Acts.

In March 2021 Mini the cat was chased and killed by hunting hounds in a quiet residential area.
The Government should back Mini’s Law (Public and Animal Safety Bill 2021) to ensure safety to the public and animals from hunting activity, such as trail hunts and exercise of hunting hounds.

Ensuring statutory adoption pay is available to a self-employed parent in the same way that maternity allowance is available for self-employed new mums would promote an equal and fair society inclusive of all routes to parenthood.

Join other nations in providing a route to safety for refugees. Waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian passport holders arriving in the UK.

The Government needs to change the law so laboratory animals are included in the Animal Welfare Act. Laboratory animals are currently not protected by the Act and are therefore victims of 'unnecessary suffering' (see section 4 of the Act: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/section/4).

Make it illegal for any employer to mandate vaccination for its employees. This should apply to all public sector (including the NHS, armed forces, care workers), third sector and all private sector.

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

I would like the UK Government to make it law that nightclubs must search guests on arrival to prevent harmful weapons and other items entering the establishment. This could be a pat down search or metal detector, but must involve measures being put in place to ensure the safety of the public.

Endometriosis and PCOS are two gynaecological conditions which both affect 10% of women worldwide, but both are, in terms of research and funding, incredibly under prioritised. This petition is calling for more funding, to enable for new, extensive and thorough research into female health issues.

Call on the government to consider holding debates in Parliament between MPs and university students to raise/discuss issues that affect them. It will allow students to voice their opinions and concerns about tuition fees of £9250 a year which are too high, particularly as grants have been removed

We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.

We ask Government to significantly increase targeted research funding for motor neurone disease (MND).

A new investment of £50m over 5 years could kickstart a pioneering MND Research Institute.

This would lead to better, faster and more definitive research outcomes and hope for those with MND.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

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

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

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

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

12 kids in the UK are diagnosed with cancer daily. 1 in 5 will die within 5 years, often of the deadliest types like DIPG (brainstem cancer) - fatal on diagnosis & other cancers on relapse. Yet there has been little, or no, funding for research into these cancers and little, or no, progress.

All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.

As students are unable to access facilities or continue with their eduction at their university setting in the following semester, we would like to request that the government considers refunding tuition payments for Semester 3.

The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.

Students across the UK have returned to University to be told our learning will be predominantly online for the foreseeable future. The Government should therefore lower our tuition fees and we should receive a partial refund for the effects this will have on our learning and university experience.

The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.

Weddings take months and even years of intricate planning. Myself and many others believe the maximum number of guests authorised at wedding ceremonies should be increased. The number of guests permitted at weddings should be calculated according to venue capacity.

Extend funding to nightclubs, dance music events and festivals as part of the £1.57bn support package announced by the government for Britain's arts and culture sector to survive the hit from the pandemic. #LetUSDance

A significant number of students will sit their final 2021 examinations. The outcome of which undoubtedly will be their passport, for many of their future life chances and successes. In order for this to be done fairly, it is imperative that the amount of content they are tested on is reduced.

We want the Education Secretary and the Government to step in and review the exam board’s decision on how GCSE and A-Level grades will be calculated and awarded due to the current coronavirus crisis. We want a better solution than just using our previous data to be the basis of our grade.

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.


Latest EDMs signed by Rachael Maskell

12th May 2022
Rachael Maskell signed this EDM on Tuesday 17th May 2022

Arrests in Hong Kong

Tabled by: Edward Leigh (Conservative - Gainsborough)
That this House notes with concern reports that His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, aged 90, has been arrested in Hong Kong on charges relating to breaches of China's National Security Law; further notes reports that alongside Cardinal Zen, Cantopop singer and actor Denise Ho, former …
28 signatures
(Most recent: 18 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 16
Labour: 4
Conservative: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
16th May 2022
Rachael Maskell signed this EDM on Tuesday 17th May 2022

Registration of deaths after a public inquiry

Tabled by: Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour - South Shields)
That this House notes the urgent need to amend legislation to allow grieving families the choice to register the death of a loved one after a public inquiry; highlights the heart-breaking case of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford from South Shields who were tragically murdered in the Manchester Arena terror …
30 signatures
(Most recent: 19 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 21
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Independent: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Rachael Maskell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Rachael Maskell, 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.


Rachael Maskell has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Rachael Maskell

Monday 22nd November 2021

Rachael Maskell has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


3704 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
259 Other Department Questions
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to (a) make all second homes eligible for increases in Council Tax or (b) introduce a cap on the number of days a second home must be occupied before becoming eligible.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill includes powers to enable billing authorities to apply a discretionary council tax premium of up to 100% on second homes. The decision on whether to apply a premium, and the level, will be a matter for each billing authority. The Bill does not contain any cap in relation to the number of days a second home must be occupied before becoming liable for a council tax second homes premium.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring Local Plans to make provision for local energy generation.

The Government has made clear in national planning policy that strategic policies in Local Plans should make sufficient provision for energy infrastructure (including heat). In particular, the planning system should support renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure and plans should provide a positive strategy for energy from these sources, and identify opportunities for development to draw its energy supply from decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy systems.

The Government’s recent ‘British Energy Security Strategy’ sets out a series of changes to the planning system to support the delivery of renewable energy infrastructure. This included a commitment to cut the time it takes for offshore wind projects to get planning and regulatory consents. For onshore wind, we will consult this year on developing local partnerships for supportive communities who wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for benefits, including lower energy bills. We will also consult on amending planning rules to strengthen policy in favour of solar development, while ensuring communities continue to have a say and environmental protections remain in place. As part of this we will gather evidence on the use and suitability of the existing permitted development rights which allow for the installation of solar equipment.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, at what stage in the planning process the tenure of new housing is agreed; and whether the tenure of new residential housing can be agreed after outline planning has been granted.

Local planning authorities should use their local plans to set out the expected level of tenure mix for affordable housing developments in their area. The type and tenure of residential dwellings for new development should be submitted as part of the planning application process in line with national and locally-set policies. This includes for applications for outline planning permission. Applicants are however encouraged to engage with the local planning authority at pre-application stage to identify and agree the appropriate housing mix for development to best reflect the local need.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that Local Plans account for flooding risk when prioritising land use.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was amended in July 2021 to make clear all sources of flood risk, including surface water, should be considered, to ensure that any new development is safe for its lifetime without increasing the risk of flooding elsewhere.

The NPPF prioritises the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for all development in areas at risk of flooding. The Framework is also clear that SuDS should be incorporated in all major developments, unless there is clear evidence that this would be inappropriate.

Local Plans should be informed by a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA), which should take account of climate change in levels of flood risk by applying guidance provided by the Environment Agency. The SFRA should inform the strategic identification of land for development in the Local Plan.

In October 2021 the Government commenced a review of the case for implementing Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 concerning SuDS. This will look at the benefits and impacts of implementation as well as alternative methods for ensuring that SuDS are incorporated in future developments. The review is expected to conclude August 2022.

Furthermore, as part of our wider ambitions for an improved planning system we intend to review the NPPF to ensure that it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaption as fully as possible.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that new planning developments must focus on surface water flooding prevention.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was amended in July 2021 to make clear all sources of flood risk, including surface water, should be considered, to ensure that any new development is safe for its lifetime without increasing the risk of flooding elsewhere.

The NPPF prioritises the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for all development in areas at risk of flooding. The Framework is also clear that SuDS should be incorporated in all major developments, unless there is clear evidence that this would be inappropriate.

Local Plans should be informed by a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA), which should take account of climate change in levels of flood risk by applying guidance provided by the Environment Agency. The SFRA should inform the strategic identification of land for development in the Local Plan.

In October 2021 the Government commenced a review of the case for implementing Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 concerning SuDS. This will look at the benefits and impacts of implementation as well as alternative methods for ensuring that SuDS are incorporated in future developments. The review is expected to conclude August 2022.

Furthermore, as part of our wider ambitions for an improved planning system we intend to review the NPPF to ensure that it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaption as fully as possible.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that new planning developments include a focus on surface water flooding prevention.

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

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that Local Plans prioritise land use according to flooding risk.

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

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to take steps to ensure that short-term holiday lets are subject to local taxation requirements; and what options are available in respect of that matter.

All holiday lets are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency for council tax or business rates purposes. The government has legislated so that, from April 2023, holiday lets will only be assessed for business rates if they were actually rented out for short periods totalling at least 70 days in the previous year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of the use of section 21 notices for properties to subsequently be changed from a private rented or student rented house into a short-term holiday let.

The Department does not hold data on the prevalence of the use of section 21 notices for properties to subsequently be changed from a private rented or student rented house into a short-term let.

The Department is committed to increasing security of tenure by abolishing section 21 evictions and we will publish a landmark White Paper later this Spring that will set out proposals to create a fairer and better quality private rented sector.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is also planning to launch a call for evidence in 2022 to seek views on a range of issues that arise from the increase in short-term letting, including housing supply, health and safety regulations compliance and anti-social behaviour. The call for evidence will be followed by a consultation, which will enable the Government to put forward proportionate policy options based on a firm evidence base.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help encourage local authorities to utilise the Housing Revenue Account to insulate and retrofit local authority housing stock to help improve their sustainable standards.

The Government is committed to seeing the social housing sector play a leading role in decarbonising the country’s homes—as shown by its commitment to a £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, to which over £1 billion has already been allocated. Housing Revenue Accounts (HRAs) are the means by which councils pay for all investment in housing quality, including decarbonisation. Social housing quality standards already mandate up to date insulation standards in council homes


In the Social Housing White Paper, we committed to review the Decent Homes Standard to ensure it is delivering what is needed for safety and decency now and the Levelling Up White Paper set out our intention to consult on making the Decent Homes Standard a regulatory requirement in the Private Rented Sector. We have set an ambition to halve the number of non-decent homes in all rented sectors by 2030 with the biggest improvements in the lowest-performing areas. Part 1 of the Decent Homes Review, which looked at the social sector only, concluded last year.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to assist local authorities with a significant deficit with the Housing Revenue Account to be able to borrow to build new social housing.

In 2018 the Government removed the cap on Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing, freeing councils to borrow to build new housing stock, or to undertake major repairs, or other capital work on existing stock. All councils, including those with HRAs carrying significant debt, nevertheless have to maintain their borrowing within prudential limits


The Government is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing, our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country should economic conditions allow and we are keen to see local authorities playing a key role in the delivery of the AHP alongside housing associations.

We have also given councils greater flexibility in how they spend retained receipts from Right to Buy sales to support their plans to develop and deliver new social housing.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the reasons why mortgage lenders are requiring completion of an ESS1 certificate on all flats situated in blocks of less than five stories even where cladding is not present.

An EWS1 form is not a statutory or regulatory requirement nor ​a​ safety ‘test’. Not all lenders ask for an EWS1, but when or whether they do remains a commercial decision. The measures in the January Statement provide a clear framework for proportionate risk assessments whilst encouraging lenders to base their risk management on the presumption that medium and low rise buildings are safe, unless there is evidence to the contrary.

The Department publishes quarterly data on the number of EWS1s required on mortgage valuations by the 7 largest lenders, including for medium- and low-rise buildings on gov.uk. The latest data published on 17 February 2022 shows that lenders required completion of an EWS1 form or equivalent for 2% of valuations for flats in 1-4 storey blocks between October and December 2021. We will continue to work with lenders to enable them to accept forms of assurance other than EWS1s, such as a comprehensive fire risk assessment.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, for what reason a Help to Buy ISA cannot redeem its discount benefit against existing property, only new build properties; and if he would consider amending that condition in response to the starter home building rate in York.

The Help to Buy ISA can be used to purchase both new build and second hand properties. The Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme, however, is only available on new build homes and has property price caps which set the maximum purchase price in each region. The reason the equity loan is only available on new build homes is that a key objective of the scheme is to increase housing supply. Making the scheme available on older homes would not have the same supply impact. Further, the Government has reviewed the Help to Buy price caps and continue to be satisfied they allow good availability of first-time buyer type properties in each region. Therefore, there are no plans to amend the scheme rules. For customers who are not able to utilise the Help to Buy scheme, the Government has a range of other housing products to support people into homeownership such as First Homes and the mortgage guarantee scheme.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he plans to take over the next 12 months to reduce overcrowding in social housing.

The Government is committed to reducing overcrowding, by increasing the supply of affordable housing and enabling councils and other social landlords to make better use of their existing stock. As such, our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow.

Local councils are responsible for allocating housing through local schemes, and as such, are best placed to manage the demand for social housing. They are governed by a framework of rules set by central government which ensures that they must give ‘reasonable preference’ to specific groups including people who are in overcrowded housing. Building on this, statutory guidance recommends local authorities consider giving ‘additional preference’ (high priority’) to families in severe overcrowding which poses a serious health hazard.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he plans to take to enable people to find accommodation in the event that the local housing allowance is insufficient to meet housing costs in the private rental sector.

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) determines the maximum financial support available for renters in the private rented sector. It applies to claims for Housing Benefit and the housing element of Universal Credit. In April 2020 the Government boosted investment in the LHA by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. We maintained LHA rates at their increased levels in 2021/22 and rates will remain at those levels for 2022/23, so that everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so. However, LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

Whilst three quarters of private renters find no difficulties in keeping up with their rent, we understand that affordability may be an issue for some and that they may require additional support. Discretionary Housing Payments are available to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the Housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. Since 2011, the Government has provided almost £1.5 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities. From April, the Government is also providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials through the Household Support Fund. This brings the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

In the long run we need to build more homes to tackle affordability. Our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will deliver up to 180,000 affordable homes, should economic conditions allow.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he plans to take to help ensure that (a) York and (b) other local authorities have sufficient social housing to meet local need by March 2023.

Our new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow.

Half the homes will be for Affordable and Social Rent, to help those in the greatest need.

Since 2010, we have delivered over 574,100 new affordable homes, including over 403,400 affordable homes for rent, of which over 154,600 homes for social rent.

Local authorities can respond to social housing need by building homes directly. The Government has given local authorities a comprehensive range of tools to enable them to deliver council housing. This includes the Affordable Homes Programme and the abolition of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in 2018. Local authorities have also been given more freedom on how they can spend the money they receive from Right to Buy sales on replacement homes.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will publish a timetable for the inspector's inquiry into York's local plan.

The Local Plan remains at examination and the independent Inspectors play an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

A detailed timetable of forthcoming hearings has been published on the City of York Council website. Phase 2 hearings are due to commence on 10 May and due to finish on 27 May. Dates for Phases 3 and 4 hearings have been agreed in principle with the Council and are due to commence on 11 July and 6 September respectively. The dates remain subject to change.

It remains important to ensure that progress on the York local plan is maintained and the Inspectors given the opportunity to issue their final report. The Government has set a deadline for all local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans by the end of 2023. This will help deliver the certainty that local communities and businesses deserve.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of high proportions of second homes in some communities, whether he has plans to bring forward proposals to discourage investment in second homes.

The Government recognises the adverse effect that large numbers of second homes can have on some areas.

We have already introduced a number of measures to help mitigate those effects, including introducing higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax for those purchasing additional properties and removing the requirement for local authorities to offer a council tax discount on second homes and enabling them to charge the full rate of council tax for these properties.

Development plans can, if supported by local evidence, be used to prioritise local residents by managing the number of new holiday homes in local areas, for example, by including policies which require new open-market housing to be occupied as a primary residence.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate he has made of annual profits of housing developers; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing section 106 thresholds.

The department has compiled the data based on published reports in the table below, this shows the profits developers made over the last three years.

Rank

2020 Top 10

2018 Profit

2019 Profit

2020 Profit*

1

Barratt

862.6

901.1

493.4

2

Persimmon

1082.7

1029.4

783.5

3

Taylor Wimpey

804.9

832.7

274.5

4

Bellway

652.9

674.9

249.1

5

Vistry

174.2

181.5

125.8

6

Berkeley

817

768.4

469.7

7

Redrow

382

411

148

8

Bloor

178.1

190

160.7

9

Countryside

211.4

234.4

54.2

10

L&Q

56

79.3

87.7

** *Profit in 2020 would have been affected by Covid

Local planning authorities use the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 planning obligations (together called ‘developer contributions’) to capture a proportion of the increases in land value that occur as a result of planning permission being granted. There are a range of estimates for the amount of land value uplift currently captured, from 25 to 50 per cent, and in 2018-19, £7 billion was agreed through developer contributions.

However, the existing developer contributions regime is discretionary, subject to negotiation and renegotiations based on developers’ viability assessment.

Over 80% of local authorities consider that Section 106 planning obligations create a delay in the granting of planning permission, and over 60% believe that this slows development completion.

The Government has proposed to introduce a new ‘Infrastructure Levy’, to replace the existing system of developer contributions, which aims to capture a greater share of the uplift in land value that comes with development. Through the Levy, local authorities will have greater flexibility to determine how contributions are spent to shape and support both existing and new communities.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of areas with high levels of development of high cost housing on the cost of housing in those areas.

The Department has not made a specific assessment of the impact on areas with high levels of development of high-cost housing on the cost of housing in those areas.

More generally, lower development will tend to lead to higher prices [footnote: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/how-does-the-housing-market-affect-the-economy].

As the Levelling Up White paper set out, getting people onto the housing ladder means making housing more affordable now and in the future. To help create a more sustainable and affordable housing market, the Government has committed to deliver 1 million new homes by the end of this Parliament and continue working towards its ambition of delivering 300,000 new homes per year.

Our National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that local authorities should assess the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community and reflect this in planning policies.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to tackle the challenges presented by areas of very high housing costs for people in housing poverty.

The Government understands that people are concerned about pressure on household budgets and is taking action to help. The Chancellor announced in February a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

Individuals who are unable to afford their rental payments may be eligible for a range of support through the Universal Credit system. In April 2020, the Government boosted investment in the Local Housing Allowance by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. We maintained LHA rates at their increased levels in 2021/22 and rates will remain at those levels for 2022/23, so that everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so.

Whilst three quarters of private renters find no difficulties in keeping up with their rent, we understand that affordability may be an issue for some and that they may require additional support. Discretionary Housing Payments are available to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. Since 2011, the Government has provided almost £1.5 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities. From April, the Government is also providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials through the Household Support Fund. This brings the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

For people living in social rented homes there are caps on maximum rent increases, under the social housing rent settlement that came into force in April 2020. This aims to strike a fair balance between the interests of existing social housing tenants, the interests of taxpayers, the need to build more homes and the importance of ensuring that providers have sufficient income with which to manage and maintain their properties.

For social renting tenants receiving Housing Benefit the maximum amount of Housing Benefit payable reflects the actual rent charged, subject to the removal of the spare room subsidy and the total benefit cap.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) relevant stakeholders on integrating divestment in Russian supply of oil and gas with COP26 objectives to cut climate degradation.

Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine demonstrates the integral link between climate change, energy security and the vulnerability caused by our dependence on fossil fuels. I have discussed these matters with stakeholders in the UK and around the world, whilst recognising that governments need to deal with their immediate and acute energy needs.

Though the United Kingdom is not heavily reliant on imports of Russian hydrocarbons, the Government has set out steps to bolster UK energy security in the recent British Energy Security Strategy.

Through the policies and targets included within the Strategy, the UK will source much more clean, home-grown power from renewables and nuclear energy, reduce demand for energy by investing in efficiency measures, while ensuring there is a fair and managed transition with respect to oil and gas reserves in the North Sea.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of the Secretary of State having powers to direct local authorities in respect of housing development where they deem it necessary in the event that the local authority has failed to develop housing to meet local needs.

Where the supply and delivery of housing is not meeting local need, the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies. This means additional housing allocations and approvals should be granted by a local authority unless planning constraints provide a strong reason against this when assessed against the NPPF as a whole – examples of this include Green Belt or flood risk


The government is currently considering changes to the planning system. An announcement will be made in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to make 10 year leases available in the second round of the Community Ownership Fund, to support bids from community groups to use disused properties to fulfil local social purposes.

We have been exploring ways in which we can change the eligibility requirements of the Community Ownership Fund to ensure that deserving projects are able to access this funding. We will be announcing these changes, including those around lease requirements, soon when we publish the updated prospectus ahead of the fund reopening in Spring.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to announce the opening of the second round of the Community Ownership Fund to submissions.

Following a review of the lessons learned in the first bidding round, we are currently making changes to the Community Ownership Fund in order to support a greater number of community assets to benefit from the Fund. We will be publishing an updated prospectus ahead of the launch of the second round in Spring and we look forward to receiving more applications from community groups seeking to save their treasured community assets in the very near future.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans the Government has to make language support available to Ukrainian refugees arriving under the (a) Homes for Ukraine scheme and (b) Ukraine Family scheme.

I refer the Hon Member to the answers given to Question UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022 and Question UIN 144955 on 29 March 2022, which include links to published guidance, including Guidance for local authorities, and information at Gov.uk. The Ukraine Family Scheme is run by the Home Office.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Ukraine Family scheme, how accommodation will be found for refugees in the event that their sponsor's home is not large enough to accommodate them; and whether hosts under that scheme will receive £350 per month.

I refer the Hon Member to the answers given to Question UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022 and Question UIN 144955 on 29 March 2022, which include links to published guidance, including Guidance for Local Authorities, and information at Gov.uk. The Ukraine Family Scheme is run by the Home Office. The Home Office have published information on visas received and issued online.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether refugees who have been accepted under the Ukraine Family scheme can transfer to the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Ukrainian nationals who are already in the UK are not currently eligible for this scheme. I refer the Hon. Member to the FAQs published online at: www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions .

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether a person hosting a Ukrainian refugee under the Ukraine Family scheme will continue to be able to claim the single person council tax deduction.

Decisions on council tax reliefs and discounts are matters for local councils. Arrivals from Ukraine may, depending on their circumstances, be liable for council tax but are able to work and will have recourse to local council tax support and benefits. Councils also have powers to offer discretionary council tax discounts where they consider that appropriate

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to encourage local authorities to cease their dependency on the private rented sector for residents where there is poor supply of properties.

The private rented sector is an important option in ensuring people have a roof over their heads to get the support they need and securing long term accommodation for people. Homelessness legislation allows local authorities to use private rented accommodation to prevent or relieve homelessness, or to bring the main housing duty to an end and as temporary accommodation while ensuring the accommodation offered is suitable in relation to the needs and circumstances of the households. Local authorities are encouraged to work in close partnership with local landlords and to develop opportunities to expand the provision of private rented accommodation that is available to people threatened with or actually homeless. Alongside this the Government has committed to improving the standards within the private rented sector and will publish a white paper this spring.

Local councils are best placed to determine how best to manage the demand for social housing – they are responsible for allocating housing through local schemes. These are governed by a framework of rules set by central government which ensure social housing is prioritised for those in housing need.

We are committed to investing in social housing. Our new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. The new Affordable Homes Programme will deliver more than double the amount of social rent compared to the current programme, with around 32,000 social rent homes due to be delivered. Since 2010, we have delivered over 574,100 new affordable homes, including over 403,400 affordable homes for rent, of which over 154,600 homes were for social rent.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using visa application centres as a place (a) Ukrainian refugees can register an interest to be matched with a UK family in the event that they have no ties to the UK and (b) organisations in the UK can use to match refugees with hosts.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his priorities are for tackling housing challenges in York, in the context of the performance of City of York Council in meeting housing need.

As set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, the Government is determined to level up the country by tackling the factors driving the increasing unaffordability of housing. The Government is continuing to build on a decade of record housing delivery and has committed to deliver 1 million new homes by the end of this Parliament and continue towards its target to increase building output to 300,000 homes a year.

York’s 2021 Housing Delivery Test result of 65% means the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies there. Consequently, York is expected to approve applications for housing unless the application of policies in the NPPF that protect areas or assets of particular importance provide a clear reason for refusing the development proposed, or any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the NPPF taken as a whole.

The York Local Plan remains at examination, due to the Secretary of State’s quasi-judicial role in the planning system I am unable to comment on the details of the Local Plan. The independent Inspectors play an important role in examining the Plan impartially to ensure that it is legally compliant and sound. The Inspectors intend to hold further hearings commencing in April 2022, although it is not possible at this stage to say with certainty when the examination will be concluded.

It remains important to ensure that progress on the York local plan is maintained and the Inspectors are given the opportunity to issue their final report. This is especially important for the City of York, who have not had a new Local Plan in place since 1956. The Government has set a deadline for all local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans by the end of 2023. This will help deliver the certainty that local communities and businesses deserve.

We are providing £77.1 million in housing investment grant funding to the York Central project, to unlock 2,500 homes on a brownfield city centre location next to York Railway Station. The project is being delivered directly by Homes England. The Agency continues to work closely with the City Council to identify opportunities to deliver more affordable housing in the area through the Affordable Homes Programme.

We are also providing £300,000 of resource funding to City of York Council to aid in the delivery of the West of Elvington Lane Garden Village. This will aid in the delivery of over 3,300 homes.

We have also invested £1,516,800 from the Local Authority Accelerated Construction Fund at the Lowfield School site in York. This is delivering 165 new homes, as well as community and care facilities. Construction of all the new homes has started on site, and completions have begun.

Through the Brownfield Land Release Fund, we have provided £2.64 million of grant funding to the City of York council to support the release of land for 97 homes across three local-authority owned sites. This includes two sites to release land for 10 new self and custom build homes.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to take steps to review the work of the Commission for Building Better, Building Beautiful in the context of recent feedback expressed by hon. Members.

In January 2021, the Government published a response to the commission’s report welcoming their recommendations and setting out how we would take the vast majority of them forward to embed beauty, design and placemaking in the planning system. Since then, Government has revised the National Planning Policy Framework, published the National Model Design Code and is exploring options to set up an independent Office for Place, to support communities in turning their visions of beautiful design into a reality. We will continue to review how we can further embed the Commission’s recommendations.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what powers he has to review the (a) housing supply and (b) management of housing demand of local authorities that consistently fail to develop the housing required to meet local need.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires that Councils identify and update annually a supply of specific ‘deliverable’ sites sufficient to provide a minimum of five years’ worth of housing against their housing requirement. This is more commonly known as a 5-year housing land supply. Additionally, the Housing Delivery Test identifies the areas where homes are or are not being delivered against housing need.

Where the supply and delivery of housing is not meeting local need, the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies. This means additional housing allocations and approvals should be granted by a local authority unless planning constraints provide a strong reason against this when assessed against the NPPF as a whole – examples of this include Green Belt or flood risk.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what guidance he has produced on prioritising housing need and safe placement of (a) people who have experienced domestic violence and (b) other vulnerable people.

In April 2021 the Domestic Abuse Act received Royal Assent. The Act extended priority need for homelessness assistance to eligible persons who are homeless as a result of being a victim of domestic abuse. A person may also be in priority need for homelessness assistance if they are vulnerable as a result of old age or mental illness for example. Guidance on how local authorities should exercise their homelessness functions is set out in the Homelessness Code of Guidance

In January 2022 we updated our statutory guidance for local authorities to improve access to social housing for victims of domestic abuse. The guidance makes clear that local authorities are expected not to apply residency tests for those victims who have fled to another district; sets out how they can give appropriate priority to victims; and encourages them to use their existing powers to support victims to remain safely in their homes if they choose to do so.

Furthermore, statutory allocations guidance for local authorities outlines how local authorities have the power to frame their allocation scheme to give additional priority to vulnerable people who fall within the statutory priority categories and have urgent housing needs.

In June 2020 we also published new statutory guidance for local authorities to improve access to social housing for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of setting minimum standards for local authorities to meet local housing need.

The standard method for assessing local housing need is used by councils as a guide when they develop their local plans. It is an assessment of the minimum number of homes needed in an area and comprises a baseline of 2014-based household projections, informed by population projections, which are then adjusted to take account of affordability and capped to make the increase realistic for areas. In December 2020 following a review, a 35% uplift for the 20 most populated urban areas was added to ensure that the standard method was consistent with the aim to deliver 300,000 homes a year.

Councils decide their own housing requirement once they have considered their ability to meet their own needs in their area. This includes taking local circumstances and constraints into account and working with neighbouring authorities if it would be more appropriate for needs to be met elsewhere. This recognises that not everywhere will be able to meet their housing need in full.

The Secretary of State appoints an independent person to carry out plan examinations. The Planning Inspectorate plays an important role in examining plans impartially and publicly to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound. As set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, for a plan to be considered sound it should be positively prepared, effective, consistent with national policy and based on proportionate evidence.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether restrictions are placed on the deployment by local authorities of funding and pest control services for rat or other pest infestations in social housing.

Pest control services for rat or other pest infestations will be a normal part of an authority’s statutory management and maintenance responsibilities where they are the landlord. Where such expenditure takes place concerning the council’s own housing stock it should be debited to their Housing Revenue Account. The Housing Revenue Account is a ring-fenced landlord account, which means that the authority can only credit or debit it for income and expenditure on its own housing and housing-related stock.

Where the authority performs this function for non-housing assets, or for any property not owned by the authority, the costs fall to the authority's General Fund. The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 makes available an additional £3.7 billion to councils, including funding for adult social care reform. The majority of this funding is un-ringfenced in recognition of local authorities being best placed to understand local priorities, such as pest control.

Guidance on the operation of the Housing Revenue Account ring-fence can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-the-housing-revenue-account-ring-fence/operation-of-the-housing-revenue-account-ring-fence

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his policy is on the maximum time that people should stay in temporary housing settings.

Time spent in temporary accommodation means people are getting help and it ensures no family is without a roof over their head. Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide temporary accommodation for households owed the main homelessness duty until suitable long-term accommodation can be offered to them - there is no statutory limit on the length of time this may take.

The Government has been clear that the long-term use of bed and breakfast accommodation for families with children is both inappropriate and unlawful and we are determined to stop this practice. Housing authorities must not use B&Bs to accommodate families with children or pregnant women except where there is no alternative available, and then for a maximum period of 6 weeks. We will continue to work with local authorities to limit the use of bed and breakfast accommodation.

The Government is committed to fully enforcing the Homelessness Reduction Act, including helping local authorities to support families to move out of temporary accommodation. In 2021/22, local authorities received £375 million through the Homelessness Prevention Grant, and can use this funding flexibly, including to offer financial support for people to find a new home. In 2022/23, we will provide a further £315.8 million to local authorities through the Homelessness Prevention Grant.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to bring forward proposals to end the use of Section 21 eviction notices in the context of increases in housing costs in the private rented sector.

The Government remains committed to delivering a better deal for renters and abolishing Section 21 evictions. We want to improve security for tenants in the rental sector and empower them to hold their landlord to account.

We will publish a landmark White Paper this spring. The White Paper will provide further detail on repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, improving security for tenants by putting an end to evictions where the landlord doesn’t have to provide a reason. We will bring forward legislation in due course and when parliamentary time allows.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living. These are global challenges, but the government has taken action to support families worth over £22 billion in 2022-23 to help. As announced in the Spring Statement, the Government is continuing to provide targeted cost of living support for households most in need. From April, we are providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials through the Household Support Fund, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion. The funding is primarily being used to support households with the cost of essentials, although councils have flexibility to best address local needs

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to produce additional guidance on how best to host a refugee family for people who volunteer to host refugees from Ukraine.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will commit to hosting a briefing session available to all (a) charities, (b) faith organisations and (c) other organisations on matching UK host families with Ukrainian refugees.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, whether he will allow people travelling to the UK for the purposes of that scheme to meet with possible hosts prior to an allocation of a home to stay in.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the process by which Ukrainian refugees register their interest to be hosted in the UK.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, how long will it take for applicants to get an (a) DBS check and (b) enhanced DBS check.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, what steps he is taking to (a) appraise visas of people who have been successfully appointed a home under that scheme and (b) provide advice to people travelling to the UK on the cheapest methods of transport.

I refer the Hon Member to the answers given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022 and PQ UIN 144955 on 29 March 2022, which include links to published guidance and information at Gov.uk.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to help ensure improved local authority (a) processes and (b) housebuilding in areas where social housing development is low.

The Government has provided a range of tools to support councils to respond to the needs in their areas. This includes our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme and more freedom on how councils can spend the money they receive from Right to Buy sales. In addition, Government abolished the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in 2018, allowing councils to borrow to build more homes.

We also recognise the importance of councils having an effective, up-to-date plan in place to enable them to plan for meeting housing requirements, including for social housing development. The Government is therefore seeking to simplify the content of local plans and standardise the process for producing them to make plans easier to find, understand and engage with.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he expects the publication of the new local plan for York.

The Local Plan remains at examination and the independent Inspectors play an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

The Inspectors intend to hold further hearings commencing in April 2022 although it is not possible at this stage to say with certainty when the examination will be concluded.

It remains important to ensure that progress on the York local plan is maintained and the Inspectors given the opportunity to issue their final report. The Government has set a deadline for all local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans by the end of 2023. This will help deliver the certainty that local communities and businesses deserve.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will provide each local authority with an assessment of the specific housing challenges in that area to help better inform decisions on local housing development programmes.

Throughout its work the Department seeks to better understand the differing housing needs and challenges of local areas both through close engagement with local areas and monitoring relevant data, in line with our Levelling Up White Paper commitments. In keeping with our commitment to empower local leadership we will continue to give local leaders the tools and powers to respond to local needs.

One of the ways in which local authorities can respond to these challenges themselves is by building homes directly. The Government has given local authorities a comprehensive range of tools to enable them to deliver council housing. This includes our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme and the abolition of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in 2018. Local authorities have also been given more freedom on how they can spend the money they receive from Right to Buy sales on replacement homes.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that it is for local authorities to identify the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community and to reflect this in their local planning policies. The different groups include, but is not limited to, those who require affordable housing, families with children, older people, students, people with disabilities, service families, travellers, people who rent their homes and people wishing to commission or build their own homes.

As set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, the changes we are making to the planning system will result in more communities having local plans in place, which clearly set out what is required to meet community housing needs.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2022 to Question 136588, when the Housing First pilot report will be undertaken and published.

The Housing First pilot programme was announced in the 2017 budget and allocated £28 million of Government funding, which includes up to £2.7 million for a comprehensive external evaluation led by ICF


So far, two interim reports have been published, with further reports planned for later this year and early next year. Published reports can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-first-pilot-national-evaluation-reports . The final evaluation report is due to be completed at the end of 2023.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to issue guidance to people offering to sponsor Ukrainian refugees on how to identify refugees to host in the event that they do not know anyone personally fleeing Ukraine.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the Government has a database of all Ukrainian families who are seeking refuge in the UK.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if she will work with local authorities to identify Ukrainian families resident in the UK who volunteer to home refugees from Ukraine.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on bringing forward a Community Housing Fund (a) for the financial year 2022-3 or (b) during the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

The Community Housing Fund has provided support for the community-led housing sector since 2016 and the current round of the Fund comes to an end at the end of the current financial year. Discussions on any funding beyond the current financial year form part of wider discussions with the Treasury about how, following the 2021 Spending Review, DLUHC's budget will be deployed across the full range of the Department's programmes.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make provision for an online Ukrainian language course to enable families hosting refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme to learn some basic language skills.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will ensure that there are staff in place to welcome refugees from Ukraine on their arrival in the UK.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has for the provision of housing to refugees, including in areas of the country where there is a housing shortage, following the offer of accommodation to refugees for six months as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The support for the people coming to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme sits alongside our commitment to deliver affordable homes.

Since 2010, we have delivered over 574,100 new affordable homes, including over 403,400 affordable homes for rent, of which over 154,600 homes are for social rent.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, what assessment he has made of the experience and ability of charities, churches and community organisations to match Ukrainian refugees to UK families; and whether the Government or an agency of Government plans to provide information to those organisations to help match refugees to families.

I refer the Hon Member to the guidance for local authorities available online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will implement a centralised system to match refugees without any association to the UK with families who have undergone safeguarding checks.

I refer the Hon Member to the guidance for local authorities available online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to expand the Homes for Ukraine scheme to refugees from other conflicts, such as in Afghanistan, so they are not required to stay in bridging accommodation.

As set out in the FAQs on Homes for Ukraine, the UK has a long and proud history of welcoming migrants including recent arrivals from Syria, Afghanistan and Hong Kong. Every scheme is different and learns from the successes or challenges of those before. There has been a sponsorship route in operation for some years, and Homes for Ukraine is a developed version of that. We will look to see whether there are lessons we can apply from this scheme in future.

Where members of the public also wish to help Afghans or other refugees, we would encourage them to do so through working with their local authority, or through the Community Sponsorship scheme.

I refer the Hon Member to the following link: https://www.gov.uk/help-afghanistan/helping-people-to-settle-in-the-uk.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make and assessment of the potential merits of provide Ukraine refugees with (a) laptops or other forms of IT, (b) broadband and (c) a SIM card for a phone to facilitate (i) contact with other Ukrainians in the UK and Ukraine and (ii) educational support for Ukrainian child refugees.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, whether there are any restrictions on what the £350 monthly provision for hosting a refugee is spent on; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of disbursing that funding directly to Ukrainian refugees to spend on their needs.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will enable local authorities to be sponsoring bodies for refugees.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much funding local authorities will be given for each refugee that they agree to take.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to support civil society organisations with the additional costs they incur as a result of providing support to refugees who have arrived in the UK via the Homes for Ukraine or Ukraine Family Scheme.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of the under-supply of housing in England, if he will take steps to help ensure that future housing development is designated for local residents rather than for asset investors.

Development plans can, if supported by local evidence, be used to prioritise local residents by managing the number of new holiday homes in local areas, for example, by including policies which require new open-market housing to be occupied as a primary residence.

The Government recognises the adverse effect that large numbers of second homes can have on some areas. We have introduced a number of measures to help mitigate those effects, including introducing higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax for those purchasing additional properties.

The Government’s new First Homes scheme, which offers at least a 30% discount to first-time buyers, can be used to prioritise local residents and expressly prohibits asset investors. Local  authorities can prioritise First Homes for local people or key workers. First Homes must remain the owners primary residence and there are restrictions on letting.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of increases in the cost of living, if he will take steps to ensure that local authorities work with people who may default on rent payments rather than progress to court proceedings.

We recognise people are facing pressures with the cost of living – which is why we are providing support worth over £20 billion across this financial year and next and significant support remains in place through the welfare system.

To encourage landlords to work with residents who may have defaulted on rent payments, the Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords sets out the actions social landlords should take before they consider taking legal action for rent arrears. These actions include making early contact with tenants to discuss the cause of the arrears; checking eligibility for housing benefit and assisting with any claim; and agreeing affordable repayment terms for the arrears. The pre-action protocol can be found at: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/protocol/pre-action-protocol-for-possession-claims-by-social-landlords.

For those at risk of homelessness, local authorities can use Homelessness Prevention Grant (HPG) funding flexibly – for example, to offer financial support for people to find a new home, to work with landlords to prevent evictions or to provide temporary accommodation, among other preventative measures. For 2021/22 we have provided local authorities with £375 million in HPG funding, including the additional £65 million to help prevent private renters with COVID-related arrears in England from becoming homeless. We will be providing a further £315.8 million in HPG funding for 2022/23.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of increases in the cost of living, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that (a) social landlords and (b) local authorities are unable to evict anyone who defaults on their rent payments.

We recognise people are facing pressures with the cost of living – which is why we are providing support worth over £20 billion across this financial year and next and significant support remains in place through the welfare system.

To encourage landlords to work with residents who may have defaulted on rent payments, the Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords sets out the actions social landlords should take before they consider taking legal action for rent arrears. These actions include making early contact with tenants to discuss the cause of the arrears; checking eligibility for housing benefit and assisting with any claim; and agreeing affordable repayment terms for the arrears. The pre-action protocol can be found at: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/protocol/pre-action-protocol-for-possession-claims-by-social-landlords.

For those at risk of homelessness, local authorities can use Homelessness Prevention Grant (HPG) funding flexibly – for example, to offer financial support for people to find a new home, to work with landlords to prevent evictions or to provide temporary accommodation, among other preventative measures. For 2021/22 we have provided local authorities with £375 million in HPG funding, including the additional £65 million to help prevent private renters with COVID-related arrears in England from becoming homeless. We will be providing a further £315.8 million in HPG funding for 2022/23.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of increases to the cost of living, if he will end (a) evictions of tenants by landlords and (b) Section 21 notices.

The Government remains committed to delivering a better deal for renters and abolishing Section 21 evictions. We want to improve security for tenants in the rental sector and empower them to hold their landlord to account.

We will publish a landmark White Paper this spring that will set out proposals to create a fairer and better quality private rented sector. The White Paper will provide further detail on repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, improving security for tenants by putting an end to evictions where the landlord doesn’t have to provide a reason. We must, however, ensure that landlords can recover their property where they have a valid reason and that tenancies are sustainable.

We recognise people are facing pressures with the cost of living – which is why we’re providing support worth over £20 billion across this financial year and next and significant support remains in place through the welfare system.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the matching of Ukrainian refugees with Homes for Ukraine families is only conducted through professionally recognised organisations.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils. There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors. Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he make assessment of the potential merits of establishing a professional matching process for the Homes for Ukraine programme, to reduce the risk of exploitation of these vulnerable families.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils. There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors. Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he will carry out DBS checks on all people who are seeking to participate in the Homes for Ukraine programme.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils. There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors. Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a Homes for Afghans plan, integrated with the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Our work on the new Homes for Ukraine scheme has been informed by our experience gained from work undertaken to support those entering the country from Afghanistan and indeed from Syria.

My Department is continuously reviewing the Afghan resettlement response and will consider if there are measures from the Homes for Ukraine scheme that would be applicable to other groups.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to rising household costs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of local authority funding for support for residents in poverty.

The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 makes available an additional £3.7 billion to councils. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4.5% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services. The most relatively deprived areas of England will receive 14% more per dwelling in available resource through this year’s Settlement than the least deprived areas.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if local authorities will be able to sponsor refugees from Ukraine under the humanitarian sponsorship scheme.

I refer the Hon Member to the Secretary of State's Oral Statement to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many officials in his Department are working on the resettlement of Afghan refugees.

We are working across the Department and indeed across Government to get the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme ready whilst continuing to deliver existing commitments such as Afghan resettlement. We are reprioritising work to provide the resource needed to deliver these priorities.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to provide financial support to people who volunteer to house Ukrainian refugees in their households.

I refer the Hon Member to the Secretary of State's Oral Statement to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many officials in his Department are working on the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees.

We are working across the Department and indeed across Government to get the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme ready whilst continuing to deliver existing commitments such as Afghan resettlement. We are reprioritising work to provide the resource needed to deliver these priorities.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has a planned timetable for the rollout of the Housing First programme in (a) general and (b) York.

The Government is committed to Housing First, which is why we provided £28 million for three sub-regional Housing First pilots. The latest manifesto committed to expanding Housing First and we will use evidence from the pilots, and their evaluation to inform next steps.

The Spending Review committed over £2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years, including through the Rough Sleeping Initiative, which invited areas to bid for funding to meet need in their areas, which can include Housing First and housing-led solutions.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to have discussions with developers on purposing properties for use by refugees.

I refer the Hon Member to the Secretary of State's Oral Statement to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the ways in which (a) disused care homes and (b) other public buildings can be repurposed to support refugees coming to the UK.

I refer the Hon Member to the Secretary of State's Oral Statement to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to use (a) Airbnb and (b) other short-term holiday lets for the purpose of homing refugees until they are settled elsewhere or able to return home.

I refer the Hon Member to the Secretary of State's Oral Statement to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to help encourage second home owners to make their properties available for use by refugees.

I refer the Hon Member to the Secretary of State's statement to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will enable the placement of Ukrainian refugees with UK families.

I refer the Hon Member to the Secretary of State's statement to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking with the Department for Transport to ensure that transport planning is integrated in wider city planning to help tackle the climate crisis.

The Government is taking a number of steps to ensure that transport planning is integrated in wider city planning to help tackle the climate crisis. We have set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that transport issues should be considered from the earliest stages of plan-making and development proposals, so that opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport use are identified and pursued. In addition, the NPPF is clear that significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes.

Last year, the Government published the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which highlighted the principles of low carbon transport in spatial planning. We are also supporting the delivery of an update to Manual for Streets, the Government’s guidance on street design which ensures that when considering the design of streets, low carbon modes of transport are at the top of the hierarchy.

As we set out in the Net Zero Strategy, through our programme of changes to the planning system we intend to review the NPPF to make sure it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation as fully as possible.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of charging holiday lets an enhanced rate of council tax.

Holiday lets are generally subject to business rates rather than council tax. To prevent owners of second homes who do not let their property from claiming small business rate relief, the Government has legislated so that, from April 2023, properties must be let for at least 70 days a year before being assessed for business rates.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will ensure that the Government undertakes a comprehensive review of local government finances and their requirements to deliver safe services for their areas ahead of the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

The Local Government Finance Settlement for financial year 2022-23 gives local authorities access to the resources that they need. It makes available £54.1 billion for 2022-23 for local government in England, an increase of up to £3.7 billion on 2021-22. This significant investment includes over £1 billion specifically for councils to meet social care pressures and a new one-off 2022-23 Services Grant worth £822 million, which will be un-ringfenced in recognition that local leaders know the priorities for their local communities best

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities have the resources they need to rebuild their high streets.

We have provided a comprehensive package of around £400 billion of direct support to the economy during this financial year and last, which has helped to safeguard jobs, businesses and public services in every region and nation of the UK.

We are taking concrete steps towards reviving our high streets and town centres by committing billions of pounds to support economic growth and regeneration for high streets, through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund. This is in addition to the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, which includes support for 101 Town Deals and 72 Future High Streets Fund projects, as well as the £220 million UK-wide Community Renewal Fund.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting (a) Ukrainian and (b) Afghan refugees to settle temporarily in willing family homes until suitable alternative accommodation is found.

The Government has set up an online portal to allow people to submit offers of housing for people arriving from Afghanistan, and encourage people with available properties to offer these via gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-housing-portal-offers-of-support.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of vacant units on high streets in England.

The information to answer this question is not held centrally.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to introduce legal responsibility for housing developers to ensure that all newly built homes are adequately protected from flooding.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is clear that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided. Where development is necessary, it should be made safe and resilient - and without increasing flood risk elsewhere. Policies in the NPPF must be taken into account in preparing the local authority's development plan, and are a material consideration in planning decisions.

In addition, statutory guidance to the Building Regulations in Approved Document C already promotes the use of flood resilient and resistant construction in flood prone areas.

The Building Regulations also set requirements for the rainwater and surface water drainage of individual buildings under Part H of the Regulations. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the sewerage undertaker for an area, for example Yorkshire Water, to ensure drainage systems for new developments are built to a resilient standard which minimises flooding.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that any forthcoming planning bill also focuses on creating natural and sustainable spaces in urban developments.

The Government's recently published Levelling Up White Paper referenced some of our ambitions for changes to the planning system, noting that planning is critical to deliver on our objective of levelling up. The White Paper made specific reference to ensuring that natural beauty is accessible to all which will be central to our planning system, with improved Green Belts around towns and cities, supported by Local Nature Recovery Strategies reflected in plan making and woodland creation supported across the UK. The timing, scope and content of any legislation required to deliver these changes is under consideration, and further detail will be shared in due course.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) makes clear that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by providing net gains where possible, ahead of mandatory biodiversity net gain next year, and acknowledges the importance that green and open space make to achieving sustainable development.

As part of our wider ambitions for an improved planning system we intend to review the NPPF to ensure that it contributes to sustainable development as fully as possible.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that developers prioritise student needs when building student accommodation.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that it is for local authorities to identify the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community, including students, and to reflect this in their local planning policies

Our planning practice guidance goes further to state that local authorities need to plan for sufficient student accommodation whether it consists of communal halls of residence or self-contained dwellings, and whether or not it is on campus.

Local authorities should also engage with universities and other higher educational establishments to ensure they understand the student accommodation requirements in their local area.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to take steps to limit the development of luxury housing in order to fulfill local housing needs.

Whilst the Government's standard method is used to identify the total number of homes needed in a local area, the National Planning Policy Framework is clear that it is for local authorities to identify the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community and to reflect this in their local planning policies. The different groups include, but is not limited to, those who require affordable housing, families with children, older people, students, people with disabilities, service families, travellers, people who rent their homes and people wishing to commission or build their own homes.

As set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, the changes we are making to the planning system will result in more communities having local plans in place, which clearly set out what is required to meet community housing needs.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will publish a new housing bill in the next Parliamentary session to address the (a) availability and (b) cost of housing for both renters and buyers.

As the Levelling Up White Paper set out, we have committed to creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone. We have committed to deliver 1 million new homes by the end of this Parliament and continue working towards its ambition of delivering 300,000 new homes per year to create a more sustainable and affordable housing market.

We have announced £10 billion investment in housing supply since the start of this Parliament, with our housing supply interventions due to ultimately unlock over 1 million new homes. This includes an additional £1.8 billion investment announced at Spending Review 2021, consisting of £300 million locally led grant funding that will be distributed to Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and local authorities to help deliver their housing priorities and £1.5 billion to regenerate underused land and deliver transport links and community facilities.  We have also launched the £1.5 billion Levelling Up Home Building Fund, which will provide loans to small and medium sized builders and developers to deliver 42,000 homes.

We are also investing £11.5 billion in the 2021-26 Affordable Homes Programme which will build up to 180,000 affordable homes, should economic conditions allow.

This Government is committed to helping to make the dream of homeownership a reality. Since 2010, over 758,000 households have been helped to purchase a home through Government-backed schemes including Help to Buy and Right to Buy. Our new First Homes scheme will provide homes at a discount of at least 30% for local first-time buyers helping bring homeownership back into reach.

We will publish a landmark White Paper this spring that will set out proposals to create a fairer and better quality private rented sector. We will consult on introducing a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) for the first time ever, explore a National Landlord Register, and bring forward measures to increase security for renters in the PRS, including through ending section 21 'no fault evictions'. We will bring forward legislation to implement these reforms set out in the white paper, when parliamentary time allows.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to increase the (a) quantity and (b) quality of social housing.

Our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. This will build upon the success of our £9 billion Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, running to 2023, which will deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes.

Through the Levelling Up White Paper, the Government has committed that by 2030 renters will have a secure path to home ownership, with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas. The White Paper also announced the commitment to halve the number of non-decent rented homes in all tenures by 2030 with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas.

We are also driving forward reform of social housing quality through our Social Housing White Paper commitments, including a review of the Decent Homes Standard to ensure it is up-to-date and fit to deliver on the government's ambition to reduce levels of non-decency. Following the announcement of the housing quality mission in the Levelling Up White Paper, we will also look to ensure that this standard for the first time also applies to the Private Rented Sector. In addition, we are reviewing the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, the tool used to assess for hazards in all residential property.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how the humanitarian sponsorship pathway announced by the Government on 1 March 2022 differs from other community sponsorship schemes for refugees.

I refer the Hon Member to the guidance for local authorities available online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to encourage owners of holiday lets and second homes to provide temporary accommodation for refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine who require settlement.

The Government has set up an online portal to allow people to submit offers of housing for people arriving from Afghanistan, and encourage people with available properties to offer these via gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-housing-portal-offers-of-support.

Further to the answer given by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, details of the sponsorship scheme for Ukraine will be set out in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help families wanting to host Ukrainian refugees in their homes.

Further to the answer given by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, details of the sponsorship scheme for Ukraine will be set out in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to ensure that all public housing is available for the resettlement of Ukrainian / Afghan refugees if not allocated to urgent local housing need.

We are encouraging all councils to work alongside us to provide accommodation and support for Afghans in need of our compassion and support to rebuild their lives in the UK


Further to the answer given by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, details of the sponsorship scheme for Ukraine will be set out in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking with the (a) Secretary of State for Transport and (n) Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to build sustainable, well connected and well balanced communities.

We have taken a number of steps to encourage building sustainable, well-connected, and balanced communities through the planning system. We have set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. Our NPPF explains that achieving sustainable development means the planning system has three overarching objectives, which are interdependent and need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways. This includes an economic objective to help build a strong, responsive and competitive economy; a social objective to support strong, vibrant and healthy communities; and an environmental objective to protect and enhance our natural, built and historic environment. We expect planning policies and decisions to aim to achieve healthy, inclusive and safe places which promote social interaction; are safe and accessible; and which enable and support healthy lifestyles.

As part of our wider ambitions for an improved planning system, we intend to review the NPPF to ensure that it contributes to sustainable development as fully as possible. I would like to assure my Hon member that we have been and will continue to work closely with our ministerial colleagues including the Secretary of State for Transport, and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on any future review of national planning policy.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what priority he is giving to ensure that people of pensionable age are not living in damp or cold homes.

Ensuring older people have access to the right homes that suit their needs can help them to live independently for longer and feel more connected to their communities. We are committed to improving the diversity of accommodation available for older people, so that they can choose the best housing option for them, in the places they want to live.

Boosting the supply of a range of specialist housing across the country will be key to achieving this aim. We are investing £11.5 billion in the new Affordable Homes Programme, which includes the delivery of specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing.

A new government taskforce, as announced in the Levelling Up White Paper, will look at ways we can provide greater choice, quality and security of housing for older people. Further details on the scope of the taskforce work will be confirmed in due course.

We are committed to driving up standards in private rented accommodation for all tenants and we will be consulting on introducing a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the Private Rented Sector and a landlord register. We will publish a White Paper in Spring this year that will set out our proposals for reform of the private rented sector.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that everyone of pensionable age is in secure housing and not exposed to the risks of the private rented sector.

Ensuring older people have access to the right homes that suit their needs can help them to live independently for longer and feel more connected to their communities. We are committed to improving the diversity of accommodation available for older people, so that they can choose the best housing option for them, in the places they want to live.

Boosting the supply of a range of specialist housing across the country will be key to achieving this aim. We are investing £11.5 billion in the new Affordable Homes Programme, which includes the delivery of specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing.

A new government taskforce, as announced in the Levelling Up White Paper, will look at ways we can provide greater choice, quality and security of housing for older people. Further details on the scope of the taskforce work will be confirmed in due course.

We are committed to driving up standards in private rented accommodation for all tenants and we will be consulting on introducing a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the Private Rented Sector and a landlord register. We will publish a White Paper in Spring this year that will set out our proposals for reform of the private rented sector.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ending section 21 evictions for people of pensionable age.

The Government is committed to delivering a better deal for renters and abolishing section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions. We recognise the change in size and makeup of the private rented sector, with an increasing number of older people now renting their homes, means there is a growing need for longer, more stable tenancies.

We will publish a White Paper in Spring 2022 detailing our plans for reform of the private rented sector and bring forward legislation in due course. We are working with stakeholders from across the sector to inform this. As part of our reforms, we will consider the impact of these changes on people with protected characteristics, including age.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the cost of living pressures on the ability of people of pensionable age being able to continue living in their current accommodation.

The Government is taking action to help people, including Pensioners, with cost of living pressures. The Chancellor's announcement on 3 February of a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23, will also be available to eligible pensioners.

Individuals in who are unable to afford their rental payments may be eligible for a range of support through the Universal Credit system. In April 2020, we boosted investment in the Local Housing Allowance by nearly £1 billion.

For those who need it most, support is available through Discretionary Housing Payments, the additional £65 million funding for renters in arrears, and the £500 million Household Support Fund, of which £421 million will go to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of essentials over the winter period.

On the wider issue of older people's housing, we are committed to ensuring that older people can live in the right kind of homes that suit their needs, in the places they want to live. A new government taskforce, as announced in the Levelling Up White Paper, will look at ways we can provide greater choice, quality and security of housing for older people.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to increase the quantity of homes available for elderly residents to support access to secure accommodation in later life.

The National Planning Policy Framework already sets out that local authorities should assess the types of specialist housing needed for older people, and this should be reflected in their local planning policies. We also continue to review the departmental programmes and engage with key stakeholders, ahead of setting out a proposed way forward for the planning reforms.

Furthermore, we have recently announced a new taskforce on the issue of older people's housing, which will look at ways we can provide greater choice, quality and security of housing for older people, and support the growth of the sector in this country. This work will be taken forwards in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that older people who are living in poverty receive an assessment from their local authorities to ensure that they are receiving all the support for which they are eligible.

The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 makes available an additional £3.7 billion to councils, including funding for adult social care reform. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4.5% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services.

The majority of this funding is unringfenced in recognition of local authorities being best placed to understand local priorities, including support for the elderly.

Specifically on social care, local authorities are responsible for assessing an individual's eligibility for care and support as set out in the Care Act and, where the individual is eligible for financial support, for meeting those needs. Where individuals are not eligible for financial support, local authorities will support them, should they require assistance, to make their own arrangements for care services.

Separately, the Government has revised and expanded the Pension Credit guide on the GOV.UK website to include clear information about the additional financial support available to people on Pension Credit. Over the coming weeks 11 million pensioners in Great Britain will receive information about Pension Credit in a leaflet accompanying their annual up-rating letter including prominent messaging that an award of Pension Credit can also open the door to a wide range of additional benefits - not only extra help with fuel costs, but also help with rent, council tax, certain health related costs and a free over-75 TV licence.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the number of social housing units developed in York in each of the last 5 years.

The number of new affordable housing completions in each local authority is published in live table 1008C. Those figures are broken down by tenure here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply .

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing use of empty residential units held as investments for housing people on local authority social housing waiting lists.

Local councils are best placed to determine how best to increase their stock of social housing. We have given councils powers to manage empty homes in their districts and we encourage councils to publish their empty homes policies.

We are committed to investing in social housing. Our new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. This builds upon the success of our £9 billion Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, running to 2023, which will deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to abolish or cap ground rents for people currently paying that charge.

We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act will put an end to ground rents for most new residential leasehold properties as part of the most significant changes to property law in a generation. We understand the difficulties some existing leaseholders face with high and escalating ground rents.

Unfair practices have no place in the housing market and the Government is committed to ending them. This is why the Government asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector. The Government has welcomed the action to tackle potential mis-selling and unfair terms in the leasehold sector and wants to see homeowners who have been affected obtain the justice and redress they deserve.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of trends in the level of management costs paid by leaseholders.

Leaseholders are typically liable to contribute to the overall management costs of a building to allow for the proper and safe management of ongoing maintenance, repairs and services. Management costs will also be incurred if a freeholder employs a managing agent to undertake those responsibilities on their behalf. The Government believes very strongly that these charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The law is clear that service charges and any increase in costs must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. The Government believes that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong.

Leaseholders may make an application to the appropriate tribunal (being the First-tier Tribunal in England and the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in Wales) for it to make a determination on the reasonableness of their service charges.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to ensure that freeholders and management companies of leasehold properties have accessible means by which leaseholders can contact them.

Sections 47 and 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 are clear that any written demand for rent or service charges must include the name and address of the immediate landlord; and that a landlord must provide an address within England and Wales at which notices, including notices in proceedings, may be served. A leaseholder is not liable for the demand for rent or the service charge until this information is provided.

The Government established an independent working group, chaired by Lord Best, to raise standards across the property agent sector, which also considered suggestions to improve transparency. The working group published its final report to Government (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-property-agents-working-group-report) and we are considering the report's recommendations.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will undertake an in-depth study on the reasons for housing challenges in (a) York and (b) other cities.

Throughout its work the Department seeks to better understand the differing housing needs and challenges of local areas both through close engagement with local areas and monitoring relevant data, in line with our Levelling Up White Paper commitments.

The White Paper emphasises the Government's commitment to creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone. This is essential for spreading opportunity and levelling up. This includes supporting more first-time buyers to move onto the housing ladder, delivering more homes that are genuinely affordable, radically improving housing quality and reducing homelessness.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a limit on the length of time properties owned by (a) social landlords and (b) councils can remain void.

Access to social housing is managed locally, within a national framework. The government has given local councils freedom to manage their own waiting lists, so they can decide who should qualify for social housing in their area and develop solutions which make best use of the social housing stock.

The average (median) number of vacant days before a social housing property (local authority and housing association owned) was let in 2019/20 was 19 days.

The length of time a property is void can be affected by a range of factors, including whether a property is under repairs or in need of adaptations, how extensive these repairs or adaptations are and whether a property is earmarked for demolition or sales. There are therefore legitimate reasons for a property to remain void.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will introduce the Bellwin scheme as a result of recent flooding across the country.

We have not yet received any requests from local authorities to activate the Bellwin Scheme as a result of the recent flooding, but we stand ready to support councils and local authorities as and when needed.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that the energy bill rebate benefits tenants instead of landlords.

The Government’s guidance to councils makes clear that payments should be made to the liable council tax payer, who in most cases is the occupant rather than the owner of a property. Councils will also receive funding to provide discretionary support to households who are not eligible for automatic payments, for example those where the energy bill payer is not the council tax payer.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to protect leaseholders against sharp rises in costs from management companies running their housing scheme.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service.

The law is clear that service charges must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. We believe very strongly that any charges to leaseholders should be transparent and communicated effectively, and that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong. Leaseholders may make an application to the First-tier Tribunal to make a determination on the reasonableness of their service charges. Furthermore Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 allows leaseholders to apply to the appropriate tribunal to appoint a manager to take over management where there has been a significant failure by a previous managing agent or landlord.

To help protect buyers of new homes, we are bringing forward provision for the New Homes Ombudsman scheme in the Building Safety Bill to provide dispute resolution to, and determine complaints by, buyers of new build homes against developers. The New Homes Ombudsman will help improve redress for homebuyers and the quality of new homes.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to introduce annual targets for local authorities on the delivery of new social housing in their local authority areas.

It is for local authorities to identify the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community, including those who require affordable housing, and reflect this in planning and other policies.

The Government has given local authorities a comprehensive range of tools to enable local authorities to deliver social housing, including through their own housebuilding programmes. This includes our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme which councils can bid for, and the abolition of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in 2018. Local authorities have also been given more freedom on how they can spend the money they receive from Right to Buy sales on replacement homes as well as continued access to low cost borrowing via the Public Works Loan Board. These reforms give local authorities greater flexibility to invest in new homes and the next generation of council housing.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what progress he has made since the COP26 conference on ending the use of coal.

At COP26, all parties agreed to phase down the use of coal for the first time ever. The Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement gained over 70 signatures from countries, subnationals, and organisations, and the Powering Past Coal Alliance grew to 165 members.

In 2022, the UK COP Presidency remains fully committed to consigning coal power to history. The Energy Transition Council will run until at least 2025, and is ensuring that countries can access investment in clean power that is more attractive than new coal plants. We are working with international partners to secure more signatories to the UN No New Coal Power Compact and the Powering Past Coal Alliance. The UK will also support the implementation of ambitious announcements made at COP26, including the South Africa Just Energy Transition Partnership, the Green Grids Initiative, and the Just Transition Declaration. We must accelerate action to cut the global new coal plant pipeline, and to retire existing coal generation capacity.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what progress he has made on securing additional funding for climate change initiatives in developing countries ahead of COP27.

By COP26, 95% of the largest developed country climate finance providers made new, climate finance commitments to support developing countries. These have delivered significant progress towards the $100 billion goal, which will be reached by 2023 and continue rising through to 2025. It is now likely that $500 billion will be mobilised over the period 2021-25.

Parties agreed to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries from 2019 levels by 2025. Parties also made new pledges to the Adaptation Fund of over $350m, around three times the previous highest level, and contributions to the Least Developed Country Fund worth $600m. The UK, with Fiji, also initiated the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance which will run trials with five developing countries to support faster, easier access to climate finance. The UK committed £100 million to support implementation of the Taskforce’s approach. Mobilising finance to developing countries remains a top priority for the UK COP Presidency in 2022.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to level up areas that have been unsuccessful in bids to the Levelling Up Fund, the High Street Fund and the Social Partnership Fund and are seeing a reduction in investment.

As set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, the Government’s central mission is to spread opportunity more equally across the country and bring left behind communities up to the level of more prosperous areas. We encourage unsuccessful applicants to apply for the second round of funding from the Levelling Up Fund, which will open in Spring. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will also be launched in Spring. UK wide, funding for the UKSPF will ramp up to £1.5 billion per year by March 2025 and upholds the UK government’s commitment to match EU structural fund receipts for each nation.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to ensure that York does not regress economically and socially in the context of (a) the impact of rises in the cost of living and (b) the reduction in funding to York and North Yorkshire under the Social Partnership and Levelling Up funding compared to previous EU funding.

As set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, the Government’s central mission is to spread opportunity more equally across the country and bring left behind communities up to the level of more prosperous areas. We encourage unsuccessful applicants to apply for the second round of funding from the Levelling Up Fund, which will open in Spring. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will also be launched in Spring. UK wide, funding for the UKSPF will ramp up to £1.5 billion per year by March 2025 and upholds the UK government’s commitment to match EU structural fund receipts for each nation.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing local authorities to introduce rent controls in areas of very high private rental costs.

The Government does not support the introduction of rent controls to set the level of rent at the outset of a tenancy. Rents are negotiated and agreed between landlord and tenant.

Historical evidence suggests that these would discourage investment in the sector, and would lead to declining property standards as a result, which would not help landlords or tenants. Recent international examples suggest that rent controls can have an inadvertent negative impact on the supply of housing and may encourage more illegal subletting.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that local authorities acquire or build new social housing to meet rising demand in areas where there is a net loss of social housing.

Building more social and affordable homes is a priority for this Government, and we want to see local authorities playing a key role in the delivery of new housing. Our £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, which councils can bid for, will deliver up to 180,000 affordable homes should economic conditions allow. This on top of our £9 billion Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, running to 2023, which will deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes.

The Government wants to see local authorities delivering the next generation of council housing and we have given them a comprehensive range of tools to do so. In March 2021, we announced a package of reforms to give councils more freedom in how they can spend the money they receive from Right to Buy sales on replacement homes. In addition to this, Government abolished the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in 2018, allowing councils to borrow to build more council homes.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will set out a future framework for the roles and responsibilities of local authorities.

Local government is responsible for a range of vital services for people within their areas. Statutory responsibilities are set out in numerous Acts of Parliament and many of these responsibilities have associated legal duties.

The Levelling Up White Paper details the largest devolution of power from Whitehall to local leaders across England in modern times and contains a devolution framework setting out a clear menu of options for places in England that wish to unlock the benefits of devolution.

We will also establish a new independent body in England focused on data, transparency, and robust evidence to enhance the Government’s understanding of place-based leadership, quality of local service delivery and organisational efficacy within local government.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will undertake a comprehensive review of the adequacy of the (a) current and (b) future levels of local authority funding.

The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 makes available an additional £3.7 billion to councils, including funding for adult social care reform. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4.5% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services.

The Government is providing around £1.6 billion additional core grant for local government in each year of the Spending Review, including funding for Family Help (formerly Supporting Families) and Cyber Resilience. By 2024/25, Core Spending Power for local authorities in England is expected to rise to around £59 billion.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, for what reason he has included new build student accommodation in the target numbers for development plans.

This Government is committed to creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone across the country.

National Planning Policy Framework states that it is important a sufficient amount and variety of land can come forward where it is needed, that the needs of groups with specific housing requirements are addressed, and that land with permission is developed without unnecessary delay. This includes students, alongside other groups, such as owner occupiers: as set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, Government is clear that the planning system should contribute to increasing the number of first time buyers in all areas.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to measure his levelling up agenda and how often that data will be published, to support parliamentary scrutiny of that agenda.

The Levelling Up White Paper set out 12 ambitious new missions that are targeted, measurable and time-bound declarations of the progress needed to achieve levelling up.

Robust monitoring and accountability is a key part of the Levelling Up agenda set out in the White Paper. In addition to welcoming ongoing scrutiny through established Parliamentary mechanisms, the Government will introduce a statutory obligation to report annually on progress towards meeting the Levelling Up missions. The report will draw on the metrics set out in the White Paper and provide rigorous analysis and monitoring of progress in reducing regional disparities. It will also provide progress updates on policy related to addressing spatial differences in living standards and social outcomes across the UK. This annual report will be published and be subject to external and Parliamentary scrutiny.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who will be (a) responsible for the delivery of the levelling up agenda and (b) accountable to Parliament for areas of that agenda which intersect with (i) health, (ii) education and (iii) other departmental areas not within his Department.

Achieving the bold national missions we have set out in the Levelling Up White Paper will rely on a ‘system change’ of how government works. These missions will be cross-government, cross-society efforts, and are intended to precipitate systems change through cooperation across the public, private and voluntary sectors, rather than acting as a mechanism for holding the government to account.

To ensure transparency and accountability, the missions are specific and measurable, and are supported by a set of metrics. We are also committing to report on progress towards the missions through an annual report submitted to parliament, with each Whitehall department accountable for its contributions towards the collective effort.

We have also set up a ‘Levelling Up Advisory Council’ that will provide independent expert advice on matters relating to the design and delivery of Levelling Up, and a new Cabinet Sub-Committee with a specific focus on Levelling Up, chaired by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This will bring together cabinet colleagues to collaborate, share information and resources, and take collective decisions on policies which will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK.

Secretaries of State are accountable to parliament for the actions of their department. Further information on departmental responsibilities can be found on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-ministers-and-responsibilities.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the economic benefit to York that will result from his proposals for levelling up.

Alongside places up and down the country, York is already benefiting from considerable support to help level up, and further support was announced in the recently published Levelling Up White Paper.

The Government will be taking forward negotiations to agree a Mayoral Combined Authority deal with York and North Yorkshire, as well as inviting Hull and East Yorkshire to begin formal negotiations to agree a new County Deal. The Department for Transport’s new executive agency, Active Travel England, will be headquartered in York, alongside a number of Defra roles relocated in the city. The wider Yorkshire and the Humber region has already been awarded £187 million from Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund for infrastructure projects to improve everyday life, and we expect to announce details of the second round in Spring.

York also benefits from a number of UK-wide initiatives. For example, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will empower local leaders to invest in local priorities to improve pride in place and life chances. Further details will be published in the Spring. Additionally, digital connectivity is being improved, with 80-90% of premises in Yorkshire and the Humber forecast to have gigabit-capable broadband by 2025, and 90% of the region anticipated to be covered by 4G mobile coverage by 2026.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's oral contribution of 3 February 2022, Official Report, column 472, what guidance his Department is providing to local authorities on distributing the discretionary fund to support people in fuel poverty.

