Royston Smith

Conservative - Southampton, Itchen

Royston Smith is not a member of any APPGs
3 Former APPG memberships
Child and Youth Crime, Lebanon, Pakistan
Foreign Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Oct 2017 - 3rd Jul 2018
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Oct 2017 - 3rd Jul 2018
Work and Pensions Committee
19th Dec 2016 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 18th May 2021
13:15
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No - against a party majority
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Thursday 29th April 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

The active travel grant funding made available to local authorities such as mine was very welcome, but unfortunately the Labour-run …

Written Answers
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Army: Coronavirus
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate the rollout of the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 6th July 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from ComRes, Four Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, for completing opinion surveys. All fees donated to local charities:

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Royston Smith has voted in 240 divisions, and 5 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Royston Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 253
20 Jan 2021 - National Security and Investment Bill - View Vote Context
Royston Smith voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Conservative Aye votes vs 350 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 269 Noes - 351
26 Apr 2021 - Financial Services Bill - View Vote Context
Royston Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative No votes vs 355 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 355 Noes - 271
27 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Royston Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 320 Noes - 256
28 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Royston Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
View All Royston Smith 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
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Defence
(4 debate interactions)
Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative)
(4 debate interactions)
Grant Shapps (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Transport
(3 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(6 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(5 debate contributions)
Department for International Trade
(2 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Fire Safety Act 2021 - Government Bill
(1,692 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Royston Smith's debates

Southampton, Itchen 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 Southampton, Itchen signature proportion
Petitions with most Southampton, Itchen signatures
Royston Smith has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Royston Smith

Royston Smith has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Royston Smith, 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.


Royston Smith has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Royston Smith has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Royston Smith has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Royston Smith has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


108 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether wedding ceremonies can take place at private wedding venues with up to 30 guests, under Step 3 of the roadmap out of covid-19 restrictions.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the data.

We understand the unique significance that marriages and civil partnerships hold in people’s lives, but we have to take necessary steps to limit transmission of COVID-19. This includes restrictions on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, as well as other forms of social contact. By their very nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

Alternative wedding ceremonies are permitted in line with the regular wedding or civil partnership rules, in the same locations, at each step.

From 29 March, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies have been able to take place indoors or outdoors in COVID-Secure venues that are not expressly closed by the Regulations, or where a broader exemption applies. From 12 April, 15 people are permitted to attend. This approach allows couples to marry in legally binding licensed venues for wedding ceremonies (where outdoor options are limited) while remaining in line with the reopening of sectors and venues as set out in the roadmap. Wedding ceremonies should follow government guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.

Receptions (of up to 15 people) can resume from 12 April. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. That is why receptions are only permitted outdoors at this Step and should be in a COVID-Secure venue.

From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-Secure venues that are not required to close, or where a broader exemption applies. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID-Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

Guidance for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-wedding-and-civil-partnership-receptions-and-celebrations

At each step, the limits on the number of attendees includes children of all ages, but not workers.

For further information, please refer to the guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil service jobs there have been in Southampton in each of the last 10 years.

Civil Service Statistics presents detailed information on the UK Civil Service workforce as at 31 March 2020, including on pay, diversity and location and is available here.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress has been made on implementing the Places for Growth programme.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his Ditchley Speech, the Government is determined to ensure the Civil Service is better distributed across the country. The Places for Growth Programme is working with departments and public bodies to firm up relocation plans and further details will be announced in due course. The Places for Growth programme is exploring opportunities across the whole of the UK.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Places for Growth Programme in assessing the potential for relocating government offices to Southampton.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his Ditchley Speech, the Government is determined to ensure the Civil Service is better distributed across the country. The Places for Growth Programme is working with departments and public bodies to firm up relocation plans and further details will be announced in due course. The Places for Growth programme is exploring opportunities across the whole of the UK.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the amount of GDP that came from the sale of illegal drugs in 2018-19.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she will take to ensure the UK meets its target of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Government is committed to delivering our target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and end the UK’s contribution to climate change.

We are a world leader in cutting emissions, having reduced emissions by 42% since 1990 while growing the economy by 72%.

We recognise the need to go further and, since legislating for net zero in June, the Government has continued to bring forward ambitious plans to support clean growth across a range of sectors. This includes a £250 million Clean Steel Fund, £400 million of investment in new charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and up to £1 billion additional funding to develop and embed the next generation of cutting-edge electric vehicle technologies.

Under the leadership of the newly created Cabinet Committee on Climate Change, chaired by the Prime Minister, we will be setting out ambitious plans throughout 2020 to strengthen our global leadership and seize the economic opportunities of clean growth for the whole country. The Committee will also oversee the UK’s preparations to host the crucial UN climate change summit, COP26, in November 2020.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made level of risk of covid-19 transmission of the reopening of (a) indoor children soft play centres and (b) mobile play bus businesses; and what the timeframe is for the reopening of those businesses.

On 13 August, the Government announced that indoor play and indoor soft play venues can open from 15 August. We have also been working with BALPPA, the trade body that represents the industry to develop guidance that lays out detailed measures that should be taken by indoor play and indoor soft play operators to make venues COVID-secure. These include closing ball pits and sensory areas, reducing capacity of venues and soft play frames, regular deep cleaning, pre-bookable timed sessions, increased sanitation, and a rigorous process to support track and trace. Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so. Since 4 July other indoor facilities, including some indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues have reopened.


As with all aspects of the Government’s response to COVID-19, we continue to be guided by public health considerations to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of Twitter on moderating hate speech towards people with Down’s Syndrome.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with Twitter on a range of issues, including hate speech. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to help ensure that people with Down’s Syndrome are able to use social media platforms without fear of bullying or harassment.

The government intends to introduce world-leading Online Harms legislation to make the UK the safest place to be online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users which will be overseen by an independent regulator. The Government published its Initial Consultation Response to the Online Harms White Paper in February 2020, and this set out our direction of travel on a number of key areas. We are aiming to publish a full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, and this will include more detailed proposals on online harms regulation.

In addition to this new legislation, it is important to make sure that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. DCMS and the Ministry of Justice have engaged the Law Commission on a second phase of their review of abusive and offensive online communications. The Law Commission will review existing communications offences and make specific recommendations about options for reform, to ensure that criminal law provides consistent and effective protection against such behaviour.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure more children from disadvantaged and care backgrounds have access to private school scholarships to support their charitable status.

In May 2018, the Department for Education and the Independent Schools Council (ISC) agreed a joint understanding designed to expand the participation of independent schools in various initiatives across the system. In particular, it encourages independent schools to offer a greater number of full bursary places, targeted at children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We continue to work constructively with the ISC on this.

The Department is working to increase the involvement of independent schools alongside boarding schools to open up more educational opportunities for children in need. We recently appointed the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation to deliver a project that will establish hubs in which independent schools, local authorities, social workers and Virtual School Heads, will work in partnership to promote school placements for children in need.

The Department continues to encourage and support new partnerships between independent and state funded schools. This programme aims to harness the resources and expertise found across sectors through the development of partnership activities, many of which are specifically tailored for pupils from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds. In line with the Department’s joint understanding with the ISC, we want to see more schools forming impactful and mutually beneficial collaborations across the areas of curriculum development, teaching quality, governance and leadership, and other targeted forms of school improvement to maximise the social benefits that can be generated for their communities.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of mandating online school teaching for one week before Christmas holidays to minimise the need for school students and teaching staff to self-isolate over Christmas.

It continues to be the Department’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of education and children’s future ability to learn.

As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, nurseries, schools and colleges should not change their Christmas holidays or close early this term: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-winter-plan. Parents should continue to send their children to school during term time. The leaders and staff of education settings have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep settings safe, and provide education.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of COVID-19 transmission. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.

If parents have concerns about their child attending school because they consider they or members of their household may have particular risk factors, they should discuss these with their school.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of effect on the feasibility of social distancing due to the covid-19 outbreak at after-school clubs operating at schools from September of the (a) number of children attending and (b) the number of children from different school bubbles attending those clubs.

The Department has published guidance on the full opening of schools from September. It advises that schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. Such provision will help ensure pupils have opportunities to re-engage with their peers and with the school, ensure vulnerable children have a healthy breakfast and are ready to focus on their lessons, provide enrichment activities, and also support working parents. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

We recognise that this will be logistically challenging for schools. Schools should carefully consider how they can make such provision work alongside the wider protective measures the guidance supports them to put in place, including keeping children within the year groups or smaller bubbles they are in during the school day, where possible. If it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day then schools should use small, consistent groups in their breakfast and after-school activities.

Schools can consult the guidance produced for summer holiday childcare, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak, as much of this will be useful in planning extra-curricular provision. This includes schools advising parents to limit the number of different wraparound providers they access, as far as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to schools running after-school clubs on the reopening of schools during the covid-19 outbreak in September.

The Department has published guidance on the full opening of schools from September. It advises that schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. Such provision will help ensure pupils have opportunities to re-engage with their peers and with the school, ensure vulnerable children have a healthy breakfast and are ready to focus on their lessons, provide enrichment activities, and also support working parents. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

We recognise that this will be logistically challenging for schools. Schools should carefully consider how they can make such provision work alongside the wider protective measures the guidance supports them to put in place, including keeping children within the year groups or smaller bubbles they are in during the school day, where possible. If it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day then schools should use small, consistent groups in their breakfast and after-school activities.

Schools can consult the guidance produced for summer holiday childcare, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak, as much of this will be useful in planning extra-curricular provision. This includes schools advising parents to limit the number of different wraparound providers they access, as far as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made on the effect of noise distraction at home on the effectiveness of online classes for (a) primary and (b) secondary school students during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has not conducted any assessment of the effect of noise disruption on the effectiveness of online classes.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to provide support for disadvantaged students that may find it difficult to study at home during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is ensuring that the most vulnerable children, including those who have a social worker or an Education, Health and Care Plan, are able to continue attending school during the COVID-19 outbreak, as school is a well-recognised protective factor.

We recognise that many schools have already started sharing resources for students who are at home and are grateful for this. We are working with the BBC and other partners to provide advice and support directly to schools, parents and carers including online resources parents can access for their children at home.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to provide mental health support to (a) students and (b) teachers that are suffering from stress as a result of exams and the covid-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday 18 March, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education announced that schools, colleges and early years settings will be closed to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children, in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.

They also confirmed that assessments and exams will no longer go ahead this academic year. We are working urgently with Ofqual and the awarding organisations to ensure that students still get the qualifications that they have been working towards.

The department is working with NHS England and Public Health England who are providing guidance on seeking mental health support, including guidance for parents and carers of children and young people on addressing mental health and wellbeing concerns during the COVID-19 outbreak. Where in place, Mental Health Support Teams are also actively considering how they continue to deliver a service to support children and young people.

We are continually engaging with education unions to ensure the school workforce get the support they need in these challenging times.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has published for schools on ensuring that disadvantaged pupils receive additional tuition after the school closures resulting from covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that many schools have already shared resources for children who are at home and are grateful for this.

We want to support parents and schools to ensure young people’s education can continue. Support available includes:

We are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the impact of school closures on pupils.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to educate young people on the Holocaust.

The Department is fully committed to Holocaust education. Every young person should learn about the Holocaust and the lessons it teaches us today, which is why it is unique in being the only subject named as a compulsory part of the history curriculum.

The Department further supports pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust by providing funding for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project - £2,126,437 in 2019-20 and £2,193,675 in 2020-21 and to the UCL Institute of Education’s Centre for Holocaust Education - £500,000 in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, match funded by the Pears Foundation. Additionally, £1.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year is being provided for the Bergen-Belsen Commemoration Programme to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with supermarket representatives on dedicated shopping times for pensioners during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely across Government, with representatives of the food supply chain and with local authorities and charities to ensure that everyone will have continued access to food.

To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to keep the food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest, for example by sharing distribution depots and delivery vans.

Supermarkets are recruiting more staff and limiting shopping hours so they have more time to restock. Some supermarkets are also prioritising delivery slots for those that need them most, including the elderly. They are working hard to deliver a crucial service to us all and have also issued a rallying call for everyone to play their part in the national effort to this response by looking out for their friends, family and neighbours. We will continue to work with industry to discuss any additional support government can provide.

The Government is working to ensure that up to 1.5 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus will have access to the food they need. A new Local Support System will make sure those individuals self-isolating at home and who are without a support network of friends and family will receive basic food and essential supplies. The Government is working with a partnership of the food industry, local government, local resilience forums and emergency partners, and voluntary groups, to ensure that essential items can start to be delivered as soon as possible to those who need it.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the decision of supermarkets to offer dedicated shopping times for pensioners during the coivid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely across Government, with representatives of the food supply chain and with local authorities and charities to ensure that everyone will have continued access to food.

To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to keep the food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest, for example by sharing distribution depots and delivery vans.

Supermarkets are recruiting more staff and limiting shopping hours so they have more time to restock. Some supermarkets are also prioritising delivery slots for those that need them most, including the elderly. They are working hard to deliver a crucial service to us all and have also issued a rallying call for everyone to play their part in the national effort to this response by looking out for their friends, family and neighbours. We will continue to work with industry to discuss any additional support government can provide.

The Government is working to ensure that up to 1.5 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus will have access to the food they need. A new Local Support System will make sure those individuals self-isolating at home and who are without a support network of friends and family will receive basic food and essential supplies. The Government is working with a partnership of the food industry, local government, local resilience forums and emergency partners, and voluntary groups, to ensure that essential items can start to be delivered as soon as possible to those who need it.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to protect marine life in the UK; and what steps the Government is taking with (a) counterparts in other countries and (b) representatives of marine life organisations to protect oceans around the world.

The UK is a global leader in protecting the seas, the ocean and our marine life, and works with counterparts in the UK and overseas to help achieve these aims.

Financed from the UK Official Development Assistance Budget, the Blue Planet Fund (BPF) will help eligible countries protect their marine resources from key human-generated stressors including plastic pollution, overfishing and habitat loss. The BPF will also embrace the ocean’s role in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Our work also includes the creation of 355 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protecting 25% of UK waters, including the recent designation of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones. On 8 June 2019 we announced a review into Highly Protected Marine Areas in English waters, which is due to report later this year.

Internationally, the UK has committed to continuing its leading role in global biodiversity conservation, including calling for at least 30 per cent of the ocean to be in MPAs by 2030 and negotiating hard to agree a global post-2020 framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity that is both ambitious and transformational. We strongly support a new Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction.

We are committed to protecting vulnerable marine species including through action to reduce bycatch in fisheries. We work through a number of multilateral environmental agreements, international bodies and regional Fisheries Management Organisations to strengthen international protection for vulnerable marine species.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve safety in shared spaces for (a) cyclists and (b) pedestrians while social distancing is required during the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring any changes to their road networks are safe and fit for purpose. The statutory guidance published on 9 May on reallocating road space set out the steps Government expects local authorities to take to provide more space to cycling and walking, and to enable social distancing, in response to Covid-19. It is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities

Alongside the guidance, the Department announced emergency active travel funding of £225M, to help local authorities make changes to their roads to enable more walking and cycling, and to enable social distancing.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for local authorities with information and examples of measures that may be undertaken to adapt and manage public spaces in order to help social distancing. It is available at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safer-public-places-urban-centres-and-green-spaces-covid-19

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date the first e-scooter trials will begin.

The Department will soon make the legal changes to enable trials. We are working with local authorities to help them put in place plans for trials. Trials are likely to start in different areas at different times, starting in the next few weeks.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of e-scooters on capacity levels in (a) cycle lanes and (b) other under-used road infrastructure.

The Department has not assessed the effects of trials of e-scooters on the capacity of cycle lanes or under-used road infrastructure. There is limited evidence available about the impact of e-scooters on the road network. This is why we are preparing to start trials of e-scooters. The trials will allow us to gather evidence about the impacts of e-scooters including which parts of road space they may be used. This will inform future policy for e-scooters and other micromobility vehicles.

The Department has recently laid regulations which allow local authorities to make Emergency Traffic Regulation Orders for measures needed to deal with the effects of coronavirus. Alternative publicity arrangements are also now available for other types of Order. These regulations can be used to create new cycles lanes, which e-scooters could use.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of car journeys that will replaced by the use of e-scooters in the upcoming trials.

There is limited evidence available about the impact of e-scooters on the road network. Recent evidence from European cities suggests around 15-20% of e-scooter journeys could replace journeys by car.

The trials will allow us to gather evidence about the impacts of e-scooters including what mode shift they cause. This will inform future policy for e-scooters and other micromobility vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what evidence his Department assessed when deciding to set the speed limit for e-scooters in forthcoming trials at 12.5mph.

The Department’s consultation on the rules for e-scooters proposed a speed limit of 12.5 mph. The Department considered evidence available from international organisations, published reports and considered the rules for e-scooter use in other countries. We also took account of the responses received from the Future of Transport regulatory review call for evidence. The proposed speed limit also directly influences what other rules should apply to the use of e-scooters.

There is limited evidence on the impact of different speed limits for e-scooters and a range of speed limits apply in other countries.

However, we are currently analysing the responses to the consultation.

The trials will allow us to gather evidence about the about the use of e-scooters and their effects on other road users. This will inform future policy for e-scooters and other micromobility vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure that roads are (a) accessible to and (b) safe for electric scooters.

We are considering this closely and recognise that people want to take advantage of the opportunities personal vehicles, such as electric scooters can offer. The Department for Transport is committed to encouraging innovation in transport as well as improving road safety, but new modes of transport must be safe and secure by design.

The Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, published on 19 March 2019 includes a Regulatory Review to address the challenges of ensuring our transport infrastructure and regulation are fit for the future.

The Strategy can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-mobility-urban-strategy

The Department will use the Regulatory Review to examine current legislation and determine from the evidence what is needed to make the necessary changes for a safe and healthy future. One strand of this will look at options for enabling micromobility devices, and a consultation will be issued in due course.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect on commuters of the strike on Southwestern Railway.

The Department has been in regular contact with SWR since the Industrial Action was announced by RMT, to ensure that SWR was taking all possible steps to mitigate the impact of the RMT’s disproportionate action on passengers and provide as many services and as much capacity as possible during the strikes.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of allocating funding for driving lessons for jobseekers to help enable them to find work.

No assessment has been made of the potential merits of allocating specific funding for driving lessons.

Service Leaders in Jobcentres can allocate funding for driving lessons through the Flexible Support Fund, where they feel this is an appropriate use of funds. Each request is considered on a case by case basis.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial support is available for people who are self-employed in the event that they are required to self-quarantine due to covid-19 concerns.

Self-employed people who are unable to work due to coronavirus concerns may be able to claim Universal Credit and/or new-style Employment and Support Allowance depending on their circumstances.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Rule of Six restriction on social contact that will come into place on 29 March 2021, as part of the easing of covid-19 restrictions, includes infants and children.

Subject to Parliamentary approval of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, the ‘rule of six’ will apply to children of all ages. In recognition of the need for greater flexibility for families, the Regulations provide for people to meet outdoors in a group larger than six people if everyone present is from the same two households.

The Government will keep the rule of six restrictions under review in keeping with its commitment to remove current restrictions based on the data.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of current low levels of covid-19 infection in the Azores on its status as a red list country.

Azores was removed from England’s red list on 19 March. The flight and maritime ban from Portugal, including Madeira and the Azores, has also been removed, following evidence that shows the risk of importing a variant of concern from these destinations has reduced.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prioritising kinship carers in the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Imuunisation (JCVI) have advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, to those aged 50 and above, in order of age and clinical risk factors, and those with underlying health conditions, which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.

Unpaid carers, including kinship carers, who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable, are included in the JCVI’s priority group 6 for phase 1 of the rollout.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the work of the General Dentistry Council during the covid-19 outbreak.

The General Dental Council (GDC) is the body responsible for the regulation of dentists and dental care practitioners in the United Kingdom and is independent of Government.

The GDC’s Council sets the organisation’s strategy and monitors its effectiveness and efficiency on an ongoing basis. The GDC published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019 on 18 June 2020. Alongside the retrospective view of the GDC’s performance, in light of the impact of COVID-19, updated information was provided where appropriate.

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) carries out annual reviews of all the healthcare statutory regulators. The PSA will shortly be undertaking the next review of the GDC for the period 2019-20 with a view to publishing its report later this year. The review will take account of the GDC’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of patients that will require dental treatment in the next six months; and what the average number of patients requiring dental treatment was in each of the last five years.

Data is not currently available on the number of patients that accessed emergency dental services during the COVID-19 lockdown. Data is collected in the format requested on the number of patients requiring dental treatment. Data is collected on the number of patients see by a National Health Service dentist in, for adults, a 24-month period and, for children, a 12 month period. This data is published every six months. The latest data for the period ending 31 December 2019 is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2019-20-biannual-report

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for commissioning primary care dentistry to meet local need and as such are responsible for assessments of need. NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres would begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety. The letter provided guidance on prioritisation of services to meet need. The letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the equity of the level of the Annual Retention Fee practising dentists paid to the General Dentistry Council (a) during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) for the remainder of the 2020-21 financial year.

The General Dental Council (GDC) is an independent regulator and is therefore responsible for determining the level of the annual fee it charges for registration.

On 20 May 2020, the Chair of the GDC wrote to all registrants to advise that the GDC would not be making any changes to its Annual Retention Fee, or introducing an emergency payment by instalments scheme, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GDC uses the income from fees to carry out its statutory duties. In October 2019, the GDC reduced its Annual Retention Fee for all dental professionals following a strategic review of its operating processes and costs and a public consultation on its three-year costed plan.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how data on hospital admissions classified as obesity-related is recorded in NHS statistics.

Hospital Episodes Statistics use World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases v.10 (ICD-10). Within ICD-10 obesity is assigned as code E66 and this will be recorded on any episode of care where a clinical diagnosis of obesity has been made.

NHS Digital states that obesity codes may be used but not interpreted by the coder and only be coded when a diagnosis of obesity is recorded in the medical record. This means that where Body Mass Index has been recorded in the medical record, it must not be used to assign a E66 code. A clinical coder must always refer to the responsible consultant to confirm the clinical significance of a test result.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce increasing levels of obesity.

Public Health England (PHE) is working to address excess weight and obesity and support the Government’s aim to halve childhood obesity and reduce the gap in obesity rates between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030, set out in the Childhood Obesity Plan (2016) and follow up Chapter 2 (2018).

PHE is doing this by working with the food industry on the reduction and reformulation programme to make everyday food and drinks healthier; enabling healthier weight environments, including supporting local authorities to take a place-based systems approach to obesity; supporting the local delivery of evidence-based, effective and sustainable weight management services; and supporting children and families through the use of digital technologies.

The Government recently published recovery strategy, ‘Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’ (2020) reaffirms the Government’s commitment to the obesity agenda going forward. The Strategy can be viewed at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884760/Our_plan_to_rebuild_The_UK_Government_s_COVID-19_recovery_strategy.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect of high levels of obesity on NHS services.

The Government has outlined steps to halve childhood obesity rates by 2030 through cutting sugar from half the drinks on sale, funding more opportunities for children to exercise in schools, and working with councils to tackle child obesity locally through ground-breaking programmes.

It is also critical to understand how different factors, including obesity, could be disproportionally impacting how people are affected by COVID-19.

Public Health England launched a review into the factors affecting health outcomes from COVID-19, to include ethnicity, gender and obesity. This will be published by the end of May.

As outlined in the United Kingdom Government’s Recovery Strategy, the Government is committed to investing in preventative and personalised solutions to ill-health, empowering individuals to live healthier and more active lives, which will help to mitigate pressures faced by NHS services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to work with the food and drink industry on reducing the sugar and salt content of their products.

Public Health England (PHE) oversees the sugar and wider reduction and reformulation programme on behalf of the Government, as set out in chapters one and two of the childhood obesity plan and the 2019 Prevention Green Paper. PHE runs the programme, which includes food and drink industry engagement, to achieve the programme’s targets. PHE monitors and regularly reports on their progress.

In 2019, PHE published its second report on industry progress towards achieving the Government’s ambition on sugar reduction. The report shows a mixed picture of progress for food categories in scope and relevant businesses. Continued progress was reported on drinks that are subject to the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. The report is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sugar-reduction-progress-between-2015-and-2018

PHE published the first detailed assessment of progress for the salt reduction programme in December 2018. PHE is now working on the development of revised salt targets as set out in the Government’s Prevention Green Paper ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’. Further information can be viewed at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/salt-targets-2017-progress-report

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/advancing-our-health-prevention-in-the-2020s

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people attended (a) A&E and (b) GP surgeries as a result of illegal drug use in 2018-19.

The number of people who attended accident and emergency and general practitioner surgeries as a result of illegal drug use is not recorded centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who have self-isolated as a result of having the symptoms of covid-19 will be required to self-isolate again in the event that those symptoms return.

People will have to self-isolate again if symptoms return. Work is going on to look at testing for immunity to the virus, but until that exists, people with COVID-19 symptoms, and their household members, must stay at home. Staying at home will help control the spread of the virus to friends, the wider community, and particularly the most vulnerable. The stay at home guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to dentists on preventing infection during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is working to support and protect all our frontline National Health Service health and care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, including dentists. NHS England issued a series of guidance to ensure dental teams safety and their role in supporting the wider NHS and social care system during the pandemic.

NHS dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each NHS region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open across England. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The urgent dental centres are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety. A copy of the letter that was published can be found on the NHS England website.

The latest COVID-19 guidance for dental practices can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/dental-practice

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requesting that cruise line companies make cruise ships available for use as make-shift hospitals during the covid-19 outbreak.

A number of options continue to be reviewed for accommodating patients with COVID-19. Whilst cruise ships may provide one option for supporting patient beds, the configuration of cruise ship bedrooms make the treatment of patients with COVID-19 potentially more difficult with regard to staffing.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how his Department’s advice for covid-19 and the 2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak differs.

Initial symptoms of H1N1 swine flu and COVID-19 are very similar, so laboratory tests are required to confirm the nature of the disease.

The advice to protect against H1N1 swine flu is to get vaccinated as there is a suitable vaccination available on the market. While United Kingdom scientists have started testing a new vaccine for COVID-19, to date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat it. People are advised to follow guidance set out at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the coronavirus does not enter the UK.

We have been closely monitoring the situation in Wuhan and China more widely and we have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures. Our approach has at all times been guided by the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty. Professor Whitty and Public Health England, aided by independent experts, are in close contact with their international counterparts, and are continually monitoring the scientific evidence as it emerges.

The United Kingdom is well prepared for these types of outbreaks – we are one of the first countries in the world to develop a test for the new virus.

We can confirm two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus. The patients are receiving specialist National Health Service care and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus. We are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.

We are advising people that if they have returned from Wuhan or anywhere in Hubei province in the last 14 days they should:

- Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu;

- Call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city;

- If in Northern Ireland, call the NI Direct special emergency telephone number 0300 200 7885;

- To follow this advice even if they do not have symptoms of the virus; and

- If they have travelled from anywhere else in China (not including Macao or Hong Kong) to the UK in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, they should immediately self-isolate, even if symptoms are minor and call NHS111.

Public safety is the top priority. Anyone who has been repatriated from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the NHS is able to adopt new technology to enable the effective delivery of services.

The Department’s technology vision sets the foundation for a new generation of digital and technology services focused on user need and interoperability, whilst safeguarding patient privacy and security. This will support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan, transforming the health system by providing more integrated and person-centred care.

We have made significant investment in new technology for the National Health Service to support service delivery since 2013. This includes funds such as Safer Hospitals Safer Wards, Integrated Digital Care Records, Nurse Technology, Local Health and Care Records Exemplar, Electronic Prescribing and Global Digital Exemplars.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle loneliness and social isolation in older people.

The Government recognises that loneliness can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of older people.

The Government’s Loneliness Strategy ‘A connected society – A strategy for tackling loneliness – laying the foundations for change’ (published on 15 October 2008) acknowledged that tackling loneliness is complex and a long-term challenge, requiring action across many fronts. It brought together Government, local government, public services, the voluntary and community sector and businesses to identify opportunities to tackle loneliness and build more integrated and resilient communities.

Work in other areas can also help to tackle loneliness and social isolation. For example, the Government’s £11.5 million Building Connections Fund will see the Government working with charitable trusts, foundations, and others to support projects that are able to prevent or reduce loneliness in older people as well as other age groups. Similarly, through our Ageing Society Grand Challenge, the Government will harness innovative products and services to help people remain healthy and independent for longer, continue to participate through work and within their communities, and stay connected to others.

The Government remains fully committed to working with others to combat loneliness and social isolation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans his Department has to revise the covid-19 travel advice on cruises.

The FCDO remains fully committed to working closely with the Department for Transport and key industry leaders following the publication of the second Global Travel Taskforce report. International cruises will restart alongside the wider restart of international travel, in line with the "traffic light" system. This will be subject to continued satisfactory evidence from the domestic restart and cruising in other countries. Travel advice will continue to be informed by the latest public health risk assessments.

For now, national restrictions on international travel remain in place, including only permitting travel abroad for a limited number of reasons set out in law. Holiday travel is not included.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure those responsible in Afghanistan for the (a) attack on a maternity hospital and (b) other targeted attacks on the Hazara community are brought to justice.

The UK Government was appalled by the attack on a maternity hospital in Kabul last month. The Foreign Secretary and the Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, publicly condemned the attack. The UN Security Council made clear the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, in its statement of 13 May. We commend this. We continue to support the Afghan National Defence and Security Force (ANDSF), helping them combat the threat from insurgent groups. All ethnic and religious groups, including the Hazaras, have equal rights and an important role to play in Afghanistan's political decision-making. At the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Afghan Government accepted our recommendation that they establish an independent mechanism to assess how security protection can be improved for religious and ethnic minorities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government is providing humanitarian aid to assist Australia in tackling its bushfire crisis.

As I set out in my Oral Statement of 9 January in the House of Commons, we have deployed a team of UK experts to Australia.

The team includes a senior member of UK Fire and Rescue Service, a medical specialist in trauma and mental health, and a military liaison officer specialising in crisis response.

They have been working with Australian counterparts to establish what further UK support will be of most use to Australian emergency responders, and ensure that such contributions are fully integrated with Australian efforts.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help de-escalate tensions between Iran and the US.

Following the death of Qasem Soleimani, we urged all parties to de-escalate tensions and find a diplomatic way through the crisis. We are clear that calls for retaliation or reprisals will lead to more violence in the region, which is in no one’s interest. The Prime Minister has spoken to President Trump, President Rouhani, President Macron, Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi in recent days, and will have calls with other leaders in the coming days to encourage de-escalation. ​

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making leaseholders of high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding who are required to complete a self-assessment tax return exempt from any taxes due as a result of that assessment.

The Government is investing over £5 billion in building safety, which will help protect leaseholders from cladding remediation costs in high-rise residential buildings. On 10 February 2021, the Government announced a 5-point plan for investment in building safety, with £3.5 billion earmarked for the removal of unsafe cladding on high-rise residential buildings, as well as a new finance scheme for cladding removal on buildings between 11 and 18 metres where no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month. In addition, the Government has proposed a new ‘Gateway 2’ industry levy and residential property developer tax to ensure developers contribute to costs. These measures will provide certainty to residents and lenders, boosting the housing market and helping to ensure that developers, investors and building owners who have the means make a fair contribution to costs of remediation, without passing on costs to leaseholders.

No consideration has been made for a self-assessment exemption for leaseholders of high rise buildings with unsafe cladding.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that women who previously took maternity leave are not unfairly treated in their applications to the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

The Government is aware that some people’s eligibility for SEISS was affected if they had taken time out of their trade while pregnant or to care for their new-born or newly adopted child, and so had not submitted a tax return for 2018-19 or had trading profits in 2018-19 that were less than their other income and were therefore ineligible for the SEISS.

Taking parental leave does not mean that the trade has ceased and should not therefore affect a person’s eligibility for SEISS if they intend to resume trading after the leave is taken.

In June 2020 the Government announced that HMRC would determine the eligibility and grant amount for people in this situation using either their 2018-19 self-assessment return or the average of their 2016-17 to 2018-19 returns. Claimants still had to meet the other standard eligibility criteria for support under the SEISS.

The Government has now announced a fourth and fifth round of SEISS. HMRC now have tax returns covering 2019-20, and will include these returns when calculating eligibility for the SEISS and the grant amount. The arrangements that ensured that people were not made ineligible for previous rounds of the SEISS as a result of parenthood have been replicated for the fourth and fifth rounds.

For those who had a new child in 19/20 which either affected their trading profits or total income or meant that they did not submit a Self-Assessment tax return in 2019/20, they may still be able to make a claim.

If new parents are in this position and are applying for SEISS 4, their eligibility will be determined based on either their 2018-19 self-assessment return or an average of their 2016-17 to 2018-19 returns, to determine both their eligibility and grant calculation. They will also need to meet the other standard eligibility criteria for support under the SEISS.

The amount of the SEISS grant is determined based on the applicant’s average profits from self-employment in the previous four tax years, as reported through their tax returns. By calculating the grant on a four-year average of profits, the SEISS supports individuals who may have had fluctuating profits for any reason and gives the best average of an individual's usual trading profits.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the insurance industry promptly settles claims for business interruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly and settle claims quickly once settlement terms are agreed. The FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

The Government is pleased that a final judgment has been reached by the Supreme Court in the FCA Business Interruption test case and trust that this will provide the legal clarity urgently sought by policyholders. The FCA has set out its expectation that insurers should move quickly to resolve claims as determined by the judgment, making interim payments wherever possible.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of a waking watch in tackling fire safety in high-rise residential buildings.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is for the Responsible Person to ensure appropriate fire safety measures are in place within their building. This can include, where relevant, ensuring that there is a waking watch in place, that this is tested and works. Local Fire and Rescue Services and other enforcers of the Fire Safety Order can take action where appropriate if the responsible person fails to comply with their duties under the order.

The revised guidance simultaneous evacuation guidance produced by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) reflects best practice and can be located at https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance.

The guidance encourages greater use of more cost-effective measures such as alarm systems to replace or reduce dependency on waking watch wherever possible. This is further supported by the publication of the costs of waking watches on 16 October, which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-waking-watch-costs

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many migrants have attempted to illegally cross the English Channel since the start of 2020.

People crossing the Channel to enter the UK have come from a safe country – usually France – and so there is no reason why they need to make this trip in order to claim asylum. Those fleeing persecution should stay in the first safe country they enter.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

The number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.? These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

It should be noted that, by definition, we cannot be certain of the total number of people attempting to cross the English Channel via clandestine means.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many migrants have been intercepted by Border Force whilst attempting to illegally cross the English Channel since the start of 2020.

People crossing the Channel to enter the UK have come from a safe country – usually France – and so there is no reason why they need to make this trip in order to claim asylum. Those fleeing persecution should stay in the first safe country they enter.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

The number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.? These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many migrants have illegally crossed the English Channel since the beginning of 2020.

People crossing the Channel to enter the UK have come from a safe country – usually France – and so there is no reason why they need to make this trip in order to claim asylum. Those fleeing persecution should stay in the first safe country they enter.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

The number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.? These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many migrants who have illegally crossed into the UK by boat have been rescued by Border Force or other authorities since the beginning of 2020.

People crossing the Channel to enter the UK have come from a safe country – usually France – and so there is no reason why they need to make this trip in order to claim asylum. Those fleeing persecution should stay in the first safe country they enter.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

The number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450.? These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures for all months will be published at a later date, once they have been verified and fully quality assured.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data her Department holds on what the main source countries were of illegal (a) opiates, (b) cannabis and (c) cocaine smuggled into the UK in 2018-19.

Information relating to the number of illicit drug users, the economic and social costs of illicit drugs and source countries for drug production is provided in the Dame Carol Black Independent Review of Drugs evidence pack on pages 17, 30, 33 and 41, published on 27 February 2020.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) opiate, (b) cannabis and (c) cocaine users there were in England in 2018-19.

Information relating to the number of illicit drug users, the economic and social costs of illicit drugs and source countries for drug production is provided in the Dame Carol Black Independent Review of Drugs evidence pack on pages 17, 30, 33 and 41, published on 27 February 2020.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the EU Settlement Scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme makes it straightforward for EU citizens and their family members to obtain the UK immigration status they need in order to stay here, guaranteeing their rights in UK law. Those resident here by 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to apply. Applicants only need to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.

The scheme is working well: according to the latest internal figures, more than 2.8 million applications have been received. The latest published statistics for the scheme are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine for serving soldiers.

Defence is working closely with other Government Departments to ensure Service personnel are not disadvantaged in their access to the COVID-19 vaccine, whether serving in the UK or overseas. All deploying personnel will be offered vaccinations either in the UK or during their deployment in line with the national vaccines roll-out.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to issue the guidance announced on 10 February 2021 for the finance scheme to provide reassurance for leaseholders in buildings between 11 and 18 metres, or 4 to 6 storeys, for cladding removal.

The Government is conscious of the need to make any financing scheme affordable for leaseholders, which is why we have said that the financing scheme will have a £50 a month cap. Further details of the financing scheme will be made available as soon as we are able.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has made an assessment of the adequacy of financial advice services available to leaseholders of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding that are facing interim remedial costs and increased building insurance premiums.

The Government recognises residents’ concerns about the cost of waking watch measures. That is why we collected and published information on waking watch costs, available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-waking-watch-costs. The data also illustrates that alarm systems can provide a more cost-effective means of protecting resident safety. We are therefore providing £30 million in funding to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding. The Waking Watch Relief Fund opened on 31 January 2021 to all eligible Social sector buildings in England, and all private sector buildings except those in Greater London. All applications have now been submitted and are being processed. In Greater London, the fund opened on 18 March for 6 weeks and is being administered by the GLA. Common alarm systems will enable costly waking watch measures to be replaced in buildings waiting to have unsafe cladding removed.

We are aware that some leaseholders have received significant increases in their insurance premiums where their block has building safety concerns. We are working with the insurance industry to understand this issue and are engaging with a range of proposals put forward to address it. We are encouraging insurers to take a proportionate approach to risk.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the mental health of leaseholders at high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding of their homes being classed as not fire-safe.

MHCLG has regular engagement with leaseholder groups and recognises the effect on residents living in high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding. That is why the Government is investing over £5 billion to remediate high rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding.

Mental health is one of the Government’s top priorities and we are working across Government to ensure that all people, regardless of their residential situation, get the help and support they need. Where residents of buildings fitted with flammable cladding need mental health support, they should make contact with their GP to discuss these issues so they may be referred to mental health services as appropriate. In addition, we are working with the NHS, Public Health England and MIND, develop resources signposting all residents to key services to help those concerned about their mental health and financial situation.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of offering council tax exemption to leaseholders at high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding.

The Government currently has no plans to introduce new council tax exemptions. Council tax contributes to a range of vital public services, including those which are at the forefront of the Covid-19 response. We are providing over £5 billion to speed up the removal of unsafe cladding, making homes safer, more quickly.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what financial support is available to leaseholders at high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding who are issued with increased insurance premiums as a result of their buildings being classed as not fire-safe.

We are aware that some leaseholders have received significant increases in their insurance premiums where their block has building safety concerns. We are working with the insurance industry to understand this issue and are engaging with a range of proposals put forward to address it. We are encouraging insurers to take a proportionate approach to risk.

With an unprecedented over £5 billion investment in building safety, including £3.5 billion announced in February 2021, leaseholders will now need to pay either nothing, or up to £50 per month towards fixing the problem. This helps gives lenders certainty both that the cladding will be remediated, and of the total potential financial implications for a leaseholder and their property.

This announcement is therefore an important step towards restoring confidence in the housing market. It provides certainty for lenders where unsafe cladding is present and complements the wider work we have underway to continue to develop a proportionate risk-based regulatory environment on fire safety.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of high-rise residential buildings that will benefit from the Waking Watch Relief Fund.

We estimated that the £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund will pay for the installation of alarms in between 300 to 460 buildings and will benefit between 17,400 and 26,680 leaseholders. These estimates are based on fire alarm costs data provided by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) with additional modelling to account for the average number of dwellings in buildings over 18 metres. These are published in the Waking Watch costs data release which is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-waking-watch-costs . The Fund is not intended as a substitute for swift remediation of unsafe cladding for which the Government is providing £5 billion financial support.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a specific fund for waking watchers for unsafe high-rise residential buildings with a complex structural integrity which potentially require both waking watchers and alarms.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has been clear in its guidance published on 1 October 2020 that, where a building moves to a simultaneous evacuation fire safety strategy, building owners should move to install common fire alarm systems as quickly as possible to reduce or remove dependence on waking watches. The Waking Watch Relief Fund follows the NFCC guidance that alarms are safer and more cost effective. The specification of suitable alarm systems is set out in the guidance for the Fund which also follows NFCC advice. Alarms must meet that specification in order to be funded or if not give evidence as to why from the Fire and Rescue Service.

The Fund is specifically designed to remove the need for waking watch only. When waking watch is replaced with a common fire alarm system the NFCC guidance states that there may still be a need for a 24-hour presence of one or more trained persons to undertake the role of evacuation management – which is a different requirement and will depend on the individual circumstances of a particular building. We anticipate that in most circumstances the evacuation management role is not required, or it may require a reduced number of staff from a full waking watch. However, neither a waking watch or an alarm system is an adequate substitute for the swift remedial action which is why the Government is providing over £5 billion in grant funding for the remediation of unsafe cladding systems.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure fire alarms are an sufficient replacement for waking watchers in all qualifying buildings for the Waking Watch Relief Fund.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has been clear in its guidance published on 1 October 2020 that, where a building moves to a simultaneous evacuation fire safety strategy, building owners should move to install common fire alarm systems as quickly as possible to reduce or remove dependence on waking watches. The Waking Watch Relief Fund follows the NFCC guidance that alarms are safer and more cost effective. The specification of suitable alarm systems is set out in the guidance for the Fund which also follows NFCC advice. Alarms must meet that specification in order to be funded or if not give evidence as to why from the Fire and Rescue Service.

The Fund is specifically designed to remove the need for waking watch only. When waking watch is replaced with a common fire alarm system the NFCC guidance states that there may still be a need for a 24-hour presence of one or more trained persons to undertake the role of evacuation management – which is a different requirement and will depend on the individual circumstances of a particular building. We anticipate that in most circumstances the evacuation management role is not required, or it may require a reduced number of staff from a full waking watch. However, neither a waking watch or an alarm system is an adequate substitute for the swift remedial action which is why the Government is providing over £5 billion in grant funding for the remediation of unsafe cladding systems.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to backdate access to the Waking Watch Fund for buildings that have installed alarms pre-dating the 17 December 2020.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund is designed to incentivise buildings to install a common alarm system and to reduce the dependency on Waking Watch. As such the Fund does not cover the retrospective costs of alarms installed before the Fund was announced on 17 December 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will backdate applications to the Waking Watch Fund for buildings that had installed alarms before 17 December 2020.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund is designed to incentivise buildings to install a common alarm system and to reduce the dependency on Waking Watch. As such the Fund does not cover the retrospective costs of alarms installed before the Fund was announced on 17 December 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many Waking Watch Relief Fund applications have been successful to date.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund opened for applications for buildings in England, except private sector buildings in London, on 31 January 2021 and closed on 14 March. Applications received are currently being processed. For private sector buildings in London the Fund opened on 18 March 2021 and remains open until 30 April. We will publish complete data on the Waking Watch Relief Fund, including the number of applications.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many Waking Watch Relief Fund applications his Department has received to date.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund opened for applications for buildings in England, except private sector buildings in London, on 31 January 2021 and closed on 14 March. Applications received are currently being processed. For private sector buildings in London the Fund opened on 18 March 2021 and remains open until 30 April. We will publish complete data on the Waking Watch Relief Fund, including the number of applications.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of new fire extinguishing technologies, such as internal ventilation systems, to delay or prevent fires from spreading.

The Government continues to assess new and emerging fire protection technologies through both ongoing industry engagement and through participation in the development of standards (e.g. the British Standards Institution committee FSH/18 - fixed fire-fighting systems).

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has made in response to the potential future identification of residential buildings being found not to be fire safe.

Through the Building Safety Bill, the Fire Safety Bill and changes to the Fire Safety Order, we are proposing a package of legislative changes that are going to ensure the problems identified with the current building and fire safety regime are rectified and residents are safe.

To focus the regime on risk, the intention is the scope of the new building safety regime will start with residential buildings with rates of fire which are considerably higher: apartment blocks over 18m. The new building regime is designed to be flexible, and to follow a proportionate, risk-based approach that keeps the scope of the regime under review by the new building safety regulator.

The building safety regulator will also have wide responsibilities for overseeing the performance of building control bodies and the safety of all buildings including identifying patterns of regulatory failure and making recommendations for improving standards. This will drive up continuous improvement in the performance of all buildings to ensure the safety of occupants.

We are working with Home Office to ensure the new regime aligns with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, known as the Fire Safety Order (FSO), which covers fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises including where vulnerable people live and sleep. We will ensure that the two regimes work cohesively as the scope of the regulator expands.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the average time taken to approve applications to the Building Safety Fund.

The rate at which applications to the Building Safety Fund are advanced will be dependent on the readiness of building owners to provide the required information. Following registration, MHCLG contacts building owners or the responsible person to ask for supporting evidence for their technical eligibility for the fund. This will include evidence of the height of the building and materials that are in place.

It is disappointing that almost 900 building owners – who are responsible for making sure their buildings are safe – have been unable to provide any of this basic information. We have engaged with registrants and industry bodies to understand the challenges they have in meeting our deadlines and criteria requirements. To address their concerns we have extended the deadlines for the fund to the end of June 2021, giving building owners more time to submit full applications but still reflecting the importance of these critical safety works.

As of 5 March 2021, 978 decisions on the Building Safety Fund have been made on the basis of sufficient supporting information received. Of these, 624 registered buildings are proceeding with an application for full funding and 354 have been shown to be ineligible. An additional 349 registrations have been withdrawn by applicants. So far, the total amount allocated from the Building Safety Fund is £226.8 million. Further details can be found on the Building Safety Fund Registrations Statistics at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics.

We are also providing expert construction consultation support to actively engage with those planning and undertaking remediation work under the Building Safety Fund to increase the pace of remediation. We expect all buildings with an existing application to be started on site by September 2021.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his Department's timeframe is for the outcome of each Building Safety Fund application.

The rate at which applications to the Building Safety Fund are advanced will be dependent on the readiness of building owners to provide the required information. Following registration, MHCLG contacts building owners or the responsible person to ask for supporting evidence for their technical eligibility for the fund. This will include evidence of the height of the building and materials that are in place.

It is disappointing that almost 900 building owners – who are responsible for making sure their buildings are safe – have been unable to provide any of this basic information. We have engaged with registrants and industry bodies to understand the challenges they have in meeting our deadlines and criteria requirements. To address their concerns we have extended the deadlines for the fund to the end of June 2021, giving building owners more time to submit full applications but still reflecting the importance of these critical safety works.

As of 5 March 2021, 978 decisions on the Building Safety Fund have been made on the basis of sufficient supporting information received. Of these, 624 registered buildings are proceeding with an application for full funding and 354 have been shown to be ineligible. An additional 349 registrations have been withdrawn by applicants. So far, the total amount allocated from the Building Safety Fund is £226.8 million. Further details can be found on the Building Safety Fund Registrations Statistics at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics.

We are also providing expert construction consultation support to actively engage with those planning and undertaking remediation work under the Building Safety Fund to increase the pace of remediation. We expect all buildings with an existing application to be started on site by September 2021.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much Government funding has been provided for the development of new fire extinguishing technologies.

My Department is not providing any Government funding for the development of new fire extinguishing technologies.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many residential high-rise buildings that applied to the Building Safety Fund do not meet fire safety standards as a result of building design quality on the part of the building developer.

The Building Safety Fund is aimed at making sure those living in buildings covered by the fund are safe by remediating unsafe non-Aluminium Composite Material cladding systems that do not meet fire safety standards. The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund and published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made regarding the potential liability of developers that have sold flats in high-rise private residential buildings that do not meet fire safety standards.

Matters of liability are specific to individual buildings, and the Department is not in a position to make individual assessments of the facts and circumstances surrounding each individual building.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking in relation to developers that have sold flats in high-rise private residential buildings that do not meet fire safety standards.

The Department has ongoing engagement with developers and building owners of private sector high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding. This has led to the remediation of over half of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding being funded by the developer, freeholder or through warranty claims, without passing the costs onto leaseholders. Furthermore, the Private Sector ACM Remediation Fund and the Building Safety Fund for the remediation of buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding both require applicants to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to recover the costs of replacing the unsafe cladding from those responsible through insurance claims, warranties or legal action.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what guidance his Department has issued to leaseholders who plan to take action against the developer of their private high-rise residential buildings, whose homes were already not fire safe when the developer sold them their homes.

Matters of liability and any related action are specific to individual buildings, and the Department cannot comment or provide any specific guidance on these. However, the Government provided additional funding to the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) to provide independent, free, initial advice to leaseholders on building safety issues to ensure they are aware of their rights and are supported to understand the terms of their leases.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the average processing time for Building Safety Fund applications.

The Building Safety Prospectus, published in May, clearly sets out the timelines for the Building Safety Fund process and details the criteria that needs to be met in order to receive funding. MHCLG has since publicly committed to keeping these timeframes under review.

We are currently reviewing registrations and supplementary information that has been requested from building owners. We will be in contact with building owners as soon as we have completed the verification process. At this point, eligible registrants will be asked to apply for funding. We are working to do this as quickly as possible.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much the average grant allocation is under the Building Safety Fund.

We are committed to publishing information in the Building Safety Fund's data release and will be publishing grant approvals at a later date.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of identified high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings with unsafe cladding are in the process of being fully remediated.

The Department publishes data on progress with remediation of high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations. The latest data is available here . Information on registrations to the Building Safety Fund, which is funding the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on high rise residential buildings, is available here .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of identified high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings with unsafe cladding have been fully remediated.

The Department publishes data on progress with remediation of high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations. The latest data is available here . Information on registrations to the Building Safety Fund, which is funding the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on high rise residential buildings, is available here .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of identified high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings with unsafe cladding had their Building Safety Fund application pending approval on the last day of each month since August 2020.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund and published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many Building Safety Fund applications from Southampton Itchen constituency his Department has refused to date; and what the grounds were of those refusals.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund and published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many Building Safety Fund applications his Department has refused to date; and what the grounds were for those refusals.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund and published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many Building Safety Fund applications his Department has received from Southampton Itchen constituency to date.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund and published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications for buildings in Southampton Itchen constituency his Department has received for the Building Safety Fund.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund and published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many applications his Department has received for the Building Safety Fund.

The Department is continuing to work with building owners to progress applications for the Building Safety Fund and published registration statistics on 30 September, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-registration-statistics

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made on merits of the requirement of EWS1 External Wall Fire Surveys on private residential property values in high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) designed the EWS1 process in conjunction with mortgage lenders. Its aim is to assist with valuations of high-rise residential buildings where remediation to ensure building safety might be required. The EWS1 process is not Government policy or a regulatory requirement. The Government is aware that the EWS1 process is being used on lower rise buildings, does not support such blanket use, and is encouraging industry to adopt a more proportionate approach.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the average per household costs born by leaseholders addressing fire safety in high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding that (a) qualify and (b) do not qualify for the Building Safety Fund.

The purpose of the Building Safety Fund is to increase the pace of remediation of unsafe non-Aluminium Composite Material cladding in residential buildings 18 metres and above. Any costs for leaseholders will depend on the extent of other remediation work to be carried out which is beyond the scope of the Fund. For remediation costs in general, the draft Building Safety Bill includes an impact assessment which is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-building-safety-bill . Further analytical work will be undertaken to update the impact assessment, including the cost estimates for leaseholders, which will be published when the Bill is formally introduced to Parliament.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to assist leaseholders whose homes are in high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding while their Building Safety Fund applications are under consideration.

The Government is aware of the impact on leaseholders and residents living in high rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding and has introduced the £1 billion Building Safety Fund to help make homes safer, more quickly and for the long term. The Building Safety Fund is to cover costs of the remediation of unsafe non-Aluminium Composite Material cladding but not for any service charge fees that might be incurred in the interim. In addition, Government Advisor Michael Wade is accelerating work to identify financing options for future remediation work that will protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs, while ensuring these do not fall to the taxpayer. However, it must be recognised that it is the responsibility of building owners – not Government or the tax payer – to ensure their buildings are safe for leaseholders and other residents.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to assist leaseholders whose homes are in high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding but below 18 metres in height.

It remains building owners’ responsibility to address unsafe cladding on buildings of all heights. We have provided advice from the Independent Expert Advisory Panel on the measures building owners should take to ensure their buildings are safe, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-advice-for-building-owners-including-fire-doors .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessments his Department undertook before setting the threshold for the Building Safety Fund as a residential building with unsafe cladding at 18 metres and over in height.

In developing the Building Safety Fund, the Government considered the view of experts, including Dame Judith Hackitt, who support setting the Fund’s height eligibility criterion at buildings 18 metres and above. This reflects the exceptional fire risk that certain cladding products pose at that height. There will be a small degree of flexibility to allow the fund to cover buildings that have been built just under the 18 metres threshold.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the viability of Southampton as a new pilot area for the voluntary right to buy scheme for housing association tenants.

The Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot will complete later this year, and is being fully evaluated. The Government committed to evaluate new pilot areas, and further details will be provided in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to protect tenants from (a) landlords and (b) letting agents that are exploiting tenants by (i) misrepresenting properties in online advertising, (ii) unfairly holding deposits after the lease ends and (iii) illegally charging agency fees.

The Government has already taken steps to protect tenants from the small minority of landlords and letting agents that may seek to exploit them. Landlords and agents are responsible for the accuracy of advertisements and listings they post online. Misleading advertisements and listings may constitute a breach of consumer protection legislation, such as the transparency provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The additional steps Government takes are detailed in the Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation, which allows tenants to challenge their deposit being held unfairly when their tenancies end, with recourse to dispute resolution if there is no agreement on deposit repayment. Additionally under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which came into force last June, landlords or letting agents are prevented from charging unfair fees in connection with the tenancy.

Landlords and agents can be subject to enforcement action by Trading Standards and fined if they are found to have illegally charged prohibited fees. Trading Standards are supported by a new lead enforcement authority for lettings, the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, which is funded by Government to provide advice and support to local authorities.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps the Government has taken to (a) eradicate rough sleeping and (b) prevent homelessness.

This Government is clear that no one should be without a roof over their head. That is why we have committed to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament and to enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act.

The Government has already taken important steps to prevent and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping. This includes implementing the most ambitious legislative reform in this area in decades, the Homelessness Reduction Act, which is transforming the culture of homelessness service delivery and actively prevents homelessness, meaning people will get the help they need quicker.

The Government has already committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period to April 2020. In 2020/2021 we are providing a further £422 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. This marks a £54 million increase on what Government provided in 2019/20. On 23 December 2019, we announced that £263 million of this will be allocated to local authorities in the form of the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant and the Homelessness Reduction Grant in order to support local authorities reduce homelessness.

In September 2019, this Government launched a second year of the Cold Weather Fund, making up to £10 million available. On 23 December 2019, we committed an extra £3 million to the fund to support as many people as possible this winter. This fund is available to all local authorities to provide a robust, local response to support rough sleepers off the streets prior to the winter period. The funding will be available until the end of March 2020 and will build on the success of last year’s Cold Weather Fund.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)