Sarah Owen Portrait

Sarah Owen

Labour - Luton North

Opposition Whip (Commons)

(since May 2021)

Select Committee Meeting
Monday 18th October 2021
11:30
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:00
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:00
Health and Social Care Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic
19 Oct 2021, 9 a.m.
At 9.45am: Oral evidence
Ben Zaranko - Research Economist at Institute for Fiscal Studies
Siva Anandaciva - Chief Analyst at The King's Fund
Sarah Lambrechts, Expert by experience
At 10.15am: Oral evidence
Amanda Pritchard - Chief Executive at NHS England
Professor Stephen Powis - National Medical Director at NHS England
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:25
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
19 Oct 2021, 9:25 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:45
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The impact of supply chain delays on UK businesses and consumers
19 Oct 2021, 9:45 a.m.
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Duncan Buchanan - Director of Policy at Road Haulage Association
Neil Carberry - Chief Executive at Recruitment and Employment Confederation
Ian Wright CBE - Chief Executive at Food and Drink Federation
At 11.30am: Oral evidence
William Bain - Head of Trade Policy at British Chambers of Commerce
Martin McTague - National Vice Chair at Federation of Small Businesses
Stephen Phipson CBE - Chief Executive at Make UK
Helen Dickinson OBE - Chief Executive at British Retail Consortium
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Ten Minute Rule Motion - Main Chamber
Bereavement Leave and Pay (stillborn and miscarried babies)
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
14:00
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
19 Oct 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
11:30
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Oct 2021, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
14:00
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Oct 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
Thursday 23rd September 2021
Health and Care Bill (Twelfth sitting)
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 4 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 4 Noes - 8
Speeches
Thursday 23rd September 2021
Baby Loss Awareness Week

I congratulate the hon. Member on having a rainbow baby, as I do myself. We know that the road to …

Written Answers
Wednesday 29th September 2021
Asylum: Afghanistan
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will increase the number of Afghan refugees the …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 11th March 2021
Tanveer Ahmed Rafique
This House expresses deep regret at reports of the worsening health of Kashmiri prisoner Tanveer Ahmed Rafique who is currently …
Bills
Tuesday 7th September 2021
Misuse of Fireworks Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about offences relating to the misuse of fireworks and penalties for such offences; and for …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th March 2021
8. Miscellaneous
Chair of East and South East Asians for Labour (previously Chinese for Labour), unpaid. (Registered 09 January 2020; updated 04 …
EDM signed
Tuesday 13th April 2021
Effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled children and families
That this House is deeply alarmed at the disproportionate effect of the covid-19 pandemic on disabled children, young people and …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Sarah Owen has voted in 262 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Sarah Owen 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(13 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(8 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(28 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(11 debate contributions)
Home Office
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Sarah Owen's debates

Luton North 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 Luton North signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Undocumented Migrants are suffering in silence, with no access to adequate Financial support, or any help. The Government should grant an urgent Amnesty of 5years to those with no criminal record so that they could live their lives as normal human beings and pay tax to help the UK economy.

Black Women in the U.K. are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and after childbirth compared to White Women (MBRRACE, 2019). We need more research done into why this is happening and recommendations to improve health care for Black Women as urgent action is needed to address this disparity.

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.


Latest EDMs signed by Sarah Owen

13th April 2021
Sarah Owen signed this EDM on Tuesday 13th April 2021

Effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled children and families

Tabled by: Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)
That this House is deeply alarmed at the disproportionate effect of the covid-19 pandemic on disabled children, young people and their families; notes the concerning statistics from the Disabled Children’s Partnerships’ The Longest Lockdown report, which found that 70 per cent of disabled children could not access, or experienced delays …
52 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 41
Liberal Democrat: 5
Independent: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Green Party: 1
8th February 2021
Sarah Owen signed this EDM on Tuesday 13th April 2021

Intellectual property and covid-19 response

Tabled by: Caroline Lucas (Green Party - Brighton, Pavilion)
That this House considers nobody is safe until we are all safe from covid-19; believes all policy tools should be deployed to address the global crisis around access to covid-19 vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and equipment; notes that the head of the World Health Organization warns we face a catastrophic moral …
80 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 33
Scottish National Party: 30
Liberal Democrat: 7
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Sarah Owen's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Sarah Owen, 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.


Sarah Owen has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Sarah Owen has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Sarah Owen


A Bill to make provision about offences relating to the misuse of fireworks and penalties for such offences; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 7th September 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 21st January 2022

Sarah Owen has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


330 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
6 Other Department Questions
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if the Government will annually mark September as East and South East Asian Heritage Month.

There are currently no plans for the Government as a whole to mark September as East and South East Asian Heritage Month. Individual departments may make their own arrangements, internally and externally, to recognise the occasion, and celebrate the achievements and contributions within the UK of people of East and South East Asian Heritage.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Sep 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what representations he has made to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority on equalising pay scales of hon. Members' caseworkers with those of hon. Members' researchers.

I have not made any such representations. Parliament established IPSA as an independent body, and it is for them to make decisions on pay scales which are set following periodic reviews and based on market rate data and comparative benchmarking. The Speaker’s Committee maintains a constructive working relationship with IPSA and I know that it is always open to hear from honourable members on matters affecting the running of their offices. I understand that the GMB union has already raised this issue with the Chief Executive of IPSA and that he will be meeting with them in the near future to hear their views.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the House of Commons Commission will publish a breakdown by gender of the number of (a) House Service and (b) Members' staff who have completed the Valuing Everyone training to date.

For existing staff of the House of Commons, the gender of those who have participated in the Valuing Everyone workshops is recorded as follows:

Male 1,211 (44%)
Female 1,007 (36%)
Not specified 513 (19%)
Prefer not to say 35
Prefer to self-describe 5
No gender identity 1

Total 2,772

For existing staff employed directly by Members, the gender of those who have participated in the Valuing Everyone workshops is recorded as follows:

Female 352 (62%)
Male 213 (38%)

Total 565

26th May 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, for what reason rules on disciplinary action against hon. Members differ between those applied to decisions made by the Independent Experts Panel and those applied to decisions made by the Standards Committee.

The process for a petition under the Recall of MPs Act 2015 is not triggered by a suspension imposed on the recommendation of the Independent Expert Panel. For a recall to be initiated, the sanction must be imposed on the recommendation of the Committee on Standards, or another Committee of the House of Commons concerned with standards of conduct. The Independent Expert Panel is not a Committee of the House of Commons.

Prior to the establishment of the Panel in June 2020, the House of Commons Commission listened to concerns expressed during a consultation process that a recall mechanism would be detrimental in cases brought under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme because of the potential implications for the confidentiality of the process and possibility of retrial by media and the public which could affect the willingness of complainants to come forward.

26th May 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment the Commission has made of the adequacy of the independence of disciplinary proceedings against hon. Members.

Bullying and harassment have no place in Parliament. The Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme was established in July 2018 and covers all members of the parliamentary community, including MPs. There have been two independent reviews of the ICGS since its establishment – the 6-month review and the 18-month review. Alison Stanley carried out both reviews, the more recent one concluding in February 2021. Alison Stanley noted in her report in February that there has been much progress on the implementation of the scheme since the 6-month review, but there are still improvements to be made, particularly around the time taken for investigations to conclude. Her review contained 36 recommendations which, when implemented together, will make a significant difference to those who use the scheme.

The ICGS team has already made progress towards implementing these recommendations in important areas such as speeding up investigations, streamlining the ICGS process, smarter policies and processes, improved accessibility and stronger communications.

All ICGS cases against MPs are investigated by members of a pool of independent investigators contracted to work with the House Service, overseen by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who is herself independent and impartial. The Commissioner reviews the investigator’s final report, the accompanying evidence and the investigator’s recommendation. If the Commissioner finds that rules have been breached, she can require an apology to the House or, if she feels the sanctions available to her are not sufficient, can refer to the Independent Expert Panel.

The Independent Expert Panel was established in June 2020; its members were appointed on 25 November following fair and open competition. The Panel is entirely independent, with no MPs taking part in its decisions or able to influence them. It hears appeals and decides sanctions in ICGS cases where complaints of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct have been brought against MPs. Sanctions could include the suspension or expulsion of an MP, which would then require a vote in the House. To date, it has published four reports on the conduct of MPs.

20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with local government on the proposed changes to Voter ID.

Cabinet Office worked closely with local authorities to successfully deliver voter identification pilots in 2018 and 2019. We continue to work with local authorities and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that voter identification works for all voters.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with the Cabinet Secretary on the Cabinet Secretary's plans to respond to the correspondence of 25 March 2021 from the hon. Member for Luton North.

The Cabinet Secretary responded to this letter on 19 May 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking with cabinet colleagues to avoid potential conflicts of interest involving ministers in the upcoming Procurement Bill announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

The existing regulations impose binding obligations on contracting authorities effectively to prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest. We propose to maintain these controls. Our broader proposals to strengthen transparency and non-discrimination measures complement these existing processes.

We also intend to publish new commercial guidance to assist government departments to develop and enhance local strategies, systems, processes and procedures to prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest in a consistent and effective way.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the efficacy of the Government's communications strategy during the covid-19 outbreak at reaching people whose first language is not English.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 55066 on 10 June 2020, and PQ 96936 on 7 October 2020.

To date, Covid-19 material has been translated into 26 languages, and has been made available to all local authorities as editable assets.

Working with the Cabinet Office, vaccine communications from DHSC have appeared in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles, including BAME media for Asian, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Gujarati and Pakistani communities. To improve our understanding of vaccine hesitancy, we are now working with over 90 faith, healthcare provider networks, influencers and experts from a range of communities.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the Government's communications strategy at tackling vaccine hesitancy amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 55066 on 10 June 2020, and PQ 96936 on 7 October 2020.

To date, Covid-19 material has been translated into 26 languages, and has been made available to all local authorities as editable assets.

Working with the Cabinet Office, vaccine communications from DHSC have appeared in 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles, including BAME media for Asian, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Gujarati and Pakistani communities. To improve our understanding of vaccine hesitancy, we are now working with over 90 faith, healthcare provider networks, influencers and experts from a range of communities.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to support veterans in the Luton North constituency.

This Government is committed to realising the ambition set out in the Strategy for our Veterans of making the United Kingdom the best country in the world to be a veteran. There is a wide range of support available to veterans from central and local Government, the NHS and the third sector covering physical and mental health, housing, employment and finance, all underpinned by the Armed Forces Covenant. The Government is committed to continuing to improve this support and the 2020 Armed Forces Covenant Report sets out the progress we have made in doing so including the introduction of improved mental health services, a Veterans Railcard, a forthcoming national insurance break for employers and by making it easier for veterans to join the Civil Service. In addition over the last 12 months the Government has provided additional support through an additional £10m in the Budget and nearly £6m for the COVID 19 Impact Fund. Veterans in Luton North and across the country will benefit from this.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134601, if he will publish data by year on the number of honour recipients over the last five years who self identified their ethnic group as (a) Chinese or (b) any Chinese background.

Information is accessible on the honours recipients page on the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website: https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/culture-and-community/civic-participation/honours-recipients/latest

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the demographics of those who have received honours in the last five years.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the honours system is fully representative of UK society. Data on gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation is collected by asking recipients to complete a diversity survey. A summary of this data is published alongside each New Year and Queen’s Birthday Honours List and can be found at www.gov.uk/honours/honours-lists.

A breakdown of ethnicities of honours recipients is also published twice a year on the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website. The declared ethnicity data for recipients included on the New Year Honours List 2021 will be published in due course.. Overall the most recent honours list saw 14.2% of recipients declaring a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background - the highest ever.

Honours recipients can choose to report their own ethnicity using the 2011 Census categories. Data is published for the following five aggregated ethnic groups because the number of honours recipients is small and the data is provided anonymously:

  • Asian

  • Black

  • Mixed

  • White

  • Other

Roughly around 10% of recipients do not provide any diversity information when accepting their honour.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of there being zero individuals of Chinese and South East Asian heritage on the New Year's Honours list 2021.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the honours system is fully representative of UK society. Data on gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation is collected by asking recipients to complete a diversity survey. A summary of this data is published alongside each New Year and Queen’s Birthday Honours List and can be found at www.gov.uk/honours/honours-lists.

A breakdown of ethnicities of honours recipients is also published twice a year on the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website. The declared ethnicity data for recipients included on the New Year Honours List 2021 will be published in due course.. Overall the most recent honours list saw 14.2% of recipients declaring a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background - the highest ever.

Honours recipients can choose to report their own ethnicity using the 2011 Census categories. Data is published for the following five aggregated ethnic groups because the number of honours recipients is small and the data is provided anonymously:

  • Asian

  • Black

  • Mixed

  • White

  • Other

Roughly around 10% of recipients do not provide any diversity information when accepting their honour.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many burglaries have been recorded in (a) England and (b) Wales in each year since 2010.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to ensure covid-19 booster vaccinations keep up with potential new variants.

The Government is taking a number of steps to ensure the UK is prepared to respond to current and emerging COVID-19 variants as quickly as possible. This includes:

  • Working closely with vaccine manufacturers and Public Health England (PHE) to understand the efficacy of our current vaccine portfolio against new variants. In order to support this, in May 2021 the Government announced £29.3 million funding to boost PHE/Porton Down’s vaccine efficacy testing capability, including against different virus variants;
  • Supporting vaccine manufacturers who have decided to develop variant vaccines; and
  • Commissioning the Centre for Process Innovation’s National Biologics Manufacturing Centre to create a ‘variant mRNA library’ to shorten the pathway to deployment of a licensed vaccine. In order to support this, at Budget 2021 the Government announced funding of an additional £5 million on top of a previous £9 million

The Government has confirmed we are planning for a booster programme to take place this autumn. The Vaccine Taskforce is working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and the National Health Service on this booster programme. The Government will publish further details on the booster programme in due course and the final policy will be informed by advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to strengthen legislation to protect (a) pregnant women and (b) women on maternity leave from redundancy.

The Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999 currently give women on maternity leave priority over other employees who are also at risk of redundancy. Employers have an obligation to offer women on maternity leave a suitable alternative vacancy where one is available.

The Government has committed to extending this protection from redundancy so that it will start at the point the employee informs the employer that she is pregnant and will continue for six months after she has returned to work.

We have been clear that we will introduce these measures as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many times (a) he and (b) Cabinet colleagues met business leaders in Luton in (i) 2020 and (ii) 2021 to discuss plans to support Luton businesses through the covid-19 outbreak.

Departments publish quarterly details of Ministers’ meetings with external organisations on GOV.UK. Details for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

The latest published data covers October to December 2020. Data for January to March 2021 will be published in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2021
What assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Supreme Court's ruling of February 2021 on the employment status of Uber drivers; and if he will make a statement.

The Supreme Court Judgment upheld Employment Status law as it stands. It is now for Uber and other gig economy businesses to ensure that they are fulfilling their legal responsibilities. The Government is considering options to further clarify the law.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the need for people that work as gas and electricity meter readers to be working in other people’s homes during January covid-19 lockdown.

As visiting peoples’ homes is an essential part of a meter readers job, they need to ensure they follow the Safer Working guidance.

When meter readers need to enter other peoples’ homes, they should take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions such as socially distancing wherever possible, wearing a face covering or making sure there is appropriate ventilation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of applications to the Green Homes Grant Scheme were rejected in 2020.

In 2020, the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme received 58,138 applications. As of 18 January 2021, 9,054 vouchers have been rejected as they did not meet the scheme criteria.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Government is providing to the aerospace industry to help ensure the survival of jobs and businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

Aerospace companies have been able to access the Government’s extensive Covid-19 business support measures, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. In addition, the aerospace industry and its aviation customers are being supported with around £9 billion made available through the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, grants for research and development, loan guarantees and support to exporters.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on which dates the Vaccine Taskforce has met since March 2020.

The Vaccine Taskforce is a unit within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consisting of around 200 staff. The steering group of the Vaccines Taskforce meets virtually 3 times weekly. This has been the case since May 2020.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Vaccine Taskforce.

The Vaccine Taskforce is a unit within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consisting of around 200 staff. The Department would not usually publish minutes of individual internal meetings that are deemed commercially sensitive and whilst Government policy is being developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of the civil nuclear power sector to the UK’s economy.

The Nuclear Sector Deal, jointly authored by the Government and industry and published in June 2018, indicated that the nuclear sector contributes on average £12.4 billion to the UK economy each year, with each UK civil nuclear worker adding an average £96,600 in Gross Value Added (GVA).

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is he taking to ensure that safe construction methods are followed at Hinkley Point C during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, inspectors from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) have continued to travel to the Hinkley Point C site to conduct urgent and essential regulatory inspections. These are to ensure that both the normal stringent health and safety requirements, and the COVID-19 social distancing measures, are being properly followed.

The ONR’s Chief Inspector has assured the Department that he is satisfied that EDF’s measures at the site are robust and comprehensive, and that they are being implemented and enforced appropriately.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing to projects working on a covid-19 vaccine.

The Government is supporting efforts to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible. This includes reviewing regulations and scaling up manufacturing, so that when a vaccine becomes available, it can be produced quickly and in large quantities. To date the UK government has secured early access to 340 million vaccines doses through agreements with six separate vaccine developers. This includes agreements with University of Oxford’s vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca and agreements with BioNTech/Pfizer alliance, Valneva, Novavax, Janssen and GSK/Sanofi Pasteur.

The Government has also taken action to ensure the country’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities are scaled up, so that if a vaccine is found to be effective it can be made available to the public as quickly as possible. The Government has announced a £93 million investment to open the UK’s first dedicated Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, and an additional £38 million for a virtual centre of existing capability, in order to begin manufacturing at scale in the near future.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent meetings he has had with representatives of the exhibition industry on the effect on that sector of the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials have regular engagement with a large number of businesses, representative organisations, and trade unions, including those from the Exhibition and Events sector, specifically for the purposes of COVID-19.


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) publishes details of ministers’ meetings with external organisations on a quarterly basis, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) Citizens Advice and (B) local branches of that organisation are able to access funding announced for charities due to the covid-19 outbreak in April 2020.

Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, the national charities, will receive additional funding from the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) fund announced on 8 April. Both conduct vital work to support individuals manage the covid-19 outbreak, particularly by helping them find appropriate support. The additional funding will reflect this.

On 20 May, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced that £200 million from the VCSE fund will be allocated for local charities to be administered by the National Lottery Community Fund. As local Citizens Advice are all individual charities, and not funded by central government, they will have the opportunity to apply to that funding pot where they meet the objectives.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to include provisions on regulation of the comments sections of online newspaper websites in the Online Safety Bill announced in the Queen's Speech..

The comment sections of online newspaper websites will not be in scope of the Online Safety Bill. The Bill was published in draft on 12 May. The draft Bill exempts from its scope comments and reviews on articles, products and services published directly by a company on its own website. This includes ‘below the line’ comments on news publishers’ sites.

Please note that anyone concerned by material published on a news website’s comment section can complain directly to the publisher or to the relevant independent self regulator. The majority of traditional publishers - including 95% of national newspapers by circulation - are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A number of smaller publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS).

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Foreign Secretary on the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 and its implications for the Government's policies on online harms.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues, on a range of issues, including online harms policy.

The government has set out its proposals for a new regulatory framework to tackle online harms in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper, published on 15 December 2020.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to tackle the disproportionate effect of digital poverty on BAME communities in Luton.

In response to Covid-19, the Government and Ofcom agreed a set of commitments with the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators to support vulnerable consumers during the pandemic, including supporting those in debt, and providing new and generous landline and mobile offers, such as free or low cost mobile data boosts.

Furthemore, there are currently social tariffs in place that provide low cost landline and broadband services for those on means-tested state benefits, including BT Basic and KCOM’s flex packages. In addition, in November 2020, Virgin Media launched a new low-cost broadband service for its customers in receipt of Universal Credit.

Public libraries are also a vital component in tackling digital exclusion. During 2019/20, Luton’s six static libraries had 96 electronic workstations available with internet access, providing 246,610 hours of available use of the People’s Network and with 67,235 hours recorded use of People’s Network.

As part of over £300 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, over one million laptops and tablets have been secured for disadvantaged children and young people. This figure includes 500,000 that have already been delivered since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government has also introduced new essential digital skills qualifications (EDSQs) based on new national standards for essential digital skills. Adults with no or low digital skills can study essential digital skills qualifications for free.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans to have with Cabinet colleagues on preparation to counteract misinformation being spread (i) online and (ii) in traditional media on the distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including the spread of misinformation surrounding Covid-19. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

The Government is committed to ensuring that information people access about Covid-19 is accurate. We continue to work closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action against incorrect claims about the virus in line with their terms and conditions. This includes anti-vaccination narratives that could endanger people's health.

In May 2020, Ofcom published specific guidance on Covid-19 content and expects broadcasters to be alert to the potential for harm to audiences. The government is also committed to independent self-regulation of the press. The majority of traditional publishers are members of independent press regulators which issue codes of conduct on accuracy in news.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of job retention in the events industry of not extending the support to that industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

My Department is in regular contact with Her Majesty’s Treasury to closely assess the impact of the Government’s interventions to stop the spread of COVID-19 on the events industry.

Events businesses can continue to make use of the Government’s comprehensive support package. This includes the various loan schemes, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, and the Job Retention Scheme.

We are also offering affected businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to closely monitor the situation facing events businesses.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of ending blended learning on the mental health of college-aged students who are accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health. As set out in the '16 to 19 Study Programmes: Guide for Providers', on-site education should be the norm for the majority of the 16-19 curriculum. However, remote or online learning can add value for some students and courses where it is underpinned by a clear educational rationale and forms part of a clear strategy.

In making decisions concerning the use of remote and online delivery, providers should give particular consideration on how best to support vulnerable and disadvantaged students and students with special educational needs and disabilities and mitigate effects on their mental health and wellbeing. Providers should also be considerate of the wider socio-economic and well-being implications of remote and online learning.

In all circumstances, quality should be the key criteria for determining use of remote and online learning.

The department realises that many students and staff members will be feeling uncertain and anxious at this time. Further education providers should identify young people who may need additional support and engage with them and their representatives to understand their needs, and ensure they have appropriate mental health and wellbeing support in place. To provide support, the government remains committed to its joint green paper delivery with the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England, which is establishing Mental Health Support Teams, covering an estimated £3 million children and young people by 2023, and providing senior mental health led training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. As part of this commitment, from this autumn, we will offer 7,800 schools and colleges in England grants to train a senior mental health lead in their setting, which is being backed by £9.5 million.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) representatives of universities and (b) Cabinet colleagues on reducing the cost of UK university study for holders of Hong Kong BNO visas.

To qualify for home fee status in England, a person must have settled status or a recognised connection to the UK. This includes persons who are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, have long residence in this country or who have been granted international protection by the Home Office. There are also requirements associated with ordinary residence in the UK. Subject to meeting the normal eligibility requirements, Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders will be able to qualify for home fee status once they have acquired settled status in the UK.

Universities are autonomous institutions and are responsible for setting their own fees within the limits of regulations. As such, we would generally expect universities to treat Hong Kong BN(O)s with settled status the same as any other student with settled status.

Officials continue to engage with the Cabinet Office and other government departments on entitlements for Hong Kong BN(O)s and the support that individual departments can offer.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 20549 on Education: Counter-terrorism, what assessment he has made of the potential risk of discriminatory biases when school staff exercise their discretion on referrals to Prevent.

The Prevent strategy is designed to safeguard and support vulnerable people to prevent them from being drawn into terrorism. Prevent does not target specific faiths or ethnic groups, or children - it deals with all forms of extremism.

The Department trusts teachers and other staff to exercise their professional judgment about whether a Prevent referral is appropriate, as they do for all other safeguarding concerns. Teachers are subject to professional requirements to safeguard pupil wellbeing, whilst understanding, and acting within, statutory frameworks such as the Equality Act 2010.

Through teacher referrals, local authorities can ensure that support is obtained for children and young people who may be being exploited by radicalising influences. A referral allows for a multi-agency safeguarding assessment to be conducted, where all referrals are carefully assessed based on the specific details of the case. If a vulnerable individual is found to not be at risk of radicalisation, the case is immediately closed to Prevent. In these instances, they may be referred to other appropriate safeguarding services so that they can receive the support they need, or no further action may be taken.

Through Prevent training, the Department is equipping frontline professionals with the skills and knowledge to safeguard vulnerable individuals from radicalisation. There is specific e-learning available to ensure that when a referral is made, it is robust, informed and with good intention, and that the response to that concern is considered, and proportionate. This e-learning is available at: https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/prevent_referrals/01-welcome.html.

The Government is committed to assessing the effectiveness of the Prevent strategy, which is why an independent review of Prevent is being carried out. The reviewer will be able to consider criticisms and complaints of the current approach, as well as how best to improve the UK’s strategy to support people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government plans for its Takaful Alternative Finance product for Muslim university students to be made available.

I refer the hon. Member for Luton North to the answer I gave on 9 June 2021 to Question 10312.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has carried out an impact assessment of the removal of funding for Applied General Qualifications.

The department has consulted in two stages on proposals for the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3, which includes Applied General Qualifications (AGQs). The review aims to ensure that students and employers have confidence that every qualification on offer is high quality and can lead to skilled employment or further study. The second stage consultation proposed that there should be a range of qualifications alongside A levels and T Levels in areas where those qualifications can demonstrate their necessity and meet new quality criteria.

The impact assessment published alongside the second stage of consultation stated that the changes will generally be positive because students will have access to higher quality qualifications in future, including new T Levels. This will put them in a stronger position to progress to further study or skilled employment. AGQs were included in the impact assessment, but the impact assessment did not separate out the impact of removing these qualifications from wider changes to the qualification offer.

We are considering the feedback to the consultation carefully and will shortly publish a full response, including an updated impact assessment.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Prevent strategy in ensuring equal treatment in education for children from all backgrounds.

Prevent is about safeguarding people who are at risk of radicalisation. Prevent does not target a specific faith or ethnic group; it deals with all forms of extremism.

Protecting pupils from the risk of radicalisation forms part of schools wider safeguarding duties, alongside protecting children from other harms, such as drugs, criminal and sexual exploitation. As with other forms of safeguarding, the aim is to protect and meet the needs of any vulnerable child.

The Department trusts teachers and other school staff to exercise their professional judgment about whether a referral is appropriate, as they do for all other safeguarding risks. Schools and colleges must follow the public sector Equality Duty and must ensure equal treatment of children from all backgrounds.

The Government is committed to assessing the effectiveness of the strategy and are carrying out an independent review of Prevent. William Shawcross was appointed on 26 January 2021 as the new Independent Reviewer, and the review will look at how effective the statutory Prevent Duty is and will make recommendations for the future.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of Muslim student groups regarding freedom of speech on university campuses.

The government is clear that the Prevent Duty should not be used to suppress free speech. It requires providers, when exercising their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. There is no prescription from the government, or the Office for Students (OfS), in regard to what action providers should take once they have had due regard. The legislation imposing the Prevent duty in relation to higher education specifically requires that providers must have particular regard to their duty to ensure freedom of speech and to the importance of academic freedom.

In the most recent published assessment by the OfS on implementation of the Prevent programme in the English higher education sector in 2019, they found no cause for concern that free speech was being undermined by Prevent in external speakers’ policies and their implementation. The assessment is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/prevent-review-meetings-programme-findings/.

The government also remains committed to an Independent Review of Prevent, which is why William Shawcross was appointed on 26 January 2021 as the new Independent Reviewer. The call for evidence for the Independent Review was reopened on the 24 March 2021 and will close on the 26 May 2021. The review will look at how effective the statutory Prevent duty is and will make recommendations for the future.

The department has carried out structured discussions at all stages of the policy development leading up to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, including student engagement through the National Union of Students and roundtables with students’ unions. The department welcomes further discussions and will continue to proactively engage stakeholders with a wide range of interests and backgrounds during and after passage of the Bill, including Muslim, East Asian and South East Asian students. The department plans to meet with Muslim organisations, as well as other stakeholders, in the next few weeks and looks forward to discussing the Bill measures in detail.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions officials in his Department have had with (a) East and (b) South East Asian students regarding freedom of speech on university campuses.

The government is clear that the Prevent Duty should not be used to suppress free speech. It requires providers, when exercising their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. There is no prescription from the government, or the Office for Students (OfS), in regard to what action providers should take once they have had due regard. The legislation imposing the Prevent duty in relation to higher education specifically requires that providers must have particular regard to their duty to ensure freedom of speech and to the importance of academic freedom.

In the most recent published assessment by the OfS on implementation of the Prevent programme in the English higher education sector in 2019, they found no cause for concern that free speech was being undermined by Prevent in external speakers’ policies and their implementation. The assessment is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/prevent-review-meetings-programme-findings/.

The government also remains committed to an Independent Review of Prevent, which is why William Shawcross was appointed on 26 January 2021 as the new Independent Reviewer. The call for evidence for the Independent Review was reopened on the 24 March 2021 and will close on the 26 May 2021. The review will look at how effective the statutory Prevent duty is and will make recommendations for the future.

The department has carried out structured discussions at all stages of the policy development leading up to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, including student engagement through the National Union of Students and roundtables with students’ unions. The department welcomes further discussions and will continue to proactively engage stakeholders with a wide range of interests and backgrounds during and after passage of the Bill, including Muslim, East Asian and South East Asian students. The department plans to meet with Muslim organisations, as well as other stakeholders, in the next few weeks and looks forward to discussing the Bill measures in detail.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Prevent strategy on free speech on university campuses.

The government is clear that the Prevent Duty should not be used to suppress free speech. It requires providers, when exercising their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. There is no prescription from the government, or the Office for Students (OfS), in regard to what action providers should take once they have had due regard. The legislation imposing the Prevent duty in relation to higher education specifically requires that providers must have particular regard to their duty to ensure freedom of speech and to the importance of academic freedom.

In the most recent published assessment by the OfS on implementation of the Prevent programme in the English higher education sector in 2019, they found no cause for concern that free speech was being undermined by Prevent in external speakers’ policies and their implementation. The assessment is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/prevent-review-meetings-programme-findings/.

The government also remains committed to an Independent Review of Prevent, which is why William Shawcross was appointed on 26 January 2021 as the new Independent Reviewer. The call for evidence for the Independent Review was reopened on the 24 March 2021 and will close on the 26 May 2021. The review will look at how effective the statutory Prevent duty is and will make recommendations for the future.

The department has carried out structured discussions at all stages of the policy development leading up to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, including student engagement through the National Union of Students and roundtables with students’ unions. The department welcomes further discussions and will continue to proactively engage stakeholders with a wide range of interests and backgrounds during and after passage of the Bill, including Muslim, East Asian and South East Asian students. The department plans to meet with Muslim organisations, as well as other stakeholders, in the next few weeks and looks forward to discussing the Bill measures in detail.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support private candidates for examinations during the summer 2021 examination season.

Given the ongoing disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we announced in January that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer.

The Department and Ofqual have ensured that there is a clear and accessible route for private candidates to receive a grade this year at the same time as other candidates. Private candidates can work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, which could include evidence from an established educational provider and the board-provided assessment materials. These candidates should have the same opportunity as other students to be assessed on what they were taught. Centres can conduct assessments remotely if needed. This guidance includes information for centres about assessing private candidates, taking into account their different circumstances: https://www.jcq.org.uk/summer-2021-arrangements/.

The Department is working with the sector to ensure there are enough centres available to support private candidates. The Joint Council for Qualifications have published a list of available centres: https://www.jcq.org.uk/private-candidates-summer-2021/, giving private candidates the opportunity to find a centre at a similar cost to a normal year. The exam boards have committed that private candidates will not be charged late fees if entries are received by 26 April.

To support centres with the additional requirements of assessing private candidates this year, and avoid the cost being passed on to candidates, we are providing a grant for centres to claim £200 per private candidate entry. Guidance on the grant is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/private-candidate-support-grant-information-for-exam-centres/private-candidate-support-grant. The Government is encouraging all available exams centres to sign up to help these candidates achieve their qualifications in this exceptional year.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued on the use of clear face masks in schools to allow deaf children to be able to better communicate in those settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

Guidance for schools for the period of national lockdown can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department has published updated guidance on face coverings in education from 8 March 2021, which can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As our updated guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are taught, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

In addition, we now also recommend that face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. We are recommending this precautionary measure for a limited time during this period of high COVID-19 prevalence in the community.

In primary schools, face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible, for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas. Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This applies to those who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate. The same exemptions should be applied in schools, and we would expect teachers and other staff to be sensitive to those needs.

Transparent face coverings which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be more effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 than not wearing a face covering at all.

We continue to work closely with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care and stakeholders across the sector to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice

These measures will be in place until Easter. We will keep this under review and update guidance at that point.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish data on staff absence in schools due to covid-19 infection in (a) Luton and (b) England during the 2020 autumn term.

The Department collects daily data from schools and colleges via the educational setting status form, which was set up to help the Government monitor the impact of COVID-19 on schools and colleges. The form was expanded to collect detailed data on reasons for staff absence from 12 October 2020 and this data was published on 19 January 2021.

The Department has published the number and proportion of i) teachers and head teachers and ii) teaching assistants and other staff absent due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a suspected case of COVID-19 or self-isolation in state funded schools in England on each day between 12 October and 17 December 2020, excluding the October half term period. This is summarised, for each Thursday where data is available, at the following link1,2: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/2d95b3a7-77f8-4901-aade-9fa56ce88481.

The Department has also published this data for all local authorities in England, including Luton. This data is based on responding schools only and no adjustments have been made for non-response. This data is available for each Thursday between 15 October and 17 December 2020. Data for Luton is summarised at the following link1,2,3 https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/3bb923b9-1cc4-4635-8514-5f4773c249a7.

1 Data is given for Wednesday 16 December instead of Thursday 17 December due to a decrease in response rates on Thursday 17 December which make estimates for this date less reliable. Data is not given for Thursdays 22 and 29 October as this data is affected by half term.

2 This data is as reported directly by schools via the Department for Education's daily education settings survey. It is not the primary source of data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall.

3 Local authority level figures are based on responding schools only.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school pupils were absent from school in (a) Luton and (b) England during the autumn term 2020 due to covid-19 infection.

The Department collects daily data from schools and colleges via the educational setting status form, which was set up to help the Government monitor the impact of COVID-19 on schools and colleges. The form was expanded to collect detailed data on the reasons for pupil absence from 12 October 2020. This data has been published at national level on a weekly basis since 20 October 2020 and was published at local authority level on 15 December 2020.

The Department has published the number and proportion of pupils absent due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a suspected case of COVID-19 or self-isolation in state funded schools in England on each Thursday between 15 October and 17 December 2020, excluding the October half term period. These estimates are summarised in table 11,2,3.

Table 1: Estimates of the number of pupils absent in state-funded schools in England due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, suspected case of COVID-19 and self-isolation

Number of pupils absent in state-funded schools absent due to confirmed case of COVID-19

Number of pupils absent in state-funded schools absent due to suspected case of COVID-19

Number of pupils absent in state-funded schools absent due to self-isolation

15-Oct

8,000

37,000

up to 355,000

05-Nov

12,000

22,000

up to 301,000

12-Nov

14,000

28,000

up to 552,000

19-Nov

18,000

31,000

up to 761,000

26-Nov

18,000

29,000

up to 688,000

03-Dec

16,000

28,000

up to 569,000

10-Dec

17,000

30,000

up to 594,000

16-Dec1

18,000

38,000

up to 679,000

The Department has also published this data for all local authorities in England, including Luton. This data is based on responding schools only and no adjustments have been made for non-response. This data is available for each Thursday between 15 October and 17 December 2020. Data for Luton is summarised at the following link1,2,3,4 https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/e284e1f4-5a40-4348-9f16-5b3376e7f6f9.

1 Data is given for Wednesday 16 December instead of Thursday 17 December due to a decrease in response rates on Thursday 17 December which make estimates for this date less reliable. Data is not given for Thursdays 22 and 29 October as this data is affected by half term.

2 This data is as reported directly by schools via the Department for Education's daily education settings survey. It is not the primary source of data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall.

3 Pupils self-isolating because of COVID-19 is reported as a range to account for possible double counting.

4 Local authority level figures are based on responding schools only.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Association of Colleges on changes to 2021 exam season.

The Government has announced that, from 5 January 2021, schools and colleges have moved to remote education, except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned.

The Department will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator Ofqual. Along with regular, pre-existing reference groups and roundtable sessions, meetings with both the National Union of Students and the Association of Colleges, including regarding Vocational Qualifications, have taken place with the Department and/or Ofqual.

A joint consultation has launched on how to fairly award all pupils, including private candidates and students taking vocational qualifications, with a grade that ensures they can progress to the next stage of their lives. The Department has strongly encouraged our stakeholders to respond to this.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the National Union of Students on changes to the 2021 exam season.

The Government has announced that, from 5 January 2021, schools and colleges have moved to remote education, except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned.

The Department will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator Ofqual. Along with regular, pre-existing reference groups and roundtable sessions, meetings with both the National Union of Students and the Association of Colleges, including regarding Vocational Qualifications, have taken place with the Department and/or Ofqual.

A joint consultation has launched on how to fairly award all pupils, including private candidates and students taking vocational qualifications, with a grade that ensures they can progress to the next stage of their lives. The Department has strongly encouraged our stakeholders to respond to this.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with representatives of BT on the provision of internet connections for disadvantaged school pupils during school closures due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

From June to September 2020, the Department ran a pilot in partnership with BT to provide children and young people with free access to a BT Wi-Fi hotspot. Through the pilot, 10,000 BT codes were sent to local authorities and trusts for them to pass on to families so that they could access a BT Wi-Fi connection until 31 December 2020.

This offer was not extended to schools, local authorities or trusts outside of the pilot because following testing it did not suitably meet children and young people’s needs for a reliable and consistent internet connection to access remote education.

We are grateful to BT for partnering with the Department in order to help disadvantaged children continue to access remote education in the event of local disruptions, and we are grateful for their continued support with our mobile data uplift offer.

We have already provided 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

We have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department decided to decline BT's offer of subsidised internet packages for disadvantaged school pupils during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

From June to September 2020, the Department ran a pilot in partnership with BT to provide children and young people with free access to a BT Wi-Fi hotspot. Through the pilot, 10,000 BT codes were sent to local authorities and trusts for them to pass on to families so that they could access a BT Wi-Fi connection until 31 December 2020.

This offer was not extended to schools, local authorities or trusts outside of the pilot because following testing it did not suitably meet children and young people’s needs for a reliable and consistent internet connection to access remote education.

We are grateful to BT for partnering with the Department in order to help disadvantaged children continue to access remote education in the event of local disruptions, and we are grateful for their continued support with our mobile data uplift offer.

We have already provided 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

We have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the ability of schools to provide the covid-19 testing required to keep staff and students safe; and what additional funding he will provide to schools to support that testing.

The delivery model for asymptomatic testing in schools is structured around schools’ ability to deliver the necessary tasks and roles required to deliver the tests in a safe environment for staff, pupils and volunteers. New technology that allows for rapid testing means that schools can now introduce our programme of asymptomatic testing in secondary schools and colleges. This is weekly testing for the workforce and daily testing for staff or students who are identified as close contacts of a positive case from within the education setting. Daily testing of contacts will mean that they do not need to isolate and can stay in face-to-face education.

A total of £78 million has been made available to meet the costs of testing.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to allow the admission of children to schools in the UK of British Nationals (Overseas) passport holders from Hong Kong in advance of the launch of the scheme for those passport holders in 2021.

British Nationals (Overseas) ('BN(O)s') who are in the UK in advance of the new Hong Kong BN(O) route being launched in January 2021 are entitled to access a school place for their children. BN(O)s are able to apply for ‘leave outside the rules’ prior to the new route - which will give them and their family members access to work and study whilst in the UK - becoming available. This information is clearly set out on this website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/british-nationals-overseas-in-hong-kong.

Dependent children of BN(O)s who are in the UK will also be entitled to access a school place under the new route once it is launched in January 2021.

BN(O)s may not be aware of the processes and timescales involved in applying for an English school before they move to the UK. They can find the information they need on this website: https://www.gov.uk/schools-admissions.

This website also provides links across to information on the school admission systems in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in case they are applying for schools under the different education systems that pertain in those nations.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding he will provide to schools to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the 2020-21 academic year.

I refer the hon. Member for Luton North to the answers I gave on 21 October 2020 to Questions 104035 and 104036.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to Answer of 1 October 2020 to Question 96196 on Students: Housing, if he will publish the minutes of his discussions with representatives of Unite and Unipol at the Higher Education Taskforce.

The Higher Education taskforce was created to discuss and take quick actions on higher education (HE) admissions and acceptances and to discuss COVID-19 related challenges faced by HE providers and students.

The group consists of members from Universities UK, the Office for Students, the University and Colleges Admissions Service and several university groups. Unite and Unipol were invited, by exception, to a meeting where student accommodation was a focus of the agenda.

The taskforce is ongoing and, although we do not currently have plans to publish the read-outs from the meetings, we will review this in due course. The main items of discussion at this meeting included the increase in COVID-19 cases amongst young adults, COVID-secure practices and supporting students to remain on campus in cases of local COVID-19 outbreaks.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with (a) universities who operate student accommodation and (b) private providers of student accommodation on their response to the covid-19 outbreak since March 2020.

The department is in frequent contact with representatives of the higher education sector, having regular interactions at both official and ministerial level with key parties, including Universities UK and the Office for Students. Officials have also been in frequent contact with representatives of private providers of accommodation, including Unipol, who operate the national codes of practice for private student accommodation providers.

I have spoken with representatives of Unite and Unipol at the Higher Education Taskforce, which the government convened in August. The Taskforce continues to work with the sector on the challenges universities, colleges and their students are facing due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 10 September, the government issued updated guidance for providers on reopening campuses and buildings to help providers make informed decisions about their provision, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

This guidance builds on the advice provided in June, and updated in July, which universities have been using to plan for a safe return. Policies are kept under review as the situation evolves, based on the latest advice from Public Health England and evidence of the effectiveness of interventions and support for students and providers. The guidance reflects the latest scientific advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

The department has worked with universities to ensure that they all have outbreak plans. These have been developed in conjunction with local public health teams and all have been or are being agreed with local directors of public health. The plans should cover a range of scenarios, including outbreaks in accommodation, both on and off campus.