My Department will provide guidance shortly to billing authorities on administering the council tax rebate scheme and the associated discretionary fund. Allocations from the discretionary fund will allow councils to support people that may need help with their energy bills but who are not eligible for the main scheme.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of the reduction of £31.9 million in local settlement funding for York since 2018 on the Government's delivery of its levelling up agenda.

In 2022-23, Core Spending Power for York City Council will be £147.5 million, increasing from £125.2 million in 2018-19. This represents an increase of £22.4 million, 17.9% in cash terms or 6.3% in real terms.

In total, the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 – published on 7 February - makes available an additional £3.7 billion to councils, including funding for adult social care reform. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4.5% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services.

Local authorities know their own local priorities best and have a discretion to spend their income according to local need.

Levelling up is at the heart of the Government's agenda to build back better after the pandemic and was at the centre of the Manifesto on which the government promised to deliver for the people of the UK. The Government is committed to ensuring that funding allocations for councils are based on an up-to-date assessment of their needs and resources. We will work closely with local partners and take stock of the challenges and opportunities they face, before consulting on any potential funding reform.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment has he made of the potential effect of the (a) availability and (b) quality of housing on levels of inequality.

Both a lack of affordable housing, and poor-quality housing can drive inequality and negatively impact on health. The Levelling Up White Paper sets out our plan to tackle this, through our ambition to reduce the number of non-decent rented homes by 50% by 2030, with the biggest improvement in the lowest performing areas, and also through our ambition to deliver 300,000 new homes per year in England by the mid-2020s to create a more sustainable and affordable housing market.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure the Levelling Up agenda delivers housing to meet community need.

The UK Government is committed to levelling up across the whole of the UK to ensure that no community is left behind. The Levelling Up White Paper sets out the Government’s ambition to increase homeownership and housing quality in the rental sectors.

We will ensure local leaders have the power to deliver the housing needed in their local areas, delivering the homes this country needs in the areas that need them most.

The Government has also committed to improve housing quality in rented sectors, with biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas. Reviews of the Decent Homes Standard and the Housing Health and Safety Rating system already underway; the latter will make the system more efficient and accessible, making it easier for local authorities and residents to hold landlords to account.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will publish any changes to the proposals set out in the Planning for the Future White Paper separate to and before publishing the forthcoming Bill on planning.

The Government’s recently published Levelling Up White Paper referenced some of our ambitions for changes to the planning system, noting that planning is critical to deliver on our objective of levelling up.

The timing, scope and content of any legislation required to deliver these changes is under consideration, and further detail will be shared in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to publish the proposed Bill on planning.

The Government’s recently published Levelling Up White Paper referenced some of our ambitions for changes to the planning system, noting that planning is critical to deliver on our objective of levelling up.

The timing, scope and content of any legislation required to deliver these changes is under consideration, and further detail will be shared in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect on inequality in communities of a prevalence of low wages in areas of high value housing as part of his work on the levelling up agenda.

The Government's levelling up missions will spread economic opportunity through investment in R&D, skills, connectivity and business finance. The missions and actions to make neighbourhoods safer and ensure decent homes, including in the private rented sector, will address key barriers which contribute to and entrench poverty.

The White Paper emphasises the Government's commitment to creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone. This is essential for spreading opportunity and levelling up. This includes supporting more first-time buyers to move onto the housing ladder, delivering more homes that are genuinely affordable, radically improving housing quality and reducing homelessness.

For those who need it most, support is available through Discretionary Housing Payments, the Homelessness Prevention Grant, and the £500 million Household Support Fund, of which £421 million will go to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of essentials over the winter period.

This Government has invested heavily in supporting low-income households with their housing costs, with £29 billion spent on housing support alone last year.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he has taken to consult with stakeholders in York on levelling up before publishing the levelling up White Paper.

The scale and ambition of levelling up requires genuine co-design, co-delivery, collaboration and input from policymakers, delivery partners, stakeholders and the public across the whole of the UK. The Government is committed to engaging widely and comprehensively with a wide range of stakeholders and partners. My officials are in consistent dialogue with stakeholders in York, including conversations led by our Local Growth team based in Yorkshire. These conversations have included the prospects for a mayoral devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire, for which negotiations will now begin as committed to in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to prioritise investment for communities with areas of severe deprivation.

The United Kingdom is one of the greatest countries in the world, but not everyone shares in its success. Pockets of deprivation exist and the Government’s central task is to level up the UK by spreading opportunity more equally across the country, addressing inequality and deprivation in those areas that have been left behind.

The Government’s Levelling Up Fund, of which we expect to launch a second round in spring, has focused on areas most in need of economic recovery, particularly where there is lower productivity, higher unemployment and a higher proportion of people without formal qualifications. Alongside the White Paper, we also set out how communities will be empowered through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will invest in local priorities in places in need to help build pride in place and increase life chances.

The Levelling Up White Paper has also built on this: the missions and measures on schools and communities it announced, including Education Investment Areas and major investment in youth provision, will target areas of highest need, while the missions and actions to make neighbourhoods safer and ensure decent homes, including in the private rented sector, will address key barriers which contribute to and entrench deprivation.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take with Cabinet colleagues to deliver proposals set out in the levelling up White Paper; and whether accountability for that delivery will sit within his Department or other spending departments.

Achieving the bold national missions we have set out in the Levelling Up White Paper will rely on a ‘system change’ of how government works. These missions will be cross-government, cross-society efforts. The UK Government will introduce a statutory obligation to report annually on progress towards meeting the Levelling Up missions, with each Whitehall department accountable for its contributions towards the collective effort.

We have set up a new Cabinet Sub-Committee with a specific focus on Levelling Up, chaired by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up and bringing together cabinet colleagues to collaborate, share information and resources, and take collective decisions on policies which will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK. Government’s resources, energy, and focus throughout the 2020s will be re-oriented around achieving these missions - and thus squarely focussed on helping the people and parts of the country most struggling.

Whilst the missions are UK-wide ambitions, in the many instances where they are driven by devolved policy levers, the UK government wishes to work hand in hand with the devolved governments to achieve them.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how frequently he plans to report to Parliament on the progress made on proposals in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Robust monitoring and accountability is a key part of the Levelling Up agenda set out in the White Paper. In addition to welcoming ongoing scrutiny through established Parliamentary mechanisms, the Government will introduce a statutory obligation to report annually on progress towards meeting the Levelling Up missions. The report will draw on the metrics set out in the White Paper and provide rigorous analysis and monitoring of progress in reducing regional disparities. It will also provide progress updates on policy related to addressing spatial differences in living standards and social outcomes across the UK. This annual report will be published and be subject to external and Parliamentary scrutiny.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how he plans to measure the success of the delivery of proposals in the Government's Levelling Up White Paper.

The Levelling Up White Paper set out 12 ambitious new missions that are targeted, measurable and time-bound declarations of the progress needed to achieve levelling up. Missions are underpinned by a suite of headline and supporting metrics that will support monitoring and evaluation of progress against the missions and Levelling Up policies, and will provide a rich source of information on the evolution of spatial disparities in a broader levelling up context. The preliminary list of metrics is published in the Technical Annex alongside the White Paper. The Government will introduce a statutory obligation to report annually on progress towards meeting the Levelling Up missions, and expects these metrics to form a crucial input.

The ONS has also made publicly available a Levelling Up Subnational Data Explorer that will make it easier to extract insight from a wide range of local authority level data on economic and social outcomes in local areas.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will publish a more detailed regional levelling up plan.

A key tenet of the Levelling Up White Paper is empowering local leaders to shape how levelling up works in their areas, rather than dictating places’ plans from Whitehall. The White Paper sets out for the first time a clear framework for devolution in England, supporting areas to develop devolution proposals which demonstrate effective leadership and sensible geography. Alongside the White Paper, we also set out how local areas will be empowered through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to invest in local priorities which will build pride in place and increase life chances.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what data is he using to determine which areas receive investment through his levelling up proposals.

The Levelling Up White Paper provides a clear plan to level up every corner of the UK, underpinned by 12 ambitious “missions” over 10 years and tracked by an annual report on the missions that will monitor levelling up progress and allow the government to be held to account.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to tackle inequality within areas as part of the Levelling Up agenda.

As the Levelling Up White Paper acknowledges, there are disparities both between and within regions, across economic, social and environmental measures. There is variation between and within large and small cities, as well as towns and rural places. The Government’s central focus is to reverse this unfairness, spreading opportunity more equally and bringing left behind communities up to the level of more prosperous areas.

The missions set out in the White Paper - on which the Government will have a statutory obligation to report annually - explicitly aim to raise the bar across all parts of the country, at the neighbourhood level as well as at the city or county level. In particular, the Government’s emphasis on improving skills, housing quality and digital and physical connectivity, and on supporting community-led initiatives to bolster pride in place and life chances, will help more people to flourish in every part of every area in the UK.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to enable communities to take control of underused or vacant spaces of community value as part of levelling up.

Communities are at the heart of levelling up, and in the Levelling Up White Paper we have set out our ambition to make sure communities have the tools to access underused spaces and retain community assets. We will review existing community asset frameworks which allow communities to protect local spaces and the £150 million Community Ownership Fund is helping communities to protect valued local assets at risk of loss.

In addition, we have we committed to exploring new powers for local authorities to require landlords to rent out long-term vacant properties to tenants such as community groups and set our intention to strengthen planning tools to encourage councils to take action on long-term empty properties. Our reforms of the Use Classes Order permit more flexible use of buildings and will enable councils to address vacant spaces.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to ensure the provision of (a) community centres and (b) other public spaces in communities to allow minority and other groups access to premises to carry out civic activities.

The Government recognises the contribution which faith organisations and minority communities make to our civic and cultural life, and we are committed to supporting all our communities to have the power to shape their local area and work together to improve their neighbourhoods.

In initiatives the department has funded, we have sought to support efforts to build friendly, working relationships between people of different faiths to promote tolerance and understanding and to help focus efforts to tackle social problems.

The £150 million Community Ownership Fund demonstrates our determination to ensure that all communities are able to protect the community assets and local facilities which are important to them by bringing them into community ownership.

In round one of the fund, we have provided £983,088 of support to help community groups take ownership of community centres.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of developing cultural centres in all communities.

The Government recognises the contribution which faith organisations and minority communities make to our civic and cultural life, and we are committed to supporting all our communities to have the power to shape their local area and work together to improve their neighbourhoods.

In initiatives the department has funded, we have sought to support efforts to build friendly, working relationships between people of different faiths to promote tolerance and understanding and to help focus efforts to tackle social problems.

The £150 million Community Ownership Fund demonstrates our determination to ensure that all communities are able to protect the community assets and local facilities which are important to them by bringing them into community ownership.

In round one of the fund, we have provided £983,088 of support to help community groups take ownership of community centres.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of developing a model of interfaith centres in communities.

The Government recognises the contribution which faith organisations and minority communities make to our civic and cultural life, and we are committed to supporting all our communities to have the power to shape their local area and work together to improve their neighbourhoods.

In initiatives the department has funded, we have sought to support efforts to build friendly, working relationships between people of different faiths to promote tolerance and understanding and to help focus efforts to tackle social problems.

The £150 million Community Ownership Fund demonstrates our determination to ensure that all communities are able to protect the community assets and local facilities which are important to them by bringing them into community ownership.

In round one of the fund, we have provided £983,088 of support to help community groups take ownership of community centres.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of facilities for children in hostels for victims of domestic violence.

It is absolutely critical that victims of domestic abuse get support and especially when they are in housing need.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, placed new duties on local authorities to ensure that victims and their children across England can access the right support in safe accommodation when they need it. This includes supporting victims in Sanctuary Schemes which provide enhanced physical security measures to a domestic abuse victim's own home where it is safe for them to stay at home.

For those who are homeless as a result of being a victim of domestic abuse, local authorities must ensure that temporary accommodation is suitable in relation to the applicant and to all members of their household who normally reside with them, or who might reasonably be expected to reside with them. Consideration of whether accommodation is suitable will require an assessment of all aspects of the accommodation in the light of the relevant needs, requirements and circumstances of the homeless person and their household.

In December 2021, we announced that for 2022/2023, local authorities have been allocated £316 million Homelessness Prevention Grant. This includes £5.8 million funding to cover the cost of extending priority need to those who are made homeless as a result of being victim to domestic abuse, following the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of hostel provision for women who have experienced domestic violence.

It is absolutely critical that victims of domestic abuse get support and especially when they are in housing need.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, placed new duties on local authorities to ensure that victims and their children across England can access the right support in safe accommodation when they need it. This includes supporting victims in Sanctuary Schemes which provide enhanced physical security measures to a domestic abuse victim's own home where it is safe for them to stay at home.

For those who are homeless as a result of being a victim of domestic abuse, local authorities must ensure that temporary accommodation is suitable in relation to the applicant and to all members of their household who normally reside with them, or who might reasonably be expected to reside with them. Consideration of whether accommodation is suitable will require an assessment of all aspects of the accommodation in the light of the relevant needs, requirements and circumstances of the homeless person and their household.

In December 2021, we announced that for 2022/2023, local authorities have been allocated £316 million Homelessness Prevention Grant. This includes £5.8 million funding to cover the cost of extending priority need to those who are made homeless as a result of being victim to domestic abuse, following the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Homes First pilots, what steps he is taking to help ensure women who have experienced domestic violence can reside in their own home, rather than in hostel provision.

Housing First has an impressive international record in helping people with complex needs, including victims of domestic abuse, to recover and stay off the streets for good, which is why we awarded £28 million to pilot it in three areas


Home should be a place of love and safety but for many people in this country this is sadly not the case.

Our aim is always that the victim and children stay in their home; if anyone has to leave, it should be the abuser. However, that this is not always possible and in cases when a victim and their children must flee, there must be a safe place to go.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 gives those who are homeless as a result of being a victim of domestic abuse priority need for accommodation secured by the local authority. This will help to ensure victims do not remain with their abuser for fear of not having a roof over their head.

For 2022/2023, local authorities have been allocated £316 million Homelessness Prevention Grant, as announced in December 2021. This includes £5.8 million funding to cover the cost of extending priority need to those who are made homeless as a result of being victim to domestic abuse.

The Act also placed new duties on local authorities, which came into force on 1 October 2021, to ensure that victims and their children across England can access the right support in safe accommodation when they need it. This includes supporting victims in Sanctuary Schemes which provide enhanced physical security measures to a domestic abuse victim's own home where it is safe for them to stay at home.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that faith organisations have a greater role in working with local government.

The Government recognises the vital role played by our faith groups in their local communities. Faith organisations have been at the forefront during the pandemic, working alongside local authorities and other partners to provide communities with much needed support.

The Faith New Deal pilot scheme announced last September will build on this, strengthening engagement between faith organisations and local government.

The successful applicants will be announced shortly.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of on local authority funding to meet the demands of (a) child and (b) adult social care; and what steps is he taking to tackle any potential shortfall.

The 2022/23 provisional Local Government Finance Settlement makes available an additional £3.5 billion to councils. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services, including Adult and Children's Social Care.

Local authorities can make use of over £1 billion of additional resource specifically for social care in 2022/23. This includes:

  • £636 million more into the Social Care Grant, including funding for equalisation against the 1% Adult Social Care precept;
  • £63 million into the improved Better Care Fund, providing an inflationary uplift to support integrated working with the NHS, and;
  • a 1% Adult Social Care precept and deferred flexibilities from last year's settlement.

On top of this funding to address core pressures, £162 million in adult social care reform funding will be allocated in 2022/23 to support local authorities as they prepare their markets for adult social care reform and to help move towards paying a fair cost of care.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that funding for local government enables councils to have adequate resources to support a rise in child placements in statutory provision and foster care.

The 2022/23 provisional Local Government Finance Settlement makes available an additional £3.5 billion to councils. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services, including Adult and Children's Social Care.

Local authorities can make use of over £1 billion of additional resource specifically for social care in 2022/23. This includes:

  • £636 million more into the Social Care Grant, including funding for equalisation against the 1% Adult Social Care precept;
  • £63 million into the improved Better Care Fund, providing an inflationary uplift to support integrated working with the NHS, and;
  • a 1% Adult Social Care precept and deferred flexibilities from last year's settlement.

On top of this funding to address core pressures, £162 million in adult social care reform funding will be allocated in 2022/23 to support local authorities as they prepare their markets for adult social care reform and to help move towards paying a fair cost of care.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to assist local Jewish communities engage with their local history, including former synagogues and other significant sites.

I would encourage all local authorities to celebrate and commemorate Judaism and to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by the Jewish community in their area.

The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) recently launched a new resource to enrich teaching and learning about the Holocaust. The new website, WWW.UKHOLOCAUSTMAP.ORG.UK will help communities across the country learn about their local connections to the Holocaust, Jewish refugees and British responses to Nazism.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that local authorities seek to celebrate and commemorate the history, recent and historical, of Judaism within their areas.

I would encourage all local authorities to celebrate and commemorate Judaism and to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by the Jewish community in their area.

The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) recently launched a new resource to enrich teaching and learning about the Holocaust. The new website, WWW.UKHOLOCAUSTMAP.ORG.UK will help communities across the country learn about their local connections to the Holocaust, Jewish refugees and British responses to Nazism.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the steps required to protect effectively sites of Jewish heritage in the planning system.

The Government and its heritage adviser, Historic England, help to protect Jewish sites within the planning system through:

  • advising the Secretary of State for DCMS on Listing and Scheduling;
  • statutory advice in relation to planning applications that may have an impact on the setting and character of listed synagogues, mikvah or other premises, and;
  • engagement with Jewish communities seeking to make changes to their built heritage or manage it more effectively.
Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has a timescale for publishing the plan for the devolution of North Yorkshire.

We are committed to devolving more power away from Whitehall to people and places across the UK. We are reviewing the exciting proposals prepared by the leaders of North Yorkshire and the City of York for a devolution deal and we look forward to discussing those proposals further with them soon. We will be saying more about our plans to strengthen local leadership in the forthcoming White Paper.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to publish the Levelling Up White Paper.

Levelling up is a transformative agenda and the Department’s priority is to produce a White Paper which matches our ambition, building on existing action we are already taking across Government and setting out a new policy regime that will drive change for years to come.

Work is progressing well and we plan to publish the White Paper shortly.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to prevent the development of public land for the sole or partial purpose of creating housing for use on (a) airbnb or (b) other short term holiday lets.

Data on whether new build developments are used for the sole purpose of Airbnb or other short term holiday lets are not centrally collected.

On Public Sector Land, public bodies should generally dispose of surplus land (including property assets built on that land) at the best possible price reasonably obtainable. It is for individual departments to determine the most appropriate route to disposal. It is for local authorities to determine the most suitable use of land on each site in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and local planning policy.

As a general principle, the Government recognises the benefits that second homes and holiday lets can bring to local economies and to the tourism sector and does not wish to interfere with people’s freedom to live where they choose. However, the Government also recognises the adverse effect that large numbers of second homes and holiday lets can have on some areas.

In July 2021, the Government published a Tourism Recovery Plan. As part of the plan, the Government will consult on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. A Registration Scheme is one potential route through which to create a data-driven approach, creating an improved national picture of the precise shape of the accommodation landscape which could feed into a wider Data Hub.

Any such scheme could encompass the breadth of the sector, from ‘traditional’ accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs, to short term lets in the sharing economy and could be used to underpin future government interventions, for example regarding the regulation of the sharing economy. The rise of the sharing economy has and will continue to play an important role in attracting tourists to destinations across the country and contributing to the UK economy.

However, it has created concerns about uneven regulatory requirements and negative impacts on local communities compared to other types of accommodation. The Government is committed to hearing the views of all interested parties on the merits and drawbacks of a Registration Scheme, and how any potential scheme could be implemented proportionately to avoid placing a significant regulatory burden on the sector.

The Government will launch a consultation later in 2022, but will begin the process by launching a call for evidence in the coming weeks. The call for evidence will seek views on a range of issues that arise from the increase in short-term holiday letting, not just on housing supply but also on matters such as compliance with health and safety regulations and the impact on anti-social behaviour.

The consultation will enable the Government to put forward proportionate policy options based on a firm evidence base.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the proportion of newly constructed apartments buildings in England being used for the sole purpose of (a) airbnb) or (b) other short term holiday lets.

Data on whether new build developments are used for the sole purpose of Airbnb or other short term holiday lets are not centrally collected.

On Public Sector Land, public bodies should generally dispose of surplus land (including property assets built on that land) at the best possible price reasonably obtainable. It is for individual departments to determine the most appropriate route to disposal. It is for local authorities to determine the most suitable use of land on each site in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and local planning policy.

As a general principle, the Government recognises the benefits that second homes and holiday lets can bring to local economies and to the tourism sector and does not wish to interfere with people’s freedom to live where they choose. However, the Government also recognises the adverse effect that large numbers of second homes and holiday lets can have on some areas.

In July 2021, the Government published a Tourism Recovery Plan. As part of the plan, the Government will consult on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. A Registration Scheme is one potential route through which to create a data-driven approach, creating an improved national picture of the precise shape of the accommodation landscape which could feed into a wider Data Hub.

Any such scheme could encompass the breadth of the sector, from ‘traditional’ accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs, to short term lets in the sharing economy and could be used to underpin future government interventions, for example regarding the regulation of the sharing economy. The rise of the sharing economy has and will continue to play an important role in attracting tourists to destinations across the country and contributing to the UK economy.

However, it has created concerns about uneven regulatory requirements and negative impacts on local communities compared to other types of accommodation. The Government is committed to hearing the views of all interested parties on the merits and drawbacks of a Registration Scheme, and how any potential scheme could be implemented proportionately to avoid placing a significant regulatory burden on the sector.

The Government will launch a consultation later in 2022, but will begin the process by launching a call for evidence in the coming weeks. The call for evidence will seek views on a range of issues that arise from the increase in short-term holiday letting, not just on housing supply but also on matters such as compliance with health and safety regulations and the impact on anti-social behaviour.

The consultation will enable the Government to put forward proportionate policy options based on a firm evidence base.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department provides powers for local authorities to prevent new properties from being used for the sole purpose of (a) airbnb and (b) other short-term holiday lets.

This Government recognises that holiday homes can bring benefits to local economies, including the tourism sector, and we do not wish to restrict people’s freedom to live and holiday where they choose. We also recognise, however, that large numbers of holiday homes and lets concentrated in a single area can have a negative effect on local communities.

The planning system has tools to manage the number of new holiday homes in local areas by restricting the sale of new homes to principal residences. This can be done both via a local authority’s local planning policies and through neighbourhood planning. Policies that restrict or prohibit the sale of a new home as holiday home must be supported by appropriate local evidence.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of York's NAPpads for homeless people; and if he would consider expanding the programme to other areas.

This Government is committed to ending rough sleeping this Parliament and believes everyone deserves a roof over their head. The NAPpad scheme is one of several innovative solutions being used by local authorities and voluntary organisations to tackle rough sleeping.

The Government recognises that local authorities are best placed to make decisions on what local services they provide, based on local priorities and circumstances. It is therefore up to individual local authorities as to which interventions make up their rough sleeping response.

We have provided £203 million investment through the Rough Sleeping Initiative this year (2021-2022) – an 81% increase from the £112 million provided last year – funding up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff across England. This includes immediate work to support people off the street, moving people on from emergency accommodation as well as longer-term housing-led solutions through multi-disciplinary support and more sustainable accommodation such as PRS access schemes.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that vulnerable people are not housed in areas which is likely to negatively impact on their wellbeing.

The allocation of social housing and homelessness assistance is devolved, and local authorities have the necessary powers to ensure that vulnerable people are not housed in areas likely to have a negative impact on their wellbeing.

Government introduced several measures with the Homelessness Act 2002 to give local authorities extra flexibilities to manage the allocation of social housing in their area. These measures include Local Lettings Policies, which allow local authorities to allocate some housing outside of the allocations system , for example to identify suitable accommodation for those with specific needs. The measures also include the Choice Based Lettings policy, by which local authorities enable applicants to indicate what type of accommodation and location they would prefer.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of publishing data on anti-social behaviour for the purpose of informing prospective renters or homebuyers on the safety of an area.

We are aware of the merits that this data would have for prospective renters or homebuyers and the Home Office collects information on the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) recorded by the police in England and Wales. This is published quarterly by the Office for National Statistics, along with the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) data, which presents people’s perception of the levels of ASB in particular areas. Monthly data on incidents of ASB recorded by the police at lower levels of geography can be found on the www.police.uk website.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities carry out a safety and risk assessment before a family or person moves into a new social home.

All social rented homes are required to be fit for habitation and to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. The Standard requires that homes are free of serious hazards, are in a reasonable state of repair, have reasonably modern facilities and services such as kitchens and bathrooms, and have efficient heating and effective insulation.

We are delivering on our Social Housing White Paper commitments by reviewing the Decent Homes Standard as part of our transformation of the social housing regulatory system. The review will consider whether the Standard needs to be updated to make sure it is delivering what is needed for safety and decency today

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure council-owned homes meet an appropriate housing standard.

All social rented homes are required to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. The Standard requires that homes are free of serious hazards, are in a reasonable state of repair, have reasonably modern facilities and services such as kitchens and bathrooms, and have efficient heating and effective insulation.

We are delivering on our Social Housing White Paper commitments by reviewing the Decent Homes Standard as part of our transformation of the social housing regulatory system. The review will consider whether the Standard needs to be updated to make sure it is delivering what is needed for safety and decency today.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the broad market rental area (BMRA) on (a) York and (b) other areas where house prices and rental prices are comparatively higher compared with other locations within the BMRA.

The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of broad market rental areas in York. The Department does not hold data on house prices at a BRMA level nor sub-BRMA level rental price data.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what real time data his Department collects on the average cost of (a) social rent, (b) private rent and (c) house prices in each constituency.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities does not collect real time data on the cost of social rent, private rent or house prices in each constituency.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to ensure that the City of York Local Plan includes provision for self-build and custom housing.

The Local Plan remains at examination and the independent Inspector plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

Due to the quasi-judicial role of Ministers in the plan, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on a plan at examination. It is for the independent Inspectors to address these issues.

Only in exceptional circumstances may a local authority alter a Green Belt boundary – using its local plan – and only if it can show evidenced justification that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs.

The Inspectors intend to hold further hearings in line with an indicative timetable between February and June to revisit a number of topic areas in order to move the examination forward as efficiently and effectively as possible.

It is important to ensure that progress on the York local plan is maintained and the Inspectors given the opportunity to issue their final report. The Government has set a deadline for all local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans by the end of 2023. This will help deliver the certainty that local communities and businesses deserve.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the length of time that greenbelt boundaries should endure beyond the period of the Local Plan.

The Local Plan remains at examination and the independent Inspector plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

Due to the quasi-judicial role of Ministers in the plan, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on a plan at examination. It is for the independent Inspectors to address these issues.

Only in exceptional circumstances may a local authority alter a Green Belt boundary – using its local plan – and only if it can show evidenced justification that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs.

The Inspectors intend to hold further hearings in line with an indicative timetable between February and June to revisit a number of topic areas in order to move the examination forward as efficiently and effectively as possible.

It is important to ensure that progress on the York local plan is maintained and the Inspectors given the opportunity to issue their final report. The Government has set a deadline for all local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans by the end of 2023. This will help deliver the certainty that local communities and businesses deserve.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will require the York planning inspectors to develop an evidence-based Local Plan.

The Local Plan remains at examination and the independent Inspector plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

Due to the quasi-judicial role of Ministers in the plan, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on a plan at examination. It is for the independent Inspectors to address these issues.

Only in exceptional circumstances may a local authority alter a Green Belt boundary – using its local plan – and only if it can show evidenced justification that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs.

The Inspectors intend to hold further hearings in line with an indicative timetable between February and June to revisit a number of topic areas in order to move the examination forward as efficiently and effectively as possible.

It is important to ensure that progress on the York local plan is maintained and the Inspectors given the opportunity to issue their final report. The Government has set a deadline for all local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans by the end of 2023. This will help deliver the certainty that local communities and businesses deserve.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment she has made of the effect on income for the North Yorkshire fire authority of the 1.99% precept increase compared to the effect of the greater precept flexibility available to eight local authorities.

On 16 December 2021 the provisional local government finance settlement proposed council tax referendum principles as part of a wider package of funding for local authorities in 2022-23. The principles strike a balance between ensuring local authorities are able to generate income to fund their services, and protecting residents from excessive increases. A £5 flexibility was proposed to assist the eight lowest-charging fire and rescue authorities in addressing immediate pressures and to maintain a sustainable income baseline for future years. Following consideration of consultation responses the final set of referendum principles will be subject to the approval of the House of Commons in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, for what reason she selected only eight fire authorities to exercise greater precept flexibility.

On 16 December 2021 the provisional local government finance settlement proposed council tax referendum principles as part of a wider package of funding for local authorities in 2022-23. The principles strike a balance between ensuring local authorities are able to generate income to fund their services, and protecting residents from excessive increases. A £5 flexibility was proposed to assist the eight lowest-charging fire and rescue authorities in addressing immediate pressures and to maintain a sustainable income baseline for future years. Following consideration of consultation responses the final set of referendum principles will be subject to the approval of the House of Commons in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it her policy to introduce greater precept flexibility for all fire authorities.

On 16 December 2021 the provisional local government finance settlement proposed council tax referendum principles as part of a wider package of funding for local authorities in 2022-23. The principles strike a balance between ensuring local authorities are able to generate income to fund their services, and protecting residents from excessive increases. A £5 flexibility was proposed to assist the eight lowest-charging fire and rescue authorities in addressing immediate pressures and to maintain a sustainable income baseline for future years. Following consideration of consultation responses the final set of referendum principles will be subject to the approval of the House of Commons in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to implement a register of second homes.

The Department has no current plans to implement a register of second homes. The Government recognises that large numbers of second homes concentrated in a single area can have a negative effect on local communities and has introduced a number of measures to help mitigate those effects, including introducing higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax for those purchasing additional properties.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to empower local authorities to set a cap on the number of holiday lets within their jurisdiction.

The Government has no current plans to limit the number of holiday lets. It is for local planning authorities to decide where new development is needed and where mitigation is required. Each local planning authority has to create a Local Plan which shows which kinds of development would be acceptable or otherwise in different parts of the authority’s area. Where the Local Plan contains relevant policies, planning applications must be determined in accordance with the Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

The Government however takes concerns about the impact of the increase in short-term and holiday letting on communities seriously. That is why we will shortly be bringing forward a call for evidence with a view to subsequently consulting on introducing a Registration Scheme for Tourist Accommodation.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, when a presentation of proposals to reform the Clergy Discipline Measure will be made available to members of the Ecclesiastical Committee.

The Ecclesiastical Committee have not, as yet, been formally apprised of the recommendations made either by the Lambeth Working Group or the Implementation Group. The Implementation Group would be very happy to present their proposals to the Ecclesiastical Committee as part of the ongoing work over reforming clergy discipline. The Group envisage being in a position to do this from May 2022.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made with the Clergy Discipline Measure review.

The Lambeth Working Group on the Review of the Clergy Discipline Measure, chaired by the former Bishop at Lambeth, presented its final paper to the General Synod in July 2021. That paper recommended that the Clergy Discipline Measure be replaced by new legislation which provides for a wider approach to issues of discipline, including the creation of a system which allows for the determination of lesser types of misconduct and grievance. This work is now being taken forward by a smaller Implementation Group, chaired by the Bishop of Worcester. That Group intends to finalise their proposals over the coming months and consult with various interested bodies between February and May 2022 with a view to presenting detailed legislative proposals to General Synod in July 2022.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Ecclesiastical Committee has been kept informed of the progress of the review of the Clergy Discipline Measure.

The Ecclesiastical Committee have not, as yet, been formally apprised of the recommendations made either by the Lambeth Working Group or the Implementation Group. The Implementation Group would be very happy to present their proposals to the Ecclesiastical Committee as part of the ongoing work over reforming clergy discipline. The Group envisage being in a position to do this from May 2022.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to conclude the local plan process for York by 2023.

The Local Plan remains at examination and the independent Inspector plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

The City of York Council published additional evidence for public consultation in the Summer and the responses have been sent to the Inspectors. The Inspectors wrote to the Council on 25 October setting out their intention to hold further hearings commencing in early 2022 to revisit a number of topic areas in order to move the examination forward as efficiently and effectively as possible.

It is important to ensure that progress on the York local plan is maintained and the Inspectors given the opportunity to issue their final report. The Government has set a deadline for all local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans by the end of 2023. This will help deliver the certainty that local communities and businesses deserve.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of supporting the Local Trust charity to help the implementation of the Government's levelling up agenda.

Through the Levelling Up White Paper we will be setting out the UK Government’s plans for strengthening social infrastructure and empowering communities to shape what happens in their local area. We will be working with organisations in the voluntary and community sector to develop and take forward these plans.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he considers the development of carbon negative homes in the greenbelt as an exceptional circumstance.

This Government is committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt. The strong protections in place for green belt land, which should be reflected in the local plan for the area, are to remain firmly in place.

The Framework applies a test when inappropriate development – including most housing – is proposed for land within a green belt. It says that inappropriate development is harmful to the openness of green belt and should be refused planning permission unless there are very special circumstances in the case, as judged by the local authority.

Whether assessing the need to adjust a green belt boundary to accommodate essential development, or considering an individual planning application, it is for the local decision-makers to determine which matters are relevant and how much weight to attach to each.

The Framework does expect local authorities to mitigate climate change by minimising greenhouse gas emissions; designing beautiful and sustainable places resilient to climate change; and ensuring the provision and retention of green infrastructure.

To help meet our net zero carbon target the Government is encouraging local authorities to deliver energy-efficient housing, wherever it is located; and from 2025 the Future Homes Standard will make sure that new homes produce at least 75% lower CO2 emissions compared to those built to current standards.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the future of the green belt with respect to (a) future homebuilding and (b) delivering carbon neutral homes.

This Government is committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt. The strong protections in place for green belt land, which should be reflected in the local plan for the area, are to remain firmly in place.

The Framework applies a test when inappropriate development – including most housing – is proposed for land within a green belt. It says that inappropriate development is harmful to the openness of green belt and should be refused planning permission unless there are very special circumstances in the case, as judged by the local authority.

Whether assessing the need to adjust a green belt boundary to accommodate essential development, or considering an individual planning application, it is for the local decision-makers to determine which matters are relevant and how much weight to attach to each.

The Framework does expect local authorities to mitigate climate change by minimising greenhouse gas emissions; designing beautiful and sustainable places resilient to climate change; and ensuring the provision and retention of green infrastructure.

To help meet our net zero carbon target the Government is encouraging local authorities to deliver energy-efficient housing, wherever it is located; and from 2025 the Future Homes Standard will make sure that new homes produce at least 75% lower CO2 emissions compared to those built to current standards.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of reductions in local government finance on the provision of vital services by those authorities.

As announced at the Spending Review, Core Spending Power for local authorities is estimated to increase by an average of 3% in real terms each year, including investment in Adult Social Care reform. By 2024/25 it is expected to rise to around £59 billion.

The Government is providing around £1.6 billion additional grant in each year of the Spending Review, including funding for Supporting Families and Cyber Resilience. This will allow councils to increase their spending on the vital public services they provide, such as Children's and Adults Social Care, and will ensure those services can respond effectively to rising demand and cost pressures.

The provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, published on 16 December, makes available an additional £3.5 billion to councils, including funding for Adult Social Care reform. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4% in real terms, to give councils across the country the resources they need to deliver key services.

We expect all of the public sector, including local government, to be looking to get the best value from their spending and to improve efficiency.

Local authorities have the flexibility to use funding in a way that responds to local needs, and can prioritise based on their own understanding of the needs of their local communities.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that local authorities receive adequate funding to provide public services in a safe manner during the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities in England have been provided with over £13 million since the start of the pandemic to tackle the impacts of COVID-19. Of this, over £6 billion is unringfenced in recognition that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 pressures in their local area. We continue to closely monitor the sector's finances as we have done throughout the pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities undertake equality impact assessments on their policies.

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty local authorities are required by law to ensure that they have due regard to equality considerations when carrying out their functions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to support high streets to regenerate that have not benefited from Government funding to date.

Now more than ever, it is vital that we continue to help our local economies by supporting town centres and high streets to regenerate, adapt, evolve and thrive.

Government has already committed billions of pounds to support economic growth and regeneration for high streets, including £3.6 billion through the Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund. While some of this funding is already committed, there are further forthcoming opportunities for additional funding: we are taking further concrete steps towards levelling up through initiatives including the new £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which will invest in infrastructure to improve everyday local life and boost growth and jobs, including through future rounds reaching more places. We will furthermore launch the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022, and in preparation we have already supported places with £220 million through the UK Community Renewal Fund. The £150 million Community Ownership Fund, administered over four years, will help communities purchase and refurbish assets at risk of closure. Facilities including sports halls, cinemas, theatres, parks and shops are all covered by the fund that will run until 2024/25 and have at least eight bidding rounds.

Beyond substantial funding offers, Government is providing support to local leadership with the High Streets Task Force. Over five years this is providing hands-on support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and to connect local areas to relevant experts. We were pleased to be able to announce the next 70 local authorities to receive bespoke expert support in March and delivery of this support has been taking place over 2021 and will continue into 2022. We will be announcing a further tranche of local authorities to receive in-person expert support from the Task Force in 2022.

In addition to this, the Build Back Better High Streets strategy published in July 2021 forms a key part of Government's plan to level up and will deliver visible changes to local areas and communities across England, transforming derelict buildings, supporting businesses, cleaning up our streets, improving the public realm in our towns and cities, and supporting a renewed sense of community and pride for current and future generations. This included ambitious planning reforms and encouraging the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders to address vacant property and supporting high street businesses by protecting commercial tenants from eviction and helping businesses adapt and respond to the changing high street.

To address adaptation and reinvention of our high streets, we also introduced more flexibility into the planning systems in September 2020, through a new Commercial, Business and Service use class (Class E) which allows uses within it to change between these uses without the need for a planning application. These reforms provide businesses with greater freedom to change between uses commonly found on the high street, enabling them to adjust more quickly, and with more planning certainty, to changing demands and circumstances. It allows premises to move between uses such as shops, restaurants, offices, gyms and health centres, or to provide a mix of such uses, including at different times of the day.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he is having with City of York Council on the use of disused care homes for resettlement accommodation under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy and Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

We are aware that City of York Council looked at bringing disused older persons accommodation in the city back into use as this had been raised with council officers by an elected member. However, given the current state of the accommodation, and the significant cost which would be incurred to make the buildings suitable for family occupation, it was not deemed a feasible suggestion. City of York Council will provide support for families along with Refugee Council and local charities such as RAY (Refugee Action York) and York City of Sanctuary.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what involvement the York community will have in the selection of a developer for the York Central development.

York Central is being brought forward by Homes England and Network Rail as the major landowners, building on their Strategic Partnership with the City of York Council and the National Railway Museum


The Partnership has jointly secured outline planning permission and the landowners now aim to deliver the first phase of substantial infrastructure works, including new roads, pedestrian links, a bridge and a new public park. The first phase of housing delivery is expected to commence in 2023/2024 and a developer partner will be procured in due course. Further information will be shared with stakeholders by Spring 2022.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what procurement process is being used to select a developer for the York Central development site; when that procurement process is planned to be launched; and when he expects a developer to be in place.

York Central is being brought forward by Homes England and Network Rail as the major landowners, building on their Strategic Partnership with the City of York Council and the National Railway Museum.

The Partnership has developed a strong vision and masterplan for the project, and has jointly secured outline planning permission.

The landowners now aim to deliver the first phase of substantial infrastructure works, including a new roads, pedestrian links, bridge and new public park. Homes England and Network Rail are jointly examining the next steps required to deliver the vision for this scheme, in particular the right development skills and most sensible phasing to commence the development building on the strong interest in the site, and further information will be shared with stakeholders by Spring 2022.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether she has plans to move civil servant jobs in (a) her Department and (b) non-departmental public bodies and government agencies associated with her Department to York.

The Cabinet Office has committed to increasing its presence from c. 400 to c. 600 in York. This will be a mix of Senior Civil Service and delegated grades covering a range of professions such as HR, Commercial, Policy, Security, Finance, Project Delivery and Operational Delivery. As part of this, the Equality Hub has commenced recruiting roles into York.

Currently there are no plans for non-departmental public bodies and government agencies associated with the Cabinet Office to move jobs to York.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has plans to move civil servant jobs in (a) his Department and (b) non-departmental public bodies and government agencies associated with his Department to York.

As part of Budget 2020, the Government committed to relocating 22,000 Civil Service roles from Greater London to locations across the UK with the Places for Growth Portfolio delivering on this commitment.

We will decide on our locations taking into account a range of factors including our operating models, workforce and location analysis. We will select places that we judge to have the skills, transport links and capacity to meet our needs and flourish in our chosen locations, as well as ensuring locations are suitable for the long term success and sustainability of the Civil Service.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the adequacy of local authority housing provision for accommodating Afghan refugees.

The Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are working closely together on resettling refugees from Afghanistan. Over 4,000 individuals have either moved into a settled home or are in the process of being matched. In the meantime we continue to put in place wrap around support for those in temporary 'bridging' accommodation, while we work to secure settled housing for the remaining families.

We are very grateful to the local authorities who have already agreed to support Afghan families to resettle, whether in local authority housing, in housing association properties, or in the private rented sector. We are working closely with local authorities and across Government departments to match the remaining families with settled housing as quickly as possible to enable those evacuated from Afghanistan to rebuild their lives here in the UK.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what further steps he will take to ensure that void properties are brought into use.

Government has given local authorities powers and strong incentives to tackle empty homes. Through the New Homes Bonus, they receive the same amount for bringing an empty home back into use as building a new one. Billing authorities in England also have the power to charge up to 100% extra council tax - on top of the standard bill - on properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least two years, up to 200% extra on properties that have been empty for at least five years, and up to 300% extra on properties that have been empty for at least 10 years.

In certain circumstances, local authorities can exercise powers to take over the management of long-term empty homes in order to bring them back into use in the private rented sector. Local authorities can apply for an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) when a property has been empty for more than two years, subject to the production of evidence that the property has been causing a nuisance to the community and evidence of community support for their proposal.

Grant funding is also available through the Affordable Homes Programme to bring empty homes back into use. Empty properties must not be existing social housing owned by the Registered Provider or by another Registered Provider.

It is for local housing authorities to decide when to use their powers to deal with empty properties, and they have the flexibility to focus on locally determined priorities and allocate their resources accordingly.

The number of long-term empty homes remains substantially lower than when records began in 2004. At May 2010, over 300,000 homes in England had been standing empty for longer than 6 months. As of October 2021, the number of long-term empty properties had fallen to 238,306.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that City of York Council progress house building to meet local need.

We are committed to supporting the supply of new homes across the country and have made strong progress towards our aim of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s – delivering around 244,000 last year, the highest in over 30 years. Our plans will enable us to build back better and level up our great towns and cities, supporting jobs in the construction industry for years to come

Homes England, our housing delivery agency, continues to work closely with the City of York Council to identify opportunities to deliver more homes that meet local need.

We are providing £77.1 million in housing investment grant funding to the York Central project, to unlock 2,500 homes on a brownfield city centre location next to York Railway Station.

We have provided £300,000 of resource funding to City of York Council to aid in the delivery of the West of Elvington Lane Garden Village. This will aid in the delivery of over 3,300 homes.

We have also invested £1,466,800 from the Local Authority Accelerated Construction Fund at the Lowfield School site in York. This is delivering 165 new homes, as well as community and care facilities. Our funds are now entirely drawn down, all homes have started on site, and completions have begun.

Through the Brownfield Land Release Fund, we have provided £2.64 million of grant funding to the City of York council to support the release of land for 97 homes across three local-authority owned sites. This includes two sites to release land for 10 new self and custom build homes.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the (a) availability of labour in maintenance roles and (b) potential effect of that availability on the time taken for council residential properties to be made available to people on the housing waiting list.

Since 2012, the number of households on local authority waiting lists has reduced by 37.5%.

There is high demand for social housing and even those with priority for social housing may have to wait before a home which meets their needs becomes available. Local authorities are responsible for managing their waiting lists.

We believe the most effective way of reducing social housing waiting list times is by increasing the supply of affordable housing.

Our new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. This builds upon the success of our £9 billion Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, running to 2023, which will deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will ensure that commercial landlords are subject to full business rates in the event that the property is unoccupied.

The business rates system ensures that the owners of most empty buildings pay 100% of the business rates bill once the property has been unoccupied for three months (or six months for industrial buildings). But we recognise that avoidance and evasion of business rates on empty properties are important concerns for local government so we are undertaking further detailed work and will consult on measures next year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will enable large empty retail facilities to be converted into small business facilities.

This Government is fully committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and town centres successful as the nation responds to the impacts of COVID-19. In July, we published the Build Back Better High Streets strategy which sets out the Government's long-term plan to support the evolution and regeneration of all high streets across every part of the UK into thriving places to work, visit and live.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will determine a maximum period for a high street property to be empty before mandating that the property be sold.

This Government is fully committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and town centres successful as the nation responds to the impacts of COVID-19. In July, we published the Build Back Better High Streets strategy which sets out the Government's long-term plan to support the evolution and regeneration of all high streets across every part of the UK into thriving places to work, visit and live.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to require property landlords to accommodate local businesses in empty premises at affordable rates.

This Government is fully committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and town centres successful as the nation responds to the impacts of COVID-19. In July, we published the Build Back Better High Streets strategy which sets out the Government's long-term plan to support the evolution and regeneration of all high streets across every part of the UK into thriving places to work, visit and live.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what his priorities will be for COP27.

The Glasgow Climate Pact, combined with increased ambition across adaptation, finance and mitigation means that 1.5°C remains in sight, but only with concerted and immediate global efforts. So our Presidency year, which started in Glasgow and will end at COP27 in November 2022, will continue to focus on high ambition and driving ambition across our four goals: mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration. Through the UK’s Presidency year, we will build on the legacy of the Glasgow Climate Pact.

The Glasgow Climate Pact requests Parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022, taking into account different national circumstances. We will continue to use the year of our COP26 Presidency to keep up the pressure to deliver on the commitments made and go further and faster.

We will continue to demonstrate strong UK leadership over our Presidency year, working with our COP26 partners Italy, the incoming COP Presidency Egypt, the Chairs of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies, the UNFCCC Secretariat, parties and civil society partners to build on the momentum and high ambition from COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what his priorities are for the remainder of his presidency of COP26.

The Glasgow Climate Pact, combined with increased ambition across adaptation, finance and mitigation means that 1.5°C remains in sight, but only with concerted and immediate global efforts. So our Presidency year, which started in Glasgow and will end at COP27 in November 2022, will continue to focus on high ambition and driving ambition across our four goals: mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration. Through the UK’s Presidency year, we will build on the legacy of the Glasgow Climate Pact.

The Glasgow Climate Pact requests Parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022, taking into account different national circumstances. We will continue to use the year of our COP26 Presidency to keep up the pressure to deliver on the commitments made and go further and faster.

We will continue to demonstrate strong UK leadership over our Presidency year, working with our COP26 partners Italy, the incoming COP Presidency Egypt, the Chairs of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies, the UNFCCC Secretariat, parties and civil society partners to build on the momentum and high ambition from COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the likelihood of achieving a new global deal on coal by COP27.

At COP26, all parties agreed to phase down the use of coal. The Glasgow Climate Pact secured its specific mention for the first time ever. The Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement gained 77 signatures from countries, subnationals, and organisations, and the Powering Past Coal Alliance grew to 165 members. The Just Energy Transition Partnership for South Africa was also announced, which will demonstrate the strength of a just transition from coal to clean power.

Consigning coal to history remains a priority for the UK in our COP Presidency year. The UK Presidency will work alongside the Powering Past Coal Alliance, Energy Transition Council, and other international mechanisms to ensure that there is more progress on moving from coal to clean power by COP27. This includes a strategic partnership between the Energy Transition Council and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, a $10 billion fund aiming to deliver clean, renewable energy to 1 billion people in developing countries. Clean power is already cheaper than coal in most of the world, generating more jobs, and giving people cleaner air as well as a safer climate. We want to help all countries access those benefits as soon as possible.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will require all local plans to be carbon negative.

The Secretary of State is currently considering the best way forward on planning reforms and we will announce next steps as soon as possible.

As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, published on 19 October, we will make sure that the reformed planning system supports our efforts to combat climate change and help bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. As part of our programme of planning reform we intend to review the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to make sure it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation as fully as possible. The NPPF already makes clear that plans should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change in line with the objectives and provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008.

We are also taking action to ensure the homes we build are fit for the future through the Future Homes Standard and the 2021 interim uplift to the energy efficiency standards for new homes.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps in the forthcoming planning Bill to ensure that all new developments, both domestic and commercial are carbon negative.

The Secretary of State is currently considering the best way forward on planning reforms and we will announce next steps as soon as possible.

As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, published on 19 October, we will make sure that the reformed planning system supports our efforts to combat climate change and help bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. As part of our programme of planning reform we intend to review the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to make sure it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation as fully as possible. The NPPF already makes clear that plans should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change in line with the objectives and provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008.

We are also taking action to ensure the homes we build are fit for the future through the Future Homes Standard and the 2021 interim uplift to the energy efficiency standards for new homes.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of Changing Places toilets in local communities; and what steps he is taking to ensure adequate provision.

Where people shop, go out, or travel should not be determined by their disability. As society starts to open up again as we recover from the pandemic, it's crucial that our built environment allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of lockdown easing.  Changing Places toilets are a vital facility for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets and for their family and carers. It is estimated that there are currently only around 1200 Changing Places toilets in England.

In January this year, my Department amended Building Regulations' statutory guidance to provide a 12m2 Changing Places Toilet in certain types of new, large public buildings, such as places such as art galleries, cinemas, concert halls, museums, theatres, places of worship and motorway service areas, plus larger retail facilities, shopping malls, sport and leisure buildings, and in hospitals, primary care, crematoria and cemetery buildings.

To accelerate the provision of these facilities, my Department is also making up to £30 millionavailable to local authorities in England. The funding will boost the number of Changing Places Toilets in existing buildings. Local authorities were invited to lodge an expression of interest by 26 September 2021 and successful applications should expect to receive initial grant funding later this year, subject to ministerial approval.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he expects the inspector's report on City of York Council's response to the local plan process to be made available; and if he will take steps to expedite that process.

The Local Plan remains at examination and the independent Inspector plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

The City of York Council published additional evidence for public consultation in the Summer and the responses have been sent to the Inspectors. The Inspectors wrote to the Council on 25 October setting out their intention to hold further hearings commencing in early 2022 to revisit a number of topic areas in order to move the examination forward as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to subject the upcoming planning Bill to pre-legislative scrutiny.

The Secretary of State is considering our next steps on planning reform, alongside the Department's wider mission to level up our country and empower communities. An announcement on the way forward will be made as soon as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he has taken to ensure that children and young people have been able to participate in COP26.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to PQ 61212 on 1 November.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that COP26 outcomes are reflected in future planning policy.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that the planning system should support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change. It should help to: shape places in ways that contribute to radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimise vulnerability and improve resilience; encourage the reuse of existing resources, including the conversion of existing buildings; and support renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are considering how the planning system can further support our commitment to reaching net zero. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, we will make sure that the reformed planning system supports our efforts to combat climate change and help bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. As part of our programme of planning reform we intend to review the National Planning Policy Framework to make sure it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation as fully as possible.

We will of course consider outcomes of the vital COP26 conference in informing decisions on how we expect the planning system to operate.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he plans to take to help ensure that environmental and climate charities are facilitated in supporting the outcomes of COP26.

With their links to on-the-ground communities, environmental and climate charities drive change. Their knowledge and leadership is necessary to deliver effective local climate solutions. This is why the COP Unit has a dedicated civil society and youth engagement team which works with environmental and climate charities to amplify the voices of those most impacted by climate change.

The COP President also established an International COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council. This group met regularly in the run up to COP26. Its insight was fundamental to the planning and delivery of the summit.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he will take to include civil society in the delivery of COP26 outcomes.

With their links to on-the-ground communities, environmental and climate charities drive change. Their knowledge and leadership is necessary to deliver effective local climate solutions. This is why the COP Unit has a dedicated civil society and youth engagement team which works with environmental and climate charities to amplify the voices of those most impacted by climate change.

The COP President also established an International COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council. This group met regularly in the run up to COP26. Its insight was fundamental to the planning and delivery of the summit.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure transparent accountability of (a) businesses and (b) public sector bodies on their delivery of COP26 objectives.

We have been encouraging all businesses to set science-based emission reduction targets by joining the Race to Zero. This has been one of the requirements for businesses to participate in UK-managed spaces of COP26. Race to Zero members commit to report publicly both progress against interim and long-term targets, as well as the actions being taken, at least annually.

The government has also recently announced three distinct new policies that can help public procurers fully embed net zero into their work. One of these requires suppliers who are bidding on central government contracts (over £5 million p/a in value) to commit to achieving net zero by 2050 and to publish a Carbon Reduction Plan. We are sending a clear signal to the market: data on carbon impact - and immediate ambition to reduce it - will be increasingly important in how we choose to do business.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he is planning to re-establish the Department for Energy and Climate Change in response to the climate crisis.

By embedding climate change in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we are ensuring that supporting clean growth and taking global action to tackle climate change is joined up with our support for business to invest, innovate and grow. We were the first major economy in the world to set net zero by 2050 in law. And as hosts of COP26 we are working with countries and partners from around the world to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change so that we can recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore our planet.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that planning decisions contribute to halving the UK's carbon emissions by 2030.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that the planning system should support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change. It should help to: shape places in ways that contribute to radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimise vulnerability and improve resilience; encourage the reuse of existing resources, including the conversion of existing buildings; and support renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are considering how the planning system can further support our commitment to reaching net zero. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, we will make sure that the reformed planning system supports our efforts to combat climate change and help bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. As part of our programme of planning reform we intend to review the National Planning Policy Framework to make sure it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation as fully as possible.

We will of course consider outcomes of the vital COP26 conference in informing decisions on how we expect the planning system to operate.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of deprivation disparities within a locality.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is the official measure of relative deprivation in England. The most recent iteration of the English indices of deprivation was published in September 2019 and all resources are available online here - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2019 . Data on deprivation disparities is available at a range of geographical and spatial scales from this webpage.

The Department will consider an update in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken through his Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 to help ensure that local authorities will be able to fund ongoing covid-19 management costs.

Councils have been essential to the national response to COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, we have committed over £12 billion to local authorities to tackle the impact of COVID-19 on their services, over £6 billion of which is un-ringfenced in recognition that they are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 pressures in their local areas.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to support local authorities to reduce deficits accumulated as a result of covid-19-related expenditure.

The Government has allocated over £12 billion directly to councils since the start of the pandemic, over £6 billion of which is unringfenced, recognising that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet their major COVID-19 pressures.

We have also announced £1.6 billion additional grant for local government for each year of the next Spending Review which local authorities can use to meet funding pressures, including those exacerbated by the pandemic. We continue to closely monitor the sector's finances as we emerge from the pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what support he plans to provide to councils that have agreed to make their city anti-racist and inclusive to advance their work on anti-racism and inclusivity.

The UK Government welcomes proactive work which tackles not only racism but all forms of discrimination. Local leaders should decide how best to take this forward in their communities, and in a way which complies with the Equality Act and The Seven Principles of Public Life.

We encourage local authorities to build on and strengthen a shared local and national identity across class, colour and creed and ensure all activities provide value for money for council taxpayers.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the economic impact that child-friendly cities can have; and whether he has plans to support further local authorities and communities to achieve UNICEF Child Friendly City status following the five city pilot launched on 20 November 2017.

The Government has changed planning guidance to ensure more high-quality places are created.

The National Design Guide emphasises that well designed places should benefit people and communities, including children. The National Model Design Code, which provides guidance to local councils in producing design codes, emphasises the need to consider the design of play space and accessibility.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will give local authorities greater powers over bars, pubs and other licensed premises to create Child Friendly Cities.

Licensing authorities have a number of options available to them to manage licensed premises and decisions about what conditions might be appropriate are made at a local level.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment has he made of the financial position of City of York Council; and what steps he plans to take to help ensure that local authorities have sufficient funding to meet local needs.

This year, we have made available an increase in councils' Core Spending Power of up to 4.6% in cash terms, from £49.0 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22. This in real terms builds on the largest year on year increase in spending power in a decade last year and recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain critical services. On top of this, the Government provided councils in England with over £12 billion to tackle the impacts of the pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that all decisions made by local authorities are compatible with the Government's net zero emissions target.

DLUHC is responsible for the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which clearly sets out that the Government expects the planning system to help mitigate and adapt to climate change and implement the move to a decarbonised future. The Framework expects Local Plans to take account of climate change over the longer term; local authorities should adopt proactive strategies to reduce carbon emissions and recognise the objectives and provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008


As part of our current programme of planning reforms we intend to do a fuller review of the NPPF to make sure it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation as fully as possible


Government departments have provided extensive support for local authorities to act on climate change, including over £1.2 billion in dedicated grants last year, and £12 billion is available to support large scale net zero and levelling up projects through the UK Infrastructure Bank. Not to mention extensive other sources of funding that have the flexibility to be used to support net zero, such as the £4.8 billion Levelling Up fund.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to prioritise housing for homeless and displaced people in line with the Housing First programme.

Piloting Housing First was a Government manifesto commitment that was announced in the 2017 Autumn budget. Since its launch, our expert advisers have been working closely with each of the three pilot regions to monitor and support progress. We also commissioned a consortium, led by ICF, to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the programme, which will run for the duration of the pilots.The Housing First pilots are now in their fourth year and have supported over 1,050 of the most entrenched and cyclical rough sleepers across 23 local authorities.

We recognise that rough sleeping is a nationwide challenge, and that is why it is important that we consider the findings of our evaluation, together with our experiences from the three pilots, to ensure that we know how it could work best on a larger scale.

The Government committed to expanding Housing First in its latest manifesto and we will use the findings of our evaluation, together with our experiences from the three pilots, to inform next steps.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of City of York Council on their financial situation.

In this year's Settlement, the Government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. This saw City of York Council's Core Spending Power increase to over £140 million in 2021-22, an increase of 5%.

The Government also allocated more than £12 billion directly to councils since the start of the pandemic, with more than £6 billion of this un-ringfenced, recognising the value and need for an increase in local leading. City of York Council received £12.8 million in additional unringfenced Covid funding in 2020-21 and a further £4.4 million in 2021-22, a total of £17.2 million.

The Government will set out the future plan for local government funding at the 2021 Spending Review, which will be an opportunity to look at local government funding in the round. Following this DLUHC will provide further details of the proposed allocation of resources to each local authority through the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he plans to take to help ensure that all statutory provision, in particular for children and adult social care, will be met by local authorities from April 2022 in addition to other services.

Funding for local government will be agreed as part of the Spending Review. This process is well underway, and the overall level of Local Government funding will be determined in the round, including for children’s and adult’s social care.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he plans to take to tackle the deficits in local government finances in York.

In this year's Settlement, the Government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. This saw City of York Council's Core Spending Power increase to over £140 million in 2021-22, an increase of 5%.

The Government also allocated more than £12 billion directly to councils since the start of the pandemic, with more than £6 billion of this un-ringfenced, recognising the value and need for an increase in local leading. City of York Council received £12.8 million in additional unringfenced Covid funding in 2020-21 and a further £4.4 million in 2021-22, a total of £17.2 million.

The Government will set out the future plan for local government funding at the 2021 Spending Review, which will be an opportunity to look at local government funding in the round. Following this DLUHC will provide further details of the proposed allocation of resources to each local authority through the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the role of local authorities in addressing food poverty in localities.

The Department for Work and Pensions lead cross-government action on tackling poverty, including with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and other departments specifically on food poverty. Officials have been working closely with DEFRA and other departments to deliver a number of key cross-cutting outcomes, including addressing poverty through enabling progression into work and increasing financial resilience.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the state of local government finance (a) nationally and (b) in York.

In this year's Settlement, the Government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. This saw City of York Council's Core Spending Power increase to over £140 million in 2021-22, an increase of 5%.

The Government also allocated more than £12 billion directly to councils since the start of the pandemic, with more than £6 billion of this un-ringfenced, recognising the value and need for an increase in local leading. City of York Council received £12.8 million in additional unringfenced Covid funding in 2020-21 and a further £4.4 million in 2021-22, a total of £17.2 million.

The Government will set out the future plan for local government funding at the 2021 Spending Review, which will be an opportunity to look at local government funding in the round. Following this DLUHC will provide further details of the proposed allocation of resources to each local authority through the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on housing of homes purchased for investment rather than accommodation.

Whilst the Government is committed to helping people to own their own home, a healthy housing market is built upon the co-existence of a range of tenures, including the private rented sector (PRS), to meet individual needs and requirements.

The Build to Rent (BtR) sector is one example that has attracted significant institutional investment over recent years. BtR boosts housing supply, diversifies the private rental sector and increases quality and choice for renters in cities and towns across England. We have revised the National Planning Policy Framework and issued a new chapter of planning guidance to support the delivery of more BtR homes, including affordable rental homes. Our Build to Rent Fund provided over £630 million of development finance for the supply of new homes built specifically for private rent. We are also providing support to the sector through the £3.5 billion PRS Guarantee Scheme.

This Government is committed to supporting the supply of new homes. We have made strong progress towards our aim of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s - delivering around 244,000 last year, the highest in over 30 years. This is backed by nearly £20 billion in investment: initial funding of £7.1 billion for the National House Building Fund over the next four years to unlock up to 860,000 homes over the lifetime of the projects.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he will take to ensure that (a) York and (b) other local authority areas with high rates of inequality are included as part of the Government's Levelling Up agenda.

The Government is committed to levelling up across the UK. We will empower local leaders; boost living standards, particularly when they are lower; spread opportunity and improve public services, particularly where they are lacking; and restore local pride


York Central has already been designated an Enterprise Zone and Government is investing over £77 million for the York Central Project, to unlock 2,500 homes on this strategic city centre brownfield site. We will publish a landmark Levelling Up White Paper later this year, articulating how bold new policy interventions will improve livelihoods across the country as we recover from the pandemic and its effect on the economy and public services.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate he has made of the number of vacant buildings on the high street (a) nationally and (b) in York.

The information to answer this question is not held centrally.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of the contract procurement processes used by local authorities for house building.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities does not assess the local authority contract management process for house building. The Government supports local authorities to deliver new housing. Local authorities are independent statutory bodies, accountable to their local electorate and have the autonomy to develop their own housebuilding programmes. The National Procurement Policy Statement, published in June, sets out strategic priorities for public procurement and the expectation that contracting authorities will benchmark procurement capability.

We encourage local authorities to develop housebuilding plans and have taken a number of steps to support councils to deliver new homes. In March 2021 we announced greater freedoms for councils to spend the money they receive from Right to Buy sales on replacement homes. In May 2021, Homes England launched a Local Government Capacity Centre to provide councils with practical support to build their housebuilding skills and capacity. This is on top of Government's commitment to invest over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade, which includes the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme that councils are able to bid for. We want to see local authorities using the range of tools available to deliver a new generation of council housing.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) properties used for airbnb, (b) other short term holiday let properties and (c) the number of second homes (i) nationally and (ii) in York.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of properties used for AirBnB, other short term let properties and the number of second homes nationally or in York.

At household level, the English Housing Survey in 2017/18, reported that 12% of households rented part or all of their home out in the 12 months prior to the survey using home sharing organisations, such as AirBnB. The frequency or length of period is not known.

Some details are available in the 2017/18 Home ownership report at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2017-to-2018-home-ownership and the 2018/19 Second homes fact sheet at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2018-to-2019-second-homes-fact-sheet.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to ensure that all future planning legislation prioritises house building according to local need for (a) tenure, (b) size, and (c) houses with gardens or flats.

As set out in our National Planning Policy Framework, local authorities should assess the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community and reflect this in their local planning policies.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to take steps with local authorities to develop workforce plans to help ensure that they are able to recruit staff with the skills they need, including in their works departments, to support communities.

Local authorities are independent employers, accountable to local people. They are responsible for their own workforce arrangements. The department does not have a national workforce plan for local government but offers a range of support to help build a sustainable, resilient sector.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to support local authorities to (a) invest in apprenticeships and (b) identify Kickstart placements in their maintenance departments in order to tackle potential skills shortages in those teams.

Officials in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities work closely with their counterparts in the Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions, to collectively engage at regional and local levels with organisations such as mayoral combined authorities, local enterprise partnerships and local government on skills and labour market challenges.

There are currently 637 high-quality employer-designed apprenticeship standards available, supporting employers, including local authorities, to develop the skilled workforces they need, which include maintenance skills. To support employers in creating new apprenticeship opportunities, a higher incentive payment of £3,000 for each new apprentice they recruit as a new employee between 1 April and 30 September 2021, has been introduced in England.

In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions is working closely with over 100 local authorities across Great Britain to deliver the Kickstart Scheme. Local authorities are acting as gateway organisations helping to source Kickstart jobs from local employers, with some local authorities also having Kickstart jobs within their own organisations.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to assist local authorities to build maintenance capacity in order that void properties are brought rapidly into use.

Local authorities have many powers and strong incentives to tackle empty homes. Through the New Homes Bonus, they receive the same amount for bringing an empty home back into use as building a new one. Billing authorities in England also have the power to charge additional council tax - on top of the standard bill - on properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least two years, on properties that have been empty for at least five years, and on properties that have been empty for at least 10 years.

In certain circumstances, local authorities can exercise powers to take over the management of long-term empty homes in order to bring them back into use in the private rented sector.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will publish the (a) available data on carbon dioxide levels in locations in the House of Commons and (b) risk assessment of the effect of levels of carbon dioxide in the House of Commons on the transmission of covid-19.

Guidance has been published by the Health and Safety Executive on ventilation and air conditioning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This, along with the latest Government guidance has been incorporated into the Parliamentary Covid risk assessment.

Carbon Dioxide monitoring has been carried out across the estate in recent months. No readings on the estate have met or exceeded Government thresholds, which would recommend further action be taken. Should any readings exceed recommended levels these would then be managed and mitigated against, in line with other risks, and consulted on in the normal way.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will ensure that the potential merits of a carbon border tax or carbon border adjustment mechanism is discussed at the COP26 summit.

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAM) are not on the agenda for discussion at COP26. The agenda at COP26 will be determined by mandates as agreed by Parties at previous COPs and adopted by consensus.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism is on the agenda for COP26.

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAMs) are not on the agenda for COP26. The agenda at COP26 will be determined by mandates as agreed by Parties at previous COPs and adopted by consensus.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what provisions will be put in place for people who remain concerned about covid-19 infection as singing is reintroduced in churches.

The National Church Institutions as part of the DCMS and MHCLG Places of worship Task Force has produced fresh guidance for Parishes to help navigate the current situation. It reflects Government guidance as we move to step 4 of their roadmap as well as that from public health bodies and will continue to be updated as that evolves.

The guidance provided by the National Church Institutions it is hoped will inform local clergy and PCC’s in their decision-making. The circumstances in each parish may differ due to space, age and heath demographic, ability to ventilate the building or a variety of other concerns.

The full guidance can is available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to engage school age children in the lead up to COP26.

On 10 June, we published the Together for our Planet Schools Pack which was sent to schools across the UK. The pack is designed to encourage conversations about climate change, engage students on COP26, and help schools celebrate students who are going “One Step Greener” by recycling, walking to school, or taking other steps to tackle climate change. In April, we partnered with Blue Peter to launch a writing competition which asked children to submit a story about something that is affecting our planet today. We will transform the winning work into an animated film which will premiere at COP26 to inspire urgent climate action.

The COP Unit has a dedicated youth engagement team who are working to ensure youth voices are heard at COP26 and in its legacy. I have set up a Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council so that young activists are informing our planning for an inclusive COP26. The UK is also working in partnership with the Italian government Government, who will host the Pre-COP and Youth4Climate event, bringing together 400 young climate leaders from across the world.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans to have to halt deforestation on the planet; and what estimate he has made of when that will be achieved.

As incoming President of COP26 and recently as President of the G7, the UK is putting nature and forests at the heart of our response to tackling climate change.

In the recently published G7 Leaders’ ‘2030 Nature Compact’, we set out a G7 ambition to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to tackle deforestation, including by supporting sustainable supply chains and demonstrating clear domestic action. To achieve this, the UK has brought together agricultural commodity consumer and producer countries in the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) dialogue. The UK is also helping to build the LEAF coalition, which aims to mobilise $1 billion in financing, and is expected to become one of the largest ever public-private efforts to protect tropical forests and support sustainable development.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he has taken to incorporate the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into his outcome planning for COP26.

The UK Presidency set out four goals for COP26, outlining what needs to be achieved at the summit. Through COP26, we aim to accelerate climate action by securing global net zero and keeping 1.5 degrees in reach; adapting to protect communities and natural habitats; and mobilising finance. We must also work together to deliver, through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

These goals support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 13, related to climate action, and SDG 15, protecting forests and halting biodiversity loss. We are working closely with all countries to take action to tackle climate change and to protect our natural habitats.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he will take to involve all the regions of the UK in the COP26 summit.

We are committed to ensuring an inclusive, whole of society COP26, representative of all of the UK. This will be a key objective as we select organisations to be represented in the Green Zone and on the UK Pavilion. Through our domestic ‘Together for our Planet’ campaign we are building awareness and understanding of COP26 across the UK, giving people the chance to get involved in the run-up to the Summit. For example, we recently ran our Creative Earth art competition inviting young people from around the UK to design artwork setting out their vision for the planet, and the winners will be showcased at COP26 in November. We have also encouraged stakeholders who would like to be involved in events or showcasing in UKG managed spaces at COP26 to submit bids through an Expression of Interest process, and we have received proposals from stakeholders from across the UK.

We are working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to ensure an inclusive and ambitious summit for the whole of the UK. All parts of the UK will have important roles to play in ensuring the summit’s success. I have invited climate change Ministers from the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to participate in a regular devolved administrations Group to ensure effective engagement and collaboration on COP26 in support of the delivery of an inclusive and welcoming COP26. The third meeting was held last week.

I also chair the COP26 UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council with mayors and local leaders from across the UK. The most recent meeting was on 15 March. Additionally, we work closely with several Non-State Actor organisations such as UK100 to further engage with local leaders.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to help ensure there are opportunities for civil society to engage with the COP26.

Civil society, with their links to on-the-ground communities and practitioners, are key partners to achieve the goals we have set for COP26. We want to work with civil society to amplify and learn from the voices of those most affected by climate change, to inspire increased climate ambition and to deliver a truly all-of-society and inclusive COP.

This is why I have set up an International COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council so that we can hear and act on the expertise of civil society groups. I have also committed to, and have been meeting young people and civil society in every country that I visit in the run up to November. Finally, I have a dedicated civil society engagement team in the COP26 Unit to ensure civil society voices are heard at COP26. My officials run regular calls with a large network of civil society organisations to share updates on our planning for COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Apr 2021
Pay
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals to require employers to display the salary range when advertising employment opportunities.

Supporting employers through robust insights and evidence is at the heart of our commitment to gender equality in the workplace. As the Behavioural Insights Team guidance sets out, if employers clearly communicate the salary range on offer for a role it encourages better informed salary negotiations. There is no formal policy on how employers should communicate salary ranges for job offers but it is clear that transparency and better designed processes contribute to better workplace outcomes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the report of the Behavioural Insights Team, Reducing the gender pay gap and improving gender equality in organisations: Evidence-based actions for employers, whether it is Government policy to encourage employers to clearly communicate the salary range on offer for a role to encourage women to negotiate their salary as an effective action to close the gender pay gap.

Supporting employers through robust insights and evidence is at the heart of our commitment to gender equality in the workplace. As the Behavioural Insights Team guidance sets out, if employers clearly communicate the salary range on offer for a role it encourages better informed salary negotiations. There is no formal policy on how employers should communicate salary ranges for job offers but it is clear that transparency and better designed processes contribute to better workplace outcomes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made on the review of the Clergy Discipline Measure.

The review group at Lambeth Palace is working to bring forward proposals to the General Synod for the replacement of the Clergy Discipline Measure. Sadly, because of the pandemic, the public consultations that were planned to take place at the end of 2020 have only just happened. A wide range of individuals and groups have responded to the interim proposals that the Working Group has put forward. The review group are now collating those responses and intend to formulate their proposals into a new piece of legislation. This new Measure will include an early triaging process, an alternative route for mediation, and ensure that adequate resources are made available to make the administration of discipline more efficient and transparent for all involved.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have lost their job in each month in the last 15 years.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support is being made available to cathedrals to tackle the financial challenges they are facing as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Church of England's 42 cathedrals contribute over £220million to the national economy and have, on average 10 million visitors in a typical year. The closure of churches and cathedrals due to Covid-19 has severely reduced both their ability to support the local and national economy. Estimates suggest that cathedrals are facing anticipated losses due to the pandemic of around £28million in 2020 and a projected further £15million in 2021.

Cathedrals are eligible and are being encouraged to apply for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and the Government's £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.

The Church Commissioners have made money available to cathedrals in response to the pandemic, including through the £10 million cathedral sustainability fund, of which £1million is to support cathedrals wage bills, £1million to support Lay Clerks and cathedral music, £1million to support specialist heritage trades and a further £5 million on other projects to make cathedrals more sustainable. The Church Commissioners are currently consulting all cathedrals about their current circumstances and potential future financial and non-financial support needs.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on a trade agreement with the EU.

We want to reach an agreement and we believe there is still time. We will continue to work hard to achieve it.

The eighth round of negotiations began on 8 September and we hope to make quick progress on an agreement based on our reasonable proposal for a standard free trade agreement, like the one the EU has agreed with Canada and so many others.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much his Department spent on scoping a potential move of the House of Lords to York.

The Prime Minister wrote to the CEOs of the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority requesting that the strategic review of the Restoration and Renewal Programme give consideration to decant locations outside of London, including York. The Government looks forward to the findings of the strategic review. It will be Parliament that will take the final decision on how to proceed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of whether non-covid deaths in care homes at the peak of the outbreak were accurately recorded.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of (a) trends in the level of non-covid-19 deaths during the peak of the outbreak and (b) the level of those deaths which resulted directly from that outbreak.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the Commissioners' timetable is for enabling churches to reopen safely for funeral services after the covid-19 lockdown.

The Church Commissioners do not have responsibility for setting a timetable for the reopening of church buildings for funeral services. Current guidance from the House of Bishops is not to conduct funeral services in church buildings because of widely expressed concerns about parishes having capacity to conduct such funerals safely, including being able to clean churches thoroughly between services to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This is guidance, not instruction.

We are acutely aware of the anguish of those not able to have or attend a funeral in their parish church in the current circumstances. Where it is requested a priest will be present to conduct a funeral service, either at a crematorium or at the churchyard. The House of Bishops meets regularly to review its guidance which will be updated in line with changing circumstances, and published on the Church of England website.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, for what reason does the CPS withdraw its support for rape cases going to full trial after a trial date has been set.

When deciding whether to prosecute a criminal case, prosecutors must follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This is the starting point for every decision they make and requires prosecutors to apply two key tests: the evidential test and the public interest test.

Prosecutors have a continuous duty to review cases, and there are a range of reasons that may mean a case no longer meets the Code test. The most common changes that result in a discontinuance include new undermining evidence, existing evidence being ruled as inadmissible, and victim withdrawal from proceedings.

The CPS is committed to improving victims’ confidence in and experience of the criminal justice process. The CPS is working tirelessly with its cross-government and criminal justice partners to make sure victims are supported from the moment they report a rape or sexual assault through the criminal justice process.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps are available to remove councillors of state; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to enable the removal of such titles from people who have been sanctioned or imprisoned.

Removing peerages would require bespoke primary legislation. The Government currently has no plans to bring forward such legislation.

Changes to the list of those who are Counsellors of State would require amending the Regency Act 1937, which the Government currently has no plans to do.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
11th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps are available to remove peerages; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to enable the removal of such titles from people who have been sanctioned or imprisoned.

Removing peerages would require bespoke primary legislation. The Government currently has no plans to bring forward such legislation.

Changes to the list of those who are Counsellors of State would require amending the Regency Act 1937, which the Government currently has no plans to do.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are participating in the ONS covid-19 Infection Survey; and what the rate of attrition in participation in that survey is.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Question of 22 February is attached.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that could be created by relocating the House of Lords to York.

The Government has previously engaged with the York Central Partnership and, as part of this, explored whether the space would allow for Parliamentary activity, should it be required. The location of Parliament is a matter for Parliament.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress has been made on the assessment of the potential merits of moving the House of Lords to York.

The Government has previously engaged with the York Central Partnership and, as part of this, explored whether the space would allow for Parliamentary activity, should it be required. The location of Parliament is a matter for Parliament.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, from which budget the investigation conducted by Sue Gray is being funded.

The Cabinet Office investigation is being funded from the Cabinet Office existing core administration budget for the financial year 2021/2022.

In that context, such information is not recorded within the Cabinet Office's financial or management information systems.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Investigation into alleged gatherings on government premises during Covid restrictions has cost in terms of staff time.

The Cabinet Office investigation is being funded from the Cabinet Office existing core administration budget for the financial year 2021/2022.

In that context, such information is not recorded within the Cabinet Office's financial or management information systems.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of developing a community asset focus for disposable public estate to provide accommodation for civil society organisations.

Public sector organisations holding any land or buildings are encouraged continuously to review their property portfolio to see whether any of their assets might become surplus to requirements. The details of government property for sale or rent can be found on Government Property Finder on GOV.UK.

Civil society organisations can identify any property in which they have an interest and contact the relevant department to discuss the possibility of a purchase.

Members of the public also have the option to challenge government organisations to sell land or property in their locality if they believe it is not needed and could be put to better economic use through the Right to Contest process.

As part of the Levelling Up White Paper, the UK Government has committed to developing a Strategy for Community Spaces and Relationships. As part of this, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will review existing community asset frameworks which enable communities to protect local spaces.

The £150m Community Ownership Fund is already helping communities across the UK to protect valued local assets at risk of loss. Since July 2021, community groups have been able to bid for support from the Community Ownership Fund, for up to £250k in matched funding, or in exceptional cases up to £1m, to help them buy or take over assets for the local community.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants in his Department are working on matters to do with (a) the EU and (b) the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The EU Secretariat in Cabinet Office is responsible for UK-EU relations and implementation of the TCA. At full capacity, there are 86 members of staff. Additionally, the Cabinet Office employs 59 people in the NI Protocol Taskforce who work on related matters.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to consult relevant stakeholders on the criteria for the Terms of Reference for the Covid-19 Public Inquiry; who was consulted; and when he plans to publish the Terms of Reference.

On 12 May 2021, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into Covid-19 will be established on a statutory basis, with formal powers, and that it will begin its work in Spring 2022.

The Prime Minister has appointed the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett as the chair of the inquiry. Draft terms of reference will be published in due course, following consultation with Baroness Hallett and ministers from the devolved administrations.

As set out in the Prime Minister’s statement on 15 December, Baroness Hallett will then lead the public consultation, including with bereaved families and other affected groups, before the terms of reference are finalised.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to reduce the number of peers in the House of Lords.

Whilst the Government supports the approach of encouraging further retirements, it remains the case that some new members are essential to keep the expertise and outlook of the Lords fresh. This will ensure the Lords continues to fulfil its role in scrutinising and revising legislation, whilst respecting the primacy of the Commons and the associated conventions between the two Houses.

The Government’s 2019 manifesto committed to looking at the role of the Lords, but any reform needs to be considered carefully and any changes should not be brought forward piecemeal.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have taken their own lives through drowning in each of the last five years.

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

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to record causation of excess deaths in winter 2021-22; and if he will ensure that covid-19, flu and community/hospital acquired pneumonia are separately identified in those statistics.

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

Letter from the National Statistician

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

9 November 2021

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking about plans to record the causation of excess deaths in winter 2021-22; and whether COVID-19, influenza and community or hospital acquired pneumonia will be separately identified in those statistics (69656).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports on ‘Excess Winter Mortality for England and Wales’ [1] annually. Excess winter mortality is estimated by comparing the winter months of December to March with the average of the four-month periods before and after. The next report on excess winter mortality is due for release on 26 November 2021, and will provide final estimates for the 2019 to 2020 winter period and provisional estimates for the 2020 to 2021 winter period. Corresponding figures for winter 2021/22 will be published in autumn 2022.

The data published on excess winter mortality will include estimates both including and excluding COVID-19. The provisional estimates for winter 2020/21 will include a specific estimate for deaths with an underlying cause of COVID-19 and new breakdowns by place of death. Cause of death groupings reported in addition to COVID-19 will be respiratory diseases, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, circulatory diseases, and injury and poisoning.

Separately, the regular report on ‘Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales’ [2] allows excess deaths each week to be calculated relative to the average for the corresponding week in the years 2015-19. Weekly figures are provided for deaths by all causes aggregated, and for respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia, and COVID-19. The information held by the ONS is based on the particulars recorded in the process of death registration, and does not specify the place where an infectious disease was acquired.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

1. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/previousReleases

2. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/latest

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many jobs in his Department will be placed (a) in York and (b) on the York Central site in York; and what the job titles are of those roles.

(a) The Cabinet Office has committed to increasing its presence from c. 400 to c. 600 in York. This will be a mix of Senior Civil Service and delegated grades covering a range of professions such as HR, Commercial, Policy, Security, Finance, Project Delivery and Operational Delivery. All jobs will move to the new hub, the location and timing of which has yet to be decided.

(b) Cabinet Office jobs are likely to move to a new Hub; the location and timing of which has yet to be decided.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to announce the location of the northern government hub; and what recent assessment he has made of York as the location of that hub.

The Government Property Agency (GPA) has been considering York Central as a possible location given its proximity to the station and government ownership by Homes England and Network Rail. There will be a formal announcement of location once all available options have been considered and a commercial deal agreed.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on establishment of a Government Conference Centre; and what steps have been taken to ensure a due diligence assessment of proposals for that Conference Centre, including for its potential siting in York.

In February 2021, the Government Property Agency (GPA) considered establishing a conference centre in York. As part of this ongoing work, a number of aspects are being considered more broadly, including commercial considerations.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to ensure that environmental protections are not diminished as a result of the commission looking at regulation following the UK's departure from the EU.

The Government is committed to high standards of workers’ rights and environmental protections. The initiative referred to by the hon. Member is about ensuring that we have a regulatory environment which is the right fit for the UK as an independent nation.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to ensure that workers' rights are not diminished as a result of the commission looking at regulation following the UK's departure from the EU.

The Government is committed to high standards of workers’ rights and environmental protections. The initiative referred to by the hon. Member is about ensuring that we have a regulatory environment which is the right fit for the UK as an independent nation.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the scope of the covid-19 public inquiry.

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

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the chair of the covid-19 public inquiry will be appointed.

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

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the decision by the Netherlands to reintroduce covid-19 restrictions.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement given by the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment on 22 July 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to rising UK cases of covid-19 and the effects of that matter on (a) workers in the health and care sector and (b) the workforce more widely, if he will review his decision to ease covid-19 lockdown measures on 19 July 2021.

England moved to step 4 of the roadmap on 19 July following a full assessment of the data against the four tests for easing restrictions. Moving to step 4 on 19 July means that the easing of restrictions coincides with the end of the school term, takes place over the summer when more activities can take place outdoors, and pressures on the NHS are less than in the autumn and winter months.

The Government will retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19. The Government will continue to monitor the data on a regular basis to ensure there is no danger of the NHS facing unsustainable pressure; work with local authorities and provide national support to local areas that need an enhanced response to COVID-19; and maintain contingency plans for reimposing economic and social restrictions at a local, regional or national level if evidence suggests they are necessary to suppress or manage a dangerous variant. Such measures would only be reintroduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) relevant stakeholders on (i) keeping and (ii) expanding the National Security Vetting Agency in York.

United Kingdom Security Vetting (UKSV) now sits within the Government Security Group in Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office is committed to growth in both York and Glasgow. The majority of new roles within UKSV will be advertised in York and Glasgow although some specialised roles may be advertised elsewhere, for example such as in Milton Keynes, an original FCO location.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, under what circumstances he would introduce a local lockdown after the lifting of covid-19 restrictions in England on 19 July 2021.

In September, the Government will undertake a review to assess the country’s preparedness for autumn and winter, which will consider whether to continue or strengthen public and business guidance as we approach the winter, including on face coverings and test, trace and isolate, and will review the remaining regulations.

The Government will maintain contingency plans for reimposing economic and social restrictions at a local, regional or national level if evidence suggests they are necessary to suppress or manage a dangerous variant. Such measures would only be re-introduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of abolishing fixed terms for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive alongside proposals to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

The use of fixed terms in elections to the Scottish Parliament and Senedd Cymru is a devolved matter and for the Devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales to consider. The fixed terms set for Northern Ireland Assembly elections are not a devolved matter and there are currently no plans to change the law.

The UK Government continues to engage with the Scottish and Welsh Administrations, as well as considering the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, with regards to any impact of the departure from fixed terms in the UK Parliament on the administration of elections in devolved areas.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what criteria he will use to determine whether covid-19 secure measures should be reintroduced in the future.

In September, the Government will undertake a review to assess the country’s preparedness for autumn and winter, which will consider whether to continue or strengthen public and business guidance as we approach the winter, including on face coverings and test, trace and isolate, and will review the remaining regulations.

The Government will maintain contingency plans for reimposing economic and social restrictions at a local, regional or national level if evidence suggests they are necessary to suppress or manage a dangerous variant. Such measures would only be re-introduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish all the data on which the Government has based its decision to lift all covid-19 restrictions from 19 July 2021.

On 12 July, the Government announced we would proceed to step 4 after assessing the data against the four tests. The decisions as to whether the four tests were passed was based on an analysis of a range of information and the conclusion drawn will be in line with advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Data is regularly shared publicly via the COVID Dashboard, which can be accessed at the following link.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether footage from CCTV cameras or audio recording devices has been used as evidence in disciplinary cases against departmental staff in the last five years.

I refer the hon. Member to my response on 28 June 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether security cameras are used in Government buildings for the purposes of the surveillance of staff working in those buildings.

I refer the hon. Member to my response on 28 June 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure his public communications on covid-19 over summer 2021 are effective.

The cross-government COVID-19 public information campaign is our primary method for communicating what businesses and the public need to do to keep safe, stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS. Cabinet Office continuously monitors effectiveness of our communications and gains insight on public awareness to maximise impact. Our campaign has reached 95% of adults on average 17 times per week. Regular communication has maintained high levels of public engagement for over 15 months, with an average of 84% aware of and up to 82% trusting in the information in government advertising. Up to 90% of people have also adopted key behaviours, such as opening their windows to let fresh air in when they have visitors over.


The Government will continue to make every effort to communicate the latest COVID-19 policy and guidance as clearly and simply as possible. All updated guidance is also published on GOV.UK.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether, from 21 June 2021, weddings of any size will be able to take place, providing social distancing measures are put in place.

The Government announced a four-week pause at Step 3 of the roadmap following an assessment of the data against the four tests.

After carefully considering the potential impacts, on 14 June the Government announced that there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees at wedding and civil partnerships, and receptions set out in law. From 21 June, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place.

The changes allow people to celebrate their union with their families and loved ones, and aligns the wedding sector with the way most other COVID Secure venues operate - such as restaurants and pubs - where social distancing determines a venue’s capacity. Additionally, changes also bring commemorative events, such as wakes, in line with existing rules on funerals so people can say goodbye to those they have lost.

This change does not enable a wedding of any size to take place. To manage the risks around the virus the exact number of attendees will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of each venue or outdoor space, and measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

At Step 3, social distancing and COVID-secure rules apply to all businesses, venues and workplaces. While we feel it is safe to make some easements, we have not made the decision to move to Step 4. We will only lift remaining restrictions on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events when the decision is taken to move to the next stage of the roadmap. We know this pause will be disappointing to many people, including those planning weddings and other events, but we hope that these cautious changes will enable some more people to attend these special events.

We have published extensive guidance on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations on GOV.UK, which can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremonies-receptions-and-celebrations

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether, after 21 June 2021, social distancing and face coverings will still be advised.

On 12 July, the Government announced we would proceed to step 4 after assessing the data against the four tests.


I refer the hon. Member to the guidance for Moving to step 4 of the roadmap.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to appoint the chair of the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak; and what consultation process he plans to hold prior to appointing that role.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

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

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to ensure that representatives of local (a) authorities and (b) resilience forums are consulted on the scope of the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

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

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to ensure that NHS staff are consulted on the scope of the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

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

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to ensure that hon. Members are consulted on the scope of proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

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

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how he plans to engage with families that have been bereaved as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that they can contribute to the scope of the proposed inquiry into that outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

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

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many excess deaths there have been in each month since January 2018.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons more than 30 people are allowed to attend a worship service while weddings are restricted to 30 people during stage three of the covid-19 roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of lifting that limit in line with worship service restrictions.

The Events Research Programme aims to examine the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely. To achieve this, the programme will explore how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions (actions that people can take to mitigate the spread of coronavirus) can inform decisions on safely lifting restrictions at events from Step 4. The initial research pilots have already started and are taking place throughout May.

At Step 4, which will be no earlier than 21 June, the Government aims to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme and the Social Distancing Review. Further guidance will be issued ahead of Step 4.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
14th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, (a) what assessment he has made of adequacy of communication on the need for students to complete Census forms for both their home and term-time address, and ((b) whether fines will be administered to students who have not completed both versions of the Census.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason Census 2021 did not include gender identity on the forms required to be completed by students at their term-time address.

Students should complete the household or individual census questionnaires depending on whether or not they have a different address at term time. Both questionnaires contain the voluntary question on gender identity.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many cases of voter fraud have been identified in (a) York, (b) Yorkshire, (c) England and (d) UK in each of the last 10 years.

The Electoral Commission works with police forces to collect data on the number of allegations and cases of electoral fraud and publishes the data on its website.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to develop a Government conference centre on York Central development site.

The Government Property Agency recently studied the feasibility of locating a Government Conference Centre in York to provide an appropriate venue in the North of England to host international summits and conferences for the G7, G20 and Nato. An update will be provided in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the extent to which people seeking support to complete Census 2021 experienced technical and communication problems in accessing that support.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to establish the Civil Society Forum since the end of the transition period.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for a Civil Society Forum - composed of a balanced representation of UK and EU business and civil society groups - to discuss the implementation of the trade, transport and fisheries part of the Agreement.

We expect to agree with the EU at the Partnership Council the operational guidelines for the conduct of this Forum, and work with the EU to facilitate its first meeting this year.

We will of course continue to engage with business and civil society in the usual way, including on issues relating to TCA implementation.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have taken their own life in each month of the last five years.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons the information provided on the number of his Department's jobs that will be moved to York was different in the Answer of 15 April 2021 to Question 179241 and his oral contribution of 25 March 2021, Official Report, column 1038.

As outlined in both the answer to PQ 179241 on 15 April and in the oral contribution of 25 March, Cabinet Office Ministers have consistently informed the House of the Government’s commitment to relocating roles to regions and nations of the UK. More detailed plans for growth in York will be set out in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether people who have requested but not received paper Census 2021 forms will be subject to a fine.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason there has been a delay in distributing paper census forms.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many Cabinet Office jobs he plans to relocate to York; and by when those jobs will be so relocated.

Places for Growth was established to contribute towards the government’s levelling up aims and commits to relocating 22,000 civil service roles from central London to the regions and nations of the UK by the end of the decade.

The Government wants to increase senior policy and decision making roles in all regions and nations of the UK and therefore all UK Civil Service roles are in scope to relocate. Thorough workforce and location analysis will inform departments decisions, helping them to select places that have the skills and capacity to meet their needs and flourish in their chosen locations.

Plans for growth in York will be announced by the Cabinet Office in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what framework the Government uses to determine which civil service jobs are relocated to which locations.

Places for Growth was established to contribute towards the government’s levelling up aims and commits to relocating 22,000 civil service roles from central London to the regions and nations of the UK by the end of the decade.

The Government wants to increase senior policy and decision making roles in all regions and nations of the UK and therefore all UK Civil Service roles are in scope to relocate. Thorough workforce and location analysis will inform departments decisions, helping them to select places that have the skills and capacity to meet their needs and flourish in their chosen locations.

Plans for growth in York will be announced by the Cabinet Office in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will set up a helpline for MPs to seek guidance on constituency queries related to the reopening of the economy.

The Government’s recently published ‘Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021’ sets out the sequencing and indicative timing for easing restrictions in the coming months. Guidance for businesses as we progress through the roadmap can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will publish further COVID-Secure guidance as the economy reopens.

In addition, throughout the pandemic, I have hosted regular calls for Honourable Members to provide updates and respond to queries on the Government’s response to the pandemic. My colleagues in other departments also host regular calls for Members which provide opportunities to raise constituency concerns.

These calls are in addition to the regular statements, debates and correspondence channels that are available to Members. We will continue to keep all engagement under review.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) people and (b) people who are (i) women, (ii) disabled, (iii) BAME, (iv) under 25 years old, (v) who are over 55, (vi) who are over 60, (vii) who are over 65 years old have been made redundant in each month in 2020.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the suitability of York as a location for a Government hub as part of the Government's levelling up agenda.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ73093 on 21 July 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) Government departments and (b) other public bodies his Department has considered for reloaction to York while assessing the potential merits of creating a Government hub in that city as part of the Government's levelling up agenda.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ73093 on 21 July 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish (a) the (i) number and (ii) type of underlying health conditions among and (b) the socio-economic status of people who have died from covid-19.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to extend payments for transmitting public service broadcasts to community broadcasters at the same level as commercial broadcasters.

The Government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the UK.

In response to COVID-19, the Government has developed a national campaign to provide information, guidance and reassurance to the public.

The campaign utilises a wide range of channels to maximise reach and engagement and to ensure our messaging reaches as many people as possible. This includes the use of paid-for advertising on community radio. We currently work with over 35 community radio stations on a weekly basis.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish the framework for the future relationship with the EU.

On 19 May the Government published our draft legal texts, which have previously been shared with the EU negotiating team.

These twelve documents cover the full set of negotiating texts, including a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement as well as side agreements.

We have decided to publish these now as a constructive contribution to the negotiations to ensure they are available to all and to enable the Commission to share the texts with the Member States, in case helpful.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the outstanding issues to be tackled in negotiations for a future UK-EU trade deal.

The UK and EU have engaged in three full and constructive negotiating rounds. Discussions covered all workstreams including trade in goods and services.

Discussions also showed that a standard Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement could be agreed without major difficulties in the time available.

A Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS245) made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 May updated the progress of negotiations.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what date (a) weddings and (b) civil partnerships with (i) a small number of guests and (ii) social distancing measures can resume.

A Plan To Rebuild, the Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, is published on gov.uk and includes details on plans for weddings.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the evidence base on which the Prime Minister made his statement to (a) the media on 10 May 2020 and (b) the House of Commons on 11 May 2020.

Scientific advice and analysis have underpinned the Government's policy making in the development of current social distancing measures and our recently published strategy. A wide range of advice and analysis was considered to inform the most recent review of measures announced by the Prime Minister in May.

In previous emergencies, such as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, papers were published only at the end of the emergency. By contrast, in recognition of the importance of transparency in these unprecedented times, SAGE has been publishing statements and accompanying evidence to demonstrate how the scientific understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data emerges, and how SAGE’s advice has adapted to findings that reflect a changing situation. The documents are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response. This list will be updated as SAGE releases further papers.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what equalities impact assessment the Government has made of the effect of (a) each financial package and (b) its approach to managing the public health risk in its response to the covid-19 outbreak.

It is vital that our response to COVID-19 takes account of the different needs of people depending on their circumstances. The government has fulfilled its requirements stemming from the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) for all elements of its response to COVID-19.

The Government pays due regard to the equality impacts of its policy decisions, in line with legal requirements. There are internal procedural requirements and support in place for ensuring that such considerations inform decisions taken by Ministers.

The Government also fulfilled its requirements in relation to the Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations which were brought into force 23 March 2020, as well as for subsequent changes to the policy.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that the daily Government briefing on the covid-19 outbreak has live British Sign Language interpretation.

It is vital that key information is accessible to all. Since the daily press briefings began, British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation has been available on the national broadcaster. The BBC provides BSL interpretation at the daily No10 press conference via its News channel, Youtube channel and iPlayer. This is available free to air.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people in (a) York Central constituency, (b) the City of York and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber were employed on a zero-hours contract in (a) 2010-11 and (b) each subsequent year; and what steps his Department are taking to reduce that number.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of the workforce in (a) York Central constituency and (b) City of York local authority area were employed on zero hours contracts in (a) 2015 and (b) each subsequent year.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people under 24 years of age that are in (a) training, (b) employment and (c) education in (i) York Central constituency, (ii) York Unitary Authority and (iii) England.

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

The data contained in the previous answer has been identified as incorrect. I have asked the UK Statistics Authority to provide an updated response.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the average weekly gross earnings of (a) men, (b) women and (c) people working full-time in York in each year since 2015.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the pay gap has been for each ethnic minority community recorded in each of the last 20 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Cabinet Office, what the pay gap for disabled people has been in each of the last 20 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people (a) aged under 16, (b) aged under 18, (c) aged under 21, (d) aged under 25 and (e) who are apprentices are employed on zero-hour contracts.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many women are employed on zero-hour contracts.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are employed on zero-hour contracts.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the gender pay gap has been in each of the last 20 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing measures to ensure that no one receives less than the real living wage.

The National Minimum Wage is the statutory minimum rate of pay in the UK. The rates are set on the independent and expert advice of the Low Pay Commission, who take account of the impact on business and the economy. The Government commends all businesses who pay their workers more.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to assess the future industrial opportunities of (a) towns, (b) cities and (c) the regions.

The Government is committed to levelling-up across the whole of the UK and so that people feel proud of their local areas, whether in a large city, town, rural or coastal area.

The Government has recently published the levelling-up strategy which commits to extensive work, support and monitoring for individual areas in the future. It is for local leaders, as the representatives who are best placed, to determine the best strategies for their future growth and success.

Government will continue to work in partnership with local authorities, and within the framework of the levelling-up agenda, to support improvements and growth across the whole of the United Kingdom. Examples of specific programmes with an industrial dimension including the Levelling Up Fund, Made Smarter, Help to Grow and the Towns Fund.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to assess the future industrial opportunities of towns, cities and regions.

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

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of industry clusters as a means to grow the economy.

Accelerating decarbonisation in clusters can unlock the anticipated benefits of emissions reduction, enhancing industrial competitiveness, mobilising private investment, and developing skills and employment across the UK.

The Government has provided opportunities to unlock shared infrastructure to drive the future of the industrial heartlands by providing multi-million funding through the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge and giving the opportunity for cluster projects to access support under the Government’s CCUS programme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to utilise university research capability to develop economic clusters.

BEIS’s £40 billion R&D settlement across the Spending Review period, includes funding for university research and for universities to collaborate with business which will be critical to delivering the ambitions of our Innovation Strategy, and will contribute to the development of clusters across the UK, and support economic growth.

The Levelling Up White Paper sets out how we will support the growth of R&D hotspots across the UK by increasing domestic public R&D investment outside the Greater South East by at least one third over the Spending Review period and at least 40 percent by 2030, and piloting new Innovation Accelerators.

The White Paper also announced our new open data tool, co-developed by BEIS and NESTA, which provides high quality and accessible evidence to help develop and grow R&D clusters across the UK.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason his policies permit employed adoptive parents entitlement to statutory adoption leave but not self-employed adoptive parents.

The Government has focused on supporting employed parents to take time off work to care for and bond with their adopted child because they have less flexibility with their work than self-employed parents. However local authorities can provide a discretionary payment equivalent to Maternity Allowance to self-employed adopters. This payment is discretionary and means-tested to ensure that resources are targeted at those adopters who need it most, as part of a package of post-adoption support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has plans to take steps to help consumers obtain information on whether products that they purchase have contributed to the Russian economy, either directly or through a third party.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs) require traders to provide consumers with specified pre-purchase information including information about the main characteristics of goods, services or digital content but this does not necessarily include the country of origin.

Consumers are free to enquire from the seller as to the origin of products, and to base their decision of whether or not to purchase on the reply. Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), traders are banned from giving consumers false information or using misleading statements or presentation about the geographical or commercial origin of products including in response to requests for information by consumers. The Regulations carry criminal penalties and are enforced by local trading standards officers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps to fund retrofitting manufacturing and construction skills to encourage retrofitting of domestic housing in the context of the energy divestment plans and climate challenge.

The Government recognises the need for a skilled, competent and robust supply chain to deliver the improvements to buildings necessary to meet its net zero targets.

The Department spent almost £6 million on a skills training competition which delivered around 7000 training courses for the energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains.

The Government has also provided £4.7 million of funding over a period of two and a half years to six local supply chain demonstration pilots. These pilots tested innovative approaches for supporting and growing the energy efficiency installer supply chain.

The Government will continue to monitor the market and its response to interventions and is considering options to work with the industry to support training in key skills shortage areas and new routes of entry to increase capacity.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the UK oil supply that comes from Russian sources; and what assessment he has made of steps that could be taken to reduce UK oil consumption, including changes in transport use, in order to end dependency on Russian oil as soon as possible.

In 2020, Russian imports accounted for 8% total of UK demand for all oil imports. In the same year, Russian imports accounted for 0% of petrol, heating oil and fuel oil demand. 18% of diesel and 5% of jet fuel demand was met by Russian imports.

Reducing our reliance on hydrocarbons is no longer just a matter of tackling climate change or reaching net zero; it’s a matter of national security and making us less dependent on fossil fuels. We will continue to take steps to address our own energy security needs and to hasten the transition away from fossil fuels.

We are already taking steps to decarbonise the transport sector. This includes ending the sale of all new non-zero emission road vehicles by 2040, investing £2 billion to enable cycling and walking and £3 billion for delivery of our National Bus Strategy. These will all contribute to reducing UK oil consumption.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to support workers that may block imports or exports of goods from or to Russia including those via a third country.

The Government has introduced a range of sanctions aimed at encouraging Russia to cease actions destabilising Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine.

Companies must not breach these sanctions. Where activity is not covered by these sanctions, workers may be subject to disciplinary action if they are failing to carry out the lawful requirements of their job, but this will be a matter for their employer.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to support workers that may take industrial action as a result of their employer trading with Russia.

The Government has introduced a range of sanctions aimed at encouraging Russia to cease actions destabilising Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine.

Where activity is not covered by these sanctions, workers may be subject to disciplinary action if they are failing to carry out the lawful requirements of their job, but this will be a matter for their employer. For industrial action to be lawful it must be carried out in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, supported by a properly conducted industrial action ballot, under the provisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to invest in biofuels as an alternative to petrochemicals.

The Biomass Strategy (due to be published later this year) will review the amount of sustainable biomass available to the UK and how this resource could be best utilised across the economy to help achieve our net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to invest in the skills required for retrofitting homes; and what estimate he has made of the number of people supporting retrofitting programmes.

The Government recognises the need for a skilled, competent and robust supply chain to deliver the improvements to buildings necessary to meet the Government’s net zero targets.

The Department spent almost £6 million on a skills training competition which delivered around 7,000 training opportunities for the energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains.

The Government has also previously provided £4.7 million of funding over a period of two and a half years to six local supply chain demonstration pilots which tested innovative approaches for supporting and growing the energy efficiency installer supply chain.

There are over 1,600 TrustMark registered companies that are able to work on BEIS retrofitting schemes and these companies will employ more individuals that are able to work on home retrofit.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to include the proposals in the Local Electricity Bill in any forthcoming energy bill.

The government agrees with the broad aims of the Local Electricity Bill, but does not support it as the means to enable local energy supply. There are already mechanisms in the market to allow local supply. The current Ofgem regulatory regime allows for a company to supply a specific geographic area, and small-scale generators can also apply for a licence exemption in some cases to reduce the regulatory burdens of operating at a community level.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to develop tidal power as a significant alternative source of energy in light of the energy security situation caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UK has the world's largest deployment of tidal stream power, and the Government took steps to accelerate that deployment with the announcement in November 2021 that the ongoing Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 will feature a ringfenced budget for tidal stream developments. Moreover, the Government remains open to considering well-developed proposals for harnessing the tidal range energy in our bays and estuaries, provided that such proposals can demonstrate clear and beneficial impacts on the energy system and good value for money.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to increase (a) on- and (b) off-shore wind power.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the Government’s flagship scheme for supporting new low-carbon electricity generation projects in Great Britain. The latest auction is underway and aims to secure more low-carbon electricity capacity than the previous three rounds combined, supporting an expanded number of renewable technologies, including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal stream, and floating offshore wind. In February, the Government also announced that the next CfD allocation round will be brought forward to March 2023, and future rounds will run annually, rather than every two years, thereafter. These steps will help drive forward the deployment of renewable power.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of investing in retrofitting homes to reduce energy use.

The Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out a comprehensive package of measures to retrofit homes across the country. Alongside this we announced more than £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings, bringing the total commitment in this Parliament to £6.6bn.

Support is especially targeted at lower-income households through schemes such as the Home Upgrade Grant, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Local Authority Delivery Scheme. In addition to this, the Government has committed to extending the Energy Company Obligation from 2022 to 2026, boosting its value from £640 million to £1 billion a year. This will help an extra 305,000 families with green measures such as insulation.

Improved energy efficiency in homes will directly benefit people in fuel poverty, helping them to reduce their bills and live in a warm and comfortable environment.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will fast-track the funding streams available to the BioYorkshire project to help accelerate the development of biofuel.

Opportunities to apply for funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are available on the UKRI funding finder (Opportunities – UKRI).

On 14 March, we published our R&D allocations to BEIS Partner Organisations to enable them to plan for the next financial year. Details of funding for specific programmes will be agreed by BEIS and Partner Organisations and set out in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes will be retrofitted to reduce fuel consumption by the end of (a) 2022 and (b) 2023.

The Government has committed to invest £6.6 billion across this parliament to support the decarbonisation of buildings.

This funding includes:

  • The Local Authority Delivery scheme: almost £787million has been allocated to the scheme across 3 phases and it is forecasted to upgrade to up to 75,000 homes.
  • The Home Upgrade Grant: the first £219 million phase is expected to upgrade up to 10,000 homes during 2023.
  • The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund: the £61 million Demonstrator is forecast to complete the upgrade of around 2,000 homes in 2022. The £179 million Wave 1 is expected to upgrade around 20,000 homes from 2022 to 2023

Meanwhile, the Government has placed an obligation on larger energy suppliers to install energy-efficiency and heating measures in Britain’s homes. The current iteration of the scheme, ECO3, began in October 2018. A total of 1,039,500 measures have been installed to date. In 2021, approximately 398,200 measures were installed in around 153,100 households.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure older people are not restricted in the choice of options of heating their homes following the increase in fuel and energy costs.

The Default Tariff (Price) Cap currently protects around 22 million households by limiting the unit rate and standing charges that energy suppliers can charge customers on default or standard variable tariffs. Support is also available to eligible households through the Warm Home Discount, the Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payments.

Additionally, this Government will be providing a £200 rebate for households delivered via their energy bill this autumn, paid back automatically over the next 5 years, spreading the increased costs of global prices over time in a way that is more manageable for households. This is only one part of a wider package of measures to support households in 2022/23, including a £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England, and £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax reduction. This support is available to customers irrespective of whether or not they are connected to the gas grid.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will hold discussions with relevant stakeholders on developing an industrial strategy to support countries to diversify their dependency on hostile states.

The UK and its international partners have stood united in condemning the Russian government in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The Government has imposed an unprecedented package of sanctions to inflict maximum and lasting pain on Russia.

The Government has banned Russian ships from UK ports, stopped Russian planes from landing at UK airports, and excluded Russian banks from the City of London – the second largest financial centre in the world. Major Russian companies can no longer raise finance in our markets.

UK companies must comply with the sanctions imposed by the UK and its allies. The Government is not imposing any legal requirement on companies to go further, and businesses should make their own choices about trade outside of those sanctions. But the Government applauds those who have chosen to take that extra step for the people of Ukraine.

The Government has also been clear in its view that the whole of Europe must end its dependence on Russian oil and gas, and has been working with European partners to support them in diversifying energy supplies.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support the development of the infrastructure required to reduce dependency on oil and gas; and what discussions he has had with his international counterparts to ascertain the political will in other countries to reduce that dependency.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this Government. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly discusses this with G7 and European partners.

The current volatility in global oil and gas prices only underscores the importance of building strong, home-grown renewables sectors and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, including Russian hydrocarbons.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on steps that could be taken to reduce the UK's and other European countries' use of Russian oil and gas.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this Government. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly discusses this with G7 and European partners.

The current volatility in global oil and gas prices only underscores the importance of building strong, home-grown renewables sectors and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, including Russian hydrocarbons.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts who are dependent on Russian oil or gas on how quickly they could diversify their energy source.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this Government. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly discusses this with G7 and European partners.

The current volatility in global oil and gas prices only underscores the importance of building strong, home-grown renewables sectors and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, including Russian hydrocarbons.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what skills assessment he has undertaken to ensure that the UK can assist EU partners with the diversification of their energy supply.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this Government, and the Government is determined to act together with European Partners. The current volatility in global oil and gas prices only underscores the importance of international collaboration to drive innovation in renewables and nuclear energy, reducing the UK’s reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the UK manufacturing capacity to assist with energy transition in other European countries.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this Government, and the Government is determined to act together with European Partners. The current volatility in global oil and gas prices only underscores the importance of international collaboration to drive innovation in renewables and nuclear energy, reducing the UK’s reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to build the UK's (a) non-gas and (b) oil energy capability.

The Net Zero Strategy sets out the Government’s plan for reducing reliance on fossil fuels as the engine of the UK economy and making the transition to low carbon energy consistent with its net zero commitments. This includes ambitious plans to support the deployment of low carbon and renewable technologies such as offshore wind, nuclear and hydrogen, which will contribute to decarbonising the UK’s power, heat and transport sectors.

Further details are set out in the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/net-zero-strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support (a) a rapid transition to renewable energy sources and (b) other countries with that transition.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the Government’s main mechanism for supporting new low-carbon electricity generation projects in Great Britain. The fourth allocation round of the CfD scheme (AR4) opened on 13 December 2021 and aims to secure more low-carbon electricity capacity than the previous three rounds combined. AR4 is open to an expanded number of renewable technologies, including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal stream and floating offshore wind. In February we also announced that the next CfD allocation round will be brought forward to March 2023, and future rounds will run annually, rather than every two years, thereafter. This will support renewable electricity producers and further drive deployment of renewable power.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ensure that people who do not have digital access do not pay higher tariffs or bills as a result of their digital poverty.

Energy consumers can choose to receive paper bills from their suppliers, sent through the post and then make a payment upon receipt at no extra cost. However, if they choose to manage their energy account on-line and make monthly direct debit payments, they will benefit from savings made by their supplier on billing and administration costs which will include not having to use paper bills or postage. These savings are often reflected in a low standing charge.

A range of broadband social tariff packages are now available in the market to support those on low income or who receive specific benefits. BT, Virgin, Hyperoptic and other providers are offering similar package to assist households in receipt of Universal Credit and other means-tested benefits, starting at £15 per month. Between them, these products are available to 99% of households across the country.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to introduce a publicly available register for residential property that has foreign ownership.

As announced by the Secretary of State on 28 February, a Register of Overseas Entities will be legislated for within the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill, introduced to Parliament on 1 March.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 26 January 2022 to Question 106778 on Employment: Bullying and Harassment, what steps a person can take to seek restitution to tackle bullying in their workplace that may not be covered by existing legislation relating to protected characteristics.

We have published guidance that sets out the steps that employees can take if they are experiencing bullying or harassment at work, which is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/workplace-bullying-and-harassment.

Acas provides free and impartial advice for employers and employees, and has also published useful guidance on how to deal with bullying in the workplace that we encourage individuals and employers to consider when dealing with such matters. This is available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/if-youre-treated-unfairly-at-work/being-bullied.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2022 to Question 117837 on Energy: Billing, what steps he is taking in response to energy companies placing speculative rises on direct debit charges in anticipation of further energy cost increases.

The aim of a direct debit payment arrangement should be for customers to be close to a zero balance on their energy accounts at the end of a twelve-month period. To achieve this energy, suppliers typically review their customers’ direct debit arrangements twice a year based on an actual meter reading to ensure payments are set at a level to avoid large credit or debit balances. A supplier should explain the reasons for changes made to a customer’s direct debit arrangement with 10 days advance notice before the next payment is taken. The customer may challenge a proposed increase and renegotiate the direct debit payment level. They can also review their direct debit payments at any time by taking a meter reading, contacting their supplier and requesting a refund on a credit balance.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to introduce restrictions on the level of profit of energy companies.

The price cap protects households by ensuring they pay a fair price for gas and electricity. Ofgem’s price cap methodology includes a very modest allowance for profit made by an efficiently run supply company. The gas and electricity networks are economically regulated, so their returns are set through the Ofgem price control mechanism. Gas and electricity generators and gas shippers operate in a strongly competitive market. Additional taxes are already placed on the extraction of oil and gas, with companies engaged in the production of oil and gas on the UK Continental Shelf subject to headline tax rates on their profits that are currently more than double those paid by other businesses. To date, this sector has paid more than £375 billion in production taxes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help produce the next generation of vaccines to tackle transmission rates of covid-19.

The Government is working closely with vaccine developers to understand any plans for future vaccines and to ensure vaccines’ continued efficacy against new Variants of Concern. The Vaccine Taskforce keeps emerging vaccine technologies under review and is aware that some developers have begun development of variant-specific and multivariant formulations.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department will take through its Net Zero Strategy to reduce energy costs for residential dwellings in each of the next 10 years.

The Government laid out a range of measures to reduce the amount of energy used in homes in its Net Zero Strategy. These include consulting on phasing in higher minimum performance standards to ensure all homes meet EPC Band C by 2035, getting all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030 where practical, cost effective and affordable, increasing the environmental performance of energy-related products and by setting long-term regulatory standards to upgrade Privately Rented Homes to EPC C by 2028.Low-income homes will also be supported through schemes like the Home Upgrade Grant and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the measures introduced by the Treasury on 3 February to tackle rising energy bills on (a) consumers and (b) businesses.

The Government will work closely with industry and consumer groups on how best to deliver the measures, including by gathering further information through a public consultation in the Spring.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of setting up a not-for-profit public energy company to offer energy tariffs to consumers.

The Government does not believe in nationalisation and was under the impression the Official Opposition did not either.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to introduce more renewable energy sources into the UK energy supply; and when those sources will be in place.

The Contracts for Difference scheme is the Government’s main mechanism for supporting new low-carbon electricity generation projects in Great Britain. The fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference scheme (AR4) opened on 13 December 2021. £285 million a year will be provided to businesses in AR4, which aims to secure more low-carbon electricity capacity than the previous three rounds combined. AR4 is open to an expanded number of renewable technologies, including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal stream and floating offshore wind.

Renewable electricity generation has more than quadrupled since 2010 having delivered over 40% of generation in 2020, outpacing fossil fuels for the first time ever, and is on track to deliver the majority of electricity by 2030.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the energy companies on the speculative increase that they are placing on direct debit payments to anticipate the increase in energy prices.

The Government is monitoring the increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers.

The Government has announced a rebate of £200 on energy bills from the autumn to help households deal with the unprecedented increase in energy prices. In addition, the Government has announced further support for delivery outside of the energy system to help with the wider cost of living, with a £150 payment for the 80% of English households in council tax bands A through D.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to offset the increase in energy prices for (a) the elderly, (b) disabled people who are unable to work and (c) other people who are not in work.

The Government is committed to protecting customers from price spikes, particularly vulnerable customers. The Warm Home discount provides over 2 million households a £140 rebate off their energy bill each winter, and there are plans to increase it to £150 and help an extra 780,000 households. The Energy Company Obligation is being expanded to £1.billion p.a. which will ensure energy suppliers help 133,000 low-income households a year to permanently lower their bills by an average of £290 p.a. via insulation and new heating. From October, households in Great Britain will receive a £200 cash rebate on their energy costs. A £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for (English) households in Bands A-D will apply from April with £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax reduction.

The Government has also provided an extra £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to provide help to millions of the most in need. The Energy Price Cap will remain in place at least till the end of 2022 to ensure millions of customers pay a fair price for their energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)