Richard Holden Portrait

Richard Holden

Conservative - North West Durham


Scheduled Event
Wednesday 20th July 2022
Ten Minute Rule Motion - Main Chamber
Pensions (Extension of automatic enrolment)
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Department Event
Monday 19th September 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Sep 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 271 Conservative Aye votes vs 0 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 273 Noes - 205
Speeches
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Steel Safeguards
North West Durham and Consett have a proud history of steelmaking and, although the blast furnaces closed more than 40 …
Written Answers
Thursday 30th June 2022
Renewable Energy
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what Government grants or support are available for …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 15th December 2020
Virginity Testing (Prohibition) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit virginity testing procedures; to make associated provision about education; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th February 2022
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Heineken
Address of donor: 3-4 Broadway Park, South Gyle Broadway, Edinburgh EH12 9JZ
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Wednesday 18th August 2021
Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order 2021 (S.I. 2021 No. 842)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order 2021 (S.I. 2021 …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Richard Holden has voted in 556 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Richard Holden voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 72 Conservative Aye votes vs 175 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
View All Richard Holden 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
Kevan Jones (Labour)
(23 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(20 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(19 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(76 debate contributions)
Home Office
(46 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(42 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(34 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Richard Holden's debates

North West Durham Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest North West Durham signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

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

Many missing microchipped pets are never reunited as it’s optional to scan & check microchip registration. It’s time veterinary professionals, authorities and rescues checked pet & keeper match on the original database at a pets 1st consultation or yearly checkup. It’s their only chance to get home

A healthy young dog with RBU was euthanised. The person who requested euthanasia was not the registered keeper.

Football is a powerful tool of which allows a range of benefits such as employment, and other important aspects of life. Football can be associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication across the community. With Fans attending football games a range of economic benefits are there too.

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

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.


Latest EDMs signed by Richard Holden

18th August 2021
Richard Holden signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 18th August 2021

Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order 2021 (S.I. 2021 No. 842)

Tabled by: Chris Loder (Conservative - West Dorset)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order 2021 (S.I. 2021 No. 842), dated 13 July 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27 July 2021, be annulled.
6 signatures
(Most recent: 18 Aug 2021)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 5
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Richard Holden's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Richard Holden, 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.


Richard Holden has not been granted any Urgent Questions

4 Adjournment Debates led by Richard Holden

Tuesday 8th March 2022
Monday 1st November 2021
Monday 1st February 2021
Tuesday 6th October 2020

1 Bill introduced by Richard Holden


A Bill to prohibit virginity testing procedures; to make associated provision about education; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 15th December 2020
(Read Debate)

Richard Holden has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


404 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
11 Other Department Questions
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will take steps to ensure that homebuyer reports include information on (a) whether or not water supply is connected to mains water and (b) whether sewerage is connected to the mains sewers or to a septic tank.

Homebuyer reports are undertaken by qualified surveyors, and the report contents will depend upon the nature of the property and the type of report commissioned. Prior to commissioning a survey, buyers should check the terms and scope carefully to ensure it meets their needs.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps local authorities can take to efficiently remove dangerous trees that are subject to Tree Protection Orders.

Local authorities can remove dangerous trees subject to Tree Preservation Orders.

If a tree presents an immediate risk of serious harm, requiring urgent work, the work can be undertaken without needing to apply for consent.

Alternatively, the local authority can revoke the Tree Preservation Order (as set out in the regulations). The tree is then no longer protected so can be removed.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what sanctions are available against people in local government who break rules on standards; and whether those sanctions are the same in every council and local authority across the country.

Councils have a number of sanctions for code of conduct breaches including a formal rebuke, removing any portfolio responsibilities and representative roles, and requiring members to undertake training. These sanctions apply to all councils across England.

It is crucial that elected members in local government inspire confidence and have the trust of the electorate by adhering to their council’s code of conduct. All councillors are ultimately held to account via the ballot box.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many new (a) council and (b) social landlord properties have been built in each year since 2005 in each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority area.

Statistics on numbers of dwellings owned by local authorities and private registered providers as at 31 March by local authority area are published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the gov.uk website in live tables 116 and 115 respectively, which can be found at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants.

Statistics on the supply of new affordable housing in each local authority area, including acquisitions of existing stock for affordable housing, are also published on the gov.uk website, in live tables 1008C and 1011 at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply. The open datafile available at the same link breaks these statistics down into those that are new build and acquisitions of existing stock, and by provider. The Department does not collect these data by parliamentary constituency.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate he has made of the total amount of (a) council housing and (b) social housing in each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority area.

Statistics on numbers of dwellings owned by local authorities and private registered providers as at 31 March by local authority area are published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the gov.uk website in live tables 116 and 115 respectively, which can be found at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants.

Statistics on the supply of new affordable housing in each local authority area, including acquisitions of existing stock for affordable housing, are also published on the gov.uk website, in live tables 1008C and 1011 at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply. The open datafile available at the same link breaks these statistics down into those that are new build and acquisitions of existing stock, and by provider. The Department does not collect these data by parliamentary constituency.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much each local authority has saved as a direct result of the abolition of non-domestic rates on public lavatories.

The value of the relief is estimated to be worth around £6 million p.a. to eligible public lavatories in England. This includes both privately or publicly occupied public lavatories, we do not hold data on the split of support between privately and publicly occupied public lavatories.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
7th Jul 2021
What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on bringing forward legislative proposals to ban virginity testing.

This Government shares the concern about virginity testing. The World Health Organisation is clear that it has no scientific merit and is a violation of human rights. That is why we have conducted a review into virginity testing and hymenoplasty.

Ministers from DHSC, Home Office and DfE met recently to discuss the review's findings and any legislative proposals. These will be published in the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
9th Feb 2021
To ask the right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what the costs are for the (a) business planning and (b) other preliminary works for the Restoration and Renewal Programme before the full works programme begins.

The Sponsor Body is currently finalising the remaining phase 1 expenditure limit, to be agreed by the Commissions of both Houses.

The Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission will review the annual estimate in the context of the limit agreed by the Commissions of both Houses. The annual Estimate will be discussed in a public hearing in March 2021. The Estimates Commission will seek the views of the Treasury before laying the Estimate before the House of Commons.

Current costs and expenditure are published as Quarterly Reports, available on the Restoration and Renewal website: www.restorationandrenewal.uk/resources/transparency/the-programme.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, how many staff are employed on the Restoration and Renewal programme; and what the average cost, including employer national insurance and pension contributions, is of those members of staff.

The Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body is the single client accountable to Parliament and oversees a Delivery Authority which carries out the work.

The Sponsor Body was established in shadow form in July 2018 and became a statutory organisation separate from Parliament on 8 April 2020 and has been engaged in a period of recruitment since then. The staffing is a mixture of directly employed staff, contractors and people seconded from the Houses. As of 31 January 2021, there are 15 directly employed staff in the Sponsor Body, mainly at a senior level and the average costs per employee is £103,633, including National Insurance and Pension.

The Delivery Authority was set up as a company limited by guarantee on 16 April 2020, and the Sponsor Body is the sole guarantor. The staffing is a mixture of directly employed staff, contractors and people seconded from the Houses. As of 31 January 2021, there are 55 directly employed staff in the Delivery Authority, mainly at a senior level and the average costs per employee is £86,810, including National Insurance and Pension.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Committee has made of the potential merits of all councils having single member wards to ensure equal representation and equal weight to votes cast in local elections.

The Local Government Boundary Commission is responsible for recommending fair electoral and boundary arrangements for local authorities in England. In doing this it balances three statutory criteria: within an authority, each councillor should represent a similar number of electors; boundaries should be appropriate, reflecting community ties and identities, and its reviews should be informed by local needs, views and circumstances.

It is not necessary for all councils to have single member wards to ensure councillors represent a similar number of electors. When conducting a review, the Commission first decides on the number of coucillors needed for an authority. It then calculates how many electors there should be per councillor. When doing this, it is required to use as a baseline a forecast of the number of local electors five years after the competition of its reviews. The forecast number is divided by the number of councillors to give a target number of electors per councillor. The target in multi-member wards is multiplied by the number of councillors in that ward so that councillors represent a similar number of electors.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many (a) appeals and (b) successful appeals the Government has made against sentences on the basis of undue leniency, in each of the last 20 years.

The statistics from 2000 are provided below. It should be noted that Attorney General’s Office does not hold accurate data prior to 2001 and we are not in possession of the data indicating the number of successful appeals for the year 2000.

Year

Appeals the Government has made against sentences on the basis of undue leniency

Successful appeals the Government has made against sentences on the basis of undue leniency

2000

31

Data unavailable

2001

147

90

2002

148

94

2003

96

78

2004

105

66

2005

108

67

2006

144

104

2007

76

53

2008

59

46

2009

84

58

2010

77

60

2011

117

94

2012

82

62

2013

70

61

2014

122

106

2015

136

102

2016

180

130

2017

173

137

2018

140

99

2019

97

63

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of people that were due to be prosecuted for benefit fraud have had their prosecution proceedings terminated in the latest period for which figures are available; and for what reasons were those proceedings terminated.

Allegations of benefit fraud are investigated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Local Authority investigators. DWP and Local Authority investigators have discretion to apply an administrative penalty or refer to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or Local Authority prosecutors for a decision on whether to prosecute.

The records held by the CPS identify the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced and reached a first hearing in magistrates’ courts, rather than the number of people prosecuted. A single defendant may be prosecuted for multiple offences.

No central records of the prosecution outcomes of offences are held by the CPS. To obtain details of the number of people prosecuted and whose proceedings were stopped by the CPS, for offences of benefit fraud would require a manual exercise of reviewing individual case files to be undertaken at a disproportionate cost.

Furthermore, cases of benefit fraud are also prosecuted by Local Authorities so any data the CPS can glean from a manual exercise would not provide a complete record.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people died by suicide by (a) council area, (b) region and (c) constituency in each of the last 10 years months for which data is available.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Question of 23 February is attached.

At the request of the UK Statistics Authority, I have placed in the library a table of the number of suicides by parliamentary constituency.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
25th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) 16-year-olds and (b) 17-year-olds were married in (i) England (ii) Scotland, (iii) Wales and (iv) Northern Ireland in each of the last 30 years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people in (a) North East England, (b) County Durham local authority area and (c) North West Durham have (i) died as a result of covid-19 and (ii) died as a result of covid-19 with underlying health conditions in each age category in each week since 1 January 2020.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the net effect of import and export of UK coal on the balance of payments in (a) each of the last five years (b) annually with individual countries.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding was allocated to support former senior government ministers for their continued public activities excluding security costs in the last 10 years.

A copy of the policy and guidance on the Public Duties Cost Allowance is in the Library of the House.

Current recipients of the allowance are published in the Cabinet Office Annual Reports and Accounts, available to the public on GOV.UK. The Public Duties Cost Allowance rate is currently set at a limit of £115,000 per annum.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the details of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Scheme to help householders will be released.

The Statutory Instrument for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Scheme was laid in Parliament on 22 June and is subject to the affirmative procedure.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has published ECO4 scoring details is expected to publish other delivery and administrative guidance in the coming weeks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what Government grants or support are available for (a) residential and (b) commercial properties for (i) solar, (ii) wind and (iii) ground source heat energy.

Schemes including the Local Authority Delivery, Home Upgrade Grant, and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund enable installing solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

VAT on installing solar panels, including with storage in Great Britain’s residential settings is now 0%. The Smart Export Guarantee enables small-scale renewable electricity generators, including from solar panels and small wind turbines, to receive payment for what they export.

The Government offers tax-relief to businesses installing solar panels, including for onsite-renewable generation, and will review existing permitted development rights that, subject to conditions, allow solar on and around domestic and commercial buildings without planning permission.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that petrol stations do not apply unreasonable mark-ups for consumers.

The Government has asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to conduct an urgent review of the fuel market, as well as a longer-term market study under the Enterprise Act 2002, to explore whether the retail fuel market has adversely affected consumer interests. As part of this, the Government has asked for the CMA’s advice on the extent to which competition has resulted in the fuel duty cut being passed on to consumers and the reasons for local variations in the price of road fuel.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a price cap for people in community heat networks; what his timeframe is for introducing that price cap; and what interim support for energy costs his Department is providing those people.

The Queen’s Speech on 10th May, confirmed that the Government has now committed to legislating to regulate the heat networks market in this parliamentary session as part of the Energy Security Bill. The legislation will provide the BEIS Secretary of State with powers to introduce a price cap should it be necessary to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour. The Government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-living-support/cost-of-living-support-factsheet-26-may-2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an energy price cap for (a) oil, (b) liquefied petroleum gas and (c) solid fuel used by off-grid homes, similar to the energy price cap for on-grid homes; and whether his Department has taken steps to help support off-grid homes in the context of increases in energy costs resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Government recognises that, as a result of volatile international crude oil prices as well as the conflict in Ukraine, heating oil and liquefied petroleum gas prices have risen steeply over the past year.

The Government has carefully considered calls to introduce a price-cap for these fuels. The heating oil, liquefied petroleum gas and solid fuel markets are not natural monopolies with high fixed and start-up costs and are not difficult for customer switching. The Government does therefore not deem it appropriate to introduce a price cap at this point in time. Nevertheless, the Government recognises the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and has set out a generous £22 billion package of support.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that steel required for UK manufacturing that is not produced in the UK is accessible to UK industry in the context of the impact of import quotas on market access to that product.

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

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of energy companies on the reasons for the increase in the day-to-day connectivity charge for smart metering for (a) existing and (b) new customers.

Energy consumers are not subject to a day-to-day connectivity charge for having a smart meter.

Energy suppliers may apply standing charges, a fixed charge that suppliers pass on to cover the cost of providing a live supply, for each metering point whether for a smart or traditional meter.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the increase by energy companies in standing charges on energy bills; and if he will make an assessment of the reasons for that increase given that the pure cost of connection has not risen.

The standing charge is a fixed charge that suppliers pass on to their customers to cover the cost of providing a live supply. One component of these costs relates to transmission and distribution costs, which have increased recently, as the Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) levy is paid via network costs. The SoLR levy covers the unrecoverable costs of a supplier taking on the customers of a failed supplier and reflects the significantly higher costs of purchasing wholesale energy since August. The standing charge is passed on to consumers as a flat rate per day, rather than as a percentage charge, based on how much energy they use.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer to Question 129263 on Energy: Prices, for what reason there is not a moratorium on fracking for oil.

The Government is not aware of any applications for hydraulic fracturing for oil.

While the 2019 Written Ministerial Statement setting out the Government’s effective moratorium on hydraulic fracturing refers to shale gas, the definition of hydraulic fracturing used is as set out in the Petroleum Act 1998. This definition does not differentiate between gas or oil and therefore applies to both.

This statement makes clear that on the basis of current scientific evidence, the Government will take a presumption against issuing any further Hydraulic Fracturing Consents, which are required before hydraulic fracturing operations can take place.

Future applications for Hydraulic Fracturing Consents, whether for oil or gas, will be considered on their own merits but industry should consider the position taken in relation to shale gas when considering any new developments.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of fracking for (a) oil and (b) natural gas in the UK in response to rising energy prices.

The Government has been clear that shale gas development must be safe and sustainable – both for local communities and the environment. On the basis of the current scientific evidence, the Government has confirmed that it will take a presumption against issuing any further Hydraulic Fracturing Consents, which are required before hydraulic fracturing operations can take place. This position, an effective moratorium, will be maintained unless compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity.

Even if the current moratorium were lifted, development would also need to secure environmental permitting and planning consents, and it would take some years of exploration and development before commercial quantities of gas could be produced. Oil and gas is unlikely to become available in sufficient quantities to address the high prices currently affecting all of western Europe.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the recommendations of the Good Work Plan published in December 2018, how many of those recommendations (a) have been implemented, (b) are in the process of being implemented by legislation or other means and (c) are still under consideration awaiting legislation or other means to implement them.

We have already made significant progress in bringing forward legislation to protect workers’ rights, including:

  • Giving all workers the right to receive a statement of their rights from day one;
  • Introducing new rights to workers to receive a payslip and for payslips for hourly paid workers to include the numbers of hours worked;
  • Quadrupling the maximum additional penalty fine that Employment Tribunals can use for employers who treat their workers badly;
  • Closing a loophole which sees agency workers employed on cheaper rates than permanent workers;
  • Extending the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks, ensuring those in seasonal or atypical roles get fair holiday pay; and
  • Announcing a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay Employment Tribunal awards.

Future reforms will build on this record. These reforms will form part of the Government’s plan to build back better, enabling a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy that delivers on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) extending the period of and (b) increasing rates of pay for (a) maternity, (b) paternity and (c) joint parental leave.

The Government believes that, overall, the current arrangements for parental leave and pay in the UK are generous and flexible. This includes offering 52 weeks of maternity leave, of which 39 are paid, which is more than three times the EU minimum requirement.

Employment legislation sets out minimum employment rights which employers must offer to their employees. Many employers choose to offer more generous contractual provisions for their staff because they recognise the benefits this brings to their business as well as to their employees.

In 2019, the Government consulted on high-level options and principles for reforming the parental leave and pay system. We are also carrying out an evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme. We intend to publish our response to the consultation and the findings of the evaluation later this year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of taking measures to control energy costs for people living in rural areas who rely on (a) oil, (b) LPG and (c) solid fuel.

If residents are off the gas grid, but on a default tariff for their electricity only supply they will still be protected by the Energy Price Cap. Providing they are eligible, they will be able to access Warm Home Discount.

The Government believes it is essential that consumers get a fair deal.  There are open markets for the supply of heating oil and LPG in the UK as we believe this provides the best long-term guarantee of competitive prices. These markets are subject to UK competition law to ensure they operate efficiently for the consumer.

Changes in the price of crude oil are the main drivers for the price of heating oil although other factors including more local supply and demand for the refined products can have an impact on prices. LPG used in the UK is produced primarily as a by-product from the refining of crude oil. The LPG price is therefore also influenced by the price of crude oil.

We consider energy efficiency upgrades to be the best way to tackle fuel poverty in the long term. Energy efficiency upgrades will contribute to reduced energy bills and a warmer, safer living environment.

We are supporting low income and vulnerable households in rural areas through the Home Upgrade Grant, which will support low-income households by upgrading the most energy inefficient off gas grid homes in England. On 19 October we announced additional funding of £950m for the Home Upgrade Grant.

Further, through the Energy Company Obligation, an obligation placed on larger energy suppliers, which requires them to reduce home heating costs by installing energy efficiency and heating measures to people’s homes in England, Scotland and Wales. We recently consulted on the successor scheme from 2022 and proposed incentives for delivery in rural areas where additional grant funding is not available.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where the main manufacturers of sunscreen are located in the UK.

The Department does not hold this information.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of sunscreen sold in the UK is made in the UK.

The Department does not hold this information.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of the restriction of the sale of fireworks (a) generally and (b) in specific areas where there have been localised issues.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls who can purchase them, their availability and use, curfews, and their safety as a product. While the safety and sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster, controls on misuse and discharge are devolved to Scotland.

Enforcement powers exist for local authorities to take action when fireworks are unsafe, sold illegally, or misused. Local authorities and the police also have powers to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by the misuse of fireworks, where it arises.

We have no current plans to place further restrictions on the sale of fireworks to the public. Evidence provided by the National Fire Chiefs Council and the National Police Chiefs Council to the Petition Committee’s Fireworks Inquiry raised concerns that additional controls could see an increase in supplies from illegitimate or unsafe suppliers.

The Government continues to work with the Devolved Administrations, business, charities, and local authorities to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of relaxing the First Time Central Heating requirement of the Energy Company Obligation for net-zero measures on the (a) number of left behind properties that would be moved out of fuel poverty and (b) decarbonisation of the housing stock.

The Government will shortly consult on proposed changes to the Energy Company Obligation scheme, including any changes to first time central heating.

The modelled impacts of the successor scheme will be set out in the accompanying Impact Assessment. This will include the associated carbon savings and the number of homes that are expected to be treated through the scheme.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the rules on shared parental leave have to be legally the same for men and women working at the same company.

Parents who are eligible for Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay have the flexibility to share up to 50 weeks of Leave and 37 weeks of Statutory Pay between them, as they see fit. Both parents can use Shared Parental Leave to take leave in blocks separated by periods of work, or take it all in one go. They can also choose to be off work together or to stagger the leave and pay. For both parents, Shared Parental Pay is paid at the rate of £151.20 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Some employers may wish to offer occupational parental schemes for men and women taking shared parental leave, beyond the statutory requirements. The Shared Parental Leave and Pay: Employer’s technical guide published on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/shared-parental-leave-and-pay-employers-technical-guide) clearly states that it if an occupational scheme is offered to a mother on Shared Parental Leave, it could constitute sex discrimination if such an occupational scheme were not offered to fathers/a mother’s partner.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps the Government has taken to ensure that couples sign up to the Shared Parental Leave scheme.

The Government has run significant communications campaigns to promote Shared Parental Leave to parents and employers. We are also currently developing a new online tool to help parents plan Shared Parental Leave and Pay. The tool will be available in the coming months and will make it easier for parents to access the scheme.

In addition, the Government is currently evaluating the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme in order to better understand the barriers and enablers to parents taking Shared Parental Leave. This evaluation has included commissioning and interrogating information collected through large scale, representative, surveys of employers and parents and a qualitative study of parents who have used the scheme. We intend to publish our findings later this year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of shared parental leave is currently taken by the male partner in heterosexual couples.

The Government is currently conducting an evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme which has included commissioning and interrogating information collected through large scale, representative, surveys of employers and parents and a qualitative study of parents who have used the scheme. We intend to publish our findings later this year and will then be in a position to share detailed data on the scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether town and parish councils can apply directly to the On-Street Residential Chargepoint scheme or whether an application needs to be made through a higher tier local authority.

The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme is available to all local authorities in the UK, including town and parish councils, who can apply directly for funding.

The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme guidance for local authorities can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/grants-for-local-authorities-to-provide-residential-on-street-chargepoints/grants-to-provide-residential-on-street-chargepoints-for-plug-in-electric-vehicles-guidance-for-local-authorities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people with (a) cancer, (b) fibromyalgia, (c) multiple sclerosis and (d) other serious conditions each of the covid-19 vaccines have been tested on.

Individuals with certain medical conditions are not specific trial groups, but safety data will be coming from all trials to set out how the COVID-19 vaccines work in different types of people.

The NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry, developed in partnership with NHS Digital, will help facilitate the rapid recruitment of large numbers of people into trials. The Government has been encouraging a diverse pool of people to volunteer to help researchers better understand the effectiveness of each vaccine candidate.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much and what proportion of coal in thousands of tonnes used in British industry in each of the last five years was mined in (a) the UK, (b) Russia and (c) Columbia.

BEIS does not hold data linking the source of coal to its final use. Overall volumes are published in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics and Energy Trends.

The table below shows the volumes of coal imported from Russia, Columbia and produced by the UK and the total supply and demand for 2015 to 2019.

Thousand tonnes

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Supply

37,600

18,022

14,422

11.922

7,971

Of which UK production

8,598

4,178

3,041

2,580

2,166

Of which net stock draw

+6,869

+5,374

+3,378

-169

+16

Of which net imports

22,133

8,470

8,003

9,510

5,789

Of which imports from Russia

8,380

2,433

3,883

4,695

2,421

Of which imports from Columbia

6,553

2,896

731

635

1,078

Demand

37,451

18,035

14,439

11,929

7,963

Of which final consumption by industry

2,073

1,963

1,732

1,581

1,426

Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2020, table 2.4:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solid-fuels-and-derived-gases-chapter-2-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

Energy Trends table 2.4:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solid-fuels-and-derived-gases-section-2-energy-trends

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing additional assistance grants or support for pubs, cafes and restaurants with limited outside space that will not be able to re-open as soon as others as a result of covid-19 social distancing measures.

All pubs, restaurants, bars, and cafes in England can begin to offer on-site services to customers from Saturday 4 July, as long as they follow the COVID-secure guidelines, found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/updates. This includes both outdoor and indoor spaces.

The Government has also announced measures to ease pavement licensing as part of the Business and Planning Bill, which will allow businesses to provide outdoor seating in order to serve more customers while following the COVID-secure guidelines.

The Department continues to engage with businesses and their representatives from across the hospitality sector and the support available is kept under review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much coal in (a) tonnes and (b) cash terms the UK has (i) imported and (ii) exported in each of the last 10 years.

Information on UK coal trade is published in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) table G.2.

Year

Coal import volume, thousand tonnes

Coal export volume, thousand tonnes

Coal import value (c.i.f.), £m

Coal export value (f.o.b.), £m

2009

36,504

646

2,635

77

2010

23,579

715

1,850

86

2011

31,966

986

2,987

159

2012

42,235

726

3,133

110

2013

45,523

843

2,988

129

2014

39,386

617

2,323

84

2015

22,517

486

1,255

60

2016

8,679

638

621

67

2017

8,205

488

924

60

2018

10,128

701

1,153

119

Source: H.M. Revenue and Customs

In this table coal includes steam coal, coking coal, coke and anthracite. Data for 2019 will be published on 30 July 2020.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether businesses are eligible to use funds for furlough for redundancy payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Employees who are dismissed due to redundancy and who satisfy certain qualifying conditions are statutorily entitled to a lump sum from their employer, based on their age, length of service and contractual weekly earnings, subject to a statutory upper limit.

As per the latest updates to the guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments. Please visit the GOV.UK page for updates to the scheme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people in each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority area receive payments from the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme.

The Department does not hold information by Parliamentary constituency as the entitlement management database used by the Department’s contractor does not hold beneficiary information in this format as it is not required for operational delivery of the scheme.

Below is a table of concessionary scheme numbers by Postcode Area:

Postcode Area

Total Number of Concessionaires

AB

13

AL

4

B

276

BA

15

BB

38

BD

22

BH

18

BL

72

BN

5

BR

2

BS

9

BT

4

CA

146

CB

10

CF

2549

CH

85

CM

4

CO

4

CR

1

CT

274

CV

596

CW

53

DA

2

DD

3

DE

1585

DG

51

DH

1347

DL

219

DN

2587

DT

10

DY

14

EG

1

EH

741

EN

1

EX

19

FK

234

FY

35

G

99

GL

17

GU

5

HD

104

HG

15

HP

3

HR

10

HU

31

HX

4

IG

1

IM

9

IP

9

IV

19

KA

517

KT

7

KW

8

KY

720

L

42

LA

11

LD

7

LE

750

LL

243

LN

83

LS

428

LU

1

M

170

ME

2

MK

7

ML

121

N

1

ND

1

NE

2004

NF

1

NG

5730

NN

15

NP

961

NR

31

NW

1

OL

20

OX

11

PA

5

PE

110

PH

8

PL

16

PO

19

PR

72

RG

11

RH

5

S

6732

SA

1254

SE

2

SG

6

SK

15

SL

6

SN

8

SO

5

SP

5

SR

1321

SS

2

ST

1071

SW

2

SY

28

TA

12

TD

28

TF

59

TN

12

TQ

14

TR

17

TS

268

TW

1

UB

1

W

2

WA

376

WD

2

WF

2921

WN

491

WR

14

WS

709

WV

37

YO

434

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much (a) coal and (b) cash in lieu a person receives if that person opts for money rather than coal from the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme.

Of the total of C40,000 current beneficiaries under the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme at 31 March 2020, 34,800 have opted for the cash alternative at an average cost per beneficiary of £779 per annum; the average annual cost of solid fuel for the remaining 5,200 is £1,147 per beneficiary excluding delivery costs and VAT.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the cost to the public purse is of the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme.

In 2019/20 the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme outturn was c.£36.6m including administrative cost.

The scheme is forecast to run to 2062 with a total cost of c.£326m.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's timescale is for re-opening (a) car and (b) motorhome and caravan showrooms as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are reduced.

