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Written Question
Asylum: Temporary Accommodation
Tuesday 16th January 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that local authorities are not adversely affected by the increase in the number of dispersal beds procured for asylum seekers; and whether his Department (a) is providing and (b) plans to provide additional financial support to local authorities to assist with associated costs.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

Full dispersal is a key priority for the Home Office, as well as the Government and aims to achieve a more fair and equitable accommodation spread of asylum seekers across the UK. We are committed to working closely with communities and stakeholders to ensure destitute asylum seekers are housed in safe, secure and suitable accommodation, and that they are treated with dignity while their asylum claim is considered.

There are monthly regional governance meetings, which offer an avenue for collaboration and opportunities for the Home Office, Accommodation providers, and local authorities to engage, drive progress and monitor the procurement of dispersed accommodation.

The Home Office agreed Full Dispersal Allocation Plans for every local authority and region in the UK, including Scotland and Wales, for 2023. The Home Office is exploring how to improve plans for 2024 and beyond, and local authorities will be contacted as soon as possible to discuss this in more detail.

It is recognised that housing asylum seekers, alongside the challenges of domestic homelessness, has further stretched local council services. In recognition of these pressures the Government has a significant funding package for local authorities who help to support asylum seekers in their area.


Written Question
Asylum: Temporary Accommodation
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with Scottish local authorities on the number of dispersed bed spaces for asylum seekers.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The Home Office continues to discuss full dispersal allocation plans through monthly governance meetings with Scottish local authorities and partners.


Written Question
Hemp: Licensing
Friday 9th June 2023

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on the licensing process of growing hemp.

Answered by Chris Philp - Minister of State (Home Office)

No Ministerial discussions have taken place to date. However, there is a strong working relationship between Defra and Home Office at official level, and topics such as the licensing regime for industrial hemp are discussed.

Cultivation of the cannabis plant, including the use of the whole plant, already takes place under licence in the UK. The Home Office’s Drug and Firearms Licensing Unit operates two licensing regimes to enable lawful cannabis cultivation, depending on the purpose for which the cannabis is cultivated, and the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the plants. Growers wishing to cultivate industrial hemp outdoors to use the fibre and seed can do so under the “industrial hemp” regime.


Written Question
Hallucinogens
Monday 24th April 2023

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been arrested for possession of (a) psilocybin, (b) psilocin and (c) magic mushrooms in each of the last five years.

Answered by Chris Philp - Minister of State (Home Office)

The Home Office collects and publishes data annually on arrests in England and Wales, available here: Police powers and procedures: Stop and search and arrests, England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

However, this data is collected by wider offence group, e.g. “drug offences”, therefore data on arrests for more specific drug offences is not available.


Written Question
Cannabis: Medical Treatments
Monday 27th March 2023

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to extend Target Pharmacy's licence for Bedrocan products.

Answered by Chris Philp - Minister of State (Home Office)

The Home Office Drug and Firearms Licensing Unit (DFLU) considers applications for premises and company specific controlled drug licences.

All applications are considered individually and on their merits, after undertaking a physical site visit- if one is needed- and reviewing the evidence submitted to support an application. A prospective licensee may need to demonstrate that product(s) meet the criteria to be considered medicines, and that there is an evidenced need for them. DFLU cannot comment on individual licence applications that may have been made to it.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain.


Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Telephone Services
Wednesday 18th May 2022

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has received any income as a result of calls to the passport hotline made by hon. Members' offices.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The HM Passports option on the MP enquiry line has received 797 calls between 4 April and 12 May 2022. We only have data from 4 April as this is when the specific passport option was made available. UKVI has not received any money as a result of calls to the MP Enquiry line, including the HM Passports specific option.


Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Telephone Services
Wednesday 18th May 2022

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many calls have been received by the UK Visas and Immigration hotline on passport cases from hon. Members' offices between 1 March and 12 May 2022.

Answered by Kevin Foster

The HM Passports option on the MP enquiry line has received 797 calls between 4 April and 12 May 2022. We only have data from 4 April as this is when the specific passport option was made available. UKVI has not received any money as a result of calls to the MP Enquiry line, including the HM Passports specific option.


Written Question
Homes for Ukraine Scheme: Telephone Services
Tuesday 17th May 2022

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much monies her Department has received as a result of calls to the Homes for Ukraine hotline made by hon. Members' offices.

Answered by Kevin Foster

842 - The MP enquiry line is an 0345 number which is a local rate number, so calls to this line cost the same as calls to a geographic number and will be dependent on your telephone service provider. UKVI does not charge for calls to this number.

843 - The Ukraine option on the MP enquiry line has received 3223 calls between 1 March and 11 May 2022

844 - UKVI has not received any money as a result of calls to the MP Enquiry line, including the Ukraine specific option.


Written Question
Homes for Ukraine Scheme: Telephone Services
Tuesday 17th May 2022

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many calls have been received by the Homes for Ukraine hotline from hon. Members' offices between 1 March and 11 May 2022.

Answered by Kevin Foster

842 - The MP enquiry line is an 0345 number which is a local rate number, so calls to this line cost the same as calls to a geographic number and will be dependent on your telephone service provider. UKVI does not charge for calls to this number.

843 - The Ukraine option on the MP enquiry line has received 3223 calls between 1 March and 11 May 2022

844 - UKVI has not received any money as a result of calls to the MP Enquiry line, including the Ukraine specific option.


Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Telephone Services
Tuesday 17th May 2022

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much it costs per minute to call the hon. Members telephone hotline for UK Visas and Immigration.

Answered by Kevin Foster

842 - The MP enquiry line is an 0345 number which is a local rate number, so calls to this line cost the same as calls to a geographic number and will be dependent on your telephone service provider. UKVI does not charge for calls to this number.

843 - The Ukraine option on the MP enquiry line has received 3223 calls between 1 March and 11 May 2022

844 - UKVI has not received any money as a result of calls to the MP Enquiry line, including the Ukraine specific option.