Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.
If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.
If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).
These initiatives were driven by Saqib Bhatti, 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.
Saqib Bhatti has not been granted any Urgent Questions
Saqib Bhatti has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
A Bill to make provision about the keeping and maintenance of registers of births and deaths; and for connected purposes.
Saqib Bhatti has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting
I am proud to be one of Government’s Pro Bono Champions and show my support for the pro bono community.
I heard from members of my Pro Bono Committee in September about the impact of the pandemic on their services, and the resilience and flexibility they have shown in the face of such adversity.
This is not the first time the legal profession has stepped forward to help in a crisis, and I would like to put on record my gratitude to all those who have volunteered their time and expertise during this difficult time.
Monthly data on the number of households switching energy suppliers for gas and electricity is published by BEIS here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/quarterly-domestic-energy-switching-statistics. This is not available by region.
BEIS statistics are based on switching data also published by Ofgem at:
The Government has introduced a comprehensive package of measures to support businesses during these unprecedented times.
We have announced schemes providing access to loans, designed to help businesses across the UK impacted by the Coronavirus crisis to access the funding they need:
The Government has also announced a package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. In particular, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been working across Government to provide £13 billion of grant funding to help small and rural businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors manage their cashflow through this period. This support will take the form of two grant funding schemes, the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
All businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
Businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property:
As part of the government’s announcement on providing an additional £1.4 billion for education recovery, we announced a £153 million investment for high-quality professional development for early years practitioners. This includes new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development, and physical and emotional development for the youngest children. This is in addition to £10 million for a pre-reception early language programme, and £17 million for the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, which improves the language skills of reception age children who need it most during the COVID-19 outbreak.
We have also been working in partnership with Public Health England and its partners (including the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists), the local government association and the Early Intervention Foundation to support local area health and early years partnerships (which includes schools, nurseries, and speech and language therapists) to work in a more integrated way and improve information flow to identify speech, language and communication needs as early as possible.
The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, by securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.
As of Monday 25 January, over 870,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities across England, who are responsible for distributing them onward to disadvantaged children and families.
Figures on the number of devices delivered, broken down by local authority and academy trust are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data.
All schools, academy trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order devices. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities to lend to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.
The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 12 January 2021, we announced that we will be providing a further 300,000 devices over the course of this term.
We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data for the academic year to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, O2 Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone for their collaboration. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer. We have also delivered 54,000 4G wireless routers for pupil and care leavers without connection at home.
Equine rescue centres do excellent work, often on a voluntary basis, to rescue and rehome unwanted and abandoned horses, and to ensure they are protected against cruelty. I am acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the measures put in place to control the spread of the virus, continue to affect individuals, businesses and charities caring for animals. Equine welfare remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively and successfully to support itself and to safeguard the welfare of equines in their care in the face of financial hardship and uncertainty. The sector continues to keep us informed of the status of the emergency grant schemes they have established to support numerous smaller organisations. These schemes include the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund established by the Pet Plan Charitable Trust (PPCT) together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council.
In addition to this, we have worked closely with sector groups to update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Throughout this period, we have ensured that rescue and rehoming organisations are permitted to stay open, that staff and volunteers can continue to work and tend to the animals in their care, and that rehoming, fostering and adoption services can continue in accordance with Covid-19 secure guidance.
We take the concerns of the sector very seriously and are keeping a close watch on in-take levels and trends in animal relinquishments. Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice and support.
The Government recognises the important role that motorway service areas (MSAs) play in providing a safe place for motorists to stop and take a short break from driving. It is for the private sector to promote and operate service areas that meet the needs of the travelling public. New and existing roadside facilities are subject to the provisions of relevant planning legislation and regulation, which together set the framework within which local planning authorities would consider the planning proposals for such developments. As a statutory consultee, Highways England will provide advice to local planning authorities on matters relating to the impact that such proposed developments will have upon the safety and operation of the strategic road network as set out in the Department for Transport Circular 02/2013. In 2019, the Department commissioned an evidence stocktake to gather the facts on the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. The stocktake has just concluded.
The Warwickshire Solihull and Coventry Breast Cancer Screening Service is working to screen all women who have missed an appointment by 31 March 2022, with NHS England and NHS Improvement monitoring progress.
The service has been able to gradually increase its capacity through the offer of open invitations rather than fixed time appointments and increasing the levels of permanent, third party and trainee staff, allowing the service to offer screening at additional times.
Warwickshire Solihull and Coventry Breast Screening service has received funding from NHS England and NHS Improvement to increase its mammography, radiography and radiology staffing capacity. Further to this locally targeted action, regional partners including Health Education England and NHS England and NHS Improvement have undertaken a workforce review of breast screening to tackle current shortages of trained staff. This will support all breast screening services, including the Warwickshire Solihull and Coventry service to have sufficient and sustainable staffing into the future.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactures both Vaxzevria and Covishield vaccines and both branded vaccines are exactly the same COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine. All SII-made doses approved by the United Kingdom (UK) regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and administered in the UK were branded as the ’COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca’ which is now known commercially as ‘Vaxzevria’.
The government continues to liaise with counterparts in Italy and we are seeking Italian confirmation that they will recognise all AstraZeneca doses administered in the UK. We will ensure that Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Travel Advice is kept up to date following any developments.
As part of COVID-19 recovery plan we are looking carefully at how we can support disabled children and their families, including those with speech and language needs, across the country, including in the most deprived areas. We are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services to disabled children.
NHS Digital has put together a programme of work to establish an information system to collect information on surgical implants and devices from healthcare providers in England, currently focussed on pelvic floor, or mesh and related procedures, as a priority.
This will be followed by the development of a United Kingdom-wide Medical Device Information System (MDIS) with regulations being made under section 19 of the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021. This system will mean that in future, subject to regulations, we can routinely collect medical device, procedure and outcome data from public and private provider organisations across the UK and data submitted directly from patients. Formal public consultation on the MDIS regulations will begin later this year with the aim of laying the regulations in due course.
The Government agrees that doctors’ financial and non-pecuniary interests should be available publicly. However, we do not think that the General Medical Council’s register is the best place to hold this information. We have engaged with healthcare professional regulators, to ensure it is a requirement that all registered healthcare professionals declare their interests and that this information is published locally by healthcare providers.
We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Independent Healthcare Providers Network to ensure this approach is consistently applied across the National Health Service and independent sector. We have worked with the Care Quality Commission to ensure that implementation is monitored. Our response has been informed by participants in a patient reference group and we have worked closely with the devolved administrations to ensure a consistent, United Kingdom-wide approach.
The Government response to the Report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review was published on 21 July. The Government stated that it did not accept recommendation three to establish a redress agency as set out in the report. The Government and others have previously established redress schemes without the need for an additional agency.
To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of COVID-19 all routine dentistry has currently been suspended.
We expect all National Health Service dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary is available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS 111 into one of the 550 urgent dental care centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.
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 at the following link:
National Health Service 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. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The UDCs 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 UDCs will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety. The letter to dentists setting this out is available at the following link:
We have commissioned NHS England to develop a comprehensive emotional, psychological and practical support package for all National Health Service staff. The first line of support focuses on team behaviours – ensuring good line management and team practices, reflecting on daily events – backed up by good local occupational health support. Nationally, all NHS staff now have free access to a helpline and text service for counselling and support, a dedicated bereavement helpline and a range of well-being apps.
In December 2019 the Government announced in its response to Sir Amyas Morse’s Independent Loan Charge Review further measures to tackle promoters of avoidance schemes, including those designed to disguise remuneration. Further detail on these measures was set out in the Budget and HMRC will be publishing a new strategy to combat those who profit from marketing and selling tax avoidance schemes. The Government will also shortly issue a call for evidence on further steps to reduce or end the use of disguised remuneration schemes.
HMRC actively monitor the tax avoidance market and take action against active promoters, particularly those involved in devising and marketing new tax avoidance schemes. HMRC undertake a variety of activities such as challenging promoters for failures under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) regime and pursuing criminal investigations and arrests where appropriate.
As the Department responsible for?Faith, MHCLG?continues to play a facilitative?role?in ensuring?Government?understands?the needs of faith communities and the challenges they?may be currently?facing?due to the pandemic. We are working closely with a range of faith and community groups to better understand how Government can support them to respond to the pressures they face on sustaining their?organisations during this period of time.
There are a range of Government-backed financial support measures that these organisations can access.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme are both available to registered charities, and therefore places of worship registered with the Charities Commission. Registered charities have now been exempted from the requirement that the applicant derives at least 50 per cent of its income from its trading activity, so that more charities can access the scheme.
Any person or organisation, including places of worship, that is unable to pay any HMRC bill due to Covid-19 should get in contact through the HMRC Coronavirus helpline. HMRC will be able to agree payment plans, which can include a gap before any initial payment is required. If charities or places of worship are VAT registered, they are also able to use the VAT deferral scheme.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provides support for entity with a UK payroll - small or large, charitable or non-profit, to be reimbursed 80 per cent of furloughed worker wages by HMRC, up to a cap of £2500 per month.
However, we know that some charities cannot furlough staff as they are contributing to the frontline response. There is a substantial package of targeted support for charities on the frontline of responding to Covid-19. The Chancellor on 9 April announced £750 million of funding for charities providing key frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic. Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-sets-out-extra-750-million-coronavirus-funding-for-frontline-charities