On 11th May the Government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy, which sets out a roadmap to a phased recovery. This included the setting up of five ministerial-led taskforces. The taskforces will help oversee the development of guidance for reopening businesses, to ensure they can operate in a safe way for employees and customers, as long as the evidence shows it is safe to do so.

In step two of the roadmap, the Government has considered the reopening of non-essential retail. Updated guidance for shops and branches was published on 25 May after consultation with businesses, unions leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. The updated guidance takes into account the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store.

Showrooms are now able to reopen from 1 June as long as they can adhere to the social distancing guidelines.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support original equipment manufacturers to re-shore industrial supply where viable during the covid-19 outbreak.

Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy?and?we are engaging with the industry and its suppliers to ensure that we can support them?during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have created an unprecedented package of Government support to help, including:

- £330 billion of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support UK businesses.

- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses to access vital financial support.

- Our new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme to allow more firms to benefit from Government-backed support during this difficult time.

- Deferring VAT payments for firms to the next quarter, until the end of June 2020, which represents a £30 billion injection into the economy.

- Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a Government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month, backdated to 1 March 2020 and available for at least three months.

Ensuring free trade and resilient supply chains through open markets will be crucial to the global economic recovery as the crisis passes. We are working with the Devolved Administrations to support the manufacturing industry by continuing the flow of critical freight for the whole of the UK.

The Government is also supporting industry-led research to map UK supply chain capability, which creates substantial new opportunities for UK suppliers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether LPG providers are regulated by the Energy Ombudsman.

The regulation of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supply market for domestic suppliers is a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) exercising its role as an independent competition authority.

Domestic bulk LPG providers are subject to regulation under the CMA Statutory Orders: The Domestic Bulk Liquefied Petroleum Gas Market Investigation Order, 13 October 2008 and The Domestic Bulk Liquefied Petroleum Gas Market Investigation (Metered Estates), Order 6 May 2009. The CMA continues to monitor compliance with these Orders.

More information is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/liquefied-petroleum-gas-lpg-market-orders-and-calculator

Separately, customers supplied by member companies of Liquid Gas UK (the trade association for LPG suppliers) have access to free independent arbitration as a route to dispute resolution (see https://www.liquidgasuk.org/advice/ombudsman-scheme).

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what comparative assessment he has made of the level of CO2 emissions from domestic heating of (a) coal and (b) oil.

The UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory publishes an annual assessment of greenhouse gas emissions by source. It includes estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from domestic combustion of coal and oil, of which the vast majority will be used for heating. In 2018, the most recent year for which we have published data, the estimated level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions was (a) 1.5 MtCO2 from domestic combustion of coal and (b) 6.1 MtCO2 from domestic combustion of oil.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of supporting companies to onshore manufacturing supply chains following the transition period.

It is in both the UK and the EU’s interests to have a future relationship which maintains the flow of goods, the provision of services, and the continuity of business.

We are committed to levelling up access to opportunity across the country, investing in the infrastructure, skills, and technology we need to improve economic performance in all parts of the UK.

We will continue to work with companies over the next 9 months to ensure they are well prepared for the end of the Transition Period.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support is available to commercial businesses not currently on the electricity grid to gain access to it.

Electricity network companies provide information and advice to support those seeking a connection to their networks including guidance documents, connection surgeries and online connection applications. When connecting to the electricity distribution network, customers (including commercial businesses), are required to pay the costs of connecting to the existing network. However, any further network reinforcement costs to accommodate the connection are shared with all network users in the area. Further information is available at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/guide-electricity-distribution-connections-policy.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timescale is for the (a) procurement and (b) connections for the regional supplier procurements for Durham and Northumberland.

As highlighted in our Project Gigabit Autumn Update, Durham, Tyneside and Teesside areas and Northumberland (Lots 4 and 34) are included in Phase 1a of Project Gigabit. These particular Lots will see procurement start as early as December 2021 before an estimated contract commencement date of November 2022.

Furthermore, in North Northumberland and Teesdale in County Durham, we have incorporated two of the most challenging rural areas into Local Supplier procurements, designed to be attractive to rural specialists active in the area. These Local Supplier procurements have an estimated start date of December 2021 before an estimated contract commencement date of June 2022.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has assessed the available data on gambling and gambling harm; and if she will bring forward proposals to fund the collection and assessment of those data through a statutory levy.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of Terms of Reference and a Call for Evidence. The Review is wide-ranging and aims to ensure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. The Call for Evidence included questions on the need for changes to the system of consumer redress, the appropriate mechanism for recouping the societal and regulatory costs of gambling and on barriers to high quality research. We will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions and vision for the sector in due course, and this will include an indication of how any changes will be implemented, whether by legislation or other means.

Public Health England’s review will be a valuable contribution to our Gambling Act Review and we are considering it carefully. Alongside the Review, we will work with the Department of Health and Social Care and key stakeholders to address the knowledge gaps identified in the evidence review and improve data collection more broadly.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether a gambling ombudsman could be established without primary legislation; and what plans she has for establishing such an ombudsman.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of Terms of Reference and a Call for Evidence. The Review is wide-ranging and aims to ensure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. The Call for Evidence included questions on the need for changes to the system of consumer redress, the appropriate mechanism for recouping the societal and regulatory costs of gambling and on barriers to high quality research. We will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions and vision for the sector in due course, and this will include an indication of how any changes will be implemented, whether by legislation or other means.

Public Health England’s review will be a valuable contribution to our Gambling Act Review and we are considering it carefully. Alongside the Review, we will work with the Department of Health and Social Care and key stakeholders to address the knowledge gaps identified in the evidence review and improve data collection more broadly.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Gambling Commission on the Fourth National Lottery licence in relation to harm prevention and better protecting customers.

The competition for the fourth National Lottery licence is being run by the Gambling Commission. I have regular conversations with the Commission on their responsibilities in relation to the National Lottery including progress on the fourth licence competition.

The Licensee will be held fully accountable for protecting players. The successful applicant will have demonstrated high standards of player protection, including prevention of underage or excessive play, and the Commission will hold them accountable for their commitments during the licence period. The Commission will retain strong enforcement powers and, where necessary, will not hesitate to use them.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring regular data reporting from the licensee as part of the Fourth National Lottery licence agreement.

The competition for the fourth National Lottery licence is being run by the Gambling Commission. The next licence will see changes to how the National Lottery is licensed and regulated.

The licensee will be required to provide a range of information to the Commission as part of its licence requirements, which will be used to hold them accountable for their performance during the licence period. The Commission will have the right to request additional information should this be necessary, including in relation to compliance risks or issues.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the correlation between the profitability of the National Lottery and the amount that organisation returns to good causes.

Annual good cause income has generally increased since the National Lottery began in 1994, although there have been fluctuations year on year during that period. DCMS reports annually on the level of good cause income in the National Lottery Distribution Fund Annual Report and Accounts.

The Government and the Gambling Commission share a statutory duty to maximise returns to good causes, subject to ensuring that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety and that the interests of players are protected. In fulfilling its statutory objectives, following a competitive bidding process, the Gambling Commission issues a licence, which sets out the basis for allocating funds to good causes and profit to the operator.

The Gambling Commission is currently running the competition to award the fourth licence to operate the National Lottery. As with the current licence, the fourth licence will require the operator to maximise good cause returns, and the alignment between good causes and operator profit reinforces this.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of return to good causes since the National Lottery was established in 1994.

Annual good cause income has generally increased since the National Lottery began in 1994, although there have been fluctuations year on year during that period. DCMS reports annually on the level of good cause income in the National Lottery Distribution Fund Annual Report and Accounts.

The Government and the Gambling Commission share a statutory duty to maximise returns to good causes, subject to ensuring that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety and that the interests of players are protected. In fulfilling its statutory objectives, following a competitive bidding process, the Gambling Commission issues a licence, which sets out the basis for allocating funds to good causes and profit to the operator.

The Gambling Commission is currently running the competition to award the fourth licence to operate the National Lottery. As with the current licence, the fourth licence will require the operator to maximise good cause returns, and the alignment between good causes and operator profit reinforces this.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the level of National Lottery participation rates over the third licence period.

The Third National Lottery licence started in February 2009. Data collected by the Gambling Commission shows the percentage of regular National Lottery draw-based game players, aged 16+ in Great Britain, since 2012. This data does not include instant win games (Scratchcards or Online Instant Win Games), sales of which have increased since the licence began.

Year

Past 4 week gambling participation (National Lottery Draw-Based Games)

Year to December 2012

46.1%

Year to December 2013

43.4%

Year to December 2014

37.4%

Year to December 2015

32.3%

Year to December 2016

30%

Year to December 2017

27.3%

Year to December 2018

27.6%

Year to December 2019

29.6%

Year to December 2020

27.3%

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the National Lottery Operator's discharge of its responsibilities on player protection.

As the independent regulator of the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission has a statutory responsibility to ensure that the interests of all National Lottery players are protected and that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety. Under the terms of the current National Lottery Licence the operator is required to implement player protection strategies to prevent underage and excessive play, which must be approved by the Gambling Commission.

In addition, the Gambling Commission conducts regular, detailed monitoring to identify risks to players, and where appropriate, undertakes strategic reviews of areas of the portfolio which are identified as higher (but not necessarily high) risk. Where evidence does emerge of an increased risk of problem play on National Lottery products, the Gambling Commission is quick to take action. In July 2020, the Gambling Commission removed all National Lottery Online Instant Win Games at the £10 price point, following the emergence of evidence showing an association between them and some problem gambling behaviours.

The Gambling Commission and the operator have been closely monitoring the developing trends during Covid-19. Data published by the Gambling Commission in February 2021, shows that online participation for National Lottery draws in the past four weeks, was 13.1% in the year to December 2020, up from 10.5% in the year to December 2019. Analysis indicates that the risk profile of online players has not increased over recent months. This continues to be kept under review.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of changes in the level of playing National Lottery games online during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure adequate protections are in place to protect players online.

As the independent regulator of the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission has a statutory responsibility to ensure that the interests of all National Lottery players are protected and that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety. Under the terms of the current National Lottery Licence the operator is required to implement player protection strategies to prevent underage and excessive play, which must be approved by the Gambling Commission.

In addition, the Gambling Commission conducts regular, detailed monitoring to identify risks to players, and where appropriate, undertakes strategic reviews of areas of the portfolio which are identified as higher (but not necessarily high) risk. Where evidence does emerge of an increased risk of problem play on National Lottery products, the Gambling Commission is quick to take action. In July 2020, the Gambling Commission removed all National Lottery Online Instant Win Games at the £10 price point, following the emergence of evidence showing an association between them and some problem gambling behaviours.

The Gambling Commission and the operator have been closely monitoring the developing trends during Covid-19. Data published by the Gambling Commission in February 2021, shows that online participation for National Lottery draws in the past four weeks, was 13.1% in the year to December 2020, up from 10.5% in the year to December 2019. Analysis indicates that the risk profile of online players has not increased over recent months. This continues to be kept under review.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the correlation between playing National Lottery (a) online instant win games and (b) scratch cards and the risk of gambling-related harm.

As the independent regulator of the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission has a statutory responsibility to ensure that the interests of all National Lottery players are protected and that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety. Under the terms of the current National Lottery Licence the operator is required to implement player protection strategies to prevent underage and excessive play, which must be approved by the Gambling Commission.

In addition, the Gambling Commission conducts regular, detailed monitoring to identify risks to players, and where appropriate, undertakes strategic reviews of areas of the portfolio which are identified as higher (but not necessarily high) risk. Where evidence does emerge of an increased risk of problem play on National Lottery products, the Gambling Commission is quick to take action. In July 2020, the Gambling Commission removed all National Lottery Online Instant Win Games at the £10 price point, following the emergence of evidence showing an association between them and some problem gambling behaviours.

The Gambling Commission and the operator have been closely monitoring the developing trends during Covid-19. Data published by the Gambling Commission in February 2021, shows that online participation for National Lottery draws in the past four weeks, was 13.1% in the year to December 2020, up from 10.5% in the year to December 2019. Analysis indicates that the risk profile of online players has not increased over recent months. This continues to be kept under review.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the correlation between playing National Lottery games and gambling-related harm for (a) women, (b) men and (c) people under the age of 21.

Evidence from the 2018 Health Survey for England showed that National Lottery games are associated with the lowest levels of problem gambling across all gambling products. Problem gambling rates for National Lottery draw-based games were 0.9% while the figure for Scratchcards was 1.4%. By comparison, the problem gambling rates for other activities covered by the survey ranged from 2.7% to 12.7%.

The attached table shows levels of problem gambling broken down by women, men and 16-19 year olds.

The Health survey does not provide data at a category level for Online Instant Win Games, and does not break down levels of problem gambling by activity and demographic group.

The government recently legislated to increase the minimum age to purchase and sell all National Lottery products from 16 to 18. We are working with the current operator, Camelot, and the Gambling Commission to ensure a smooth implementation, acting sooner where possible. Camelot has already announced plans to increase the online age limit in April 2021 and also anticipates being able to introduce the change in retail premises in good time before the legislation takes effect in October 2021.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take with the Gambling Commission to ensure that the successful fourth National Lottery competition bidder delivers on undertakings made during the bid process.

The Gambling Commission is responsible for designing the fourth National Lottery Licence, running the competition, selecting the winning application, and managing the operator in-licence.

DCMS and the Gambling Commission share three statutory duties: to ensure that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety, to protect players’ interests, and - subject to those - to maximise returns to good causes. It is upon these duties that the Commission has designed the evaluation criteria for the Fourth Licence competition. Applicants are free to innovate within the legal framework. The next licence will give the operator greater autonomy to make strategic decisions, providing the licensee with the flexibility to innovate while ensuring they meet high standards of player protection and propriety.

The winning applicant will be required to sign a number of agreements with the Gambling Commission to ensure that they deliver on the proposals in their bid.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the criteria in place to ensure the Fourth National Lottery Licence competition provides opportunities for innovation and creativity.

The Gambling Commission is responsible for designing the fourth National Lottery Licence, running the competition, selecting the winning application, and managing the operator in-licence.

DCMS and the Gambling Commission share three statutory duties: to ensure that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety, to protect players’ interests, and - subject to those - to maximise returns to good causes. It is upon these duties that the Commission has designed the evaluation criteria for the Fourth Licence competition. Applicants are free to innovate within the legal framework. The next licence will give the operator greater autonomy to make strategic decisions, providing the licensee with the flexibility to innovate while ensuring they meet high standards of player protection and propriety.

The winning applicant will be required to sign a number of agreements with the Gambling Commission to ensure that they deliver on the proposals in their bid.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of whether the National Lottery is a potential entry point into problem gambling and gambling related harm for vulnerable people.

Problem gambling is a complex issue and there are multiple and varied factors which contribute to its development in individuals, even within demographic groups. The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led and aims to make sure we have the right protections in place to make gambling safer for all.

While all forms of gambling carry risk, the National Lottery is associated with the lowest rates of problem gambling of all products. Evidence from the 2018 Health Survey for England showed that problem gambling rates for National Lottery draw-based games were 0.9% while the figure for Scratchcards was 1.4%.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the leading routes into problem gambling for (a) women, (b) men, (c) people under the age of 30 and (d) people over the age of 30.

Problem gambling is a complex issue and there are multiple and varied factors which contribute to its development in individuals, even within demographic groups. The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led and aims to make sure we have the right protections in place to make gambling safer for all.

While all forms of gambling carry risk, the National Lottery is associated with the lowest rates of problem gambling of all products. Evidence from the 2018 Health Survey for England showed that problem gambling rates for National Lottery draw-based games were 0.9% while the figure for Scratchcards was 1.4%.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on overseas gambling operators using white label licensing arrangements to market gambling products to overseas jurisdictions where such activity is illegal.

All gambling companies providing gambling facilities to consumers in Great Britain, wherever they are based, must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with the conditions and codes of practice of their operating licences. Operators who provide services marketed under a different brand as part of a ‘white label’ agreement are held accountable for the actions of their commercial partners, and are expected to carry out all necessary due diligence to satisfy themselves that the relationship will not compromise their own regulatory compliance. Further detail about the Gambling Commission’s compliance and enforcement work in this area can be found in the relevant section of its Compliance and Enforcement Report for 2019 to 2020 and its Reminder to licensees regarding white label gambling websites. These can be accessed at: https://beta.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/strategy/raising-standards-for-consumers-compliance-and-enforcement-report-2019-20/white-label-partnerships

Licensed gambling operators and their white label partners are entitled to enter into commercial arrangements with sporting bodies, as long as any sponsorship activities are carried out in a socially responsible way. The Commission expects licensees to ensure that all parties are aware of, and compliant with, the relevant advertising and sponsorship rules and regulations. The government and the Gambling Commission do not hold information on exposure to gambling advertising and marketing in other jurisdictions.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on whether white label agreements pose a risk to consumers in Great Britain, and on the impact of gambling sponsorship arrangements across sport, esport and other areas.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Culture Recovery Fund to the outdoor learning sector.

The £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund is an unprecedented support package for culture and heritage. Where outdoor educational centres have extensive public outreach; run professional arts programmes; or own, work with or manage heritage, they may be eligible for support and could apply to the Culture Recovery Fund.

However, please note that the application portals for the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund have now closed.

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the decision by booking.com, Expedia and other providers to continue to promote bookings for holiday accommodation in England during the period covered by the covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

Under the current national restrictions, accommodation providers must close, whether in: a hotel, hostel, B&B, holiday apartment, home, cottage or bungalow, campsite, caravan park or boarding house, canal boat or any other vessel. However, there are a limited number of exemptions to this set out in law. As such, accommodation providers have not been required to stop advertising their services.

When travel is necessary and staying in hotels and other guest accommodation required, we expect people to act responsibly, in line with government regulations and guidance.

Accommodation providers should take all reasonable steps to encourage guests to adhere to government restrictions, including informing guests of restrictions when taking bookings and communicating to all customers, including those with existing bookings, reminding them not to travel unless it is essential (such as for work purposes or attending a funeral).

Accommodation providers should not intentionally facilitate bookings that do not adhere to government restrictions. Those not complying with these responsibilities may be at risk of the premises being closed.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government's Rethink, Reskill, Reboot campaign was launched.

The Rethink, Reskill, Reboot recruitment campaign began on Friday 9 October 2020.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 on (a) levels of gambling-related harm and (b) rates of gambling-related suicide.

Since 1999 rates of problem gambling have been measured through the three British Gambling Prevalence Surveys and subsequently in the Health Surveys for Scotland and England and the Gambling Commission’s survey of gambling behaviour in Wales. The proportion of the adult population of Great Britain who are considered to be problem gamblers has remained stable at below 1% since the first survey in 1999. The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and more details will be announced in due course.

As set out in answer to Question 82541, there has been no assessment of the longer term trends in rates of gambling related suicide. Determining factors related to individual deaths by suicide is difficult and complicated, but we know that there may be wider lifestyle factors associated with problem gambling that may link to poor mental health, and that problem gambling can create a cycle of debt that can also have a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing. In extreme cases it may lead to thoughts of suicide.

The Government committed to addressing suicide risk and gambling in the latest progress report to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan, which were published in January 2019.



22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of introducing greater restrictions on loot boxes in video games.

The government launched a call for evidence on loot boxes on 23 September 2020 to seek detailed information on the impact of loot boxes on players, particularly children and young people. The call for evidence will run until 22 November 2020 and will examine concerns that loot boxes may encourage gambling-like behaviour and lead to problem gambling, as well as examining the size and scale of the loot box market in the UK, and the impact of current voluntary and statutory protections.

The government stands ready to take action should the outcomes of the call for evidence support taking a new approach to ensure users, and particularly young people, are better protected.

3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether (a) he or (b) a Minister in his Department is planning to attend the final of the delayed 2019-20 FA Vase.

Ministers are not currently planning on attending the Non-League Finals day later this month. The ministerial team have attended pilot events and will attend others where possible, and are close to the pilot programme.

The Government is keen to see the safe return of spectators to live sports events. A programme of pilot events is being carried out to allow venues and operators to test their covid-secure arrangements in line with the Government's guidance on the return of fans to elite sports events.

Subject to public health conditions, the pilots will build up throughout September with a view to a full reopening for fans under Covid-secure conditions from 1 October.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle underage gambling.

Operators offering gambling facilities to people in Great Britain must have a licence from the Gambling Commission and have procedures in place to prevent underage gambling. The Gambling Commission has a range of powers to act in the case of failure, including the power to suspend or revoke a licence, impose financial penalties or prosecute criminal offences. In May 2019 the Gambling Commission introduced new rules that require online gambling businesses to verify the age of customers before they can deposit money, gamble, or access play-for-free versions of gambling games. The Gambling Commission is also working with local authorities and the hospitality sector to improve the enforcement of legal age requirements on the use of gaming machines in pubs.

The Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport and the Department for Health and Social Care work closely together on matters related to gambling harm, and share regular updates including on the forthcoming evidence review being carried out by Public Health England.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the Gambling-related harms evidence review.

Operators offering gambling facilities to people in Great Britain must have a licence from the Gambling Commission and have procedures in place to prevent underage gambling. The Gambling Commission has a range of powers to act in the case of failure, including the power to suspend or revoke a licence, impose financial penalties or prosecute criminal offences. In May 2019 the Gambling Commission introduced new rules that require online gambling businesses to verify the age of customers before they can deposit money, gamble, or access play-for-free versions of gambling games. The Gambling Commission is also working with local authorities and the hospitality sector to improve the enforcement of legal age requirements on the use of gaming machines in pubs.

The Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport and the Department for Health and Social Care work closely together on matters related to gambling harm, and share regular updates including on the forthcoming evidence review being carried out by Public Health England.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when adult gaming centres and arcades will be able to re-open as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

As detailed in the Government's roadmap “Our Plan to Rebuild” the next phase of easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions will begin no earlier than 4 July, subject to public health advice. My Department is working through the next steps with the arcades sector in line with further announcements on the roadmap.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of the National Lottery’s income is derived from players aged 16 and 17 in (a) main lottery sales (i) online (ii) in shops and (b) scratchcard sales (i) online and (ii) in shops.

Information on National Lottery income derived from players aged 16 and 17 is provided in the Consultation document dated 16 July 2019 on the minimum age for playing National Lottery games.

Sales revenue derived from players aged 16 and 17 is estimated due to the complexities involved in collating data from retail sales.

Total estimated sales revenue from 16 and 17 year olds in 2017/18 was £47m of which 32% was for draw-based games, 68% for scratchards and less than 1% for online instant win games (inclusive of online scratchcards).

This below data is from page 24 of the consultation document.

National Lottery income from 16 and 17 year olds in 2017/18

Online

Retail

As % of total sales in 2017/18

Draw-based games

£15m*

0.2%

Scratchcards

£31.8m

0.5%

Instant Win Games (inclusive of online scratchcards)

£200,000

0.003%

Total

£47m

0.7%

Figures rounded to the nearest £0.1m

* Over 99% of draw-based game sales to 16 and 17 year olds would have taken place in retail.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with (a) national governing bodies and (b) sports rights holders on the potential sale of Newcastle United; and if he will make a statement.

My Department has not held any discussions with sports national governing bodies or sports rights holders on the potential sale of Newcastle United Football Club. Any such sale is a matter for the parties concerned, and for the Premier League to assess under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to set-up a fan-led review of football governance, including consideration of the Owners and Directors Test; and if he will make a statement.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected which is why the government has given as much support as possible to support football clubs during these difficult times.

The government is committed to setting up a fan led review of football governance at an appropriate time, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test. We will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities as we develop the scope and structure of the review.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with the Department for International Trade on the continued activity of beoutQ in broadcasting Premier League football; and if he will make a statement.

My officials work closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Trade and Intellectual Property Office on matters relating to the protection of intellectual property rights around the world.


Our understanding is that beoutQ has ceased broadcasting, but we will remain vigilant in respect of any further instances of illegal broadcasting of Premier League football and other UK-owned intellectual property rights, at home and abroad.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the economic value of international sport broadcasting revenues to the UK economy; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises the valuable contribution of UK broadcasting and of domestic and international sporting events to the UK economy, as well as to the lives and wellbeing of its citizens. In 2018, the UK exported over £10bn of audiovisual services in total. The government has not made any specific estimate of the economic value of international sport broadcasting revenues to the UK economy.


20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to review the use of dormant betting accounts.

The dormant assets scheme enables money from dormant bank and building society accounts to be used for good causes. The government has recently launched a consultation on expanding the scheme to include a wider range of assets in the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors. Dormant betting accounts are not currently being considered as part of the expansion. The consultation invites comment on the government's proposals, including the range of assets proposed for inclusion. The consultation closes on 16 April and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-expanding-the-dormant-assets-scheme

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in which areas of the UK casinos are permitted under the Gambling Act 1968; how many casinos are permitted in each such area; and what the maximum size is of each such casino that is permitted.

Under the Gaming Act 1968, 186 casino licences were created in 53 permitted areas, generally the areas of former county boroughs with populations of over 125,000 at that time. These licences were preserved by transitional arrangements in the Gambling Act 2005 and the majority of casinos in Great Britain still operate by virtue of one of these converted licences. The local authority in which each casino is located is now the licensing authority under section 2 of the 2005 Act. 144 of the licences are currently in use.

There is no maximum size, but 1968 Act casinos which have a gambling area of 200m2 or more must offer a minimum non-gambling area equivalent to at least 10% of their total gambling area. The permitted areas, and the number of licences allocated to each, are as follows:

England

Birkenhead (1)

Birmingham (8)

Blackpool (4)

Bolton (2)

Bournemouth (3)

Bradford (3)

Brighton (3)

Bristol (5)

Coventry (4)

Derby (2)

Dudley (1)

Great Yarmouth (3)

Hove (1)

Huddersfield (2)

Kingston upon Hull (3)

Leeds (5)

Leicester (3)

Liverpool (7)

London (The area which is within the area specified in the licensing (Metropolitan Special Hours Area) Order 1961 - plus Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) (28)

Luton (3)

Lytham St Annes (1)

Manchester (9)

Margate (3)

Newcastle upon Tyne (3)

Northampton (4)

Nottingham (6)

Plymouth (2)

Portsmouth (3)

Ramsgate (1)

Reading (3)

Ryde (0)

Salford (2)

Sandown/Shanklin (0)

Scarborough (2)

Sheffield (5)

Southampton (3)

Southend-on-Sea (4)

Southport (1)

Stockport (2)

Stoke-on-Trent (2)

Sunderland (1)

Teeside/Middlesborough (3)

Torbay (1)

Walsall (3)

Warley (1)

West Bromwich (1)

Wolverhampton (3)

Scotland

Aberdeen (3)

Dundee (2)

Edinburgh (5)

Glasgow (9)

Wales

Cardiff (3)

Swansea (4)



Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what (a) voluntary and (b) statutory limits are imposed on the online purchase of (i) lottery tickets and (ii) scratch cards in relation to the (A) National Lottery, (B) Postcode Lottery, (C) Health Lottery and (D) other lotteries.

There are no statutory price or volume limits on the online purchase of lottery products.

The National Lottery operator has voluntarily set limits on both draw-based and instant-win games for players using its online services. It has set a spend limit of £750 per week and an account deposit limit of £350 per week. An account can play up to 75 instant win games per day. Players are also able to set personal, tighter limits if they so wish.

The People’s Postcode Lottery does not sell instant win games. It voluntarily limits on the online purchase of Lottery tickets to three entries per month, totaling £30.

The Health Lottery’s instant win games have a spend limit of £500 per day. Their draw-based game has a limit of £80 per person for any single lottery. Their QuickWin online game has a limit of £400 per week with a day cap of £75. All their online games have a deposit limit of £500 per day, and a restriction on deposits where the account balance exceeds £2000.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of imposing a maximum purchase price for fixed odds betting via scratchcards.

The Government does not have any plans to impose a maximum purchase price for scratchcards.

The 2016 Health Survey found that lottery products are low risk, with scratchcards having a problem gambling rate of 1.8%.

The Secretary of State’s directions to the Gambling Commission state that National Lottery games should have sufficient controls to prevent excessive play. They also require the Commission to ensure that the price of games, in the opinion of the Commission, are not unreasonably high.

The National Lottery’s player protection policies can be found in the Consumer Protection Strategy. Some society lottery operators also offer scratchcards, either physically through retailers or online. Society lottery operators are required to have and put into effect policies and procedures to promote socially responsible gambling.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether it is his policy for the Gambling Commission to remain the regulator for lottery licencing competition.

The Gambling Commission is the UK’s independent statutory body responsible for awarding the licence to run the National Lottery. The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

The Commission is encouraged by the healthy level of market interest, from a wide range of interested parties, and will welcome as many applications as possible to the competition, including not-for-profit enterprises. I am looking forward to a robust competition that draws in a wide range of applicants to ensure the continued success of our National Lottery for the next 25 years and beyond.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that delays to the bidding process for the National Lottery licence will not affect the new license starting in 2023.

The Gambling Commission is the UK’s independent statutory body responsible for awarding the licence to run the National Lottery. The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

The Commission is encouraged by the healthy level of market interest, from a wide range of interested parties, and will welcome as many applications as possible to the competition, including not-for-profit enterprises. I am looking forward to a robust competition that draws in a wide range of applicants to ensure the continued success of our National Lottery for the next 25 years and beyond.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of running the National Lottery as a not-for-profit enterprise.

The Gambling Commission is the UK’s independent statutory body responsible for awarding the licence to run the National Lottery. The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

The Commission is encouraged by the healthy level of market interest, from a wide range of interested parties, and will welcome as many applications as possible to the competition, including not-for-profit enterprises. I am looking forward to a robust competition that draws in a wide range of applicants to ensure the continued success of our National Lottery for the next 25 years and beyond.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much money has been (a) pledged and (b) distributed to good causes by the National Lottery; and what estimate he has made of the average length of time of delays in the distribution of that money in each of the last five years.

The National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) receives and distributes monies generated by the National Lottery for good causes. Information on good cause money that has been pledged (also known as grant liabilities and commitments) and distributed (drawdown) by Lottery Distributing Bodies (LDBs) can be found in the NLDF Annual Report and Accounts.

The NLDF always holds a balance to cover future grant commitments made by LDBs and to mitigate any risk of good cause income falling. Lottery distributors receive money from the NLDF on a weekly or monthly basis to enable them to meet their grant commitments.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many National Lottery tickets were sold in each (a) region and (b) constituency area in each of the last 10 years; and how much National Lottery funding was received in each (i) region and (ii) constituency area in each of those years.

The current operator of the National Lottery, Camelot, publish National Lottery sales data three months in arrears broken down by game type on their website. Sales data broken down to regional or constituency level is not published due to commercial sensitivities.

Information on National Lottery funding awards up to January 2018 is held on a publicly available database which allows searches to be made for good cause grants in each region and constituency within specific timeframes.

We expect to update the database with grant information from January 2018 to March 2020 later this Spring.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of any bidder for operating the National Lottery having its headquarters in the north east of England.

The National Lottery is made up of several organisations working together with specific individual roles. The main organisations that make up the National Lottery are the Government, regulator, private sector operator and 12 Lottery Distributing Bodies.

Many of the the Lottery Distributing Bodies have regional offices. For example, 90% of staff at the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest distributing body, work outside Central London in regional hubs across the country. Over 30% of its staff who work in England are based in the North East.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timeframe is for the Gambling Commission to alter the conditions attached to lottery operating licences to reflect the revised limits set out in The Gambling Act 2005 (Variation of Monetary Limits) Order 2020 laid on 20 January 2020.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer to question 21948 on 6 March 2020.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the forthcoming ban on the use of credit card transactions for online gambling, what discussions he has had with casino owners on banning credit card cash machine withdrawals on their premises.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings with stakeholders on a range of issues. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the government’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to respond to the consultation on minimum ages for National Lottery games; and whether he plans to include in that response proposals relating to (a) the People's Postcode Lottery and (b) other national lotteries.

DCMS held a consultation seeking views on the minimum age for playing National Lottery games only, from July to October 2019. The responses are currently being analysed and I will formally respond in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a £2 maximum stake on fixed odds betting on (a) late-night roulette on television and (b) similar television gambling programmes.

The government has committed to a review of the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

All operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with licence conditions, which include requirements to protect vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling. Operators are required to use the data at their disposal to identify and intervene when a customer shows signs of being at risk of harm.

The Gambling Commission is currently gathering data on online play and what that means for stakes limits, including looking closely at the case for introducing further protections for consumers online as a means of further reducing the risk of harm. Any changes they introduce with regards to online gambling will apply to all forms of remote gambling, including television.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a £2 maximum stake on fixed odds betting games online.

The government has committed to a review of the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

All operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with licence conditions, which include requirements to protect vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling. Operators are required to use the data at their disposal to identify and intervene when a customer shows signs of being at risk of harm.

The Gambling Commission is currently gathering data on online play and what that means for stakes limits, including looking closely at the case for introducing further protections for consumers online as a means of further reducing the risk of harm. Any changes they introduce with regards to online gambling will apply to all forms of remote gambling, including television.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average level of per pupil funding was in (a) actual and (b) real terms for sixth form funding in 2018-19; and what that the equivalent figures are for 2022-23.

The average Total Programme Funding per 16 to 19-year-old student in the 2018/19 academic year was £4,504.

The equivalent figure for the 2022/23 academic year is not yet available.

In 2018/19, the base rate of funding per 16 and 17-year-old student was £4,000. This was the largest component in the Total Programme Funding per student. In the 2022/23 academic year, the base rate will be £4,542. This is an increase of 13.6% in cash terms, or 2% in real terms over the base rate in 2018/19.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending free bus travel to those studying aged 16 to 18 in light of the proposed increase of the leaving school age to 18.

Local authorities are responsible for transport to education and training for 16- to 19-year-olds, including where students travel to school or college. Many students already receive a discount or concession, but it is for local authorities, along with local transport providers and schools or colleges, to decide whether to provide support and which students are eligible. These decisions are best made locally considering local needs, the resources available, and other local circumstances.

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund can be used for transport costs to support young people to access education and training. Schools and colleges are responsible for deciding how to distribute their bursary allocations to students, and for establishing what criteria to use.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary schools have (a) been opened and (b) closed by (i) local authority area and (ii) constituency in each year since 1997.

The tables attached show the numbers of primary schools that have opened by year, local authority area and constituency between 1997 and 2021, and between 2000 and 2021 for schools that have closed. This includes new local authority maintained schools, free schools and new academies.

Prior to 2000, the department’s records do not capture the information for closed schools in a way which would allow us to respond fully to my hon. Friend, the member for North West Durham’s question.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many secondary schools with fewer than (a) 400 and (b) 200 pupils on roll there are, by (i) local authority area and (ii) parliamentary constituency in England.

The department publishes annual school level figures on the number of pupils attending schools in England. The most recent figures, based on the January 2021 school census, can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

Figures for individual schools can be found in the school level underlying data file, which is called ‘School level underlying data 2020/21 (csv, 21 Mb)’, and is listed under the dropdown headings ‘Explore data and files’ and then ‘List of other files’.

Phase of school is in column N, you can select state-funded primary schools. Local authority is in column H and parliamentary constituency in X. The size band of the school is given in column AD in units of 100. The exact pupil headcount is given in column HL.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary schools with (a) fewer than 210, (b) 120 to 210, (c) 60 to 120, (d) fewer than 60 and (e) fewer than 30 pupils on roll there are, by (i) local authority area and (ii) parliamentary constituency in England.

The department publishes annual school level figures on the number of pupils attending schools in England. The most recent figures, based on the January 2021 school census, can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

Figures for individual schools can be found in the school level underlying data file, which is called ‘School level underlying data 2020/21 (csv, 21 Mb)’, and is listed under the dropdown headings ‘Explore data and files’ and then ‘List of other files’.

Phase of school is in column N, you can select state-funded primary schools. Local authority is in column H and parliamentary constituency in X. The size band of the school is given in column AD in units of 100. The exact pupil headcount is given in column HL.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) quantitative and (b) qualitative research his Department has commissioned on the reasons for lower levels of average educational attainment in the different regions and counties of England.

The department’s research and commissioned research are published on GOV.UK. A selection of the research focussed on regional attainment disparities are provided below. These research reports focus on early years, learning loss and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, opportunity areas, and the London effect.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether supporting children and young people with colour blindness is covered in teacher training programmes.

Quality of teaching is the most important in school factor for improving the outcomes for all children. This is particularly important for pupils with additional needs.

The Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (ITT CCF), published in November 2019, has been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed and seeks to widen access for all, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice.

The ITT CCF is based on the best peer-reviewed evidence about what works and is designed to emphasise the importance of high quality teaching. The framework therefore deliberately does not detail approaches specific to particular additional needs, but what makes the most effective teaching.

In addition to the mandated minimum set out in the ITT CCF, the Department expects ITT providers and their partners to continue to tailor their curricula to the needs of their trainees and for the subject, phase and age range that the trainees will be teaching. Where relevant, this may include specific training for supporting children and young people with colour blindness.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding (a) Durham County Council and (b) each other council in the North East has received from the Holiday Activities and Food programme in 2021.

The department-funded holiday activities and food (HAF) programme, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children, has been expanded to every local authority across England this year and is backed by up to £220 million of funding. It builds on previous programmes, including last summer’s, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities.

Durham County Council has been allocated a maximum of £2,532,180 to deliver HAF programmes over Easter, summer, and Christmas 2021.

The maximum allocations for the other councils in the North East are as follows:

Darlington - £519,040

Gateshead - £902,440

Hartlepool - £664,030

Middlesbrough - £1,143,010

Newcastle upon Tyne - £1,846,420

North Tyneside - £896,960

Northumberland - £1,128,130

Redcar and Cleveland - £743,920

South Tyneside - £831,630

Stockton-on-Tees - £980,900

Sunderland - £1,491,000

Further to this, the Department for Work and Pensions has extended the COVID Local Support Scheme (previously the COVID Winter Grant Scheme) for every English council, to the 30 September, with an additional £160 million.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to introduce (a) a level 3 apprenticeship or (b) construction T-level in plastering, painting and bricklaying.

This is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked its Chief Executive, Jennifer Coupland, to write to the honourable member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to schools for carrying out covid-19 track and trace on pupils and staff.

The Department has issued guidance which covers how to manage cases of COVID-19 amongst the school community. This recommends that schools keep a record of pupils and staff in each group, and any close contact that takes places between pupils and staff in different groups, to help identify close contacts.

Schools may receive support through the dedicated advice service introduced by Public Health England (PHE), which can be reached through the Department’s helpline on 0800 046 8687 or their PHE local health protection team if the case is escalated.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the claw back provisions announced in the Education & Skills Funding Agency guidance entitled ESFA 2020 to 2021 end of year reconciliation for adult education budget (AEB) and advanced learner loans bursary (ALLB) grant funded providers, updated on 7 June 2021, for (a) vocational and (b) other courses undertaken in alternative provision settings unable to be delivered in a non-online setting during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are lowering the reconciliation threshold for the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) grant funded adult education budget (AEB) adult skills, including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 traineeships, and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary (ALLB) fund providers for the 2020-21 academic year, from 97% and 100% respectively, to 90%.

Our primary aim is to support providers to continue to deliver as much quality provision as possible, including above the 90% threshold, whether that be face-to-face where permitted, online or otherwise remotely, and including through subcontracting (for AEB-funded provision only) where that is in line with our subcontracting conditions set out in the rules and contracts.

We acknowledge the situation is still difficult for providers but equally we know that many providers have been able to deliver very successfully remotely during lockdown and the return to face-to-face learning should enhance further providers’ ability to deliver.

We are monitoring the situation carefully and, in particular, if there are providers that may need further support.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to ensure smaller further education institutions are treated equitably in their applications for transformation funding.

All further education (FE) colleges and designated institutions in England were invited to apply to stage 1 of the two stage FE Capital Transformation Fund in January 2021, by setting out proposals for investment to tackle poor condition across their estates.

Stage 1 of the bidding process closed on 22 March and the department is assessing bid applications. All applications will be assessed on their own merits against the criteria and process set out in the published stage 1 guidance. Applications which meet the funds criteria will be prioritised for invitation to stage 2 of the bidding process based on the level of condition need addressed. The methodology used for prioritising applications at stage 1 was developed so that all colleges, regardless of size, are treated equitably.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's planned expenditure is for the Pause programme in the 2021-22 financial year; and what funding it allocated to that programme in each of the last three financial years.

Pause have so far been awarded £29,000 in the 2021-22 financial year. This covered a data analyst to gather the evidence base for and demonstrate the impact of the new regional approach in the North of England.

The department has awarded Pause a total of £7.8 million in the last three financial years.

In the 2018-19 financial year, Pause were awarded £2.2 million. This was to roll out the model and implement a care leaver pilot that targeted young women (aged 16-25) who have been in care and have experienced one or more children being removed.

In the 2019-20 financial year, Pause were awarded £2 million to continue expansion of the model and open new practices.

In the 2020-21 financial year, Pause were allocated £3.6 million to test a regional approach to the North West and North East regions and implement a single Pause practice in six individual local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many IT devices have been given to disadvantaged children to enable them to attend school remotely in (a) North West Durham constituency, (b) County Durham and (c) England.

The Government is investing over £300 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing over one million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 560,000 laptops and tablets that have already been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities in 2020.

As of 18 December 2020, 1,808 devices have been delivered directly to Durham Local Authority. Devices have also been delivered to academy trusts that have schools located in Durham Local Authority, which are not included in this figure. This is because it is for academy trusts, which may have schools in several Local Authorities, to determine how best to distribute the devices they have received. It is not possible to provide figures on the number of devices received specifically by schools in the North West Durham constituency, because schools in a specific constituency will have received devices from their Local Authority or, if they are an academy, from the trust of which they are part.

More information on the number of devices delivered as of the 18 December can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/946954/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_data_as_of_December.pdf.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has held with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on providing additional financial support to outdoor education providers following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of support, worth more than £200 billion, to help as many individuals and businesses as possible during this difficult period. This includes small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. The measures introduced have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Further measures have been announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that build on the significant support already available and set out how current support will evolve and adapt. These measures include the extension of the CJRS until the end of March 2021, the extension of the deadline for applications for the Bounce Back Loan scheme and other loan schemes until 31 January 2021, and increased support for the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants. Further guidance about how the Government is supporting businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Furthermore, businesses in England that are forced to close due to national or local restrictions will receive up to £3,000 per month. Local authorities in England will also receive one-off funding of £1.1 billion to support businesses more broadly over the coming months as a key part of local economies.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, business representative organisations, and the financial services sector to monitor the implementation of current support and understand whether there is additional need. Businesses can also access tailored advice through the Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to the PAUSE scheme in each of the last 10 years.

The Pause scheme received £4.2 million in round one of the department’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme (2014-2016) to pilot the programme in 7 sites.

The Pause scheme was then funded a further £6.8 million in round two of the programme (2017-2020) to scale and spread the Pause model to 9 new local authority areas, including to develop and implement a care leaver pilot for young women (aged 16-25) who have been in care and who have experienced one or more children being removed.

In 2020-21, Pause was funded £3.6 million by the department to test a regional approach to the scheme in the North West and North East regions and to implement a single Pause practice in 6 individual local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much (a) covid-19 catch-up premium and (b) National Tutoring Programme funding has been allocated to schools in North West Durham constituency.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) for 5-16 year olds is an ambitious scheme that will provide additional, targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who need the most help to catch up. The NTP has two pillars which can be accessed by schools. Firstly, schools will be able to access high quality, subsidised tuition from a selection of approved Tuition Partners. The partners will offer a variety of tuition models for schools to choose from, including online and face-to-face, and the cost of tutoring will be subsidised by the Department by 75%. The NTP went live on 2 November 2020 and we will have further information about participating schools as they begin to request tutoring support over the coming weeks. Schools can access Tuition Partner support here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/ntp-tuition-partners.

The second pillar of the NTP supports schools in the most disadvantaged areas to employ in-house academic mentors who can provide small group and one-to-one tuition to selected pupils. Eligible schools can request academic mentors. The first cohort saw 188 mentors start in schools on 2 November 2020, and a further two cohorts will follow in January and February 2021. If schools in North West Durham would like to register interest for a mentor, they can do so here: https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/hire-academic-mentors.

Alongside the NTP, the catch-up premium, worth £650 million, provides universal funding to support schools to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time during the 2020/21 academic year. Schools should use their catch-up premium funding as a single total from which to prioritise support for all pupils, guided by the level of individual need. The attached table shows that £916,880 worth of catch-up premium funding has been provisionally allocated to the North West Durham parliamentary constituency for the 2020/21 academic year. These allocations are based on the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding schools in North West Durham constituency have received as part of the (a) National Tutoring Programme and (b) universal catch-up premium for schools.

The attached table shows the allocations and payments to schools in the North West Durham parliamentary constituency for the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments made in the autumn based on a proportion of a provisional allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will then be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data currently available for the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November with provision ramping up into the Spring Term. Next month, we will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. We will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for how long the age at which students have been able to obtain public funding for their first Level 3 qualification has been capped at 23.

Grant funding for learners aged 24 and over studying a first full level 3 qualification was replaced with support through Advanced Learner Loans and the loans Bursary Fund in 2013/14.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced a targeted expansion of the level 3 entitlement, through the National Skills Fund. We are now extending the offer eligibility for a first full level 3 so that adults who are above the age of 23 can also benefit from courses that have the best possible returns for individuals, employers, and the nation.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of people aged (a) over 18 and (b) over 23 who do not have a level 3 qualification, by (i) local authority and (ii) Parliamentary constituency.

The attached document contains local authority and parliamentary constituency level data showing the proportion of the population aged 16-64 without an A level or equivalent qualification, according to Annual Population Survey estimates.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he is providing additional (a) financial and (b) other support to supply teachers who have been adversely affected by the closure of schools as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

State funded schools continued to receive their budgets as usual last academic year, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. This ensured that they were able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the guidance made clear that schools should continue to pay any directly hired staff, including supply staff, as normal.

Schools were also advised to support financially at-risk employment agencies, with whom they had existing agreements, to ensure these agencies could continue to pay their workers where assignments had been curtailed. Supply teachers employed by private agencies who were not on a live assignment, or who were unable to source new assignments, were able to access financial support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Now that schools are?fully reopen?for?all pupils, we?anticipate the demand for supply teachers?to?return to normal.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance the Government provides to local authorities required to provide support for children who live in their authority but attend school in a different local authority.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide free home to school transport for eligible children. A child is eligible if they are of compulsory school age, attend their nearest suitable school and it is more than the statutory walking distance from their home. The statutory walking distance is 2 miles for children under the age of 8 and 3 miles for children aged 8 and over. A child is also eligible if they live within the statutory walking distance but could not reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their special educational needs, disability or mobility problems, or because the nature of the route means it would be unsafe for them to do so. There are additional entitlements to free home to school transport for those children who are eligible for free school meals, or if a parent they live with receives the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit.

The duty applies even if the school an eligible child attends is in the area of another local authority.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funds he is making available for (a) schools, (b) childcare facilities and (c) universities for deep cleaning after cases of covid-19.

The Department is providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

Schools have been eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements. We have published detailed guidance on the fund at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

As explained in the guidance, schools can claim for reimbursement of their costs, up to a maximum amount that will depend on their size, and will be no more than £75,000 per school. We expect the funding limits which have been set by the size of the school are sufficient to cover additional costs in most cases. The Department understands that there may be exceptional circumstances which mean that costs are higher than this, so schools have been able to submit claims that are more than the funding limit.

The first claims window for the fund closed on 21 July. All claims for funding within the specified cost categories and maximum limit have already been paid. The Department is assessing all other claims, which will be paid later in the autumn if approved.

There will also be a further opportunity in autumn for schools to claim for exceptional costs they faced between March and July. This second claims window will be for available for schools who were unable to claim in the summer, and will be for the same eligible cost categories.

Nurseries and childminders cannot claim for specific costs incurred due to increased premises costs needed to keep schools open during school holidays, or over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements as a result of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. The Department continues to look at the costs associated with COVID-19 and to secure the best and most appropriate support for nurseries and childminders.

The Department also expects universities and other higher education providers to prioritise the health and safety of their staff and students and put in place measures that apply to their individual circumstances. To help universities make informed decisions about their provision, we have updated our guidance on reopening university buildings and campuses to reflect the latest public health advice, including on face coverings, local lockdowns and test and trace. Everyone should be following basic guidance on COVID-19, including social distancing and maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the additional funding allocated to primary and secondary aged pupils also applies to special and alternative provision providers.

Special and alternative provision providers are funded through the high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant. We will provide an additional £730 million of high needs funding next year, coming on top of the additional £780 million in 2020-21, which means high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, or 24%, in just 2 years.

We have also announced an additional package worth £1 billion to ensure that schools have the resources they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time, with extra support for those who need it most. £650 million will be spent on ensuring all pupils have the chance to catch up and supporting schools to rise to the challenge. This funding will be paid as a one-off grant to all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the 2020-21 academic year. Mainstream schools will receive £80 per place, while each special, alternative provision and hospital school will receive £240 for each place, across the 2020-21 academic year. We have applied this additional weighting to specialist settings in recognition of the significantly higher per-pupil costs they face. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what change there has been in the level of per pupil funding for pupils in special schools in County Durham in each of the last three financial years.

Special schools are funded through a combination of place funding and top-up funding from a local authority’s high needs budget. The high needs budget is allocated to each local authority who determine funding for special schools in their area. Local authorities also use their high needs budgets to pay top-up funding for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools, and to fund alternative provision. Consequently, the department does not hold data on the level of per pupil funding for pupils in special schools in Durham.

The total high needs allocations for Durham for the past 3 years are as follows:

Year

High needs funding amount (total)

2021-22 (provisional allocation)

£69,364,424

2020-21

£61,157,652

2019-20

£52,502,760

2018-19

£50,003,532

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking in response to the situation of students planning to undertake a year abroad but who may be prevented from doing so as such travel is not classified as essential, thereby making insurance for universities invalid.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDCO) do not make a judgement on whether any travel is essential. Their guidance is that: “Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision”. This guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/about-foreign-commonwealth-development-office-travel-advice.

Before starting a placement, students, including Erasmus+ participants, should consult with their provider to confirm details and check the living in country guide
(https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/overseas-living-in-guides) and travel advice for the country they will be visiting, being conscious that their placement may not be able to continue as originally planned. To undertake a placement, participants should seek the agreement of their home provider and their host. There may be opportunities for it to start at a later date if the situation changes and this is feasible. Participants should be ready to comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and will need to rely on the local health system.

We expect all higher education providers to explore alternative options for mobilities and study, whether blended or fully virtual, if appropriate, and to be flexible in their approach and be conscious of the potentially rapidly changing situation on a country by country basis. They should be ready to make quick changes to projects and mobilities, consider delaying mobilities and amending start and end dates, if feasible, as restrictions may change over time. We expect all universities, colleges, schools and other organisers managing international educational mobilities, to follow the relevant FDCO travel advice for the destination country and highlight this to their participants, being aware the situation can change rapidly.

While the government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector, on its response to COVID-19, and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this period, the position on the provision of COVID-19 insurance is that it is largely a commercial judgement for insurers. Cover for COVID-19 related cancellation is unlikely to be included in travel insurance policies bought or renewed after the pandemic was declared, e.g. in the event of the FCDO travel advice changing, as it is a known risk. This is in contrast to policies sold before the outbreak of COVID-19, which typically covered changes in FCDO advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government has plans to undertake a review of the statutory child to carer ratio for children in early years nursery education.

To support early years providers during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to allow them greater flexibility to respond to changes in workforce availability and potential fluctuations in demand, the government has temporarily disapplied and modified certain elements of the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework including on staff qualifications and ratios.

The disapplications are intended to remain in effect throughout the COVID-19 outbreak or until the government stipulates otherwise. The changes set out in the disapplications, including the requirements relating to staff ratios and qualifications, are reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure they remain appropriate and are consistent with wider government advice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many free laptops have been made available in (a) Durham County Council and Darlington Borough council area and (b) each parliamentary constituency in the Durham County Council and Darlington Borough council area for school children since the closure of schools in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

The Department of Education has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best place to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe; deliveries to local authorities began in May and has continued throughout June.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers we have delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts as of 14 June, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. This includes 1,424 devices to Durham County Council and 410 devices to Darlington Borough Council for children with a social worker and care leavers.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether free school transport arrangements will be maintained on the same terms for school children from families of low income who are required to travel by bus from one local education authority to another.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide free home to school transport for eligible children. A child is eligible if they are of compulsory school age, attend their nearest suitable school and it is more than the statutory walking distance from their home. The statutory walking distance is 2 miles for children under the age of 8 and 3 miles for children aged 8 and over. A child is also eligible if they live within the statutory walking distance but could not reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their special educational needs, disability or mobility problems, or because the nature of the route means it would be unsafe for them to do so.

There are additional entitlements to free home to school transport for those children who are eligible for free school meals, or if a parent they live with receives the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit. These are known as extended rights and are intended to support low income families in exercising school choice. Under the extended rights criteria, a child is eligible if they are aged 8 to 10 years, attend their nearest suitable school and it is more than 2 miles from their home, they are aged 11 to 16 years, and attend one of their three nearest suitable schools which is between 2 and 6 miles from their home; or they are aged 11 to 16 years, attend a school that is between 2 and 15 miles from their home that their parents have chosen on the grounds of their religion or belief and, having regard to that religion or belief, there is no suitable school nearer to their home.

The duty applies even if the school an eligible child attends is in the area of another local authority.

There is no intention to change these requirements.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will take steps to continue the National School Breakfast Programme during the May half-term holiday during the covid-19 outbreak.

As my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

Alongside our national approach to supporting pupils claiming free school meals, we are committed to supporting schools and children who benefit from our breakfast club programme. This programme operates during term-time periods.

Our suppliers Family Action, along with Magic Breakfast, are in contact with schools on the programme where possible. They are working closely with them to target the children most in need to continue to provide them with a healthy breakfast.

Family Action have reported that over 1000 schools in disadvantaged areas are registered to receive breakfast deliveries from this programme during the COVID-19 outbreak. These schools are located nationwide across England.

Schools on the programme can choose to support children in the way which works best for them. This may include parents collecting food parcels from open schools or breakfast food ‘drop offs’ to families. This should be arranged alongside the school’s wider support for children on free school meals. Schools must follow Public Health England’s advice on social distancing at all times.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We will continue to keep the situation under review and to keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that university students in their final year receive the support they need during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is doing all it can to keep staff and students at our universities safe in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education. I have written to students to outline the support available and we continue to work closely with the sector, putting student wellbeing at the heart of these discussions. The letter to students is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/7becd51c-f4a5-486d-a2b6-9d43c0042ba8/minister-donelan_message-to-students.pdf.

My clear expectation is that universities should make all reasonable efforts to enable students to continue and complete their studies; for their achievements to be reliably assessed; and for qualifications to be awarded securely. Despite the significant disruption being felt across the higher education sector, students deserve appropriate support and recognition for their hard work and dedication - many universities and colleges have moved rapidly to develop new ways of delivering courses through online teaching and alternatives to traditional end-of-course exams. The Office for Students has also recently confirmed that providers are able to use the student premium to support students to access IT equipment and internet connectivity where needed.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for 2019/20. Both tuition and living costs payments will continue irrespective of closures or whether learning has moved online.

Many students will be feeling uncertain and anxious and it is vital that students can still access the mental health support that they need. Many providers are bolstering their existing mental health services and adapting the delivery of these services to means other than face-to-face. These services are likely to be an important source of support to students during this period of isolation.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government plans to take to incorporate the Environment Bill and it's proposals into the teaching of STEM subjects in schools.

It is important that young people are taught about the issues addressed by the Environment Bill, including protecting the environment, climate change, and sustainability. Relevant topics are already included in both the science and geography curricula and qualifications.

In primary school science, pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. They will learn about animals’ habitats, including that changes to the environment may pose dangers to living things. In secondary school science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. They will also learn about the efficacy of recycling and the importance of biodiversity. In GCSE science, pupils will consider the evidence for anthropogenic causes of climate change. They will study the impact of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane and how this can be mitigated, alongside other pollutant gases. Pupils will also learn about renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

In secondary school geography, pupils will be taught about how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate, and how human activity relies on the effective functioning of natural systems. As part of GCSE geography, pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department introduced a new environmental science A Level. This will enable students to further study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

Sustainability content will also be included in T Levels – the new post-16 technical study programmes. In setting the content, the T Level panels of employers and industry experts must consider the inclusion of sustainability as relevant to their sector. In construction, T Level students will be required to learn about renewable energy and emerging technologies to support energy efficiency.

28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of Ofsted monitoring of schools' policies on reading material provided to pupils for reading at home.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to my hon. Friend and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what content the PHSE curriculum contains on gambling; and whether that content has been updated to include reference to (a) loot boxes and (b) other new forms of gambling made accessible within games.

The Department wants to equip young people for adult life in Britain and for them to make a positive contribution to society. From September 2020, relationships education will be compulsory for all primary school-aged pupils, relationships and sex education will be compulsory for all secondary school-aged pupils, and health education will be compulsory for all pupils in state-funded schools.

The subjects will support all young people in terms of managing risk and making informed decisions, as well as in key aspects such as mental wellbeing and online behaviour. Under the topic of internet safety and harms, the statutory guidance sets out that young people should be taught about the risks related to online gambling, including the accumulation of debt, how advertising and information is targeted at them, and how to be a discerning consumer of information online. The statutory guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Schools have the flexibility to cover content on loot boxes and gambling within computer games, when teaching these subjects. Similarly, such topics can be covered within e-safety teaching as part of the computing curriculum.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure cross-education authority travel provision is provided in rural areas to increase the school choice available to parents.

Local authorities (LAs) have a statutory duty to provide free home to school transport for all eligible children. A child is eligible for free home to school transport if they are of compulsory school age and:

  • They attend their nearest suitable school and it is more than the statutory walking distance from their home. The statutory walking distance is 2 miles for children under the age of 8 and 3 miles for children aged 8 and over, or;

  • They attend their nearest suitable school and cannot reasonably be expected to walk there because of their special educational needs, disability or mobility problem, or because the route is unsafe.

Transport is provided to the nearest suitable school, regardless of whether that school is in a different LA.

There are additional rights to free home to school transport for children from low income households. These are known as ‘extended rights’ and are intended to help low income families exercise school choice in circumstances where transport may otherwise be a barrier. A local authority is required to provide free transport to pupils eligible for free school meals or whose parents are in receipt of maximum working tax credit, and:

  • The nearest suitable school is beyond 2 miles (for children over the age of 8 and under 11), or;

  • The suitable school is between 2 and 6 miles (if aged between 11 and 16, and there are not three or more suitable nearer schools), or;

  • The school is between 2 and 15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief (aged 11 to 16).

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has (a) in place and (b) to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that school uniform costs are minimised.

No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to a school. The Government is pleased to support the Private Member’s Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance about the cost aspects of school uniform policies’, which was recently introduced to Parliament on 5 February 2020. This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring that school uniform costs are reasonable.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether (a) recyclable and (b) reusable sanitary products have been included in the scheme to make free sanitary products available in schools.

The scheme provides a wide range of period products for schools and 16-19 organisations to choose from. This includes environmentally friendly pads, reusable pads, organic non-applicator tampons and menstrual cups. The ingredients for each product are provided on the ordering portal and in the scheme’s guidance.

Schools and colleges know their learners best and have the freedom to select the most suitable products for their learners, considering cost and type of product. We are monitoring product choice closely and will continue to seek opportunities to encourage the use of sustainable products as the scheme develops.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of children in schools in North West Durham passed the phonics screening check (a) when it was introduced and (b) in the latest period for which figures are available.

The Department introduced the phonics screening check for Year 1 pupils in 2012. The latest available figures are for the academic year 2018-19. Figures for the proportion of children in state-funded schools in North West Durham who met the expected standard in phonics in Year 1 are set out in the table below. As shown, 60% of pupils in state-funded schools in the parliamentary constituency met the expected standard in 2012, compared to 83% in 2019.

Percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard in Year 1 in the phonics screening check

All state funded schools, England (2012, 2019)

2012

2019

No. eligible pupils

% met standard

No. eligible pupils

% met standard

England

592,007

58%

649,152

82%

County Durham

5,402

60%

5,622

82%

North West Durham

959

60%

1009

83%

Equivalent figures for England and the local authority of County Durham are provided for context.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of apprenticeship starts there have been at level (a) 2 and (b) 3 and above in each year since 2009.

The number and proportion of apprenticeship starts at level 2 and level 3 + in each year since 2008/09 are shown in the attached table.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the (a) value for money of the Pause programme (b) potential merits of introducing (i) that scheme and (ii) similar programmes nationwide.

Pause was successful in receiving funding through round 1 of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme to pilot the programme in 7 sites, then in round 2 to scale and spread the programme to 9 new local authority areas.

Evaluation of round 1 of the programme was completed in 2017 and estimated that the yearly cost savings attributed to each child removal that had been avoided were £57,102. The report is published at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-care-pause-programme.

Evaluation of round 2 ends in March 2020 and is due to be published in the summer. Studies of both rounds use a before and after impact evaluation design to understand women’s outcomes at the start and throughout the programme. These findings will inform further decisions about continued scaling up of Pause both within the pilot local authorities and nationwide.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to increase UK food production.

The recently published Government Food Strategy puts food security at the heart of our vision for the food sector. Our aim is to broadly maintain the current level of food that we produce domestically and boost production in sectors where there are the biggest opportunities – such as horticulture and seafood.

Our farming reforms are designed to support farmers to produce food sustainably and productively, alongside delivering environmental improvements which we all benefit from.

Alongside this, we are investing over £270 million in innovation by 2029 to support agricultural productivity. Our £48 million Farming Investment Fund is supporting more than 43,000 farmers this year, providing grants towards the cost of equipment and technology, as well as large capital items, to improve productivity.

We have also awarded grants, through the Future Farming Resilience Fund, to organisations who help farmers and land managers adapt to the agricultural transition.

The Government has committed to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. We published the first UK Food Security Report in December 2021, which will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the development of value-added operations within the diary sector.

Dairy is the largest agricultural sector playing a vital role in the British economy and we want to see it produce, sell, and export more of our great British dairy products. The sector is world renowned with a strong reputation for quality, built on high animal welfare standards, strong environmental protection, traceability, and sustainability. This is a strong basis on which to sell more of our produce at home and abroad, increasing overall value in the sector.

Our new £27 million Farming Investment Fund also opened on 16 November. This will provide grants to farmers so that they can invest in the equipment, technology and infrastructure that will help their businesses to prosper, while improving their productivity and further enhancing the environment. The Fund will help them to focus on more efficient production methods, to reduce resource costs, to improve yields, and to provide a better return. We intend future rollout of the Fund will support producers who want to process and add value to their products, to create new products, or to sell their produce directly to consumers.

More information on the Fund is available at the following link.

The Farming Investment Fund launches today - Future Farming (blog.gov.uk)

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote (a) UK-sourced food and (b) food produced in the counties, regions and nations of the UK through Government procurement.

As a Government, we have a manifesto commitment that we want people at home and abroad to be lining up to buy British. We welcome efforts from all parts of the food chain to promote and source British products, and we work closely with industry and trade associations to engage with and support initiatives that highlight the qualities of British products. We will always champion our farmers and producers, supporting them to grow more of our great British food, and to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public.

We are further committed in the manifesto to encourage the public sector to buy British. As part of achieving this commitment, we will be consulting on proposals to strengthen the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services early in 2022. Alongside ensuring our policy reflects best practice, the consultation will examine ways to promote greater take-up of local produce and make public procurement more accessible to SMEs. The update will promote this by focusing on the UK’s strengths such as high production and welfare standards and innovative, sustainable farming practices.

We are also working across Government to identify and trial innovative approaches to public food procurement. This includes a pilot in the South West, in collaboration with Crown Commercial Services, to simplify the route into the public sector, encouraging more local and sustainable SME businesses to join public sector food contracts. Following a successful pilot, the trial will undergo a national rollout, supporting food producers from all regions and nations of the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what enforcement measures are available to local authority officers to tackle vehicle idling in (a) Air Quality Management Areas and (b) non-Air Quality Management Areas; and whether the Government has plans to review those enforcement powers.

Under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002, local authorities already have powers to enforce anti-idling laws and issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to drivers leaving engines running unnecessarily.

The enforcement powers available to tackle vehicle idling are available to all local authorities, regardless of whether or not they have an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). It is vital that these powers are used to help deal with local air quality issues where necessary and there are no plans to review these powers.

Within AQMAs, designated local authorities also have powers to carry out roadside testing of vehicle emissions to reduce pollution from road traffic. They can do this where any part of the area is designated as an AQMA in accordance with the legislation. The local authority must apply to the Secretary of State for Transport to be a designated local authority.

Since these powers became available, vehicle technology has moved on significantly. Newer technologies can play a part in addressing idling emissions, such as stop-start technology and low- or -zero-emission vehicles.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to ban the import of peat.

The Government is committed to protecting and restoring our vulnerable peatlands in England. As part of this focus, we are committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England. By reducing demand for peat in horticulture, this not only protects peat bogs in England, but recognises that two thirds of the peat sold in the UK is imported from the rest of Europe. We plan to set out proposals to further reduce the use of peat in horticulture in the forthcoming England Peat Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to (a) review and (b) amend the regulations on the burning of heather and protected blanket bog.

The government has always been clear of the need to phase out rotational burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats, and we are looking at how legislation could achieve this. Real progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and continue to work with them constructively.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending support grants for the (a) dairy industry and (b) agricultural sector as the covid-19 outbreak continues.

To support dairy farmers who have been significantly impacted by covid-19, Defra ran a Dairy Response Fund which closed for applications on 11 September. This has provided financial support to those eligible dairy farmers who suffered a reduction in the average price paid for their milk of 25% or more in April 2020, compared with February 2020. More detail can be found at the link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dairy-response-fund-2020

The passing of the spring production peak, combined with measures taken by the government on competition easements and promotion campaigns, alongside the partial re-opening of hospitality has seen the dairy market recover and commodity prices have largely recovered to their pre-covid-19 levels.

We will continue to work very closely with all agricultural industry stakeholders and the Devolved Administrations to assess and monitor UK agricultural markets including price, supply, and trade information. This will enable us to identify, and respond as appropriate to the impacts of the covid-19 outbreak across all of our agricultural sectors.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to further support value add to food manufacturing for dairy products.

British dairy and other agricultural products are renowned around the world for their high standards of animal welfare, traceability and sustainability. Dairy is the UK's largest agricultural sector and, alongside our other agricultural sectors, the Government is determined to see the sector become more productive and competitive.

Through measures in our Agriculture Bill we will offer financial assistance to enable dairy and other farmers to invest in the equipment, technology, and infrastructure that they need to improve their productivity, provide more home-grown healthy high-quality produce, and manage the environment sustainably. Productivity improvements can help drive added value in the dairy supply chain.

We will also make use of the opportunities provided by our new independent trade policy to grow new and existing export markets around the world. The strong reputation of our products provides an excellent platform on which to further increase overseas demand and secure maximum value for British dairy products.

In June we announced a 'bounce back package' of trade support for food and drink exporters. This joint Defra and Department for International Trade package of short-term practical measures will support businesses to get their products back in front of international buyers and grow their exports. More information can be found on the GOV.UK website: www.gov.uk/government/news/bounce-back-plan-for-agriculture-food-and-drink-industry-launched.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made with its hen harrier recovery programme.

Significant progress continues to be made on the actions set out in the hen harrier action plan. This includes Natural England carrying out an extensive nest and winter roost monitoring programme using a mix of staff and volunteers. Natural England and Forest Enterprise monitored 14 nests in 2020, all of which were successful. Another ten nests were monitored by the RSPB. In 2019 under the brood management trial one nest was brood managed and in 2020 two nests. To date, 13 birds have been reared in captivity and re-released back into the wild. Natural England has also fitted tags to 23 hen harrier chicks this year.

This year Natural England has recorded the best year for hen harrier breeding in England since Natural England’s hen harrier action plan was launched in 2016 with 19 successful nests and 60 chicks fledged.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hen harriers there have been in England in each of the last 10 years.

The results from the most recent UK national survey in 2016 (Wotton, S. et al 2018) showed that in England, the hen harrier population was at least four recorded pairs. However, data on nesting attempts from recent years suggests a higher breeding population. The table below shows data on hen harrier breeding success in England from 2011 to 2020.

Nesting Attempts

Successful Nests

Chicks Fledged

2011

9

4

12

2012

1

1

4

2013

2

0

0

2014

4

4

15

2015

12

6

18

2016

3

3

8

2017

7

3

10

2018

14

9

34

2019

15

12

46

2020

24

19

60

Hen harrier numbers are normally monitored through breeding data. Obtaining a figure for non-breeding and over winter numbers would be very difficult and there is no centrally coordinated monitoring of non-breeding numbers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many breeding pairs of hen harriers there have been in England in each of the last 10 years.

The results from the most recent UK national survey in 2016 (Wotton, S. et al 2018) showed that in England, the hen harrier population was at least four recorded pairs. However, data on nesting attempts from recent years suggests a higher breeding population. The table below shows data on hen harrier breeding success in England from 2011 to 2020.

Nesting Attempts

Successful Nests

Chicks Fledged

2011

9

4

12

2012

1

1

4

2013

2

0

0

2014

4

4

15

2015

12

6

18

2016

3

3

8

2017

7

3

10

2018

14

9

34

2019

15

12

46

2020

24

19

60

Hen harrier numbers are normally monitored through breeding data. Obtaining a figure for non-breeding and over winter numbers would be very difficult and there is no centrally coordinated monitoring of non-breeding numbers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) adequacy of existing regulation and enforcement of pet imports, (b) changes in the level of pet imports during the covid-19 lockdown and (c) effect of the UK leaving the EU on importation of (i) puppies and (ii) kittens to the UK.

Defra takes the illegal importation of pets seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to animals and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk.

In terms of the regulation and enforcement of non-commercial pet travel movements, we operate one of the most rigorous and robust pet travel checking regimes in the world. All pet animals entering Great Britain on approved routes under the EU Pet Travel Scheme undergo documentary and identity checks, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) works collaboratively with Border Force and other operational partners at ports, airports and inland, sharing intelligence to enforce the Pet Travel Scheme, disrupt illegal imports and seize non-compliant animals. Any animals found to be non-compliant with the Pet Travel Scheme rules may be refused entry or detained until compliant.

Regarding changing levels of pet imports (both commercial and non-commercial) during the COVID-19 lockdown, APHA has confirmed that during the initial period of lockdown (March-April 2020), we saw a reduction of pet movements. This increased to relatively routine figures as COVID-19 movement restrictions were eased. On non-commercial pet travel, 14,718 pets were moved into Great Britain in March 2020. Numbers of movements then fell to 1,834 in April 2020 and rose to 4,810 in May 2020. On the commercial imports of cats, dogs and ferrets under the Balai Directive, 2,506 animals were imported into the UK in March 2020, falling to 1,114 in April 2020. Numbers of commercial imports are steadily rising again and now sit at 6,741 for the month of August 2020.

The end of the Transition Period may open up new opportunities for managing our own commercial and non-commercial import and pet travel arrangements. The Government will be considering our pet travel and import arrangements (including for puppies and kittens) as part of cracking down on puppy smuggling in line with our manifesto commitment.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of further restricting the importation of pets from overseas to encourage the rehousing of animals in UK pet rescue facilities.

Rescue and rehoming centres in this country carry out important work to ensure that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. We advise people seeking to acquire a new pet to first consider adopting from a reputable UK-based pet rescue and rehoming centre.

Defra has been engaging with rescue and rehoming centres to understand their views on, and the possible impacts of, regulating the sector. This follows calls for more transparency for prospective pet owners where there are concerns that pet dealers may masquerade as rehoming centres to circumvent the ban on third-party sales of puppies and kittens. Any proposal to bring forward regulations will be subject to a consultation.

The end of the Transition Period opens up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel and pet import arrangements, including ensuring that there are robust controls on disease and animal welfare.

It is possible that reductions in import volumes may generate increased demand from domestic sources, including from domestic pet rescue facilities. The Government encourages people to source pets responsibly, and our current Petfished campaign is raising the public’s awareness of the consequences of buying from a low-welfare seller and challenging the assumption that it is easy to spot bad practice. The campaign also signposts to resources available to help people make a good decision.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what additional support is being considered for animal rescue organisations in response to the covid-19 outbreak to ensure those organisations are able to operate and protect the welfare of animals.

The Government greatly appreciates the important work that animal rescue and rehoming organisations do, often on a voluntary basis, to ensure that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home.

Evidence provided by respondents to the 2019 consultation on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens reflected concerns about profit-driven activity and variations in standards of animal welfare across this sector.

Defra has been engaging with rescue and rehoming organisations to understand their views and the possible impacts of regulating the sector. Any proposal to bring forward regulations, including for the introduction of any registration and licensing system, will be subject to a consultation and will reflect an awareness of the more recent impact that coronavirus has had on the sector.

Defra has been kept regularly updated on the sector’s analysis of the developing situation. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively to safeguard the welfare of animals in their care in the face of real financial hardship and uncertainty.

Organisations have been able to apply for the full range of coronavirus support measures that the government made available to businesses and charities: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. The Charity Commission has also issued comprehensive guidance on running a charity during this period of economic uncertainty: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector.

Defra has worked closely with the sector through the Canine and Feline Sector Group and National Equine Welfare Council to agree and update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations to enable them to undertake core operations as far as possible, while maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Government remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to bring forward legislative proposals to regulate animal rehoming.

The Government greatly appreciates the important work that animal rescue and rehoming organisations do, often on a voluntary basis, to ensure that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home.

Evidence provided by respondents to the 2019 consultation on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens reflected concerns about profit-driven activity and variations in standards of animal welfare across this sector.

Defra has been engaging with rescue and rehoming organisations to understand their views and the possible impacts of regulating the sector. Any proposal to bring forward regulations, including for the introduction of any registration and licensing system, will be subject to a consultation and will reflect an awareness of the more recent impact that coronavirus has had on the sector.

Defra has been kept regularly updated on the sector’s analysis of the developing situation. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively to safeguard the welfare of animals in their care in the face of real financial hardship and uncertainty.

Organisations have been able to apply for the full range of coronavirus support measures that the government made available to businesses and charities: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. The Charity Commission has also issued comprehensive guidance on running a charity during this period of economic uncertainty: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector.

Defra has worked closely with the sector through the Canine and Feline Sector Group and National Equine Welfare Council to agree and update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations to enable them to undertake core operations as far as possible, while maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Government remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a registration and licensing system for animal sanctuaries and rehoming activities.

The Government greatly appreciates the important work that animal rescue and rehoming organisations do, often on a voluntary basis, to ensure that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home.

Evidence provided by respondents to the 2019 consultation on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens reflected concerns about profit-driven activity and variations in standards of animal welfare across this sector.

Defra has been engaging with rescue and rehoming organisations to understand their views and the possible impacts of regulating the sector. Any proposal to bring forward regulations, including for the introduction of any registration and licensing system, will be subject to a consultation and will reflect an awareness of the more recent impact that coronavirus has had on the sector.

Defra has been kept regularly updated on the sector’s analysis of the developing situation. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively to safeguard the welfare of animals in their care in the face of real financial hardship and uncertainty.

Organisations have been able to apply for the full range of coronavirus support measures that the government made available to businesses and charities: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. The Charity Commission has also issued comprehensive guidance on running a charity during this period of economic uncertainty: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector.

Defra has worked closely with the sector through the Canine and Feline Sector Group and National Equine Welfare Council to agree and update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations to enable them to undertake core operations as far as possible, while maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Government remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the extent to which illegal puppy and kitten dealers have established themselves as rescue centres to continue their trade (a) in the UK and (b) overseas since the ban on third-party sales of such animals came into force in the UK.

No official reports of such activity have been brought to Defra’s attention since the introduction of Lucy’s Law, but anecdotal information provided by respondents to the consultation on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens (held in 2019) reflected concerns about profit-driven activity in the rescue and rehoming sector. Defra has been engaging with the sector directly to understand their views and the possible impacts of regulating the sector to improve transparency and accountability. Any proposal to bring forward regulations in England will be subject to a consultation.

Any cases of pet dealers attempting to circumvent the recent ban on third-party sales should be reported to the relevant local authorities, as enforcers of the legislation.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to take steps to protect racing pigeons from predators.

The Government's policy is that individuals should be free to manage wildlife within the law. Some predatory species, such as raptors, are afforded legal protection to help ensure that management does not impact on their conservation status. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 permits the granting of licences to control wild birds but only for certain limited purposes, which are set out in section 16 of the Act. There are currently no provisions in the Act to permit licences to be granted to protect racing pigeons from predation by raptors or other avian predators.

Individuals are advised to deter predators, for example by using mesh to disrupt flight lines and to fly birds at times when predators are least likely to be present. Those who are concerned about the effects of raptors on racing pigeons can seek advice from local Natural England officers, who offer free advice to those experiencing problems.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing further ongoing long-term support for agriculture on a similar basis to the scheme for the dairy industry announced on 6 May 2020.

The Government wants a profitable and resilient farming sector. We will always champion our farmers and growers by supporting them to produce more of our great British food and drink, providing a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public. The Agriculture Bill provides the legislative basis for a transition from old-style subsidies to investment in a more productive and sustainable farming sector.

The Bill will allow us to introduce ambitious new land management schemes in England, based on the principle of “public money for public goods”, so that we can reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment, improve animal welfare and produce high quality food in a more sustainable way. It will also help farmers to stay competitive, with measures to increase productivity and invest in new technology.

The dairy response fund is a temporary measure introduced to deal with COVID-19 and is not meant as a long-term solution. We have also announced other measures to support the farming sector during COVID-19, including relaxation of driver’s hours, competition easements in the sector and promotion campaigns for beef and dairy.

We remain in regular contact and continue to work with our food and farming sector to ensure that they have the support they need. This includes working closely with farmers and processor representatives to understand specific challenges sectors are facing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress (a) Unilever and (b) other UK companies have made on meeting the target of 100 per cent use of sustainable palm oil.

In 2012, the Government and UK industry established a UK Roundtable on Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil, to support efforts to increase the use of certified palm oil in the UK market. Figures from the UK Roundtable indicate that the UK's imports of certified sustainable palm oil rose from 16% in 2010 to 77% in 2018. The roundtable tracks only aggregate figures and does not report on behalf of individual companies or industry associations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 2 June 2020 to Question 49873 on food labelling, how many times food labelling has been found to have breached the updated rules that state the country of origin or place of provenance of a primary ingredient, which is not the same as that given or indicated on a food as a whole, must also be included on the label.

The new labelling of the country of origin of primary ingredients rules apply across the EU and the UK. However, legislation enabling the rules to be enforced must be made through domestic regulations and, as food labelling is a devolved matter, will be introduced by separate statutory instruments in England and the devolved administrations.

The rules came into force less than 3 months ago (on 1 April). The enforcement legislation for England, following a statutory obligation to consult on food matters like these, was laid in Parliament in May and will come into force on 18 June.

We do not yet have any data on compliance with these new rules.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will assess the potential merits of delaying the roll-out of Environmental Land Management Scheme as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government remains committed to developing a new agricultural policy now we have left the EU. This includes moving to a system that rewards farmers and land managers for delivering public goods with public money, while ensuring we can continue to produce food in an environmentally sustainable way. The new scheme will be launched in England in 2024 and will be tested and refined through a National Pilot which will begin in 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring more detailed and extensive labelling of the country of origin on food products.

In the UK we maintain high standards on the provision of information to consumers on food labels. Food is a devolved matter so I am replying in respect of England. However, the same rules currently apply across all of the UK.

Our current laws require origin labelling for foods where the consumer would be misled if the origin of the food were not given. This might happen on the label of, for example, a food clearly identified as ‘British’ by words or symbols but that was made elsewhere.

In addition there are rules for compulsory origin labelling of single ingredient foods including beef, veal, lamb, mutton, pork, goat and poultry meat, fish and shellfish, honey, olive oil, wine and most fruit and vegetables.

As of April this year the country of origin or place of provenance of a primary ingredient which is not the same as that given or indicated on a food as a whole must also be included on the label. For example, if a steak and ale pie is made by the English Pie Company but its main ingredient (beef) is from Argentina, the label must make that clear to the consumer.

Where origin information is not required but a producer wishes to provide it, it can still be on the label as long as it does not mislead the consumer.

We believe these measures together ensure that UK consumers are well informed about the true origin of the food they are eating.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to formally recognise food security as a public good.

Food security is not deemed to be a public good that necessitates public provision. A public good refers to a good or service that when consumed does not reduce its availability to others, and of which no one can be deprived.

The resilience of food supply lies with the food industry. The Government's role is to regulate and support the industry, including on contingency planning and in the event of an incident that has the potential to disrupt supply.

We are including a new requirement in the Agriculture Bill for the UK Government to report on food security to Parliament at least once every five years, demonstrating the importance we place on this subject. The report will contain information on food supply including the role of strong domestic production alongside diverse sources of supply.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what contingency plans his Department has made for supporting farming in the event of potential disruption at the end of the transition period.

The Agriculture Bill provides powers for the Government to act in a crisis related to severe market disturbance.

As we are doing now, we will be closely monitoring all agricultural sectors. We have developed the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group which is meeting in shadow form during the transition period. This allows officials in Defra and the Devolved Administrations to monitor UK agricultural markets, to share the latest stakeholder information and to provide warning of atypical market movements. This will help prepare the evidence base for the cause and possible range of interventions that may be needed in specific markets.

It is in everyone's interests to secure a good trade deal with the EU and that is exactly what the Government is committed to doing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to amend the regulations on heather burning during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has always been clear of the need to end burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. We are looking at how legislation could achieve this and considering next steps.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce the volume of (i) junk mail, (ii) charity collection bags and (iii) commercial marketing material delivered to people's homes and (b) ensure that those items are (A) recyclable or (B) biodegradable.

The Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse and recycle more plastic than we do now and to move towards a more circular economy. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Households can sign up to services to stop receiving unsolicited mail, such as those provided by the Direct Marketing Association or Royal Mail. A “no junk mail” notice may also be effective.

Charity textile collections offer a convenient way for people to reduce their environmental impact, reusing or recycling around 650,000 tonnes of clothing which might otherwise be sent to landfill.

In 2017, following a public consultation, the Fundraising Regulator strengthened its Code of Fundraising Practice to require charitable house to house collectors not to post collection bags to properties that indicate they should not do so by way of a notice, for example “no charity bags”. People can complain to the local council and provide feedback directly to charities. The bags can be reused for other purposes or recycled.

The Government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impact of plastic, if they are disposed of in the right way. We therefore published a call for evidence last year to help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics and to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the average cost or saving of switching from coal to other sold fuels, by region.

The Government Response to the consultation on cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood was published on 21 February this year. The accompanying Impact Assessment includes a table which provides a regional, energy efficiency adjusted cost analysis for coal and smokeless fuels. This indicates that savings will be made in all the regions considered if households switch from coal to the cheapest smokeless fuel.

The Impact Assessment can be viewed at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/867428/burning-wood-consult-ia.pdf

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the Government proposes to ban the burning of coal when its emissions levels are similar to that of burning dry wood.

As outlined in our written ministerial statement of 24 February 2020 the purpose of our policy is to reduce people’s exposure to the most harmful pollutant to human health (PM2.5). While defined by its size, fine particulate matter in smoke from domestic combustion contains a wide range of chemical compounds, depending on what is being burnt. In developing this policy we have taken into account the clear advice of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which has stated that emissions from coal combustion is a known carcinogen to humans. There is also strong evidence that burning coal can release elements and compounds into the indoor environment that are particularly harmful to human health. Based on this evidence, the World Health Organization has strongly recommended against the residential use of coal for heating.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will remove coal from the proposed regulation of the sales, distribution and marketing of house coal and wet wood.

The Government is committed to protecting human health, and the environment from the impacts of air pollutants. Based on the advice from the World Health Organization that emissions from coal combustion is a known human carcinogen, and that it should not be used for residential heating, we intend to continue including bituminous (house) coal in the proposed regulation of the sales, distribution and marketing of bituminous (house) coal and wet wood.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the average change in costs per household of a switch from house coal to smokeless fuel in (a) Northumberland, (b) County Durham, (c) Yorkshire, (d) Cornwall and (e) Hampshire.

Defra commissioned analysis of heat output from a range of fuels to determine fuel efficiency and costs to consumers. The costs of fuels were investigated across six regions in England (North East, North West, Midlands, South East including East of England, and South West) which showed that manufactured solid fuels were, in general, cheaper when heat output was taken into consideration on an open fire.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the PM2.5 emissions in grams per tonne are for (a) household coal, (b) wet wood, (c) kiln dried or seasoned wood and (d) oil for household use.

The data is provided as grams per kilogram (rather than grams per tonne) due to the scale of the data, for example for PM2.5 emissions from coal, 8.7g/kg would become 8700g/tonne)

The PM2.5 emissions in grams per kilogram of fuel used are:

(a) Household coal: 8.7g/kg

(b) Wet Wood: 28g/kg

(c) Dry wood: 7.2g/kg

(d) Oil for households (referred to as 'burning oil’ in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory): 0.083g/kg

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in grams per tonne of (a) coal, (b) wet wood, (c) kiln dried or seasoned wood and (d) oil for household use burned at home.

The data is provided as grams per kilogram (rather than grams per tonne) due to the scale of the data. It should be noted that harvested wood for bioenergy is considered to be carbon neutral, with the carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed as young trees grow compensating for that released by burning.

The CO2 emissions in grams per kilogram of fuel used are:

(a) Household coal: 683g/kg

(b) Wet Wood: 0g/kg

(c) Dry wood: 0g/kg

(d) Oil for households (referred to as 'burning oil’ in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory): 859g/kg

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of preventing the live import of animals for re-homing in the UK in order to reduce the number of animals destroyed in the UK when no home for them can be found.

The Government advises against purchasing or acquiring imported dogs for rehoming, as they may carry serious diseases or have behavioural and welfare issues due to poor breeding. The Government’s recently launched “Petfished” campaign, which aims to warn people about deceitful sellers including those importing puppies and kittens includes advice on this. Rescue and rehoming centres in this country carry out important work to ensure that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. We advise those seeking to acquire a new dog to first consider adopting from a reputable UK based dog rescue and rehoming centre.

Dogs for rehoming are imported under the Balai Directive, alongside all other commercial movements of dogs. As such a ban would not be appropriate as it may inhibit other commercial movements of animals.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking ensure processed egg products imported into the UK are from hens kept to welfare standards equivalent to those in the UK.

We have world class animal welfare standards in the UK and we will continue to be a world leader in animal welfare, maintaining and strengthening our standards now that we have left the EU. This will be reflected in our approach to future trading arrangements.

The Government will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure that future trade deals live up to the values of farmers and consumers across the UK. We will not dilute our high standards of animal welfare, including import requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the judgement in the judicial review brought by the Commons Committees for Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons, what steps the Rural Payments Agency has taken to reduce payments in respect of Bollihope Common.

Bollihope Common have received increased payments as a result of the Judicial Review case brought by the Commons Committees for Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons. No grazier has received a reduced payment as a consequence of the case.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people in (a) Weardale and (b) North West Durham constituency who are reliant on coal for fuel; what plans she has to provide financial support to people replacing coal firing systems with alternatives; and whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of a scrappage scheme for coal-firing systems.

The impact assessment published alongside the Government response to the consultation on cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood included an assessment of the number of people who use coal as a primary heat source across England. The impact assessment can be viewed at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/867428/burning-wood-consult-ia.pdf

The proposals included in the Government response outline our intention to rollout the policy in a phased approach, this is to ensure that those reliant on coal or wood as a primary heat source have time and support they need to transition to the cleanest alternative fuel types, whilst minimising any associated costs. We do not have any plans to introduce a stove scrappage scheme.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the process is to (a) remove and (b) challenge longstanding noise abatement orders.

Local authorities are responsible for serving abatement notices where appropriate for noise nuisances deemed a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. An abatement notice will operate according to the conditions contained within it, which may require it to be indefinite, and which are set by the local authority serving the notice.

A person served with an abatement notice can appeal to a magistrate’s court within 21 days of the date on which the notice was served. Grounds for appeal include:

  • legal tests haven’t been met to show that the issue is a statutory nuisance
  • the notice was served on the wrong person
  • the notice is defective

Industrial, trade and business premises can claim the use of “best practicable means” in their defence. This may be used as grounds for appeal against the abatement notice or a defence (if prosecuted) for not complying with the abatement notice. Only the courts can determine what the best practicable means are in each case, taking into account, among other things, the local conditions and circumstances, the current state of technical knowledge and the financial implications.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the judgment in the judicial review brought by the Commons Committees for Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons, whether there are commensurate provisions in relation to common land in the Agriculture Bill; and what assessment he has made of the implications of that land for his policies on a future payments scheme.

The impacts of the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons case and how payments are made to Commoners are being considered by Defra officials.

Commons frequently provide some of the richest opportunities for the provision of environmental public goods and are a unique part of British farming heritage.

In 2024 we will be launching the Government’s Environmental Land Management scheme. This will be cornerstone of our new agricultural policy. It will pay public money for public goods, such as those set out in the 25-year environment plan. We are working with our stakeholders including those farming on common land to design it. This includes through a programme of Tests and Trials, a recently launched Policy Discussion Document and a national pilot which will start in 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of payments to farmers will be under the (a) old and (b) new system in each of the seven years of the introduction of the new payments system for farmers.

The Government plans to phase out Direct Payments to farmers in England over a seven year agricultural transition period. For the first year of the transition, 2021, we will reduce Direct Payments by up to an already announced set of percentages, which could free up to around £150 million to reinvest into the delivery of public goods and providing support for farmers during the transition. We will set the reduction percentages for the later years of the transition taking account of our detailed plans for future schemes and wider discussions about Government spending.

The Government’s election manifesto guaranteed the current annual budget in every year of the new Parliament, giving significant certainty on funding for the coming years. In England this will enable the Government to provide financial support for the purposes set out in the Agriculture Bill.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people requiring insurance protection offered by FloodRE are able to switch insurance supplier.

Flood Re is a flood reinsurance scheme designed to improve the availability and affordability of flood insurance for households at high flood risk. Flood Re does not deal directly with homeowners, but instead allows insurance companies to pass on the high flood risk element of household insurance policies to them for a below market rate set premium. Flood Re is available through more than 85 insurance brands representing 94% of the home insurance market. We encourage homeowners to shop around to get the best deal for their home insurance.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animals of each species have been imported to the UK as rescue animals in each of the last 10 years.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) does not capture whether imported animals are rescue animals and so is unable to provide this data.

Furthermore, APHA’s data retention period for import data is 3 years and so we can only provide data for the last 3 years on matters relating to imports.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her plans are for the future use of the Roundup 360 herbicide in the UK.

Pesticides are subject to strict regulation and are only permitted for use where a comprehensive scientific assessment finds that this will not harm people or have unacceptable effects on the environment. The assessment first considers the active substance. If this is approved for use, each product containing that active substance is assessed and is only authorised, subject to any necessary conditions, if the risks are acceptably low. If necessary, specific conditions of authorisation are set and are communicated to users through the product label. Approvals and authorisations are reviewed regularly to make sure that pesticides continue to meet the latest safety standards.

Roundup is subject to this process. The active substance, glyphosate is approved until 15 December 2022 and Roundup products are authorised following scientific assessment by the Health and Safety Executive. When the approval of glyphosate and the product authorisations are reviewed, we will again consider our position based on a careful scientific assessment of the evidence and risks at that time.

Decision-making on the use of pesticides after the UK leaves the EU will continue to be based on careful scientific assessment of the risks. Our highest priority will continue to be the protection of people and the environment.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the cost to the public purse was of the UK Africa Investment Summit held on 20 January 2020; and if he will make a statement.

I can report that the final cost of the UK Africa Investment Summit held on 20 January was £3.14 million. Of this, 83% (£2.62 million) was ODA and 17% (£0.52 million) was non-ODA. This event delivered over £6.5 billion worth of commercial investments in infrastructure, energy, retail and tech; and the Government announced over £1.5 billion of UK aid-funded initiatives that are expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and mobilise over £2.4 billion of additional private investment for the continent.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to ensure that Official Development Assistance is not used for development that causes climate change.

The Government published the Green Finance Strategy in July 2019, which included our commitment to align all UK Official Development Assistance with the Paris Agreement. This reflected our commitment to put climate change at the heart of our development programmes. Our commitment to doubling our international climate finance to £11.6 billion over the years 21/22 to 25/26 means that we will be investing more UK aid in low carbon development such as clean energy, and assisting poorer countries to anticipate and manage the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to promote exports of British (a) beer, (b) lamb, (c) dairy products and (d) beef.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) offers a compelling programme of trade promotion activity that encourages our beer, lamb, dairy, and beef exporters to unlock international opportunities. This includes support to exhibit at global food and drink trade events through the UK Tradeshow Programme for eligible businesses. We organise business networking and sampling events, matching international buyers and sellers, enabling buyers to experience our fantastic produce and ensure more British produce is sold overseas.

Our beer, lamb, dairy, and beef exporters are also supported through DIT’s wider services including the Export Support Service, the digital GREAT.gov.uk platform, the Export Academy, UK Export Finance, and our network of domestic and overseas trade advisers.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to increase exports of cheese and dairy products.

Our Free Trade Agreements are unlocking new opportunities for our world class cheese and dairy exporters. Our “Open Doors” agriculture, food and drink export campaign offers a wide range of support for dairy businesses who want to start exporting or expand into new markets. The campaign includes exporting masterclasses, a flagship agriculture mentoring programme and support to match producers with international buyers across the globe.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether parts used for the construction of electric bikes are currently exempt from anti-dumping levies for imports into the UK from (a) China and (b) elsewhere; and whether the Government has plans to review the import levies that do apply to those components.

The anti-dumping duty on certain bicycle parts originating in China (imposed by Taxation Notice 2020/34) does not apply to parts used in the assembly of electric bicycles. However, a person seeking to import bicycle parts from China for use in the assembly of electric bicycles needs to apply to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for authorisation, which prevents circumvention of the duty.

For example, if a consignment includes front forks, frames, motors, and two or more other parts necessary to assemble electric bicycles, HMRC may consider the consignment to consist of electric bicycles, which are subject to both anti-dumping duty (imposed by Taxation Notice 2020/24) and countervailing duty (imposed by Taxation Notice 2020/25).

HM Government intends to review the anti-dumping duty on bicycles and certain bicycle parts originating in China. The review, a transition review, will be initiated by the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (or its successor, the Trade Remedies Authority) before expiry of the current duty on 30th August 2024. There is no anti-dumping duty (or countervailing duty) on bicycle parts originating in any other country or territory.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish all relevant correspondence between her Department and the Premier League relating to the proposed takeover of Newcastle United; whether her Department are involved in the arbitration proceedings on that matter; and whether a date has been set for arbitration in that matter.

Regarding the publishing of correspondence, I refer my hon. Friend for North West Durham to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central on 13 November 2020, UIN: 113092.

The Department for International Trade has not had any involvement in any related arbitration proceedings. The proposed takeover has always been a commercial matter for the parties concerned.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which countries have been the ten largest foreign direct investors in the North East of England in each of the last three years.

Further to my Department’s publication, DIT Inward Investment Results 2019-20 [https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/department-for-international-trade-inward-investment-results-2019-to-2020], the following is a breakdown of the top sources for foreign direct investment projects landing in the UK’s North East of England Region in the three financial years from 2017 to 2020:

Country or world region

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

United States

19

15

28

Non-EU

24

19

24

EU

26

25

21

Definitions of the world regions are found in the quoted publication. Please note that the values from the United States are deducted from the Non-EU region.

Due to the commercially sensitive information and considerations relating to disclosure of the investing organisations involved, we are unable to provide more granular detail.

16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the extent to which the new elements of the updated Highway Code published on 29 January 2022 promote safe walking for pedestrians, particularly in relation to cyclists.

The updates to the Highway Code made on 29 January 2022 were an extension to the existing advice and guidance.

The amendments simply reinforce the good behaviours that we would expect every road user to adhere to and drivers should already be following the rules of the road. The changes will lead to improvements in road safety as they encourage more mutual respect and consideration for all road users.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the (a) average starting salary, (b) average salary (including bonuses and overtime), (c) highest salary (including bonuses and overtime) paid to a (i) train driver and (ii) tube driver in the UK in each of the last three years.

Information relating to salary is managed and set by the individual Train Operating Companies in line with their annual budgets. The Office for National Statistics publishes detailed statistics on pay by occupation at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/datasets/occupation4digitsoc2010ashetable14

Data from the above statistics states that for ‘train and tram drivers’, median annual gross pay was:

2021 = £59,189

2020 = £55,546

2019 = £56,102

The 80th percentile figures, where the top 20% of employees are paid above this figure, are

2021 = £70,352

2020 = £67,709

2019 = £67,037

Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL).

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many road traffic (a) accidents and (b) deaths have resulted from individuals driving cars purchased while not holding a valid driving licence since 2012.

The information requested is not available.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of requiring cyclists and motorcyclists to wear high visibility clothing.

The safety of vulnerable road users is a priority for the Government. The Department recommends that cyclists and motorcyclists wear clothing that makes them sufficiently visible to other road users, and has recently revised the Highway Code to make this even clearer. However, the Government has no plans to mandate the wearing of high visibility clothing either for cyclists or for motorcyclists. For cyclists, the benefits would be outweighed by the fact that it would be likely to put many people off cycling, thereby reducing the health and environmental benefits that cycling can provide.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal road accidents involving someone driving the vehicle under the age of 17 when that person (i) owned the vehicle and (ii) did not own the vehicle they were driving at the time of the incident have occurred in the UK in each of the last 20 years.

The Department does not hold information on whether drivers in reported personal injury road accidents own the vehicle they are operating at the time of the road accident.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal road accidents involving someone who owned a car but did not have a driving licence have occurred in the UK in each of the last 20 years.

The department does not hold information on whether drivers in reported personal injury road accidents own the vehicle they are operating.

Partially complete data is held for whether the driver of a vehicle holds a driving licence which is appropriate for the vehicle from 2012 only. The number of a) fatal and b) non-fatal reported personal injury road accidents involving a car driver by whether their driver’s licence was appropriate for the vehicle for Great Britain from 2012 to 2020 can be found below.

a)

Reported fatal road accidents involving car drivers by reported driving licence type, Great Britain, 2012 to 2020

Year

Full

Provisional

Unlicensed

Unknown

2012

3

0

0

1,239

2013

17

0

0

1,224

2014

22

0

1

1,268

2015

30

1

0

1,211

2016

240

16

10

1,106

2017

298

30

7

1,015

2018

312

16

3

1,026

2019

391

7

9

921

2020

399

15

13

678

Source: DfT, STATS19

b)

Reported non-fatal personal injury road accidents involving car drivers by reported driving licence type, Great Britain, 2012 to 2020

Year

Full

Provisional

Unlicensed

Unknown

2012

569

4

9

126,835

2013

3,318

31

126

117,380

2014

2,983

15

170

124,287

2015

3,874

280

26

118,820

2016

20,957

1,170

136

101,814

2017

22,169

1,084

132

94,249

2018

22,386

905

151

88,266

2019

27,298

499

166

79,946

2020

23,229

498

197

58,540

Source: DfT, STATS19

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many miles of railway was electrification completed in each calendar year since 1997.

The Office of Rail and Road publishes information about delivered electrification, the relevant information for Great Britain is shown below.

Financial year

New electrification projects track miles

1997-98

0

1998-99

0

1999-00

0

2000-01

0

2001-02

0

2002-03

0

2003-04

14

2004-05

24

2005-06

3

2006-07

0

2007-08

0

2008-09

22

2009-10

0

2010-11

66

2011-12

0

2012-13

6

2013-14

38

2014-15

110

2015-16

4

2016-17

0

2017-18

181

2018-19

549

2019-20

156

2020-21

111

This information has been extracted from Table 6320 on the ORR’s data portal published here: https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/infrastructure-and-emissions/rail-infrastructure-and-assets/table-6320-infrastructure-on-the-mainline/.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many miles of new railway was built and in which regions (a) from 1997 to 2010 and (b) from 2010 to date.

The Office of Rail and Road publish railway infrastructure statistics, which contain the total length of track in Great Britain (including Scotland). The table below gives total track length from 1999-00. This information is not available by region and this data is not available prior to 1999.

The year-on-year change in track length is the net change of new track added minus length of track closed. Therefore, a year-on-year increase does not necessarily equal the total length of new track added.

Track Miles of the rail network in Great Britain. Source: ORR

Year

Total track miles

Year

Total track miles

1999-00

19,167

2010-11

19,330

2000-01

19,167

2011-12

19,302

2001-02

19,866

2012-13

19,309

2002-03

19,738

2013-14

19,320

2003-04

19,613

2014-15

19,337

2004-051

19,562

2015-16

19,383

2005-06

19,328

2016-173

19,400

2006-072

19,302

2017-18

19,286

2007-08

19,313

2018-19

19,319

2008-09

19,336

2019-20

19,398

2009-10

19,308

2020-21

19,418

1 Prior to 2004-05 route length data and electrification data was collected using various systems and collected on a semi-annual basis. These systems, whilst often the most accurate measures available at the time, would not have provided as accurate a measure as the GEOGIS system and there is therefore a break in the time series between 2003-04 and 2004-05.

2 There is a break in the time series between 2006-07 and 2007-08 due to a new methodology where the route classification reference data was revamped.

3 There is a break in the time series between 2016-17 and 2017-18 due to Network Rail replacing GEOGIS, its master database for track assets, with a new system called INM (Integrated Network Model).This means any comparison of the current route length with previous years must be treated with caution.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to relax section 19 or section 22 licences for charities or community-interest-companies, such as Weardale Community Transport, to enable those organisations to run services for social benefit that enable them to cross subsidise free community services.

The Government understands that community transport operators provide vital services that both encourage growth and reduce isolation by linking people with their communities, helping take them to shops, work, school, and medical appointments.

There are a number of requirements which need to be fulfilled in order to operate under a section 19 or section 22 Community Transport permit. One of the potential exemptions from legislation for ‘not-for-profit’ organisations is that the operator provides transport services for exclusively non-commercial purposes.

A judgment from a Judicial Review made clear that where an operator provides road passenger transport services simply for the purpose of generating surpluses to fund other transport or non-transport activities, the operator does not fall within the exclusively non-commercial purposes exemption.

However, cross-subsidies are not completely precluded. For example, if an operator providing rural bus services is doing so for the sole purpose of social welfare, then the fact that some routes are profitable whilst others are not, does not prevent it from falling within the non-commercial purposes exemption, despite an element of cross-subsidisation between different routes.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of drivers on the roads without the required (a) licence (b) insurance.

When the police stop a vehicle then a driving licence check is a routine enquiry which they can make. If the police have reasonable grounds to suspect someone of driving a vehicle not in accordance with their driving licence, or without insurance then a vehicle may be seized.

Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) has enabled action to be taken against those who keep a vehicle without insurance. CIE allows uninsured vehicles to be identified from a comparison of the DVLA’s vehicle register and the Motor Insurance Database of insurance policies managed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). Keepers of vehicles which appear to be uninsured are sent reminder letters. Those who take no action receive a fixed penalty of £100, followed by enforcement action including prosecution. Since CIE’s introduction in 2011, uninsured vehicles have fallen from 1.4 million to 1 million.

It supplements enforcement action by the police on the road, where from 2005 police have had the power to seize vehicles that are being driven without insurance.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring people to enter their (a) date of birth and (b) driving licence number when transferring ownership of a car in V5 documentation.

The vehicle registration certificate already allows motorists to voluntarily enter the new keeper’s date of birth and driving licence number when advising the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) or a change of keeper. There are no plans to make this a requirement.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which local authorities are members of the National Register of Taxi and Private Hire Licence Revocations and Refusals scheme (NR3).

As at 31 March 2021 48% of authorities submitted data to the National Register of Taxi and Private Hire Licence Revocations and Refusals scheme (NR3), and 50% used NR3 when making licensing decisions. Table TAXI0112 of the Department’s ‘Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Statistics, England: 2021’ release provides the responses from all licensing authorities and is available on the GOV.UK website at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/taxi-and-private-hire-vehicle-statistics-england-2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an estimate of the number of miles of (a) dual carriageway and (b) motorway in each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority area in (A) 1979, (B) 1997, (B) 2010 and (D) 2021.

The Department publishes National Statistics on Road Length in Great Britain. Data is available by (a) dual carriageway and (b) motorway in each (ii) local authority area in (C) 2010 and 2020. Data for (D) 2021 will be published in Spring 2022. Data for the above can be found in the attached Annex A.

Data is not held by (i) parliamentary constituency or for (A) 1979 and (B) 1997. Statistics on Road Length are not available prior to 2005.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an estimate of the number of (a) miles of track and (b) stations for (i) railways and (ii) metro, tram or tube in each (A) parliamentary constituency and (B) local authority area in (1) 1950 and (2) 2020.

The Office for Rail and Road (ORR) publish National Statistics on track length covering recent years. In 2020, total mainline track length was 19,398 miles (31,218 kilometres). The Department nor ORR publish statistics relating to track length at parliamentary constituency or local authority level. Nor does the ORR publish data for 1950.

ORR publish National Statistics on railway stations, but the data only goes back to 1985. In 2020, there were 2,567 total railway stations in Great Britain. Table 1410 provides a list of stations by parliamentary constituency and local authority in 2020:

https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage

The Department for Transport publish National Statistics on track length and stations by system for the tram and tube. In 2020/21, there were 228 miles of tram track and 264 miles of underground track in Great Britain. There were 426 tram stations and 285 underground stations. This data is published in Tables LRT0204 and LRT0201 respectively:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/light-rail-and-tram-statistics-lrt#light-rail-and-tram-fleet-and-infrastructure-lrt02

The Department does not hold this data for 1950.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has for largescale (a) fill in and (b) removal of bridges for the Historical Railways Estate.

As part of Highways England’s 5-year plan for its management of over 3,000 Historical Railways Estate structures it has developed a programme of works to maintain safety. These works include repair, strengthening and refurbishment of structures, which can also include infilling or demolition where necessary.

This programme is under internal review and works are only taking place on structures that are unsafe.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what grant funding is available to support the installation of electric car charging points in existing residential properties.

The Government is continuing to provide grants to encourage people to charge at home overnight, and it is our intention that all new homes, where appropriate, should have a chargepoint available. Through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) the Government provides a grant of up to £350 towards the installation of domestic chargers. To date over 130,000 domestic chargepoint installations have benefited from HMG grants.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been provided to local government for cycling and walking schemes, by scheme (a) in total and (b) by (i) combined authority, (ii) county, district or unitary authority and (iii) parish council, in each of the last three years.

The Department published a detailed funding summary report alongside the CWIS statutory report to Parliament in February 2020. Around £2.4 billion of funding has been provided to support active travel schemes since 2016/17. The majority of funding has gone to combined and local authorities for cycling and walking schemes. The Department does not provide active travel funding direct to parish councils.

The report provided to Parliament is available online here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936926/cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy-report-to-parliament-document.pdf

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the On-Street Residential Scheme is still available; whether Durham County Council has (a) applied for and (b) been allocated funding under that scheme; and which town and parish councils in County Durham have (i) applied for and (ii) been allocated funding under that scheme.

The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), which local authorities can apply to for funding chargepoints for their residents without off-street parking, is still available. This year funding has been doubled twice, to £20 million. Durham County Council have been allocated funding for two ORCS projects this financial year, which will see 60 chargepoints installed across the County’s parish councils. As the Highways Authority for the area, Durham County Council have applied and will manage the projects on behalf of, and in collaboration with, the parish councils. We encourage any local authorities who have not yet taken advantage of the scheme to do so.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much covid-19 related financial support has been provided to support public transport (a) in the North East of England and (b) to each council in the North East of England.

Government has committed over £40m to the North East of England to date. £22,312,105 has been provided from the Coronavirus Bus Services Support Grant, including payments of £20,589,277 to commercial operators and £1,722,829 to the Tees Valley Combined Authority and North East Combined Authority. £20,228,359 has been provided for the Tyne and Wear Metro from the Coronavirus Support Grants scheme. Over £1.5m has been provided to the North East Joint Transport Committee for additional transport for schools and colleges up to the Autumn half term.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether an assessment has been made into the potential merits of providing access to extra traffic lanes and additional parking facilities for motorbikes after the covid-19 outbreak.

Local traffic authorities already have powers to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes in their areas, and to provide dedicated parking facilities for them. It is for them to decide what is appropriate for roads in their area. In making these decisions they will need to consider how to balance the needs of local residents, emergency services, local business and those who work in and visit the area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of motorcycle use as a socially-distanced form of transport in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will place in the Library a copy of the CID 27 form used by British Transport Police.

British Transport Police officers and staff have carried out an internal search but there is no record of this form. It is possible that the form may belong to the Metropolitan Police or other Home Office territorial forces.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what role hybrid vehicles will have as part of plans to decarbonise the transport sector; and whether new hybrid vehicles will be able to be bought after 2035.

On the 4th February the Prime Minister announced that we are consulting on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible.

We are consulting on the Committee on Climate Change recommendation that any new vehicles sold after the phase out date must be zero emission at the tailpipe. The proposals relate to new cars and vans - owners of existing petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans will still be able to use these vehicles and buy and sell them on the used market.

The technologies on sale, and the market share of those technologies, must be compatible with achieving our 2050 net zero climate change target and our long-term air quality goals.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment the Government has made of (a) the potential merits of hybrid large commercial vehicles as a step towards full electrification and (b) the difference in range between hybrid and electric large commercial vehicles.

The Government’s long-term goal is the development and deployment of zero emission Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs). While the pathway to achieving this is not as clear as for cars and vans, technologies are starting to emerge even for the largest vehicles. Zero emission technologies are at different stages of development for different segments of the HGV sector, with solutions more advanced for zero emission smaller, shorter-haul HGVs than for larger, long-haul HGVs. However, zero emission technologies exist and are technically proven for all types of HGVs and operations. For example, electrification of large and long-haul HGVs is possible. Manufacturers have produced large electric HGVs and there have been several successful trials of dynamic charging technologies for HGVs internationally.

Government-supported research will evaluate the potential costs, benefits and opportunities associated with various technologies, as well as their suitability for different types of HGVs and duty cycles across different parts of the network. This research will be conducted with a view to ultimately performing full-scale demonstrator trials on the UK road network, if appropriate technologies are identified. The research will be valuable in identifying the most promising solutions for the UK network and how best to develop them.

The Government will also continue to pursue regulatory opportunities to support the road freight sector in switching to lower emission commercial vehicles and are working with industry to develop an ultra low emission truck (ULET) standard to provide certainty on emission standards and encourage industry R&D in this area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what schemes are available to help communities which have a high number of unadopted roads, due to the closure of large industry, get adopted status for those roads.

The respective owners of private roads are responsible under legislation for ensuring that these roads are brought up to the required standard before local highway authorities can ‘adopt’ them and then maintain them at public expense. In cases where there are large areas of unadopted roads due to the closure of large industries, these may be improved by new developers as part of their development projects or the local authority can bid for Government funds through various programmes like the Local Growth Fund.


Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
3rd Feb 2020
A68
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will follow the recommendation of the Transport for the North and include the A68 in the major route network.

The Major Road Network was developed in 2017. At the time the A68 did not meet the qualifying criteria used. However, the roads which comprise the Major Road Network are reviewed periodically.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department received representations from (a) Durham county council and (b) the previous Member for North West Durham on re-opening a rail link to Consett between the end of April 2017 and 14 November 2019.

To help communities across the country, the Government has pledged £500m to start reopening lines closed following the Beeching report, reconnecting smaller towns, regenerating local economies and improving accessibility to jobs, homes and education. Further details about this funding will be announced in due course.

I can confirm that my Department has not received any representations from Durham County Council in the period between April 2017 and 14 November 2019 on the subject of re-opening a rail link to Consett. My predecessor responded to a written question from the previous Member for North West Durham on this subject on 22 November 2017 (Hansard Ref:113009).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) plans are in place and (b) the timescale is for improvements to the A68 in County Durham, Teesside and Northumberland.

The A68 is part of the Local Road Network and therefore it is for the relevant local highways authorities to plan and bring forward improvements for the route. The Government recognises the importance of local roads for businesses and communities. We are providing over £5.8 billion to local highways authorities outside London from 2015 to 2020, to help improve the condition of roads and reduce congestion.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support young people on the Kickstart scheme to progress to apprenticeships and further education to up-skill them.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Kickstart Scheme was a job creation programme established to ensure that 16-24 year olds in receipt of Universal Credit would have access to fully-funded six-month job opportunities. Our work with employers has seen over 162,600 jobs having been started by young people, who were most at risk of suffering the scarring effects of long-term unemployment as a result of the pandemic.

Employers participating in the Kickstart Scheme are required to provide employability support to young people to allow them to build their skills in the workplace. This support is intended to improve their chances of progressing to find long-term sustainable work. DWP provided additional grant funding to employers of £1,500 for each young person to support with this.

Young people returning to Universal Credit following the end of a Kickstart job will be given bespoke support appropriate to their circumstances by their Jobcentre Plus Work Coach. This may include coaching or guidance towards other provision or support options if appropriate. Work coaches also promote apprenticeship opportunities to claimants of all ages as a first step in a career as part of their regular interventions. In addition to this, DWP secured an agreement with the Department for Education that Kickstart jobs would not count as previous employment with that employer for the purposes of the apprenticeship incentive. This was intended to encourage employers to actively consider transitioning on a young person into an apprenticeship after their Kickstart job.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department reviewed the (a) thresholds for and (b) amount of pension tax credit in each of the last five years; and what changes were made to those (i) thresholds and (ii) amounts at each of those reviews.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the difference in financial support provided from (a) universal credit and (b) legacy benefits for an average family with two children aged six and eight with one parent working full time on the minimum wage and one working 16 hours a week.

No estimate has been made of the difference between UC and legacy for an average family and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

We have not looked at all families with 2 children aged 6 and 8 with these earnings and established the difference. The average difference would be impacted by other UC elements that they might be eligible for, including for example if claiming housing costs or not.

This information is held across a number of data sets therefore would incur disproportionate cost.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the amount of income tax relief that would fall on the 18 to 21 age group in the event that the auto-enrolment of pensions was extended to that age group.

The findings from the 2017 Review of Automatic Enrolment estimated preliminary analysis of the policy option and showed that a reduction of the lower age limit to 18 would have increased income tax relief for those aged 18-21 by £113m upon its full introduction. A full and published impact assessment on the policy options will be completed at a time when legislation is brought forward.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will make an assessment of the increase in tax relief for part-time workers that would result from auto enrolment being extended to those earning under £10,000 a year; and what proportion of that amount would benefit (a) women and (b) men.

Under the Pensions Act 2008, the Secretary of State is required to conduct an annual review of the automatic enrolment earnings trigger, as well as the upper and lower limits of the qualifying earnings band (the automatic enrolment thresholds).

The review for the 2022/23 thresholds was published on 8 February 2021, here Automatic enrolment: review of the earnings trigger and qualifying earnings band for 2022/23 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The earnings trigger, by remaining at £10,000, will bring in an additional 17,000 savers into pension savings, striking a necessary balance between bringing in those most likely to benefit from pension saving with affordability for those individuals and employers.

The review estimates that a reduction in the earnings trigger to £6,396 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) would bring in 214,000 additional workers and increase contributions by £124m in 2022/23, compared to increasing the trigger by average earnings growth. Of this, around £8m would be via increased income tax relief. Of the additional contributions; a) 78% would benefit women and (b) 22% would benefit men.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason deductions are not made directly from Universal Credit and paid to Landlords to cover rent.

The payment of Universal Credit to claimants is a considered design choice. The Universal Credit assessment period and payment structure are fundamental parts of its design. They help reduce welfare dependency by mirroring the world of work, where the majority of people are paid monthly. Ensuring similarities between paid employment and receiving benefits removes an important barrier which could prevent claimants from moving into paid employment.

For those who cannot manage their single monthly payment, Alternative Payment Arrangements, and more specifically a Managed Payment to Landlord, is available at the start or at any point during a Universal Credit claim.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating the payment of rent arrears directly from benefits.

Landlords can apply for rent arrears to be deducted from Universal Credit. Rent arrears deductions can only be made when certain criteria are met – the claimant must receive the housing element of Universal Credit or housing benefit, the amount of arrears accrued must be equal to the amount of two months’ rent, and it must relate to the property where the claimant currently resides.

Rent arrears have a minimum deduction rate each month of 10 per cent of the claimant’s Universal Credit standard allowance and a maximum deduction rate of up to 20 per cent per month.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make a comparative assessment of the potential effect on public finances of an (a) increase and (b) decrease of 1p per £1 to the earnings taper rate for universal credit.

No such assessment has been made. Whilst we keep our policies under review, no decisions have been taken about making further changes to the Universal Credit Taper rate.

The way Universal Credit treats people’s earnings seeks to ensure they are better off in work. The single 63% taper rate reduces their Universal Credit by less than they are earning and some claimants, those with children or limited capability for work, will also benefit from a work allowance which is the amount they can earn before their benefit is reduced.

Universal Credit reduces the financial and administrative barriers to work in the former system of benefits and tax credit, where claimants could face a withdrawal rate of over 90%, meaning Universal Credit claimants get to keep more of their earnings.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) rate of (i) unemployment, (ii) employment, (iii) the economically active in North West Durham constituency in each year since May 1997.

The information requested for years from 2004 is published and available at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/default.asp

Guidance for users can be found at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/home/newuser.asp

Estimates of economic activity at the constituency level are produced from the Annual Population Survey (APS), due to its larger sample size than the Labour Force Survey. The APS is only available from 2004 onwards.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the potential effect on public finances of extending auto-enrolment of pensions to 18 to 21 year olds.

Yes. The Government is committed to lowering the age range. We will be implementing the 2017 Automatic Enrolment Review ambitions in the mid-2020s.

Our ambition to lower the age limit for automatic enrolment to 18 will normalise workplace pension saving for more young people as they start work for the first time. The 2017 Review estimated that this change would bring an estimated further 910,000 young people into automatic enrolment putting an estimated extra £0.8 billion into pension saving (of which £113m is in tax relief). As the 2017 review makes clear, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how employers might go about managing the costs of additional contributions and thus the total cost of the package to government. We will update our assessment on the impact of implementing the review measures when appropriate using the best available evidence.

The 2017 Review report was clear that implementation will be subject to learning from previous workplace pension contribution increases, discussions with employers and others on the right approach, and finding ways to make these changes affordable.

We will do this in light of the impact of the pandemic and our overall support for economic recovery, while continuing to support long-term saving, balancing the needs of savers, employers; and tax-payers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of increasing auto-enrolment of pensions to 18 to 21 year olds.

Yes. The Government is committed to lowering the age range. We will be implementing the 2017 Automatic Enrolment Review ambitions in the mid-2020s.

Our ambition to lower the age limit for automatic enrolment to 18 will normalise workplace pension saving for more young people as they start work for the first time. The 2017 Review estimated that this change would bring an estimated further 910,000 young people into automatic enrolment putting an estimated extra £0.8 billion into pension saving (of which £113m is in tax relief). As the 2017 review makes clear, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how employers might go about managing the costs of additional contributions and thus the total cost of the package to government. We will update our assessment on the impact of implementing the review measures when appropriate using the best available evidence.

The 2017 Review report was clear that implementation will be subject to learning from previous workplace pension contribution increases, discussions with employers and others on the right approach, and finding ways to make these changes affordable.

We will do this in light of the impact of the pandemic and our overall support for economic recovery, while continuing to support long-term saving, balancing the needs of savers, employers; and tax-payers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether additional charges and fines placed on parents paying child maintenance have been (a) revised and (b) temporarily halted due to financial hardship as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Collection charges apply when a case is being managed in the Collect and Pay service. The Direct Pay service does not incur any on-going collection charges. Charges have not been paused as a result of the covid-19 outbreak. We expect paying parents to do the right thing and continue to pay child maintenance due. Where paying parents experience a change in income, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can review their case and check if the amount paid should change. To help reduce the short-term financial pressure that may be experienced by many paying parents whose income has been affected by the Covid 19 outbreak, the time period over which that change in income is assessed has been reduced from 12 to 2 weeks.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what provisions the Child Maintenance Service has put in place to help parents paying child maintenance whose wages have decreased as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and who have to make late or reduced payments.

The Government has been clear in its commitment to support paying parents who have experienced a drop in income as a result of the public health emergency. Where paying parents experience a change in income, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can review their case and check if the amount paid should change. For paying parents who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19, the time period over which that change in income is assessed has been reduced from 12 to 2 weeks. In the short-term, paying parents may be advised to reduce their payments.

We know the majority of parents take their responsibilities extremely seriously and will do what is needed to ensure their children are supported.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the audit process is to ensure that funds to support local authorities to provide for the most deprived people in their communities are received by those people.

Grants to local authorities will be made under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 and will be subject to conditions and reporting requirements to ensure that the primary focus of the scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children and other vulnerable people. Detailed guidance is being developed in consultation with local authorities and will be published shortly on gov.uk.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the £20 uplift to universal credit in response to covid-19 outbreak.

The cost will be dependent on the volumes anticipated to claim Universal Credit during the period to March 21. The Office for Budget Responsibility will be publishing its assessment of this in due course as part of its Autumn forecast.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people were (a) economically active, (b) (i) students, (ii) living with a long-term illness and (iii) in each other economically inactive category, (c) economically active and in work and (d) economically active and seeking work in (A) April 2010 and (B) the latest month for which statistics are available in North West Durham constituency.

Statistics on economic activity for constituencies are published by the independent Office for National Statistics (ONS) and come from the Annual Population Survey (APS).

As the figures below are estimates from survey data, of different-sized sub-groups of the population at a local level they are subject to varying levels of uncertainty due to small sample sizes – which we describe alongside the estimates.

For North West Durham, in the year July 2009 to June 2010 (including the month April 2010), there were:

a) 45,000 estimated economically active people. The ONS are 95% confident that the economic activity rate lies between 69.7% and 81.9%, with a central estimate of 75.8%. The economic activity rate is the proportion of the working age population (aged 16-64; 59,400 people in 2010) who are economically active.

b) Due to the very small number of people in this local area with these characteristics in the APS sample, these estimates are highly uncertain:

i) This data is not available, please see the section below.

ii) ONS estimates that 4,200 were inactive due to long-term sickness. The ONS are 95% confident that it lies between 16.5% and 41.7% of the inactive working age population, with a central estimate of 29.1%.

iii) Other reasons for inactivity: 3,800 people are estimated to be inactive due to retirement. The ONS are 95% confident that this estimate lies between 14.1% and 38.5% of the inactive working age population, with a central estimate of 26.3%.

c) 42,500 people were estimated to be employed. The ONS are 95% confident that the employment rate lies between 65.2% and 78%, with a central estimate of 71.6%.

For North West Durham, in the year July 2018 to June 2019 (including the month April 2019), there were:

a) 44,300 estimated economically active people. The ONS are 95% confident that the economic activity rate lies between 72.7% and 85.1%, with a central estimate of 78.9%. The working age population in this period is 56,200 people.

b) Due to the very small number of people in this local area with these characteristics in the APS sample, these estimates are highly uncertain:

i) This data is not made available by the ONS, due to extreme unreliability of estimates based on a very small sample of people with these characteristics in this year’s APS.

ii) 5,700 who were inactive due to long-term sickness, the ONS are 95% confident that this lies between 31.7% and 64.9% of the working age inactive population, with a central estimate of 48.3%.

c) 43,300 people were estimated to be employed. The ONS are 95% confident that the employment rate lies between 70.6% and 83.4%, with a central estimate of 77%.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Health Disparities White Paper will be published.

The health disparities white paper will be published later this year.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of enabling paramedics with prescription training, including paramedic practitioners based in GP surgeries, to prescribe a limited number of drugs to alleviate pressure on the NHS.

There are existing systems in place to allow advanced paramedics to become independent prescribers. To become an independent prescriber, a paramedic must have a minimum of three years’ patient-oriented experience and successfully completed an independent prescribing programme. Independent prescriber paramedics can prescribe any licensed medicine, except controlled drugs, for any condition within their competence, including in general practice.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken on vaccine damage payment policy in respect of the families of those who died as a result of receiving a covid-19 vaccination.

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) provides a one-off tax-free payment, currently £120,000, to individuals whose health was damaged by a vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. The VDPS can be applied for on behalf of someone who has died. To be eligible in such cases, the applicant should manage the estate of the deceased, with each case assessed against the legal requirements of the Scheme and considered on its own merits.

The Department and the NHS Business Services Authority are improving the VDPS through a simplified process and greater accessibility for all claimants. This includes the digitisation and modernisation of the claims process, including the VDPS claim form and more regular communications on the progress of claims.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what resources his Department is providing for mental health provision in (a) North West Durham and (b) County Durham; and what steps his Department is taking to improve mental health provision in those areas.

The information requested is not held at constituency level. In 2021/22, the planned expenditure on mental health services for County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group, including learning disabilities and dementia, was £162.1 million.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are reviewing mental health provision through the County Durham Community Mental Health Transformation Programme. The Programme is working with people with lived experience of mental illness and stakeholders to improve how mental health support and care is provided in local communities.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average length of time is between the first appointment with a GP and obtaining a full diagnosis of female autism; and if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of NHS procedures for diagnosing that condition; and whether he plans to improve those procedures.

The information requested is not held in the format requested. NHS Digital began reporting experimental data on waiting times for autism assessments in November 2019. However, this data is not available by gender and does not report an average waiting time between referral and diagnosis. While no specific assessment of the effectiveness of autism diagnostic procedures for women and girls has been made, the 2019 public call for evidence to inform the autism strategy received evidence about the barriers women and girls experienced in the diagnosis process. NHS England and NHS Improvement are reviewing ways to improve the quality of diagnosis for women and girls to ensure the effectiveness of autism diagnostic pathways. In addition, an early identification of autism pilot is also testing whether identification and diagnosis of girls can be improved.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the press release by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on 16 August 2021, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban hymenoplasty.

In the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, the Government committed to convening an independent expert panel on hymenoplasty to consider the clinical and ethical aspects of the procedure in more detail. We will carefully consider the panel’s recommendations, including any potential legislative action.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of deaths of UK nationals that could be prevented annually by greater use of sunscreen.

Public Health England (PHE) has made no such estimate.

PHE has contributed to research which demonstrated that sunscreen use allows protection from sunburn whilst still allowing vitamin D to be generated.

PHE also recommends using other means of protection, such as shade, appropriate clothing and sunglasses.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many diagnoses of skin cancer there have been in the UK in each year since 1990.

The number of registered skin cancer diagnoses are held from 1995 to 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. The following table shows annual registrations of malignant melanoma of skin and non-melanoma skin cancer in the United Kingdom.

Diagnosis year

Registrations of malignant melanoma of skin

Registrations of non-melanoma skin cancer

1995

4,777

36,093

1996

4,772

36,678

1997

5,050

41,457

1998

5,170

46,818

1999

5,359

48,008

2000

6,039

50,637

2001

6,464

52,750

2002

6,718

54,074

2003

6,994

56,530

2004

7,726

60,643

2005

8,261

63,230

2006

8,972

67,647

2007

9,113

76,009

2008

10,091

90,827

2009

10,242

88,954

2010

10,908

96,587

2011

11,211

101,465

2012

11,518

107,619

2013

12,448

114,502

2014

13,122

121,380

2015

13,431

126,118

2016

13,808

131,252

2017

13,784

129,364

2018

14,824

129,002

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cancer-registration-statistics-england-2018-final-release

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the rate of pregnancy is for those under 18 years old in (a) the UK, (b) England and (c) the North East in each of the last 10 years.

The Department does not collect this information. However, the Office for National Statistics collects information on the conception rate in women under 18 years old in England. The information requested for England and the North East in each of the last ten years for which data is available is shown in the following table.

England

North East

Year

Number of Conceptions

Conception rate per 1,000 women in age group

Number of Conceptions

Conception rate per 1,000 women in age group

2009

35,966

37.1

2,225

45.7

2010

32,552

34.2

2,032

43.5

2011

29,166

30.7

1,750

38.4

2012

26,157

27.7

1,600

35.5

2013

22,830

24.3

1,367

30.6

2014

21,282

22.8

1,332

30.2

2015

19,080

20.8

1,199

28.0

2016

17,024

18.8

1,023

24.6

2017

15,748

17.8

994

24.7

2018

14,736

16.7

986

24.9

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September 2020 to Question 89871 on Shotley Bridge Hospital: Domestic Visits, when the last visit was by a Minister from the Department of Health and Social Care, or its predecessor departments, to Shotley Bridge Hospital.

We have no record of any Ministerial visits to Shotley Bridge Hospital prior to 14 September 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) prisoners and (b) prison officers have been vaccinated against covid-19 as at 9 February 2021.

The information is not currently held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what NHS facilities in the Durham county council area are under PFI contracts; and what the (a)(i) start and (ii) end date is and (b) other terms and conditions are of those contracts.

HM Treasury and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) publish a joint dataset listing all active Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects, including those held by the National Health Service. This data includes the dates when each PFI contract was signed and began operations, the length of the contract and annual Unitary Charge payments.

NHS PFI contracts are held directly by individuals NHS trusts and foundation trusts, not the Department. The latest HM Treasury/IPA data on PFI contracts was published in May 2019 and is available on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/private-finance-initiative-and-private-finance-2-projects-2018-summary-data

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who is responsible for the transport home of (a) residents of England treated in hospitals in Scotland and (b) residents of Scotland treated in hospital in England; and whether patients resident in England in hospital in Scotland or patients resident in Scotland in hospital in England can be charged for their transport home from hospital.

The provision of patient transport services (PTS) is the responsibility of local National Health Service commissioners and therefore to set appropriate expectations of services with their providers and agree the cost of PTS. In the case of cross-border cases, where patients’ resident in England, receive treatment in Scotland, the English clinical commissioning group would be responsible and vice versa.
Patients who are eligible for PTS are not charged.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing regular testing for covid-19 infection for a named visitor for each person in a care home so that, after that testing, a person’s partner, child or significant other can visit that person in their care home on a regular basis.

We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen. We aim to rollout visitor testing nationwide by Christmas.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when asymptomatic testing for covid-19 will be rolled out for domiciliary care workers in England.

Home carers working for Care Quality Commission registered organisations are able to access weekly polymerase chain reaction tests to administer at home to help identify more asymptomatic cases and protect care recipients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of positive covid-19 test results are (a) false positive and (b) false negative.

In June 2020 the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies published a briefing paper on the impact of false positives and false negatives in the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing programme, which is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gos-impact-of-false-positives-and-negatives-3-june-2020

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in (a) County Durham local authority area, (b) North West Durham parliamentary constituency and (c) North East England have (i) been tested for, (ii) tested positive for and (iii) been hospitalised due to covid-19.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of delays to the expansion of gambling addiction as a result of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of people (a) seeking help from the NHS where a gambling disorder was a relevant factor and (b) who have (i) taken and (ii) attempted to take their own lives where gambling disorder was a relevant factor.

The provision of National Health Service treatment services for problem gamblers has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with many face to face services switching to remote provision. The NHS continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to introduce up to 15 clinics by 2023/24.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on increasing NHS support for people with gambling addiction.

The NHS Long Term Plan made a commitment to expand the geographical coverage of NHS services for people with serious gambling problems.

In addition to the existing National Problem Gambling Clinic in London, the National Health Service has committed to opening an additional 14 new problem gambling clinics by 2023/24. The NHS Northern Gambling Service in Leeds opened in 2019 and now has satellite sites in Manchester and Sunderland. The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan has committed to spending up to £15 million on gambling-related harms by 2023/24.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England and NHS Improvement are improving referral routes for mental health services in primary care, by focusing on the integration of services.

The NHS continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the NHS Long Term Plan commitments and timescales outlined above.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he received a proposal, as part of the response to the initial request of seven North East Councils for further local restrictions due to the covid-19 outbreak, that included ensuring informal childcare arrangements could continue in that region.

The Government is committed to supporting families, including key workers, who rely on informal childcare so they can work. We listened to feedback from local authorities and Directors of Public Health, who supported the position that a specific exemption for informal childcare would particularly help working families in areas where interhousehold mixing was restricted.

Interhousehold mixing was banned in some areas under local restrictions, including parts of the North East. From Tuesday 22 September, care bubbles are able to form in areas of intervention, to allow families to share caring responsibilities with another household.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, prior to 14 September 2020, when (a) he and (b) another minister in his Department most recently visited Shotley Bridge Hospital in Consett, Co. Durham.

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care had not visited Shotley Bridge Hospital prior to 14 September 2020 in his Ministerial capacity. The Department of Health and Social Care can also find no record of the current Ministerial team visiting the hospital prior to 14 September 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it was Government policy to link the increase in social care funding allocated to local councils during the covid-19 outbreak to the transfer of (a) untested and (b) covid-19 positive patients from hospitals to care homes.

It is our priority to ensure that everyone receives the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

We have never made it a requirement nationally that additional funding for care homes was conditional on care homes accepting discharged patients.

As set out in the Adult Social Care Action Plan on 15 April, all patients are required to be tested prior to discharge to a care home. The Adult Social Care Action Plan is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-adult-social-care-action-plan

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and at every stage we have been guided by the latest scientific advice. We keep our policies under continuous review, based on the emerging international and domestic evidence.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of gambling-related suicides.

We have made no such assessment. There is currently no reliable estimate of the number of suicides linked to problem gambling in the United Kingdom, and there would be significant challenges in attempting to record this. Requiring coroners to routinely assess the motivation in all cases of suicide would take the coroner role fundamentally beyond its legal parameters.

We know that there may be wider lifestyle factors associated with gambling addiction that may link to poor mental health, and that gambling addiction can create a cycle of debt that can also have a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing. In extreme cases it may lead to thoughts of suicide.

The Government committed to addressing suicide risk and gambling in the latest progress report to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan, which were published in January 2019

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the steps needed to treat gambling-related harm as a public health matter.

Public Health England (PHE) is carrying out an evidence review on the prevalence of gambling and associated health harms and their social and economic burden. It is expected to be published in March 2021. The full scope of the PHE gambling-related harms evidence review can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gambling-related-harms-evidence-review/gambling-related-harms-evidence-review-scope

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a transitional funding package for community pharmacists (a) before and (b) during the covid-19 outbreak.

In July 2019, we published our landmark five-year deal, ‘Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework’. This deal made £2.592 billion per year available to community pharmacy from 2019-20 to 2023-24. It was agreed in line with the Cabinet Office’s cross-Government collective agreement process.

The Department has had regular conversations with HM Treasury during the COVID-19 period about funding for community pharmacies. In addition to the unprecedented support package put in place for all businesses, further discussions are ongoing and we have agreed additional funding for a medicines delivery service for shielded patients and bank holiday openings.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the inclusion of community pharmacies in the rollout of antibody testing; and if he will make a statement.

Since the end of May, lab-based antibody tests have been available to all National Health Service staff that want one. NHS England has made antibody tests available to all its staff including those working on NHS premises but not directly employed by the NHS, and those in primary, community, and mental health care including community pharmacists providing NHS pharmaceutical services, dentists and dental staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice and support is available for people who are clinically vulnerable to covid-19 but who have not been told that they are required to be shield.

Public safety throughout this period is the Government’s top priority – this includes keeping safe society’s most vulnerable. We advise those who are clinically vulnerable to follow the Staying Alert and Safe social distancing guidance available on the GOV.UK website. The advice is to stay at home as much as possible and, if they do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others by always staying two metres apart from others outside their household or support bubble, avoiding crowds, and keeping their hands and face as clean as possible.

Many local organisations across the country are providing support to vulnerable people. In addition, NHS Volunteer Responders are available to help open to anyone who needs to self-isolate for any reason and who may need support with their shopping, obtaining their medicines or who might need someone to talk to.

For those who are vulnerable or at risk and need help with shopping, medication or other essential supplies, they can call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what arrangements are in place for patients being discharged from hospital and into care homes to prevent the spread of covid-19.

It is our priority to ensure that everyone is discharged safely from hospital and to the most appropriate available place.

Our guidance published on 2 April set out advice to care homes on infection control procedures to limit the spread of the virus in care homes. It set out the appropriate isolation required for care home residents who have been discharged from hospital following treatment for COVID-19. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-admission-and-care-of-people-in-care-homes

The Adult Social Care Action Plan published on 15 April set out further measures to support care homes in reducing transmission of the virus. This included a commitment to all patients being tested prior to discharge to a care home, with responsibility being given to councils to identify alternative accommodation where care homes are not able to provide appropriate isolation for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Costs of providing alternative accommodation are covered by the £1.3 billion COVID-19 discharge funding provided via the NHS in March. The Adult Social Care Action Plan is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-adult-social-care-action-plan

On 15 May, we published our care home support package. This responded to the latest evidence from Public Health England and sets out the steps that must now be taken to keep people in care homes safe, and the support that is brought together across national and local government to help care providers put this into practice. To support this, on 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to respond to the Lancet Standing Commission report entitled Unacceptable failures: the final report of the Lancet Commission into liver disease in the UK, published in November 2019.

NHS England’s Hepatobiliary Clinical Reference Group has already taken action in response to the Lancet Commission report into liver disease in the United Kingdom, such as starting work on the development of liver networks in England.

More broadly, the Department is also taking action regarding key liver disease risk factors such as excessive alcohol consumption and obesity, and the Prevention Green Paper, ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’, recognises the need for a range of actions to address causes of preventable ill health.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of vacancies in the NHS are for hepatologists.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to stop wholesalers artificially inflating prices to pharmacies during the covid-19 outbreak.

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access and the statutory scheme for branded medicines.

For unbranded generic medicines the Department relies on competition to keep prices down. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. In an international market this ensures that when demand is high and supply is low, prices in the United Kingdom can increase to help secure the availability of medicines for UK patients.

Companies should not capitalise on the current COVID-19 situation by charging unjustifiably high prices for drugs and other supplies. Concerns about pricing abuse are a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hospitals have been registered on the Community Assets Register; and what assessment he has made of the effect of such registration on the ability to build replacement hospital facilities on different sites.

A list of hospitals registered on the Community Assets Register is not held centrally as the register is held by the relevant local authority.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the annual cost of maintenance and repairs is for Shotley Bridge Hospital in the most recent period for which information is available.

For 2019/20 the annual NHS Property Services charge for rent, rates, service charges and facilities management at Shotley Bridge Health Centre to County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust was £1.744 million. This charge includes approximately £577,000 relating to maintenance and repair costs (this is subject to a reconciliation exercise of actual costs incurred to charges).

In addition, NHS Property Services has also incurred £786,000 in 2019/20 of landlord capital statutory compliance costs at this property, which are not recharged to tenants.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much NHS Estates charges County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust for Shotley Bridge Hospital.

For 2019/20 the annual NHS Property Services charge for rent, rates, service charges and facilities management at Shotley Bridge Health Centre to County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust was £1.744 million. This charge includes approximately £577,000 relating to maintenance and repair costs (this is subject to a reconciliation exercise of actual costs incurred to charges).

In addition, NHS Property Services has also incurred £786,000 in 2019/20 of landlord capital statutory compliance costs at this property, which are not recharged to tenants.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) GPs and (b) GP vacancies there are in the North East of England; and how many and what proportion of GPs are employed on a locum basis in that region.

The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) doctors working in general practice in the North East and Yorkshire NHS England Region as of December 2019 has been provided in the following table.

-

FTE

General practitioners (GPs) (all)

5,122

Locums

148

The data requested on the number of vacancies is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to review the use of locum GPs in the North East of England.

County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group has reported that there is not a workforce issue in primary care in the area and that general practice is managing well with a high proportion of consultations now provided over the phone or online. Locums are being used where required in the short term where there are shortages. At a national level, general practitioner (GP) locums as well as returners and substantive GPs wishing to increase their hours are providing additional patient care within the NHS 111 COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of annual breast cancer screening for people aged 45 and under who have previously had breast cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published guidance on ‘Early and locally advanced breast cancer: diagnosis and management’ in July 2018 which details how follow-up breast screening should occur. It is recommended that annual mammography should be offered to all people who have had breast cancer, until they enter the NHS Breast Screening Programme in England at age 50. Details of the guidance can be found at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng101/chapter/Recommendations#followup

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment NICE has made of the potential medical benefits of cannabis-based medicinal products for treatment of chronic pain; and whether NICE is considering extending licencing of those products for that purpose.

On 11 November 2019, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published clinical guidelines on the prescribing of cannabis-based medicinal products for people with intractable nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, spasticity and severe treatment-resistant epilepsy. The guidelines recommend that cannabis-based medicinal products are not offered to manage chronic pain in adults and that cannabidiol only be offered as part of a clinical trial. NICE recognises the lack of evidence to support the use of these medicines and recommends that further research is carried out on the clinical and cost effectiveness as an add-on treatment for persistent treatment-resistant neuropathic pain and chronic pain in adults, children and young people. Further information and the clinical guidelines are available on the NICE website at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-ng10124

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of having a single three digit phone line joining together his Department, charities and other organisations for people suffering from mental health problems.

We have made no such assessment.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to implementing age-appropriate mental health crisis care support, 24 hours a day through NHS 111 by 2023/24.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with intellectual disability are not wrongly diagnosed as having dementia.

Diagnosis for dementia is only undertaken by clinical professionals. For example, a general practitioner (GP) in the first instance. If the GP is unsure about the diagnosis, they will refer the individual to a specialist for further tests.

To help promote and maintain best practice for diagnosing dementia, and ensure accurate diagnoses, NHS England has developed and published guidance aimed at GPs and practice nurses, as well as guidance on what good quality assessment and dementia diagnosis looks like. The guidance is available at the following links:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/dementia-revealed-toolkit.pdf

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/implementation-guide-and-resource-pack-dementia-guide.pdf

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) tackle the over-prescribing of medicines and (b) ensure reviews of prescriptions are carried out for people who have been on medication for prolonged periods of time.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has asked Dr Keith Ridge, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, to carry out a review into overprescribing of medicines.

The review is due to report in spring 2020. It will align with and build on the emerging Medicine Safety Programme and Public Health England’s independent review into ‘dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines’, published in September 2019, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prescribed-medicines-review-report

To support appropriate prescribing, the 2020/21 GP contract will introduce new requirements for primary care networks (PCNs) to undertake Structured Medication Reviews (SMRs), which will help to address overprescribing of medicines. From 1 April 2020, each PCN will use appropriate tools to identify and prioritise patients who would benefit from an SMR.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has had discussions with authorities in (a) Bermuda, (b) British Virgin Islands and (c) the Cayman Islands on the potential merits of increasing protections for British minority shareholders in companies incorporated in those jurisdictions.

The Overseas Territories are self-governing jurisdictions with their own democratically elected governments, who are responsible for their own financial services policy. The regulation of the financial services industries in the Overseas Territories are a matter for their elected governments. The FCDO has not discussed the issue of British minority shareholders with Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands or the Cayman Islands. The Overseas Territories cooperate with the UK on taxation, fighting financial crime and countering terrorist finance. They are committed to meeting international standards on illicit finance, tax transparency and anti-money laundering; including those set by the OECD and the Financial Action Task Force.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the potential risk that listed companies, including those that are Chinese or Russian controlled, may use incorporation in the British Overseas Territories to pay less than market value to other shareholders when taking the business private.

The Overseas Territories are self-governing jurisdictions with their own democratically elected governments, who are responsible for their own financial services policy. The Overseas Territories cooperate with the UK on taxation, fighting financial crime and are implementing sanctions targeted at Russia. They are committed to meeting international standards on illicit finance, tax transparency and anti-money laundering; including those set by the OECD, the Financial Action Task Force and regional standards set by the EU. The FCDO has not made an assessment of these risks; the regulation of the financial services industries in the Overseas Territories are a matter for their elected governments.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to prevent companies from using lower regulatory standards in (a) Bermuda, (b) British Virgin Islands and (c) Cayman Islands to (i) take advantage of loopholes and (ii) avoid scrutiny from shareholders.

The Overseas Territories including Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands are self-governing jurisdictions with their own democratically elected governments, who are responsible for their own financial services policy. The Overseas Territories cooperate with the UK on taxation, fighting financial crime and sanctions enforcement. They are committed to meeting international standards on illicit finance, tax transparency and anti-money laundering including those set by the OECD, the Financial Action Task Force and regional standards set by the EU. In 2020, the Financial Action Task Force issued an excellent rating following an evaluation of Bermuda's regulatory regime for combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation. The Overseas Territories also continue to share valuable company ownerships and tax information with UK law authorities, under the invaluable Exchange of Notes process. It was information shared by an Overseas Territory which enabled the UK's first Unexplained Wealth Order.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that British Overseas Territories are not being used to circumvent sanctions.

The Government is proud of the principled stand that the Overseas Territories have taken in relation to implementing sanctions. UK sanctions apply in all Overseas Territories. The elected leaders of the Territories have publicly confirmed their commitment to continuing to uphold the highest international standards of transparency and accountability and to fully implementing the UK sanctions against Russia. The Government will continue to provide guidance and support on implementation of sanctions where appropriate. Additionally, the UK's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, which sits within HM Treasury, engages regularly with Overseas Territories on compliance, enforcement and licensing. This engagement has assisted these jurisdictions in improving the implementation of financial sanctions across the wider British Family.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, whether the Government plans to encourage British Overseas Territories to speed up the introduction of publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership.

The UK and the Overseas Territories stand united in condemning the Russian Government's egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter. The Overseas Territories released a joint statement in solidarity with the UK, which reaffirmed their commitment to continuing to uphold the highest international standards of transparency and accountability.

All Overseas Territories have committed to introduce publicly accessible registers of company beneficial ownership. These commitments exceed the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force on beneficial ownership transparency, and put them ahead of most jurisdictions. The UK Government expects the registers to be in place by the end of 2023.

The six Overseas Territories with global financial centres already share beneficial ownership information with UK law enforcement agencies under the exchange of notes arrangements.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
What steps the Government is taking to support the citizens of Hong Kong.

We are deeply concerned about ongoing events in Hong Kong. The UK has taken clear decisive action in response to China’s violations of the Joint Declaration. We have

  • Launched a bespoke immigration route for those with British National (Overseas) status and their family members.
  • Extended the arms embargo on mainland China to include Hong Kong.
  • and Suspended our Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong indefinitely.

We will continue to raise concerns our with the Chinese and Hong Kong governments, and bring together our international partners to stand up for the people of Hong Kong, to call out the violation of their freedoms, and to hold China to their international obligations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of trends in the level of interest rates on people who are mortgage prisoners.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with industry, trade bodies, and regulators to understand their policies and the impact of the increased cost of living on all mortgage borrowers. I am also in regular contact with mortgage prisoner campaigners about their concerns.

The Treasury continues to work with industry to determine if there are any further solutions which would meaningfully benefit mortgage prisoners and are fair to other borrowers in the wider mortgage market, including those who are also paying variable rates.

The Government continues its efforts to support mortgage borrowers by offering Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans to homeowners in receipt of an income-related benefit to help prevent repossession. Recently, the Prime Minister announced a package of homeownership measures, including changes to SMI Loans. When introduced, these changes will provide support more quickly to homeowners by reducing the qualifying period for SMI loans and remove the ‘zero earnings rule’. There is also protection in place in the courts under the Mortgage Pre-Action Protocol which stipulates that repossession should always be a last resort for lenders.

On the cost of living more broadly, the Government has introduced over £15bn of additional support, targeted particularly at those with the greatest need. This package builds on the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year. Millions of the most vulnerable households will receive at least £1,200 of one-off support in total this year to help with the cost of living.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of properties are in Council Tax bands A to D in each (a) local authority and (b) constituency as of 21 June 2022.

The Valuation Office Agency publishes annual statistics on the number of domestic properties in each Council Tax Band, by Local Authority area. The latest publication can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/council-tax-stock-of-properties-2022.

Table 1.0 shows the number of properties by Council Tax band and Local Authority for each year from 1993 to 2022. Table 2.0 shows the number of properties by Council Tax band and Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies for 2022.

The current publication displays statistics up to 31 March 2022. The next publication for figures up to 31 March 2023 will be published next year.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential economic merits of permitting the use of red diesel in the (a) construction industry and (b) timber industry in response to rising oil prices.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that he would remove the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022.

The Government recognised that this would be a significant change and ran a consultation to gather information from affected users on the expected impact of these tax changes and make sure it had not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022.

Following the consultation, the Chancellor announced at Spring Budget 2021 that the Government would grant further entitlements to use red diesel after April 2022 for a limited number of users. However, having assessed the cases made by other sectors to retain their red diesel entitlement, including the construction sector, the Government did not believe that they were compelling enough to outweigh the need to ensure fairness between the different users of diesel fuels, the Government's long-term environmental objectives and the need for the tax system to incentivise the development of greener alternatives to polluting fuels.

Rebated fuel can be used in permitted vehicles and machines for accepted purposes relating to forestry, but not for the further processing or use of timber. Further guidance is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/using-rebated-fuels-in-vehicles-and-machines-excise-notice-75-from-1-april-2022

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the withdrawal cost on Lifetime ISAs to 20 per cent in response to cost of living increases.

The Lifetime ISA (LISA) was designed as a long-term savings product to encourage people to save for either a first home or for later life by providing a generous 25% government bonus on up to £4,000 of contributions each year. Money held in a LISA, including the government bonus, can be withdrawn from the age of 60 or at an earlier stage if used as a deposit for the account holder’s first home worth up to a maximum of £450,000. All other withdrawals are subject to a 25% government charge made to reflect the account’s specific intention.

The Government has no current plans to reduce the LISA withdrawal charge to 20%. This would mean that the LISA would provide greater benefits than a current account or traditional savings account and undermine its positioning as a long-term savings vehicle. There are a range of other savings products allowing for immediate access of savings, including cash ISAs.

The government keeps all aspects of savings tax policy under review in the context of future fiscal events.

However, to support millions of households across the UK who are struggling to make their incomes stretch to cover the rising cost of living, the government is providing over £15bn of additional support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package builds on the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the evidential basis is for his fiscal policy on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cars; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing that policy in order to incentivise the use of LPG cars.

The government uses the tax system to encourage the purchase of cars with low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Vehicles powered by Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) benefit from a reduced rate of fuel duty in comparison to the main road fuel rate. Budget 2018 extended the current duty differential until 2032, subject to review in 2024.

The temporary fuel duty cut announced at Spring Statement 2022 reduced rates for LPG proportionately to the 5p reduction for petrol and diesel to maintain the relative differential.

From 1 March 2001, cars powered by LPG, including those converted following first registration, receive a £10 discount on their annual VED payment.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the sale of Truephone does not permit sanctioned individuals and their business partners to recoup a substantial part of their investment.

We understand that this question relates to the entity Truphone Limited.

Financial sanctions restrictions apply to any entity that is owned or controlled directly or indirectly by a designated person. This includes where that person holds (directly or indirectly) more than 50% of the shares or voting rights in an entity, has the right (directly or indirectly) to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors of the entity, or it is reasonable to expect that the person would be able to ensure the affairs of the entity are conducted in accordance with the person’s wishes.

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), in the Treasury, does not aggregate different designated persons’ holdings in a company unless (for example) the shares or rights are subject to a joint arrangement between the designated parties or one party controls the rights of another.

Therefore, OFSI does not consider that Truphone is subject to an asset freeze.

If any sanctioned individuals are due to receive funds as a result of the sale of a company which is not subject to financial sanctions restrictions, any funds they receive from a UK company or into a UK bank account will need to be frozen. An OFSI licence would then be needed for any onward movement of such funds, otherwise breaches of financial sanctions restrictions may occur. Any suspected breach of financial sanctions should be reported to OFSI.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of writing off all debt owed by Ukraine to the UK.

The Chancellor continues to engage with G7 partners and International Financial Institutions on progressing current and future support to Ukraine.

Alongside our allies, we’ve hit Russia with the most severe package of sanctions it has ever seen. Our economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine also now totals around £400 million. This includes a £220 million package of aid, making the UK a leading bilateral humanitarian donor; a £100 million grant to support Ukraine’s energy and security reforms, primarily delivered through World Bank programmes; and a $100 million budgetary support grant, which contributed to a package agreed on 8 March of over $700 million for direct fiscal support to Ukraine via the World Bank, to help mitigate direct economic impacts.

The UK also stands ready to provide up to $500 million in guarantees to support Multilateral Development Bank lending, which will enable them to significantly scale up their financial support offer to Ukraine.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much the take home pay was of a worker who was working 40 hours a week on the minimum wage in 2009-10 aged (a) 18, (b) 23 and (c) 30; and how much those sums will be in 2021-22 in (a) cash terms and (b) real terms including in terms of (i) gross wage and (ii) total deductions.

To help tackle low pay in the UK, in 2016 the Government introduced the National Living Wage (NLW). The Government has an ambitious target for the NLW to reach 23 median earnings and to be extended to those 21 and over by 2024, provided economic conditions allow. Consistent with that target, on 1 April 2022, the Government will increase the NLW by 6.6 per cent to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 and over, whilst young people and apprentices will also see their wages boosted as National Minimum Wage rates will also be increased.

The information requested can be found in the table below:

2009-10

2021-22

Minimum Wage (£/hr)

Annual gross earnings (cash terms)

Annual net earnings (cash terms)

Minimum Wage (£/hr)

Annual gross earnings (cash terms)

Annual net earnings (cash terms)

Annual gross earnings in 2009 prices

Annual net earnings in 2009 prices

18-year-old

£4.83

£10,046

£8,856

£6.56

£13,645

£12,941

£10,474

£9,933

23-year-old

£5.80

£12,064

£10,248

£8.91

£18,533

£16,264

£14,226

£12,485

30-year-old

£5.80

£12,064

£10,248

£8.91

£18,533

£16,264

£14,226

£12,485

Notes:

  • Figures have been rounded to the nearest £1.
  • Net earnings are net of Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions. This analysis does not take into account benefit calculations, given it is heavily dependent on personal circumstances.
  • The October 2009 National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates have been used in the 2009-10 calculations, as that is when NMW upratings used to occur. Since 2016 National Minimum and National Living Wages have been uprated every April.
  • In 2021-22 those aged 23 and over were eligible for the NLW.
  • To calculate 2009 prices, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) annual Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) index for October 2009 and October 2021 were used, (source ONS CPI Index 00: all items 2015=100).
Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the current rate of the car mileage allowance; and if he will make it his policy to increase that allowance in light of the rising cost of (a) fuel and (b) servicing and maintenance of vehicles.

The Government sets the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) rates to minimise administrative burdens.

Organisations are not required to use the AMAPs rates. Instead, they can agree to reimburse a different amount that better reflects their employees’ circumstances. However, tax is charged on any payment received by employees which exceed the AMAPs rate.

This policy is kept under review by the Government.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the balance of trade is for (a) dairy products, (b) cheese and (c) cream.

HMRC is responsible for the collection and publication of data on UK imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC releases this information monthly, as a National Statistic called the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics (OTS), which is available via their dedicated website: www.uktradeinfo.com.

Published statistics on the import and export of dairy products, cheese and cream are available via this source. Combining these statistics provides an indication of the trade balance.

The relevant goods classification codes can be obtained from the UK Trade Tariff at: www.gov.uk/guidance/finding-commodity-codes-for-imports-or-exports.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 56619 on Universal Credit, whether his Department has made a comparative assessment of the potential effect on public finances of an (a) increase and (b) decrease of (i) 1p, (ii) 3p and (iii) 13p per £1 to the earnings taper rate for universal credit.

Through Universal Credit, the government has designed a modern benefit system that ensures it always pays to work and withdraws support at a gradual rate as claimants move into work, replacing the old legacy system which applied effective tax rates of over 90% to lower earners in some cases.

There has been significant investment in Universal Credit in recent years, including the reduction of the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63% announced at Autumn Statement 2016 and the £1,000 p.a. increase to Work Allowances announced at Autumn Budget 2018, which means working parents and people with disabilities on UC are up to £630 better off each year.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue has been raised via VAT on suncreen in each of the last five years.

HMRC do not hold information on the amount of VAT collected from sunscreen. Businesses are not required to provide information at this level of detail in their tax returns as this would impose an excessive administrative burden.

25th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department is taking steps to reduce the capital expenditure of heat pump delivery to ensure that the cost of retrofit measures, relative to household equity, reflect regional differences in (a) cost, (b) average household income of those regions and (c) the average annual temperature of those regions.

The Government is developing a comprehensive package of policies to meet our ambition for the UK to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028. This is expected to support 40,000 direct jobs, with Valliant and Mitsubishi both recently announcing new manufacturing in the UK. The forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy will provide a clear direction-of-travel for industry to achieve the mass transition to low-carbon heat. We will do this with affordability and fairness at the front of our minds.

We recently launched the £350m Sustainable Warmth Competition, with Local Authorities across England able to apply. The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy will review bids on a range of criteria designed to help those most in need, and I would encourage Members from across the house to work with their local areas to make the scheme a success.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to enable parliamentary scrutiny of proposed (a) changes to the taxation of products that could be distinguished by their strength and (b) tax distinctions that could be made based on those products' place of retail.

The Treasury is considering the merits of potential reforms to alcohol duties as part of its alcohol duty review. We are currently analysing responses provided by stakeholders to our recent call for evidence and will provide further updates in due course.

Any legislative changes will be taken through the Finance Bill in the usual way, ensuring there is sufficient opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much (a) raw natural fibres comprising thread and raw materials such as wool and cotton and (b) man made fibres comprising thread and raw materials from for example polyester were (i) imported to and (ii) exported from the UK in each of the last 30 years.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic called the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics (OTS), which is available via their dedicated website (www.uktradeinfo.com). From this website, it is possible to build data tables based upon bespoke search criteria.

HMRC use an 8-digit coding system to classify UK imports and exports which is used for UK Customs Tariff and trade statistics purposes. This coding system is based upon the internationally recognised Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) developed by the World Customs Organisation: http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/nomenclature/overview/what-is-the-harmonized-system.aspx.

HMRC are unable to provide the requested trade data as the HS system does not classify goods as described in this question.

11th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much finished garment product made with (a) raw natural fibres such as wool and cotton and (b) man made fibres such as polyester were (i) imported to and (ii) exported from the UK in each of the last 30 years.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic called the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics (OTS), which is available via their dedicated website (www.uktradeinfo.com). From this website, it is possible to build data tables based upon bespoke search criteria.

HMRC use an 8-digit coding system to classify UK imports and exports which is used for UK Customs Tariff and trade statistics purposes. This coding system is based upon the internationally recognised Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) developed by the World Customs Organisation: http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/nomenclature/overview/what-is-the-harmonized-system.aspx.

HMRC are unable to provide the requested trade data as the HS system does not classify goods as described in this question.

11th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much unfinished product made with (a) raw natural fibres such as wool and cotton and (b) man made fibres such as polyester were (i) imported to and (ii) exported from the UK in each of the last 30 years.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic called the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics (OTS), which is available via their dedicated website (www.uktradeinfo.com). From this website, it is possible to build data tables based upon bespoke search criteria.

HMRC use an 8-digit coding system to classify UK imports and exports which is used for UK Customs Tariff and trade statistics purposes. This coding system is based upon the internationally recognised Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) developed by the World Customs Organization:

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/nomenclature/overview/what-is-the-harmonized-system.aspx.

HMRC are unable to provide the requested trade data as the HS system does not classify goods as described in this question.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to Questions 169067, 169068 and 169069, on Excise Duties, tabled by the hon. Member for North West Durham, if he will provide the figures requested.

HMRC do not hold the information required to answer these questions and acquiring this information would be beyond the cost limit of answering each PQ. Statistics showing the impact of illustrative tax changes are set out in the Ready Reckoner. The HMRC publication “Direct effects of illustrative tax changes” shows the impact of a one per cent change on beer and cider duties. This publication can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/direct-effects-of-illustrative-tax-changes

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an estimate of the potential cost to the Exchequer of reducing licenced premises beer duty for (a) beer and (b) cider from a keg or barrel of not less than 20 litres to (i) 1p per pint (ii) 5p per pint (ii) 10p per pint (iii) by 50 percent and (iv) by 100 percent.

The Government has consulted industry and other stakeholders on the possibility of charging different alcohol duty rates in different places as part of its Alcohol Duty Review. As noted in the call for evidence document, while beneficial to recipients, such a differential would add complexity and cost to the existing duty arrangements. The Government is now analysing the feedback received and will respond in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Mar 2021
, To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an estimate of the potential increase in cider duty required for (a) bottled and (b) off-licence beer on licenced premises from a keg or barrel to achieve revenue neutrality by offsetting a beer duty reduction of (i) 1p per pint (ii) 5p per pint (ii) 10p per pint (iii) 50 percent and (iv) 100 percent.

The Government has consulted industry and other stakeholders on the possibility of charging different alcohol duty rates in different places as part of its Alcohol Duty Review. As noted in the call for evidence document, while beneficial to recipients, such a differential would add complexity and cost to the existing duty arrangements. The Government is now analysing the feedback received and will respond in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an estimate of the increase in beer duty required to achieve revenue neutrality for (a) bottled and (b) off-licence beer on licenced premises.

The Government has consulted industry and other stakeholders on the possibility of charging different alcohol duty rates in different places as part of its Alcohol Duty Review. As noted in the call for evidence document, while beneficial to recipients, such a differential would add complexity and cost to the existing duty arrangements. The Government is now analysing the feedback received and will respond in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential merits of and (b) implications for his policy on levelling up of siting the National Infrastructure Bank in North West Durham.

The Government is considering a range of factors and locations, in order to ensure that it chooses a location in the North of England that meets the Bank’s needs, as well as supporting the Government’s wider levelling up agenda. At Budget, the Chancellor will set out details regarding the operations, mandate and scale of the bank.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Financial Conduct Authority becoming the single regulator tasked with protecting consumers’ access to cash, including monitoring and publishing detail of acceptance levels.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to protecting access to cash. The Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October 2020 seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system.

The Government will ensure that regulators have the right responsibilities and powers to oversee the cash system. As set out in the Call for Evidence, effective coordination between the financial authorities will continue to be critical, but the Government considers that there may also be benefit in giving a single authority overall responsibility for ensuring the retail cash system meets the needs of consumers and businesses. The Government’s view is that the FCA may be well positioned to take on the function through legislation. The Call for Evidence closed on the 25 November 2020. The Government is considering responses and will set out next steps in due course.

The Government also remains closely engaged with the financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. It is important to wash your hands regularly. To work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. It remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the Government's timeframe for bringing forward legislative proposals for protecting people’s ability to access cash following his commitment in the March 2020 Budget.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to protecting access to cash. The Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October 2020 seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system.

The Government will ensure that regulators have the right responsibilities and powers to oversee the cash system. As set out in the Call for Evidence, effective coordination between the financial authorities will continue to be critical, but the Government considers that there may also be benefit in giving a single authority overall responsibility for ensuring the retail cash system meets the needs of consumers and businesses. The Government’s view is that the FCA may be well positioned to take on the function through legislation. The Call for Evidence closed on the 25 November 2020. The Government is considering responses and will set out next steps in due course.

The Government also remains closely engaged with the financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. It is important to wash your hands regularly. To work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. It remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will appoint the Financial Conduct Authority to track changes in cash acceptance by UK businesses in response to research from Which? that found one in three people have had their cash refused since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to protecting access to cash. The Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October 2020 seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system.

The Government will ensure that regulators have the right responsibilities and powers to oversee the cash system. As set out in the Call for Evidence, effective coordination between the financial authorities will continue to be critical, but the Government considers that there may also be benefit in giving a single authority overall responsibility for ensuring the retail cash system meets the needs of consumers and businesses. The Government’s view is that the FCA may be well positioned to take on the function through legislation. The Call for Evidence closed on the 25 November 2020. The Government is considering responses and will set out next steps in due course.

The Government also remains closely engaged with the financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. It is important to wash your hands regularly. To work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. It remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a small distillers duty relief to help small spirits producers grow their businesses.

The Government held a call for evidence in 2020 on reforms to alcohol duty, which closed on 29 November. The Government is now analysing the responses, and will provide updates in due course. The Government is considering the role of small producer reliefs as part of this review.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the temporary increase in universal credit; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect on (a) fuel duty and (b) income tax in the event that that increase was maintained by raising those taxes.

As we have done throughout this crisis, the government is continuing to assess how best to support people and the economy, taking into account the health and economic context as it develops.

Extending the temporary £20 per week increase in Universal Credit and Tax Credits by a further 12 months would cost over £6 billion. To illustrate the scale of this cost, it would take a 1p increase to the basic rate of income tax and a 3p increase in fuel duty combined to raise £6 billion.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 121034 on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, when HMRC plans to publish the information on the companies that made claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020; and how regularly that information will be published.

In line with the published direction, as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims, HMRC will publish information about employers who claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for periods starting on or after 1 December. This will not cover employer details for use of the CJRS prior to December. The first of these publications will be made at the end of January and will be followed on a regular monthly basis subsequently.

The publication of information will be made in line with data protection law.

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what VAT rate he plans to apply to reusable menstrual products in January 2021.

At Spring Budget on 11 March 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a zero rate of VAT will apply to women’s sanitary products from 1 January 2021, at the end of the transition period. This will apply to those products which are currently subject to the reduced rate of five per cent, for example, tampons and pads, and to reusable menstrual products, such as keepers.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to publish the names of the companies that received support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in (a) tranche one up to December 2020 and (b) tranche two for new claims from December 2020.

In line with the published direction, as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims, HMRC will publish information about employers who claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for periods starting on or after 1 December. This will not cover employer details for use of the CJRS prior to December.

The publication of information will be made in line with data protection law.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether covid-19 grants allocated to businesses will be classed as income for the 2020-21 financial year irrespective of when those moneys were received.

Grant income received by a business is taxable. COVID-19 grants allocated to businesses should be considered by businesses in line with standard accounting principles, and treated as income in the appropriate accounting period. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that insurers settle claims as swiftly as possible for businesses now assessed as qualifying for business interruption insurance coverage as a result of the outcome of the recent Financial Conduct Authority test case on that matter.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector regarding its response to this unprecedented situation.

The Financial Conduct Authority rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly and in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

On 15 September, the High Court published its judgment on the FCA court case for a selected number of key issues, to resolve uncertainty for many customers making business interruption claims. The FCA has published guidance for firms in response to the High Court’s judgment setting out their expectation that firms should apply the judgment of the court in re-assessing all outstanding or rejected claims and complaints which may have been impacted by the test case, with the exception of cases that have been referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

On 2 November, the Supreme Court granted permission for the FCA and insurers to appeal if it is not possible to resolve the outstanding issues in the coming weeks. The hearing is scheduled to take place from 16 November. The FCA and insurers had agreed that they would seek to have any appeal heard on an expedited basis, given the importance of providing legal clarity to policyholders as soon as possible.

Where a claim has been assessed as qualifying for business interruption insurance cover, it is the Government’s expectation that insurers should work to issue payments promptly. The Government continues to monitor the situation closely.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to help representatives of care homes to work with representatives of the insurance industry to resolve difficulties caused by rising insurance premiums since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government appreciates this is a challenging time for the care home sector, and for residents and their loved ones. The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector regarding its response to this unprecedented situation, and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

Insurers take commercial decisions regarding the products they offer and risks they cover based on their view of the likelihood of a risk occurring. However, different insurers may take a different view, and customers are encouraged to shop around to seek the most suitable cover at the best price.

The Government is committed to ensuring consumers have access to a range of financial products that suit their needs and is keeping this situation under review.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on the Government’s proposals that that regulator be given responsibility for maintaining a well-functioning retail cash system.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK, which is why it has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and to ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long term. The Government is working at pace, engaging with industry and the regulators – the Financial Conduct Authority, Payment Systems Regulator, and Bank of England – whilst designing legislation.

To inform the development of this legislation, the Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. As set out in the Call for Evidence, the Government considers that there may be benefit in giving a single authority overall responsibility for setting requirements to ensure that the retail distribution of cash meets the needs of consumers and businesses. The government’s view is that the FCA may be well positioned to take on the function through legislation.

The Government also remains closely engaged with the financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. To work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. It remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of trends in cash acceptance by UK businesses during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will appoint the Financial Conduct Authority to track and publish those trends.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK, which is why it has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and to ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long term. The Government is working at pace, engaging with industry and the regulators – the Financial Conduct Authority, Payment Systems Regulator, and Bank of England – whilst designing legislation.

To inform the development of this legislation, the Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. As set out in the Call for Evidence, the Government considers that there may be benefit in giving a single authority overall responsibility for setting requirements to ensure that the retail distribution of cash meets the needs of consumers and businesses. The government’s view is that the FCA may be well positioned to take on the function through legislation.

The Government also remains closely engaged with the financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. To work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. It remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the door-to-door and payday loans market.

The Government has fundamentally reformed regulation of the consumer credit market, including door-to-door and payday lending, giving regulatory responsibility of this area to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2014.

This more robust regulatory system is helping to deliver the Government’s vision for a well-functioning and sustainable consumer credit market which works effectively for both firms and consumers.

The FCA proactively monitors the market to understand the pressures that firms face, as well as any risks that may arise for consumers. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCA and the Treasury have continued to engage with the sector to understand the effect of COVID-19 on the market.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress he has made in (a) protecting cash payments and (b) ensuring access to cash in all communities.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important to millions of people across the UK. That is why, at the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash, which builds on industry initiatives. This will protect access to cash for those who need it, and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long run. Treasury is working at pace to develop legislation.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within 1 kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ensure that cash is always an accepted method of payment.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important to millions of people across the UK. That is why, at the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash, which builds on industry initiatives. This will protect access to cash for those who need it, and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long run. Treasury is working at pace to develop legislation.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within 1 kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure free to use cash machines are available in all communities in the UK.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important to millions of people across the UK. That is why, at the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash, which builds on industry initiatives. This will protect access to cash for those who need it, and ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long run. Treasury is working at pace to develop legislation.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within 1 kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that cash is always an accepted as a means of payment.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important to millions of people across the UK. That is why, at the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash, which builds on industry initiatives.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within 1 kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

The Government is also closely engaging with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contacts around transactions. However, it remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps he has taken to (a) protect and (b) increase access to free-to-use cash machines.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important to millions of people across the UK. That is why, at the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash, which builds on industry initiatives.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within 1 kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

The Government is also closely engaging with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contacts around transactions. However, it remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to change the (a) introductory date for and (b) rules on IR-35 off-payroll working as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 17 March 2020, the Government announced that the reform to the off-payroll working rules that would have applied for people contracting their services to large or medium sized organisations outside the public sector will be delayed for one year from 6 April 2020 until 6 April 2021.

The Government has legislated this measure in Finance Bill 2020 and will implement it in April 2021 in order to address the unfairness of non-compliance with the existing off-payroll working rules.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to monitor and regulate card payment fees charged by banks for transactions involving small retailers.

The Government remains committed to helping businesses and workers through the present very difficult time, and has announced unprecedented support, including a range of grant and tax deferral schemes, and £300 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15 per cent of UK GDP. Some acquirers (the financial services firms which enable retailers to process card payments) are taking voluntary measures to support their business customers, for example through waiving fees, and the Government welcomes such action.

The Payment Systems Regulator is currently carrying out a market review into card-acquiring services. Its review is examining how competition is working, including looking at the fees retailers pay for card-acquiring services and the quality of service they receive. Its interim findings will be published in Q3 2020.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of forcing banks to freeze card payment fees temporarily, for transactions involving small retailers in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government remains committed to helping businesses and workers through the present very difficult time, and has announced unprecedented support, including a range of grant and tax deferral schemes, and £300 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15 per cent of UK GDP. Some acquirers (the financial services firms which enable retailers to process card payments) are taking voluntary measures to support their business customers, for example through waiving fees, and the Government welcomes such action.

The Payment Systems Regulator is currently carrying out a market review into card-acquiring services. Its review is examining how competition is working, including looking at the fees retailers pay for card-acquiring services and the quality of service they receive. Its interim findings will be published in Q3 2020.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether grants under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be used to cover redundancy costs.

As per the latest updates to the guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments.

HMRC will continue to monitor businesses after the scheme has closed.

Full guidance can be found on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue is raised annually for the public purse from VAT on sales of silver bullion (a) coins and (b) bars.

HM Revenue and Customs do not hold data on VAT collected specifically from the sale of silver bullion, as information on supplies of specific commodities is not required on VAT returns.

HMRC record and publish annually details of VAT receipts across trade sectors and subsectors, but not of specific commodities.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the (a) gross and (b) net savings accrued to the public purse of the UK not being a member of the EU in each of the next four years.

Having left the EU, from 2021 the UK will no longer contribute to the EU budget as a Member State, leaving only payments due as part of Financial Settlement obligations. As set out at Spring Budget 2020, the government has accounted for this when setting its spending plans, allowing it to determine how an additional £14.6 billion of spending by 2024-25 can be allocated to its domestic priorities, rather than be sent in contributions to the EU. This will be allocated as part of the overall spending envelope at the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

The OBR’s March 2020 Economic and Financial Outlook provides a forecast of the direct fiscal impact of leaving the EU. This is expected to be £4.3bn in 2020-21, £5.0bn in 2021- 22, £7.1bn in 2022-23, £11.3bn in 2023-24 and £14.6bn in 2024-25. The OBR forecast is calculated relative to their forecast of what the UK would have contributed as member state. The future contributions of member states is currently under review in the negotiation of the next MFF.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the UK's (a) gross and (b) net contributions to the EU in the event that the transition period is extended for (i) 2021 and (ii) 2022.

The Government has been very clear that it will not accept an extension to the transition period. Indeed, Section 33 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 prohibits the Government from extending the transition period.


Both the EU and the UK have committed to agreeing a future partnership by the end of 2020 in the Political Declaration and that is clearly in the interests of both sides.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the net increase in £million per week of the budget for the NHS will be following the passing of the NHS funding bill for the years (a) 2020-1 (b) 2021-22, (c) 2022-3 and (d) 2023-4.

The NHS funding bill placed into law the historic increases to the NHS resource budget which were agreed for the five years from 2019-20.

The NHS resource budget is set on an annual basis with the NHS determining the weekly profile of their spending, but the bill guarantees- as a minimum- the following annual cash increases as compared to the 2018-19 year:

(a) 2020-21: £12,404m

(b) 2021-22: £18,680m

(c) 2022-23: £25,387m

(d) 2023-24: £33,864m

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of raising the threshold at which people are able to take out small private pensions as a lump sum.

The small pots and trivial commutation rules are permissive sets of tax rules which pre-date the pension freedoms reforms introduced in 2015. The rules may allow an individual to access their pension as a lump sum if they are at least 55 years old, or retiring at an earlier age because of ill-health, and the value of the payment does not exceed £10,000 for small pots, or £30,000 for trivial commutation. The rules limit what arrangements can be accessed in this way.

The Government keeps all tax policy under review. Any changes will be announced through the Budget process.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2020
What steps he is taking to ensure equity of funding to help deliver productivity growth throughout the north of England.

We will level up opportunity to ensure every region and nation benefits from growth. I will set out further detail at the Budget including the publication of the National infrastructure Strategy, which will detail the Government’s plan to transform the UK’s infrastructure.

This will build on the £3.6 billion Towns Fund supporting places across our regions, including 45 Town Deals in the Northern Powerhouse.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that policies to tackle disguised employment do not adversely affect genuine contractors.

Government policies to tackle disguised employment only apply to individuals who are working like employees under the current employment status tests. They do not apply to the self-employed or stop anyone working through their own company.

HMRC are committed to working with organisations to ensure changes to the rules are introduced correctly. This includes:

  • An enhanced version of the Check Employment Status for Tax tool
  • Webinars for tax agents
  • Online guidance
  • Targeted communications for organisations affected.
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that policies on tackling disguised employment do not encourage the contracting of work to overseas or foreign contractors where HMRC has more limited powers.

Government policies to tackle disguised employment only apply to individuals who are working like employees under the current employment status tests. They do not apply to the self-employed or stop anyone working through their own company.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans the Government has to provide further support to mortgage prisoners.

A mortgage prisoner is defined by the FCA as an existing customer that may be experiencing harm because they are unable to switch to a better deal. The Government is aware that these borrowers have been in a difficult and stressful situation. We have worked closely with the FCA to implement their rule change to remove the regulatory barrier that has prevented some customers from switching.

It is expected that lenders will need approximately 6 months to make the necessary adjustments and system changes, after which they will be able to use the modified affordability assessment for borrowers looking to re-mortgage.

I have written to Stephen Jones, Chief Executive Officer of UK Finance to outline my expectation that as many of its members as possible should move quickly to offer new deals to borrowers that are eligible to switch under the new FCA rules.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations were made to his Department by the former hon. Member for North West Durham in advance of the application of the new rates of Vehicle Excise Duty on motorhomes on 1 September 2019.

The department has received a number of representations from both former and current members of Parliament on this issue and I am sensitive to their concerns. The Government is considering the impact of changes to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) to motorhomes carefully.

As with all taxes, the Government keeps the VED treatment of motorhomes under review. Any changes will be considered by the Chancellor and announced at fiscal events.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue has been raised from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) on sales of new motorhomes in each month since 1 September 2019; what the projected figure was for (a) each of those months and (b) 2019-20; and what adjustment has been made to the forecast for VED revenues for 2019-20 from the sales of new motorhomes in the light of sales since 1 September 2019.

Reliable estimates are not available for the Vehicle Excise Duty revenue made from motorhomes for any periods. In order to make an estimate this would only be available at disproportionate cost.

The latest VED forecast was published as part of Spring Statement 2019. No adjustment was made in this forecast due to the sales of new motorhomes from 1st September 2019. To see the VED forecast made at Spring Statement 2019, see page 76 of the latest OBR Economic and Fiscal Outlook in the link below:

https://obr.uk/download/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2019/

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the Government's proposals to restrict the use of red diesel on levels of theft of white diesel in (a) sawmills and (b) the construction industry.

In bringing forward this change, the Government considered views of diesel users and our long-term environment objectives.

The Government does not anticipate reforms to red diesel use will lead to white diesel theft at scale in the affected industries. We will continue to work closely with policing leads and other partners to monitor the situation.

Fuel users storing diesel in tanks or in vehicles and machinery on their site(s) should continue to take steps to ensure this is stored securely. Practical crime prevention advice is published on the Secured by Design website, developed by the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives: https://www.securedbydesign.com/guidance/crime-prevention-advice/fuel-theft.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a fair funding review of (a) fire services and (b) police services, alongside the broader local government fair funding review.

The Police Funding Formula Review is currently in progress, and we intend to introduce a new funding formula before the next General Election.

The Review will include an evidence-based assessment of policing demand and the relative impact of local factors on forces. We are working closely with the policing sector and relevant experts to develop proposals, and a full public consultation will take place before any new funding arrangements are put in place.

My Department is in regular contact with fire and rescue authorities to ensure we remain informed of their financial circumstances. The Government is committed to ensuring that funding allocations for Fire and Rescue Authorities are based on an up-to-date assessment of their needs and resources. We will work closely with local partners, and take stock of the challenges and opportunities they face, before consulting on any potential funding reform.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what laws are in place to protect people from having their drinks spiked; and what penalties do those laws carry.

A range of criminal offences are in place to deal with this behaviour. The precise offence committed will depend on the facts of the individual case but the offences available to the police and Crown Prosecution Service include the following:

Section, Act

Description

Penalties

S.18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

S.20 Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Inflicting bodily injury, with or without weapon.

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years.

S.23 Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Maliciously administering poison, &c. so as to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm.

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

S.24
Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Maliciously administering poison, &c. with intent to injure, aggrieve, or annoy any other person.

“To be kept in penal servitude for life” – No specific sentencing

S.47
Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Assault occasioning bodily harm.

“To be kept in penal servitude” – No specific sentencing

S.61 Sexual Offences Act 2003

Administering a substance with intent to engage in a non-consensual sexual activity

On summary conviction: Imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both.

On conviction on indictment: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

S.39 Criminal Justice Act 1988

Common assault and battery

Imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the level 5 on the standard scale, or both.

We have listened closely to the concerns that have been raised about the lack of a specific spiking offence. The Home Office is now considering a criminal offence to target this behaviour directly and this work is ongoing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many deaths by dangerous driving occurred in each of the last twenty years; and how many and what proportion of those divers (i) had and (ii) did not have a valid driving licence.

The Home Office collects data on police recorded offences, including a group of offences classed as Death or serious injury – unlawful driving. These are published quarterly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The latest figures for the year ending March 2021 can be accessed here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesappendixtables

The Home Office does not collect data on the age of drivers in these offences, or the number of drivers in these offences who did not hold a valid licence at the time of the offence.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many deaths were caused on UK roads by drivers who (a) were driving without a licence, (b) had never held a driving licence and (c) had previously held a license but had been disqualified from driving broken down by age groups of those who were (i) under 17, (ii) 17 to 65 and (iii) 65 and above years old, in each of the last 20 years.

The Home Office collects data on police recorded offences, including a group of offences classed as Death or serious injury – unlawful driving. These are published quarterly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The latest figures for the year ending March 2021 can be accessed here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesappendixtables

The Home Office does not collect data on the age of drivers in these offences, or the number of drivers in these offences who did not hold a valid licence at the time of the offence.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Government's commitment to providing an additional 20,000 police officers by 2023, what recent estimate she has made of the total number of police officers in (a) Durham and (b) the police service nationally.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the number of officers recruited as part of the Police Officer Uplift Programme. The latest data are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-officer-uplift-statistics

The latest data show that as at 31 March 2021, Durham Constabulary employed a total of 1,226 police officers and 137,704 across England and Wales. This represents an additional 86 officers recruited by Durham Constabulary as part of the Uplift Programme, and an additional 8,771 across England and Wales as part of the Programme.

These data are collected by Police Force Area. Lower levels of geography are not collected.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the correlation between rates of problem gambling and levels of (a) acquisitive and (b) violent crime.

Rates of problem gambling have remained stable at around or below 1% of the adult population since 1999. The Government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December 2020 with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence-led, aiming to ensure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age and will consider how effective the regulatory framework is in preventing gambling-related crime, alongside other outcome measures.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people suffering from a gambling disorder who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.

The Home Office does not hold information on individuals who come into contact with the police to ascertain whether a gambling disorder has been identified as a motivational factor in any alleged offences committed.

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for the court system and their centrally-held data does not identify where gambling has been identified as a relevant motivational factor in offending. The information may be held on court records, however to identify such cases would require accessing individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing (a) per play limits, (b) daily deposit limits and (c) other affordability measures to reduce levels of offending among the problem gambling community.

I have not undertaken an assessment. Rates of problem gambling have remained stable at around or below 1% of the adult population since 1999. The Government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December 2020 with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence-led, aiming to ensure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age and will consider how effective the regulatory framework is in preventing gambling-related crime, alongside other outcome measures.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the General Register Office plans to introduce an officially-recognised digital version of death certificates.

There is currently no provision in law to issue a death certificate other than in a paper format.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to (a) tackle human trafficking from sub-Saharan Africa and Libya and (b) educate and inform people about the resultant modern slavery.

The Home Office is committed to tackling modern slavery and human trafficking internationally, and to raising awareness to help increase resilience against these crimes and prevent them from happening in the first place.

We work closely with the FCDO, who are working to protect those who are travelling on the dangerous migration route into Libya. As part of their current £70 million migration programme (2017-21), which works along the whole route from West Africa via the Sahel to Libya, they have allocated around £5 million to humanitarian assistance and protection for migrants and refugees in Libya, including targeted healthcare.

UK aid is also making those migrating aware of the dangers ahead and supporting them to return voluntarily. We are educating people before they decide to travel to Libya, informing them about the living conditions and the other risks they may face, such as falling into the hands of human traffickers.

As part of the Home Office’s Modern Slavery Fund, we are working globally including in sub-Saharan African countries, to tackle modern slavery and raise awareness about this crime:

  • In Nigeria, the Fund is delivering a £5 million programme between 2018 and 2021 to fund criminal justice capacity-building, victim support and prevention work in vulnerable communities. Our strategic communications campaign ‘Not For Sale’ reached over 1.1m people, with 93% of families who had heard of it responding positively.
  • In Ethiopia, our work includes projects to raise community awareness of exploitative domestic work and to negotiate better conditions for those who want to enter this sector.
  • In Sudan, our partners have advised the National Committee for Combatting Trafficking on how they can best deliver awareness raising campaigns on human trafficking and forced labour, tailored to their local context and based on UK experiences of similar communications campaigns.

In addition to these programmes, we continue to push for change on a global scale as part of our efforts to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking, by working with other countries and multilateral fora such as the G7, G20, Commonwealth and UN. We also work with partners to combat the criminal gangs who exploit and traffic people internationally.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the cost of excluding EEA and Swiss citizens from the immigration health surcharge to (a) the UK, (b) England and (c) in Barnett consequentials for the devolved Administrations.

Analysis on the impact of the ending of free movement in the UK on EEA and Swiss citizens is currently underway and will be published at a later date. This will include analysis of the impact of the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Income generated by Immigration Health Surcharge payments go directly to NHS services, helping to protect and sustain our world-class healthcare system for everyone who uses it.

An Impact Assessment for the planned increase to the Surcharge was published alongside the statutory instrument. It can be found at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia/2020/30/pdfs/ukia_20200030_en.pdf

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the cost to the public purse is of not extending the (a) fee for applications to enter or remain in the UK, (b) fee for sponsorship licenses, (c) immigration health surcharges, (d) immigration skills charges in relation EU citizens in the UK who have will no longer have the right of free movement after the transition period.

Further analysis into the impact of the ending of free movement in the UK on EEA and Swiss citizens is currently underway and will be published at a later date.

The Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) is predominately funded by the user. The Home Office believes it is right those who use it contribute to its cost, thereby reducing the burden on the UK taxpayer. Income collected from the Immigration Skills charge is used to address skills gaps in the UK workforce and income generated by Immigration Health Surcharge payments go directly to NHS services, helping to protect and sustain our world-class healthcare system for everyone who uses it.

EU citizens in the UK have access to the EU Settlement Scheme, which is open until 30 June 2021 and is free of charge for eligible individuals. An Impact Assessment for the EU Settlement Scheme was published and can be found at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia/2019/74/pdfs/ukia_20190074_en.pdf

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many arrests for acquisitive crimes there have been where the arrested person cited debts from gambling as the reason for that crime in each of the last five years.

The Home Office does not hold the information requested centrally.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the value was of (a) cash and (b) goods stolen from acquisitive crime where the arrested person cited debts from (i) gambling and (ii) gambling addiction as the reason for their criminal activity in each of the last five years.

The Home Office does not hold the information requested centrally.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many additional officers Durham Constabulary will have at its disposal in each of the next three years.

The Government is delivering on the people’s priorities by recruiting 20,000 additional police officers over the next three years.

In October 2019 the Home Office confirmed officer allocations for every force in England and Wales in the first year of the uplift. Durham Constabulary has been allocated 68 officers in year one of the uplift, to be recruited by the end of March 2021. Decisions on the allocation of officers for years two and three are yet to be taken.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-office-announces-first-wave-of-20000-police-officer-uplift

From April 2020 the Home Office will publish quarterly updates outlining the progress on delivering the police uplift.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding Durham Constabulary will receive from (a) central Government and (b) the local precept in (i) 2019-20 and (ii) 2020-21.

Durham Constabulary received £88.1 million in core government funding and £35.4 million from precept in 2019-20 and will receive approximately £95.6 million in core grant funding and up to £37.6 million from precept if the full precept flexibility is leveraged by Durham Constabulary for 2020-21.

Full historic figures can be found via this link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/815102/police-funding-england-and-wales-2015-to-2020-hosb1019.pdf

The 2020/21 Police Settlement Factsheet can be found via this link: https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/22/factsheet-police-funding-settlement-2020-21/

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of police forces having an automatic opt-in for support services for the Next of Kin/Significant other of people who have, or are suspected to have, taken their own life.

You met with the Home Secretary on 25 February, during which this matter was discussed, specifically in relation to Durham Constabulary. She subsequently wrote to you on 8 April reaffirming her support and explained that Durham Constabulary were working with Public Health England and other partners on ways to improve support, including a change to the local procedure to enable automatic opt-in for support services after a suspected suicide. I am therefore reassured that actions are being taken by Durham Constabulary and the relevant partners to address the important issue you raise.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure that parents and guardians of soldiers can attend passing out parades during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Defence has issued guidance to the Armed Forces for the conduct of ceremonial events, including passing out parades, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Risks are carefully assessed and events must satisfy all relevant public health regulations and guidance. This allows these events to continue taking place with a limited audience.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, further to the Answer of 23 October 2020 to Question 104201, what the contribution rates are for (a) employers, (b) employees in service personnel pensions and for what reason neither rate is shown on the pay slips of service personnel.

The Armed Forces’ Pension Schemes (AFPS) are non-contributory. Occupational pensions are neither a source of pay nor a source of income until the point at which the pension becomes payable, which is why the rate is not shown on pay slips. We send annual Pension Benefit Information Statements to our personnel, but we recognise there is scope to improve how we communicate the benefits of the AFPS, including through the planned creation of a digital portal for members to access pension benefit information.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether there is a comprehensive list of UK armed forces personnel who died in service, by conflict, that includes their birthplace and final address in the UK.

Information on deaths in the UK Armed Forces including birthplace and conflict, is held in the Departments centralised database from 1984 to present. Data prior to 1984 including birthplace and conflict, is held on the Armed Forces Memorial database. Neither database holds information on an individual's final address in the UK.

Information on an individual's final address is held separately in the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system from April 2007 onwards and is not currently linked to either death database. Prior to 2007, this information is held in individual personnel files.

A roll of honour is available in the public domain and can be found at the following website: http://veterans.mod.uk/. Whilst the roll of honour lists all of the individuals whose names are inscribed on the National memorial in Staffordshire, it does not confirm the individual's birthplace or whether they died in conflict.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish (a) a template service personnel payslip and (b) an example payslip for a soldier at the rank of private with three years' service.

I will write to the hon. Member, and will include the requested examples.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Main Battle Tanks his Department has; and how many of those tanks are fully operational.

There are 227 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks. We are unable to disclose the number that are fully operational, as to do so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of the castings (a) in the initial production and (b) for replacement parts of the new Boxer will be made in the UK.

The supply and integration of UK equipment sub-contracts for Boxer is progressing in line with ARTEC, the Prime Contractor's, commitment that 60% by value of the contract is planned to come from the UK. ARTEC is responsible for the award of equipment sub-contracts and is still in the process of developing its supply chain.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the budget was of the Pocket Parks scheme; and how much of that funding was allocated.

In 2019-2020 a total of £1.35 million was made available for Pocket Parks, of which £1,343,653.33 was allocated.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to re-open the Pocket Parks scheme to new applications.

The Government recognises the value of parks and green spaces in providing vibrant and inclusive locations for communities to socialise, volunteer, work, and exercise. We have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic how important access to parks and green spaces are to local communities. We recognise that green spaces foster health, well-being, integration, and social engagement. There are no immediate plans to continue the Pocket Parks Scheme. However, as we move beyond the threat of COVID-19, we will explore how we can best support all urban parks and green spaces, taking into account the Government’s environmental, social, and health priorities.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications were (a) made and (b) successful to the Pocket Parks fund in (i) each local authority area and (ii) Parliamentary constituency.

Details of Pocket Parks funding recipients can be found in the public domain at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/68-new-parks-to-inject-green-space-into-urban-areas.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when town, parish and other local authority bodies will receive reimbursement for their business rates as a result of the Public Lavatories (non-domestic ratings) Act 2021.

The Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 29 April. The Act provides a 100 per cent business rates relief for eligible separately-assessed public toilets in England. This relief applies retrospectively from 1 April 2020.

As with other business rates reliefs, local billing authorities are responsible for putting in place the arrangements to award this relief. Owners or operators of public toilets, including local authorities, that consider that they may be eligible for the relief should contact their billing authority about any refunds which may be due. The Government will compensate billing authorities for income lost as a result of awarding the relief.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which towns in County Durham did Durham County Council submit bids for to the (a) High Streets Fund and (b) Towns Fund.

Durham County Council submitted an Expression of Interest to the Future High Streets Fund for four towns in County Durham. These towns were Chester Le Street, Bishop Auckland, Seaham and Spennymoor. Bishop Auckland was successful at this stage, and on 26 December 2020 we announced it had successfully secured £19.8 million from the fund.

Bishop Auckland was also invited to submit proposals to secure a Town Deal as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. Bishop Auckland submitted its Town Investment Plan in January 2021 and that plan is currently being assessed by officials.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the selective licensing scheme was introduced; and under what legislation that scheme was introduced.

Selective licensing was introduced under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 which came into force in 2006. Since 2015, new or renewed schemes which cover more than 20 per cent of a local authority’s private rented stock or geographical area require approval from the Secretary of State.

Eleven schemes in ten local authorities have been approved. These are:

Burnley,
Peterborough,
Hyndburn,
Newham,
Blackpool,
Brent,
Nottingham

Redbridge,
Waltham Forest,
Burnley, and
Barking and Dagenham.

The Independent Review of the Use and Effectiveness of Selective Licensing commissioned by the Department considered the effects of select licensing. The review is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/833217/Selective_Licensing_Review_2019.pdf

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many local authorities have selective licensing schemes covering more than 20 per cent of (a) their area or (b) the number of private rented homes in their area; which local authorities they are; and when those licences were granted.

Selective licensing was introduced under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 which came into force in 2006. Since 2015, new or renewed schemes which cover more than 20 per cent of a local authority’s private rented stock or geographical area require approval from the Secretary of State.

Eleven schemes in ten local authorities have been approved. These are:

Burnley,
Peterborough,
Hyndburn,
Newham,
Blackpool,
Brent,
Nottingham

Redbridge,
Waltham Forest,
Burnley, and
Barking and Dagenham.

The Independent Review of the Use and Effectiveness of Selective Licensing commissioned by the Department considered the effects of select licensing. The review is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/833217/Selective_Licensing_Review_2019.pdf