Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
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).
Create an emergency fund for ASD (autism) & ADHD assessmentsGov Responded - 14 Dec 2021 Debated on - 6 Feb 2023 View 's petition debate contributions
The Government should create an emergency fund to deal with the massive waiting lists for autism & ADHD assessments for children AND adults. This would provide resources for local health services deal with current waiting lists and new patients.
Review management of ADHD assessments and increase fundingGov Responded - 21 Apr 2022 Debated on - 6 Feb 2023 View 's petition debate contributions
The Government should commission a review of how Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments are managed by the NHS, including through Shared Care Agreements, and increase funding to reduce waiting times.
These initiatives were driven by Robert Buckland, 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.
A Bill to make provision about the sentencing of offenders convicted of terrorism offences, of offences with a terrorist connection or of certain other offences; to make other provision in relation to terrorism; and for connected purposes.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 29th April 2021 and was enacted into law.
To require the Parole Board to take into account any failure by a prisoner serving a sentence for unlawful killing or for taking or making an indecent image of a child to disclose information about the victim.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 4th November 2020 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision about the release on licence of offenders convicted of terrorist offences or offences with a terrorist connection; and for connected purposes.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 26th February 2020 and was enacted into law.
A has been called and Parliament is no longer sitting. The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before . This means the Bill will make no further progress. To require the Parole Board to take into account any failure by a prisoner serving a sentence for unlawful killing or for taking or making an indecent image of a child to disclose information about the victim.
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to record certain statistics relating to people receiving treatments for mental health conditions; and for connected purposes.
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to make a referral to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to develop and publish quality standards for autism spectrum disorders; and for connected purposes
A call for evidence on developing a tourist accommodation registration scheme in England was held between June and September 2022, and received almost 4,000 responses. Respondents were asked, amongst other questions, to provide insights or evidence on the impact of schemes or approaches that are already in place elsewhere in the world.
The findings of the call for evidence have indicated that there is a case for light-touch regulation of the sector, and therefore the Government is introducing a registration scheme for short-term lets through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The exact details of how the scheme will operate will be explored through a public consultation which will be published shortly. Where appropriate, schemes that have already been implemented in other countries such as in the Netherlands may be considered as we develop the details of how the scheme in England will be designed.
The UK’s Economic Partnership Agreements with southern African countries and the UK Developing Countries Trading Scheme enable trade and promote development. UK Export Finance supports the region with billions of pounds of finance or insurance cover available for projects involving UK suppliers. The Prime Minister has announced that he will host the second UK-African Investment Summit in 2024, which will help UK businesses secure sustainable investment into the region and maintain the UK’s position as the leading investor in Africa.
The Government’s plans for sustainable investment in developing economies is set out in the International Development Strategy.
The Developing Countries Trading Scheme supports the UK renewables industry by allowing duty-free imports on everything but arms from 33 Least Developed Countries in Africa.
In addition, the UK Global Tariff allows duty-free imports of raw materials such as cobalt, nickel and graphite from all countries, including those in Africa.
We are supporting partnerships between UK and African firms in renewables. Through the Africa Energy Forum in June, we brought together UK investors and exporters and African governments in renewables and the 2024 UK Africa Investment Summit will further develop commercial partnerships including in renewables.
The application portal, (and accompanying contact centre helpline for those without online access), for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) will open for all eligible households without a relationship to a domestic electricity supplier in England, Scotland, and Wales by 27 February. The EBSS AF for Northern Ireland is also due to launch in February, with details to be released in due course.
Given the proximity of the Safety Summit to the European AI, Data and Robotics Forum on 8 and 9 of November, the Government will not be sending any Ministers or officials to the event. However, both UK Government Ministers and officials participate in European technology-focused events, with an SCS-led official delegation attending the IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals) Europe Data Protection Conference this November, which will seek to facilitate our EU data objectives.
UK applicants will be able to participate in the full Horizon Europe programme and UK entities are eligible to receive grant funding through all instruments of the European Innovation Council. The UK is not part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund – which provides equity finance support to EIC Accelerator projects.
The Government consulted on our proposed approach to a new pro-competition regime, overseen by the Digital Markets Unit, last year. The consultation closed in October, and we are carefully considering the responses. We will set out the final design of the regime in our response shortly, and will introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Newspapers play an invaluable role in the fabric of our society and the government is committed to considering all possible options in the interest of supporting the sustainability of the press. As society continues to move online, the news publishing sector is facing significant challenges in transitioning to sustainable digital business models. As part of this, we are aware of concerns about the effect of the power and position of some online platforms when dealing with news publishers, as identified by the Cairncross Review.
The government set out its proposals for a new pro-competition regime for digital markets in a public consultation in July 2021. The regime will drive a more vibrant and innovative economy across the UK. In line with codes proposed in the Cairncross Review, the regime’s conduct requirements will improve competition and transparency and so make an important contribution to the sustainability of the press. We have also sought advice from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Ofcom on how the regime would govern the relationship between platforms and content producers including news publishers. No final decisions have been made.
A consultation response will be published in due course and we will legislate to put the regime on a statutory footing as soon as parliamentary time allows.
The Government consulted on our proposed approach to a new pro-competition regime, overseen by the Digital Markets Unit, last year. The consultation closed in October, and we are carefully considering the responses. We will set out the final design of the regime in our response shortly, and will introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.
The School Workforce Census collects information from a large sample of secondary schools in England for a typical week. This identifies hours taught of a subject, year group taught to, and the teacher. Data provided by schools is captured by their individual electronic timetabling systems. Results are weighted to produce national estimates but are not intended to be used as a means of monitoring compliance with the duty to teach religious education (RE), particularly as there may be other RE teaching time in schools that has not been recorded as schools may have allocated it under other subjects.
Following publication in June this year of 2022 census data, the department has not had discussion with schools that reported zero hours of religious education in Year 11 in the sample period.
Religious education (RE) is an essential part of a school’s curriculum and remains a compulsory subject in all state funded schools, including academies, to all pupils up to the age of 18. RE develops an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society, as well as serving to inform their own values and behaviour.
The department is offering a £10,000 bursary for RE trainee teachers starting Initial Teacher Training courses in the 2024/25 academic year. The department has published this information on the ‘Get Into Teaching’ website and will be marketing the offer to prospective teachers through other channels.
The mandatory Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework (CCF) sets out a core minimum entitlement for all trainees of what should be covered during their teacher training. While all ITT courses must encompass the CCF in full, it remains for accredited ITT providers to design their full course curricula in a way that is appropriate to the needs of trainees and for the subject, phase, and age range that the trainees will be teaching, which for some ITT courses, would include religious education training.
To be awarded Qualified Teacher Status, trainee teachers must demonstrate that they satisfy all of the Teaching Standards at the appropriate level, including Part Two of the standards, which requires all teachers to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional behaviour.
The department has publicly committed to reviewing the ITT CCF and Early Career Framework (ECF) alongside each other. Building on lessons learned from the first few years of CCF implementation and ECF delivery, the department plans to revise the CCF and ECF into a more closely combined framework, or set of frameworks, which cover the first three years or more at the start of a teacher’s career articulating what trainee and new teachers need to know and need to know how to do.
This underpins a joined-up sequence of training and development over at least the first three years of new teachers’ careers to support them at the start of their new career. The department aims to ensure that what new teachers learn across these early years of their career delivers continuous, coherent and complementary learning for all trainees and new teachers, and provides the confidence and skills for a lifelong career in teaching.
I refer my right hon. Friend, the Member for South Swindon to the answer of 25 September to question 199770.
Swimming and water safety are compulsory in the primary National Curriculum for Physical Education (PE) and Sport.
The PE and Sport Premium can be used by primary schools to support swimming and water safety lessons, including funding teacher training and additional swimming lessons for pupils not able to meet National Curriculum expectations after their PE and Sport lessons. On 8 March 2023, the Government announced a total of over £600 million across the next two academic years for the PE and Sport Premium.
The Department also provides up to £300,000 a year to a consortium grant to improve opportunities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities to take part in PE and Sport. This includes a focus on swimming and water safety. A new inclusion hub on the Swim England website has been created to provide resources for schools and swimming teachers.
A range of swimming and water safety resources and guidance documents have been developed by sector organisations and are available online for teachers and parents.
In May 2022, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper set out the government’s assessment of the challenges the SEND and AP system faces, including assessments and education, health and care (EHC) plans.
In March this year, the government published its proposals to deliver improvements through developing reformed templates and guidance to deliver a nationally consistent EHC plan process, which makes greater use of digital technology, with the aim to increase consistency and the speed with which support is put in place.
The government continues to support local authorities, with their core budgets increased to £60 billion for the next financial year. Local authorities have the flexibility to spend according to local needs and priorities, including undertaking EHC needs assessments.
The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper consultation closed in July last year. The department is currently reviewing the feedback received and using this, along with continued engagement with the system, to inform the next stage of delivering improvements for children, young people, and their families.
The department will be publishing a full response to the paper in an Improvement Plan imminently.
We will continue to support the system in the immediate term to deliver change, and to improve the experience and outcomes for children and young people with SEND and those who need AP.
The department does not hold or plan to gather information on the number of education professionals who have training specifically on autism.
Once teachers qualify and are employed in schools, headteachers and school staff use their professional judgement to identify any further training, including specific specialisms, for individual staff that is relevant to them, the school, and its pupils. Schools do not report information to the department on additional specialist training of this nature. However, all teachers are teachers of students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and we are committed to ensuring that all pupils can reach their potential and receive excellent support from their teachers.
Consideration of SEND underpins both the initial teacher training (ITT) core content framework (CCF) and early career framework (ECF), which were both produced with the support of sector experts.
ITT courses must be designed so that teacher trainees can demonstrate that they meet all of the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level, including the requirement in Standard 5, that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils.
The government invested £74 million into the first year of our new National Autism Strategy, published in July 2021 and extended to children and young people for the first time. It aims to improve the lives of people with autism, for example through improving access to quality education. We will publish our second implementation plan this year.
In February, the department announced funding which includes nearly £12 million for the new Universal Services contract, to deliver SEND-specific continuing professional development to the school and further education workforce. This will help schools and colleges to support children and young people with SEND, including autism, and includes specific support on the needs of autistic children and young people.
The Department meets regularly with the General Dental Council (GDC) to discuss application and registration processes for dentists with overseas qualifications. The Department welcomes the GDC’s recent announcements that it is increasing the number of places available to sit the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE). The GDC has tripled the number of places on sittings of ORE Part 1 for all sittings from August 2023 to the end of 2024. The GDC has also added an additional sitting of ORE Part 2 in 2024, bringing the total number of sittings up to four.
To practise in the United Kingdom, dentists and dental care professionals (DCPs) are required to hold registration with the General Dental Council (GDC). To be entered into the dentists register, an individual must hold a recognised UK dentistry qualification; an European Economic Area qualification recognised under European Union exit standstill arrangements; hold one of a small number of overseas qualifications awarded before 2001 and recognised under legacy arrangements; or they must sit the Overseas Registration Exam or Licence in Dental Surgery examinations to demonstrate they have suitable skill and experience to practise in the UK. Under legislative changes which came into force in March 2023, the GDC was granted the flexibility to recognise additional overseas qualifications as sufficient to achieve registration to practise in the UK. The Department will continue to discuss whether there are other qualifications or registration routes that could be considered with the GDC and other relevant partners as appropriate.
There are no plans to publish a response to this report. The primary recommendations made in this report by RedQuadrant were used to inform the Building the Right Support Action Plan published in July 2022.
The £121 million of funding to improve community support for people with a learning disability and autistic people forms part of the wider NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) funding. The £121m allocation in 2023/24 was determined based upon consideration of the following:
Additionally, the following table shows a distribution to integrated care boards on a ‘fair shares’ basis, in line with the LTP trajectory for the learning disability and autism programme, increasing year on year up to the end of the LTP funding cycle:
Note: HOPE(S) is a training model commissioned by NHS England, which aims to embed good practice across inpatient services and reduce the use of long-term segregation and restrictive practices for people with a learning disability and autistic people.
Funding for 2024/25 will be confirmed in due course.
The latest published Assuring Transformation data shows that there are 80 people with a learning disability and autistic people reported in a mental health inpatient setting which the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rates as inadequate. This is based on inpatient data at the end of August 2023, and CQC inspection ratings as of 2 October 2023.
Where, by exception, a person with a learning disability or autistic person is admitted into a setting rated as inadequate at the point of admission, additional safeguards and mitigations should be put in place. NHS England has established a process whereby any such admission should be notified to the relevant integrated care bord (ICB) Chief Executive Officer, National Health Service regional team and Host Commissioner and reported as an exception to the ICB Quality Board or equivalent. Information on specific safeguards and mitigations for individuals is not held centrally.
Each person with a learning disability and autistic person in a mental health hospital should have regular Care (Education) and Treatment Reviews in line with national policy.
Commissioner Oversight Guidance was published in February 2021, which sets out that people with a learning disability and autistic people who are in hospital outside their local area will be visited by the commissioner of their care regularly every six weeks for children and every eight weeks for adults.
In June 2023, we updated the Host Commissioner Guidance, this guidance sets out expectations for ICBs to act as a ‘host’ commissioner to provide additional oversight of care in mental health hospitals in their geographical area, where people with a learning disability and autistic people are cared for.
We expect integrated care boards (ICBs) to have due regard to relevant National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on autism when commissioning services. It is the responsibility of ICBs to make available appropriate provision
Each ICB in England is expected to have an Executive Lead for learning disability and autism, supporting the board in planning to meet the needs of its local population of people with a learning disability and autistic people, including in relation to appropriate autism assessment pathways. NHS England has published guidance on these roles.
On 5 April 2023, NHS England published a national framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services. This guidance will help the National Health Service improve autism assessment pathways and improve the experience for people referred to an autism assessment service.
In addition, NHS England publish quarterly data on how many people are waiting for an autism assessment and for how long. These are experimental statistics; however, the data does provide useful information nationally and locally to support local areas to improve their performance and to reduce assessment waiting times.
I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt Hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells on 8 September 2023 to Question 195909.
The Improving Elective Care Coordination for Patients Programme is still in the pilot stage and data continues to be collated to assess the benefits that are being derived from the implementation of the Care Coordination Solution tool. The tool remains at different stages of implementation in each of the pilot trusts and NHS England is working with the trusts. NHS England is committed to sharing data in due course as the tool is embedded further and more data points become available.
The Improving Elective Care Coordination for Patients Programme is monitoring benefits against waiting lists, staff performance, treating patients and theatre scheduling.
These benefits are collected on a regular basis and will grow as more trusts embed the use of the tool in their operational processes. The programme is assessing benefits at a trust level, monitoring the delivery of the solution and levels of adoption. Benefits are discussed with Trusts and used to support the continued drive for adoption and use of the Care Coordination Solution. As of May 2023, the programme is delivering benefits in 24 trusts for data validation and 23 for theatre utilisation.
We are working closely with the Department for Education to implement actions set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and Alternative Provision Implementation Plan, with the aim of improving engagement and support for children and young people with SEND and their families.
This includes working with the Department for Education to take a joint approach to SEND workforce planning. We will establish a steering group this year to oversee this work, which we aim to complete by 2025. We will be commissioning analysis on the health needs of children and young people with SEND so these can be better met through effective workforce planning.
We will improve access to speech and language therapy by including Early Language and Support for Every Child pathfinders within our £70 million Change Programme in partnership with NHS England. The pathfinders will trial new ways of supporting children with speech, language and communication needs in early years and primary schools.
Local SEND and AP Partnerships will bring together representatives across early years, schools, further education, alternative and specialist provision, in addition to health, care and other partners, to increase national consistency, putting co-production at the centre of decision making. They will be responsible for working with parents and carers to produce a Local Inclusion Plan setting out the provision and services that should be commissioned in line with the national standards. This will inform the local offer and will be quality assured by the Department for Education.
To tackle backlogs in elective care, including where accessed by disabled children, the Government plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25 to drive up and protect elective activity. This funding could deliver the equivalent of around nine million more checks and procedures and will mean the National Health Service in England can aim to deliver approximately 30% more elective activity by 2024/25 than before the pandemic.
In addition, the Department for Education is providing support for families of children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability). This support includes an investment of £6.1 million this financial year to strengthen the participation of parents and young people in the SEND system. The Department for Education is also investing £27.3 million this year to support low-income families with seriously ill or disabled with the cost of equipment, goods and services through Support for Families with Disabled Children Funding.
There is currently no confirmed publication date for an updated implementation plan in relation to the national strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026 (published July 2021).
We are currently prioritising updating the Autism Act statutory guidance to support the National Health Service and Local Authorities to deliver improved outcomes for autistic people in line with the national Strategy. We expect to publish an updated implementation plan for subsequent years of the Strategy in due course.
The UK is committed to supporting efforts to build stability and reduce violence in the Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC). We continue to monitor the concerning situation in the east closely and its grave humanitarian consequences. We regularly raise the conflict with the DRC, Rwanda, and the region, where we urge all parties to deliver on their commitments, agreed through the Nairobi and Luanda processes. This includes the cessation of hostilities, respect for sovereignty and agreed withdrawal by armed groups including M23. The UK firmly believes the regional peace processes provide the best means by which to achieve a lasting peace and offer them our full support. The UK is the current chair of the International Contact Group for the Great Lakes where we work with likeminded partners to support progress on the ground, and most recently met, at senior official level, on 8 November. I met with President Kagame and Foreign Minister Biruta during my visit to Rwanda in late August, where I encouraged de-escalation and emphasised the need for a peaceful political solution. I also met with DRC Vice Prime Minister Kamerhe in October where I delivered the same message.
The UK and Mauritius are in ongoing negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)/Chagos Archipelago. Maintaining the full and effective operation of the joint UK-US military base on Diego Garcia, which plays a crucial role in regional and global security, is essential. The UK and Mauritius have publicly committed to ensuring that any agreement reached between our two countries will do this.
We have committed £16 million since September to the International Organisation for Migration in Afghanistan to support vulnerable undocumented people returning from Pakistan and Iran. Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have not reported any substantial cross-border movement following Pakistan's decision. We continue to monitor the situation for increased movement over the borders with Afghanistan, and for any indication others may also look to repatriate Afghans residing in Central Asia.
Negotiations over the British Indian Ocean Territory/ Chagos Archipelago are between the UK and Mauritius. We recognise the future of the islands is an important issue for many Chagossians. UK Government ministers and officials met Chagossian groups representing communities in the UK, Mauritius and the Seychelles in February, May and October to update on the progress of negotiations, and hear their views.
We are aware of reports of North Korean refugees being forcefully repatriated to North Korea. We emphasise directly to the Chinese authorities that they should not be detaining and forcefully repatriating North Korean refugees. The UK actively promotes the implementation of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. At the 17 August UN Security Council meeting on the human rights situation in the DPRK, the UK called on all states to abide by the principle of non-refoulement.
Global food security is an FCDO priority as set out in the refresh of the Integrated Review (IR) published in March 2023. The UN Food Systems Summit Stocktaking Moment is an opportunity for the UK to co-ordinate internationally on transforming food systems to improve the health of the planet, people and economies. We will showcase the UK's Agriculture Breakthrough initiative, making climate-resilient, productive and sustainable agriculture the most widely adopted option for farmers everywhere by 2030, at the event. Immediately after the Stocktaking Moment, the UK and World Bank will host a Policy Dialogue event on agriculture policy reform. In Rome, on 27 and 28 June, I [Minister Mitchell] spoke to the Heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) about supporting the most vulnerable countries access climate finance to build the resilience of their food systems.
Turkey retains the sovereign right to decide who it admits into and deports from the country and has no obligation to explain its decisions to other governments. Turkey is host to the largest number of refugees in the world, approximately 15% of the world's refugee population.
The UK Government has a long-standing commitment to supporting prosperity, development, and stability in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The UK is working with stakeholders to support the delivery of elections this year. We continue to emphasise the need for these to be free, fair, inclusive, and transparent to support long-term stability and prosperity. We engage frequently and at a senior level with the Partner States of the East African Community (EAC) on regional security issues through our missions, and in the UK. We support the EAC led Nairobi Process, a regional process which aims to counter the latest spiral of violence in eastern DRC. We have committed funding towards this process.
On 10 May, the Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, made clear the UK condemns the indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza targeting innocent civilians in Israel, that attacks on civilians are unacceptable, and that violence must stop. The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and militant factions in Gaza, brokered by Egypt. The ceasefire must now be honoured to prevent the loss of further civilian life. The UK will support all efforts to promote dialogue and create a pathway towards sustainable peace.
On 23 January, the British High Commission in Yaoundé issued a statement condemning the torture and killing of journalist Martinez Zogo. We continue to urge the authorities to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr Zogo's death and ensure those responsible are brought to justice. Reporters Sans Frontiers ranks Cameroon 118th out of 180 countries on media freedom, suggesting that there remain challenges. The British High Commissioner continues to raise media freedom, including with the Cameroonian Deputy Foreign Minister on 7 February, and is engaging with journalist associations.
Any deal between the Taliban and China on trade and investment is a matter for them. China invests in many countries, including Afghanistan.
The FCDO strongly values the work of the BBC World Service in promoting UK values globally through its independent and impartial broadcasting. The Integrated Review recognised the BBC's foreign language services as part of what makes the UK a soft power superpower.
Through the World2020 programme, the FCDO funds 12 language services and provides enhancements to certain services funded by the Licence Fee, including BBC Arabic. The remaining 29 services, including BBC Persian, are fully funded by the Licence Fee.
The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from Government, and therefore decisions about how language services are delivered are for them to take. Under the plans they announced last year, no language services will close. Whilst radio broadcasts for BBC Arabic and BBC Persian are ceasing, TV broadcasting for these services will continue and investment in digital services will increase, reflecting audience trends. BBC have provided assurance that audiences in need will still be served, regardless of these changes.
The UK resolutely supports the Moldovan government and people in the face of Russian aggression and disinformation. On 21 November, I [Minister Docherty] represented the UK at the 3rd Moldova Support Platform in Paris and met Moldovan Foreign Minister Popescu. I reiterated the UK's support for Moldova as did the Foreign Secretary when he met Foreign Minister Popescu on 26 October. Through our alliances and direct support we are helping build a stronger, more resilient Moldova, including through our work on anti-corruption, counter-disinformation and reform for which in 2022 we announced £12 million of additional funding over the next 3 years.
The UK expects the Taliban to uphold its commitments made in the Doha agreement, including on preventing the use of Afghan territory by terrorist groups. We are monitoring closely the activity of groups such as the Haqqani network and their impact on the security of Afghanistan, the region and the UK.
We raise security on a regular basis with international counterparts and regional partners. On the 9th January Minister Mitchell raised regional security during a bilateral meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister and Foreign Minister at the International Conference on Climate Resilience in Pakistan.
The UK continues to monitor and challenge Iran's destabilising interference in Yemen and the region. Iran's sustained material support to the Houthis has stoked the conflict and undermined UN-led peace efforts. Reports of Afghan military personnel being deployed to Yemen constitutes a further escalation by Iran. It is vital that Yemen is not used as a theatre in which to escalate conflict in the region. We continue to encourage Iran to play a constructive role in the region.
Israel is an open democracy with a vibrant civil society. Each year, Tel Aviv hosts the largest Pride parade in the Middle East - the British Embassy in Tel Aviv will continue to use this platform to project the importance of open and tolerant societies that champion equality and diversity. We encourage all Israeli parties to demonstrate tolerance and respect for minority groups. The UK is committed to championing LGBT+ rights internationally and supporting those who defend them. Ministers and our overseas missions work closely with partners across Israel to advance LGBT+ equality and promote the implementation of new laws and policies that better protect LGBT+ people from violence and discrimination. This year, Israel took the decision to ban medical professionals engaging in so-called 'conversion therapy' for LGBT+ people. Since 2018, the UK has committed over £13.5 million in programmes to support the promotion and protection of LGBT+ people's rights around the world.
The UK Government supports environmentally friendly development in Gabon through our Forests, Governance, Markets and Climate programme. This supports the implementation of national forest governance reforms prioritised by the Government of Gabon, including the sustainable growth of the forest sector, traceability and transparency systems to ensure legality and sustainability, and strengthening multi stakeholder capacity in-country to follow up on the reform process. We are actively considering further work in the country, including through the new Biodiverse Landscapes Fund.
Environmentally sustainable development is a priority for the UK Government and across the Commonwealth we are delivering this through a wide portfolio of programmes. Our contributions to multilateral institutions focused on the environment and development, such as the Central African Forests Initiative, the Global Environment Facility, and the Green Climate Fund, are an important part of this effort.
The UK Government has supported Finnish and Swedish applications for NATO membership and engaged regularly with both countries and NATO Allies to discuss the accession process. The Prime Minister spoke to President Erdogan of Turkey on 20 May and 21 June to emphasise that Finland and Sweden would be valuable additions to the Alliance. The UK welcomes the agreement between Turkey, Finland and Sweden, announced on 28 June, which paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO. The UK also welcomes the formal invitation to both countries to join the Alliance, issued on 29 June. Their swift integration into NATO will make both countries safer, the Alliance stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure.
Greece and Turkey are close friends and allies of the UK. We encourage both countries to resolve issues through dialogue and we support measures aimed at de-escalation and reduction of tensions, including existing deconfliction mechanisms within NATO structures. The Prime Minister reiterated these messages in his engagements with both President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Mitsotakis at the NATO Summit in Madrid, and during calls on 21 June.
The UK recently signed the UK-Lithuania Joint Declaration deepening our ties and marking the 100th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations. The UK is focussing our increased and largest ever contribution to NATO in the Baltic region, in alignment with our leadership of the Joint Expeditionary Force. NATO's new significantly strengthened military posture bolsters our Eastern Flank, ensuring that every inch of Allied territory is defended. The UK fully supports Lithuania's implementation of EU sanctions against Russia and commends Lithuania's robust stance in deterring aggressors worldwide.
We are aware that the inability to export grain from Ukraine is having a detrimental impact on food security in some North African countries. We are engaging with the relevant authorities to understand what challenges they are facing, and working with international partners to find ways to get grain out of Ukraine.
East Africa is experiencing one of its most severe droughts in history with more than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia assessed to be acutely food insecure, according to the UN. The UK is a major humanitarian donor to the East Africa region. In 2022 to support communities affected by drought plus flooding and conflict the UK has provided £72 million to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Across the region UK funded humanitarian activities are making a difference and saving lives. In Kenya the UK is providing 26,000 children with life-saving nutritional support. In Ethiopia a further 200,000 children and pregnant and lactating women in southern and eastern regions will receive similar aid.
The UK also played a critical role in convening the recent UN Horn of Africa Drought Roundtable which took place in late April in Geneva. This included working with states in the region and the UN to ensure appropriate levels of participation. It helped to bring much needed focus on the drought and it mobilised roughly US$400 million in new funding.
Our response to the drought builds on long-established resilience building programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya this includes support to the Hunger Safety Programme, which has provided 600,000 people in drought prone areas with regular financial assistance. In Ethiopia, the UK funded Productive Safety Net Programme has benefitted some 8 million people via financial welfare provision and community public works projects. In Somalia the UK has been supporting over 220 rural communities in three large urban cities with durable solutions initiatives for internally displaced persons. These programmes, coupled with additional investments, have enabled the UK to reach nearly 8 million individuals as a part of its emergency humanitarian response.
The Foreign Secretary is in contact with her international counterparts on issues relating to Hong Kong, including the Chinese government. The UK has made clear our strong opposition to the National Security Law, which is being used to curtail freedoms, punish dissent and shrink the space for opposition, free press and civil society.
Hong Kong's way of life relies on respect for fundamental freedoms, an independent judiciary and the rule of law. We will continue to support the international laws, rules and norms that underpin the rules-based international system. As a co-signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, we will also continue to stand up for the people of Hong Kong, to call out the violation of their rights and freedoms, and to hold China to its international obligations.
Ministers and officials regularly discuss the situation in northern Syria with the Government of Turkey. We urge all parties to continue adherence to ceasefire agreements and international law. We remain committed to the Global Coalition Against Daesh. The UK is also in regular contact with Turkey on humanitarian conditions in north west Syria. We continue to play a leadership role in addressing humanitarian need both as a donor and through our role on the UN Security Council.
As with all taxes and allowances, the Government keeps the AMAP rate under review. In considering changes to the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) rate, the Government has to balance the responsible management of public finances, which fund our essential public services with support for individuals.
We will publish an equality impact assessment and economic impact assessment in respect of the Illegal Migration Bill in due course.
On 13 June, we announced the opening of the second and third pathways of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, after the first pathway opened in early January. In the first year of pathway three, the government will consider only eligible at-risk British Council, GardaWorld contractors and Chevening Alumni for resettlement.
Beyond the first year of pathway three, the government will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome wider groups of Afghans at risk. Further detail will be set out in due course.
The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.
There is no application process for the ACRS. Instead, eligible people will be prioritised and referred for resettlement to the UK under one of three ‘pathways’, as set out in the policy statement of 13 September 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement
o For Pathway One, individuals to be resettled under the ACRS will be some of those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, and Afghan family members of British Nationals. Those eligible who were called forward during the evacuation but were not able to board flights will also be resettled through Pathway One if they subsequently come to the UK.
o For Pathway Two, we are working at pace to start to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection from UNHCR. Those referred will be assessed for resettlement by UNHCR using their established processes.
o In the first year of Pathway Three, the government will offer ACRS places to eligible at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors and Chevening alumni. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be in touch with those eligible to support them through the next steps.
Beyond the first year, to respond to the challenging and complex situation in Afghanistan, the government will work with international partners and NGOs to design and deliver Pathway Three and allow us to welcome others at risk, as well as continuing to resettle refugees referred by UNHCR. Further information on future years will be made available in due course.
The numerous efforts of the GRU and other Russian agencies to interfere in democratic elections and domestic disputes around the world are well documented. GRU officers deployed nerve agents in Salisbury, whilst cyber hacking and targeted assassinations emanate from the Russian state.
The Secretary of State for Defence will next meet with his NATO counterparts on 14 February at the NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, where threats to NATO's interests will be discussed.
Current operational capacity demands are actively managed and assessed on a monthly basis to ensure that Defence’s requirements are continuously met. Future capacity needs are extensively modelled and subject to regular review, which informs the on-going SATCOM delivery programmes.
In formulating this response, it is assumed that ‘communications capacity’ refers to bandwidth.
We have provided funding to councils to enable them to provide support to individuals and families. This is un-ringfenced, which allows councils to use the funding as best suits the local area, including measures to support guests to access the private rental market. We are considering what further steps we can take to support guests to find accommodation after their sponsorship ends.
The Government has updated guidance for the Homes for Ukraine guests, hosts and councils setting out all the support options available to them and it can be found here.
The Ministry of Justice publishes data on prosecutions and convictions involving manslaughter and manslaughter due to diminished responsibility in the “Outcomes by Offence” tool as part of the Criminal Justice System Statistics publication.
In the “Outcomes by Offences” pivot tool, select the `Prosecutions and Convictions’ page, and then select “00405” (manslaughter due to diminished responsibility) and “00401” (manslaughter) from the HO offence code filter. A defendant, committed by the magistrates’ court to the Crown Court, may not complete both court processes in the same year. Each stage would therefore be counted by the particular court in the year where those proceedings took place or completed, meaning that in any given year, convictions may exceed prosecutions and sentences may not equate to the number of convictions. In addition, defendants who appear before both courts may also be convicted of a different offence at the Crown Court to that counted during proceedings in the magistrates’ court, where the offence may have changed after committal to the Crown Court.
The Ministry of Justice does not collate information separately on whether a prosecution also concerns one of domestic homicide. Data is unavailable on the partial defence of loss of control.