The government has published guidance for landlords and tenants who may be affected by current events, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students have been absent from school since 1 September 2020 as a result of a pupil in their (a) bubble and (b) school having covid-19 symptoms and awaiting a test.

It is a priority for the Government to keep close track of the situation in schools in relation to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. The Department is currently collecting data from schools on a daily basis, as well as gathering information from local areas and following up with individual settings to confirm that procedures for requiring pupils to isolate are well understood and that necessary decisions are made on the basis of public health advice.

We collect data on the number of schools that have indicated they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures and have attendance data for schools that have done so. The Department’s published data on school openings and attendance, shows that 94% of state-funded schools were fully open on 17 September. For responding schools which were not fully open on 17 September, 4% said they were not fully open due to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Approximately 87% of pupils on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance on 17 September. Attendance estimates include pupils absent for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related reasons. More information on this data is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

From the autumn term, pupils in all year groups were asked to return to school full-time. Our latest guidance on full opening sets out the public health advice schools should follow and how we expect schools to operate in the autumn term. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he had made of the affordability of student-funded tuition fees for all nursing, midwifery, and allied healthcare students from the academic year 2020-21.

The student finance system removes financial barriers for those hoping to study. It is backed by the taxpayer, with outstanding debt written off after 30 years, which is an investment in the future skills of this country.

Maximum tuition fees for undergraduate courses (including nursing, midwifery and allied health professions), and the subsidised fee loans available from the government to pay them, will remain at £9,250 for a standard full-time undergraduate course in the 2020/21 academic year, which is the third year in succession maximum fees have been frozen. Monthly repayments are linked to income and not to interest rates or the amount borrowed. Repayments are calculated (at 9%) only on amounts earned over the repayment threshold, which is currently annually £26,575. Additionally, borrowers are protected, as their repayments decrease if their income decreases.

The government has announced a 2.9% increase in maximum loans for living costs for the 2020/21 academic year to £9,203 for eligible full-time undergraduate students living away from home and studying outside London. Higher rates of loan are available for students living away from home and studying in London. In addition, new and continuing nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students will be eligible to receive a new non-repayable grant of up to £8,000 from September 2020 to contribute to their living costs.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Climate Assembly UK's report entitled The path to net zero.

The Government welcomed and thanked the Climate Assembly UK for their report. The Government has been working closely with the Climate Assembly UK since it was first commissioned. The Climate Assembly UK’s recommendations demonstrate strong public support for the Government’s intention to deliver net zero and build back greener. Initiatives like the Climate Assembly UK play an important role in helping develop policies that are achievable and fair. The Government is looking closely at the Climate Assembly UK report’s findings and departments will consider them in plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The Government will publish a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26, setting out the vision and policies to reach net zero. This will address many of the themes set out in the Climate Assembly UK report, including those where Defra is responsible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the effect of ocean acidification; and what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations from the Ocean Acidification Research Programme.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate has stated, increasing emissions of carbon dioxide will result in greater levels of ocean acidification. The most effective way to reduce the impacts of climate change and acidification on our ocean is to reduce emissions. The UK Government has therefore set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

From 2010-16, Defra partnered with the Natural Environment Research Council and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to invest £12.4 million in the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme. This programme provided baseline data on ocean acidification for UK seas and supported the development of long-term monitoring strategies. The outputs from this ground-breaking initiative contributed evidence which has fed into the cross-Government Climate Change Adaptation programme and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report. The UK has also supported the inclusion of ocean acidification monitoring in the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and through other international policy initiatives.

In 2018, building on the UK Ocean Acidification programme, Defra’s Science Advisory Council reviewed the national monitoring and assessment programmes for ocean acidification and provided advice on where the UK could contribute to global monitoring. As a result of this we have now established the North East Atlantic Ocean Acidification Hub in the UK which forms part of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network. This Defra-funded hub acts as the European regional centre on monitoring and research. An Ocean Acidification Hub workshop was held in London in 2019 to foster collaboration and share information on ocean acidification monitoring and modelling across communities, to encourage and ease the data-submission process via the Global Ocean Acidification Portal, promote best practices and build capacity for further training.

We also recognise the importance of global research collaboration and have joined the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on Ocean Acidification, sharing our knowledge and science with our international partners.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to redistribute a greater proportion of the UK's fishing quota to under 10 metre vessels and UK-owned sustainable fishing fleets; and what steps he will take to prevent overfishing by large fleets after the transition period.

The allocation of quota to the fishing industry is a devolved matter. In England, our policy is set out in the 2018 White Paper, Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations. This explains that we will continue to allocate our existing share of quota in the same way. This provides certainty for the fishing industry. However, we also said we would develop and trial new methods for allocating any additional quota we secure after leaving the Common Fisheries Policy. In England, we are working with industry and other stakeholders to do this in a way which benefits the whole fleet, including under 10 metre vessels.

The fisheries objectives set out in the Fisheries Bill, along with the legally binding Joint Fisheries Statement and Fisheries Management Plans, collectively reaffirm our commitment to achieving sustainable fishing and protecting the marine environment. In addition, all foreign vessels granted access to fish in UK waters following the Transition Period will need to abide by UK rules including those on sustainability.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which (a) towns and (b) cities recorded the highest levels of air pollution in the last two years.

An annual assessment of air pollution in the UK is published on the UK-AIR website at the following URL: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/index. Assessments for previous years can also be found at this URL.

For the purposes of air quality monitoring and assessment of compliance, the UK is covered on a region-by-region basis within each report. Results are detailed in Section 4 of each annual assessment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to tackle levels of air pollution in the most affected areas.

Our Clean Air Strategy (CAS) sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollutant emissions from a wide range of sources. The World Health Organization has recognised the CAS as an example for the rest of the world to follow. We have also put in place a £3.5 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations and are working closely with 61 English local authorities, and have placed legal duties on them, to tackle their nitrogen dioxide exceedances as soon as possible. Our Environment Bill was reintroduced to Parliament on 30 January 2020 and makes a clear commitment to set an ambitious target for fine particulate matter, the pollutant of most concern for human health. It also ensures that local authorities have a clear framework and simple to use powers to tackle air pollution in their areas, and will provide the Government with new powers to enforce environmental standards for vehicles. All this action will improve air quality across the UK, including in the most affected areas

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which towns and cities have the worst levels of air pollution in England.

An annual assessment of air pollution in the UK is published on the UK-AIR website at the following URL: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/index

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she had with Cabinet colleagues in (a) April and (b) May 2021 on the potential effect of adding India to the covid-19 red list for travel on the prospects of agreeing a trade deal with the Indian government.

The decision to add India to the ‘red list’ on 23rd April was made by the Department for Transport under the international traffic light system, using an independent risk assessment methodology developed by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, part of the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria Pakistan needs to meet to move to the amber list for covid-19 travel restrictions.

Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) risk assessments of countries and territories, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country and territory include genomic surveillance capability, COVID-19 transmission risk and variant of concern transmission risk. A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

These are intended to be temporary measures and the government keeps data for countries and territories under regular review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the methodology that led to the Government's decision to keep Kenya on its red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions, as announced on 5 August 2021.

The traffic light system categorises countries, based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

The data for all countries will be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the methodology that led to the Government's decision to keep Turkey on its red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions, as announced on 5 August 2021.

The traffic light system categorises countries, based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

The data for all countries will be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the methodology that led to the Government's decision to keep the Philippines on the red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions, as announced on 5 August 2021.

The traffic light system categorises countries, based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

The data for all countries will be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the methodology that led to the Government's decision to keep Guyana on its red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions, as announced on 5 August 2021.

The traffic light system categorises countries, based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

The data for all countries will be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the methodology that led to the Government's decision to keep Pakistan on its red list for international covid-19 travel restrictions, as announced on 5 August 2021.

The traffic light system categorises countries, based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

The data for all countries will be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to subsidise the cost of PCR testing for people leaving and entering the UK.

We are working with the travel industry and private testing providers to see how we can further reduce costs for the British public while ensuring travel is as safe as possible. We are considering a range of options including cheaper tests being used when passengers return home. The price of tests has reduced significantly in recent weeks, with providers offering testing packages for green arrivals starting at £20.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with bus companies on reducing the cost of bus tickets in Bedfordshire.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with bus operators; through our engagement we are exploring operators’ plans to work with Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) to deliver the commitments in the National Bus Strategy. The Strategy sets out that within cities and towns, we want low flat fares (or maximum fares and daily price caps) to be standard practice.

Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), which we expect Local Transport Authorities to produce by the end of October, will need to set out ambitious visions for travel by bus, meeting the goals and expectations in the strategy. BSIPs will influence the share of the £3 billion transformation funding that each authority receives, and we will expect to see fares policy as an integral part of the plans.

In addition, the Department’s bus open data service, which will create a single source of information on bus fares in England, provides an opportunity for bus operators to simplify fares structures and potentially move towards flat fares.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to better integrate the bus and train services in Bedfordshire.

The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and the National Bus Strategy set out that bus and rail services should be better integrated with each other. Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), which we expect local transport authorities to produce by the end of October, will need to set out ambitious visions for travel by bus, meeting the goals and expectations in the National Bus Strategy.

BSIPs will influence the share of the £3 billion transformation funding that each authority receives, and we will expect to see proposals for modal integration as part of each plan, including how bus and rail operators can increasingly align their services, timetables and network planning.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to visit Leagrave Station to discuss with relevant stakeholders step-free accessibility for passengers.

With the lifting of restrictions, I am keen to visit stations where improvements have been delivered or stations that are potential candidates.

Around 75% of rail journeys are now through step-free stations, compared with only 50% in 2005, and I am committed to further improving accessibility across the network.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of (a) Thameslink and (b) East Midlands Railway on the use of coaches with Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations exemption certificates as part of rail replacement contracts in Bedfordshire.

No specific conversations have taken place on this with either Thameslink or East Midlands Railway. We remain disappointed that fully accessible services cannot always be provided for rail replacement. As Rail Minister, I have set clear expectations on the train operating companies to source and use PSVAR compliant vehicles wherever possible in the first instance, and only use a non-compliant vehicle that has been granted a special authorisation when all other compliant options have been exhausted.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to publish an aviation recovery plan alongside the Global Taskforce’s report on 12 April.

As announced on 22nd February as part of the roadmap for the phased lifting of restrictions in England, the Secretary of State for Transport will also now lead a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a framework that can facilitate greater international travel when the time is right, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants.

The government is also developing a forward looking strategic framework on the recovery of the sector, which will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, which will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues. We will also consider climate change and decarbonisation. We aim to publish this framework later this year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria the Global Taskforce plans to use to make its decision on the plans to open up international travel during the covid-19 pandemic.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 22 February, The Global Travel Taskforce is an important step in exploring how we can safely reopen international travel. It will develop a framework that can facilitate greater travel when the time is right, while managing the risk from imported cases and variants.

It will look to take a risk-based approach, making use of the suite of measures the Government already has in place such as testing (pre-departure testing and Test to Release) and self-isolation, as well as the recommendations from the first Global Travel Taskforce last year.

The Government will engage with stakeholders across the international travel sector to develop this work, in a similar way to the first Global Travel Taskforce last November, and will work at pace to report to the Prime Minister by 12 April. Further detail on the Taskforce and its plans will be shared shortly.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to support jobs in the aviation sector in response to the hotel quarantine policy.

The government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector due to COVID-19. The sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry can draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which supports companies cover the wage costs of their employees, has been extended until the end of April 2021, during which time it will contribute up to 80% of employees’ wages (up to £2,500 per month). The government has also support the aviation industry through the Covid Corporate Financing Facility and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes.

The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme announced on 24 November will provide support for eligible businesses, up to the equivalent of their business rates liabilities in the 2020/21 financial year, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £8m. This is intended to help reduce cash burn and could unlock shareholder and lender support.

We continue to monitor the financial health of the sector and review the support provided to it in light of evolving restrictions on domestic and international travel.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his Written Statement of 12 March 2020 on Strategic roads update: smart motorways evidence stocktake, HCWS155, what progress he has made on the implementation of that review's recommendations; and if he will make a statement.

Further to my answer of 11 January 2021, on 25 January 2021 the Secretary of State held a meeting with Highways England to discuss progress. He has asked for a report setting out progress in delivering the 18-point smart motorway action plan and which identifies actions that can be delivered early by 12 March 2021, so any accelerated works can be rapidly put in place.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Govia Thameslink on the safety of (a) train drivers and (b) railway staff during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Department for Transport officials liaise with Govia Thameslink Railway on a frequent and regular basis to understand the measures they are putting in place regarding the safety of their staff.

In line with the January COVID-19 lockdown announcement, and guidance from Public Health England, Govia Thameslink Railway has implemented COVID-secure arrangements at all work places across their network. Measures include:

  • Additional mess room facilities to enable social distancing
  • The application of a sanitising agent (Zoono virucide) within the cab and saloon areas of trains
  • Regular testing for secure ‘bubbles’ is provided where training within a cab is required
  • All Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) employees were immediately stood down from work
  • Staff rosters have been amended to reduce the number of frontline workers at stations, in line with the reduction in passenger numbers
Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with stakeholders on Access for All funding for Leagrave Train Station.

Leagrave was nominated for Access for All funding in 2019, but was not selected as other stations in the region better met the selection criteria. The Department looks forward to receiving a further bid for Leagrave when we open a new round of Access for All in the future.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of Luton Airport on the ban on international travel during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

The Department for Transport has not had any bespoke discussions with representatives of Luton Airport specifically on the ban on international travel during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021. The Department’s Airports Team however held its regular monthly meeting with representatives of Luton Airport on 7th January 2021 and representatives of Luton Airport attended a pre-departure testing airports round table hosted by the Aviation Minister on 8th January 2021.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions officials in his Department have had with Luton Council on funding for road repairs.

Department for Transport officials have regular meetings with Luton Borough Council on a variety of transport related matters, including on local road maintenance issues. The Department is providing Luton with over £2.3 million towards highway maintenance this financial year. It is for each Council to decide on how this funding is utilised based on their highway asset management strategy, needs, and priorities.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made on the roll-out of SMART motorways.

Highways England’s Delivery Plan 2020-25 sets out the activities and projects Highways England will deliver over the current road investment strategy period. In addition to ongoing work to upgrade sections of the motorway, a priority for Highways England is the delivery of the Secretary of State’s 18 point action plan to raise the bar on safety and increase public confidence in the motorway network.

Highways England will implement the action plan in full and has already completed work, including the provision of 10 additional emergency areas on the M25 and making all emergency areas more visible by introducing a bright orange surface and better, more frequent signs. A nationally-targeted safety campaign to increase road user confidence, including what to do in the event of a breakdown in a live lane, will launch during January 2021.

Highways England will deliver all the remaining actions including the provision of stopped vehicle detection on ALR motorways and conversion of dynamic hard shoulder to ALR.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the criteria are for the establishment of a covid-19 travel corridor.

Decisions on International Travel Corridors are currently informed by risk assessments provided by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), working closely with Public Health England (PHE), using methodology endorsed by the four Chief Medical Officers (CMO) of the UK.

JBC and PHE monitor over 250 countries, territories and islands daily to inform these risk assessments. Factors taken into consideration include:

  • An estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infected (this is known as ‘point prevalence’);
  • Weekly case incidence rate taking into account population size of the country, territory or island;
  • Trends in incidence, deaths, hospitalisations and intensive care admissions;
  • Information on laboratory capacity, testing and contact tracing strategies, and test positivity rates;
  • COVID-19 cases detected in the UK following travel to the country, territory or island (‘imported infections’);
  • Qualitative information related to the reliability of reported data and the maturity of public health systems;
  • Public health measures in place and the enforcement of, and adherence to, those measures.
Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2020 to Question 57393, on Airlines: Coronavirus, whether an airline company has reached the point of all avenues being exhausted (a) before or (b) after proposing a high volume of redundancies.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector and its workers.

We expect companies to pursue all possible actions to preserve cash and maximise liquidity, including engaging with shareholders, lenders and the markets, and utilising all available assets and facilities. However, we do not comment on discussions held with individual companies, as this information is commercially sensitive.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June to Question 56177 on Travel: coronavirus, on how many occasions he has discussed the 14-day quarantine rule for entering the UK with the Home Secretary.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply previously given on 11 June 2020, PQ UIN 56177.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 55045, how the Government plans to define value for money for taxpayers when assessing whether to make interventions in the airline industry in the event that airlines find themselves facing financial difficulties as a result of covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been clear that we will only consider bespoke support for businesses once all other avenues have been exhausted, including the economy-wide support announced by the Chancellor.

In considering whether there is a case for providing additional support, we would look at factors such as whether the business makes a material contribution to the economic activity of the UK and the equitable and fair treatment across businesses in the sector. Any support that is offered will follow the government guidance on Managing Public Money.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the 14-day quarantine rule for people entering the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State has held extensive discussions about self-isolation measures with the Home Secretary.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with (a) easyJet, (b) British Airways and (c) other major UK airlines on the 14-day quarantine period for people entering the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport has engaged with the aviation sector on this issue and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. This includes working with senior representatives from the aviation industry as part of the Aviation Expert Steering Group. This group serves as the working group for the International Aviation Taskforce – one of the five sectoral taskforces announced by the Government on 13 May.

In addition, the Department has co-chaired with Border Force three implementation groups with the aviation industry to ensure that the industry is aware of how the new regulations on self-isolation will be implemented.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 52534, what discussions his Department has had with representatives from airlines on Government support to alleviate financial difficulties that have arisen due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19, and has been engaging regularly with airlines throughout the UK to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on their financial position.

Businesses across the industry, including airlines, have been able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures put in place during this time. This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, two business interruption loan guarantee schemes for different sizes of business, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals.

If airlines find themselves in trouble as a result of coronavirus even following the Government’s cross-economy wage and financial interventions, the Transport Secretary and Chancellor have confirmed that the Government is prepared to enter discussions with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted all other options. Any intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

Airlines across the country are eligible and have accessed these schemes which has protected a substantial number of jobs across the industry. We do not comment on the commercial or financial matters of private firms and are therefore it would be inappropriate to detail individual discussions.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 52534, what steps the Government has taken to publicise the availability of bespoke packages of support for airlines facing financial difficulties due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19, and has been meeting with airlines based in the UK on a regular basis to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on their financial position. These meetings have also been used to inform and advise airlines on the support that can be potentially available to them if applicable.

Businesses across the industry, including airlines, have been able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures put in place during this time. This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, two business interruption loan guarantee schemes for different sizes of business, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals.

The Chancellor wrote to airlines and airports across the sector 24th March. As that letter outlined if airlines find themselves in trouble as a result of coronavirus even following the Government’s cross-economy wage and financial interventions, the Transport Secretary and Chancellor have confirmed that the Government is prepared to enter discussions with individual companies seeking bespoke support, but only as a last resort, having exhausted all other options. Any intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what meetings his Department has had with Easyjet on its proposed 4,500 job losses; and what plans the Government has to help safeguard the future of those jobs.

It would not be appropriate to comment on individual discussions. However, we recognise that this will be very distressing news for EasyJet employees and their families, and we stand ready to support them.

Our transport systems are critical to support the restart of the wider economy and we continue to work closely with the aviation sector on these restart plans and the longer-term recovery of the sector. Firms can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees. If airlines find themselves in trouble because of coronavirus, and have exhausted the measures already available to them, the Government is prepared to enter discussions with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted all other options.??Any intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to support the aviation industry and its workforce during (a) the phases of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions easing and (b) a potential second wave of the outbreak; and whether those plans include (i) an extended job retention scheme for workers in the aviation industry and (ii) ensuring pilots have access to simulators or flight time to fulfil the three take offs and landings in 90 days requirements.

Our transport systems are critical to support the restart of the wider economy and we continue to work closely with the aviation sector through the phasing of lockdown restrictions and beyond, on these restart plans and the longer-term recovery of the sector. In addition, the International Aviation Taskforce has been set up to support the development of guidelines for safely restarting the sector that will take place, when the science allows. The Taskforce will be publishing guidance for passengers and operators shortly.

The Chancellor recently extended the Job Retention Scheme until the end of October, bringing more flexibility to the scheme to ensure those who are able to work can do so, while remaining amongst the most generous employee schemes in the world. As well as financial support for employees, firms can also draw upon the unprecedented package of measures to protect jobs, including: schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills.

The Civil Aviation Authority is working with airlines and airports to provide flexibility within the regulatory framework to help manage and mitigate Covid-19 impacts where this is appropriate, including on fulfilment of regulatory requirements such as Pilot’s flight time.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions the Government has had with (a) commercial airline operators and (b) travel insurance providers on providing timely compensation to repatriated UK travellers who have had flights cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Department for Transport is in regular conversation with UK airlines and is working with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments. The Government’s position is clear - if a customer asks for a refund, that refund needs to be paid.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) road traffic collisions and (b) fatalities there have been between junctions 10 and 13 on the M1 in each year since 2010.

The number of reported personal injury road accidents and the number of fatal casualties between junctions 10 and 13 on the M1 since 2010 can be found in the table below:

Reported personal injury road accidents and fatalities between junctions 10 and 13 on the M1¹, 2010 to 2018

Year

Accidents (all severities)

Fatalities

2010

113

0

2011

74

1

2012

93

1

2013

84

0

2014

98

2

2015

90

4

2016

94

0

2017

103

1

2018

84

0

Source: DfT, STATS19

1. Includes all the slip roads on and off at each of the junctions.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the safety of the roll-out of smart motorways.

On 24 October 2019 the Secretary of State for Transport announced that the Department will carry out an evidence stocktake to gather the facts about smart motorway safety.

The Department will present the findings shortly.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart scheme placements have been (a) approved and (b) started in (i) Luton North constituency, (ii) Luton and (iii) Bedfordshire.

Delivering the Kickstart Scheme at pace has led to a limited data set which makes it harder to accurately present a snapshot of a smaller geographical area.

We are continuing to develop our data, which may help in sharing local authority level information in due course.

We are able to provide, however, that in the ONS defined region of East of England (which includes Bedfordshire), as of 6 May 2021 around 8,240 jobs had been made available for young people to apply for and around 1,320 jobs started by young people on the Kickstart Scheme.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on health and safety inspections of supermarket distribution warehouses during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and individual Local Authorities (LA) enforce health and safety law in work premises where the allocation of enforcement responsibility is dependent on the type of work carried out.

Amazon warehouses, where customers’ orders are fulfilled when stored products are picked, packed and shipped, are known as fulfilment centres and are enforced by LAs. There are numerous centres across Great Britain and individual LAs will be better placed to advise on COVID-19 management practices for specific sites. Similarly, supermarket distribution warehouses broadly fall to LA enforcement where goods are stored for retail or wholesale purposes.

As part of its role as the national regulator for health and safety across Great Britain, HSE monitored the effectiveness of COVID-19 risk controls across the supply chain, followed up workers’ concerns in premises enforced by HSE, and recently undertook a joint inspection programme in December 2020 with LAs to cover warehousing and distribution centres. Amazon’s COVID-19 practices were assessed via a virtual head office inspection by HSE and local authority site inspection.

A report on the recent inspection campaign will be issued the week commencing 19th April 2021 to share examples of good practice in relation to COVID risk management.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on health and safety inspections of Amazon distribution warehouses during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and individual Local Authorities (LA) enforce health and safety law in work premises where the allocation of enforcement responsibility is dependent on the type of work carried out.

Amazon warehouses, where customers’ orders are fulfilled when stored products are picked, packed and shipped, are known as fulfilment centres and are enforced by LAs. There are numerous centres across Great Britain and individual LAs will be better placed to advise on COVID-19 management practices for specific sites. Similarly, supermarket distribution warehouses broadly fall to LA enforcement where goods are stored for retail or wholesale purposes.

As part of its role as the national regulator for health and safety across Great Britain, HSE monitored the effectiveness of COVID-19 risk controls across the supply chain, followed up workers’ concerns in premises enforced by HSE, and recently undertook a joint inspection programme in December 2020 with LAs to cover warehousing and distribution centres. Amazon’s COVID-19 practices were assessed via a virtual head office inspection by HSE and local authority site inspection.

A report on the recent inspection campaign will be issued the week commencing 19th April 2021 to share examples of good practice in relation to COVID risk management.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish her Department's impact assessment on ending the universal credit uplift.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of allowing UK travellers awaiting repatriation to the UK to apply for universal credit from abroad while they are unable to travel as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit, are only payable to people who are in the UK and cannot be claimed by those outside the UK.

Stranded British nationals with a job in the UK are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the same basis as other employees of the company. Additionally, if applicable, stranded British nationals who are small business owners can apply to the Small Business Grants Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption loan scheme (CBILS).

The FCO continues to work around the clock with the airline industry and other governments across the world to help British nationals abroad return to the UK.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what savings have accrued to the public purse as a result of the removal of the spare room subsidy; and what estimate his Department has made of the administrative costs of that policy since its introduction.

The Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS), introduced in 2013, encourages mobility within the social rented sector, strengthens work-incentives and makes better use of available social housing, while providing fairness to taxpayers on expenditure on Housing Benefit.

The policy has saved over £2 billion since its introduction in April 2013. A breakdown by financial year is provided in the table below:

Total Estimated Housing Benefit RSRS Deductions, 2013/14 to 2019/20 (£m pa)

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

385

365

355

335

320

288

290

Notes

  1. Deductions figures do not take into account any additional savings due to behavioural change before/after the policy has been introduced, for example moving to a smaller property to avoid a deduction.
  1. Figures do not include claimants on Universal Credit (UC) with a removal of the spare room subsidy (RSRS) deduction, as these data are not currently available.

In terms of the cost of administering the RSRS, funding was made available to local authorities (LAs). Information is published in Housing Benefit subsidy circulars available on Gov.UK.

To date (2019/20) administrative funding for the RSRS policy has been around £68m (which includes funding for the administration of Discretionary Housing Payments associated with the introduction of the RSRS policy).

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of influenza-like illness outbreaks in care homes.

Many of the measures we have implemented to tackle COVID-19 will also be effective against flu, such as hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, social distancing, environmental cleaning and use of personal protective equipment.

Public Health England’s local health protection teams investigate notifications of suspected influenza/respiratory virus outbreaks in care homes and alongside making recommendations on infection prevention and control measures, can recommend that local services consider prescribing antivirals to prevent and treat flu where needed.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to assist people who have fled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan with the cost of managed covid-19 hotel quarantine.

There is a cross-Government effort to design a package for arrivals from Afghanistan, including the support that is needed to help these families relocate to the United Kingdom. The cost of managed quarantine is being considered in these discussions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect care home residents during the forthcoming winter flu season.

Measures are in place to monitor and reduce the spread any influenza outbreaks within care homes. All care home residents and staff are eligible for flu vaccination and measures that are effective for COVID-19 work for flu. Hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, social distancing, environmental cleaning, use of personal protective equipment and other COVID-19 precautions provide protection against flu. Public Health England’s local health protection teams investigate notifications of suspected influenza/respiratory virus outbreaks in care homes and alongside making recommendations on infection control measures, can recommend that local services consider prescribing antivirals to prevent and treat flu where needed.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the JVCI recommendation to vaccinate 12 to 15 year olds against covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

In their advice of 3 September, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) suggested that the Government may wish to seek further views on the wider societal and educational impacts of universal vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds from the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), with representation from the JCVI in these subsequent discussions. Consequently, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and the UK health ministers wrote to the CMOs to ask that they consider the vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds from a broader perspective, as suggested by the JCVI.

The UK CMOs have recommended the extension of the offer of a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to all children and young people aged 12 to 15 years old on public health grounds. The Government has accepted this advice.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing people who have (a) fled Afghanistan and arrived in the UK and (b) assisted the British Armed Forces to stay at managed covid-19 hotel quarantine facilities for free.

There is a cross-Government effort to design a package for arrivals from Afghanistan, including the support that is needed to help these families relocate to the United Kingdom. The cost of managed quarantine is being considered in these discussions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) testing and (b) surveillance in care homes during the covid-19 pandemic for the implications of his policies on preventing influenza in that setting.

There was negligible circulation of influenza in care homes in 2020-21 due to the measures designed to stop the spread of COVID-19. Existing systems for multi-virus testing of care homes remain in place and can be deployed when required.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of preventative measures other than vaccination that could be taken to mitigate a winter flu outbreak in 2021.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions in place for COVID-19 last winter such as mask-wearing, social-distancing and restricted international travel resulted in extremely low influenza activity globally. As restrictions are lifted, it is expected that winter 2021/2022 will be the first winter in the United Kingdom when seasonal influenza and other respiratory viruses will co-circulate alongside COVID-19. The National Health Service continues to recommend hand washing, using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and disposing of them as quickly as possible. However, influenza vaccination remains a cost-effective measure to protect those at risk and reduce hospitalisations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what planning his Department has undertaken to ensure the healthcare system is adequately prepared for covid-19 and influenza in winter 2021.

We have provided an extra £6.6 billion to manage COVID-19 pressures in the first half of 2021/22. Efforts are underway to boost the performance of the emergency care system including an extra £55 million investment in ambulance trusts and ongoing work on major emergency department upgrade schemes. Emergency department capacity will be increased through expanding waiting areas and increasing the number of treatment cubicles which will reduce overcrowding and improve infection control measures.

In addition, providers will offer the flu vaccine to over 35 million people this winter season. This includes a continued offer of vaccination for 50 to 64 year olds and the expansion of the children’s programme to secondary school year 11 to protect children and prevent onward transmission to vulnerable members of the community.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for social care staff and their employment rights of mandating covid-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment for those workers when that was not part of their existing employment contract.

The proposed regulations to make vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes apply to all staff employed directly by the care home, those engaged via an agency and any volunteers deployed in the care home. The regulations contain a 16-week grace period from when they are made to when they come into force to enable staff who have not been vaccinated to take up the vaccine or obtain evidence that they are exempt.

Care homes will be expected to comply at all times with employment legislation and adhere to good employment practice in ensuring adherence to the regulations. This includes communicating the requirement and timescales to be vaccinated or obtain an exemption to staff as soon as possible, notifying staff of and the potential consequences of not doing so, and consulting and engaging with staff and exploring redeployment opportunities. Further details of good employment practice that care homes will be encouraged to follow will be set out in guidance which will be published as soon as possible.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 13 July 2021 to Question 14225 on Travel: Quarantine, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government's managed hotel quarantine policy in preventing the delta variant of covid-19 from entering the UK.

We are monitoring of the effectiveness of the Managed Quarantine Service with regular testing and genomic sequencing to determine which variants have been prevented from entering the United Kingdom, including the Delta variant. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ Environmental Modelling Group Transmission sub-group is currently reviewing the evidence on the risk of transmission in hotels which will be published by autumn 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 July 2021 to Question 28345 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK residents vaccinated against covid-19 whilst overseas with a (a) Pfizer, (b) Oxford-AstraZeneca and (c) Moderna vaccine are able to be certified as vaccinated by the UK.

We currently undertaking work to agree which regulators from around the world have similar stringent standards as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. This will be finalised in due course and will allow recognition of vaccines administered abroad. Once a decision has been made, NHSX will provide access to a NHS COVID Pass for those eligible.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK residents vaccinated against covid-19 whilst abroad are able to be certified as so vaccinated in the UK.

Work is ongoing to determine which non-United Kingdom vaccines can be recognised in this country.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 20546 on NHS: Counter-terrorism, what the (a) selection process, (b) role description and (c) balance of focus between healthcare and safeguarding is for the seven NHS England Regional Serious Violence and Contextual Safeguarding Leads.

The selection process for Regional Serious Violence and Contextual Safeguarding Leads is the established NHS England and NHS Improvement recruitment process, following fair and open procedures. The role description includes the system assurance of several statutory functions which the National Health Service is required to implement, including Prevent; female genital mutilation; modern slavery and human trafficking; tackling serious violence; preventing domestic abuse; and stopping violence against women and girls. The Regional Serious Violence and Contextual Safeguarding Leads focus on all nuances of neglect, abuse, exploitation and violence as indicated with their community safety partnerships, national crime agency data and counter terrorism reports.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people without an NHS number are able to be certified as vaccinated against covid-19.

A National Health Service number is needed for individuals to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status via the NHS App, through the NHS website or via letters from the NHS, which can be requested by calling 119. Anyone can register with a general practitioner (GP) practice to get an NHS number. It is free to register and proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number is not needed. A registration letter will arrive in the post containing an NHS number.

Individuals who do not have an NHS number or are not registered with a GP are still entitled to free COVID-19 vaccinations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish in any format available the total number of people who have tested positive for covid-19 while completing red list hotel quarantine to date.

The data is not currently available as it is being collated and centrally validated.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish in any format available the total number of people who have completed covid-19 hotel quarantine to date.

Data provided by Corporate Travel Management to the Department shows that to 1 July, 127,074 travellers have completed hotel quarantine, across 73 hotels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the current management of hotel quarantine at helping prevent the delta variant of covid-19 from entering community circulation.

The Managed Quarantine Service operates through a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which include infection control. These procedures are based on advice from the Department’s infection prevention specialist. We have contracted with Global Secure Accreditation to provide liaison officers in each hotel to oversee the correct deployment of the SOPs. They undertake monthly reviews of compliance and their effectiveness and if required make recommendations for the Department to strengthen them. Should an outbreak occur, incident management teams investigate the cause and implement measures to stop further transmission. Directors of Public Health and Environmental Health take considerable interest in all quarantine hotels in their area and regularly visit all quarantine hotels in their area to assure the correct infection control measures are in place.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the number of exemptions from covid-19 hotel quarantine that have been granted.

Since February 2021, approximately 60 people have been granted exemptions from COVID-19 managed quarantine facilities on medical grounds.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has in place in the event of community transmission of a covid-19 variant with a high level of vaccine escape.

We have governance arrangements in place and tools available in the event of transmission of a dangerous variant of concern with vaccine escape qualities. This includes the local action committee command structure and outbreak management protocols within the Contain Framework, which act as routes to provide support and interventions where required. The United Kingdom’s world leading genomic sequencing programme allows us to quickly identify and respond to any new variants and we are building onshore capability to rapidly develop new vaccines if required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve mental health care for people bereaved as a result of covid-19.

The Government recognizes that this has been an incredibly difficult time to grieve, with the challenging, yet necessary, measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 affecting the complexity of grief for many people.

Since March 2020, the Government has given £10.2 million to mental health charities, including bereavement support charities, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing due to the impact of covid-19. We have also published our Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, backed by a one-off targeted investment of £500 million, to ensure that we have the right support in place this year.

A wide range of support continues to be available for the bereaved, and we will continue to work closely with bereavement services to assess how further support can be provided.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 6485, when he plans that data on the number of successful refunds of the Immigration Health Surcharge to health and social care workers will be centrally validated so that that data can be published.

The Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office are continuing to consider to options for validation and will provide a further update in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet with the members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group.

We continue to have meetings with those bereaved as a result of the pandemic, in order to hear and learn from their experiences.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 4046 on NHS: Migrant Workers, if he will collect data on the number of NHS workers from overseas who (a) are charged the Immigration Health Surcharge and (b) successfully received a refund of the Immigration Health Surcharge since the government announced the policy in May 2020.

The Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office will continue to consider the most effective way of ensuring data transparency. Our partners are responsible for collecting information on the operation of the policy, which is used to maintain an effective service.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 4046 dated 24 May 2021, if he will publish any data his Department holds on the policy of refunding the Immigration Health Surcharge for overseas workers.

The Department is unable to publish data relating to the operation of the scheme as this information is not currently centrally validated. Partners are responsible for collecting information on the operation of the policy, which is used to maintain an effective service and the Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office will continue to consider the most effective way of ensuring data transparency.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the number of NHS workers from overseas who (a) are charged the Immigration Health Surcharge and (b) successfully received a refund of the Immigration Health Surcharge since May 2020.

The information is not collected in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure greater uptake of the covid-19 vaccine in (a) Luton North constituency and (b) other areas with lower take up of the vaccine.

On 13 February 2021, the Government published the COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Plan, which aims to improve uptake across all communities in the United Kingdom. We have allocated £23.75 million for councils and voluntary groups through the Community Champions scheme. Through this scheme, Community Champions will use their local networks to provide advice about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Champions will also work with councils to identify the barriers to accessing accurate information about the vaccine and to provide tailored support, such as phone calls for people who are digitally excluded and linking to general practitioner surgeries.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation supports flexibility in delivery of the programme at a local level to ensure that every opportunity is utilised to offer the vaccine to groups with lower uptake. This can include offering vaccine in a wider range of settings. In Luton, additional vaccination centres, including a gym and a youth centre, have been set up by the local clinical commissioning group to maximise vaccine uptake.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle covid-19 vaccine hesitancy related to (a) fertility and (b) pregnancy issues.

Public Health England has produced a range of advice on pregnancy and fertility with regards to COVID-19 vaccination, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-women-of-childbearing-age-currently-pregnant-planning-a-pregnancy-or-breastfeeding

The Department of Health and Social Care is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help social media platforms identify and take action against false claims about COVID-19 vaccines in lines with their terms and conditions. This includes false narratives about the alleged impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on fertility. There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility.

Our vaccine communications toolkits for stakeholders, partners and employers cover information around these concerns and we have been sourcing and sharing case stories of women of childbearing age who have had the vaccine before, during or after pregnancy to tackle vaccine hesitancy. At a local level webinars and engagement sessions have been focused to address women’s concerns around the vaccine and have also been tailored to specific demographic groups.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of reductions in the number of health visitors since 2015 on the health of babies during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England has not made an assessment.

Health visiting services have continued to deliver the Healthy Child Programme throughout the pandemic. Contacts were initially virtual unless there was a clinical or safeguarding need. Health visitors have also prioritised families not already in contact with services. Services have now been restored in line with the community services prioritisation guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the number of people who have absconded from managed covid-19 quarantine facilities at the border.

The information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on the effect of the Immigration Health Surcharge on the health of migrants who are (a) new parents and (b) children.

There have been no specific discussions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS England publication titled COVID-19 Vaccinations of NHS Trust Health Care Workers in the NHS Electronic Staff Record, that is contained within the COVID-19 weekly announced vaccinations data series, if he will publish the same data broken down by NHS Trust.

National Health Service staff vaccination data is currently published down to regional level. NHS England and NHS Improvement have no imminent plans to publish data on vaccinations by trust. The level of data published by NHS England and NHS Improvement is regularly reviewed.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals on reform of the social care system.

The legislative measures in the Health and Care Bill White Paper are a critical first step in wider reform in the adult social care sector. However, our commitment to the reform of social care extends beyond this legislation and we will bring forward further proposals in 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of face-to-face health visits for new parents during the covid-19 outbreak; if he will allocate additional resources to increase the number of health visitors; and if he will provide additional support to new parents during the covid-19 outbreak.

Health visitors have continued to provide support throughout the pandemic through a blended approach consisting of face-to-face and virtual visits, making a professional judgement on what sort of appointment is best for each family. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions on workforce based on local need. New parents are offered five universal health and wellbeing reviews during the first two and a half years of a child’s life where health visitors provide tailored support and can signpost parents to additional services as required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Oral Statement on 18 March 2021, Official Report, col 517, what discussions his Department has had with the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group regarding the suspension of first dose appointment bookings.

No such discussions have taken place. There has been no suspension of first doses available in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System although as the number of people who are due their second dose increases, the balance of appointments will change to reflect vaccine availability and the need to complete those second doses within 12 weeks.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an impact assessment on the cost of home test kits for covid-19 required when travelling into the UK.

A formal impact assessment has not been produced for the regulations that require day two and day eight testing. NHS Test and Trace tests are free for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who are clinically advised to take a test. Only essential travel should be being undertaken during the pandemic to protect the public. All international arrivals need to buy the travel testing package through the testing booking portal or through hotel quarantine before they travel to the United Kingdom. For all arrivals quarantining at home the testing package is £210 from NHS Test and Trace. However, we recently introduced private sector testing of travellers in home quarantine partly to safeguard National Health Service capacity and to offer a wider choice for international arrivals who need to purchase private tests. The prices and service offered by these approved providers vary.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has within its covid-19 roadmap to allow established couples who do not live in the same household and are not eligible to establish a support bubble to mix indoors.

Limiting mixing indoors, where the risk of transmission is much higher, is critical to halting the spread of the virus. Therefore, people will not be allowed to mix indoors with anyone they do not live with or have not formed a support bubble wit, until step three of the roadmap, which will come into force no earlier than 17 May. From step three, up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors. However, couples can currently meet outdoors on a one to one basis for exercise and recreation.

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

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Amnesty International's October 2020 report entitled, As if Expendable, whether the Government plans to take steps in response to the finding of that report that the Government adopted policies during the covid-19 outbreak that violated the human rights of older residents of care homes in England.

The Government has been clear that there will be opportunities to look back, analyse and reflect on all aspects of COVID-19. This will include an independent inquiry at the appropriate time.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure covid-19 vaccine acceptance by undocumented migrants.

Entitlement to free National Health Service treatment is generally based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom. If individuals are not registered with a general practitioner NHS regional teams working with various appropriate local systems will contact unregistered people to ensure they are offered the vaccine. This includes those experiencing homelessness, people who may not live in a fixed location, refugees and those seeking asylum.

Locally commissioned arrangements to reach these groups may include local NHS community and mental health trust providers, Primary Care Networks or partnership activity with statutory and voluntary services.  Because there is no charge for the vaccine for people living in the UK, the immigration status of a patient is not relevant, therefore no proof of residence is needed and there is no requirement to report anyone to the Home Office.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate additional funding to community pharmacies to help them cover costs incurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as the increased advance payments, general COVID-19 business support has been accessible to most community pharmacies, including the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and business rate relief. Additional payments have been made to support opening hours on Bank Holidays, social distancing and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided free of charge and pharmacies are reimbursed for PPE already purchased. Non-monetary support provided during the pandemic included the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prioritising frontline police officers for receipt of the covid-19 vaccine.

For phase two of the COVID 19 vaccination programme, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation published its interim advice on 26 February setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age, and not occupation. This is because age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations. Therefore, police officers will not be prioritised based on their occupation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) NHS England on prioritisation of workers at managed quarantine facilities for the covid-19 vaccine.

To date, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has not held discussions with Cabinet colleagues or NHS England and NHS Improvement about prioritising workers at managed quarantine facilities for vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  The JCVI identified that the vaccination of frontline healthcare workers should be a priority for the COVID-19 vaccination programme during phase one because these staff are at high risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection and also of transmitting that infection to multiple persons who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, as well as to other staff in a healthcare environment.

For phase two of the vaccination programme, the JCVI published its final advice on 13 April, setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age, rather than by occupation. This is because age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations, and because the speed of delivery is crucial as we provide more people with protection from COVID-19. The Government is on track to offer all adults eligible in phase one and phase two their first dose of authorised vaccines by the end of July. Therefore, workers at managed quarantine facilities who are eligible for a vaccine, because of their age or other clinical factors, such as underlying health conditions, will have access to a vaccine by the end of July.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet with the family of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong to discuss working conditions of pregnant women during the covid-19 outbreak.

Due to significant diary pressures, we are unable to meet with the family of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong at this time.

The Government takes this issue seriously and is committed to ensuring the safety of pregnant women during this pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet with the family of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong.

Due to significant diary pressures, we are unable to meet with the family of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong at this time.

The Government takes this issue seriously and is committed to ensuring the safety of pregnant women during the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department responds to named day Written Questions within five sitting days.

Since March 2020, the Department has received a huge increase in the number of Written Question tabled. In the last calendar year to 1 March 2021, we have received over 13,000 Written Questions and as a result response times have significantly fallen. We have created and put into action an iterative recovery plan, the objectives of which are to increase the number of questions answered on time, to clear the backlog of overdue questions and to ensure high-quality answers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on the safety of pregnant women of attending work when they cannot do their job from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Advice for pregnant employees was published by the Government, in partnership with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, The Royal College of Midwives and The Health and Safety Executive on 23 December 2020.

The guidance sets out that if a woman is pregnant and has let their employer know in writing, the employer should carry out a risk assessment. Pregnant women of any gestation should not be required to continue working if this is not supported by the risk assessment.

Women who are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond or are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts them at a greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 at any gestation, are advised to take a more precautionary approach. Employers should consider how to redeploy these staff and maximise the potential for homeworking, wherever possible.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of putting (a) teachers and (b) school staff in a higher priority group for the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

Teachers aged 50 years and older or in an at-risk group are eligible for vaccination in the first phase of the programme. Prioritisation decisions for the next phase of delivery are subject to of the surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services, such as teachers and school staff.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the number of people in (a) Luton and in (b) Luton North who have received the Test and Trace isolation payment.

We are working closely with all 314 lower tier and unitary local authorities to collate information on how the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is progressing and will release this information in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to engage with BAME communities to tackle vaccine hesitancy.

The Department is working with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and key stakeholders to encourage take-up of the COVID-19 vaccine among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and ensure that everyone, including those with questions about the vaccination process, has access to accurate advice and information. The Department is also working with community press and radio stations to deliver information on vaccination in over a dozen languages.

Our activity is also focusing on recruiting trusted voices, faith leaders, and community organisations for priority multicultural audiences, with a particular focus on Muslim, Polish, black African and Caribbean and Jewish communities. The Department is building on pre-existing relationships and established channels, as well as reaching out to more influencers through virtual sessions. Externally, the Department is also working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help social media platforms identify/ take action on incorrect claims on the virus, including anti-vaccination narratives that could endanger people’s health.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of a covid-19 vaccine had been received by people in the UK on (a) 6 January 2020 and (b) the most recent date for which information is available.

This data is not held in the form requested. Data is held on the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine received by people in the United Kingdom by week. By 3 January 2021, 375,357 people in the UK had received their first dose of vaccine. This increased to 1,085,657 by 10 January 2021. The daily update of the number of vaccinations in the UK is available at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to prioritise school staff in the covid-19 vaccination programme.

We are following the advice from independent experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on which groups of people to prioritise for COVID-19 vaccines.

The JCVI advised the immediate priority should be to prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the single biggest factor determining mortality.

The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will meet with the family of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong to discuss the safety of pregnant women at work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Due to significant diary pressures, we are unable to meet with the family of Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong at this time.

The Government takes this issue seriously and is committed to ensuring the safety of pregnant women during this pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 vaccine doses purchased by the Government have (a) exceeded their recommended shelf life and (b) been spoiled.

The information requested is not held centrally.

All vaccination sites are maximising the use of all vaccines and preventing wastage, mitigating the possibility of doses exceeding their recommended shelf life or being spoiled.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has has with Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Secretary of State has not had specific conversations with the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, individual clinicians in Luton or Luton Borough Council regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has has with Luton Borough Council on the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Secretary of State has not had specific conversations with the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, individual clinicians in Luton or Luton Borough Council regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has has with clinicians in Luton on the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Secretary of State has not had specific conversations with the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, individual clinicians in Luton or Luton Borough Council regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been vaccinated against covid-19 (a) by 14 December 2020 and (b) to date.

On Wednesday 16 December the Government released provisional figures which showed at least 137,897 people received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the end of Tuesday 15 December. Further information is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-than-137000-people-in-uk-receive-first-dose-of-covid-vaccine-in-one-week

Data published by NHS England shows that by the week ending 17 January 2021, 3,857,266 people had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The latest COVID-19 vaccination data is available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to publish a running total of people vaccinated against covid-19.

As of 27 December 2020, the Department published data showing that 944,539 people in the United Kingdom had received a COVID-19 vaccination.

Formal statistics will be published on an ongoing basis at: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether foster carers should be prioritised to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be initially rolled out to the priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions. Phase 2 of the roll out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which local authorities received the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund payments in (a) May and (b) July 2020 but did not spend it.

On 15 May 2020 we published details of a £600 million Infection Control Fund for adult social care. The Fund was paid in two instalments: in May and July. The Department is still assuring the information that local authorities have provided on the final expenditure of the overall fund, which ran from May to September 2020. However, on 27 July, we published data that shows that every local authority distributed funding and that, in total, councils had distributed £257 million of the initial £300 million tranche by 23 July.

On 17 September 2020 the Government announced the extension of this fund until March 2021, with an additional £546 million for the care sector.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund granted to local authorities is spent in care homes.

The Infection Control Fund has provided over £1.1 billion to the care sector to implement infection prevention measures. Under the conditions of the extended fund which came into place in October, local authorities are required to pass funding to care homes and Care Quality Commission regulated community care providers within the local authority’s geographical basis. The conditions also require local authorities to submit returns specifying how the grant has been spent for the Department to consider.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that frontline health and social care workers in non-NHS settings are able to access free NHS flu vaccines for winter 2020-21.

The flu vaccination is recommended for health and social care workers who have direct contact with patients and service users, so they can protect themselves and the vulnerable people that they care for. This is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Responsibility for offering a free flu vaccination to frontline health and social care workers rests with their employers, as part of their occupational health responsibility. Where a workplace scheme is not available, social care workers can access the flu vaccine for free through their general practitioner or at most high street pharmacists, via the National Health Service complementary scheme.

This year we have also published guidance on flu vaccination for social care workers and made available letters for care workers and personal assistants if they need help to provide proof of entitlement to the free vaccination. These are both available on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flu-immunisation-for-social-care-staff

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the current shortage of flu vaccines for frontline health and social care workers in non-NHS settings.

General practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists are responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. The Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available this winter for priority cohorts, including frontline health and social care workers. GPs, community pharmacists and trusts who have exhausted their own supply are now able to order from this central stock.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that local providers are supported to meet increased demand for the flu vaccination this winter. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has granted dispensation to allow the movement of vaccines locally between practices and other National Health Service provider organisations this season, to help address local shortages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that frontline health and social care workers in specialist neurological care services are able to access free NHS flu vaccines for winter 2020-21.

The flu vaccination is recommended for health and social care workers who have direct contact with patients and service users, so they can protect themselves and the vulnerable people that they care for. This is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Responsibility for offering a free flu vaccination to frontline health and social care workers rests with their employers, as part of their occupational health responsibility. Where a workplace scheme is not available, social care workers can access the flu vaccine for free through their general practitioner or at most high street pharmacists, via the National Health Service complementary scheme.

This year we have also published guidance on flu vaccination for social care workers and made available letters for care workers and personal assistants if they need help to provide proof of entitlement to the free vaccination. These are both available on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flu-immunisation-for-social-care-staff

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of health and social care workers who have received a winter 2020-21 NHS flu vaccine to date.

The first provisional monthly influenza vaccine uptake data amongst frontline healthcare workers in England, published by Public Health England, is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake-in-healthcare-workers-monthly-data-2020-to-2021

The report covers data on vaccine uptake between 1 September 2020 and 31 October 2020 based on manual returns.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government's preparations between June and September 2020 for a second wave of covid-19.

Since the initial pandemic peak, the Government has assessed and managed the impact of COVID-19 on the wider health and care agenda. This included agreeing approaches to managing service backlogs whilst also planning for winter and a successful European Union exit transition period.

During the summer the Government continued to work on the response to COVID-19 by developing the health and social care plan to ensure readiness. This has included £3 billion of additional funding to support the National Health Service announced on the 17 July and a further £450 million of capital funding.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice his Department received from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the expansion of eligibility for flu vaccination to people aged over 50.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) considered the expansion of the flu vaccination programme at a meeting on 6 July 2020. The JCVI was supportive of extending vaccination to all adults aged between 50 and 64 years of age, starting at the oldest age groups as a temporary measure for the 2020/21 influenza season.

The minute of the JCVI’s Extraordinary Meeting on COVID-19 Immunisation prioritisation held 6 July 2020 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation#minutes

A decision was made this year to extend the seasonal flu programme to people aged 50 and over in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns about the co-circulation of flu and COVID-19. A decision has not yet been made in relation to the inclusion of people aged 50 and over in future years.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to maintain the temporary expansion of the eligibility for flu vaccinations to the over 50 year olds.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) considered the expansion of the flu vaccination programme at a meeting on 6 July 2020. The JCVI was supportive of extending vaccination to all adults aged between 50 and 64 years of age, starting at the oldest age groups as a temporary measure for the 2020/21 influenza season.

The minute of the JCVI’s Extraordinary Meeting on COVID-19 Immunisation prioritisation held 6 July 2020 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation#minutes

A decision was made this year to extend the seasonal flu programme to people aged 50 and over in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns about the co-circulation of flu and COVID-19. A decision has not yet been made in relation to the inclusion of people aged 50 and over in future years.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of flu vaccine doses that will be delivered to the people aged over 50 in winter 2020-21.

The flu vaccine programme is currently being delivered, with priority given to those who are most at risk from the effects of flu, and frontline health and social care workers. There will be further communication on extending the programme to those aged 50-64 later in the season. Overall, there is sufficient vaccine for more than 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the supply of routine blood tests.

NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that at no point have urgent blood tests been delayed or unavailable due to the reported distribution issue.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to ensure all shortage items are supplied promptly and that delivery schedules are returned to normal. They are working closely with Roche Diagnostics, and will continue to do so until all routine services have resumed, and any backlog of testing has been worked through.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on meeting the target of administering 30 million flu vaccinations during the 2020-21 flu season.

Public Health England collect provisional weekly data on flu vaccine uptake levels in key cohorts, including those aged 65 years and over, at risk groups, pregnant women and children aged 2 and 3. The weekly reports are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports

Monthly data on the number of people who have been vaccinated from these cohorts, together with monthly data on uptake in healthcare workers and school age children, Reception to Year 7, is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake:-figures

The first monthly data was published on 26 November on the number of people who have been vaccinated up to 31 October 2020.

It is still very early in the flu season to provide an assessment on overall uptake.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what preparations the Government is making with community pharmacies for the distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with all the national pharmacy organisations on plans to ensure that community pharmacies, including large chain pharmacies, are used to optimal effect in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, starting with the sites that can do this at scale. As of 22 February 2021, 196 community pharmacies have now started to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service, with more pharmacies joining the service over the coming weeks. We expect 200 community pharmacies sites to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service as of 8 March 2021. Some pharmacists and members of their team have also been working with general practitioners to deliver the vaccine in many areas of the country.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what preparations the Government is making with GPs for the distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

The BMA General Practitioners Committee in England agreed with NHS England and NHS Improvement the general practice COVID-19 vaccination service, which was commissioned in line with agreed national terms and conditions as an Enhanced Service. GP Practices working within Primary Care Network groupings were invited to nominate by Tuesday 18 November a site to be designated and approved for administering COVID-19 vaccinations. The ES specification was published on 1 December. Practices were asked to opt into the ES by the end of the 7 December.

NHSE&I wrote to practices on 4 December, giving 10 days’ notice to prepare Primary Care Network groupings who had opted into vaccine delivery to be ready to roll out the vaccines from the week commencing 14 December, under the new Enhanced Service.

Practices in more than a hundred parts of England took delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine on 14 December, with hundreds of other sites starting to vaccinate patients in December. The sites are located in every region of England and will each deliver 975 doses of the vaccine to patients in their first week of vaccinating. Patients will be invited to return three weeks later for their second dose.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) discussions the Government is holding and (b) steps the Government is taking with large chain pharmacies on the distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with all the national pharmacy organisations on plans to ensure that community pharmacies, including large chain pharmacies, are used to optimal effect in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, starting with the sites that can do this at scale. As of 22 February 2021, 196 community pharmacies have now started to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service, with more pharmacies joining the service over the coming weeks. We expect 200 community pharmacies sites to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service as of 8 March 2021. Some pharmacists and members of their team have also been working with general practitioners to deliver the vaccine in many areas of the country.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2020 to Question 99130 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what preparations the Government is making for the mass distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

The Government has asked the National Health Service to be ready to deploy any safe, effective vaccines when available. Planning considerations include the size and make-up of the workforce needed to deliver a potentially extensive vaccination programme at pace, training requirements, guidance, consumables and other equipment, as well as the supporting infrastructure required, including warehousing, transport, logistics and end-destination ‘clinic’ storage.

The scale of what is rolled out and when will depend on a safe, effective vaccine being available. All plans we are making recognise that there are numerous potential vaccine candidates, meaning that we will need to remain flexible. Throughout, as health is a devolved matter, the Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure successful delivery across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 86764, tabled by the hon. Member for Luton North on 8 September 2020.

My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has met with a wide range of individuals who have been impacted in different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic to understand how they have been affected. This includes meetings with relatives of those who have sadly lost their lives to the virus.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many downloads there were of the NHS covid-19 app on (a) 14 October 2020 and (b) the date the Secretary of State responds to this question.

The National Health Service COVID-19 App has been widely available to download since 24 September and provides several tools to support testing and contact tracing in England and Wales including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. As of 14 October, the app had been downloaded over 17.67 million times in England and Wales. By 28 October this had risen to 19.22 million.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he is putting in place for the distribution of a covid-19 vaccine to the public.

Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement are the health and social care delivery organisations responsible for ensuring that a COVID-19 vaccine is deployed and administered safely and efficiently to the public. This includes the planning for distribution and the consideration of the settings and workforce required to vaccinate against COVID-19. All developing programme plans recognise that there are numerous potential vaccine candidates, meaning that we will need to remain flexible.

Public Health England is in regular discussion with potential suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines around the storage and distribution of vaccines from when they may become available.

Throughout, as health is a devolved matter, the Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure successful delivery across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discusses a range of topics concerning Departmental responsibilities with Cabinet colleagues, including the distribution of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 September to Question 88936 on Bereavement Counselling: Coronavirus, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the provision of support for grieving households (a) during and (b) after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is taking a cross-Government approach to address bereavement support and help ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need.

We are engaging with the National Health Service, arm’s length bodies and bereavement organisations to assess the increased need for bereavement support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 September to Question 88935 on Bereavement Counselling: Coronavirus, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending support bubble arrangements to grieving households of any size.

We recognise how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their friends and family throughout the past few months. Support bubbles were introduced to assist the most isolated in society. They can be a source of extra support to some of those most impacted by the difficult effects of the social restrictions, while ensuring we continue to keep the rate of transmission low. This is why the policy has been targeted at single-adult households. However, there are other sources of support available for grieving households. For example, support groups of up to 15 people are still able to meet. In such scenarios, people should continue to adhere to social distancing when interacting with those not in their household or support bubble.

Guidance on meeting people from outside of their household has been published and can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations the Government has received from specialist bereavement organisations on the need for a bereavement support policy in the event of additional local and national lockdowns.

The Government is taking a cross-Government approach to address bereavement support and help ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need – particularly during this difficult time.

We are engaging with a range of specialist bereavement organisations to assess the increased the need for support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions the Government is having with specialist bereavement organisations on the formal and informal support that bereaved people need (a) during and (b) after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is taking a cross-Government approach to address bereavement support and help ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need – particularly during this difficult time. We are engaging with a range of specialist bereavement organisations to assess the increased need for support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May, the Government awarded £4.2 million to mental health charities and charities providing bereavement support. This funding is part of an overall £750 million package for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cases of covid-19 have been tracked and traced as a result of the NHS covid-19 app.

The information requested is not currently held centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking during the second wave of covid-19 to protect people who were in the shielding category during the first wave.

In recent months the Government has reintroduced shielding advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people in tier 4 areas or during periods of national lockdown. The updated guidance and letters signpost people to mental health support and the Government has provided additional funding to local authorities to support clinically extremely vulnerable people during these periods of enhanced restrictions. NHS Volunteer Responders also remain on hand to support people, including clinically vulnerable people with serious mental illness.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that vulnerable people can access the flu vaccine for winter 2020-21.

General practitioners and other National Health Service providers have been asked to prioritise flu vaccination for all those who are in the clinically vulnerable groups documented in the national guidance.

Vaccination of those who are in at risk groups has started and will continue in all areas in England through the winter months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an update on the roll-out of the flu vaccination programme for winter 2020-21.

Information on the flu vaccination programme for this season is included in the Annual Flu Letter Update 2020/21, which was published on 5 August 2020. The Annual Flu Letter is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907149/Letter_annualflu_2020_to_2021_update.pdf

We will be providing further communication later in the season on the expansion of the programme to those aged 50 – 64 years.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many downloads there have been of the NHS covid-19 app to date.

As of 10am on 29 September, there had been over 13 million downloads of the NHS COVID-19 app.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of 22 September 2020, Official Report, if the Government will publish the evidential basis for the effectiveness of implementing a 10pm curfew for pubs in slowing the spread of covid-19 infections.

The Government receives a range of inputs in order to make all of its decisions relating to COVID-19 restrictions, including monitoring the impact of restrictions in local areas via the Joint Biosecurity Centre and monitoring international experience.

These restrictions on operating hours have been applied in local areas where the evidence suggests it can play a role in reducing the transmission of the virus while allowing businesses to trade for the majority of the evening. We have also seen in Belgium that the package of measures introduced, including early closures in some regions, was effective in controlling transmission rates.

The Government keeps all of its COVID-19 restriction measures under review and will closely monitor the impact of this policy.

Hospitality settings have higher environmental risks than other places. We saw in Bolton how, when the 10pm curfew was deployed as part of a package of measures, the weekly average number of cases fell from 31 to 28 cases per 100,000. Cases were previously higher than anywhere else in Greater Manchester.

This is supported with Public Health England’s Weekly Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance report highlighted that from 21-27 September, 13% of those testing positive for COVID-19 reported eating out in the time before symptom onset, when there is a high risk of asymptomatic transmission.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies will continue to publish minutes from its meetings and the supporting scientific papers on GOV.UK, as has been the case since the start of the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the findings of the covid-19 contact tracing app trials that took place in (a) Newham and (b) the Isle of Wight; and if he will make a statement.

We will publish an evaluation of the Isle of Wight and Newham findings in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the covid-19 contact-tracing app due to be launched on 24 September 2020 will have full functionality to (a) trace and (b) contact people who have been in close contact with people who have had a positive covid-19 test.

The NHS COVID-19 App will have functionality to trace and contact people who have been in close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

England's NHS Test and Trace programme has worked extensively with tech companies, international partners, scientists, privacy and medical experts and at-risk communities – and learned from the trials – to develop an app that is secure, simple to use and will help keep our country safe.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to ensure a high download and usage rate of the covid-19 contact tracing app.

The more people who use the NHS COVID-19 App, the better it works therefore we are aiming for mass adoption. We will ensure a strong focus on building trust and coverage in communities that are at greater risk from COVID-19 and/or are currently less likely to engage with NHS Test and Trace.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his oral contribution of 15 September 2020, Official Report, column 185, if he will publish the source of the data which shows 484 people receiving covid-19 tests in Luton on 14 September 2020.

The source of this data is the Test and Trace Weekly Statistical bulletin. The data provided immediately and there are some cases where a test is registered after the day it has been taken, which means that the number of tests can increase slightly over time.

The updated data is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-coronavirus-tests-processed-by-local-authority-england-28-may-to-16-september-2020

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the viability of moving the supply of covid-19 tests to areas of the UK with unmet demand.

We are expanding capacity further, having already met our testing capacity target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. More laboratories are joining the network and we are investing in new technology to process results faster. We are automating parts of the process, installing new machines and hiring more permanent staff.

We continue to target testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether private contracts between the NHS and providers of covid-19 tests permit the moving of supply of covid-19 tests to areas of the UK with unmet demand.

At times during the National Testing Programme, demand has been high and as such test sites in areas with higher prevalence were prioritised. Public Health England, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and National Health Service Test and Trace monitor infection levels across the country so higher volumes of testing are targeted where they are needed most. We are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing data on a daily basis to understand and tackle outbreaks


Further we regularly redistribute completed tests across the Lighthouse Lab network to ensure best possible utilisation of the network. We are ‘future-proofing’ capacity so that we can respond to increases in demand. We can expand testing to new use-cases – such as asymptomatic testing of NHS staff in high-prevalence areas and the mass testing pilot in Liverpool.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase bereavement support (a) during and (b) after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is taking a cross-Government approach to address bereavement support and help ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need.

In May, the Government awarded £4.2 million to mental health charities and charities providing bereavement support. This funding is part of an overall £750 million package for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce a bereavement support bubble policy to enable grieving households to form a support bubble with one other household in the case of further local or national lockdowns during the covid-19 outbreak.

From Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than six, indoors or outdoors. This is against the law and the police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notices) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.

In England, a support bubble is a close support network between a household of any size and a single adult household. Support bubbles are to assist the loneliest and most isolated in society. It is to provide extra support to some of those most impacted by the most difficult effects of the current social restrictions, while ensuring we continue to keep the rate of transmission low.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what meetings he has had with families who have lost family members or relatives as a result of covid-19.

My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has met with a wide range of individuals who have been impacted in different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic to understand how they have been affected. This includes meetings with relatives of those who have sadly lost their lives to the virus.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of reforming the financing of health professionals’ education.

The Government keeps the funding arrangements for all pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate National Health Service health professionals’ education under close review, to ensure that students are appropriately supported.

In 2017 pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students became eligible for tuition fee and maintenance loans, receiving at least 25% more funding for living costs support than under the previous system. The Government introduced the Learning Support Fund which provides a child dependants allowance, reimbursement of all additional travel costs to attend clinical placements and an exceptional hardship fund.

From September 2020, all eligible new and continuing pre-registration nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession students studying at English universities would benefit from a new, non-repayable, training grant of at least £5,000 per academic year in addition to the funding available already through the Learning Support Fund.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) trade unions (b) royal colleges that represent nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare students on changes to the current system of tuition fees and maintenance grants.

Ministers regularly meet with key stakeholders including trade union and royal college representatives, to discuss the Government’s approach to National Health Service workforce supply and the financial support available to nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare students.

In 2017 pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students became eligible for tuition fee and maintenance loans instead of receiving an NHS Bursary. We also introduced the Learning Support Fund which provides a child dependents allowance, reimbursement of all additional travel costs to attend clinical placements and an exceptional hardship fund.

In December 2019, the Government announced that from September 2020, all eligible new and continuing pre-registration nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession students studying at English universities would benefit from a new, non-repayable, training grant of at least £5,000 per academic year in addition to the funding available already through the Learning Support Fund.

Students on the loans system receive at least 25% more funding for living costs support than under the previous system.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Prime Minister's announcement of 21 May 2020, on the Immigration Health Surcharge for NHS workers will include the dependants of NHS workers.

Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office officials are working at pace to implement the announcement for removing health and care workers from the Immigration Health Surcharge and further information will be available shortly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when a timetable for removing the Immigration Health Surcharge for NHS and care workers will be published; and if he will make a statement.

Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office officials are working at pace to implement the announcement for removing health and care workers from the Immigration Health Surcharge and further information will be available shortly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contingency steps his Department is taking to ensure an adequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment in the event of a second wave of infections of covid-19.

There is a huge global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), which is why we are both sourcing and shipping stock from abroad, alongside working with British manufacturers so we can be confident we can meet the PPE needs of health and social care over the next seven and 90 days.

Lord Deighton is leading our national effort to buy and produce more PPE. We have signed contracts for over 2 billion items of PPE through United Kingdom-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons, ensuring we build and maintain a domestic base for the future.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports that health and social care workers are being asked to reuse single-use personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England published ‘COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)’ updated guide on 17 April. This advises that suitable decontamination arrangements for some PPE items should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control. This guidance also included advice on when PPE can be reused.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the feasibility of requisitioning personal protective equipment from non-urgent use to meet the demands of frontline workers in the covid-19 response.

We have been giving the National Health Service and the social care sector everything they need to tackle this outbreak. We have delivered millions more items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline staff over the last few days to hospitals, ambulance trusts, general practitioner practices, pharmacists, care homes, home care providers and hospices. The full weight of the Government is behind this effort and we are working closely with industry, the NHS, social care providers and the army to ensure the right equipment is delivered to the right people. This includes working with all partners to reprioritise PPE for use on the frontline.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure the provision of emergency ambulance services to people who are self isolating.

The National Health Service has expert teams in every ambulance service and a number of specialist hospital units with highly trained staff and equipment ready to receive and care for patients with any highly infectious disease.

The NHS practises and prepares its response to disease outbreaks and follow tried and tested procedures, following the highest safety standards possible for the protection of NHS staff, patients and the public.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to ensure paramedics and ambulance workers are adequately supported and protected in the event of a large scale outbreak of covid-19.

All guidance is published on GOV.uk and standard operating procedures are published on NHS England and NHS Improvement’s website. Guidance is also available to healthcare professionals on NHS England and NHS Improvement’s website, with specific guidance for those in ambulance services. This includes information on personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as infection prevention and control guidance. More information can be found at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/872745/Infection_prevention_and_control_guidance_for_pandemic_coronavirus.pdf

The United Kingdom maintains stockpiles of protective equipment for healthcare staff who may come into contact with patients with the virus.

These stocks are being monitored daily, with additional stocks being ordered where necessary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on tackling covid-19.

NHS England is in regular contact with all hospitals and has published regular updates to its guidance and advice.

NHS England published a letter, on 17 March, detailing the next steps, in response to the COVID-19, which builds on multiple actions already in train. The letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/next-steps-on-nhs-response-to-covid-19-letter-from-simon-stevens-and-amanda-pritchard/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to ensure that schools in (a) Luton and (b) the UK are adequately supported and protected in the event of a large scale outbreak of covid-19.

We have launched a public information campaign to help the public understand the risks of the virus and how they can protect themselves, including publishing a series of guidance documents on how to handle suspected cases in different sectors of the economy, including schools. We will keep this under review and publish more guidance as necessary.

More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

From 20 March, parents have been asked to keep their children at home wherever possible. Schools, and all childcare providers, are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. More information on this can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the decision by the Chinese Government to approve the drug Actemra for treating complications arising from covid-19.

The Department is considering carefully all available evidence around the potential of different medicines for use in treating COVID-19.

Clinical trials are being developed to assess the benefits of a number of different medicines in treating COVID-19. Further medicines may be trialled should evidence indicate to the Department this would be an appropriate course of action.

The Department, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Public Health England and the National Health Service are working together to ensure that trials can begin as soon as possible. The first trial in the United Kingdom in hospitalised patients should begin later this week.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the ability of local authorities and care companies to provide food and meals to elderly and disabled people who receive care in their homes in the event of a covid-19 outbreak.

Officials are working with the LGAs (local government associations), Public Health England and NHS England on continuity planning, to support social care providers.

We know social care will be at the frontline of our response to COVID-19, with social care providers looking after many of the most vulnerable in society.

Social care guidance is being worked on urgently and updated regularly. The latest advice which the government keeps under review is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of Health and Social Care what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS Trusts have adequate financial resources to (a) purchase additional and (b) maintain ventilators; what plans he has to allocate additional funding to NHS Trusts should they require extra ventilator equipment in the event of an influx of patients with covid-19; and whether ventilators will be provided to at risk patients at home.

The Chancellor has set out a £12 billion package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, individuals and businesses through the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

We are scaling up intensive care beds. NHS England is looking at National Health Service organisations critical care capacity - including the availability of additional facilities of independent sector providers.

It is also making sure that they have as much ventilation equipment as possible and, crucially, the skilled and trained people to use it.

There are no plans to provide ventilators at home as this would not be viable.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to ensure care companies and care workers are adequately supported and protected in the event of a large scale outbreak of covid-19.

Public Health England have published guidance for companies and care workers. This advice will be regularly updated as the scale of the outbreak increases. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure the provision of services to people receiving care in their homes during the delay phase of the Government's response to covid-19.

We know social care will be at the frontline of our response to COVID-19, with social care providers looking after many of the most vulnerable in society.

Social care guidance is being worked on urgently and is due to be published in due course.

Officials are working with the local government associations, Public Health England and NHS England on continuity planning, to support social care providers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate her Department has made of the length of waiting times for GP appointments by region in the latest period for which data is available.

Data showing the proportion of time between booking an appointment with a general practice and the appointment taking place by National Health Service regions in England in the 12 months up to December 2019 are presented in the attached table.

NHS Digital publishes ‘Appointments in General Practice’. This is an experimental data collection which is still being refined and improved.

It should be noted that the ‘time from booking to appointment’ refers only to the time elapsed between the successful booking of an appointment and the appointment taking place. The data does not take into consideration that many patients will be appropriately booking ahead as part of the continuity of care they receive for long-term conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of homelessness on (a) access to health services and (b) the health of (i) children, (ii) disabled people and (iii) the elderly.

This Government is clear that no one should be without a roof over their head. It is widely recognised that being homeless or sleeping rough can have a significant impact on the mental and physical health of individuals, including children, disabled people and the elderly.

The Rough Sleeping Strategy, published in August 2018, set out actions to address the needs of all people sleeping rough, including disabled people and elderly people. NHS England has committed to spending up to £30 million over five years on mental health services for people sleeping rough and we have promoted guidance on care for homeless people at the end of their lives. We are providing £2 million in funding to test ways to improve access to health services for people with co-occurring mental ill-health and substance misuse problems who are currently, or at risk of returning to, sleeping rough.

This Government has committed to eliminating rough sleeping in the term of this parliament.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to review the functioning of the NHS overseas visitors charging regime; and if he will make a statement.

The Department works with NHS Improvement and key stakeholders (including health professional bodies) to continuously review the National Health Service overseas visitors charging regime, to ensure it is fit for purpose and in line with current practice.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the financial income target is for the two-year Overseas Visitor Improvement Team.

The Overseas Visitor Improvement Team at NHS Improvement does not have a target; but continues to work to maximise the total income opportunity of correctly identifying and charging overseas visitors to ensure that the National Health Service is fairly funded for this activity.

NHS Improvement also looks to ensure accuracy and consistency of approach across the NHS Overseas Visitors Charging Regime.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on meeting the financial income target for the two-year Overseas Visitor Improvement Team.

The Overseas Visitor Improvement Team at NHS Improvement does not have a target; but continues to work to maximise the total income opportunity of correctly identifying and charging overseas visitors to ensure that the National Health Service is fairly funded for this activity.

NHS Improvement also looks to ensure accuracy and consistency of approach across the NHS Overseas Visitors Charging Regime.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in the context of the evacuation of people to the UK from Afghanistan following the Taliban offensive in summer 2021, what plans he has to evaluate the effectiveness of the Government's ability to respond to casework from hon. Members during an emergency situation.

Responding to MPs' cases and correspondence remains a top priority for the Government and the FCDO has been working tirelessly to undertake the task. Staff from across the global FCDO network have been pulled into the crisis surge team along with colleagues from MOD and HMRC. We have received over 200,000 emails and had multiple shifts of over 100 people working throughout the day and night, 7 days a week to deliver and will continue to prioritise incoming correspondence. As we always do following a major crisis, we will be conducting an internal review to learn lessons to inform our response to future crises.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on protecting the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

We are committed to prioritising women and girls in the UK’s response to the situation in Afghanistan. Minister for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August. He underscored the UK’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people, including women and girls, and holding the Taliban to account. As the Prime Minister said earlier this week, we will also include in resettlement schemes Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion. All who come to our country through this safe and legal route will receive not a five-year visa, but indefinite leave to remain.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish an evaluation of his Department's repatriation programme of UK nationals following the 2021 Taliban offensive in Afghanistan.

Our immediate focus is on ensuring safe passage for anyone remaining in Afghanistan who needs to leave, supporting the thousands of new arrivals in the UK, and continuing to provide assistance to the Afghan people. The Foreign Secretary told the FAC that he understands the importance of learning the lessons from this response.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that British nationals in Afghanistan are able to return home safely; and if he will make a statement.

We have already evacuated the overwhelming majority of those to whom we have a direct obligation in an unprecedented effort from our military and Civil Servants. Over 15,000 people , including more than 8,000 British Nationals and their dependants, left Afghanistan between 15 August and 29 August thanks to UK support.

The UK Government is working hard to contact all the British nationals we are aware of who remain in Afghanistan, to help them leave the country.

The Foreign Secretary and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon visited countries in the region between 1-3 September for discussions on securing safe passage for those fleeing Afghanistan and advancing the government's international priorities.

In addition, FCDO Rapid Deployment Teams have been sent to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to reinforce our Embassy staff to process arrivals from Afghanistan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on diplomatic steps to help ensure that (a) charity, (b) NGO and (c) humanitarian work can continue in Afghanistan following the Taliban offensive in August 2021.

One of the UK's immediate priorities is to work with international partners to ensure that life-saving humanitarian aid can reach those who need it most. The UN is seeking commitments from the Taliban to enable humanitarian work to continue. These must include respect for humanitarian principles, humanitarian access, international humanitarian law and guarantees for female aid workers.

The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights, humanitarian access, safe passage and preventing terror.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Indian counterpart on the protection of religious minorities in that country.

Human rights form a regular part of our dialogue with India. Most recently, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia, discussed the situation for Christians in India with India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy, on 15 March. Our Acting High Commissioner in New Delhi also discussed UK Parliamentary interest in minorities in India with officials from India's Ministry of External Affairs on 5 January. A senior FCDO official discussed the situation for India's religious minorities with the Indian High Commissioner on 29 December 2020.

The British High Commission in New Delhi regularly meets religious representatives and has run projects promoting minority rights. This year, they supported an interfaith leadership programme for a cohort of emerging Indian faith leaders, including Christians and Muslims, creating an opportunity to exchange expertise on leading modern, inclusive faith communities, and promoting values of tolerance and multi-culturalism.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Myanmar Government on reports of the closure of HIV treatment clinics and the stopping of anti retro-viral treatment in that country.

We were extremely concerned by reports the military regime has closed internationally-run clinics in the Tanintharyi region of Myanmar. It is vital that HIV treatment programmes are not interrupted - for the wellbeing of patients and for wider public health. HIV services must be allowed to resume. We have called on the regime to ensure health workers can go about their lifesaving work freely.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 April 2021 to Question 186035, if he will publish an update on support provided to Tanveer Ahmed Rafique.

The FCDO continues to have regular contact with prison authorities in Pakistan to check on Mr Rafique's welfare and have sought assurances that medical staff will continue to monitor his health. His family are being kept informed of all developments and we continue to speak to Mr Rafique, his friends and lawyers. Whilst prison visits are suspended due to the pandemic, we continue to arrange telephone calls with Mr Rafique to discuss any welfare and health issues. Mr Rafique's lawyers are supporting him through the next stages of his legal case. We regularly raise at a senior level our concerns about the human rights situation with the Government of Pakistan. On 20 February, the Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent incident at the al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem.

The ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning and must stop. We call on all sides to reduce tensions, restore calm and avoid provocation. Violence against peaceful worshippers of any faith is unacceptable. Respect for the historic status quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem is important at all times, especially during religious festivals such as Ramadan. Our priority now is to secure an immediate de-escalation on all sides.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the obligations of that country under international law in respect of the planned evictions of Palestinian refugee families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

We regularly make clear our concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem. I spoke to the Israeli Ambassador and to the Palestinian Head of Mission in London on the 11 May, to urge them to de-escalate, restore calm and to reiterate our position on this issue. I tweeted on the 8 May outlining our concern over tensions in Jerusalem linked to the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. We continue to urge Israel to cease such actions, which in all but the most exceptional cases are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 15 April 2021 to Question 179592, if he will publish an update on support provided to Tanveer Ahmed Rafique.

The FCDO continues to have regular contact with prison authorities in Pakistan to check on Mr Rafique's welfare and have sought assurances that medical staff will continue to monitor his health. His family are being kept informed of all developments and we continue to speak to Mr Rafique, his friends and lawyers. Whilst prison visits are suspended due to the pandemic, we continue to arrange telephone calls with Mr Rafique to discuss any welfare and health issues. Mr Rafique has engaged new lawyers to support him through the next stage of his legal case.

We regularly raise at a senior level our concerns about the human rights situation with the Government of Pakistan. On 20 February, Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 March 2021 to Question 167327, if he will provide an update on support provided to Tanveer Ahmed Rafique.

The FCDO continue regular contact with prison authorities in Pakistan to check on Mr Rafique's welfare and have sought assurances that medical staff will continue to monitor his health. His family are being kept informed of all developments and we continue to speak to Mr Rafique, his friends and lawyers. Whilst prison visits are suspended due to the pandemic, we continue to arrange telephone calls with Mr Rafique to discuss any welfare and health issues. Mr Rafique and his lawyer have lodged an appeal against his sentence. We hope that a pro bono legal panel, arranged by the FCDO, will provide support to his lawyers during this next stage of his legal case.

We regularly raise our concerns about the human rights situation with the Government of Pakistan at a senior level. On 20 February, Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions (a) he, (b) officials of his Department and (c) Cabinet colleagues have had with representatives of the UN on potential steps the UN plans to take in response to the human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Province of China against the Uyghur Muslims.

The Government is committed to working with international partners, including the UN, to hold China to account for its human rights violations in Xinjiang. Ministers and Officials are in regular contact with counterparts at the UN in New York and Geneva. For example, the Minister for Human Rights, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, spoke to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in September. In February, the Foreign Secretary used a personal address at the UN Human Rights Council to reiterate his call for China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent expert, urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what additional steps the UK Government is planning to take in response to the human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Province of China against the Uyghur Muslims.

The Government remains gravely concerned by the human rights situation in Xinjiang and is committed to continued robust action to hold China to account for its human rights violations in the region. In February, the Foreign Secretary used a personal address at the UN Human Rights Council to reiterate his call for China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent expert, urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang. On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK had imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four senior Chinese government officials responsible for the violations that have taken place and persist against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Alongside those individuals, the UK also designated the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 156589, if he will publish an update on support provided to Tanveer Ahmed Rafique.

The FCDO continue regular contact with prison authorities in Pakistan to check on Mr Rafique's welfare and have sought assurances that medical staff will continue to monitor his health. His family are being kept informed of all developments and we continue to speak to Mr Rafique's friends and lawyers. Whilst prison visits are suspended due to the pandemic, we continue to arrange telephone calls with Mr Rafique to discuss any welfare and health issues. We regularly raise at a senior level our concerns about the human rights situation with the Government of Pakistan. On 20 February, Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 111640, if he will publish an update on support provided to Tanveer Ahmed Rafique.

The FCDO continues to speak to Mr Rafique about any health and welfare concerns through telephone calls as visits are still suspended due to the pandemic. Officials are in regular contact with the prison authorities to check on his welfare and his family are being kept informed of all developments. We regularly raise at a senior level our concerns about the human rights situation with the Government of Pakistan. On 20 February, Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the freezing of assets and bank accounts of pro-democracy activists by HSBC in Hong Kong.

We are aware of these reports but do not comment on individual cases. The Government engages in regular dialogue with businesses in Hong Kong and as a matter of course monitors the operation of the financial sector and its participants. Financial institutions operating in Hong Kong do so within a strict legal and regulatory framework. We are concerned that a number of recent decisions by the authorities in Hong Kong are further evidence of a determined campaign to stifle opposition and silence dissent. As a signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, China must abide by the legally binding commitments it made to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years from 1997. The UK will continue to pursue an approach in Hong Kong that is rooted in our values, defends the rights of the people of Hong Kong and respects the provisions of the Joint Declaration.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his New Zealand counterpart on that country's managed (a) quarantine and (b) isolation border policy during the covid-19 pandemic; and efficacy of those policies with comparison to the UK's air corridor policy.

The Foreign Secretary last spoke to his New Zealand counterpart on 12 November 2020. They discussed COVID-19 in relation to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, and protecting vulnerable countries. As one of our closest international partners, UK Government officials have frequent contact with New Zealand counterparts on a range of COVID-19 issues, including border policy. The UK has some of the strongest safeguards against importing COVID-19. We have taken decisive action in relation to new variants identified in South Africa and South America. We have also, as a precautionary measure, suspended the travel corridors and ensured that we have a system in place requiring a pre-departure negative test. In addition, we have reintroduced quarantine on arrival, backed up by increased enforcement by both Public Health England and Border Force.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) his Department have had with President-elect Biden's administration on the events which took place at the Capitol on 6 January 2021.

The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have publicly stated their position on the shocking events at the Capitol on 6 January 2021. Officials at the British Embassy in Washington are in regular contact with senior Democrats and have amplified the concerns expressed by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

The Foreign Secretary has conveyed to the US Administration the UK's shock at the events in the Capitol on 6 January.

The UK Government condemns the scenes at Congress. There is no justification for violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports by Human Rights Watch of women and girls in Bangladesh facing widespread violence and sexual assault without reliable protection or legal recourse.

The UK is concerned about violence against women and girls in Bangladesh and strongly supports action to tackle this issue. Through the British High Commission in Dhaka, we work with partners to press for better implementation of legislation that protects and promotes the status of women and girls. UK programmes support access to security and justice and health services for survivors of violence, as well as women's and girls' education, health, and economic empowerment. We also work with men and boys to tackle social norms around gender-based violence and early marriage.

This month, the British High Commission in Dhaka will join the Government of Bangladesh and international and local partners for 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence and impunity and to support survivors.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made representations to his counterpart in the Government of Bangladesh in response to the October 2020 protests in that country against sexual assault and rape.

The UK strongly supports action to tackle violence against women and girls in Bangladesh. This month, the British High Commission in Dhaka will join the Government of Bangladesh and international and local partners for 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence and impunity and to support survivors.

Through the British High Commission in Dhaka, we continue to raise concerns about violence against women and girls with the Government of Bangladesh. We also work with international partners and civil society to press for better implementation of legislation that protects and promotes the status of women and girls, and in support of justice for survivors of gender based violence.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the safety of British Kashmiri journalist, Tanveer Ahmed who was arrested in August 2020 and is on hungerstrike in Mipur Central Jail.

FCDO staff have monitored Mr Tanveer Ahmed Rafique's health and welfare through phone calls, as he was detained during the Covid-19 pandemic so physical access to Mirpur Central Prison is not possible. We will raise any welfare concerns with local authorities with Mr Rafique's consent in line with our public guidance set out in the FCDO guide: Support for British Nationals Abroad. We regularly remind the Pakistani Government of its human rights obligations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to repatriate UK travellers stranded in (a) Zambia and (b) Sudan as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is working around the clock, through our Posts overseas and in London, to make sure all British people who need help are receiving the support and information they need. We have now brought home nearly 31,000 people on 144 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 27 countries and territories. The vast majority of the 8,000 British nationals in Zambia are long-term residents. The High Commission currently has no requests from British nationals for assistance in departing Zambia and commercial flights from Lusaka continue to operate. Information and support for British nationals in Zambia can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/zambia/return-to-the-uk. The number of British nationals seeking to leave Sudan has sharply increased following the extension of airport closures to 20 May. We are looking at all options to help British travellers looking to return home from Sudan, and we encourage them to register their details via our Travel Advice page: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sudan/return-to-the-uk. We are working to establish whether a repatriation flight from Sudan would be possible later this month. Further information on this option for travellers will be shared on the Travel Advice page as soon as it is available.

30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what (a) assistance and (b) aid his Department plans to allocate to the people of Kashmir.

Our longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution on Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. We encourage India and Pakistan to open channels of communication and engage in dialogue as a means to resolving differences. We have welcomed India’s commitment to economic and social development in India administered Kashmir and have asked the Indian Government to provide more detail on how their plans will be realised. We do not currently have any aid programmes in India administered Kashmir or Pakistan administered Kashmir. The UK seeks to reduce poverty, foster prosperity and build sustainable inclusive markets in India and Pakistan, while generating a return for the UK and creating trade, investment, and partnership opportunities.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when his Department met with officials from the Indian Government in 2019.

?In London, across India (where we have our largest diplomatic network) and in multilateral institutions across the world British officials engage daily with Indian counterparts. Our engagement covers the full range of issues in a broad and deep relationship.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to help support the people of Kashmir.

We are monitoring the situation in Kashmir carefully, and are in regular contact with the Governments of India and Pakistan. The Prime Minister has underlined the importance of resolving issues through dialogue to both of his counterparts. Most recently the Foreign Secretary discussed the situation in Kashmir with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon raised the issue with the Indian Minister of State for External and Parliamentary Affairs. Our longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution on Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is providing to Kashmiris living in the UK who are concerned for the safety of family members caught up in the recent conflicts and human rights abuses in Kashmir.

We are monitoring the situation in Kashmir carefully and keep our travel advice under constant review. If anyone in the UK is concerned about family or friends in Kashmir who are British Nationals, they should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office directly for advice. We should also stress that our consular services are very limited due to restrictions on communications in India-administered Kashmir. The safety and security of all people in India and India-administered Kashmir, including British nationals, is the responsibility of the Indian authorities.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situation in Kashmir.

We recognise that there are human rights concerns in India-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Any allegation of human rights violations or abuses is deeply concerning and must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently. We encourage all states to ensure domestic laws in line with international standards. We raise our concerns with the Governments of India and Pakistan.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on (a) the situation in Hong Kong and (b) recent UN reports on the treatment of Uighur minorities.

The Foreign Secretary has set out our concerns about the situation in Hong Kong directly to both the Chinese Foreign Minister, State Councillor Wang Yi and the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam. The Foreign Secretary made clear that meaningful political dialogue is the only way to resolve the situation. The Foreign Secretary also raised Hong Kong with the Chinese Ambassador in London on 19 November 2019. Senior officials have remained in regular contact with the authorities in Beijing and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The leadership in China and Hong Kong is in no doubt about the strength of UK concern over the current situation, and our commitment to seeing the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration upheld.

We have particularly serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in “political re-education camps”, systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities. On 26 September during an Urgent Question on Hong Kong the Foreign Secretary set out the UK’s serious concerns about the credible reports of over a million Uyghur Muslims being held in so-called “re-education camps”. He stated in the House that the British Government will continue to ensure that these concerns are expressed directly with Chinese authorities. Most recently, the UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019. The UK also regularly raises the human rights situation in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to improve consumer protections for customers in the event that merchants use a third party payment handler.

Payments in the UK have seen rapid change over recent years. These changes offer exciting opportunities for UK businesses and consumers, with many making payments faster and cheaper. However, and as will always be the case with a rapidly changing technological landscape, they also present new challenges and risks.

Given the pace of change, the Government is leading a review of the payments landscape to ensure the right policy approach to these challenges and opportunities. The Government published a Payments Landscape Review Call for Evidence in 2020, setting out and seeking views on its aims and actions for UK payments. The Government’s primary aims include ensuring that UK payments networks operate to the benefit of end users, including consumers. The Government will publish a response to its Call for Evidence shortly, setting out next steps and the long-term vision for UK payments.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will introduce legislation to protect free access to cash for people in (a) the Luton North constituency and (b) the UK.

The Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, and has committed to legislating to protect access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

In line with this commitment, the Government published a Call for Evidence last year, which sought views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system.

Since then, the Government has made legislative changes to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses as part of the Financial Services Act 2021. These changes will come into effect in late June of this year. The Government’s view is that cashback without a purchase has the potential to be a valuable facility to cash users, and to play an important role in the UK’s cash infrastructure.

In addition, the Government has recently announced that it will consult this summer on further legislative proposals for protecting cash for the long term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish an evaluation of the (a) financial and (b) public health effects in the Luton North constituency of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

HMRC published official statistics on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme on 25th November 2020. Regional statistics will be published in due course.

The scheme was designed in a safe and responsible manner to aid business owners who worked hard to implement the social distancing guidelines and make their premises safe. The scheme was designed to boost demand when it is typically lowest – during the week, Monday-Wednesday – rather than at the weekend when some restaurants will face excess demand. It did not include spend on alcohol due to its public health impact, which has significant economic and social costs.

The Government considers the effect of all measures in aggregate, based on a range of epidemiological evidence and the expert advice of SAGE. Public Health England’s National COVID-19 Surveillance Reports over August and the early part of September showed that only a small fraction of incidents investigated were linked to restaurant settings. These reports are available on the Government’s website.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to charts 1a and 1b of his Department's publication, Impact of Covid-19 on working household incomes: distributional analysis as of May 2020, published on 8 July 2020, if he will publish tables containing the data that is represented in those charts.

The requested data is set out in Tables 1.A and 1.B below.

Table 1.A: Percentage change in household income, by working household net income decile, as of May 2020

Equivalised Net Income Decile

Earnings and job losses

Hypothetical earnings losses for furloughed employees in the absence of the CJRS

Existing tax and welfare stabilisers

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

COVID-19 additional welfare support

Overall % change in working household net incomes from February 2020

Bottom Decile

-11.4%

-17.5%

2.7%

14.0%

9.6%

6.1%

3.4%

2

-10.7%

-18.2%

3.5%

14.5%

6.1%

3.3%

-1.5%

3

-8.6%

-21.6%

2.3%

16.9%

5.9%

1.6%

-3.4%

4

-8.7%

-22.5%

2.6%

17.4%

4.8%

0.9%

-5.5%

5

-9.3%

-20.2%

2.8%

15.4%

4.3%

0.4%

-6.6%

6

-9.6%

-21.1%

2.8%

16.0%

4.6%

0.2%

-7.1%

7

-10.3%

-20.5%

3.4%

15.3%

4.6%

0.2%

-7.3%

8

-11.6%

-20.3%

4.2%

14.7%

3.9%

0.1%

-9.0%

9

-11.4%

-15.8%

4.4%

10.6%

3.8%

0.0%

-8.4%

Top Decile

-18.2%

-13.9%

9.9%

6.7%

1.4%

0.0%

-14.1%

All working households

-12.0%

-18.4%

4.7%

13.0%

4.1%

0.7%

-7.9%

Table 1.B: Change in household income, £ per week, by working household net income decile, as of May 2020

Equivalised Net Income Decile

Earnings and job losses

Hypothetical earnings losses for furloughed employees in the absence of the CJRS

Existing tax and welfare stabilisers

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

COVID-19 additional welfare support

Overall change in working household net incomes from February 2020

Bottom Decile

-£42

-£64

£10

£51

£35

£22

£12

2

-£52

-£88

£17

£70

£29

£16

-£7

3

-£48

-£121

£13

£95

£33

£9

-£19

4

-£55

-£142

£16

£110

£30

£6

-£35

5

-£67

-£144

£20

£111

£31

£3

-£47

6

-£77

-£169

£23

£128

£37

£1

-£57

7

-£95

-£189

£32

£142

£42

£2

-£68

8

-£120

-£210

£43

£152

£40

£1

-£93

9

-£135

-£186

£52

£125

£44

£0

-£99

Top Decile

-£330

-£251

£178

£122

£25

£1

-£255

All working households

-£102

-£156

£40

£111

£35

£6

-£67

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to support the airlines to retain staff after the closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Some firms will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support these firms appropriately. It would be challenging to target the CJRS to specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way, and it may not be the case that this is the most effective or sensible way to provide longer term support for those sectors most affected by coronavirus. The government will continue to engage with businesses and representative groups with the aim of ensuring that support provided is right for these sectors and for the economy as a whole.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will increase the number of Afghan refugees the UK will accept from the current 5,000.

The Government has committed to welcoming around 5,000 people in the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, and up to 20,000 in total. This is one of the most ambitious resettlement schemes in our country’s history.

It is important that we resettle people safely and provide appropriate support including with healthcare, education, jobs and housing. When considering the number of people we resettle, it is right that we take into account the capacity of local communities to provide this support. We would urge the Honourable Members to encourage Local Authorities to come forward with offers of support.

A policy statement covering further details of the Scheme is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with Bedfordshire Police on tackling anti-social use of fireworks.

There have not been recent discussions between the Home Secretary and Bedfordshire Constabulary regarding anti-social use of fireworks, however the Home Office maintains regular engagement with policing partners on a range of issues of crime and anti-social behaviour. The Government takes the issues associated with the sale and use of fireworks seriously. There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. Enforcement powers exist for local authorities to take action when fireworks are unsafe, sold illegally, or misused.

Local authorities and the police have powers to tackle the misuse of fireworks, where it arises. This includes a range of flexible tools and powers available to local agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (‘the 2014 Act’). Local areas decide how best to deploy these powers depending on the circumstances and specific local concerns.

It is for Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners, as operational leaders and elected local representatives, to decide how best to respond to individual crimes and local priorities.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has plans to introduce tougher penalties for the anti-social use of fireworks.

The Government takes the issues associated with the sale and use of fireworks seriously. There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. Enforcement powers exist for local authorities to take action when fireworks are unsafe, sold illegally, or misused.

Local authorities and the police have powers to tackle the misuse of fireworks, where it arises. This includes a range of flexible tools and powers available to local agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (‘the 2014 Act’). Local areas decide how best to deploy these powers depending on the circumstances and specific local concerns.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 6486, how many refunds of the Immigration Health Surcharge have been received by health and social care workers following the Prime Minister's announcement on ending the charge for health and social care workers in May 2020.

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Home Office has made thousands of refunds to eligible customers working in the health and care sector. This covers both refunds and reimbursements under the schemes operated by the Home Office and Department of Health and Social Care respectively. We continue to consider the best way to publish data on the health and care worker exemption.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the effect of the Prevent duty on freedom of speech in (a) higher education, (b) further education and (c) schools.

The Department for Education and the Home Office work closely together to ensure the threat of terrorism is addressed appropriately through our education system.

The Prevent Duty should not suppress or limit lawful free speech and is only relevant where there is a risk that someone may be drawn into terrorism.

As a Government, we are committed to protecting freedom of speech. This will be strengthened with the Freedom of Speech in Higher Education Bill that was recently introduced to Parliament.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to waive the Immigration Health Surcharge for holders of Hong Kong BNO visas.

There are no plans to introduce a waiver for the Immigration Health Surcharge on the British Nationals (Overseas) (BN(O)) route.

Like others coming to the UK applicants to the route should contribute to the cost of the NHS Services they will be using, rather than these costs fall to UK taxpayers more widely.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 20545 on Counter-terrorism: Databases, for what reason her Department does not control that counterterrorism database; and what assessment she has made of the potential effect of that database being owned by the Police on the Government's ability to regulate that information.

Prevent is a multi-agency programme, which requires the collaboration of multiple specified authorities. Alongside other partners, the police play an essential role in most aspects of Prevent work.

Police have responsibility for part of the delivery of Prevent, including receipt of referrals, deconfliction to check the individual referred is not already under investigation, and assessment of vulnerability to radicalisation. It is entirely appropriate for police to hold such data, which is managed in accordance with Management of Police Information (MOPI) guidelines.

The Home Office maintains oversight of Prevent delivery and uses data to identify trends and monitor performance. This involves working closely with a range of front-line partners, including the police, alongside Local Authority Prevent Co-ordinators, Health and Education Prevent leads, and policy leads from other government departments where appropriate.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 21344 on Counter-terrorism: Equality, if she will publish (a) details of what Equality Impact Analyses have been conducted on the Prevent strategy and (b) the reports of those analyses.

We have no plans to publish any EIAs pertaining to Prevent.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what equality impact assessment her Department has carried out on the Prevent strategy.

The Home Office has conducted Equality Impact Analysis (EIA) on the CONTEST strategy 2018 which includes Prevent.

We have also carried out additional EIAs for various strands of work within the Prevent programme in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have had with counterparts in the Department for Health and Social Care on ensuring the integration of Prevent as a safeguarding duty in the NHS with minimal disturbance to the provision of healthcare.

The Prevent Duty has been in place since 2015. All staff working in NHS Trusts in England and Wales have a legal obligation to safeguard against radicalisation and report concerns via a Prevent referral.

The Department for Health and Social Care funds a network of 7 NHS England Regional Serious Violence and Contextual Safeguarding Leads, who provide healthcare specific advice to all NHS organisations within their region on integrating Prevent into their safeguarding practices. The Home Office works closely with this network and with DHSC to support the delivery of the Prevent Duty within the healthcare system.

The responsibilities for safeguarding form part of the core functions for all NHS organisations. Prevent is embedded within safeguarding in the NHS, ensuring the duties of safeguarding children, young people, and adults at risk are applied consistently and conscientiously and with over 300,000 patient contacts every day, the NHS has an important role to play in preventing vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of member of the Channel panel have been (a) Black, (b) Muslim, (a) from other minority ethnic backgrounds and (d) female.

The Home Office does not hold information on the proportion of Channel Panel members who are a) Black, b) Muslim, c) from other minority ethnic backgrounds and d) female.

Channel Panels are run by the Local Authority they sit in, and information on their composition is not held centrally.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has issued on (a) the use of and (b) access to the central database on which information on Prevent referrals is stored.

Information and guidance on the use of, and access to, the central Prevent referral database is owned by the Police and not by the Home Office. We do not hold this information centrally.

.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people from Hong Kong have successfully taken up a British National (Overseas) visa since that visa scheme was introduced.

Information on how many visas for the Hong Kong BN(O) route have been granted between 31 January and 31 March was published in the quarterly migration statistics release on 27 May and can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-statistics

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the number of overseas health workers who have been refunded the Immigration Health Surcharge since the Prime Minister announced that policy in May 2020.

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement last year, the Home Office and the Department for Health and Social Care have worked together continuously to ensure overseas health workers are refunded the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to extend the eligibility of the Hong Kong British National Overseas visa scheme to pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong who were born after 1997.

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O) route opens for applications from 31 January 2021.

We recognise children of BN(O) status holders born on or after 1 July 1997 may not have had the opportunity to be registered as BN(O) status holders. We do not wish to split family units and therefore the children of a BN(O) status holder who fall into this category who form part of the same household will be able to apply for this route with their BN(O) parent. We do not currently have any plans to change these requirements.

Individuals born after 1 July 1997, who no longer live with their BN(O) parents, can consider the other UK immigration routes available, these include the Student, Family and Skilled Worker routes. The new Skilled Worker route enables individuals to come to the UK in a much wider range of roles and at a lower general salary threshold than under the previous visa it replaced.

There is also our existing youth mobility scheme with Hong Kong which is open to those aged between 18 and 30 and offers a two-year grant of leave in the UK. There are 1000 places currently available each year.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of introducing a New Zealand-style managed isolation and quarantine system at the border during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government discussions on the most appropriate response to COVID-19 are ongoing and evolve in line with developments and assessments. Measures at the Border are a continuous topic of discussion during meetings between Cabinet colleagues; and the Government will continue to announce policy developments at the appropriate stage.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress the Government has made on the introduction of the Hong Kong British National Overseas visa scheme.

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O) route opens for applications from 31 January 2021.

Guidance for BN(O) citizens will be kept updated on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hong-kong-british-national-overseas-visa-applications

Further details of this new immigration route will be published in due course.

This government looks forward to realising its commitments to BN(O) citizens and their family members and receiving applications for the Hong Kong BN(O) route in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what additional resources her Department has allocated to Bedfordshire Police for the enforcement of covid-19 regulations.

The Government has been clear that it will provide police forces with the support they need to continue protecting the public and keeping communities safe through the coronavirus pandemic.

In October 2020, the Government announced an additional £30m funding for police forces in England and Wales to step up their enforcement of coronavirus rules. Bedfordshire Police has received £ 270,485 from this additional funding.

The department continues to work closely with the policing sector to monitor and make decisions on their current and future needs.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of hate crime during the covid-19 outbreak.

In March, April and May, the level of racially and religiously aggravated offences in 2020 was lower than the previous year. In April the number of offences was down almost a quarter (24%) on the same month in 2019. However, the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences in June 2020 was a third higher (34%) than in June 2019 and remained high in July. More information can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2019-to-2020/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2019-to-2020

These offences are completely unacceptable and the UK has a robust legislative framework to respond to them.

The Home Office is working closely with the National Police Chief’s Council to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to affected communities and encouraging hate crime reporting during the pandemic.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what public engagement exercises her Department has undertaken in Luton on the Prevent Strategy.

The Prevent programme is fundamentally about safeguarding and supporting vulnerable individuals to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It works best when it is locally-led and delivered in partnership with communities. As part of the Prevent Duty, Local Authorities have an obligation to deliver a programme of engagement tailored to the needs of the local community. The Home Office supports areas with engagement to increase transparency and communicate proactively about Prevent delivery in the local area. The Home Office has previously engaged with Luton Council's Elected Members Prevent Engagement Group on the Prevent Strategy.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of people have been required to self-isolate in each of the last four months after entering the UK from a country where there is no travel corridor.

Information relating to Health measures at the border and compliance with quarantine restrictions are available on GOV.uk at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-on-health-measures-at-the-uk-border/data-on-health-measures-at-the-uk-border.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of people self-isolated in (a) July, (b) August, (c) September and (d) October 2020 after entering the UK from a country with which the UK does not have a travel corridor.

Information relating to Health measures at the border and compliance with quarantine restrictions are available on GOV.uk at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-on-health-measures-at-the-uk-border/data-on-health-measures-at-the-uk-border.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the admission of children of Hong Kong BNO holders to UK schools ahead of the scheme's launch in 2021.

The Home Office is working as part of a cross-government effort to ensure that when the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) Visa route opens in January it operates smoothly.

All children who live in the UK are eligible for a school place in England irrespective of their nationality.

BN(O) families moving to the UK under the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa route will be able to access a state-funded or independent school place for their children on the same basis as every other family in the UK. Those BN(O) families who choose not to avail themselves of our migration offer, and who remain in Hong Kong, will, as now, be able to send their children to the UK to access an independent school place under the UK study visa rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress the Government has made on the development of the Hong Kong BNO scheme announced in July 2020.

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) Visa route will open from 31 January, and will allow BN(O)s and their family members to come to the UK to live, work and study.

Further details of the route were put before Parliament on 22 October, when the Immigration Rules were laid.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to support people without funds to self-isolate safely after entering or returning to the UK.

We have been clear people should arrange their accommodation before they travel to the UK and the vast majority of travellers have complied.

For the small minority who don’t, the Government will support them in finding appropriate accommodation.

We are working to ensure non-exempt arrivals without the means to effectively self-isolate are supported in making alternative arrangements, including accommodation, for their period of self-isolation.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to include ethnicity on death certificates.

The statistical information currently recorded in a death registration (and subsequently on certificates) is determined by the Office for National Statistics and prescribed by law. There are currently no plans to record ethnicity.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the 14-day quarantine rule for people entering the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.

In developing the Public Health regulations which introduced the 14-day self-isolation requirement, and the exemptions to be applied, there were discussions between the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Transport, as well as other Cabinet colleagues. These discussions took place through Cabinet meetings, including the General Public Sector Ministerial Implementation Group (GPSMIG), and further exchanges in developing the policy, exemptions to apply, and its announcement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on how many occasions she has discussed the 14-day quarantine rule for people entering the UK during the covid-19 outbreak with the Secretary of State for Transport in an official capacity.

In developing the Public Health regulations which introduced the 14-day self-isolation requirement, and the exemptions to be applied, there were discussions between the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Transport, as well as other Cabinet colleagues. These discussions took place through Cabinet meetings, including the General Public Sector Ministerial Implementation Group (GPSMIG), and further exchanges in developing the policy, exemptions to apply, and its announcement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish a list of companies that sent representatives to the aviation industry meeting which discussed the 14-day quarantine on 4 June 2020; and if she will make a statement.

The following companies attended the meeting:

Airport Operators Association (AOA);

Regional and Business Airports Group (RABA);

Airlines UK; Board of Airline Representatives UK (BAR UK);

International Air Transport Association (IATA);

Heathrow;

Gatwick;

MAG;

Edinburgh;

Virgin Atlantic;

EasyJet;

Jet2;

TUI;

Swissport;

Eurostar;

Eurotunnel;

Port of Dover;

UK Chamber of Shipping;

Maritime UK;

BPA;

UKMPG;

RHA;

FTA;

The International Airlines Group were invited to attend, but they declined the invitation.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions her Department has had with (a) easyJet, (b) British Airways and (c) other major UK airlines on the 14-day quarantine period for people entering the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.

As the health measures being put in place at the border are cross-HMG measures, the Home Office has worked closely with the Department for Transport (DfT) on engagement with airlines.

The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and the government recognises the challenging times it is facing as a result of COVID-19. Through the Department for Transport, Government has kept an open dialogue with the aviation sector and put in place regular structured engagement at both Ministerial and official levels. Recent discussions have included the impact of the proposed 14 day quarantine period.

Home Office and DfT officials jointly held an Implementation Task and Finish Group with the aviation industry on 2 June to discuss implementation of the health measures at the borders and listen to operational impacts and concerns from Industry partners. Easyjet, BA and other major UK airlines dialled in to this meeting. The Home Secretary and DfT Aviation, Maritime and Security Minister held an extensive virtual roundtable discussion on 4 June with various aspects of the aviation and maritime industry on the border health measures due to come into effect. Easyjet, Virgin and Jet2 attended this meeting.

In addition, the International Aviation Taskforce has been established to develop plans for how to restart the aviation sector safely, as well as looking at some of the unique challenges that sector is facing. Both BA and Easyjet are members of the Taskforce’s industry Expert Steering Group. BA were invited to the round table but they turned down the invite for unspecified reasons.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many citizenship applications for children have been processed in the most recent reporting period.

The Home Office publishes data on citizenship in the . https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

Data on applications for British citizenship are published in tables Cit_D01 and Cit_D02 of the https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/managed-migration-datasets

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to the year ending December 2019. Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the summary tables. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on citizenship.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) efficiency and (b) effectiveness of using Amazon Web Services as a public cloud hosting service.

The Home Office recently completed a procurement for “Continuity Cloud Services”. We assessed a wide number of Cloud Service Providers available on G-Cloud 11.

This was awarded to Amazon Web Services via G-Cloud 11 on the basis of best technical fit for existing Home Office requirements and met all of our ‘must have’ requirements.The procurement has enabled the Home Office to take advantage of discounts and savings opportunities available on G-Cloud 11.

Under this new contract we are already on track to save 28% or over £6m over the next 12 months on our cloud spend with Amazon Web Services compared to what we would have spent if we had extended our previous contract based on old terms. The Home Office follows best practice for Cost Efficiency, we continually review our cloud spend to ensure that we are getting best value for money.

We take regular action to ensure that our usage is optimised, and we receive regular support from AWS via their Enterprise Support Programme. The Home Office is looking to achieve further efficiencies on cloud services by contracting with a wider number of cloud service providers in the future.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data Amazon Web Services has access to as the public cloud host for her Department.

Amazon Web Services have publicly available policies and statements on access to customer data, which broadly state that they do not access data available within AWS accounts without receiving consent from the account holder. In line with wider government policy we follow the NCSC’s ‘Cloud Security Principles’ & ‘Standard Architecture for UK-Official on AWS’.

The Home Office has policies in place to ensure that our data is protected when it is hosted with Public Cloud Service Providers and we have full control of access to our accounts and data within them. Specifically, our policy is to mandate that all data is encrypted during transit and at rest, this means that if data is accessed by a third party from outside of the Home Office it is protected.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many incidents of hate crime at places of worship were recorded in each year since 2010.

The Home Office collects and publishes statistics annually on the number of religious hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales. However, information on the location of these offences is not collected.

The latest ‘Hate Crime, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2018-to-2019

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to review the effectiveness of the Prevent Strategy.

In January 2019, the Government accepted the proposed amendment to include an independent review of Prevent within the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. Royal Assent was given to the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 on 12 February 2019.

We are currently considering next steps. We will make further announcements about its progress on the prevent review, as soon as possible.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Prevent Strategy.

In January 2019, the Government accepted the proposed amendment to include an independent review of Prevent within the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. Royal Assent was given to the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 on 12 February 2019.

We are currently considering next steps. We will make further announcements about its progress on the prevent review, as soon as possible.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the Prevent strategy does not unfairly target racial and religious minorities.

The Prevent programme is fundamentally about safeguarding and supporting vulnerable individuals to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Prevent is about safeguarding people who are at risk of radicalisation. Prevent does not target a specific faith or ethnic group - it deals with all forms of extremism.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations she has received on the time taken to process visa applications from (a) refugees and b) other visa applicants.

The Home Office does not hold the information in the format requested or routinely publish data to answer this question. To obtain it would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

Published data on the processing of visa applications is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking tackle drug-related crime.

Cutting crime is a priority for this Government and we recognise that there are strong links between drug misuse and crime.

Tough enforcement is a fundamental part of our approach to tackling drugs and we are working across Government to address the drivers behind drug-related crime and help prevent further substance misuse and offending.We continue to surge law enforcement action to tackle county lines and its associated violence and exploitation. The Home Secretary has announced £25m of targeted investment across 19-20 and 20-21 to significantly increase law enforcement’s response to the issue.

The Home Office has also announced that a UK Drugs Summit will take place on 27 February, which will bring together all four nations of the United Kingdom, to consider the challenges we are facing and to reflect on what more can be done to address drug supply and reduce drug harms.

The Prime Minister has also established a Cabinet committee on crime which will help to drive cross-Government action in this area.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to increase conviction rates for coercive control.

The Government’s domestic abuse consultation in 2018 asked whether further action should be taken to strengthen the coercive control offence introduced in 2015. In the response to that consultation the Government agreed to update the statutory guidance and Crown Prosecution Service legal guidance on the offence.

The Home Office will also work with other departments to improve understanding of the offence throughout the justice system, and seek to dispel stereotypes by promoting the updated statutory guidance for the offence through the courts and justice system. This will help to increase the number of cases that are brought, charged and convicted under this offence.

We have been reviewing the effectiveness of the existing coercive control legislation, both in terms of understanding and awareness, but also how adequately the legislation protects victims of this type of abuse. The findings of the review will be announced later this year.

In 2018/19, the conviction rate across all domestic abuse-related offences was 76.5% - the highest rate ever recorded.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many victims of the Windrush scandal have received compensation to date.

We will publish information on the total number of claims submitted, claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme shortly, as noted in the Home Secretary’s report to the Home Affairs Select Committee https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/update-to-the-hasc-on-windrush-22-october-2019.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much compensation has been awarded to the victims of the Windrush scandal to date.

We will publish information on the total number of claims submitted, claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme shortly, as noted in the Home Secretary’s report to the Home Affairs Select Committee https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/update-to-the-hasc-on-windrush-22-october-2019.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle the rising incidents of knife crime.

This Government is determined to turn the tide on knife crime. That is why we are recruiting 20,000 more police officers over the next three years and increasing sentences for violent criminals. We have made it easier for the police to use enhanced stop and search powers and we will introduce a new court order to make it easier for the police to stop and search those who have been convicted of knife crime.

We will ensure that anyone charged with knife possession will appear before magistrates within days and we are also making £10 million available to the police to equip more officers with tasers. We have also announced a targeted £20 million to tackle county lines drug gangs, we have launched the £200 million Youth Endowment Fund to support children and young people most vulnerable from becoming involved in crime and violence, including reoffending, and put in place a landmark review into drug misuse. The first grant round of the Youth Endowment Fund took place in 2019-20. 23 successful projects located across England and Wales will share £17.1m over 2 years.

Funding for policing is increasing by £1 billion this year, including council tax, and we have recently announced the amount of funding available to the policing system in 2020 to 2021 will increase by more than £1.1 billion. In addition, through the Serious Violence Fund we are providing £63.4 million this year to the 18 police forces worst affected by serious violence to pay for surge operational activity, such as increased patrols, which sees an additional £20.8 million for the Metropolitan Police.

The Serious Violence Fund is also providing £1.6 million to help improve the quality of data on serious violence, particularly knife crime, to support planning and operations. In addition, we are providing £35 million through the Fund to support Violence Reduction Units, which form a key component of our action to build capacity in local areas to tackle serious violence, and we have announced a further £35 million for Violence Reduction Units for 2020/21.

The Government will also change the law so that police, councils and health authorities are legally required to work together to prevent and tackle serious violence, and the Offensive Weapons Act introduces new laws which to give police extra powers to seize dangerous weapons and ensure knives are less likely to make their way onto the streets in the first place.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many recorded incidents of knife crime there have been in each year from 2010.

Information on the number of selected offences involving knives or sharp instruments recorded by the police in England and Wales can be found in the Home Office Knife Crime Open Data Tables published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables While the Home Office collects data on the number of selected offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, it does not contain details on the age of those involved or whether the offence took place in a school.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many recorded incidents of knife crime have taken place (a) involving under 18 year olds and (b) in schools in each year since 2010.

Information on the number of selected offences involving knives or sharp instruments recorded by the police in England and Wales can be found in the Home Office Knife Crime Open Data Tables published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables While the Home Office collects data on the number of selected offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, it does not contain details on the age of those involved or whether the offence took place in a school.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many reported incidents of racism have occurred in each year since 2010.

The Home Office collects and publishes statistics annually on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, broken down by monitored strand (including race) in the ‘Hate Crime, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin.

The latest available data, covering the period 2011/12 (when the data collection began) to 2018/19, can be found in ‘Table 2’ of the data tables, available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2018-to-2019

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much compensation from the Windrush Compensation Scheme has been awarded to victims of the scandal in (a) England and (b) the East of England.

We will publish information on the total number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme shortly, as noted in the Home Secretary’s report to the Home Affairs Select Committee https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/update-to-the-hasc-on-windrush-22-october-2019. A breakdown of claims awarded by geographical area will not be published as this could potentially identify individual claimants.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many victims of the Windrush scandal have received compensation in (a) England and (b) the East of England.

We will publish information on the total number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme shortly, as noted in the Home Secretary’s report to the Home Affairs Select Committee https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/update-to-the-hasc-on-windrush-22-october-2019. A breakdown of claims awarded by geographical area will not be published as this could potentially identify individual claimants.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that employers are aware of the Hong Kong BNO visa scheme.

On 8 April, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a new UK-wide Welcome Programme to support Hong Kong BN(O) status holders with a package worth £43.1 million.

MHCLG has been working across departments to discuss ways to ensure BN(O) status holders are able to access appropriate employment and business opportunities, including the recognition of qualifications. The Secretaries of State for MHCLG and BEIS have written a joint letter to all the Chief Executives of UK regulators and professional bodies, encouraging a unified way of assessing qualifications from BN(O) status holders in the UK.

There is also advice for employers on employing those on LOTR and the BN(O) route available on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employing-bno-citizens-in-the-uk)

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 20548 on Counter-terrorism, for what reason his Department does not specifically engage communities to discuss their views on Prevent.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer to Question UIN 20548 on 28 June 2021. Prevent is not within the policy remit of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what regular discussions his Department has with representatives of (a) local communities, (b) minority groups and (c) faith groups on the impact of the Prevent strategy.

Prevent is about safeguarding vulnerable people and stopping them being exploited by terrorist recruiters. This work is led by the Home Office which facilitates a comprehensive programme of engagement events aimed at local communities around the country, which invites the public to learn more about Prevent and discuss their views. The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government engages communities on a range of topics but does not do so specifically to discuss Prevent.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Luton in the Cambridge-Oxford Arc.

Luton is indeed part of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. Luton’s strong automotive and engineering sectors, leading airport and links to the Central Area of the Arc make it a key part of Government’s plan to transform the Oxford-Cambridge Arc into one of the world’s premier economic growth corridors. The Government has been working closely with colleagues in Luton to shape the Spatial Framework as we plan for sustainable growth and levelling up in the Arc.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to support local councils with adequate staffing resources to formulate bids to the Levelling Up Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.

The Fund will operate UK-wide, extending the benefits of funding for priority local infrastructure across all regions and nations.

The prospectus published at Budget provides guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding for projects starting in 2021-22. This includes guidance on the process for submitting bids, the types of projects eligible for funding, and how bids will be assessed.

Capacity funding will also be allocated to the local authorities measured as highest need in England, and all local authorities in Scotland and Wales to build a new relationship with the UK Government. This will support the relevant local authorities develop bids and ensure that investment is targeted where it is needed most.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to support charities and faith organisations who rely on donations from the public to pay for (a) charity work and (b) overheads of religious buildings, during the covid-19 outbreak.

Faith communities have a long history of service supporting many of the most vulnerable members of our society. The rapid response during the current pandemic has been no different. We value the work being done to support those in need.

We recognise that, like those in the private sector, charities and faith organisations are under significant strain as a result of COVID-19. Charities can access many of the support measures the Chancellor has announced for businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates on charity shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible with the Government paying 80 per cent of their wages. Further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

On 8 April the Chancellor outlined a £750 million package of support for frontline charities across the UK responding to the Covid-19 crisis. We are continuing to engage with cross government colleagues on the details of this funding package and more details will be released in the coming days.

We will continue to engage with the sector to maintain a complete picture of the impact of coronavirus to better understand how we can support them to respond to the pressures they may be facing.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support he is providing to (a) homeless children and (b) children in temporary accommodation.

The use of temporary accommodation means people are getting help and ensures no family is without a roof over their head.

Any accommodation secured by a local authority for a homeless household must meet the standards in ‘The homelessness code of guidance,’ which sets out in detail what the authority must take into account when considering the accommodation’s suitability for a homeless household.

The code of guidance can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homelessness-code-of-guidance-for-local-authorities.

Reducing the number of households in temporary accommodation is a priority for this Government and we have allocated over £1.2 billion over the last three years to tackle all forms of homelessness. This includes:

  • Implementing the Homelessness Reduction Act;
  • Providing a Flexible Homelessness Support Grant for homelessness services; and
  • The Private Rented Sector Access Fund that will enable thousands of households to be supported into long-term private rented accommodation; and
  • Launching Capital Letters, a project which works with London Boroughs through a centralised procurement process to improve the supply of homes, reduce the cost to local authorities of procuring these homes and achieve better outcomes of homeless families.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to allocate additional funding to areas with the highest levels of homelessness.

In 2020/2021 we are providing £437 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. This marks a £69 million increase in funding from the previous year. Funding given to local authorities seeks to address local homelessness and rough sleeping variation and is allocated according to demand in their area.

Examples of targeting funding in accordance with levels of homelessness for 2020/21 is evidenced through our three main funding streams:

  • The Homelessness Reduction Grant. The £63 million fund provides an uplift on previous years’ new burdens funding to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act and will enable local authorities to do more to prevent and relieve homelessness in their areas. The new burdens funding is allocated to take account of variation in relevant homelessness costs around the country.
  • The Rough Sleeping initiative: £112 million fund for 2020/21 (an increase of £26 million on 2019/20 funding) which combines the Rough Sleeping Initiative and the Rapid Rehousing Pathway into a single, streamlined funding stream is designed to support the establishment or enhancement of coordinated local services for rough sleepers, or those at risk of sleeping rough. The fund was open to all local authorities who supplied bids to address local homelessness and rough sleeping levels.
  • The Flexible Homelessness Support Grant of £200 million which seeks to help local authorities plan and respond to their local homelessness pressures. The formula for Flexible Homelessness Support Grant is designed to distribute the funding according to levels of homelessness, family size and housing costs in the area.

We are also funding:

  • Housing First pilots to provide rough sleepers with the most complex needs stable and affordable accommodation with intensive wrap-around support to help them recover from complex issues and sustain their tenancies.
  • London Collaboration Project which aims to become the main source of private rented sector accommodation to prevent and relieve homelessness in London.
  • A number of smaller pilots/funding streams such as the Offender Accommodation Pilot and Rough Sleeping Social Impact Bond.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many homeless children there are in (a) Bedfordshire and (b) Luton; and what funding is available to tackle homelessness for families with children.

Figures as of 30 June 2019 for numbers of children in temporary accommodation by local authority are available in table TA1 in the Detailed Local Authority tables: April to June 2019, link below. In December 2019 we announced the allocation of £263 million in funding for 2020/21 to local authorities designed to support them to deliver services to tackle homelessness. The purpose of this funding is to give local authorities more control and flexibility in managing homelessness pressures and supporting those who at risk of homelessness, including providing them with temporary accommodation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on private prisons of the adequacy of covid-19 sick pay policies implemented by G4S in private prisons.

Whilst they may mirror those set by HMPPS in public sector prisons, all staffing matters in privately managed prisons, including sick pay and related policies, are the responsibility of individual contractors. There is no requirement in the contracts to agree such matters with the Ministry of Justice.

Private providers play an important role in the prison estate and we continue to monitor them to ensure they maintain safe, decent and secure prisons.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that judges are adequately trained on how to deal effectively with cases involving sexual assault and rape.

Judicial training is the responsibility of the Lord Chief Justice under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 section 7 2(b) and is exercised by the Judicial College. Since 2002, all judges who hear criminal cases involving serious sexual offences are required to attend specialist training provided by the Judicial College. Listing, which is a judicial function, ensures that cases are allocated to those who are authorised and trained. The Judicial College is also exploring with the senior judiciary what additional training should be made available to judges who may have to hear cases involving allegations of rape and serious sexual assault within family proceedings.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Leader of the House, if he will publish the average time taken for the Department of Health and Social Care to answer written questions from hon. Members in (a) September 2020, (b) October 2020, (c) November 2020 and (d) December 2020.

This information is not held by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons. The Procedure Committee routinely publishes information regarding the performance of departments in answering written questions following the end of each parliamentary session, the last of which was published on 9 October 2020 for the 2017-19 and 2019 sessions. This is available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmproced/790/79002.htm

I have written to all members of the Cabinet to remind them of the importance of timely and helpful responses to written questions. I encourage members who get an unsatisfactory or late response to write to me and I will take this up on their behalf.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a one-off payment scheme for NHS workers similar to the £735 payment introduced by the Welsh Government.

NHS funding decisions in Wales are devolved to the Welsh Government. The UK Government has provided the Welsh Government with an extra £7.3bn to tackle the pandemic; that is over £2,300 per person in Wales. Including a £5.2bn funding guarantee, £650m flexible funding and an additional £1.5bn announced at the Spending Review and Budget

We are also buying vaccines on behalf of the Devolved Administrations and so far, have provided over 60% of Covid tests in Wales.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales