Rebecca Long Bailey Portrait

Rebecca Long Bailey

Labour - Salford and Eccles

First elected: 7th May 2015


Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill
3rd May 2023 - 23rd May 2023
Social Housing (Regulation) Bill [HL]
23rd Nov 2022 - 29th Nov 2022
Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill
2nd Mar 2022 - 22nd Mar 2022
Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [HL]
1st Dec 2021 - 9th Dec 2021
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
6th Apr 2020 - 25th Jun 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Feb 2017 - 6th Apr 2020
Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee
27th Sep 2015 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
27th Jun 2016 - 9th Feb 2017
Shadow Minister (Treasury)
18th Sep 2015 - 27th Jun 2016


Scheduled Event
Thursday 14th March 2024
13:30
Westminster Hall debate - Westminster Hall
14 Mar 2024, 1:30 p.m.
General Debate: St Patrick’s Day and the contribution of the Irish diaspora to the UK
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Department Event
Wednesday 17th April 2024
11:30
Department for Science, Innovation & Technology
Oral questions - Main Chamber
17 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Science, Innovation and Technology (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
Friday 1st March 2024
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 25 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 0 Noes - 64
Speeches
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Treasury
T2. Many of my constituents whose lives have been destroyed by the loan charge scandal feel the central injustice is …
Written Answers
Monday 5th February 2024
AWE: Databases
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have the …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 5th September 2023
Trauma-informed public services
That this House recognises that many organisations are implementing trauma-informed approaches, actively working to create a service where clients feel …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 1st November 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Unite the Union
Address of donor: 128 Theobalds Rd, London WC1X 8TN
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Monday 4th March 2024
Ronnie Campbell
That this House notes with great sadness the passing of Ronnie Campbell, who represented the constituency of Blyth Valley between …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Climate Education Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require matters relating to climate change and sustainability to be integrated throughout the curriculum in primary and …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Rebecca Long Bailey has voted in 760 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Rebecca Long Bailey voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Rebecca Long Bailey voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Labour No votes vs 142 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Rebecca Long Bailey 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
View All Rebecca Long Bailey 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
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Andrew Murrison (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
(10 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(28 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(20 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(19 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023
(2,412 words contributed)
Public Order Act 2023
(1,751 words contributed)
Building Safety Act 2022
(1,617 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Rebecca Long Bailey's debates

Salford and Eccles Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

We demand the Government restore England’s publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by reversing all privatising legislation, ending ongoing PFI contracts, and scrapping plans for Integrated Care Systems and for-profit US-style ‘managed care’.

Ensure Water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for. Not discharge it into rivers and water courses. After all what goes into the ocean comes back as the fish we eat.

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


Latest EDMs signed by Rebecca Long Bailey

4th March 2024
Rebecca Long Bailey signed this EDM on Monday 4th March 2024

Ronnie Campbell

Tabled by: Ian Lavery (Labour - Wansbeck)
That this House notes with great sadness the passing of Ronnie Campbell, who represented the constituency of Blyth Valley between 1987 and 2019; notes Ronnie’s great public service to the people of his constituency and his tireless advocacy for Blyth Valley which has resulted in so many good quality jobs …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 18
Independent: 2
4th March 2024
Rebecca Long Bailey signed this EDM on Monday 4th March 2024

40th anniversary of the 1984-85 Miners' Strike (No. 2)

Tabled by: Ian Lavery (Labour - Wansbeck)
That this House notes the 40th anniversary of the start of the Miners’ Strike of 1984-1985 on 5 March 2024; further notes that, four decades on, many mining communities are still struggling as a result of the industrial vandalism and are still awaiting a just transition to the industries of …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 18
Independent: 2
View All Rebecca Long Bailey's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Rebecca Long Bailey, 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.


Rebecca Long Bailey has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Rebecca Long Bailey

Monday 19th December 2022

Rebecca Long Bailey has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

2 Bills co-sponsored by Rebecca Long Bailey

Climate Education Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Nadia Whittome (Lab)

Business Standards Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - John McDonnell (Lab)


285 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
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Civil Service cost of living payments to civil servants that retired in the financial year 2022-2023.

I refer the Honourable Member for Salford and Eccles to the answer I gave on 25th October in response to PQ203635.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason the December 2020 report of the independent Advisory Military Sub-Committee to the Committee on the Grant of Honours Decorations and Medals advised that a retrospective medallic award to nuclear test veterans should not be made; and if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing medallic recognition for Nuclear Testing Veterans.

The Advisory Military Sub-Committee (AMSC) operates independently of the Government but I understand that the case for medallic recognition was considered at length by the Sub-Committee.

The AMSC concluded that, although the efforts of those involved in the campaign could not be discounted, the case did not meet the level of risk and rigour which is generally required for the award of a campaign medal or clasp.

The AMSC is an advisory body which has made recommendations based on the available evidence, including that provided by campaign groups. Its advice was provided in line with its terms of reference and will only be looked at again if significant new evidence becomes available. I understand that any new submissions which might have been provided have been passed to the Sub-Committee.

This decision in no way diminishes that commitment or the nations’ recognition of the contribution of veterans who served during these periods and contributed to the security of the United Kingdom and its Allies.

25th Mar 2021
What steps his Department is taking to improve transparency in procurement in its response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the importance of maintaining public confidence in how we manage taxpayers’ money and I have set out before the challenges we faced in our response to the covid 19 outbreak. We are taking steps to improve the processes already in place and ensure public spending is fair and transparent.

Proposals in the Green Paper aim to improve transparency in procurement across the public sector and include specific measures to strengthen transparency through the commercial lifecycle from planning through to procurement, contract award, performance and completion.

We are also taking forward all 28 recommendations from the independent Boardman report to set out areas for improvement within the Cabinet Office’s own internal contracting procedures.

We have also made KPI data on 379 contracts available to the public, as a further step towards greater transparency.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 21 December 2023 to Question 6822 on Companies: Registration, when the broader powers given to the Registrar under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 will come into effect; and whether her Department will provide additional resources to the Registrar to ensure it is able to use these powers.

The reforms we are making to Companies House are significant, and we are adopting a phased approach to implementation. The new powers at the Registrar's disposal will come into effect over the coming months, with many being available to the Registrar from 4 March. Some others, such as ID verification, require secondary legislation and significant systems development, and will not take effect until later.

We are committed to ensuring the Registrar has the necessary resources to implement these changes.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what checks Companies House carry out to ensure that businesses are not being registered fraudulently under incorrect addresses.

The Registrar carries out checks to ensure filings are complete, but at present, she has limited powers to verify or validate the information which is delivered to her. Provided a document appears to be properly delivered, the Registrar must register it.

The Registrar will be given broader powers under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act so that she can become a more active gatekeeper over company registrations. This will include powers to check, challenge and refuse to register any information which is inaccurate or false whilst also ensuring any fraudulent addresses can be removed more easily.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of hidden fees and charges on financial and digital transactions on (a) local economic activity, (b) national economic activity, (c) consumers and (d) household debt.

Consumer law requires that all charges and fees are clear up front (including those related to consumer credit) and not hidden. Consumers then know what they will be paying and can make choices based between competitive suppliers on that basis. These rules are not driven by an assessment of economic activity nationally or locally but enable consumers to compare prices as they shop. Separately the Office for National Statistics and the Office for Budget Responsibility provide data on economic activity and household indebtedness.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of (a) capping and (b) further regulating the profits of distribution network operators.

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

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has had recent discussions with Ofgem on the distribution network operator pricing consultation entitled Network Price Controls 2021-2028 RIIO-2; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reopening the consultation.

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

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the potential relationship between consumer energy costs and the profits made by distribution network operators.

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

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of reports that businesses have had loan applications refused due to their credit histories detailing applications for governmental covid-19 Bounce Back Loans.

Like any commercial credit agreement, Bounce Back Loans are reported by lenders to credit reference agencies, and will be recorded on a borrower’s business credit file. Where a borrower goes into default, this will be reported to credit rating agencies and may impact a borrower’s ability to access credit in the future.

Creditworthiness assessments are ultimately an internal matter for lenders, and it would not be appropriate for the Government to comment on these decisions.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, following the BBC Panorama report on 3 October, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) environmental and (b) financial impact of burning imported wood pellets for energy at Drax power station.

The UK only supports sustainable biomass use which can deliver genuine greenhouse gas emissions savings compared to fossil materials. The regulator Ofgem is responsible for auditing the sustainability of biomass used by electricity generators which receive support under the Renewables Obligation. Ofgem routinely checks whether the sustainability criteria have been met by generators.

Sustainability information is publicly available on Ofgem’s website, with the latest dataset accessible here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/biomass-sustainability-dataset-2020-21. The forthcoming Biomass Strategy will set out recommendations for further enhancing the UK’s stringent biomass sustainability criteria.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to promote inclusive recruitment practices in the private sector.

All employers should be fair and objective in their selection of successful candidates and must not discriminate unlawfully, for example on grounds of race, sex or disability, in their recruitment methods.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department will publish the Government’s response to the consultation on the Fuel Poverty for England Strategy, which closed on 16 September 2019.

We intend to publish the Government response to the consultation on updating the Fuel Poverty Strategy for England shortly.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the energy efficiency voucher scheme directly assists people affected by fuel poverty.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the scheme will be announced in due course, before the full launch of the scheme.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has in place to enable (a) private renters, (b) leaseholders and (c) people engaged in part ownership schemes in Salford to access the energy efficiency voucher scheme; and what income threshold he plans to put in place for each category to qualify for the maximum grant.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has in place to enable social housing renters in Salford to access the energy efficiency voucher scheme; and at what income threshold those renters will qualify for the maximum grant.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery. Low income households will receive a higher rate of subsidy of up to 100% of the cost of measures.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch of the scheme.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) housing associations and (b) local authorities will be able to access the Government's efficiency voucher scheme to upgrade properties on behalf of their tenants.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Low income households will receive a higher rate of subsidy of up to 100% of the cost of measures.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch of the scheme.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether housing associations that manage properties subject to overarching PFI arrangements and were previously excluded from Government funding schemes to remove and replace flammable ACM cladding, will be entitled to access the Government's energy efficiency voucher scheme to upgrade those properties.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Low income households will receive a higher rate of subsidy of up to 100% of the cost of measures.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) private and (b) social sector tenants will be able to require their landlord to access the Government's energy efficiency voucher scheme to upgrade their property.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Low income households will receive a higher rate of subsidy of up to 100% of the cost of measures.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether a landlord that receives funding from the Government's energy efficiency voucher scheme is prevented from raising the level of (a) energy bills, (b) rent and (c) service charges applied to tenants as a result of work financed by that voucher scheme.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Low income households will receive a higher rate of subsidy of up to 100% of the cost of measures.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what date the reopening for tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons, massage therapists, reflexologists and other close contact services will be confirmed.

We have now provided close contact services in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) criteria and (b) guidance he is following to determine (i) a date and (ii) the ancillary safety measures required for the reopening of tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons, massage therapists, reflexologists and other close contact services.

We have now provided close contact services in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, making any changes depends on us continuing to meet the five tests, and the fifth test, which is being confident any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS, is informed by the Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer’s opinion.

This guidance was developed with stakeholders like Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, taking into account the latest scientific and medical advice, as our other guidance has.

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for some businesses. Every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what advice the Government has received from SAGE on the date of reopening for tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons, massage therapists, reflexologists and other close contact services.

Our approach to the types of businesses that can reopen is guided by the scientific and medical advice. SAGE provides world-leading scientific advice to the Government. However, making any changes depends on us continuing to meet the five tests.

We have now provided other close contact services like tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons, massage therapists and reflexologists in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations the Government has received from representatives of industry organisations on the date of reopening for tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons, massage therapists, reflexologists and other close contact services.

The Close Contact Services taskforce comprised stakeholders from a cross-section of the sector, including representative organisations. We consulted these stakeholders due to their expertise and real-life knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by the industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This taskforce was responsible for developing guidance to help businesses in this sector prepare to reopen safely; it was not focused on when a return to work might be brought about.

Representations have included:

  • All Party Parliamentary Group for Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing
  • Associated Beauty Therapists
  • Coalition letter from 180 businesses in the beauty, aesthetics, spa and wellness industry; and
  • The National Hair and Beauty Federation.

We have now provided other close contact services like tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons, massage therapists and reflexologists in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to offer additional financial support to people working in tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons, massage therapy, reflexology and other close contact services in the event that a date for reopening can not yet be confirmed.

Close contact services in England, except Leicester, have been able to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

The Government has introduced a comprehensive package of measures to support businesses through this difficult period, including Government-backed loan schemes providing facilities of between £2000 and £200 million, which will run for an initial period of six months.

The schemes offer generous terms to help firms manage debts: under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) Government covers any interest and lender-levied fees for the first 12 months.

Additionally, under BBLS no repayments are due for the first 12 months, and interest is capped at 2.5%. Businesses can also access support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, deferral of VAT and income tax payment, grant funding for small businesses, and more.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to decarbonise the (a) electricity and (b) heating sectors.

In 2019, the Government set a legally binding-target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. The Government has introduced many initiatives to decarbonise and increase the supply of renewable energy production in the UK and have already made great strides forward. Over 50% of our power now comes from low carbon sources and coal is all but being eliminated from the mix.

Earlier this month, the Government announced that onshore wind, solar and other established technologies, will be eligible for the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation round in 2021. In March 2019, the Government published the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which will build on the United Kingdom’s global leadership in offshore wind by working with the Sector to increase productivity and develop new offshore wind technologies. The Sector Deal also commits to increasing diversity in the sector, with the ambition of increasing the percentage of women and people from BAME backgrounds employed in offshore wind.

The Government also announced an investment of £800 million to deploy the first?carbon capture?storage (CCS) cluster by the mid-2020s. We are supporting wider industrial decarbonisation by investing £500 million to support energy-intensive industries adopt low-carbon?technologies, for which CCS will play a key part.

We also have an ambitious programme of work already underway to support heat decarbonisation. In the Budget we announced our intention to extend the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for 12 months, ahead of the launch of a new Clean Heat Grant scheme. We also announced a third allocation of Tariff Guarantees for the Non-Domestic RHI to continue support for large-scale plants which require investment certainty to proceed. This will help ensure continuous support before launch of the new Green Gas support scheme

We are investing up to £320m, through grants and loans, to accelerate the growth of the UK heat networks market through the Heat Networks Investment Project and have launched the £16.5 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project, to demonstrate the feasibility of a large-scale transition to electrification of heat in Great Britain. We have announced spending of up to £121 million on hydrogen innovation and working with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive programme of work to demonstrate the technical and practical feasibility of using hydrogen in place of natural gas for heating.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes the Government plans to upgrade to EPC Band C by 2030; and whether the Government has targets for such upgrades.

In the Clean Growth Strategy, Government set an aspiration for as many homes as possible to be EPC Band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective and affordable, with an earlier target of 2030 for homes in fuel poverty. Good progress has already been made, with 34% of homes in England at Band C or above. This is an increase from 7% in 2007.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to improve the energy efficiency of housing for fuel poor households.

The Energy Company Obligation is worth £640m per year and since December 2018 has been focused on upgrading the homes of low income and vulnerable households.

In April 2018, we introduced for the first time a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC Band E for private rented sector properties, with all private rented properties required to meet, or exceed, this standard by 1 April 2020.

In 2019, we launched Simple Energy Advice, a new digital and phoneline service to provide homeowners with impartial and tailored advice on how to cut their energy bills and make their homes greener, as well as information on any available financial support.

The latest fuel poverty statistics showed that there are 800,000 fewer fuel poor households living in the least efficient homes – Bands E, F and G – compared to 2010.

The Government will detail its future plans to tackle fuel poverty in due course.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the cost savings to the NHS of improving all housing to EPC Band C.

Understanding the benefits of improving the energy efficiency of homes to both householder health, and to the NHS is of great value. The benefits to households’ health from improving their homes’ thermal performance are already included in our impact assessments where relevant, and we are currently undertaking a study to enable us to quantify the cost savings to the health service of improving the energy efficiency of homes.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage homeowners to invest in energy efficiency; and what incentives the Government is providing to improve energy efficiency in homes.

In the Clean Growth Strategy, Government set an aspiration for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035 and is developing a suite of mutually supporting policies and measures that will help deliver this:

Our current Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and its successor will drive £6bn of additional investment to support energy improvements in low-income, vulnerable and fuel poor households between 2018 and 2028.

In order to improve rented properties, we introduced the Private Rented Sector Minimum standard regulations on 1?April 2018. The regulations require landlords to bring their properties to EPC Band E or above. We will consult on tightening the minimum energy standards in due course.

We have also committed to consult on requirements for mortgage lenders to help households improve the energy efficiency of the homes they lend to and last summer we launched the £5m Green Home Finance Innovation Fund to support the development of green finance products.

In addition, we have launched Simple Energy Advice, a digital platform offering impartial and tailored advice for consumers on how to make their homes more energy efficient.

21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of holiday and short term rentals in apartment blocks on neighbouring long term residents.

The Tourism Recovery Plan, published in June 2021, included a commitment to consult on a Tourism Accommodation Registration Scheme in England.

Ahead of this, the government intends to launch a call for evidence that will seek views on a range of issues that arise from the increase in short term and holiday letting.

First, I want to gather information that will improve the government’s understanding of the benefits and challenges of the increase in short-term and holiday letting we have seen in England in recent years. Second, I want to gather initial views on what would and would not constitute a proportionate response to addressing some of the challenges.

This evidence will help us determine whether there are options the government should pursue through a consultation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Information Commissioner's Office has to take regulatory action against banks and other financial lenders, who fail to meet their obligations relating to Subject Access Requests, submitted to them by law firms acting on behalf of clients bringing actions under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

The Information Commissioner is the UK’s independent regulator of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Under the data protection legislation, people have the right to access and receive a copy of their personal data from organisations. This is commonly referred to as a subject access request. Individuals have a right to appoint a third party to act on their behalf, if they wish.

A subject access request must be responded to without undue delay and at the latest within one month of receiving the request. An extension of a further two months can be given if the request is complex, or if the individual has submitted a number of requests, for example, other types of requests relating to individuals’ rights.

The DPA provides a number of exemptions from the requirement to comply with a subject access request. For example, organisations can withhold information if that information could identify someone else, and it would not be reasonable to disclose that information to the individual; or if the information relates to legal proceedings and is subject to legal professional privilege. An organisation can also refuse to comply with a subject access request if the request is ‘manifestly unfounded’ or ‘manifestly excessive’.

People have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if an organisation fails to comply with a subject access request. The ICO can be contacted by telephone on 0303 123 1113 or through its website: https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/. The ICO may take action against the organisation in appropriate cases, for example, by issuing the organisation with a warning, reprimand or enforcement notice. The ICO can issue a civil monetary penalty in the most serious cases.

The ICO exercises its enforcement powers in accordance with its Regulatory Action Policy, which can be found at: https://ico.org.uk/media/1853/data-protection-regulatory-action-policy.pdf. The ICO monitors patterns in complaints, and is not aware of any particular pattern of non-compliance by banks or other financial lenders with regards to subject access requests.

A requester may also apply for a court order in the event of non-compliance with a subject access request, requiring the organisation to comply or to seek compensation. It is a matter for the court to decide, in each particular case, what action to take.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what further steps he will take to ensure that banks and other financial lenders are meeting their obligations when responding to Subject Access Requests, submitted to them by law firms acting on behalf of clients bringing actions under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

The Information Commissioner is the UK’s independent regulator of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Under the data protection legislation, people have the right to access and receive a copy of their personal data from organisations. This is commonly referred to as a subject access request. Individuals have a right to appoint a third party to act on their behalf, if they wish.

A subject access request must be responded to without undue delay and at the latest within one month of receiving the request. An extension of a further two months can be given if the request is complex, or if the individual has submitted a number of requests, for example, other types of requests relating to individuals’ rights.

The DPA provides a number of exemptions from the requirement to comply with a subject access request. For example, organisations can withhold information if that information could identify someone else, and it would not be reasonable to disclose that information to the individual; or if the information relates to legal proceedings and is subject to legal professional privilege. An organisation can also refuse to comply with a subject access request if the request is ‘manifestly unfounded’ or ‘manifestly excessive’.

People have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if an organisation fails to comply with a subject access request. The ICO can be contacted by telephone on 0303 123 1113 or through its website: https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/. The ICO may take action against the organisation in appropriate cases, for example, by issuing the organisation with a warning, reprimand or enforcement notice. The ICO can issue a civil monetary penalty in the most serious cases.

The ICO exercises its enforcement powers in accordance with its Regulatory Action Policy, which can be found at: https://ico.org.uk/media/1853/data-protection-regulatory-action-policy.pdf. The ICO monitors patterns in complaints, and is not aware of any particular pattern of non-compliance by banks or other financial lenders with regards to subject access requests.

A requester may also apply for a court order in the event of non-compliance with a subject access request, requiring the organisation to comply or to seek compensation. It is a matter for the court to decide, in each particular case, what action to take.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions on (a) the guidance for children's soft play centres to safely reopen in a covid-secure way, and (b) the limitations on maximum occupancy at soft play centres due to needing a minimum of 100 sq ft per person.

Officials in DCMS have been working closely with the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) and public health officials on the guidance for children’s indoor play centres, including soft play. Government officials supported BALPPA to develop COVID-secure guidance to enable the sector to safely reopen on 15 August. As part of this guidance, a series of robust measures have been put in place - including a regular enhanced cleaning schedule, removal of ‘clutter’ and systems to enable test and trace.

The guidance currently states that there is a maximum capacity of 40% for soft play frames based on the total number of users, including parents or guardian supervising. This measure was recommended by public health officials to ensure that venues are COVID-secure, which is necessary to help avoid the transmission of COVID-19.

The reference to 100sqft has since been removed from the guidance following conversations with BALPPA and other industry leaders.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the recent easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of permitting metal detecting hobbyists to return to their recreation.

This government recognises that finds made by the public, including those found by metal-detectorists, make an immense contribution to our knowledge of the archaeology and history of Britain.

The recent easing of lockdown restrictions means that since 13th May, people have been, and are, able to enjoy metal-detecting, as long as they adhere to social distancing measures. At the moment, in England, this means that groups of up to six individuals from different households are able to meet outside to metal detect as long as they maintain 2 meters between them.

To support the hobby, the department has published guidance on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-searching-for-archaeological-finds-in-england-during-covid-19.

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help support the mental health of children from (a) families seeking asylum and (b) refugee families in educational settings.

The government wants all children, regardless of their background or the challenges they face, to grow up happy, healthy and safe.

While education settings are not specialist mental health support providers, schools and colleges have an important role to play in identifying and responding to mental health needs, whether by providing targeted pastoral support or ensuring referrals are made to external specialist support. The department has put in place a wide range of training and guidance to help education staff do so effectively.

The department’s mental health and behaviour guidance supports education staff to identify children in need of extra mental health support. This includes information on how adverse childhood experiences, including loss or separation and traumatic incidents, can affect children’s mental health, and on working with external agencies to put in place effective support. The guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2.

The department is offering every state school and college in England funding to train a senior mental health lead, who can oversee an effective whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing. This approach should include robust processes for identifying pupils or groups of pupils in need of further support, which may include children from refugee or asylum-seeking families.

To ensure more children and young people have access to early intervention support, the department is continuing to roll out mental health support teams to schools and colleges in England. These teams currently cover over 35% of pupils in schools and learners in further education and the department is extending coverage to at least 50% by April 2025.

Further information on these programmes and other sources of support to help schools and colleges promote and support mental health can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many academies were re-brokered in (a) 2021, (b) 2022 and (b) 2023; and for what reasons each academy was re-brokered.

Between 2021 and 2023, 649 academies have transferred trust. The below table provides detail on the reasons for transfer. Further information is available via the Academy Transfers and Funding publication, which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/academy-transfers-and-funding.

2021

2022

2023

Due to Intervention

40

32

24

Transfer Initiated by Trust

135

162

179

Sponsor Closure

26

41

10

20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of statutory educational assessments on the mental heath of children undertaking those assessments in (a) primary and (b) secondary education.

At present, there are no statutory assessments in secondary education. Regarding statutory assessments in primary education, I refer the hon. Member for Salford and Eccles to the answer my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Schools, gave on 21 February 2023 to Question 141620.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to The National Food Strategy: The Plan, Appendices 3 and 14, published in July 2021, whether her Department has taken steps to implement the Eat and Learn initiative for schools in that Plan; and whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of removing the requirement to serve meat three times a week from the mandatory School Food Standards in the context of developing a sustainability and health-driven national reference diet.

The Department believes it is vital that pupils are taught about food and nutrition. Making healthy choices is relevant at all Key Stages, which is why these principles are taught and applied throughout school. Early Years practitioners encourage children to learn the importance of healthy eating using both narrative and visual resources. Pupils are then taught to understand healthy eating and lifestyle, including cooking, through science, design and technology and health education curricula at both primary and secondary level. Since autumn 2022, pupils have had the opportunity to be taught about food through the Climate Leaders’ Award.

Older pupils can understand the employment opportunities and the pathways leading to careers in the food sector. Ten high quality apprenticeships are available across a range of catering and hospitality professions and a T Level in Catering will teach the core knowledge and skills needed to enter such occupations, from September 2023.

Regarding the School Food Standards, the Department believes the standards provide a robust yet flexible framework to ensure that pupils in England continue to receive high quality and nutritious food that builds healthy eating habits for life. The standards are being kept under review.

7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of statutory mental health assessments on children undertaking those assessments in (a) primary and (b) secondary education.

There are no statutory mental health assessments in primary or secondary schools. It is up to schools to decide what assessments to use with their pupils in order to inform their whole-school mental health provision, as well as the support that might be needed by individual pupils, taking into account the effect of the assessment on pupils.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the final report of the Independent Commission on Assessment in Primary Education; and what plans the Government has to implement that report's recommendations.

Primary assessments play a crucial role in supporting pupils to grasp the basics of reading, writing and mathematics and to prepare them for secondary school. They allow parents and schools to understand pupils’ achievements in relation to the age-related attainment expectations outlined in the National Curriculum.

In 2017, the Department carried out a consultation into primary assessment in England, with the aim of creating a settled policy in this area. The consultation received over 4,000 responses from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialisms, providing a broad and informed range of views. The Department has reached the end of the programme of reform to the current primary assessment system that followed. The Department has no current plans to undertake further major reform.

The Department remains committed to producing and publishing school-level accountability measures using full-cohort assessment data, which provide important information to support parents when choosing schools. The Department keeps all school performance measures under review, and welcomes feedback on how it can be refined and improved.

As primary school tests and assessments returned in 2021/22 for the first time since 2019, without any adaptations, the results were not published in Key Stage 2 performance tables. The usual suite of Key Stage 2 accountability measures has been produced at school level and shared securely with primary schools, academy trusts, Local Authorities and Ofsted to inform school improvement, inspection and to help identify schools most in need of support. This is a transitional arrangement for the first year in which primary assessments returned. The Department intends to publish Key Stage 2 assessment data on the performance measures website again for 2022/23.

7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to meet annual teacher recruitment targets.

As of the last School Workforce Census (November 2021, published in June 2022), the number of teachers remains high, with over 465,500 full time equivalent teachers working in state funded schools across the country. This is over 24,000 more than in 2010. The Department recognises there is more to do to ensure teaching remains an attractive, high-status profession.

The Department recognises that some subjects remain more challenging to recruit to than others. The Department has announced a £181 million financial incentives package for those starting initial teacher training (ITT) in the 2023/24 academic year. The Department is providing bursaries worth up to £27,000 and scholarships worth up to £29,000 to encourage trainees to apply to train in key secondary subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computing.

The Department has expanded the offer to international trainees in physics and languages.

The Department provides a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 for mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who work in disadvantaged schools nationally, including within Education Investment Areas. The eligibility criteria and list of eligible schools is on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/levelling-up-premium-payments-for-teachers.

The Department has recently raised starting salaries outside London by 8.9% to £28,000 and remains committed to the Government’s ambition of delivering £30,000 starting salaries to attract talented people to teaching. The Department has also implemented the School Teachers' Review Body recommendation of a 5% pay uplift for experienced teachers and leaders in 2022/23.

In autumn 2021, the Department launched the ‘apply for teacher training’ digital service. This enables a more streamlined, user friendly application route to attract and train teachers.

The Department is also taking action to attract more people to teaching and enable them to succeed through transforming their training and support. The Department has created an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development underpinned by the ITT Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework. Together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to support students through the cost of living crisis.

The department is working with the Office for Students (OfS) to ensure universities support students in hardship using both hardship funds and drawing on the student premium. As part of this, we have invested £261 million into the student premium this academic year to support disadvantaged students who need additional help. Further to this, higher education providers offer additional support programmes.

All households will save on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount. The Energy Prices Act passed on 25 October 2022 includes the provision to require landlords to pass benefits they receive from energy price support, as appropriate, onto end users. Further details of the requirements under this act are set out in the legislation.

Students whose bills are included in their rent, including energy charges, will typically have agreed their accommodation costs upfront when signing their contract for the current academic year. Businesses, including those that provide student accommodation, are covered by the Energy Bill Relief Scheme which provides energy bill relief for non-domestic customers in Great Britain.

A Treasury-led review will be launched to consider how to support households and businesses with energy bills after April 2023.

Any student that has concerns should speak to their university about securing additional support.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of levels of student maintenance loans.

The department is currently considering options for changes to loans and grants for living and other costs for the 2023/24 academic year, starting in August 2023. An announcement will follow in due course.

The department has continued to increase living costs support each year, with a 2.3% increase to maximum loans and grants for living and other costs for the 2022/23 academic year. Students who have been awarded a loan for living costs for the 2022/23 academic year that is lower than the maximum, and whose household income for the 2022/23 tax year has dropped by at least 15% compared to the income provided for their original assessment, can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.

The department recognises the additional cost of living pressures that have arisen this year which have affected students. However, decisions on student finance will have to be taken alongside other spending priorities to ensure the system remains financially sustainable and the costs of higher education are shared fairly between students and taxpayers, not all of whom have benefited from going to university.

The department is working with the Office for Students to ensure universities support students in hardship using both hardship funds and drawing on the student premium. As part of this, we have invested £261 million into the student premium this academic year to support disadvantaged students who need additional help.

To help with the cost of living all households will save on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount. The Energy Prices Act passed on 25 October 2022 includes the provision to require landlords to pass benefits they receive from energy price support, as appropriate, onto end users. Further details of the requirements under this act are set out in the legislation.

Students whose bills are included in their rent, including energy charges, will typically have agreed their accommodation costs upfront when signing their contract for the current academic year. Businesses, including those that provide student accommodation, are covered by the Energy Bill Relief Scheme which provides energy bill relief for non-domestic customers in Great Britain.

A Treasury-led review will be launched to consider how to support households and businesses with energy bills after April 2023.

Any student that has concerns should speak to their university about securing additional support.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is being given to British nationals studying at universities in Ukraine until the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier in 2022, who have not been able to complete their degree courses.

Universities in Ukraine are striving to maintain the education of their students under extremely challenging conditions. This includes through the provision of online distance learning for students enrolled at Ukrainian universities, but who now live in another country, including in the UK. Students should speak with their education provider in Ukraine to understand what support is available to them to continue their studies, including through the UK twinning programme, which provides support to Ukrainian providers by establishing partnerships with universities in the UK.

Students may also wish to explore their options with providers in the UK and the department encourages them to speak with prospective providers to see what options are available to them. Institutions in England have been urged to consider students’ circumstances sensitively and show as much flexibility as possible.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether any funding from the public purse has been allocated to the Family Hubs Network, founded by Lord Farmer, as part of the Government’s rollout of the Family Hub Model Framework.

The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents, carers, babies, and children in half of local authorities across England. This includes £82 million to create a network of family hubs.

The department will set out more detail in due course on how this new funding will be allocated. This builds on a £12 million family hubs transformation fund, which will support at least 12 local authorities in England to transform to a family hub model of service delivery. The family hubs model framework, published alongside the application guide for the family hub local transformation fund, provides information to local authorities bidding for transformation funding. Guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/family-hubs-transformation-fund.

The vast majority of government investment in family hubs will be allocated through councils and other public bodies. No funding has been allocated to the Family Hubs Network run by Lord Farmer. The department holds no contracts with the Family Hubs Network Ltd, and all government contracts are procured through fair and open competition.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the relationship is between the Family Hubs Local Transformation Fund and the Family Hubs Network.

The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents, carers, babies, and children in half of local authorities across England. This includes £82 million to create a network of family hubs.

The department will set out more detail in due course on how this new funding will be allocated. This builds on a £12 million family hubs transformation fund, which will support at least 12 local authorities in England to transform to a family hub model of service delivery. The family hubs model framework, published alongside the application guide for the family hub local transformation fund, provides information to local authorities bidding for transformation funding. Guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/family-hubs-transformation-fund.

The vast majority of government investment in family hubs will be allocated through councils and other public bodies. No funding has been allocated to the Family Hubs Network run by Lord Farmer. The department holds no contracts with the Family Hubs Network Ltd, and all government contracts are procured through fair and open competition.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Student Loan Company’s eQuote portal for securing student support services and technology from assistive technology service providers, what timescale is planned for the rollout of the tender procurement process that will replace the current interim eQuote portal.

The e-quote system has been introduced as an interim measure to increase transparency of pricing and provide the department and the Student Loans Company (SLC) with improved access to data and information on the costs and supply of assistive technology. This is particularly important considering the concerns made public by the Competition and Markets Authority last year in relation to allegations of price-fixing of supplies to disabled students.

There are a number of quality measures in place for the equipment and associated services procured through SLC’s e-quote portal. All equipment procured through the e-quote portal must meet the relevant specification set by SLC and the department. The department has also set out its expectations for the standards that assistive technology service providers should meet in a guidance document published here: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/exchange-blog/2021/march/02032021-guidance-for-assistive-technology-service-providers-atsps/.

In addition to this, SLC conducts a regular student satisfaction survey to identify any issues that students may experience so that they can be addressed.

On the question of factors other than price, it is an essential criterion that the package of support quoted for meets the student’s needs and the relevant specification. Quotes are sourced only from suppliers who are registered with the department and are therefore required to comply with the standards referenced above. The system selects the most cost-effective solution once these requirements have been met, in line with SLC’s responsibilities for securing value for money for Disabled Students’ Allowance expenditure.

On the question of the timeframe for the procurement, SLC is due to publish a Prior Information Notice on 4 February 2022 which will set out further details.


Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the Student Loan Company’s eQuote portal in (a) securing high quality student support services and technology from assistive technology service providers, (b) evaluating the extent that the quality of services both achieves and exceeds the minimum standards required to be allowed to bid and (c) adequately weighting the incorporation of factors aside from price in terms of the contracts recommended through the portal to customers.

The e-quote system has been introduced as an interim measure to increase transparency of pricing and provide the department and the Student Loans Company (SLC) with improved access to data and information on the costs and supply of assistive technology. This is particularly important considering the concerns made public by the Competition and Markets Authority last year in relation to allegations of price-fixing of supplies to disabled students.

There are a number of quality measures in place for the equipment and associated services procured through SLC’s e-quote portal. All equipment procured through the e-quote portal must meet the relevant specification set by SLC and the department. The department has also set out its expectations for the standards that assistive technology service providers should meet in a guidance document published here: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/exchange-blog/2021/march/02032021-guidance-for-assistive-technology-service-providers-atsps/.

In addition to this, SLC conducts a regular student satisfaction survey to identify any issues that students may experience so that they can be addressed.

On the question of factors other than price, it is an essential criterion that the package of support quoted for meets the student’s needs and the relevant specification. Quotes are sourced only from suppliers who are registered with the department and are therefore required to comply with the standards referenced above. The system selects the most cost-effective solution once these requirements have been met, in line with SLC’s responsibilities for securing value for money for Disabled Students’ Allowance expenditure.

On the question of the timeframe for the procurement, SLC is due to publish a Prior Information Notice on 4 February 2022 which will set out further details.


Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the indicative thresholds for numbers of infection set by his Department in its contingency framework, in the context of the latest data on transmission of covid-19 in schools and other educational settings.

The department has worked with the UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA) to develop the thresholds outlined in the contingency framework. These are designed to help schools identify when it might be sensible to seek public health advice. It is not mandatory to seek public health advice when these thresholds are reached, and the thresholds alone do not guarantee that there is an ‘outbreak’ in the school. They are intended as a guide to indicate where there may be a substantial increase in transmission within the school.

Schools should continue to use their reasonable judgement when it appears that COVID-19 might be spreading between people who closely mix and seek advice from the department’s helpline or through locally agreed support if they have any concerns. We believe that the protective measures in place in schools continues to strike the right balance between managing the transmission risk and reducing disruption to education.

The department remains prepared to step measures up or down in response to the latest epidemiological data. The department will continue to monitor it closely and will not hesitate to amend or update policy and guidance if it is necessary to help protect people’s health and support maximising face-to-face education.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the removal of the Government's recommendation for students, staff and visitors in schools and other educational settings to (a) socially distance or stay in bubbles and (b) wear face coverings on transmission of covid-19 in those settings.

The department’s priority is for all nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils and students and to minimise disruption to education. We have worked closely with the UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA) throughout our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including to revise our guidance from step 4 when the government relaxed most restrictions across all parts of society.

At step 4, the Department removed the recommendation for schools and colleges to keep pupils and students in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). Face coverings are also no longer recommended in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. The control measures that remain in place in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities aim to strike a balance between managing transmission risk and reducing disruption to education. These include maintaining good hygiene, keeping spaces well ventilated, and following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managed confirmed cases.

All nurseries, schools, colleges and universities should have contingency plans in place describing what they would do if children, pupils, students, or staff test positive for COVID-19, or how they would operate if they were advised to reintroduce any additional measures. The contingency framework sets out the measures that all nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities should be prepared for if they were advised to take extra measures to help break chains of transmission. It also sets out thresholds for managing COVID-19 cases and when nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities should consider seeking public health advice. The contingency framework can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings.

There has been an increase in case rates amongst children since the return of schools, but evidence continues to show that children and young people remain at a very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Following the success of the vaccine rollout amongst older and more vulnerable populations, the department is now focusing on maximising the number of children and young people in face-to-face education and minimising the disruption that control measures can cause.

The department continues to closely review data, analysis, and advice from a number of different sources, including UKSHA, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, and the Office for National Statistics. We also continue to work closely with local authorities and their Directors of Public Health to inform our planning and response. The department will continue to keep all measures under review in partnership with health experts and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department consulted functional skills qualifications professionals prior to taking the decision of April 2021 that functional skills qualifications should resume based on examination wherever possible while in line with covid-19 public health measures rather than using coursework and/or teacher assessed grades.

The department and Ofqual launched a joint consultation in January 2021, seeking the views of teachers, students, parents, schools and colleges. We set out our proposals on exams and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications, including for Functional Skills qualifications, and the alternative arrangements that would be used where exams do not take place. We also conducted an equality impact assessment as part of the consultation. The majority of respondents agreed that all efforts should be made to allow learners to take a Functional Skills assessment, in line with public health measures or remotely. Where the learner is ready, but assessments cannot take place in centres on public health grounds, teacher assessed grades are available.

As set out in the consultation, the size, structure, assessment, and teaching practices of Functional Skills differ from other qualifications. Many are taken on-demand and by a wide range of learners including 16-19 year olds, adults and apprentices, in a wide range of contexts. Learners will take assessments when they are ready. This approach was designed to give the maximum opportunity to progress in learning or employment, as it allows learners to engage with live exams now or results based on teacher assessment where these are necessary and appropriate.

We recognise the challenges suffered by many students who will feel apprehensive about taking assessments and we are incredibly grateful for the tremendous efforts that teachers have made to continue to provide high quality education throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Awarding organisations have long-established arrangements for mitigating the effect of issues such as those relating to mental health. This year, Ofqual has required awarding organisations to review those arrangements to ensure they are fit for purpose. Those students who are able to take assessments but are concerned about the impact of mental health affecting their performance should speak to their centres and awarding organisation to understand the special consideration process.

Additionally, remote invigilation has offered the opportunity to take assessments at home and some providers have reported that this has helped with anxiety. Together with Ofqual, we have supported the roll out of remote invigilation by awarding organisations to give more options to learners and centres for taking assessments. We have seen an increase in volumes of assessments taken via remote invigilation and also live assessments as settings have re-opened.

The department will monitor and review the impact of disruption to learning in vocational and technical qualifications (including Functional Skills qualifications) and General Qualifications (including GCSEs and A levels).

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the decision of April 2021 that assessment by examination should resume wherever possible while in line with covid-19 public health measures for functional skills qualifications (FSQ), what the evidential basis is that those students affected will be as able to receive grades that reflect their ability under normal circumstances; and what comparative assessment his Department has made of the effect of disruption to learning following the covid-19 outbreak on (a) those students studying for FSQs and (b) students studying for (i) vocational training qualifications, (ii) GCSEs and (iii) A Levels.

The department and Ofqual launched a joint consultation in January 2021, seeking the views of teachers, students, parents, schools and colleges. We set out our proposals on exams and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications, including for Functional Skills qualifications, and the alternative arrangements that would be used where exams do not take place. We also conducted an equality impact assessment as part of the consultation. The majority of respondents agreed that all efforts should be made to allow learners to take a Functional Skills assessment, in line with public health measures or remotely. Where the learner is ready, but assessments cannot take place in centres on public health grounds, teacher assessed grades are available.

As set out in the consultation, the size, structure, assessment, and teaching practices of Functional Skills differ from other qualifications. Many are taken on-demand and by a wide range of learners including 16-19 year olds, adults and apprentices, in a wide range of contexts. Learners will take assessments when they are ready. This approach was designed to give the maximum opportunity to progress in learning or employment, as it allows learners to engage with live exams now or results based on teacher assessment where these are necessary and appropriate.

We recognise the challenges suffered by many students who will feel apprehensive about taking assessments and we are incredibly grateful for the tremendous efforts that teachers have made to continue to provide high quality education throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Awarding organisations have long-established arrangements for mitigating the effect of issues such as those relating to mental health. This year, Ofqual has required awarding organisations to review those arrangements to ensure they are fit for purpose. Those students who are able to take assessments but are concerned about the impact of mental health affecting their performance should speak to their centres and awarding organisation to understand the special consideration process.

Additionally, remote invigilation has offered the opportunity to take assessments at home and some providers have reported that this has helped with anxiety. Together with Ofqual, we have supported the roll out of remote invigilation by awarding organisations to give more options to learners and centres for taking assessments. We have seen an increase in volumes of assessments taken via remote invigilation and also live assessments as settings have re-opened.

The department will monitor and review the impact of disruption to learning in vocational and technical qualifications (including Functional Skills qualifications) and General Qualifications (including GCSEs and A levels).

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the decision of April 2021 that functional skills qualifications should resume based on examination wherever possible while in line with covid-19 public health measures rather than using coursework and/or teacher assessed grades, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of that decision on the mental health of students affected, including those wishing to enter further or higher education based on those grades in autumn 2021.

The department and Ofqual launched a joint consultation in January 2021, seeking the views of teachers, students, parents, schools and colleges. We set out our proposals on exams and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications, including for Functional Skills qualifications, and the alternative arrangements that would be used where exams do not take place. We also conducted an equality impact assessment as part of the consultation. The majority of respondents agreed that all efforts should be made to allow learners to take a Functional Skills assessment, in line with public health measures or remotely. Where the learner is ready, but assessments cannot take place in centres on public health grounds, teacher assessed grades are available.

As set out in the consultation, the size, structure, assessment, and teaching practices of Functional Skills differ from other qualifications. Many are taken on-demand and by a wide range of learners including 16-19 year olds, adults and apprentices, in a wide range of contexts. Learners will take assessments when they are ready. This approach was designed to give the maximum opportunity to progress in learning or employment, as it allows learners to engage with live exams now or results based on teacher assessment where these are necessary and appropriate.

We recognise the challenges suffered by many students who will feel apprehensive about taking assessments and we are incredibly grateful for the tremendous efforts that teachers have made to continue to provide high quality education throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Awarding organisations have long-established arrangements for mitigating the effect of issues such as those relating to mental health. This year, Ofqual has required awarding organisations to review those arrangements to ensure they are fit for purpose. Those students who are able to take assessments but are concerned about the impact of mental health affecting their performance should speak to their centres and awarding organisation to understand the special consideration process.

Additionally, remote invigilation has offered the opportunity to take assessments at home and some providers have reported that this has helped with anxiety. Together with Ofqual, we have supported the roll out of remote invigilation by awarding organisations to give more options to learners and centres for taking assessments. We have seen an increase in volumes of assessments taken via remote invigilation and also live assessments as settings have re-opened.

The department will monitor and review the impact of disruption to learning in vocational and technical qualifications (including Functional Skills qualifications) and General Qualifications (including GCSEs and A levels).

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department decided that functional skills qualifications should resume based on examination wherever possible while in line with covid-19 public health measures rather than coursework and/or teacher assessed grades as was decided for other qualifications and examinations that would have taken place in summer 2021.

The department and Ofqual launched a joint consultation in January 2021, seeking the views of teachers, students, parents, schools and colleges. We set out our proposals on exams and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications, including for Functional Skills qualifications, and the alternative arrangements that would be used where exams do not take place. We also conducted an equality impact assessment as part of the consultation. The majority of respondents agreed that all efforts should be made to allow learners to take a Functional Skills assessment, in line with public health measures or remotely. Where the learner is ready, but assessments cannot take place in centres on public health grounds, teacher assessed grades are available.

As set out in the consultation, the size, structure, assessment, and teaching practices of Functional Skills differ from other qualifications. Many are taken on-demand and by a wide range of learners including 16-19 year olds, adults and apprentices, in a wide range of contexts. Learners will take assessments when they are ready. This approach was designed to give the maximum opportunity to progress in learning or employment, as it allows learners to engage with live exams now or results based on teacher assessment where these are necessary and appropriate.

We recognise the challenges suffered by many students who will feel apprehensive about taking assessments and we are incredibly grateful for the tremendous efforts that teachers have made to continue to provide high quality education throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Awarding organisations have long-established arrangements for mitigating the effect of issues such as those relating to mental health. This year, Ofqual has required awarding organisations to review those arrangements to ensure they are fit for purpose. Those students who are able to take assessments but are concerned about the impact of mental health affecting their performance should speak to their centres and awarding organisation to understand the special consideration process.

Additionally, remote invigilation has offered the opportunity to take assessments at home and some providers have reported that this has helped with anxiety. Together with Ofqual, we have supported the roll out of remote invigilation by awarding organisations to give more options to learners and centres for taking assessments. We have seen an increase in volumes of assessments taken via remote invigilation and also live assessments as settings have re-opened.

The department will monitor and review the impact of disruption to learning in vocational and technical qualifications (including Functional Skills qualifications) and General Qualifications (including GCSEs and A levels).

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to university tuition fees for prospective students starting courses in the academic year 2021-22 who have been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, whether the three-year residency rule relating to eligibility for home fee status excludes those ordinarily resident for the purpose of receiving full-time education in the last three years; what determines the main purpose of residence for a person who has been ordinarily resident in the UK to live with family or a partner as well as receiving full-time education during that same time period; and if his Department will expand the section entitled Settled status on page 4 to 5 of its document entitled, New eligibility rules for home fee status and student finance for the 2021-22 academic year, published in December 2020, to ensure that information on that matter is clear for prospective students.

EU, other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals, and their family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreements will continue to have access to home fee status and student financial support on broadly the same basis as now, subject to meeting the usual residency requirements, which are unchanged. Generally, this covers those who:

  • are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 having exercised a right to reside under EU law, the EEA Agreement or the Free Movement of Persons Agreement; and
  • continue to live in the UK after 31 December 2020.

Such persons will generally have applied for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30 June 2021, apart from Irish citizens, who are not required to apply as their rights will be protected as a result of Common Travel Area arrangements.

From 1 July 2021, a person eligible for the EUSS will be able to make a late application where there are reasonable grounds why they missed the 30 June 2021 deadline.

Those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and who have been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, will generally be eligible for home fee status, tuition fee, and maintenance support if they have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for at least 3 years.

In a case where that person's ordinary residence in the UK and Islands was wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education, they must have been ordinarily resident in the UK, Gibraltar, the European Economic Area or Switzerland immediately beforehand.

The requirement that ordinary residence be not wholly or mainly for the purpose of education is not a new requirement. It formed part of the previous rules which have been retained post-exit for those with EU settled status.

Student Finance England will determine on a case-by-case basis whether an applicant has been resident in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education. However, generally a student would not be prevented from qualifying for support simply because they have been receiving full-time education during some or all of the 3 year prescribed period where, for example, the main purpose of their residence in the UK is to be with their family.

All settled persons who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, including British citizens, must meet the requirement to have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for at least 3 years, and not wholly or mainly for the purposes of education.

The department regularly reviews its guidance and will publish updates in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support provided to pupils entitled to (a) benefits-related free school meals and (b) universal infant free school meals to ensure that they receive sufficient nutrition through those meals during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. School leaders know their communities best and have flexibility to select the most appropriate support for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher scheme, which re-opened on Monday 18 January 2021. Our funding for schools to cover benefits-related free school meals equates to £15 per week per eligible child.

The pictures of food parcels circulating are not acceptable and not in line with guidance. On 13 January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State of Education, met the leading school food suppliers and caterers to insist on urgent action to make sure lunch parcels meet the standards we expect. I am grateful to those firms who are working hard with schools to provide nutritious, balanced lunches for children.

If a parent is concerned about the standards of their lunch parcel, they should speak directly with their school. If a parent cannot resolve their concern through their school, they can contact the department. The department will make contact with suppliers where concerns are escalated, to ensure they are following the good practice guidance we have set out. We will also alert the school to confirm appropriate contract management arrangements are in place, so that immediate improvements are made.

Schools and caterers have been provided with extensive guidance from the Department for Education and from the Local Authority Caterers Association on what each food parcel should include. They should follow our school food standards to ensure they are healthy, nutritious and sufficient – they should:

  • Contain food items rather than pre-prepared meals due to food safety considerations.
  • Minimise the fridge and freezer space that schools and families will need to store foods.
  • Contain items which parents can use to prepare healthy lunches for their child/children across the week.
  • Not rely on parents having additional ingredients at home to prepare meals.
  • Not contain items restricted under the school food standards, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-england.
  • Cater for pupils who require special diets, for example, allergies, vegetarians or religious diets - schools should ensure there are systems in place to avoid cross-contamination. Guidance on allergies is available here: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/allergen-guidance-for-food-businesses.
  • Contain appropriate packaging sizes for household use, rather than wholesale sizes.

As was the case over Christmas, vulnerable children and families will continue to receive meals and other essentials over February half term via councils through the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme launched last year. Local authorities understand which groups need support and are best placed to ensure appropriate holiday support is provided – which is why the funding will be distributed by them, rather than schools, who will continue providing meals disadvantaged children during term-time. Families who need support should speak to their local authority.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) criteria and (b) assessment process he has in place to ensure that food providers provide food parcels that are sufficient, nutritious and equal to the sum of £30 or above for eligible free school meal pupils who are at home during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. School leaders know their communities best and have flexibility to select the most appropriate support for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher scheme, which re-opened on Monday 18 January 2021. Our funding for schools to cover benefits-related free school meals equates to £15 per week per eligible child.

The pictures of food parcels circulating are not acceptable and not in line with guidance. On 13 January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State of Education, met the leading school food suppliers and caterers to insist on urgent action to make sure lunch parcels meet the standards we expect. I am grateful to those firms who are working hard with schools to provide nutritious, balanced lunches for children.

If a parent is concerned about the standards of their lunch parcel, they should speak directly with their school. If a parent cannot resolve their concern through their school, they can contact the department. The department will make contact with suppliers where concerns are escalated, to ensure they are following the good practice guidance we have set out. We will also alert the school to confirm appropriate contract management arrangements are in place, so that immediate improvements are made.

Schools and caterers have been provided with extensive guidance from the Department for Education and from the Local Authority Caterers Association on what each food parcel should include. They should follow our school food standards to ensure they are healthy, nutritious and sufficient – they should:

  • Contain food items rather than pre-prepared meals due to food safety considerations.
  • Minimise the fridge and freezer space that schools and families will need to store foods.
  • Contain items which parents can use to prepare healthy lunches for their child/children across the week.
  • Not rely on parents having additional ingredients at home to prepare meals.
  • Not contain items restricted under the school food standards, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-england.
  • Cater for pupils who require special diets, for example, allergies, vegetarians or religious diets - schools should ensure there are systems in place to avoid cross-contamination. Guidance on allergies is available here: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/allergen-guidance-for-food-businesses.
  • Contain appropriate packaging sizes for household use, rather than wholesale sizes.

As was the case over Christmas, vulnerable children and families will continue to receive meals and other essentials over February half term via councils through the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme launched last year. Local authorities understand which groups need support and are best placed to ensure appropriate holiday support is provided – which is why the funding will be distributed by them, rather than schools, who will continue providing meals disadvantaged children during term-time. Families who need support should speak to their local authority.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) proceeding with the January 2021 timetable for public vocational exams and assessments following the national lockdown announced on 4 January and (b) the disruption caused by the covid-19 outbreak in recent months on the health and safety of (i) students, (ii) staff and (iii) their families.

Students have worked hard and prepared for these exams and assessments, so it is right that schools and colleges have the option to run them. Some students need to complete a practical assessment to obtain a licence to practice and enter the workplace and it is right that they should have the opportunity to do so, so that they are not prevented from progressing onto the next stage of their lives.

Unlike GCSE and A level exams that were due to take place this summer, these students’ learning for their January exams has not yet been disrupted by the new public health measures we have announced to help limit the transmission of COVID-19.

The Department has provided advice to schools and colleges on extensive protective measures to make exams as safe as possible and that is why we are continuing to allow schools and colleges to deliver the January assessments, if they judge it right to do so. This advice is part of existing guidance on safely implementing the phased return to face-to-face education. Guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950735/January_2021_FE_operational_guidance_FINAL.pdf.

No student will be disadvantaged if they cannot take their exam or assessment, or if they decide they do not want to. We will develop our approach to ensure students receive a fair grade, in consultation with Ofqual, awarding organisations and the sector.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he make an assessment of the potential merits of cancelling the GCSE examinations due to take place in 2021 in response to Year 11 pupils potentially having been disadvantaged by the (a) mass disruption to pupils and teachers and (b) amount of school teaching time lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Exams are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance, and it is our intention that next year’s GCSE exam series will go ahead.

The Department is working with Ofqual to engage with the sector to develop contingency plans in the event that disruption as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak affects students’ ability to sit exams. Following a period of engagement, more detail will be published later in the autumn.

We have announced a number of measures to help schools and pupils make up for lost teaching time caused by the disruption to education this year, including extra time to prepare for exams next summer, and a catch-up package worth £1 billion: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/billion-pound-covid-catch-up-plan-to-tackle-impact-of-lost-teaching-time.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to expand the deposit return scheme for plastic and aluminium drinks containers to include glass drinks containers.

UK Government, Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland consulted in 2019 and 2021 on the detail of introducing a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In January 2023 we published the government response to the 2021 consultation, setting out policy decisions and next steps for introducing the scheme (link here).

As outlined in the government response, glass bottles will not be captured by DRS in England and Northern Ireland as the respective governments believe the addition of glass will add additional complexity and challenges to delivery of DRS in particular to the hospitality and retail sectors, as well as additional consumer inconvenience. Given concerns raised on managing glass in a DRS, delivery of the scheme will focus on plastic bottles and aluminium/steel cans in England and Northern Ireland.

Whilst not in-scope of the DRS in England and Northern Ireland, glass drinks bottles will be covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging scheme in both nations, which will place targets on producers in relation to glass recycling. The proposed recycling target for glass packaging under EPR is 83% by 2030. Producers will also be responsible for the costs of managing glass packaging in household waste and disposed in street bins provided by local authorities.

England and Northern Ireland welcome continued engagement with the glass sector on how glass recycling rates can be improved through kerbside collections.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to expand the Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information Regulations 2021 to include (a) laptops, (b) smartphones and (c) other e-waste currently not included.

There are no plans at present to expand the Ecodesign Regulations to include laptops and smartphones. However, in November 2021, the then Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the Energy-related Products Policy Framework, which set out how the Government plans to push products to use less energy and reduce carbon emissions and other resources. This will help achieve Carbon Budgets 5 and 6 and to save consumers money on their energy bills. Defra will also publish a consultation reviewing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations this summer, which will seek views on potential policies to increase the resource efficiency, reuse and recycling of waste electricals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many ferrets were imported through the Pet Travel Scheme in each year from 2012 to 2021.

The number of ferrets imported through the Pet Travel Scheme in each year from 2017 to 2021 are as follows:

Year

Number of Ferrets

2017

765

2018

112

2019

101

2020

45

2021

60

In line with data retention the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) does not hold data prior to 2017 so previous years have not been supplied.

The data regarding the Pet Travel Scheme covers pets entering Great Britain and is based on information provided by checkers employed by approved carriers of pet animals.

The information that we have provided is a true reflection of the information that APHA has access to. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data, as we can only rely on the information that has been input into the pets returns by a third party.

For information, the number of ferrets imported in 2017 is much higher than later years. This is because 619 ferrets were imported in October 2017.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cats were imported through the Pet Travel Scheme in each year from 2012 to 2021.

The number of cats imported through the Pet Travel Scheme in each year from 2017 to 2021 are as follows:

Year

Number of Cats

2017

26480

2018

29570

2019

31890

2020

21972

2021

28667

In line with data retention the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) does not hold data prior to 2017 so previous years have not been supplied.

The data regarding the Pet Travel Scheme covers pets entering Great Britain and is based on information provided by checkers employed by approved carriers of pet animals.

The information provided is a true reflection of the information that APHA has access to. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data, as we can only rely on the information that has been input into the pets returns by a third party.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs were imported through the Pet Travel Scheme in each year from 2012 to 2021.

The number of dogs imported through the Pet Travel Scheme in each year from 2017 to 2021 are as follows:

Year

Number of Dogs

2017

287016

2018

312996

2019

307263

2020

163562

2021

162923

In line with data retention the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) does not hold data prior to 2017 so previous years have not been supplied.

The data regarding the Pet Travel Scheme covers pets entering Great Britain and is based on information provided by checkers employed by approved carriers of pet animals.

The information provided is a true reflection of the information that APHA has access to. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data, as we can only rely on the information that has been input into the pets returns by a third party.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has held with the devolved Administrations on improving the clarity of the regulatory framework that applies to the import of colonies and packages of bees to Great Britain via (a) Northern Ireland or (b) other routes since the end of the transition period.

Since only queen honey bees can be imported into Great Britain, packages or colonies arriving here would be returned to the country of export. Guidance on the new rules for importing bees was published and known importers were contacted prior to the end of the transition period.

Movements of queens, packages and colonies from Northern Ireland to Great Britain remain permitted. There is, and will remain, unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods including honey bees to the rest of the UK market.

We are aware of concerns raised by some beekeepers and we continue to listen to beekeepers and their associations as part of our monitoring of the new trading arrangements. We have continued to update guidance in response to questions raised.

Regular discussions take place between Defra and colleagues in the devolved Administrations working in this policy area. We are keeping the situation under review to ensure that there are suitable trading arrangements for the UK beekeeping sector.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect (a) imported packages of and (b) colonies of bees in the context of (i) permissible bee imports to GB extending only to queen bees and (ii) sectoral uncertainty on bee imports via Northern Ireland.

Since only queen honey bees can be imported into Great Britain, packages or colonies arriving here would be returned to the country of export. Guidance on the new rules for importing bees was published and known importers were contacted prior to the end of the transition period.

Movements of queens, packages and colonies from Northern Ireland to Great Britain remain permitted. There is, and will remain, unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods including honey bees to the rest of the UK market.

We are aware of concerns raised by some beekeepers and we continue to listen to beekeepers and their associations as part of our monitoring of the new trading arrangements. We have continued to update guidance in response to questions raised.

Regular discussions take place between Defra and colleagues in the devolved Administrations working in this policy area. We are keeping the situation under review to ensure that there are suitable trading arrangements for the UK beekeeping sector.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure responsible procurement by National Highways for the Lower Thames Crossing.

National Highways is procuring the Lower Thames Crossing, including the contract for the road tunnels and approaches, in accordance with UK procurement rules. This includes wider international obligations on government procurements.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to support the expansion of the Manchester Metrolink to (a) other areas of Salford, (b) Eccles and (c) Greater Manchester.

Mass transit is largely devolved in England. Mass transit expansion in Greater Manchester is the responsibility of the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Through Greater Manchester’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) for 2022/23 to 2026/27, the Department for Transport has allocated £1.07 billion to the region for local transport schemes, which GMCA has brought forward.
GMCA can choose to develop mass transit proposals through CRSTS.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average time taken for the DVLA to process paper licence applications; and if he will take steps to reduce the average time taken to process those applications.

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

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

The large majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet specific criteria. More information can be found online here.

The table below shows the average processing time for ordinary driving licence applications between 1 April 2021 and 28 February 2022 in working days, by new applications, renewal applications and replacement applications.

(a) new applications

(b) renewal applications

(c) replacement applications

Online application

2.33

1.56

1.62

Paper application

25.08

30.56

33.70

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the use of fake vaccination certificates by visitors to the UK; and what estimate she has made of the number of visitors into the UK that used fake covid-19 certificates in 2021.

The government is working with operators and our international partners to ensure that vaccine certification is legitimate and meets our minimum requirements. Operators conduct upstream checks on all passengers to ensure consistency with the certification minimum dataset, and Border Force officials also check passengers on arrival. Regulators also conduct additional spot checks on arrival to provide an extra layer of assurance.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to monitor the implementation of his Department’s Safer Transport Guidance for Operators, particularly with regard to social distancing on public transport; how the public can report non-implementation of that guidance by public transport providers; and what the sanctions are for public transport providers that do not adequately implement that guidance.

The success of vaccine deployment has paved the way for the gradual lifting of restrictions and this marks a new phase in the pandemic response where people manage the risks to themselves and others as the country learns to live with the virus. The Safer Transport Guidance for Operators contains non-statutory guidance that does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that operators continue to comply with existing obligations and conduct risk assessments to identify any specific actions they need to take.

At step 4, social distancing rules were lifted, and the public will no longer need to stay 2 metres apart from people they do not live with. Guidance also sets out that the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport. It will be open for individual operators to consider developing their own face covering policies if they wish to do so. We will continue to work with operators to support passenger safety by ensuring service levels are high, asking passengers to plan ahead for their journeys, making hand sanitiser available and supporting ventilation where possible.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of implications for his policies of the Unesco World Heritage Committee’s concerns that proposed changes to the A303 near Stonehenge would impact adversely on the Stonehenge landscape because the tunnel is too short.

The Secretary of State’s decision to approve the A303 (Amesbury to Berwick Down) Development Consent Order (“A303 Stonehenge”) road scheme promoted by Highways England was issued on 12 November 2020. The reasons for his decision, including consideration of its impacts on the World Heritage Site, are set out in the decision letter which, along with the other decision documents, is available on the National Infrastructure Planning website. The decision is currently subject to a claim for judicial review and, therefore, no further comment can be made on either the decision or the live litigation case.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his department has made of the potential merits of extending the validity period of Compulsory Basic Training certification for frontline and key workers needing to commute during the pandemic whose two-year deadline has expired or is due to expire during lockdowns; and what steps he is taking to support workers who have lost their means of commuting due to a lack of extension to their certificates.

The two-year validity period of a compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate is set out in legislation. It is in place to ensure learner moped and motorcycle riders can ride safely on their own, with L-plates, while they practise for a full moped or motorcycle test. That includes critical workers. The Government has no plans, on road safety grounds, to waive that two-year validity period for any category of learner rider. Mobile emergency workers who hold a valid CBT certificate are, however, able to take a motorcycle test during the current restrictions if put forward by their employer.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Global Travel Taskforce held its first meeting.

A core function of the Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) is to bring together industry and government to devise a way to implement measures to reduce quarantine while protecting public health. In its work, the GTT will therefore seek to consult representatives from across the travel sector.

Further information on the GTT can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/global-travel-taskforce

The taskforce held its first meeting on 15 October 2020.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Global Travel Taskforce will engage with representatives of the business travel industry.

A core function of the Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) is to bring together industry and government to devise a way to implement measures to reduce quarantine while protecting public health. In its work, the GTT will therefore seek to consult representatives from across the travel sector.

Further information on the GTT can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/global-travel-taskforce

The taskforce held its first meeting on 15 October 2020.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will instruct the Global Travel Taskforce to work with representatives of the business travel sector to help (a) design and (b) implement a covid-19 testing regime at airports.

A core function of the Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) is to bring together industry and government to devise a way to implement measures to reduce quarantine while protecting public health. In its work, the GTT will therefore seek to consult representatives from across the travel sector.

Further information on the GTT can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/global-travel-taskforce

The taskforce held its first meeting on 15 October 2020.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the (a) general publicity regarding the new covid-19 travel regulations and passenger compliance, (b) obligation on customers to wear a face covering on public transport, (c) requirement on operators to engage, encourage and explain the new regulations to their service users and (d) enforcement action against non-compliant passengers.

When we introduced this policy, the Secretary of State was clear that the early stages would focus on communications rather than enforcement. We are working with transport operators to ensure they are disseminating key messages to their staff and passengers, including making the exemptions clear to disability groups (Safer Transport Guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators).

Our approach has achieved high levels of compliance. ONS data for the week following implementation showed 84% saying they are wearing face coverings on public transport. Our guidance clearly sets out the role of operators, the police and TfL authorised enforcement officers. While the government expects the vast majority of people to comply with the changes, operators will be able to refuse travel or issue penalty fines for those who fail to wear a face covering

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of (a) trends in the use and (b) the effectiveness of (i) Stagecoach and (ii) other operator Journey Assistance Cards in (A) helping people who are exempt from wearing face coverings during the covid-19 outbreak and (B) making it clear to the public that the non-wearing of face coverings should not take place without adequate reason.

Our guidance sets out exemptions to mandatory face covering, including for health and disability reasons (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators). We are working with operators to include these in their communications, and have been clear that operators should continue to assist disabled passengers as they did before the pandemic.

There are a range of assistance cards provided to disabled people independently of Government. We do not have data to assess the trends and the effectiveness of these cards. Assistance cards can be used to help passengers identify themselves, but we are clear that passengers should not have to routinely 'prove' their exemption when challenged by transport operators.

The Department is working closely with transport operators, including Stagecoach, to understand their policies and procedures around mandatory face coverings and exemptions, and how these are working in practice.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the level of risk of (a) older and (b) vulnerable people catching covid-19 as a result of passengers on public transport that refuse to cover their faces.

Protecting the public, especially older and vulnerable citizens, from Covid-19 is the government’s primary focus. Since Monday 15 June, it has been mandatory for passengers to wear a face covering on public transport in England, unless they are exempt for health, disability or other reasons (full list of exemptions can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators#exemptions-from-mandatory-face-coverings). Operators are reporting high levels of compliance across the country.

Measures are in place to safeguard passengers from people who refuse to abide by this legislation. The regulations made under Public Health Act 1984 include powers for transport operators to deny access to a service, or direct someone to leave a service, who is not wearing a face covering. If a passenger still refuses to comply, there are new powers for the police or TfL authorised officers to issue fines.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made an assessment of the (a) potential merits and (b) cost of expanding eligibility for winter fuel payments to those reaching state pension age in winter 2023-24.

An individual is entitled to a winter fuel payment if they have reached State Pension age by the end of the 'qualifying week', which has been defined in law since 1999 as the week beginning on the third Monday in September.

This is to allow time to check eligibility, make the calculations (which in some cases include an assessment of household formation as well as date of birth and place of residence), and make payments as far as possible before Christmas.

In 2023, the number of people who claimed State Pension between the end of the qualifying week (25 September) and Christmas (data available to 17 December) was 158,803.

Source: Power BI

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether people who are (a) usually eligible for (i) Universal Credit and (ii) other benefits and (b) have received a nil award for those benefits in the qualifying period because they have received non-consolidated additional backpay from the NHS for the year 2022-23 will receive all the cost of living payments they would otherwise be entitled to in 2023-24.

Employees who receive arrears of earnings and/or lump sum payments in one month, could have their Universal Credit award reduced to zero in the same month (known as a ‘nil award’). Claimants who receive a ‘nil award’ in the qualifying period will not have an entitlement to a Cost of Living Payment.

We are unable to distinguish whether an increase to a claimant’s earnings is temporary or permanent.

However, we are delivering the Cost of Living Payment in three separate payments over 2023/24 to reduce the chance of someone missing out altogether. Those who do not qualify for an instalment of the Cost of Living Payment may qualify for another Payment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of Government support systems that help refugees and asylum seekers into work.

Once refugee status has been granted, individuals have immediate access to employment support and services.

We recognise that refugees often face additional barriers to labour market participation and are supporting the development of interventions that help to overcome these barriers. This includes developing an integration package which has a strong focus on supporting refugees to move more quickly to self-sufficiency.

DWP employment support includes help with job search and English language skills as well as with skills training, CV writing and securing work experience. Local Jobcentre Managers have considerable flexibility to provide tailored support to meet individual needs as required.

DWP also works closely with businesses expressing an interest in employing people in response to the situations in Afghanistan and Ukraine. We support them to develop job adverts open to any applicant and then share those adverts with Jobcentres and with the Refugee Employment Network, a charity who work with over 200 Refugee Support Organisations across the UK, to ensure these opportunities are widely advertised.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that people subject to managed migration do not have their existing benefit stopped until they have established a universal credit claim.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8th February to question number 120621.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to make reasonable adjustments for people being required to apply for universal credit during managed migration, including for people who cannot access an online universal credit journal or people who need more frequent payments.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8th February to question number 120621.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made on the potential effect of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on levels of child poverty in Salford and Eccles constituency.

No such assessment has been made. The Government is up-rating benefits in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the six years, 2014/15 to 2019/20, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

This Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment – particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what equality impact assessment has been made of the impact of benefit and pension Payment Exception Service users being required to collect payment claims by a 90 day expiration date.

The Equality Assessment showed no impact relating to the protected characteristic groups for the new Payment Exception Service. A 90-day expiry date ensures the Department is alerted where a benefit claimant or pensioner has not cashed a voucher and may require additional support to access their payments. The Department can then put in place and re-issue payments where appropriate.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when benefit and pension claimants Post Office Card Accounts will be closed as part of the changes in benefit and state pension claim mechanisms.

The Post Office card account contract ends in November 2022. The Department is contacting Post Office card account customers asking them to update their payment method to a transactional bank, building society, credit union or internet based account. The number of Post Office card account customers has reduced from 2.2m in January 2016 to less than 300k in October 2021. Post Office card account customers who do not update their payment method to a transactional account are being migrated on a month by month basis to the new Payment Exception Service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what equality impact assessment has been made of the effect on benefit and pension claimants no longer being able to redeem cash from ATMs and cashpoints with the new Payment Exception Service cards following the closure of the previous Post Office cards.

The Equality Assessment showed no impact relating to the protected characteristic groups for the new Payment Exception Service; Post Office card account customers were able to use Post Office branded ATM’s to cash their payments, however, this was not extended to ATM’s more generally.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential cost converting to the Payment Exception Service payment card scheme from the current Post Office card account system.

The Department is realising a reduction in costs by encouraging use of transactional bank building society, credit union or internet based accounts, for benefit claimants and pensioners that are able to provide such an account, and contracting for a single payment exception service, for benefit claimants and pensioners that do not.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will make an estimate of the number of people claiming (a) benefits and (b) state pensions who do not have a bank account.

Under successive governments of different persuasions, the Department has never held information on the reason that benefit claimants or pensioners do not provide details of a transactional account.

In October 2021, there were less than 300k active Post Office accounts.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what equality impact assessment has been of benefit and pension claimants being required to provide proof of identity when cashing vouchers under the new Payment Exception Service.

The Equality Assessment showed no impact relating to the protected characteristic groups for the new Payment Exception Service; all users are required to show proof of identity.

A wide range of documents are accepted as proof of identity including a recent benefit entitlement letter, which is available on request by everyone in receipt of a DWP payment for State Pension or benefit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote inclusive recruitment practices in the private sector.

Jobcentre Plus offers a range of recruitment services to employers which include recruitment advice and support, advice about offering work experience and apprenticeships as well as support to employers on employment schemes such as Sector-based Work Academies and Kickstart. These recruitment services are delivered through our National Employer and Partnership Team and network of Employer Advisers in Jobcentres. Our Employer Advisers understand the local labour market and work with employers to promote fair open and inclusive recruitment, for example, by offering advice on wording on vacancies and encouraging employers to offer flexible working patterns. They also arrange Jobsfairs which connect employers directly to jobseekers, including DWP customers.

Our National Employer and Partnership Team run regular sector focussed employer panels where they discuss and share good practice amongst employers including how to recruit and build an inclusive workforce.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whom in her Department constituents can contact for emergency support to arrange the payment of overdue winter fuel payments for 2020-21.

DWP customers can contact The Winter Fuel Payment Freephone helpline on 0800 731 0160 if they wish to raise an enquiry or request an urgent payment.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to tackle the technical issues that have caused delays to some households receiving their winter fuel payments for 2020-21.

DWP paid ninety-nine per cent of payments on time, which equated to 11.4 Million payments.

DWP has deployed additional resources to ensure that the remaining Winter Fuel Payments are made as soon as possible, as well as boosting our capacity to handle an increase in telephone enquiries.

The remaining 1% of payments, and supplementary payments generated by a customer’s change of circumstances, will be made by 31 March 2021.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Treasury's Answer on 18 December 2020 to Question 127577 on Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus, with reference to the recommendations on uplift of legacy benefits in the report published by Scope in May 2020, entitled Disabled People and the Coronavirus, and with reference to the scheduled cessation of the universal credit £20 uplift in April 2021, if she will (a) commission and (b) review research on the potential merits of extending the covid-19 universal credit uplift to recipients of legacy benefits; and if she will make a statement.

There are no plans to extend the temporary £20 uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they think they will be better off and should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from 27 January 2021.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 118536 on Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus, with reference to the report published by Scope in May 2020, entitled Disabled People and the Coronavirus, what comparative assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people receiving (a) legacy benefits and (b) universal credit; and for what reasons people receiving legacy benefits are not entitled to a £20 uplift during the covid-19 outbreak.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

There are no plans to extend the uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from 27 January 2021. Claimants should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under Universal Credit before applying as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons her Department opened the new Job Finding Support scheme to private tender.

Job Finding Support is designed to help those who have recently become unemployed, by offering tailored support and advice, to help them re-enter employment quickly. Work Coaches are at the core of our employment offer and this provision will complement their role by helping customers who would benefit from light-touch support delivered digitally. The provision is being let through a commercial competition to utilise the expertise and experience of those private, charitable and third sector organisations operating in this sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Motability Scheme, what contracts the Government holds with (a) British Car Auctions and (b) other car auctioneer organisations on the disposal of motability vehicles once the lease has expired.

The Government holds no contracts with British Car Auctions or other car auctioneer organisations. The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the disability benefits that provide a passport to the Motability scheme. Motability Operations is independent commercial FCA regulated company responsible for the operational delivery of the scheme. Motability Operations is accountable to the Motability charity. With this in mind, any questions relating to the operation of the scheme itself should be directed to Motability. You can contact them at the following address:

Chief Executive of Motability, Motability, Warwick House, Roydon Road, Harlow, Essex, CM19 5PX.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether an individual private buyer can purchase a second hand motability vehicle direct from Motability.

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the disability benefits that provide a passport to the Motability scheme. While the Department works closely with Motability, it is an independent charitable organisation that is wholly responsible for overseeing the terms and the administration of the scheme. With this in mind, any questions should be directed to Motability. You can contact them at the following address:

Chief Executive of Motability, Motability, Warwick House, Roydon Road, Harlow, Essex, CM19 5PX.

7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that implementation of the suicide prevention strategy will take into account the needs of people with bipolar.

The new suicide prevention strategy for England is a five-year strategy which sets out the Government’s ambition for suicide prevention. It is a multi-sector and cross-government suicide strategy, with actions from a wide range of organisations that will be delivered over the next few years. The Department has established a £10 million Suicide Prevention Grant Fund to run from 2023 to March 2025 to support voluntary, community or social enterprise organisations, including those who support people with bipolar, to deliver suicide prevention activity.

The Department, alongside NHS England, intends to explore opportunities to improve the quality of care for patients with mental health diagnoses and ensure compliance with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. This includes patients diagnosed with affective disorders, including depression and bipolar, who accounted for 42% of all patient suicides in England between 2010 and 2020.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the time taken to diagnose people with bipolar disorder.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to investing £2.3 billion extra funding a year in expanding and transforming mental health services by March 2024, enabling an extra two million people, including people with bipolar disorder, to be treated by mental health services within the National Health Service.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are also expanding community mental health services. This includes new integrated community models for adults with severe mental illness including bipolar disorder. These new models are still in the early stages, and will take time to embed nationally, but will give at least 370,000 adults greater choice and control over their care and support them to live well in their communities by March 2024.

The Department also provided an additional £500 million in 2021/22 to accelerate our expansion plans and help address waiting times for mental health services. The NHS is also working towards implementing five new waiting time standards for people requiring mental healthcare in both accident and emergency and in the community, to ensure timely access to the most appropriate, high-quality support.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Fit for the Future, published by the Royal College of General Practitioners in May 2023, whether he is taking steps to (a) increase the amount of space available for GP surgeries to operate in under current conditions and (b) secure additional space for training GPs in the future; and whether he is taking steps with Cabinet colleagues to increase the level of funding available for upgrading NHS premises.

The Government has allocated over £4 billion annually in capital funding to systems to invest in maintaining the National Health Service estate and address safety issues. In addition, in our primary care recovery plan we committed to changing local authority planning guidance to raise the profile of primary care facilities when planners are considering how developer contributions and funds from new housing developments are allocated.

We want general practitioners (GPs) to deliver the best quality of care to patients and will continue our work to assess what is needed to enable them to deliver services effectively in GP premises. As part of the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and the planned recruitment drive, we will consider the best use of GP premises to meet the needs of growing and ageing populations and the expanding healthcare teams needed to support them.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make financial support available for patients with (a) avoidant restrictive food intake disorder and (b) other eating disorders to help with the cost of living.

We have no plans to do so. Information on the support available to help with the cost of living is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/cost-of-living

We have increased investment in children and young people's community eating disorder services every year, with this funding growing by £54 million in 2023/24. Over the five years from 2019/20, we will have also invested an extra £1 billion in community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness, including eating disorders, giving 370,000 more adults greater choice and control over their care and supporting them to live well in their communities.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to include proposals to tackle the socioeconomic causes of health inequalities in the Major Conditions Strategy.

The Strategy’s approach will be rooted in the best understanding of the evidence to tackle the major conditions which contribute to the burden of disease in England, namely Cancers; Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and diabetes; Chronic respiratory diseases; Dementia; Mental ill health and Musculoskeletal disorders.

These areas account for around 60% of total Disability Adjusted Life Years in England. Tackling them is critical to achieving our manifesto commitment of gaining five extra years of Healthy Life Expectancy by 2035, and our levelling up mission to narrow the gap in Healthy Life Expectancy in the least and most deprived areas by 2030 which should take account of socio-economic factors.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on mental health support services that are available to asylum seekers and refugees.

Officials from the Department of Health and Social Care are working with the Home Office and other Government departments to support access to mental health support services by asylum seekers and refugees.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with mental health issues in each of the last five years; what types of treatment are provided to such people in secondary care; and how many such people received each treatment in each year.

The information requested on mental health diagnoses is not available due to limitations of current diagnosis data within the Mental Health Services Dataset. Only around 20% to 25% of cases in the dataset have a specific diagnosis recorded, and any data provided on diagnosis numbers overall would therefore represent an undercount.

Regarding treatment types, the National Health Service may offer a range of options, including talking and other psychological therapies, medications, arts and creative therapies, social prescribing and specialist inpatient services separately or in combination.

Data relating to different types of treatment is recorded through the use of SNOMED codes. Not all providers are submitting SNOMED codes for the years requested and as such this incomplete data is not included in the response.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in each of the last five years; what types of treatment are provided to such people in secondary care; and how many such people received each treatment in each year.

The information requested is not available due to the limitations of current diagnosis data on within the Mental Health Services Dataset. Only around 20% to 25% of cases in the dataset have a specific diagnosis recorded; any data provided on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) diagnoses would therefore represent an undercount.

Regarding treatment types, the National Health Service may offer talking therapies and medication, such as antidepressants, separately or together. Talking therapies for OCD may include, but are not limited to, cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure and response prevention, and group therapy.

Procedure data relating to different types of treatment is recorded through the use of SNOMED codes. Not all providers are submitting SNOMED codes for the years requested and as such this incomplete data is not included in the response.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the article in the Health Service Journal entitled Deficit trusts face ‘intimidating conversations’ and orders to hold down staffing, published 25 April 2023, what recent discussions his Department has had with NHS England on reports that some NHS Trusts have been told they are not permitted to increase their total number of staff in 2023-24.

We are backing the National Health Service with record funding including up to £14.1 billion for health and social care over the next two years. We are also growing the workforce and there are record numbers of staff working in the NHS with over 48,700 more staff compared to a year ago including over 5,100 more doctors and over 11,800 more nurses.

9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS workforce strategy will include provisions for NHS Trusts in England to hire the additional cancer workforce needed to meet the ambition for 75 per cent of cancer patients to be diagnosed at stage I or II by 2028 as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Government has committed to publishing the Long Term Workforce Plan shortly. This will include independently verified forecasts for the number of healthcare professionals required in future years, taking full account of improvements in retention and productivity. The plan will cover the whole of the NHS workforce.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the national NHS Adult Social Care surveys, how many responses to that survey have been received in each year for the past three years; and what the overall response rate to that survey was in those years.

For the Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey published by NHS Digital in 2021/22, 59,770 responses were received from a sample of 220,360 service users, a response rate of 27%. The 2020/21 survey was made voluntary for local authorities to undertake due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighteen local authorities took part in the survey and 6,695 responses were received from a sample of 24,700 service users, a response rate of 27%. In 2019/20, there were 62,520 responses from a sample of 213,225 service users, a response rate of 29%.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department will take to consult those affected by bowel cancer on its Major Conditions Strategy.

The Major Conditions Strategy will draw on previous work on cancer, including over 5,000 submissions provided to the Department as part of our Call for Evidence last year.  Many of those submissions will have included feedback on bowel cancer. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders, citizens and the National Health Service in coming weeks to identify actions for the Strategy that will have the most impact.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of poor housing on health; and what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on this matter.

In 2017, Public Health England published ‘Spatial planning for health: evidence review’, which concluded that poor housing conditions are a significant contributing factor to poor health outcomes. The Government is addressing poor housing through improving standards in private and socially rented accommodation and delivering the greatest improvements in the poorest performing areas through the Social Housing Bill and Decent Homes Standard.

16th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it remains the Government's policy to narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy between areas where it is highest and lowest by 2030.

The ambition to improve healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035 and reduce the gap by 2030 remains Government policy. A significant proportion of ill-health is preventable. We are focusing on the major conditions which contribute to early mortality and reduce years of good health and factors such as smoking, poor diet and alcohol which disproportionately impact some communities.

The measures include the ambition for England to be smoke-free by 2030 and addressing obesity through working with the food industry to ensure it is easier to make healthier choices and to increase progress on the reformulation of foods. We will set out more information on plans to address health disparities in due course.

16th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help extend healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035.

The ambition to improve healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035 and reduce the gap by 2030 remains Government policy. A significant proportion of ill-health is preventable. We are focusing on the major conditions which contribute to early mortality and reduce years of good health and factors such as smoking, poor diet and alcohol which disproportionately impact some communities.

The measures include the ambition for England to be smoke-free by 2030 and addressing obesity through working with the food industry to ensure it is easier to make healthier choices and to increase progress on the reformulation of foods. We will set out more information on plans to address health disparities in due course.

28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he will provide GP Surgeries in addition to core contract funding to enable them to comply with increases in the Living Wage to £10.42 from 1 April 2023.

As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service, general practitioner (GP) practices are responsible for determining pay increase for employees within the agreed terms of the current GP contract.

28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the ability of GP surgeries to comply with increases in the Living Wage to £10.42 from 1 April 2023.

As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service, general practitioner (GP) practices are responsible for determining pay increase for employees within the agreed terms of the current GP contract.

28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made with Cabinet colleagues of the ability of GP surgeries to increase staff pay in accordance with directions from pay review bodies earlier this year to increase the salaries of (a) GPs and (b) NHS staff.

As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service, general practitioner (GP) practices are responsible for determining pay increase for employees within the agreed terms of the current GP contract.

28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he will provide GP Surgeries in addition to core contract funding to enable them to comply with directions from pay review bodies earlier this year to increase the salaries of GPs and NHS staff.

As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service, general practitioner (GP) practices are responsible for determining pay increase for employees within the agreed terms of the current GP contract.

28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of the rising cost of energy on GP surgeries; and if he will take steps to provide support to GP Surgeries to meet the cost of rising energy bills in addition to their core contract funding.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme caps the unit price of energy for public sector businesses, such as general practitioner surgeries, until the end of the current financial year. This will be automatically applied to all eligible bills.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October 2022 to Question 65828 on Dementia: Health Services, whether he has made a recent assessment of the quality of dementia care plan reviews carried out as part of the Quality and Outcomes Framework; and if he will make a statement.

No formal assessment has been made.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October to Question 65828 on Dementia: Health Services, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) quality and (b) quantity of dementia care plan annual reviews.

‘NHS England Dementia: Good Personalised Care and Support Planning Information for primary care providers and commissioners’ sets out how personalised care and support planning should be undertaken consistently and reliably and offers a quality assurance framework to ensure care planning is responsive to needs and preferences.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October to Question 65828 on Dementia: Health Services, what proportion of people with a diagnosis of dementia in England received an annual care plan review in each of the last five years.

The following table shows the proportion of people with a diagnosis of dementia in England who received a care plan or care plan review in each of the last five years.

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

62.10%

62.69%

55.81%

38.87%

46.00%

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 October 2022 to Question 59825 on Health Promotion Taskforce, what his Department's plans are for the future of the Health Promotion Taskforce or any replacement of it.

We will continue to work with other Government Departments, employers, the National Health Service and local government on addressing health disparities.

7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 October 2022 to Question 59129 on Health: Disadvantaged, whether he plans to publish a White Paper on health disparities by the end of 2022 in addition to the recently published Government plan, Our Plan for Patients.

No decisions have yet been made.

18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people living with dementia have received an annual dementia review in the last (a) 12 and (b) 24 months.

In the last 12 months, 231,223 or 57.4% of people diagnosed with dementia received a face-to-face annual review, with 402,079 or 50.3% of people receiving a review in the last 24 months.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Alzheimer's Society report entitled Left to Cope Alone, published in June 2022, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of using the Quality and Outcomes Framework to help improve post-diagnostic support for people living with dementia.

The 2022/23 Quality and Outcomes Framework incentivises practices to provide annual face-to-face reviews with patients diagnosed with dementia, in which the patient’s care plan is reviewed. Regular review can assist in ensuring that any changes in care needs are addressed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of Memory Assessment Services are able to conduct dementia assessments in languages other than English.

The data requested is not held centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when she will publish the Health Disparities White Paper; and what discussions she has had with cabinet colleagues on a cross-government strategy within that White Paper.

‘Our plan for patients’, published on 22 September, sets out the immediate priorities to support individuals to live healthier lives, including improving access to health and care services. In addition, the Department continues to review how health disparities can be addressed and further information will be available in due course.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Health Promotion Taskforce will meet before the end of 2022.

An updated Cabinet committee structure has been agreed to deliver the Government’s priorities. The committees can discuss a wide range of policy areas as relevant to the terms of reference. The Health Promotion Taskforce is not included in this updated structure.

However, as set out in ‘Our plan for patients’, we will work with cross-Government partners and the National Health Service to address preventable ill-health. Further information on measures to address health disparities will be available in due course.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to polling from the Royal College of Physicians which found that 12 per cent of people said they had previously been advised by a health professional to keep their home warm to reduce the likelihood of becoming unwell or making an existing health condition worse, what assessment has she made of those patient's financial ability to pay energy costs over the next six months; and what steps she will take to support those who are financially unable to meet energy costs.

The Government has announced measures to support households with rising energy bills, such as the Energy Price Guarantee, the Energy Bill Support Scheme and the Household Support Fund which is delivered through local authorities. These measures also provide £15 billion for the most vulnerable households.

Vulnerable households can also contact their energy supplier for support via the Priority Services Register. Energy suppliers can offer payment plans and other support to help households manage rising energy prices. This is in addition to established schemes such as the Warm Home Discount and the Winter Fuel Payment. NHS England and the Department for Work and Pensions are also working with the Money and Pensions Service to include information on money support and debt advice services into resources for social prescribing link workers. Energy efficiency schemes such as the Local Authority Delivery Scheme, Home Upgrade Grant, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Energy Company Obligation are also available.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that heart failure services are adequately prioritised within emerging models of care across the NHS, including in (a) integrated care systems and (b) primary care networks.

NHS England is resourcing cardiovascular leadership roles in integrated care systems (ICSs) to ensure that improvements to the quality of life experienced by heart failure patients are prioritised. ICSs will collaborate with local National Health Service organisations to improve population health and establish shared strategic priorities.

Through Primary Care Networks, those with heart failure will be supported by multi-disciplinary teams and greater access to echocardiography in primary care will be provided to improve the investigation of those with breathlessness and the early detection of heart failure and heart valve disease.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to improve heart failure outcomes within (a) Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and (b) England.

In Greater Manchester, the Smart Hearts project was launched in 2019, which uses an algorithm to monitor the data transmitted from implantable cardiac devices to monitor any early signs of deterioration. A business case has been developed to increase the specialist heart failure workforce in Greater Manchester to meet projected demand.

In England, the National Health Service is investing in cardiac networks to support improvements to the care pathway for patients with severe aortic stenosis. These networks have been developed to take an evidenced based, clinically led, whole pathway approach to improvement from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and end of life care.

We have committed £2.3 billion to launch at least 100 community diagnostic centres by 2024/25 to improve the early detection and diagnosis of heart valve disease in England and reduce patient waiting times.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who were previously enrolled on the Healthy Start scheme and need to re-enrol but have not yet re-enrolled via the new online sign up system.

As of 14 July 2022, 384,848 successful applications have been made using the NHS Healthy Start online application. Of this total, 250,457 successful applications have been made from those who were previously in receipt of paper vouchers; and 134,391 successful applications have been made from those not previously in receipt of paper vouchers. As of 14 July 2022, it is estimated that approximately 46,000 households previously on the paper voucher scheme have not applied online. It is not known what proportion of these households remain eligible for NHS Healthy Start.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Healthy Start voucher online only sign up process, how many applicants are (a) re-enrolments and (b) new starters on that scheme.

As of 14 July 2022, 384,848 successful applications have been made using the NHS Healthy Start online application. Of this total, 250,457 successful applications have been made from those who were previously in receipt of paper vouchers; and 134,391 successful applications have been made from those not previously in receipt of paper vouchers. As of 14 July 2022, it is estimated that approximately 46,000 households previously on the paper voucher scheme have not applied online. It is not known what proportion of these households remain eligible for NHS Healthy Start.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data on how many people have signed up for Healthy Start vouchers since the rollout of the online only sign up process.

As of 14 July 2022, 384,848 successful applications have been made using the NHS Healthy Start online application. Of this total, 250,457 successful applications have been made from those who were previously in receipt of paper vouchers; and 134,391 successful applications have been made from those not previously in receipt of paper vouchers. As of 14 July 2022, it is estimated that approximately 46,000 households previously on the paper voucher scheme have not applied online. It is not known what proportion of these households remain eligible for NHS Healthy Start.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many eligible people at highest risk of becoming seriously ill with covid-19 have been offered antibody and antiviral treatments for use at home via the NHS after having tested positive and not having been admitted to hospital.

The information requested is not held centrally. However, during the week commencing 11 April 2022, approximately 3,500 non-hospitalised patients in the United Kingdom have received COVID-19 treatments. Approximately 49,000 patients have now received these treatments.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average time taken is for eligible people at highest risk of becoming seriously ill with covid-19 to be offered antibody and antiviral treatments for use at home after having tested positive for covid-19 but not having been admitted to hospital.

Non-hospitalised individuals at highest risk from COVID-19 are potentially eligible for treatments via COVID Medicines Delivery Units. These treatments include antivirals and neutralising monoclonal antibodies (nMABs). In England, patients in this cohort have been treated within an average of 3.5 to four days from symptom onset. Oral antiviral treatments such as molnupiravir or Paxlovid are suitable to be taken at home. Other treatments, such as the intravenous antiviral remdesivir or the nMAB treatment sotrovimab, are administered intravenously within a clinical setting. Treatment times are generally faster for oral antivirals.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of eligible people at highest risk of becoming seriously ill with covid-19 were not contacted during their isolation period to be offered antibody and antiviral treatments for use at home via the NHS since those treatments have been available.

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

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the process accessing covid-19 lateral flow test packs changed from collection from pharmacies to a digitally registered collection code based system; who stores the personal data collected at registration for a test pack collection code; for what purposes that data is collected; and what equality impact assessment his Department conducted on the rollout of a digitally registered collection code based system.

The collect code in pharmacies was introduced in October 2021 to allow greater traceability of tests in the case of a recall. Personal data is collected and stored by the UK Health Security Agency in accordance with its information governance processes. In addition to traceability, this data is used to monitor geographic distribution, assess the performance of the pharmacy collect channel and issue reminders to the collector to register results.

An equality impact assessment was completed prior to launching the collect code. This considered the risks and impact with mitigating actions to allow easy access to tests. For those unable to use or without access to the internet or mobile devices, the option to pre-register for tests via 119 was provided. We also maintained the option of collecting tests without pre-registering.

15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October 2021 to Question 56604, what progress his Department has made towards the provision of a vaccination facility in every region of England offering the service for overseas vaccinations to be recorded in the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS); and which of these facilities are currently available for those in (a) Salford and Eccles and (b) the wider North West of England.

Currently, there are 17 vaccination centres capable of recording overseas vaccinations in the National Immunisation Management Service. There is at least one site in each of the seven National Health Service regions. The closest vaccination site to Salford and Eccles is the Etihad Vaccination Centre in Manchester. Two more vaccination centres are planned in the North West of England.

21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the challenges service users are having in accessing NHS dental services in (a) Salford and (b) Greater Manchester.

NHS dental services continue to operate at reduced capacity, prioritising patients based on clinical need due to infection prevention and control guidance.

No waiting list data is held for access to National Health Service dental services in Salford or Greater Manchester.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that UK citizens who have received the Vaxzevria covid-19 vaccine produced in India are able to participate in travel to Poland without having to quarantine.

All AstraZeneca vaccines administered in the United Kingdom are the same product and appear on the NHS COVID Pass as ‘Vaxzevria’, which has been permitted for international travel since May 2021.

The European Union has published a list of vaccines it recognises as equivalent to those authorised by the European Medicines Agency, which includes all approved vaccines administered in the UK, including Vaxzevria. Decisions on which vaccines countries will accept at their borders and their subsequent quarantine arrangements are a matter for respective Governments. Where countries have introduced vaccine status into their entry requirements, we continue to engage to ensure there are no limitations for those in receipt of doses administered in the UK.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has been made in (a) validating UK-approved vaccines administered overseas and (b) creating the data flows so that people residing in England who have received their covid-19 vaccinations outside of the UK can apply for an NHS COVID Pass; and what his timeframe is for completion of the NHS app upgrade.

Since 30 September a pilot process has been in place for overseas vaccinations to be recorded in the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS) and through the NHS COVID Pass. The pilot involved three vaccination sites in England with more opening as the pilot phase moves to national deployment. By the end of October, one vaccination site in every region in England will offer this service and subject to the pilot’s findings, it will be publicly available from mid-November. Currently any Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen or Moderna vaccinations administered by the European Medicines Agency, the Food and Drug Administration or Swissmedic will be will be recorded via the NIMS and the NHS COVID Pass. Once the pilot is complete an evidence review will take place which will consider timeframes for completion of the NHS App upgrade.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to progress (a) the validation of non-UK vaccines for UK residents requiring the NHS COVID Pass, and (b) the NHS COVID app upgrade.

Since 30 September a pilot has been in place for overseas vaccinations to be recorded in the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS). The pilot involved three vaccination sites in England with further locations available since 11 October. By the end of October, there will be one vaccination site in every region in England offering this service. Subject to the pilot’s findings, this service will be publicly available from mid-November. Currently any Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen or Moderna vaccinations administered by the European Medicines Agency, the Food and Drug Administration or Swissmedic will be recorded on the NHS COVID Pass.

Once the pilot is complete an evidence review will take place which will consider timeframes for completion of the NHS App upgrade.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on requiring front line NHS staff to be vaccinated against covid-19.

We would encourage all health and care staff to take up the offer of the vaccine, to help protect themselves and others they come into contact with including vulnerable patients. National Health Service staff are not currently required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on UK citizens studying for their degree as full time students abroad during the covid-19 pandemic; whether students who return home to the UK from countries on the red list will be exempt from hotel quarantine charges; and which (a) individuals and (b) groups will be exempt from hotel quarantine.

Students who return to the United Kingdom who have been in a ‘red list’ country in the last 10 days will be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility and will not be exempt from charges. There are limited exemptions which are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

This is to maximise the public health benefits of the measures.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2021 to Question 141498 on Health Services: Police, whether he plans to issue guidance on the reopening of police treatment centres.

The Department has no plans to issue guidance to specific charities such as Police Treatment Centres on reopening decisions. It is for each individual setting to update their own risk assessment based on legislation and guidance published by the Government.

The latest national restrictions were introduced to reduce transmission and control the virus. We recognise the importance of people being able to continue to receive urgent treatment and personal care services provided for essential medical and health needs, which cannot be deferred, have been able to continue. Guidance on the types of treatment which can continue has also been published providing clarity to businesses, charities such as Police Treatment Centres, and the public.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria the Government used to determine which (a) professions and (b) services would be allowed to operate during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021; and for what reason Police Treatment Centres were excluded from that list.

The Department has no plans to issue guidance to specific charities such as Police Treatment Centres on reopening decisions. It is for each individual setting to update their own risk assessment based on legislation and guidance published by the Government.

The latest national restrictions were introduced to reduce transmission and control the virus. We recognise the importance of people being able to continue to receive urgent treatment and personal care services provided for essential medical and health needs, which cannot be deferred, have been able to continue. Guidance on the types of treatment which can continue has also been published providing clarity to businesses, charities such as Police Treatment Centres, and the public.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether parent and baby groups are permitted to meet during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and what guidance his Department has published on such groups meeting.

Support groups, such as baby and toddler groups, for the provision of support for parents and their children, that are necessary to deliver in person, can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes where parents and carers meet other parents and carers with or without their young children. Children under five years old are not included in the 15-person limit.

Guidance on such group meetings is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that specialist running shops are included in the first wave of retail businesses allowed to reopen when the January 2021 covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The Government keeps its restrictions, including those relating to specialist running shops, under continual review and will make changes if the data and science supports it.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what statistical data is publicly available on the (a) location of test centres, (b) records of tests conducted daily, (c) types of tests used daily and (d) results from testing daily.

We publish a daily dashboard containing data on daily polymerase chain reaction, antibody and lateral flow testing, with daily data on positive cases by specimen date. The location of test sites is not published on GOV.UK but data on testing is published at national, regional and local authority level. The dashboard is available at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/testing

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the security from covid-19 transmission of Police Treatment Centres.

The Department has made no specific assessment.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) support and (b) covid-19 safety guidance his Department has provided to Police Treatment Centres, which operate as healthcare providers to injured and ill police officers, to allow them to remain open during covid-19 lockdown periods.

The Department does not offer specific support to Police Treatment Centres.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 112072, tabled by the hon. Member for Salford and Eccles on 5 November 2020.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the (a) viability and (b) safety of gym classes being permitted to take place in tier 3 areas of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government are committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tier allocations. The Department publishes a weekly watchlist giving epidemiological COVID-19 data for each lower-tier local authority in England. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-cases-by-local-authority-epidemiological-data

Detailed data on hospital activity can be found at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-hospital-activity/

The public dashboard on the progress of the virus across a range of metrics is updated daily at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk

The Contain framework sets out how national and local partners work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks, this includes the allocation of areas to the appropriate tier, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/containing-and-managing-local-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks/covid-19-contain-framework-a-guide-for-local-decision-makers

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Spending Review 2020, what steps he plans to take to increase the breast imaging and diagnostic workforce.

The Spending Review 2020 provides £260 million to continue to grow the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Full details on funding allocations towards NHS workforce budgets, including relating to breast imaging and diagnostics, in 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing specialist running shops to remain open for the duration of covid-19 lockdown periods, in line with the rules on cycle shops.

The Government keeps its restrictions, including those relating to specialist running shops, under continual review and will make changes if the data and science supports it.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been ordered by (a) gender and (b) age category in the latest period for which that data is available; and if he will place a copy of that data in the Library.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department’s guidance Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services, published on 8 September 2020, how many NHS Trusts have (a) undertaken a risk assessment to facilitate updating their visiting policies and (b) taken steps towards permitting access to women’s partners, visitors or other supporters, whilst maintaining the safety of all service users, staff and visitors, as set out in that guidance.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made it clear that they expect all trusts to now use this Framework and consider how access can be safely reintroduced as a priority. Reintroducing visits is challenging during a pandemic, and the priority must remain the safety of all service users, staff and visitors. The published Framework therefore recommends a stepwise approach for National Health Service trusts to take, following a meaningful and documented risk assessment, so any necessary changes can be made before relaxing current stringent approaches.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional (a) funding and (b) other resources he has provided to NHS Trusts to implement his Department’s guidance, Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services, published 8 September 2020, while maintaining the safety of service users, staff and visitors.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made it clear that they expect all trusts to now use this Framework and consider how access can be safely reintroduced as a priority. Reintroducing visits is challenging during a pandemic, and the priority must remain the safety of all service users, staff and visitors.

The published Framework recommends a stepwise approach for trusts to take, following a meaningful and documented risk assessment, so any necessary changes can be made before relaxing current stringent approaches. Risk factors for trusts to consider include the local COVID-19 transmission rate and constraints with the hospital estate, which cannot be easily solved with funding. Additional advice has been made available through various networks to support trusts in applying the Framework to their local circumstances.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's guidance entitled Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services, published 8 September 2020, whether those NHS Trusts can apply for (a) funding or (b) other resources to support the reintroduction of familial access and maintain safety.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made it clear that they expect all trusts to now use this Framework and consider how access can be safely reintroduced as a priority. Reintroducing visits is challenging during a pandemic, and the priority must remain the safety of all service users, staff and visitors.

The published Framework recommends a stepwise approach for trusts to take, following a meaningful and documented risk assessment, so any necessary changes can be made before relaxing current stringent approaches. Risk factors for trusts to consider include the local COVID-19 transmission rate and constraints with the hospital estate, which cannot be easily solved with funding. Additional advice has been made available through various networks to support trusts in applying the Framework to their local circumstances.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his review of the Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services, published on 8 September 2020, if he will require each Trust to undertake (a) documented risk assessment and (b) a review of local policies.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made it clear that they expect all trusts to now use this Framework and consider how access can be safely reintroduced as a priority. Reintroducing visits is challenging during a pandemic, and the priority must remain the safety of all service users, staff and visitors. The published Framework therefore recommends a stepwise approach for National Health Service trusts to take, following a meaningful and documented risk assessment, so any necessary changes can be made before relaxing current stringent approaches.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) protect the safety of consumers seeking (i) special treatments and (ii) other non-surgical cosmetic procedures and (b) ensure that all practitioners offering those treatments are appropriately qualified.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners, and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners in the aesthetics sector and working with stakeholders to ensure that practitioners are able to identify providers of accredited training.

The Government expects providers of cosmetic procedures to operate responsibly by conducting a pre-treatment consultation and ensuring they hold the requisite knowledge and skills to safely deliver the treatments they offer.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce mandatory requirements for formal training and qualifications for all practitioners providing (a) special treatments and (b) other non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners, and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners in the aesthetics sector and working with stakeholders to ensure that practitioners are able to identify providers of accredited training.

The Government expects providers of cosmetic procedures to operate responsibly by conducting a pre-treatment consultation and ensuring they hold the requisite knowledge and skills to safely deliver the treatments they offer.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that non-surgical cosmetic treatments available to consumers are carried out (a) by qualified practitioners and (b) in safe and hygienic premises.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners, and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

The Department is exploring the regulation of premises, practitioners, products and consumer safeguards. This includes an assessment of the regulation of practitioners in the aesthetics sector and working with stakeholders to ensure that practitioners are able to identify providers of accredited training.

The Government expects providers of cosmetic procedures to operate responsibly by conducting a pre-treatment consultation and ensuring they hold the requisite knowledge and skills to safely deliver the treatments they offer.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he has issued to NHS Trusts on allowing partners of pregnant women to attend (a) appointments with midwives, (b) routine scan appointments, (c) non-routine scan appointments and (d) during labour.

The National Health Service is making arrangements to ensure that women are supported and cared for safely through pregnancy, birth and the period afterwards during this pandemic.

Decisions on partners attending scans and appointments is subject to local discretion by trusts and other NHS bodies.

A new Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services was published on 8 September at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/09/par001599-framework-for-the-reintroduction-of-visitors-throughout-maternity-services-sep-2020.pdf

We expect trusts to use this Framework and consider as a priority how access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women can be reintroduced whilst maintaining the safety of all service users, staff and visitors.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the transmission rate of covid-19 in socially-distanced (a) visits in household gardens and (b) indoor hospitality venues.

The rule of six has been put in place to keep social interactions as safe as possible with a simple and easily understood message. Going into winter, when more people will be socialising indoors or may start socialising outdoors and then move indoors, it is essential to have clear and well-understood rules, in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Venues like pubs, restaurants and other leisure settings like cinemas must follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines, including making sure there is adequate social distancing. Businesses are making significant efforts to ensure their workspaces are COVID-19 Secure and only then bring back employees. With these measures in place, employees should remain safe.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) set out the decision-making process for decisions to impose local covid-19 lockdown restrictions on areas with high rates of covid-19 infections and (b) publish the evidence base on which those decisions are taken.

Infection rates and other data are closely monitored to get a picture of what is happening in local areas, to allow us to decide whether restrictions should be changed, eased or strengthened.

We are required to review local restrictions regularly, usually every two weeks.

A wide range of metrics are used to monitor the incidence of COVID-19 nationally and in local areas and progress made in tackling outbreaks. These are reviewed every day and are considered in light of both the changing national picture and the reports on the ground on how situations are being managed. The Contain Framework Watchlist is published every week and a variety of supporting data is published alongside this, including case data and maps of local authorities on the watchlist.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the criteria on which he bases decisions on when to lift local covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Infection rates and other data are closely monitored to get a picture of what is happening in local areas, to allow us to decide whether restrictions should be changed, eased or strengthened.

We are required to review local restrictions regularly, usually every two weeks.

A wide range of metrics are used to monitor the incidence of COVID-19 nationally and in local areas and progress made in tackling outbreaks. These are reviewed every day and are considered in light of both the changing national picture and the reports on the ground on how situations are being managed. The Contain Framework Watchlist is published every week and a variety of supporting data is published alongside this, including case data and maps of local authorities on the watchlist.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the criteria on which he bases decisions to impose local covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Infection rates and other data are closely monitored to get a picture of what is happening in local areas, to allow us to decide whether restrictions should be changed, eased or strengthened.

We are required to review local restrictions regularly, usually every two weeks.

A wide range of metrics are used to monitor the incidence of COVID-19 nationally and in local areas and progress made in tackling outbreaks. These are reviewed every day and are considered in light of both the changing national picture and the reports on the ground on how situations are being managed. The Contain Framework Watchlist is published every week and a variety of supporting data is published alongside this, including case data and maps of local authorities on the watchlist.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of fuel poverty on trends in the level of respiratory problems.

Respiratory problems are usually caused by a number of different factors, making it difficult to quantify the contribution of an individual risk such as fuel poverty.

Public Health England published the 2nd Atlas of variation in risk factors and healthcare for respiratory disease in England in 2019. This is available to view at the following link:

https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/atlas-of-variation

The atlas looks at variation in the percentage of houses that experience fuel poverty and the Excess Winter Deaths Index at lower-tier local authority level.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people in cold homes and in fuel poverty will be at higher risk from the worst effects covid-19 in winter 2020-21.

As the United Kingdom heads into its first winter with COVID-19, the impacts of the concurrent risks of COVID-19, cold weather and fuel poverty are not yet known. In light of the concurrent risk of COVID-19, Public Health England will be reviewing the Cold Weather Plan for England and related resources ahead of this winter.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reinstating support to local authorities for food sampling.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the central competent authority for food safety and has a statutory function to protect health and consumers interests for food and drink. Local authorities are responsible for the day to day delivery of controls and to carry out appropriate enforcement activity. Food sampling is just one of a wide range of different approaches that local authorities use to ensure compliance. It is the local authorities responsibility to ensure that appropriate resources are allocated to deliver these controls.

The FSA recognises the essential role of sampling in maintaining food standards and providing confidence in the food we eat. As part of this, the FSA is developing a sampling strategy, creating an intelligence led approach to delivering sampling to ensure it is effectively targeted to safeguard public health.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, how visa applicants from the Occupied Palestinian Territories can contact HM Embassy Cairo for approval for exit at Rafah to facilitate (a) visa application interviews and (b) biometric processing at a visa application centre.

Visa Application Centres, where interviews and biometric processing take place, are open and operating in Egypt, in both Cairo and Alexandria, and an application can be started online at any time. British nationals travelling from Gaza to Egypt that require visas for their eligible dependents can apply online and then visit the Visa Application Centre in Cairo to provide their biometric details. In addition, existing UK visa holders who have a spouse/partner or a child aged 17 or under currently living in the UK and hold valid permission to enter or remain in the UK for longer than 6 months criteria can also contact the FCDO to request support to leave Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza who want to apply for a UK visa but are not a dependent of a British National are not currently eligible for our assistance. The FCDO Consular Contact Centre can be contacted on 020 7008 5000. Further advice on travelling to Egypt from Gaza is available at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/israel

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to enable Ukrainian relatives of (a) British nationals living in the Ukraine and (b) Ukrainian nationals living in the UK to apply for urgent visas to the UK for travel, work, study, or to reunite with family.

In a statement to the House on 28 February, the Home Secretary announced changes that allow Ukrainians in the UK to have their visas temporarily extended or be able to switch onto different visa routes. The Home Office has also exceptionally introduced some concessions in the Family Migration route to assist immediate family members of British Nationals normally living in Ukraine with their British national family member, who intend to return to or relocate to the UK with their British National family member.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent estimate she has made of the number of covid-19 vaccine doses that the UK will donate to other countries in 2022.

Our G7 Presidency in 2021 secured agreement from leaders to commit to sharing at least 870 million doses by June 2022. The G7 has gone further since June, and donated 770 million doses by the end of 2021 and committed to donate an additional 1.2 billion doses.

We have met the UK goal of donating 30 million doses by the end of 2021, as part of our G7 pledge to donate 100 million doses by June 2022. To date, the UK has delivered 23.3 million doses to countries in need of which 17.8 million have been delivered via COVAX and 5.5 million doses donated directly. A further 7.5 million doses have been received by COVAX and will shortly be allocated and shipped in line with COVAX's fair allocation model. The Prime Minister said at the G20 in October 2021 that we will donate 20 million further Astra Zeneca doses and 20 million Janssen doses to COVAX and we remain committed to meeting our 100 million pledge in full by June 2022.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help ensure that UK citizens who have received the Vaxzevria vaccine produced in India are able to participate in travel to Poland without having to quarantine.

Border restrictions are the prerogative of the receiving state. Poland will exempt travellers fully vaccinated with a vaccination approved for use in the European Union from quarantine on arrival. All AstraZeneca/Vaxzevria vaccines given in the UK are the same product and appear on the NHS COVID Pass as Vaxzevria. The European Medicines Agency has authorised Vaxzevria and we're confident that travel to Poland should not be affected. Where there have been instances of confusion about the vaccine used in the UK, specifically around the 5 million doses of Vaxzevria manufactured in India, our officials have worked to clarify those misunderstandings with the governments concerned.

Nevertheless, travel restrictions can change, sometimes without notice. Travellers should check the FCDO's Travel Advice for Poland prior to travel to ensure they are familiar with the latest restrictions.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her French counterpart on facilitating easier non-essential travel access to France for UK citizens.

We continue to work closely with international partners, including France, on red-listing, Vaccine Certification and other issues relating to COVID-19 and reopening international travel. Ultimately it is for France to make decisions with regards to COVID-19 border controls, just as it is for the UK to determine our border controls.

France is currently not on the UK's Red List. France accepts the UK's vaccination record and the UK has approved France's vaccine certification. Both countries continue to engage where appropriate.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he held with his Australian counterpart on the extent to which closed borders may potentially prevent British citizens in Australia from returning to the UK; and what assessment he has made of the ability of those British citizens to purchase commercial flight tickets in order to return to the UK.

Following the change to date for answer of this PQ, I submitted a response by email on 27 March, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

We are proactively engaging commercial airlines and governments worldwide, including Australia, on keeping flight routes and transit hubs open to enable British nationals to return home. Our British High Commissioner in Canberra has written to the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on this issue. We are signposting British nationals to commercial flight options and continuing to explore new routes by which then can travel home. We have also set up an online registration tool for any British nationals in Australia who require our support. The Prime Minister last spoke to PM Morrison about the broader COVID-19 crisis on 14 March.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Jordanian counterpart on arranging repatriation flights for British nationals that wish to return to the UK as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with local authorities, commercial airlines and other diplomatic missions to enable British people to get home. Our consular team is working around the clock to provide support, advice and information. British travellers should contact their tour operator or airline as soon as possible if they want to return to the UK. We are working intensively with the Governments of those countries, including Jordan, that have closed their borders to people travelling to and from the UK, to enable airlines to bring back British people to the UK, if that is what they want.

In light of the rapidly changing situation, we urge all travellers to sign up for our travel advice alert service. British nationals in Jordan should keep up to date with our travel advice for Jordan, which they can find on: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/jordan/coronavirus.

We have also published advice for British nationals who do not have immediate departure options available to them: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#if-youre-abroad-and-you-want-to-return-to-the-uk

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs on organising repatriation flights for British nationals who wish to urgently return to the UK from Northern Cyprus.

Following the change to date for answer of this PQ, I submitted a response by email on 30 March, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

Our teams around the world are working urgently to ensure that governments have sensible plans to enable the return of British and other travellers, and, crucially, to keep borders open for a sufficient period of time to enable returns to take place on commercial flights, wherever possible.

The administration in the north of Cyprus has introduced a total ban on entry for all foreign nationals, including the UK. This includes those holding residency, work, or student permits. Following policy changes announced by the Republic of Cyprus Government and the administration in the north, all crossing points between the Republic and the north are effectively closed to travellers. British travellers should contact their tour operator or transport provider now if they want to leave. We are working closely with the Government of Cyprus to explore options.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Peruvian counterpart on organising repatriation flights for British nationals in Peru that wish to return to the UK.

The Foreign Secretary spoke with the Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, on 21 March about the impact of the ongoing State of National Emergency on UK nationals in Peru. He assured him that he would work together with the UK to make sure we could arrange flights home this week. Our Embassy is working closely with the Peruvian authorities to secure the appropriate permissions for those flights to land.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for what reasons (a) the British Embassy in Lima, Peru is closed and (b) remote working has not been fully implemented to protect British nationals in need of assistance in that country; and what guidance his Department has provided to British nationals in that country on communicating with the British consulate.

Due to a State of National Emergency announced on 16 March, and the subsequently strict travel restrictions, members of our Embassy in Lima are working remotely. The Embassy is not closed and we are working round the clock to make flights available this week for British nationals who wish to leave Peru, but who are currently unable to do so on commercial flights because of the travel restrictions that have been imposed. We are aware of approximately 1160 British Nationals in Peru who have expressed interest in flights back to the UK.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Moroccan counterparts on ensuring the immediate safe return of British nationals from Moroccan airports unable to return to the UK as a result of most outbound flights from Morocco having been suspended due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working intensively with the Governments of those countries that have closed their borders to people travelling to and from the UK, to enable airlines to bring back British people to the UK, if that is what they want. I spoke to the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, on 18 March to ask for additional flights to enter and leave Morocco. The British Embassy in Rabat has been working with tour operators and airlines to encourage them to offer additional flights, last week we facilitated 49 flights, taking 8,520 passengers to the UK. The welfare of British nationals remains our top priority, and we are focused on supporting those around the world who are being affected by the restrictions being put in place.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the impact of diagnosis of terminal and likely terminal health conditions on travel insurance rates offered to consumers.

Insurers make commercial decisions about the terms on which they will offer cover following an assessment of the relevant risks. The Government does not intend to intervene in these commercial decisions by insurers as this could damage competition in the market. The respective capabilities of insurers to assess risk is a key element on which they compete.

The Government recognises that it is important that everyone has access to suitable insurance. Since April 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has required firms to signpost consumers to a directory of specialist providers if they are declined cover, offered cover with an exclusion, or charged a significantly higher premium based on their pre-existing medical conditions.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that customers of Azure Services Ltd who were impacted by the mis-selling of loans for timeshares at the Golden Sands Resort in Malta have been (a) identified and (b) offered financial redress through the Barclays Bank remediation programme.

The Government does not hold information on how many customers who took out loans from Barclays Partner Finance which were brokered through Azure Services have been offered redress.

However, the Government understands that Barclays Partner Finance has begun communicating next steps to customers on how they can obtain redress for loans that were brokered through Azure Services. The Government notes that the remediation programme will be undertaken in phases, and that groups of customers will receive communications at different times. More detail on the remediation programme can be found at: https://www.barclayspartnerfinance.com/home/personal/azure/

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) holds regular meetings with Barclays Partner Finance to monitor progress on the remediation programme for customers of Azure Services. The Treasury engages regularly with the FCA on the remediation programme to understand how it is progressing.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2022 to Question 47726 on Azure Services: Loans, how many and what proportion of affected customers have been offered financial redress.

The Government does not hold information on how many customers who took out loans from Barclays Partner Finance which were brokered through Azure Services have been offered redress.

However, the Government understands that Barclays Partner Finance has begun communicating next steps to customers on how they can obtain redress for loans that were brokered through Azure Services. The Government notes that the remediation programme will be undertaken in phases, and that groups of customers will receive communications at different times. More detail on the remediation programme can be found at: https://www.barclayspartnerfinance.com/home/personal/azure/

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) holds regular meetings with Barclays Partner Finance to monitor progress on the remediation programme for customers of Azure Services. The Treasury engages regularly with the FCA on the remediation programme to understand how it is progressing.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of removing VAT from the cost of incontinence pads.

Incontinence products are already eligible for the zero rate of VAT when sold to an individual who is disabled or chronically sick and the goods are for their personal use. This applies to sales over the counter or on the internet and in most circumstances the customer does not need to complete an eligibility declaration.

No assessment has been made of the potential impact of removing VAT from other sales of incontinence pads.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential merits of extending business rates relief to food service wholesalers.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

The Government understands the impact that COVID-19 has had on businesses, and has provided various schemes to support specific firms such as wholesalers, including Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Bounce Back Loans, grants and VAT deferrals.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial provision is available within the 14-day self-isolation period for the parents of schoolchildren who have been told to stay at home and self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace but who have have not themselves been notified to self-isolate and therefore do not have an 8-digit NHS Test and Trace code with which to recoup lost earnings during that period.

The Government has committed to a significant package to support individuals through this difficult time. This includes the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, as well as the injection of an additional £9.3bn into the welfare system according to Office for Budget Responsibility estimates.

If an employee has average weekly earnings of at least £120 per week, they will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are self-isolating under Government guidance and cannot work from home. This includes parents living in the same households as children self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19. The Government has changed the rules so that SSP is now payable from day 1, not day 4, for COVID-19 cases.

Parents of children who are self-isolating under Government guidance may be eligible for “new style” Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they are ineligible for SSP and unable to work from home. The Government has made it easier for people to claim by removing the seven-day waiting period which means people can get support from day one.

In terms of wider support, the Chancellor has recently announced that the CJRS will be extended until the end of March 2021. The Government has striven to ensure that the CJRS can be accessed by as many people as possible. All employers with a UK bank account and a PAYE payroll scheme registered on or before 30 October can claim, while employees are required to have been employed and on an employer’s PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. Any employee who meets the eligibility criteria can be furloughed by their employer.

Parents on lower incomes can also benefit from the Government’s wider changes to the welfare system to support the most vulnerable. These changes include a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1 billion increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the business rates holiday granted for retail, hospitality, leisure and nurseries for the 2020-21 tax year for (a) part or (b) all of 2021-22.

The unprecedented full business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure properties for the financial year is worth £10 billion to business in 2020-21. The Government will continue to look at how to adjust support in a way that ensures people can get back to work, protecting both the UK economy and the livelihoods of people across the country. The Government will consider all reliefs in the round, against the broader fiscal and economic impacts of COVID-19, as part of the Business Rates Review.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to subsidise employer contributions to future rollouts of the JSS for businesses in the sectors most effected by the covid-19 outbreak.

As the Chancellor recently announced, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) CJRS has now been extended until the end of March 2021. In light of that, the Job Support Scheme has been postponed.

Under CJRS, eligible employees will receive 80 per cent of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, and businesses will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time and shift pattern, including furloughing them full-time.

There is no employer contribution to wages for hours not worked. Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions for hours not worked. For an average claim, this accounts for just 5 per cent of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month. The Government will review the policy in January.

Additionally, we are supporting businesses affected by restrictions through:

The Local Restrictions Support Grant, giving businesses that are forced to close due to national or local restrictions up to £3,000 per month; this is worth over £1bn per four weeks with the new restrictions in place and will benefit over 600,000 business premises.

One-off funding available to every local authority in England under the Additional Restrictions Grant, worth £1.1bn nationally; this allows local authorities to help businesses affected but not closed by restrictions.
Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide (a) sliding scale grants or (b) greater financial support for business sectors most effected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is acutely aware of the extreme disruption to people’s lives, jobs, and businesses due to the necessary actions to tackle COVID-19.

This is why we announced the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) scheme, which will provide businesses in England which are legally required to close with grants of up to £3,000 per four-week closure period, depending on their rateable value.

Through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open), local authorities which were subject to restrictions on socialising between 1 August and 5 November will also receive additional funding so that they can make grants of up to £2,100 per month of closures to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses which were able to remain open but which experienced a severe reduction in demand due to restrictions on socialising.

On top of this, we have provided Local Authorities with a further £1.1 billion across England via the Additional Restrictions Grant. Local Authorities have discretion on how to use this funding to support businesses in their areas, but we encourage them to set up discretionary grant schemes to support businesses which can remain open, but which are nonetheless severely affected by the enhanced COVID-19 restrictions.

Businesses across the country should also be able to benefit from others measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for businesses, including:

  • The extension to 31 March of the CJRS, through which employees will receive up to 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500 per month;
  • Support for the self-employed via the SEISS, which will provide the self-employed with grants worth up to 80% of trading profits, covering November to January;
  • The extension of the application deadline for loan guarantee schemes to the end of January 2021;
  • An adjustment to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum (i.e. less than 25% of their turnover) to top-up their existing loan; and
  • Help for businesses in repaying loans from Government-backed schemes through the Pay as you Grow scheme and allowing lenders to extend the terms of CBILS loans to up to 10 years.
Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will introduce a mechanism for businesses to opt to close once they meet certain criteria to enable access to more appropriate financial support and furloughing schemes .

Throughout the pandemic the government’s economic priority has remained the same: to protect jobs and livelihoods. Since March, the government has provided support for people, businesses and public services totalling an estimated £200 billion. We are committed to ensuring we take the right action at the right time to support individuals and businesses in every region and nation of the United Kingdom.

That is why we have a substantial support package available for businesses regardless of whether they are open or closed. The Chancellor recently announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021. This provides businesses with a grant to cover 80% of the wages of their employees. We have added additional flexibility so it can be used to cover reduced hours as well as for businesses that are closed. To date CJRS has support 9.6 million jobs at the cost of roughly £41.9bn.

Alongside the CJRS, businesses have also benefited from the access to finance schemes, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Under the BBLS, the government provides lenders with a 100% guarantee to enable them to provide loans between £2,000 and £50,000 to the smallest businesses across the UK with a simple, streamlined application process. All eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April 2020. Businesses will also benefit from the reduced rate of VAT for tourist attractions and goods & services supplied by the hospitality sector.

For businesses that remain open but are severely affected by restrictions can receive support through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (open), which provides up to £2,100 of support per month. They can also access one-off funding through the Additional Restrictions Grant, worth £1.1bn nationally and distributed by local authorities.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the temporarily reduced rate of VAT for (a) retail, (b) hospitality and (c) other heavily effected sectors in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and will run until 31 March 2021. This relief comes at a significant cost to the Exchequer, and there are currently no plans to extend the scope to include other sectors.

The Government has announced a significant support package to help businesses through the winter months, which includes an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant, and an extension of the application window for the government-backed loan schemes.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure the prosecution of the creators and promoters of disguised remuneration schemes relating to the Loan Charge.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

While there is no specific offence relating to the promotion of tax avoidance schemes, there are criminal offences under which promoters who commit fraud can be prosecuted, such as the offence of cheating the public revenue. HMRC always consider whether there are grounds for conducting a criminal investigation against promoters, including those who promote disguised remuneration schemes.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to ensure the settlement of Loan Charge cases by differentiating between (a) people who entered into tax avoidance schemes in full knowledge of their purpose and (b) people (i) who were entered into those schemes (A) without advice, (B) by their employers and (C) by an advisor and (ii) whose participation in those schemes was a condition of the provision of services.

When working with taxpayers to reach a settlement, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seek to clarify and confirm the relevant facts of each individual case with the taxpayer. To maintain a consistent approach, cases are settled in accordance with HMRC’s Litigation and Settlement Strategy, which requires that HMRC only settle for an amount that is consistent with the law. While the Government has sympathy for anyone who believes they were misled into using disguised remuneration schemes, it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their tax return and to understand the consequences of their decisions.

The Government will continue to tackle this type of tax avoidance and on 19 March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust actions against promoters of tax avoidance. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

The Government recognises the importance of taxpayers being able to get reliable tax advice which is competent, professional and trustworthy. In March 2020, the Government issued a call for evidence on raising standards in the tax advice market and has recently published a summary of responses and next steps. As a first step, the Government will consult on introducing a requirement for all tax advisers to hold professional indemnity insurance as a way of providing recourse, protecting taxpayers and raising standards in the tax advice market. The Government will also raise awareness of the HMRC standard for agents and review HMRC powers to enforce this standard.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether HMRC holds information on the number of people subject to the Loan Charge who have stated that they received incorrect or no advice from advisors or promoters when they entered into those taxation schemes.

When working with taxpayers to reach a settlement, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seek to clarify and confirm the relevant facts of each individual case with the taxpayer. To maintain a consistent approach, cases are settled in accordance with HMRC’s Litigation and Settlement Strategy, which requires that HMRC only settle for an amount that is consistent with the law. While the Government has sympathy for anyone who believes they were misled into using disguised remuneration schemes, it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their tax return and to understand the consequences of their decisions.

The Government will continue to tackle this type of tax avoidance and on 19 March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust actions against promoters of tax avoidance. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

The Government recognises the importance of taxpayers being able to get reliable tax advice which is competent, professional and trustworthy. In March 2020, the Government issued a call for evidence on raising standards in the tax advice market and has recently published a summary of responses and next steps. As a first step, the Government will consult on introducing a requirement for all tax advisers to hold professional indemnity insurance as a way of providing recourse, protecting taxpayers and raising standards in the tax advice market. The Government will also raise awareness of the HMRC standard for agents and review HMRC powers to enforce this standard.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take in facilitating Loan Charge settlements with HMRC to protect individuals who were misled or incorrectly advised by Loan Charge promoters or advisors on entering those taxation schemes.

When working with taxpayers to reach a settlement, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seek to clarify and confirm the relevant facts of each individual case with the taxpayer. To maintain a consistent approach, cases are settled in accordance with HMRC’s Litigation and Settlement Strategy, which requires that HMRC only settle for an amount that is consistent with the law. While the Government has sympathy for anyone who believes they were misled into using disguised remuneration schemes, it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their tax return and to understand the consequences of their decisions.

The Government will continue to tackle this type of tax avoidance and on 19 March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust actions against promoters of tax avoidance. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

The Government recognises the importance of taxpayers being able to get reliable tax advice which is competent, professional and trustworthy. In March 2020, the Government issued a call for evidence on raising standards in the tax advice market and has recently published a summary of responses and next steps. As a first step, the Government will consult on introducing a requirement for all tax advisers to hold professional indemnity insurance as a way of providing recourse, protecting taxpayers and raising standards in the tax advice market. The Government will also raise awareness of the HMRC standard for agents and review HMRC powers to enforce this standard.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people are subject to the 2019 Loan Charge in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Salford and Eccles constituency.

The Government estimates that about 50,000 individuals are affected by the 2019 Loan Charge. Information is not held at constituency, borough or regional level.
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps HMRC is taking to pursue and issue penalties to promoters of (a) disguised remuneration and (b) other tax avoidance schemes through the (i) Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Scheme, (ii) Promoters of Tax Avoidance Scheme and (iii) Enablers Penalty.

In March 2020, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes, including disguised remuneration schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust action against promoters of tax avoidance. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

HMRC are committed to challenging promoters, and will always pursue penalties in appropriate cases, under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS), the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) and the Enablers regimes. The Government announced on 12 November further proposals in the L-Day package to tackle promoters, which it will consult on in Spring.

In 2019-20 HMRC doubled the resources committed to tackling promoters and disrupting their business models by persuading taxpayers to get out of avoidance at an early stage. HMRC now have about 200 Full Time Equivalents working in this area; the teams use all the powers available to HMRC to tackle promoters. HMRC do not have separately identified staff pursuing each penalty type in isolation.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many HMRC staff have been appointed to pursue and issue penalties to promoters of disguised remuneration and other tax avoidance schemes under (a) Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes, (b) Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes and (c) Penalties for Enablers of Defeated Tax Avoidance.

In March 2020, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes, including disguised remuneration schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust action against promoters of tax avoidance. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

HMRC are committed to challenging promoters, and will always pursue penalties in appropriate cases, under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS), the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) and the Enablers regimes. The Government announced on 12 November further proposals in the L-Day package to tackle promoters, which it will consult on in Spring.

In 2019-20 HMRC doubled the resources committed to tackling promoters and disrupting their business models by persuading taxpayers to get out of avoidance at an early stage. HMRC now have about 200 Full Time Equivalents working in this area; the teams use all the powers available to HMRC to tackle promoters. HMRC do not have separately identified staff pursuing each penalty type in isolation.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has held with the Secretary of State for Transport on introducing a bespoke package of financial support for businesses and employees operating in the aviation and travel industries in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Chancellor speaks to his colleagues on a regular basis about a range of matters.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation and travel industries as a result of COVID-19. Firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills and, where eligible, grant schemes and business rate holidays.

Firms in the aviation and travel industries will also be able to take advantage of the targeted package of measures the Chancellor announced as part of the Winter Economy Plan to support jobs and businesses through the Winter months, including the new Job Support Scheme.

The Government has also recently launched a new Global Travel Taskforce to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel. The border quarantine measures in the UK are being kept under constant review, and where possible the Government has looked to open up travel corridors in order to facilitate increased travel.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide sector specific financial support for (a) businesses and (b) employees operating in the (i) aviation industry and (ii) business travel sector in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation and travel industries as a result of COVID-19.

Firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills and, where eligible, grant schemes and business rate holidays.

Firms in the aviation and travel industries will also be able to take advantage of the targeted package of measures the Chancellor announced as part of the Winter Economy Plan to support jobs and businesses through the Winter months, including the new Job Support Scheme.

The Government has also recently launched a new Global Travel Taskforce to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel. The border quarantine measures in the UK are being kept under constant review, and where possible the Government has looked to open up travel corridors in order to facilitate increased travel.

The Government will continue to engage closely with these sectors on the impact of COVID-19.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Government’s call for employees to work from home where possible, if his Department will grant a 12 months’ business rates holiday to the flexible workspace industry, in line with other service sectors.

The Government has provided enhanced support through business rates relief to eligible businesses occupying properties used for retail, hospitality and leisure.

A range of other measures to support all business, including the flexible workspace industry, have also been made available. On 8 July the Chancellor set out a package of measures to support jobs across the UK, including a Job Retention Bonus to help firms keep furloughed workers. On 24 September the Chancellor went further and announced the Job Support Scheme to further protect jobs.

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the risk of homelessness for new refugees; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the move-on period before the withdrawal of Section 95 support.

Where an individual is given notice that their asylum claim has been granted, their appeal has been allowed or their asylum claim has been refused but they have been given leave to enter or remain, the prescribed period in legislation (or ‘move on’ period’) is 28 days. There has been no change to the prescribed period. Individuals remain on asylum support, including accommodation, until the end of the 28 day period.

During this period, the Home Office provides individuals who have received a positive decision to their asylum claim with support through Migrant Help and/or their partner organisations. This includes providing advice on accessing the labour market, on applying for Universal Credit and signposting to local authorities for assistance with housing. Individuals do not need to wait for their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to make a claim for Universal Credit and are encouraged to do so as early as possible if they require it. Messaging to individuals is being reviewed to encourage them to plan to move on from asylum support as soon as they have received their decision.

The Home Office are ensuring our cross government partners, such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) are sighted on data to enable them to consider the impacts of increased decision making and effectively plan. Additionally, the Home Office are working with DLUHC to ensure the right asylum decision data is being shared with local authorities to enable effective planning and to lessen the impact on existing homelessness and rough sleeping pressures. Accommodation providers are also working directly with local authorities to notify them when an individual is due to have their asylum support ended.

The asylum accommodation estate is under huge strain and increasing the ‘move on’ period would exacerbate these pressures. There are no current plans to extend the period (of 28 days) for how long individuals remain on asylum support once they have had a grant of asylum. We are engaging the DWP and DLUHC to ensure individuals can move on from asylum support as smoothly as possible.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to directly consult with (a) asylum seekers and (b) refugees to understand where more integration support may be required.

All refugees and those granted protection in the UK should be able to fully integrate into life here and become self-sufficient, providing for themselves and their families, and contributing to the economy.

Refugees (those who have been granted asylum, humanitarian protection or temporary protection under the Immigration Rules), as well as individuals on our resettlement schemes with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK; have access to mainstream benefits and services to enable their integration; and we are working across Government to ensure these services meet the needs of refugees.

Integration support is coordinated by local authorities, who are best placed to support the needs of those resettled in their area. The Home Office provides local authorities with a core tariff of £20,520 per person to cover resettlement and integration costs for those who arrive via refugee resettlement schemes, including the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). This tariff can be used flexibly by the local authorities to meet the integration needs of the refugees they are supporting.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to help asylum seekers to integrate into their local communities.

This Government’s priority is to focus our efforts and resources to support those who most need it. As not all of those who seek asylum are found to need international protection, integration resources are available to those granted permission to stay. Under the New Plan for Immigration, the Government committed to offering an enhanced integration package for refugees arriving through safe and legal routes.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to publish the next review of the asylum-support allowance.

The Home Office annually reviews the level of the asylum support rate to assess the correct level of financial support that should be provided to meet essential living needs.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of taking steps with the devolved Administrations to develop a UK-wide strategy for refugee integration.

Integration is a devolved matter.

We discussed funding arrangements with the Devolved Administrations on the recently launched Refugee Employability Programme (REP) in order to ensure refugees across the UK are supported. The REP is a new integration and employability support service to help refugees integrate into society and become self-sufficient.

We continue to engage regularly with the Devolved Administrations on a range of matters, including refugee integration, to collaborate, share best practice and discuss appropriate funding mechanisms where relevant.

19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of reports of potential violence towards refugees deported to Rwanda from the UK by (a) organisations or bodies under the control of the Rwandan Government and (b) other groups originating within Rwanda.

Rwanda has an established record of welcoming asylum seekers and refugees and our assessment, as set out in the relevant Country Policy and Information Notes (CPINs), found it to be a generally safe and secure country.

The Memorandum of Understanding and associated Notes Verbales set out the support in place for individuals relocated to Rwanda and details of the oversight provided by the Joint Committee and independent Monitoring Committee.

The UK and Rwanda have a strong relationship. Working together, the Migration and Economic Development Partnership will see people who come to the UK through dangerous and illegal routes relocated to Rwanda, where they will be given the opportunity to settle and rebuild their lives.

We have always maintained that this policy is lawful, including complying with the Refugee Convention, and last year the High court upheld this. We continue to defend the policy against legal challenge.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what systemic provisions are in place to support families who have fled domestic violence who wish to apply for passports that require countersignatures and documentation that might be difficult for them to secure given significant changes in their circumstances such as relocation or a change of name.

HM Passport Office has in place comprehensive guidance on handling passport applications from vulnerable customers, this includes victims of domestic violence.

This allows examiners to exercise discretion in applying normal requirements in relation to documentation or countersignatures.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what compulsory training is in place for public-facing staff of HM Passport Office on communicating with and supporting families who have fled domestic violence who are applying for passports.

His Majesty’s Passport Office delivers mandatory training to public-facing staff that is designed to enable recognition of vulnerability indicators, and to help them to meet the needs of vulnerable customers.

Further guidance for HM Passport Office staff regarding vulnerability considerations, including those suffering from domestic abuse, can be found on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vulnerability-considerations-caseworker-guidance/vulnerability-considerations-for-passports#Vulnerability_consideration:_abuse

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to facilitate urgent visas for Ukrainian (a) spouses and (b) other immediate family members of British nationals to enable them to travel to the UK following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

As set out in the Home Secretary’s statement to the House on 1 March, a fee free, bespoke Ukraine Family Scheme has been introduced which allows both the immediate (spouse, civil partner, durable partner, minor children) and extended (parent, grandparent, adult children, grandchildren, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and their immediate family) family members to join their relatives in the UK.

The UK-based sponsoring relative must be a British citizen, a person who is present and settled in the UK (including those with settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme), a person in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection or a person in the UK with limited leave under Appendix EU (pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme). This route was launched on 4 March.

We are setting no limit on the numbers of people who can come here. We will be glad to welcome as many Ukrainians as wish to come under this scheme.

We continue to keep the situation in Ukraine under constant review. Further information on the visa process for Ukrainian family members who wish to come to the UK can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-family-members-of-british-nationals-in-ukraine-and-ukrainian-nationals-in-ukraine-and-the-uk#non-british-family-members-of-british-nationals-in-ukraine

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of her Department's efficiency in responding to Members of Parliament correspondence in relation to immigration casework.

The Department works to a target of responding to 95% of MPs written correspondence within 20 working days. Performance has been impacted by a very significant increase in the volume of correspondence received, alongside the need for Ministers and officials to instigate a remote process for drafting and signing correspondence during the period of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department recognises it has not been able to meet the service standard in some cases but has implemented an action plan to clear backlogs and drive up performance.

Staff unable to perform front facing roles in the Department have been redeployed to assist in clearing MPs correspondence backlogs. The Department are also contacting MPs offices by telephone to offer to close urgent cases by telephone, whilst continuing to work through the backlog and to offer regular engagement surgeries to discuss and resolve some of the enquiries they have made.

The Department uses a workflow tool which records all Operational MPs correspondence. The Department runs reports each day which summarise the daily situation in relation to intake and output and the age of each piece of MPs correspondence. The report also monitors the daily progress of output towards the weekly 95% target.

Presently different areas of the Department work on different IT systems for Correspondence, but the Department is undergoing a transfer so all Correspondence is on one system to help improve efficiency. This should be completed in 2021.

The latest published data on UKVI performance against the service standard, which includes data up to and including the end of quarter 3-2020/21, is held at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/customer-service-operations-data-november-2020.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers have been evicted from their homes in England in areas where covid-19 local lockdown measures have been in place.

We have commenced the cessation of support for both positive cases (who move on to be supported in Local Authority accommodation) and negative cases (failed Asylum seekers).

A Notice to Quit is served on all discontinued cases by the provider and steps taken to remove people from the accommodation following the end of grace period.

Due to the sequencing of both cessations themselves and the additional local restrictions being put in place the number who have received a Notice to Quit where Covid 19 measures are in place is not available in a recordable format.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have the necessary security clearance to access the (i) Merlin database and (ii) documentation stored on the Merlin database pertaining to the nuclear test programme and its veterans.

As set out in the answer I gave on 23 January to Question 10374 from the right hon. Member for Wentworth and Dearne (John Healey), seven officials at the Atomic Weapons Establishment have appropriate clearance and are authorised to access the Merlin database.

All Ministers hold clearances appropriate to their roles and responsibilities. As the Minister responsible in the Ministry of Defence for veteran's affairs I retain the relevant clearances to view the information retained on Merlin.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether classified documents retained by his Department under a Lord Chancellor’s Instruction citing a national security exemption are among the files available to be searched when his Department receives a question to the Secretary of State or other Minister in the Department.

All classified documents that have been retained by the Ministry of Defence under the national security exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Data Protection Act 2018 are available to be searched on receipt of Data Subject Access Requests, Freedom of Information Requests and questions to the Secretary of State or other Ministers in the Department.

If, after location and review of the classified documents, it is deemed that release of any/all of the information would still prejudice national security, then it may continue to be withheld by law.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether classified documents retained by his Department under a Lord Chancellor’s Instruction citing a national security exemption are among the files available to be searched when his Department receives a Freedom of Information request which may include personal data held within it.

All classified documents that have been retained by the Ministry of Defence under the national security exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Data Protection Act 2018 are available to be searched on receipt of Data Subject Access Requests, Freedom of Information Requests and questions to the Secretary of State or other Ministers in the Department.

If, after location and review of the classified documents, it is deemed that release of any/all of the information would still prejudice national security, then it may continue to be withheld by law.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether classified documents retained by his department under a Lord Chancellor’s Instruction citing a national security exemption are among the files available to be searched when his Department receives a Data Subject Access Request which may include personal data held within it.

All classified documents that have been retained by the Ministry of Defence under the national security exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Data Protection Act 2018 are available to be searched on receipt of Data Subject Access Requests, Freedom of Information Requests and questions to the Secretary of State or other Ministers in the Department.

If, after location and review of the classified documents, it is deemed that release of any/all of the information would still prejudice national security, then it may continue to be withheld by law.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Mar 2023
If he will bring forward proposals to allow veterans to apply for access to their biological monitoring tests conducted during their service.

Veterans or members of their family are already entitled to request information that may be held by the Ministry of Defence, including medical test results, through Subject Access Requests. Information is provided on request to individuals, or representatives acting on their behalf, under General Data Protection Regulation, Chapter 3, Article 15 – Right of access.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the report to Prime Minister Churchill’s Cabinet, and minutes thereof, on the result of the British atomic test at Monte Bello in 1952, as referenced in the Official Report, 4 February 1983, vol 36 c209W, has been released under the 30-year rule.

This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The British atomic test at Monte Bello in 1952 was the first test of a British atomic device and consequently there are many records on this subject. Some have been released to The National Archives, but many contain sensitive technical information about the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons programme and are retained. It has not been possible to determine which record may contain the report and minutes in question, due to the limited details on them and the time that has elapsed since the answer referenced in Official Report, 4 February 1983.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Answer of 23 May 2019 to Question 256302, what records his Department holds on the civilian (a) women and (b) children who travelled to Christmas Island on troop ship HMT Dunera in 1958.

A search of the Ministry of Defence Archive has been conducted and no records of HMT Dunera have been traced.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) health measures and (b) radiobiological monitoring did the Government introduce after the British Nuclear Test Programme ended in 1991 for (i) all service personnel involved in the operations, (ii) all indigenous peoples living near or on the test sites during or after the time of operations, (iii) any others locally present during operations or now living near the test sites.

The UK atmospheric nuclear test programme experimented on weapons not Service personnel; the health of all those involved was a vital consideration, as shown by the detailed documented safety measures and radiobiological monitoring that took place during experiments. The Service personnel who took part were not subject to ongoing routine health measures or radiobiological monitoring after the programme ended. To date, any published peer-reviewed research has found no evidence of a general excess of illness or mortality among nuclear test veterans as a group that could be linked to their participation in the tests. Any nuclear test veterans who believe they have suffered ill health due to service, have the right to apply for no-fault compensation under the War Pensions Scheme.

In 1968, the UK and Australia signed an agreement confirming that the clean-up of all test sites had been completed satisfactorily. As announced to the House on 10 December 1993, (Official Report, column 421), the Government agreed to make an ex gratia payment of £20 million to the Federal Government of Australia as part of a full and final settlement of the UK Government’s liability for any claims resulting from the British test programme. A copy of the note giving effect to this agreement was placed in the Library of the House. The note also records that the Government of Australia indemnified the Government of the UK against claims from Australian nationals or residents. The Government now regards the matter as closed.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the potential effects of the British Nuclear Test Programme 1952 - 1991, what assessment (a) his Department has and (b) other Government Departments have made of internationally published peer-reviewed evidence on increased rates of congenital defects in children born to parents at risk of exposure to ionising radiation.

The position of this, and previous Governments, is that there is no published peer-reviewed evidence of excess illness or mortality among Nuclear Test Veterans (NTVs) as a group that could be linked to participation in the tests or to exposure to radiation as a result of that participation. Formal and well-documented procedures were in place to ensure the health and safety of those participating in the testing programme.

In response to health concerns of some NTVs in the 1980s, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned epidemiological studies into the mortality and cancer incidence among nuclear test participants. These were conducted by the independent National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), now part of Public Health England (PHE). Three analyses were carried out, of which the latest report published in 2003 concluded that overall levels of mortality and cancer incidence in NTVs have continued to be similar to those in a matched Service control group and lower than in the general population. That report is available from the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mortality-and-cancer-incidence-1952-1998-uk-nuclear-weapons-tests

To provide further reassurance, the MOD commissioned a fourth study in the NRPB series in order to bring the evidence completely up to date. The study was carried out by PHE and commenced in December 2018. The study will extend the analysis by a further almost 20 years, again considering overall mortality and cancer incidence and mortality, and comparing veterans present at the tests with a control group of age matched veterans serving at the same time, but who were not NTVs, and with the UK general population. The Department's understanding is that the study has been completed and the researchers are preparing a paper for submission to a mainstream scientific/medical journal. This will then be peer reviewed. Further details about the study are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nuclear-weapons-test-participants-study/plan-for-the-fourth-analysis-of-the-nuclear-weapons-test-participants-study

Analysis of the international published peer-reviewed evidence to date provides no support for increased rates of congenital defects in children born to parents at risk of exposure to ionising radiation.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the results will be published of the fourth follow up study carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board (Public Health England) considering overall mortality and cancer incidence in Nuclear Testing Veterans, comparing veterans present at the tests with a control group of age matched veterans serving at the same time but who were not nuclear test veterans, and with the UK general population.

The position of this, and previous Governments, is that there is no published peer-reviewed evidence of excess illness or mortality among Nuclear Test Veterans (NTVs) as a group that could be linked to participation in the tests or to exposure to radiation as a result of that participation. Formal and well-documented procedures were in place to ensure the health and safety of those participating in the testing programme.

In response to health concerns of some NTVs in the 1980s, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned epidemiological studies into the mortality and cancer incidence among nuclear test participants. These were conducted by the independent National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), now part of Public Health England (PHE). Three analyses were carried out, of which the latest report published in 2003 concluded that overall levels of mortality and cancer incidence in NTVs have continued to be similar to those in a matched Service control group and lower than in the general population. That report is available from the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mortality-and-cancer-incidence-1952-1998-uk-nuclear-weapons-tests

To provide further reassurance, the MOD commissioned a fourth study in the NRPB series in order to bring the evidence completely up to date. The study was carried out by PHE and commenced in December 2018. The study will extend the analysis by a further almost 20 years, again considering overall mortality and cancer incidence and mortality, and comparing veterans present at the tests with a control group of age matched veterans serving at the same time, but who were not NTVs, and with the UK general population. The Department's understanding is that the study has been completed and the researchers are preparing a paper for submission to a mainstream scientific/medical journal. This will then be peer reviewed. Further details about the study are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nuclear-weapons-test-participants-study/plan-for-the-fourth-analysis-of-the-nuclear-weapons-test-participants-study

Analysis of the international published peer-reviewed evidence to date provides no support for increased rates of congenital defects in children born to parents at risk of exposure to ionising radiation.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to correspondence (ref D/Min(Lords)/AGMC2021/01429e) between the Rt Hon Baroness Goldie DL and the hon Member for Salford and Eccles, what research studies have been reviewed by or on behalf of his Department demonstrating that the health and well-being of British Nuclear Test Programme 1952 -1991 Veterans is comparable with the age and sex matched population of both their Service peers and the general community.

The position of this, and previous Governments, is that there is no published peer-reviewed evidence of excess illness or mortality among Nuclear Test Veterans (NTVs) as a group that could be linked to participation in the tests or to exposure to radiation as a result of that participation. Formal and well-documented procedures were in place to ensure the health and safety of those participating in the testing programme.

In response to health concerns of some NTVs in the 1980s, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned epidemiological studies into the mortality and cancer incidence among nuclear test participants. These were conducted by the independent National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), now part of Public Health England (PHE). Three analyses were carried out, of which the latest report published in 2003 concluded that overall levels of mortality and cancer incidence in NTVs have continued to be similar to those in a matched Service control group and lower than in the general population. That report is available from the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mortality-and-cancer-incidence-1952-1998-uk-nuclear-weapons-tests

To provide further reassurance, the MOD commissioned a fourth study in the NRPB series in order to bring the evidence completely up to date. The study was carried out by PHE and commenced in December 2018. The study will extend the analysis by a further almost 20 years, again considering overall mortality and cancer incidence and mortality, and comparing veterans present at the tests with a control group of age matched veterans serving at the same time, but who were not NTVs, and with the UK general population. The Department's understanding is that the study has been completed and the researchers are preparing a paper for submission to a mainstream scientific/medical journal. This will then be peer reviewed. Further details about the study are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nuclear-weapons-test-participants-study/plan-for-the-fourth-analysis-of-the-nuclear-weapons-test-participants-study

Analysis of the international published peer-reviewed evidence to date provides no support for increased rates of congenital defects in children born to parents at risk of exposure to ionising radiation.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential (a) costs and (b) merits of extending the statutory requirement for a Cladding External Wall System form to include all apartment block buildings below 11m in height.

The Cladding External Wall System form (EWS1) is not a statutory requirement or government process. It is an industry tool to inform mortgage valuation. RICS has issued guidance on the use and application of these forms, and a surveyor must justify any request for an EWS1 form.

The Fire Safety Act 2021 requires all multi-occupancy residential buildings, regardless of height, to have an up-to-date fire risk assessment that, where necessary, includes the external walls. A Fire Risk Assessment of External Walls (FRAEW) done to the PAS 9980 standard developed by the British Standards Institution is the appropriate way to assess that risk in the external wall system.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of not extending the statutory requirement for a Cladding External Wall System form for properties in buildings below 11 meters on (a) property sales and (b) safety risk to residents.

The Cladding External Wall System form (EWS1) is not a statutory requirement or government process. It is an industry tool to inform mortgage valuation. RICS has issued guidance on the use and application of these forms, and a surveyor must justify any request for an EWS1 form.

The Fire Safety Act 2021 requires all multi-occupancy residential buildings, regardless of height, to have an up-to-date fire risk assessment that, where necessary, includes the external walls. A Fire Risk Assessment of External Walls (FRAEW) done to the PAS 9980 standard developed by the British Standards Institution is the appropriate way to assess that risk in the external wall system.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Answer of 26 October 2023 to Question 203866 on Letting Agents: Regulation, what his planned timescale is to respond to the recommendations from Lord Best's working group.

The Government continues to work with industry on improving best practice across the property agent sector.

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill announced in the King’s Speech will make it easier for leaseholders to scrutinise costs and challenge the services provided by both freeholders and property managing agents. The Bill will also make it easier for leaseholders to take on management of their buildings themselves so that they can directly appoint or replace agents.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress his Department has made on implementing the reforms in the Regulation of Property Agents: Working Group Report published 18 July 2019.

The Government is considering the recommendations in the final report on the regulation of property agents from Lord Best's working group. We will continue to work with industry on improving best practice. Announcements will be set out in the usual way.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Answer of 22 July 2021 to Question 33338, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing alternative forms of council taxation.

The Local Government Finance Settlement determines annually the amount by which local authorities can raise their council tax without a referendum. The Department undertakes a Public Sector Equalities Duty assessment to accompany each settlement. To ensure greater fairness in the system, the council tax system is mitigated by a range of reliefs and exemptions. Decisions on the level of council tax are a matter for individual local authorities.

There are no current plans to change the system, or to undertake a revaluation of domestic properties.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of council tax on households with high and low (a) incomes and (b) value properties.

The Local Government Finance Settlement determines annually the amount by which local authorities can raise their council tax without a referendum. The Department undertakes a Public Sector Equalities Duty assessment to accompany each settlement. To ensure greater fairness in the system, the council tax system is mitigated by a range of reliefs and exemptions. Decisions on the level of council tax are a matter for individual local authorities.

There are no current plans to change the system, or to undertake a revaluation of domestic properties.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of updating the valuations upon which Council Tax bands are set.

The Local Government Finance Settlement determines annually the amount by which local authorities can raise their council tax without a referendum. The Department undertakes a Public Sector Equalities Duty assessment to accompany each settlement. To ensure greater fairness in the system, the council tax system is mitigated by a range of reliefs and exemptions. Decisions on the level of council tax are a matter for individual local authorities.

There are no current plans to change the system, or to undertake a revaluation of domestic properties.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
7th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to take steps to support existing leaseholders who have (a) doubling and (b) other forms of multiplying ground rent.

The Government has legislated via the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 to protect future leaseholders from ground rents and we are due to bring forward further leasehold reforms later in this Parliament.

We do not hold the information requested centrally. The department conducted an Impact Assessment for the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, which included data on the number of properties in England and Wales that may charge ground rent, and may have doubling review clauses. The Impact Assessment is available on the UK Parliament website.

We understand the difficulties some existing leaseholders face with high and escalating ground rents. Unfair practices have no place in the housing market. This is why we asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector.

The CMA have secured commitments benefiting over 20,000 leaseholders, including commitments to return doubling ground rent terms to original rates. The CMA continue to engage with a number of firms and we urge other developers to follow suit.

7th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate he has made of the number of leaseholders that have (a) doubling and (b) other forms of multiplying ground rent.

The Government has legislated via the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 to protect future leaseholders from ground rents and we are due to bring forward further leasehold reforms later in this Parliament.

We do not hold the information requested centrally. The department conducted an Impact Assessment for the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, which included data on the number of properties in England and Wales that may charge ground rent, and may have doubling review clauses. The Impact Assessment is available on the UK Parliament website.

We understand the difficulties some existing leaseholders face with high and escalating ground rents. Unfair practices have no place in the housing market. This is why we asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector.

The CMA have secured commitments benefiting over 20,000 leaseholders, including commitments to return doubling ground rent terms to original rates. The CMA continue to engage with a number of firms and we urge other developers to follow suit.

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of discounting children under the age of 1 when calculating overcrowding under the Housing Act 1985 on children's health.

The 2004 Housing Act places a duty on local authorities to take enforcement action if they identify an 'crowding and space' hazard at the most dangerous 'category 1' level, as assessed by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The HHSRS operates by evaluating the potential risk of harm to any actual or potential occupier from their living environment. For crowding and space hazards, this includes children under the age of one.

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential correlation between temporary housing and low child mortality rates.

We are aware of National Child Mortality Database research on housing conditions, poverty and potential correlations with Sudden and Unexpected Deaths of Infants. We cannot emphasise enough that every family and child should live in suitable, safe housing.

Local authorities must ensure temporary accommodation is suitable in relation to all members of a household.

We are pursuing a number of housing reforms which will increase quality and regulation across all housing stock, including temporary accommodation. This includes reviewing the Decent Homes Standard, The Social Housing Regulation Bill and Renters reform.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to improve standards on the (a) safety and (b) quality of temporary accommodation.

We are aware of National Child Mortality Database research on housing conditions, poverty and potential correlations with Sudden and Unexpected Deaths of Infants. We cannot emphasise enough that every family and child should live in suitable, safe housing.

Local authorities must ensure temporary accommodation is suitable in relation to all members of a household.

We are pursuing a number of housing reforms which will increase quality and regulation across all housing stock, including temporary accommodation. This includes reviewing the Decent Homes Standard, The Social Housing Regulation Bill and Renters reform.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he will bring forward legislation to ban no fault evictions pursuant to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Further to the answer given in response to Question UIN84925 on 17 November 2022, we do not hold centrally the information requested.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the number of notices issued to tenants under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 where tenants had also made a recent prior request to their Landlord to carry out repairs.

Further to the answer given in response to Question UIN84925 on 17 November 2022, we do not hold centrally the information requested.

Felicity Buchan
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 progress he has made on developing guidance for (a) private and (b) social landlords on tenants hosting people fleeing Ukraine through the Homes for Ukraine 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 and information at Gov.uk.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to extend the Waking Watch Relief Fund to support tower blocks who installed fire alarms prior to 17 December 2020 where those costs have already been passed on to leaseholders.

Guidance on eligibility criteria for the Waking Watch Relief Fund is published on Gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waking-watch-relief-fund and for the Waking Watch Replacement Fund at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waking-watch-replacement-fund.

We have not made an assessment of the costs incurred by leaseholders who installed fire alarms before the eligibility date for the Waking Watch Relief Fund. However, data on average Waking Watch costs for approved Waking Watch Relief Fund (WWRF) applications is published in the Building Safety Programme data release. The latest data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data. This shows average cost of Waking Watch is estimated at £167 per month per dwelling.

We recognise that Waking Watch is a costly burden for too many leaseholders which is why Government is providing over £60 million to support the installation of alarms in buildings to replace costly Waking Watch measures. The Waking Watch Replacement fund will pay for alarms in all buildings where a Waking Watch is in place where those costs are passed onto leaseholders. The fund builds on the success of the Waking Watch Relief Fund which is funding alarms in over 320 buildings. The new fund will pay for alarms where installation commenced on or after 10 January 2022 – the date the fund was announced. The Waking Watch Relief Fund paid for alarms installed after 17 December 2020.

Government funding does recognise that Waking Watch measures have been in place in too many buildings for too long with leaseholders unfairly picking up these costs. We have considered how we can use limited public funding to best protect leaseholders from the continued burden of costly Waking Watch measures. In this case we have come to the view that government funding must be used to incentivise the right behaviour. That is the installation of alarms which is consistent with industry led guidance and best practice. Funding must, therefore, be used to reduce or end the reliance on Waking Watch measures by installing alarms in as many buildings as possible so that as many leaseholders as possible can be free of these costs. That is why we are unable to cover retrospective costs beyond those dates.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the cost incurred by leaseholders in respect of applications to the Waking Watch Relief Fund for buildings with flammable cladding access that have been refused as a result of fire alarms being installed prior to 17 December 2020.

Guidance on eligibility criteria for the Waking Watch Relief Fund is published on Gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waking-watch-relief-fund and for the Waking Watch Replacement Fund at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waking-watch-replacement-fund.

We have not made an assessment of the costs incurred by leaseholders who installed fire alarms before the eligibility date for the Waking Watch Relief Fund. However, data on average Waking Watch costs for approved Waking Watch Relief Fund (WWRF) applications is published in the Building Safety Programme data release. The latest data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data. This shows average cost of Waking Watch is estimated at £167 per month per dwelling.

We recognise that Waking Watch is a costly burden for too many leaseholders which is why Government is providing over £60 million to support the installation of alarms in buildings to replace costly Waking Watch measures. The Waking Watch Replacement fund will pay for alarms in all buildings where a Waking Watch is in place where those costs are passed onto leaseholders. The fund builds on the success of the Waking Watch Relief Fund which is funding alarms in over 320 buildings. The new fund will pay for alarms where installation commenced on or after 10 January 2022 – the date the fund was announced. The Waking Watch Relief Fund paid for alarms installed after 17 December 2020.

Government funding does recognise that Waking Watch measures have been in place in too many buildings for too long with leaseholders unfairly picking up these costs. We have considered how we can use limited public funding to best protect leaseholders from the continued burden of costly Waking Watch measures. In this case we have come to the view that government funding must be used to incentivise the right behaviour. That is the installation of alarms which is consistent with industry led guidance and best practice. Funding must, therefore, be used to reduce or end the reliance on Waking Watch measures by installing alarms in as many buildings as possible so that as many leaseholders as possible can be free of these costs. That is why we are unable to cover retrospective costs beyond those dates.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what criteria his Department used to assess applications to the Waking Watch Relief Fund for buildings with flammable cladding.

Guidance on eligibility criteria for the Waking Watch Relief Fund is published on Gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waking-watch-relief-fund and for the Waking Watch Replacement Fund at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waking-watch-replacement-fund.

We have not made an assessment of the costs incurred by leaseholders who installed fire alarms before the eligibility date for the Waking Watch Relief Fund. However, data on average Waking Watch costs for approved Waking Watch Relief Fund (WWRF) applications is published in the Building Safety Programme data release. The latest data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data. This shows average cost of Waking Watch is estimated at £167 per month per dwelling.

We recognise that Waking Watch is a costly burden for too many leaseholders which is why Government is providing over £60 million to support the installation of alarms in buildings to replace costly Waking Watch measures. The Waking Watch Replacement fund will pay for alarms in all buildings where a Waking Watch is in place where those costs are passed onto leaseholders. The fund builds on the success of the Waking Watch Relief Fund which is funding alarms in over 320 buildings. The new fund will pay for alarms where installation commenced on or after 10 January 2022 – the date the fund was announced. The Waking Watch Relief Fund paid for alarms installed after 17 December 2020.

Government funding does recognise that Waking Watch measures have been in place in too many buildings for too long with leaseholders unfairly picking up these costs. We have considered how we can use limited public funding to best protect leaseholders from the continued burden of costly Waking Watch measures. In this case we have come to the view that government funding must be used to incentivise the right behaviour. That is the installation of alarms which is consistent with industry led guidance and best practice. Funding must, therefore, be used to reduce or end the reliance on Waking Watch measures by installing alarms in as many buildings as possible so that as many leaseholders as possible can be free of these costs. That is why we are unable to cover retrospective costs beyond those dates.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to (a) retrospectively address and (b) reform practices leading to unfair ground rent contracts.

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. It is absolutely right that leaseholders should know about the coming changes that might affect them. We are preparing a number of activities to help with this as part of ensuring a smooth implementation of the Act.

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 we 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.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act is the first of a two-part seminal legislation programme to reform the leasehold system in this Parliament. On 7 January 2021 the Government announced reforms to enfranchisement valuation, 990-year leases, and established a new Commonhold Council. We will reform the process of enfranchisement valuation making it cheaper and simpler for leaseholders to extend their lease or purchase their freehold. For leaseholders buying the freehold or extending their lease, we will also cap ground rent to 0.1% of the freehold value for the purposes of calculating the premium. We will also prescribe rates and introduce an online calculator which will make it simpler for leaseholders to find out how much it will cost them to enfranchise.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to (a) retrospectively amend and (b) amend existing unfair leasehold contracts.

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. It is absolutely right that leaseholders should know about the coming changes that might affect them. We are preparing a number of activities to help with this as part of ensuring a smooth implementation of the Act.

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 we 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.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act is the first of a two-part seminal legislation programme to reform the leasehold system in this Parliament. On 7 January 2021 the Government announced reforms to enfranchisement valuation, 990-year leases, and established a new Commonhold Council. We will reform the process of enfranchisement valuation making it cheaper and simpler for leaseholders to extend their lease or purchase their freehold. For leaseholders buying the freehold or extending their lease, we will also cap ground rent to 0.1% of the freehold value for the purposes of calculating the premium. We will also prescribe rates and introduce an online calculator which will make it simpler for leaseholders to find out how much it will cost them to enfranchise.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is proposing to bring existing leasehold and ground rent contracts into line with his current leasehold reform plans.

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.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to ensure that the environmental health profession is supported through adequate (a) funding and (b) skills and training to deliver its services.

We understand that regulatory services teams, including environmental health officers, have faced significant pressures during the period of pandemic response. The Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group, which was set up by the Department in December 2020, has considered these issues in partnership with the Local Government Association and with senior colleagues from local authorities. The Group is currently finalising a set of recommendations which will aim to support the development and retention of a skilled environmental health workforce.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to make additional resources available to increase the number of apprentices in environmental health training within local authorities.

To ensure the effective operation of regulatory services teams, the Department convened the Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group in December 2020. The purpose of this group is to help coordinate central government’s expectations of local regulatory services and to propose short and long-term options to support the sector. The Group has already taken action to help local authorities (LAs) manage the capacity of their regulatory services teams. In January 2021 the Group issued LAs with a letter setting out government’s perspective on priority regulatory activities to help LAs to prioritise their resources during the pressures of the winter period. In March 2021, the Group produced a forward look of upcoming regulatory activities coming into effect in the next year to assist LAs with their forward planning.

The Group is now focussed on developing a suite of recommendations to address the immediate and systemic issues faced by local authority regulatory services teams. These recommendations will consider areas including the availability and number of apprentices in regulatory services teams.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps he has taken to help ensure that (a) environmental health and (b) other local regulatory services are operating effectively with sufficient resources.

To ensure the effective operation of regulatory services teams, the Department convened the Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group in December 2020. The purpose of this group is to help coordinate central government’s expectations of local regulatory services and to propose short and long-term options to support the sector. The Group has already taken action to help local authorities (LAs) manage the capacity of their regulatory services teams. In January 2021 the Group issued LAs with a letter setting out government’s perspective on priority regulatory activities to help LAs to prioritise their resources during the pressures of the winter period. In March 2021, the Group produced a forward look of upcoming regulatory activities coming into effect in the next year to assist LAs with their forward planning.

The Group is now focussed on developing a suite of recommendations to address the immediate and systemic issues faced by local authority regulatory services teams. These recommendations will consider areas including the availability and number of apprentices in regulatory services teams.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to Homes England's press release of 8 December 2020 on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on housing starts, if his Department will ensure that buyers already in the process of purchasing properties will not lose access to Help to Buy scheme finance in the event of covid-related delays to the construction of their properties.

Following the initial effects of Covid-19 there was a hiatus to construction during the first national lockdown. That is why the Government working with Homes England on 31 July announced changes to the Help to Buy contractual deadlines, which provided developers an extra two months’ build time. This gave developers using Help to Buy until 28 February 2021 to build out properties, with the deadline for legal completion remaining at 31 March 2021. However, additionally, where reservations were agreed before 30 June 2020, they were granted some further flexibility allowing such reservations to practically complete by 30 April and legally complete by 31 May 2021.

Working in line with sector guidance, the construction industry has been allowed to continue during the subsequent Covid-19 restrictions. Reservations for the current scheme were closed on 15 December, providing builders sufficient time to complete their orders.

Meanwhile, to mitigate against the risk of outstanding reservations not completing in time, Homes England announced on 15 January that it will not enforce the practical completion deadline of 28 February 2021 for the current scheme, thereby maximising the remaining time available time for developers to build out.

These measures provide relief for developers to build out homes delayed by Covid-19. We nevertheless continue to monitor the situation closely.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Fifth Report of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Pre-legislative scrutiny of the Building Safety Bill, published on 24 November 2020, HC 466, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for building remediation works.

In the March 2020 budget, the Government announced that it will provide £1 billion in 2020/21 to support the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on residential buildings 18 metres and over, in both the private and social housing sectors. This funding is in addition to the £600 million which Government has already made available to ensure remediation of the highest risk ACM cladding, the type that was in place on Grenfell Tower.

This will go a long way to addressing the most significant safety risks and, in many cases, address the costliest remediation works necessary.

Government’s decision to place the scope of the Building Safety Fund at buildings over 18m reflects the exceptional fire risk that certain cladding products pose at that height, as previously noted by the Independent Expert Advisory Panel and Dame Judith Hackitt.

Government support is focused on cladding because unsafe cladding acts as an accelerant to fire spread, and funding will remove any financial barriers to remediation proceeding.

Our impact assessment also identifies work not related to cladding that will need to be remediated. Michael Wade, senior adviser to?MHCLG, is accelerating work with leaseholders and the financial sector to identify financing solutions that defend leaseholders from unaffordable costs of building safety works while ensuring that taxpayers are protected.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the deadline for applications to the Building Safety Fund will be extended.

The timelines for the Building Fund, set out in the prospectus, are intended to incentivise building owners to demonstrate pace of progression with their remediation plans for unsafe buildings. We will keep timelines under review as we continue through the application process.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has made an assessment of the capacity of the construction industry to carry out cladding remediation work.

From the outset of the Building Safety Programme, the Department has engaged industry to ensure sufficient capacity exists to meet demand and to have arrangements in place to address any blockages in the supply chain.

We are providing £600 million to speed up the removal of the most dangerous ACM cladding, making homes safer, quicker. We are also providing £1 billion to remove other forms of unsafe cladding

Where funding alone has not been enough to increase the pace of remediation we have provided direct expert support to projects.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support and regulations he has put in place nationwide to protect and rehouse relatives who have been sharing accommodation but then become ineligible for that size property when a resident family member passes away; and if he will take steps to assess the effectiveness of legislation on evicting remaining resident family members to ensure that they do not become homeless.

The Localism Act 2011 has made changes to the rules on succession to social tenancies. From April 2012, rather than being limited by law to providing only one statutory succession, social landlords are able to give to new tenants whatever additional succession rights they deem to be appropriate in the tenancy agreement. This means that, for example, adult children who have lived in a property for many years can be provided with the assurance of a right to succeed to the tenancy regardless of whether a previous succession has already taken place.

In addition social landlords are able to grant, to those who remain in the home after the death of the tenant but have no succession rights, a new tenancy on the same or another more suitable property, provided that is in line with their own policies for allocating tenancies.

On 18 November I wrote to all local housing authorities to encourage them to consider how they can make best use of these existing flexibilities and to ask them to provide examples of good practice so that these can be shared more widely.

In addition, where family members other than a spouse or partner have a statutory right to succeed to a local authority tenancy, the landlord may seek to evict them if the property is or will become under-occupied. However, the landlord must ensure that suitable alternative accommodation is made available.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to help ensure that leaseholders are supported with the costs of (a) remediating non-compliant cladding on buildings and (b) other fire safety measures; and if he will increase the Building Safety Fund to ensure that all buildings are remediated at no cost to leaseholders.

The Government is making £1.6 billion available to support the remediation of unsafe cladding. This will deal with some of the highest risk and highest cost safety defects in our existing high rise stock, protecting leaseholders from the vast majority of these costs. However, government funding is not the only means of funding remediation.

The Government expects building owners to meet costs without passing them on to leaseholders wherever possible, through their own resources or by recovering costs from applicable warranty schemes or from the developers or contractors who were responsible for the installation of installed unsafe cladding, as has happened with more than half of the private sector buildings with Aluminium Composite Material cladding.

In parallel, Government adviser Michael Wade, is developing a financing solution that will help protect leaseholders from unaffordable remediation costs while making sure these do not fall to the taxpayer.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how applications for the Building Safety Fund are being assessed; what the criteria is for prioritising those applications; and how many have been assessed to date.

Following registration, MHCLG contacts building owners or the responsible person to ask for supporting evidence for their technical eligibility for the fund. This will include evidence of the height of the building and materials that are in place. Once a technical assessment of the building is complete and eligibility confirmed, successful registrants are then invited to apply for funding.

The application stage is administered by our partners in Homes England and the Greater London Authority. The rate at which applications are progressed will be dependent on the readiness of building owners to provide the required information.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the outcome of an application to the Building Safety Fund in relation to Imperial Point, Salford, M50 3RB, will be confirmed.

We are currently reviewing registrations and any additional information that has been requested. We understand that some buildings are awaiting the outcome of their registrations and we will be in touch with eligible building owners as soon as we have verified the information received, at which point eligible registrants will be asked to apply for funding. We are working to do this as quickly as possible.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many buildings are registered to the Building Safety Fund.

We are currently reviewing registrations to the Building Safety Fund and verifying the registration data. We will publish registration statistics in due course.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timeframe is for his Department to assess registrations to the Building Safety Fund; and whether that timescale allows for works to commence on those buildings before April 2021.

We are currently reviewing registrations and any additional information that has been requested. We understand that some buildings are awaiting the outcome of their registrations, and we will be in touch with eligible building owners as soon as we have verified the information received, at which point eligible registrants will be asked to apply for funding. We are working to do this as quickly as possible


The speed with which registrations and applications are processed is dependent on the readiness of building owners to provide the required information.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what additional resource the Government is providing to local authorities to help meet the Government’s air quality and carbon-neutral targets.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 February to question UIN 13580.

27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012) on the (a) availability, (b) effectiveness and (c) durability of legal aid firms providing housing advice services.

In March 2022, the Ministry of Justice consulted on several changes to the civil and criminal legal aid means tests to ensure that legal aid remains accessible to all who need it. When implemented, the changes will increase the number of people eligible for civil legal aid in England and Wales by an additional 2.5 million.

At the Crown Court, the Government has also proposed removing the current £37,500 disposable income threshold; if implemented, this would mean that all defendants at the Crown Court would be eligible for legal aid and so would not have to pay privately, though a proportion may be required to pay a monthly income contribution towards their legal costs.

Whilst the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) introduced changes to the scope of legal aid, legal aid services continued to be delivered following LASPO. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) publishes statistics regarding new cases completed and started in each period by legal aid scheme with additional breakdowns by region and by Controlled and Licensed Work at tables 9.1-5.

The LAA frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision of legal aid, in all categories of law, throughout England and Wales. The LAA moves quickly, where issues arise, to secure additional provision and to ensure demand for legal aid services, which may vary across different categories of law and across different geographic regions, is met. Legal advice on a range of civil matters including housing, debt, discrimination, and education is available, wherever people are, through the Civil Legal Advice telephone service.

The Ministry of Justice continues to consider the long-term sustainability of the criminal and civil legal aid market. Following publication of our full response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review (CLAIR) on 30 November 2022, we have boosted the system with immediate investment to address the most urgent concerns, including uplifts of 15% to most legal aid fee schemes.

Our plans will put criminal legal aid on a sustainable footing and ensure there is a sustainable supply of practitioners. Criminal legal aid spend is expected to increase to £1.2 billion per year, which is the highest level since 2010.

We have also recently launched a review of civil legal aid to identify evidence-based options which will help inform our longer-term strategy for improving the sustainability and effectiveness of the civil legal aid system.

Concerning legal aid for housing matters, the 2019 Post Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO found that individuals experiencing social welfare problems, especially related to housing matters, struggle to resolve their problems early, often leading to a clustering of problems. This in turn requires costly intervention at the courts and increases pressure on social services. In response, the MoJ is amending LASPO to expand the scope of legal aid for people facing the loss of their home to include early legal advice on housing, debt and welfare benefits from 1 August 2023 through the creation of the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS).

It is hoped that the HLPAS will enable individuals to resolve matters before court proceedings take place, reducing homelessness and pressure on the courts. HLPAS will also support housing legal aid providers, providing payment for the early legal advice and improving renumeration rates for delivering the court duty service. Up to £10m in annual funding has been made available for HLPAS.

In addition, since 31 October 2022 we have been piloting early legal advice on certain housing, debt and welfare benefits matters in Manchester and Middlesbrough to test the impact of early legal advice on resolving an individual’s problem more quickly. The pilot ended on 31 March 2023 and a final evaluation report is expected in July 2023.

Legal aid remains available for disrepair cases when there is a serious threat of illness or injury. Anyone in this position should contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline.

Whilst the MoJ continually monitors the latest data on possession proceedings, we are unable to assess the impact of LASPO on any trends in possession proceedings, evictions, homelessness levels and numbers of successful application for local Government homelessness assistance. This is because we cannot isolate any LASPO impact from changes over the same period.

Information concerning housing legal aid providers can be found here:

Legal aid statistics quarterly: October to December 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the impact of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012) (a) numbers of successful tenant defences at possessions proceedings, (b) numbers of evictions, (c) homelessness levels and (d) numbers of successful application for local Government homelessness assistance.

In March 2022, the Ministry of Justice consulted on several changes to the civil and criminal legal aid means tests to ensure that legal aid remains accessible to all who need it. When implemented, the changes will increase the number of people eligible for civil legal aid in England and Wales by an additional 2.5 million.

At the Crown Court, the Government has also proposed removing the current £37,500 disposable income threshold; if implemented, this would mean that all defendants at the Crown Court would be eligible for legal aid and so would not have to pay privately, though a proportion may be required to pay a monthly income contribution towards their legal costs.

Whilst the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) introduced changes to the scope of legal aid, legal aid services continued to be delivered following LASPO. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) publishes statistics regarding new cases completed and started in each period by legal aid scheme with additional breakdowns by region and by Controlled and Licensed Work at tables 9.1-5.

The LAA frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision of legal aid, in all categories of law, throughout England and Wales. The LAA moves quickly, where issues arise, to secure additional provision and to ensure demand for legal aid services, which may vary across different categories of law and across different geographic regions, is met. Legal advice on a range of civil matters including housing, debt, discrimination, and education is available, wherever people are, through the Civil Legal Advice telephone service.

The Ministry of Justice continues to consider the long-term sustainability of the criminal and civil legal aid market. Following publication of our full response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review (CLAIR) on 30 November 2022, we have boosted the system with immediate investment to address the most urgent concerns, including uplifts of 15% to most legal aid fee schemes.

Our plans will put criminal legal aid on a sustainable footing and ensure there is a sustainable supply of practitioners. Criminal legal aid spend is expected to increase to £1.2 billion per year, which is the highest level since 2010.

We have also recently launched a review of civil legal aid to identify evidence-based options which will help inform our longer-term strategy for improving the sustainability and effectiveness of the civil legal aid system.

Concerning legal aid for housing matters, the 2019 Post Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO found that individuals experiencing social welfare problems, especially related to housing matters, struggle to resolve their problems early, often leading to a clustering of problems. This in turn requires costly intervention at the courts and increases pressure on social services. In response, the MoJ is amending LASPO to expand the scope of legal aid for people facing the loss of their home to include early legal advice on housing, debt and welfare benefits from 1 August 2023 through the creation of the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS).

It is hoped that the HLPAS will enable individuals to resolve matters before court proceedings take place, reducing homelessness and pressure on the courts. HLPAS will also support housing legal aid providers, providing payment for the early legal advice and improving renumeration rates for delivering the court duty service. Up to £10m in annual funding has been made available for HLPAS.

In addition, since 31 October 2022 we have been piloting early legal advice on certain housing, debt and welfare benefits matters in Manchester and Middlesbrough to test the impact of early legal advice on resolving an individual’s problem more quickly. The pilot ended on 31 March 2023 and a final evaluation report is expected in July 2023.

Legal aid remains available for disrepair cases when there is a serious threat of illness or injury. Anyone in this position should contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline.

Whilst the MoJ continually monitors the latest data on possession proceedings, we are unable to assess the impact of LASPO on any trends in possession proceedings, evictions, homelessness levels and numbers of successful application for local Government homelessness assistance. This is because we cannot isolate any LASPO impact from changes over the same period.

Information concerning housing legal aid providers can be found here:

Legal aid statistics quarterly: October to December 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the impact of the availability of access to housing legal aid on (a) numbers of evictions, (b) enforcement of tenants’ rights and (c) the number of legal proceedings brought forward relating to housing.

In March 2022, the Ministry of Justice consulted on several changes to the civil and criminal legal aid means tests to ensure that legal aid remains accessible to all who need it. When implemented, the changes will increase the number of people eligible for civil legal aid in England and Wales by an additional 2.5 million.

At the Crown Court, the Government has also proposed removing the current £37,500 disposable income threshold; if implemented, this would mean that all defendants at the Crown Court would be eligible for legal aid and so would not have to pay privately, though a proportion may be required to pay a monthly income contribution towards their legal costs.

Whilst the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) introduced changes to the scope of legal aid, legal aid services continued to be delivered following LASPO. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) publishes statistics regarding new cases completed and started in each period by legal aid scheme with additional breakdowns by region and by Controlled and Licensed Work at tables 9.1-5.

The LAA frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision of legal aid, in all categories of law, throughout England and Wales. The LAA moves quickly, where issues arise, to secure additional provision and to ensure demand for legal aid services, which may vary across different categories of law and across different geographic regions, is met. Legal advice on a range of civil matters including housing, debt, discrimination, and education is available, wherever people are, through the Civil Legal Advice telephone service.

The Ministry of Justice continues to consider the long-term sustainability of the criminal and civil legal aid market. Following publication of our full response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review (CLAIR) on 30 November 2022, we have boosted the system with immediate investment to address the most urgent concerns, including uplifts of 15% to most legal aid fee schemes.

Our plans will put criminal legal aid on a sustainable footing and ensure there is a sustainable supply of practitioners. Criminal legal aid spend is expected to increase to £1.2 billion per year, which is the highest level since 2010.

We have also recently launched a review of civil legal aid to identify evidence-based options which will help inform our longer-term strategy for improving the sustainability and effectiveness of the civil legal aid system.

Concerning legal aid for housing matters, the 2019 Post Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO found that individuals experiencing social welfare problems, especially related to housing matters, struggle to resolve their problems early, often leading to a clustering of problems. This in turn requires costly intervention at the courts and increases pressure on social services. In response, the MoJ is amending LASPO to expand the scope of legal aid for people facing the loss of their home to include early legal advice on housing, debt and welfare benefits from 1 August 2023 through the creation of the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS).

It is hoped that the HLPAS will enable individuals to resolve matters before court proceedings take place, reducing homelessness and pressure on the courts. HLPAS will also support housing legal aid providers, providing payment for the early legal advice and improving renumeration rates for delivering the court duty service. Up to £10m in annual funding has been made available for HLPAS.

In addition, since 31 October 2022 we have been piloting early legal advice on certain housing, debt and welfare benefits matters in Manchester and Middlesbrough to test the impact of early legal advice on resolving an individual’s problem more quickly. The pilot ended on 31 March 2023 and a final evaluation report is expected in July 2023.

Legal aid remains available for disrepair cases when there is a serious threat of illness or injury. Anyone in this position should contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline.

Whilst the MoJ continually monitors the latest data on possession proceedings, we are unable to assess the impact of LASPO on any trends in possession proceedings, evictions, homelessness levels and numbers of successful application for local Government homelessness assistance. This is because we cannot isolate any LASPO impact from changes over the same period.

Information concerning housing legal aid providers can be found here:

Legal aid statistics quarterly: October to December 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of access to housing legal aid; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of expanding housing legal aid to include (a) welfare benefits advice, (b) early housing advice and (c) advice on disrepair compensation claims.

In March 2022, the Ministry of Justice consulted on several changes to the civil and criminal legal aid means tests to ensure that legal aid remains accessible to all who need it. When implemented, the changes will increase the number of people eligible for civil legal aid in England and Wales by an additional 2.5 million.

At the Crown Court, the Government has also proposed removing the current £37,500 disposable income threshold; if implemented, this would mean that all defendants at the Crown Court would be eligible for legal aid and so would not have to pay privately, though a proportion may be required to pay a monthly income contribution towards their legal costs.

Whilst the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) introduced changes to the scope of legal aid, legal aid services continued to be delivered following LASPO. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) publishes statistics regarding new cases completed and started in each period by legal aid scheme with additional breakdowns by region and by Controlled and Licensed Work at tables 9.1-5.

The LAA frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision of legal aid, in all categories of law, throughout England and Wales. The LAA moves quickly, where issues arise, to secure additional provision and to ensure demand for legal aid services, which may vary across different categories of law and across different geographic regions, is met. Legal advice on a range of civil matters including housing, debt, discrimination, and education is available, wherever people are, through the Civil Legal Advice telephone service.

The Ministry of Justice continues to consider the long-term sustainability of the criminal and civil legal aid market. Following publication of our full response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review (CLAIR) on 30 November 2022, we have boosted the system with immediate investment to address the most urgent concerns, including uplifts of 15% to most legal aid fee schemes.

Our plans will put criminal legal aid on a sustainable footing and ensure there is a sustainable supply of practitioners. Criminal legal aid spend is expected to increase to £1.2 billion per year, which is the highest level since 2010.

We have also recently launched a review of civil legal aid to identify evidence-based options which will help inform our longer-term strategy for improving the sustainability and effectiveness of the civil legal aid system.

Concerning legal aid for housing matters, the 2019 Post Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO found that individuals experiencing social welfare problems, especially related to housing matters, struggle to resolve their problems early, often leading to a clustering of problems. This in turn requires costly intervention at the courts and increases pressure on social services. In response, the MoJ is amending LASPO to expand the scope of legal aid for people facing the loss of their home to include early legal advice on housing, debt and welfare benefits from 1 August 2023 through the creation of the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS).

It is hoped that the HLPAS will enable individuals to resolve matters before court proceedings take place, reducing homelessness and pressure on the courts. HLPAS will also support housing legal aid providers, providing payment for the early legal advice and improving renumeration rates for delivering the court duty service. Up to £10m in annual funding has been made available for HLPAS.

In addition, since 31 October 2022 we have been piloting early legal advice on certain housing, debt and welfare benefits matters in Manchester and Middlesbrough to test the impact of early legal advice on resolving an individual’s problem more quickly. The pilot ended on 31 March 2023 and a final evaluation report is expected in July 2023.

Legal aid remains available for disrepair cases when there is a serious threat of illness or injury. Anyone in this position should contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline.

Whilst the MoJ continually monitors the latest data on possession proceedings, we are unable to assess the impact of LASPO on any trends in possession proceedings, evictions, homelessness levels and numbers of successful application for local Government homelessness assistance. This is because we cannot isolate any LASPO impact from changes over the same period.

Information concerning housing legal aid providers can be found here:

Legal aid statistics quarterly: October to December 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of pay for people working in legal aid; and if he will make an estimate of the number of Legal Aid providers that have accepted new cases since the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012) came into force.

In March 2022, the Ministry of Justice consulted on several changes to the civil and criminal legal aid means tests to ensure that legal aid remains accessible to all who need it. When implemented, the changes will increase the number of people eligible for civil legal aid in England and Wales by an additional 2.5 million.

At the Crown Court, the Government has also proposed removing the current £37,500 disposable income threshold; if implemented, this would mean that all defendants at the Crown Court would be eligible for legal aid and so would not have to pay privately, though a proportion may be required to pay a monthly income contribution towards their legal costs.

Whilst the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) introduced changes to the scope of legal aid, legal aid services continued to be delivered following LASPO. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) publishes statistics regarding new cases completed and started in each period by legal aid scheme with additional breakdowns by region and by Controlled and Licensed Work at tables 9.1-5.

The LAA frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision of legal aid, in all categories of law, throughout England and Wales. The LAA moves quickly, where issues arise, to secure additional provision and to ensure demand for legal aid services, which may vary across different categories of law and across different geographic regions, is met. Legal advice on a range of civil matters including housing, debt, discrimination, and education is available, wherever people are, through the Civil Legal Advice telephone service.

The Ministry of Justice continues to consider the long-term sustainability of the criminal and civil legal aid market. Following publication of our full response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review (CLAIR) on 30 November 2022, we have boosted the system with immediate investment to address the most urgent concerns, including uplifts of 15% to most legal aid fee schemes.

Our plans will put criminal legal aid on a sustainable footing and ensure there is a sustainable supply of practitioners. Criminal legal aid spend is expected to increase to £1.2 billion per year, which is the highest level since 2010.

We have also recently launched a review of civil legal aid to identify evidence-based options which will help inform our longer-term strategy for improving the sustainability and effectiveness of the civil legal aid system.

Concerning legal aid for housing matters, the 2019 Post Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO found that individuals experiencing social welfare problems, especially related to housing matters, struggle to resolve their problems early, often leading to a clustering of problems. This in turn requires costly intervention at the courts and increases pressure on social services. In response, the MoJ is amending LASPO to expand the scope of legal aid for people facing the loss of their home to include early legal advice on housing, debt and welfare benefits from 1 August 2023 through the creation of the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS).

It is hoped that the HLPAS will enable individuals to resolve matters before court proceedings take place, reducing homelessness and pressure on the courts. HLPAS will also support housing legal aid providers, providing payment for the early legal advice and improving renumeration rates for delivering the court duty service. Up to £10m in annual funding has been made available for HLPAS.

In addition, since 31 October 2022 we have been piloting early legal advice on certain housing, debt and welfare benefits matters in Manchester and Middlesbrough to test the impact of early legal advice on resolving an individual’s problem more quickly. The pilot ended on 31 March 2023 and a final evaluation report is expected in July 2023.

Legal aid remains available for disrepair cases when there is a serious threat of illness or injury. Anyone in this position should contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline.

Whilst the MoJ continually monitors the latest data on possession proceedings, we are unable to assess the impact of LASPO on any trends in possession proceedings, evictions, homelessness levels and numbers of successful application for local Government homelessness assistance. This is because we cannot isolate any LASPO impact from changes over the same period.

Information concerning housing legal aid providers can be found here:

Legal aid statistics quarterly: October to December 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the judgment in Smyth, Re Judicial Review [2017] NIQB 55, for what reasons the remit of the Law Commission's review of weddings law includes the legal recognition of humanist marriages.

The Government announced in June 2019 that the Law Commission will conduct a fundamental review of the law on how and where people can legally marry in England and Wales. As part of that review, the Government invited the Law Commission to make recommendations about how marriage by humanist and other non-religious belief organisations could be incorporated into a revised or new scheme for all marriages that is simple, fair and consistent.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of granting legal recognition to humanist marriages in advance of the report from the Law Commission.

Government consulted in 2014 on marriages by non-religious belief organisations. Assessment of these matters can be found in the Government response at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/marriages-by-non-religious-belief-organisations.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of public support for legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales.

Government consulted in 2014 on marriages by non-religious belief organisations. Assessment of these matters can be found in the Government response at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/marriages-by-non-religious-belief-organisations.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of choices available to non-religious couples to have a legally-recognised wedding conducted in line with their own beliefs.

Government consulted in 2014 on marriages by non-religious belief organisations. Assessment of these matters can be found in the Government response at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/marriages-by-non-religious-belief-organisations.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to legalise humanist marriages in England and Wales.

The Government announced last June that the Law Commission will conduct a fundamental review of the law on how and where people can legally marry in England and Wales. As part of that review, the Government invited the Law Commission to make recommendations about how marriage by humanist and other non-religious belief organisations could be incorporated into a revised or new scheme for all marriages that is simple, fair and consistent.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice