Scott Benton Portrait

Scott Benton

Conservative - Blackpool South

Scott Benton has no previous appointments


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 12th May 2021
14:15
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Citizenship and Passport Processes in Northern Ireland
12 May 2021, 2:15 p.m.
At 3.00pm: Oral evidence
Kevin Foster MP - Minister for Future Borders and Immigration at Home Office
Robin Walker MP - Minister of State at Northern Ireland Office
Kristian Armstrong - Head of Passport and Nationality Policy at Home Office
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 20th May 2021
13:25
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 321 Conservative Aye votes vs 32 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Government Support for India

Given the exceptional budgetary challenges that face the Treasury, the overwhelming majority of my constituents support the decision to temporarily …

Written Answers
Tuesday 20th April 2021
British Red Cross
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if his Department will review its relationship with …
Early Day Motions
Monday 8th March 2021
Glasgow Rangers FC winning the Scottish Premiership 2020-21
That this House congratulates Glasgow Rangers FC on winning the Scottish Premiership title and, in doing so, registering the historic …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 6th July 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Allowances from Calderdale Council, Town Hall, Crossley Street, Halifax HX1 1UJ, for my role as Councillor, to which I commit …
EDM signed
Thursday 11th March 2021
Glasgow Rangers and the Scottish Football League title
That this House notes that Glasgow Rangers FC have won the Scottish League for a world record 55th time; and …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Scott Benton has voted in 262 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Scott Benton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Scott Benton voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Scott Benton 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)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(16 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(15 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(15 debate contributions)
Home Office
(10 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(10 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Scott Benton's debates

Blackpool South 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 Blackpool South signature proportion
Petitions with most Blackpool South signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Football is a powerful tool of which allows a range of benefits such as employment, and other important aspects of life. Football can be associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication across the community. With Fans attending football games a range of economic benefits are there too.


Latest EDMs signed by Scott Benton

8th March 2021
Scott Benton signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 11th March 2021

Glasgow Rangers and the Scottish Football League title

Tabled by: Gregory Campbell (Democratic Unionist Party - East Londonderry)
That this House notes that Glasgow Rangers FC have won the Scottish League for a world record 55th time; and congratulates manager Steven Gerrard, squad, backroom staff and all associated with the Club on an achievement that included being undefeated during the league season, conceding only nine goals in those …
6 signatures
(Most recent: 11 Mar 2021)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 1
8th March 2021
Scott Benton signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Sunday 7th March 2021

Glasgow Rangers FC winning the Scottish Premiership 2020-21

Tabled by: Scott Benton (Conservative - Blackpool South)
That this House congratulates Glasgow Rangers FC on winning the Scottish Premiership title and, in doing so, registering the historic achievement of a 55th Scottish Premiership/First Division title; notes that everybody connected with the club, including the players, Steven Gerrard and the board of directors deserve enormous credit for this …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 11 Mar 2021)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Conservative: 1
View All Scott Benton's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Scott Benton, 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.


Scott Benton has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Scott Benton has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Scott Benton has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Scott Benton has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


196 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
3 Other Department Questions
20th Apr 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the Members Estimate Committee, what estimate the Committee has made of the cost to the public purse of providing Representative Money for party political purposes to hon. Members who do not take their seats in Parliament.

The Representative Money scheduled to be paid following the General Election on 12 December 2019 to the end of the current financial year (31 March 2020) will be published in due course on the pages below, as will amounts relating to subsequent financial years.

Since 2016–17 it has been a requirement to publish the amounts paid for the financial year and these can be found on the Parliament website via the following link:
https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/foi/transparency-publications/hoc-transparency-publications/financial-information/financial-assistance-to-opposition-parties/

Budget allocations for Representative Money since 2005–06 are published in Appendix 4 of the following document:
https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN01663

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what the total cost has been to the public purse of hon. Members who have not taken their seats in the House of Commons in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017 and (d) 2018.

All MPs are able to claim for business costs and expenses in line with the rules established by IPSA in the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses. All business costs and expenses claimed by MPs, including those who have not taken their seats in the House of Commons, are routinely published and can be viewed on IPSA’s website: www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/your-mp/.

The figures below outline the business costs and expenses of those MPs who have not taken their seats.

Financial Year

MPs with Published costs

Office Costs

Staffing

Staff Absence

Winding-Up Budget

Accommodation / Hotels

Travel

Total

2015-16

6

£12,334.65

£545,454.86

NA

£89,712.95

£0.00

£597.69

£648,100.15

2016-17

4

£20,504.85

£434,266.07

NA

£0.00

£0.00

£5,146.49

£459,917.41

2017-18

8

£115,569.72

£683,680.99

£0.00

£35,163.41

£7,835.00

£32,210.58

£874,459.70

2018-19

7

£115,667.58

£893,333.79

£7,879.49

£0.00

£19,597.03

£119,282.23

£1,155,760.12

Under a resolution of the House, Representative Money is provided to opposition parties represented by Members who have chosen not to take the Oath. Payment of Representative Money is administered by the House of Commons Members’ Hub. Budget allocations for Representative Money since 2005-6 are published in Appendix 4 of the following document: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN01663 .

The Representative Money allocation figures for the four years in question are as follows:

Financial Year

Period

Main Allocation

Travel Allocation

Total Allocation

£

£

£

2015/16 *

01/04/15 - 07/05/15

11,511.00

329.45

11,840.45

08/05/15 - 31/03/16

87,783.00

1,898.90

89,681.90

2016/17

01/04/16 - 31/03/17

97,556.00

2,224.32

99,780.32

2017/18 *

01/04/17 - 08/06/17

18,737.00

431.41

19,168.41

09/06/17 - 31/03/18

130,970.00

2,901.64

133,871.64

2018/19

01/04/18 - 31/03/19

165,864.00

3,674.62

169,538.62

* General Election years

Since 2016-17 it has been a requirement to publish the amounts paid for the financial year and these can be found on the Parliament website via the following link: https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/foi/transparency-publications/hoc-transparency-publications/financial-information/financial-assistance-to-opposition-parties/previous-financial-assistance-to-opposition-parties/.

The Representative Money actual expenditure for each financial year since 2016-17 was as follows:

Financial Year

Period

Main Allocation Spend

Travel Allocation Spend

Total Spend

£

£

£

2016/17

01/04/16 - 31/03/17

97,743.00

0.00

97,743.00

2017/18 *

01/04/17 - 08/06/17

18,737.00

0.00

18,737.00

09/06/17 - 31/03/18

131,824.00

0.00

131,824.00

2018/19

01/04/18 - 31/03/19

166,005.00

0.00

166,005.00

* General Election years

Any spend above the Main Allocation has been funded by the parties themselves.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what plans the Committee has to review the arrangements on access to salaries and expenses for hon. Members and their staff who do not take their seats.

Arrangements for paying salaries and expenses to MPs and their staff are for IPSA to determine, as set out in the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. Section 4(6) of the Act states that IPSA is only able to pay the salaries of MPs who have taken the Oath and thereby take their seats in parliament. MPs who do not take the Oath, and the staff employed by them, are nonetheless eligible to claim for business costs in pursuit of their constituency work in line with the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses.

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the scientific basis for the Government's decision to close amusement arcades in tier 3 of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The tiered approach of Local COVID Alert Levels that was in effect prior to 5 November was designed to reduce transmission of the virus which is transmitted through close contact. The baseline of the Tier 3: Very High Alert Level which applied until 5 November, did not include closure of amusement arcades. The government worked with local areas to identify other premises that should be closed.

The government continues to regularly make available scientific evidence supporting its COVID-19 response, including at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the turnout among (a) members of the armed forces serving abroad and (b) their family members living with them abroad, in the recent General Election.

Members of the armed forces serving abroad, or away from home in the UK, can vote with a postal vote or by proxy or in person if they are in their constituency on polling day.

Data that segments voters into categories of profession or other demographics is not collected as this could impact the secrecy of the ballot. In any event many armed forces personnel will have registered as ordinary electors and not in any manner that would identify them as service personnel at the time of voting.

We will continue to work with stakeholders to support the voting process for overseas electors, including armed forces serving abroad.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to assist members of the armed forces serving abroad to take part in future elections.

Members of the armed forces serving abroad, or away from home in the UK, can vote with a postal vote or by proxy or in person if they are in their constituency on polling day. We work with the British Forces Post Office to ensure that mail specifically for service personnel, sent to forces post office addresses, is delivered as quickly as possible. We also work Royal Mail on overseas deliveries, through a specific provision to expedite dispatch of mail to overseas addresses.

We will continue to work with these stakeholders and others to support the voting process for overseas electors, including armed forces serving abroad.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's policy is on anticipatory investment in decarbonisation projects; what plans his Department has to provide guidance to distribution networks on the funding of decarbonisation plans; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of decarbonisation investment on bills paid by customers.

Network regulation is a matter for the independent regulator, Ofgem. Government supports Ofgem in their work to ensure the price control provides an appropriate framework for distribution networks to invest as needed to support the transition to net zero. This includes capacity to support increased demand for low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, and connecting new sources of low-carbon electricity generation. Government also supports Ofgem in their objective of ensuring network regulation protects consumers, including providing value for money on their energy bills.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the legislative proposals needed to enable electricity distribution companies to prepare electricity networks for decarbonisation; what steps he is taking to encourage investment to support the transition to low carbon infrastructure, energy and technology; and if he will make a statement.

As the independent energy regulator, Ofgem regulates electricity distribution companies through a price control framework which governs networks’ revenues, investments and performance standards. In its Decarbonisation Action Plan, Ofgem stated its commitment to creating a regulatory environment which enables and encourages networks to invest for Net Zero. The Government is supportive of this objective.

The Government’s Green Finance Strategy set out our approach to accelerating green finance and catalysing private investment to support delivery of the UK’s climate objectives.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of additional regulation in the hairdressing industry to allow only those with formal qualifications in the industry to operate both from salons and in people's homes.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer provided to the petition P002432, “The regulation of the Hair, Barber and Beauty industries”, 20 May 2019, Official Report, Volume 660.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of introducing a compulsory registration scheme for hairdressers, operating from both salons and people's homes, to ensure that customers can have confidence during the covid-19 outbreak that they are operating responsibly and in accordance with the law.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer provided to the petition P002432, “The regulation of the Hair, Barber and Beauty industries”, 20 May 2019, Official Report, Volume 660.

We have published comprehensive guidance for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers and barbers to ensure they are COVID-secure:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the medical guidance underpinning the decision not to allow health and beauty salons to carry out certain treatments during the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Blackpool and (b) the UK.

The Ministerial Taskforces have been getting scientific input from Public Health England (PHE) as they draft guidance. Each individual working group which produced the guidance published on 11 May had active PHE presence, and each set of guidance was produced in collaboration with them, the Health and Safety Executive and other Departments. This model was followed by the close contact services taskforce.

The PHE staff who have supported the BEIS taskforces are in regular direct contact with those attending SAGE and have access to the PHE SAGE read-outs. They have endeavoured to reflect closely the SAGE recommendations and have also been responsible for putting some subjects pertinent to BEIS discussions to SAGE, such as persistence of COVID-19 on surfaces, and consideration of social distancing requirements under different scenarios. SAGE information is shared on its website: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will provide further business support grants to businesses in (a) Blackpool and (b) the UK that do not know when they can reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This package of support includes?the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). In addition, on 1 May,?the Government announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants.

These funds?have supported many thousands of small businesses?with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. ?As of 13 July, local authorities have made grant payments to over 872,520 business premises, totalling £10.7 billion, under the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). As of 13 July, Blackpool Council have made payments to 3,860 business premises, totalling £43,835,000, under the SBGF and the RHLGF.

Officials are keeping in close contact with Local Authorities?to understand how the schemes are rolling out and advising ministers on any additional support?which could be offered to help businesses and support local economies.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he is having with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on ensuring that businesses in (a) China and (b) other countries do not have an unfair advantage over UK retailers through cheaper postage costs.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy represents the UK at the UPU’s Council of Administration. It attended the UPU Extraordinary Congress in September 2019 where an agreement on international remuneration rates for bulky letters and small packets was reached. Under this agreement, the terminal dues chargeable in the UK for deliveries from countries such as China will rise from 2020 onwards at a faster rate than previously approved.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he is having with Royal Mail on ensuring their bilateral agreements with (a) China and (b) other countries do not provide terms for the international postage of retail goods into the UK that allow businesses in those countries with an unfair advantage over UK online retailers.

The UK, with its designated postal operator, Royal Mail, is a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which sets international remuneration rates.

Bilateral agreements with other countries are commercial matters for Royal Mail, and the Government does not play a role in these agreements.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with Royal Mail on postal matters, including international postal services.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure the quality of online retail products sold to UK consumers from China and (b) enforce appropriate UK quality standards on online retail websites.

When foreign companies and traders sell goods online and target UK consumers, they must comply with UK consumer protection laws. It is the responsibility of traders to ensure the products they are selling to UK consumers comply with UK law requiring that all products are safe, of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps to support small hotels and bed and breakfasts by temporarily suspending fees for (a) motion picture, (b) television and (c) music licences during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government does not have the power to suspend fees for motion picture and music copyright licences. This is because copyright licensing is a private, commercial matter between the parties concerned in which the Government is not involved.

However, certain licensing bodies, including some for film and music, have introduced voluntary measures to help mitigate the financial impacts of the outbreak on their licensees. These measures include waiving licence fees when businesses are closed, deferring payments, and the suspension of late payment charges.

The Government currently has no plans to suspend television licence fee payments.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has already announced a host of measures to help small businesses in this period, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), business rate relief, and VAT deferrals. However, the licence fee is an important area of interest, and of course we will keep this matter under review.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the covid-19 grant scheme for tourism and hospitality firms to small bed and breakfast businesses that are currently ineligible because they pay council tax and not business rates.

On 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities. This additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared workspaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would otherwise meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that manufacturers making Blackpool rock and other products exclusively for the tourism sector can access the covid-19 small business grants scheme on the same basis as other tourism businesses.

All businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000. This is estimated to apply to around 730,000 businesses across England and eligibility is not determined by sector.

Additionally, on 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities. Whilst this Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is primarily aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates and business rates reliefs, local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need so long as they are not eligible for either a Small Business Grant, a Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant or Self-employed Income Support Scheme funding.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that small businesses who pay business rates as part of their rental agreement with their landlord are able to access the Small Business Grants Fund for covid-19 support on the same basis as those small businesses who are directly registered for business rates payments.

Only businesses with their own assessment for business rates and which are eligible for either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) will be eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund. Businesses which are not ratepayers in their own right are not eligible.

The Government understands that for some shared spaces and service offices, individual users may not have their own rating assessment and may not therefore be eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund.

Therefore, on 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities. This additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared work spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would otherwise meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support people who have been supplied with substandard cavity wall insulation; and what plans the Government has for improved regulation of the insulation sector.

The Department has published consumer guidance for householders who suspect they have received faulty cavity wall insulation. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cavity-wall-insulation-cwi-consumer-guide-to-issues-arising-from-installations.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme requires a 25-year guarantee to be provided to householders for all cavity wall insulation. The guarantee provides instructions if there are problems related to the insulation product or its installation.

Where cavity wall insulation is installed under ECO, the installation must also be compliant with the most recent provisions of the Publicly Available Specification (PAS); this sets out the specifications for the installation of energy efficiency measures in existing dwellings, including cavity wall insulation. The standard sets out requirements which aim to ensure that the installation is suitable for the property and installed to high standards.

TrustMark is delivering the new Government endorsed quality framework for energy efficiency measures which was launched in October 2018. The framework ensures an improved and comprehensive consumer protection process, including guarantees and a redress scheme.

From 1 January 2019 all relevant measures (including cavity wall insulation) installed under the ECO scheme must be delivered by a Trustmark approved installer and compliant with the Trustmark framework requirements.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will estimate the amount of Government funding donated to the British Red Cross Charity in the last ten years.

The Government does not make donations to charities. Such funding, whether for a specific restricted purpose or unrestricted, would be classified as a grant.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales publishes charities’ annual returns from the last five reporting years. This includes a breakdown of funding that includes income from government grants and income from government contracts. The most recently published annual return covers the financial period up to 31 December 2019.

The British Red Cross Society has received £147 million in government grants in total over the past five reporting years. A breakdown by financial period end date is below:

  • 31/12/2015 - £32.5 million

  • 31/12/2016 - £22.3 million

  • 31/12/2017 - £33.7 million

  • 31/12/2018 - £22.1 million

  • 31/12/2019 - £36.4 million

The British Red Cross Society also receives income from government contracts. Over the five reporting years described above, the British Red Cross Society received a total of £226.3 million income from government contracts.

This information is published on the Charity Commission for England and Wales website here: https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-search/-/charity-details/220949/financial-history

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to restrict charities who receive public money from engaging in lobbying activities.

The Government Grants Functional Standard already includes a requirement for departments to ensure grant agreements provide a clear description of how funding should be spent which precludes the use of public money in paid for lobbying. This is to ensure that public money is used for its intended purpose.

Funded charities can use other funding sources to undertake non-party political activities and campaigning that supports their charitable purpose.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on how many occasions the Gambling Commission has deemed the expenses of a society lottery to be unreasonable.

The Gambling Commission monitors the expenses of society lotteries through the regular reporting required of operators by their licences.

Gambling Commission will discuss any concerns with operators as they arise. Society lottery operators are able to make changes to address concerns raised by the Commission. The number of instances where this occurs is not recorded by the Commission, but it has not had any cases where discussions with operators have resulted in formal action related to unreasonable expenses.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 122915 on Gambling: Coronavirus, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of adult gaming centres re-opening in tier three areas.

The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.

Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his Answer to Question 122916, if he will publish the evidence supporting the decision to close adult gaming centres in tier three areas.

The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.

Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he had with adult gaming centres on covid-secure measures prior to the decision to close those centres under tier three covid-19 restrictions.

The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.

Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what impact assessment he has made of the decision to not allow adult gaming centres to reopen in tier three covid-19 local lockdown areas.

The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.

Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives from the tourism industry in England on establishing a Government backed online booking platform for small hotels and bed and breakfasts.

In June 2019, the British Tourist Authority launched the Tourism Exchange Great Britain (TXGB) platform. TXGB was a key commitment of the Tourism Sector Deal, and makes it easier for accommodation businesses, including small hotels and bed and breakfasts, to be featured by in-market distributors, alongside attractions and experiences. This helps to promote English destinations and businesses abroad. Almost a hundred businesses are now signed up as distributors on the platform.

Tourism businesses like small hotels and bed and breakfasts that sign up as suppliers can choose the distributors through which they sell their product. The platform ensures that domestic and international consumers have access to the best of the country's tourism offer when booking holidays.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing an online booking platform for small hotels and bed and breakfasts.

In June 2019, the British Tourist Authority launched the Tourism Exchange Great Britain (TXGB) platform. TXGB was a key commitment of the Tourism Sector Deal, and makes it easier for accommodation businesses, including small hotels and bed and breakfasts, to be featured by in-market distributors, alongside attractions and experiences. This helps to promote English destinations and businesses abroad. Almost a hundred businesses are now signed up as distributors on the platform.

Tourism businesses like small hotels and bed and breakfasts that sign up as suppliers can choose the distributors through which they sell their product. The platform ensures that domestic and international consumers have access to the best of the country's tourism offer when booking holidays.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives from the children's indoor play sector on the steps that can be taken to enable indoor play centres in (a) Blackpool and (b) the UK to open up safely as soon as possible.

Officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have been in regular contact with the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) over recent weeks. We have worked with BALPPA, the trade body that represents the industry (including those from Blackpool such as the Blackpool Pleasure Beach, UK Hospitality and other representatives of the indoor play sector) to develop guidance for indoor play and indoor soft play operators to make their venues COVID-secure. On 13 August, the Government announced that indoor play and indoor soft play venues can open from 15 August.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from dance industry organisations to enable (a) competitive dancing and (b) commercial dance lessons to restart in (i) Blackpool and (ii) the rest of the UK.

The Secretary of State and DCMS are committed to supporting the cultural sector to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, and ensure appropriate support and guidance is provided.

To that end, DCMS has established the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Entertainment and Events working group which will be focusing on ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input.

These groups specifically include representatives for the dance sector, such as One Dance UK. Full details of the Taskforce can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/culture-secretary-announces-cultural-renewal-taskforce, and the Entertainment and Events Working Group can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/cultural-renewal-taskforce-and-supporting-working-groups#entertainment-and-events-members.

Furthermore, on 2 July, the Secretary of State met with Shirley Ballas to discuss the specific challenges faced by those within the ballroom dance sector with respect to safe reopening.

As the Prime Minister confirmed in his announcement on 23 June, providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children – such as commercial dance lessons for children – can operate over the summer holiday, with safety measures in place. Providers of these settings have been able to open since 4 July, provided that they follow the protective measures set out by government.

Protective measures guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Providers who offer indoor sports activities (including dance lessons) for children should also refer to the guidance for Keeping workers / volunteers and customers safe during COVID-19 for providers of grassroots sports and gym / leisure facilities. As announced on the 9 July, indoor gyms, sports courts and fitness and dance studios will be able to open from 25 July and cannot be used for holiday clubs and activities for children until that point.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives from LGBT (a) entertainment venues and (b) trade bodies in relation to establishing safe working practices to ensure that those venues in (i) England and (ii) Blackpool can reopen safely as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are committed to reopening creative businesses, including LGBT entertainment and music venues, in Blackpool and across the country in line with the latest Government regulations and advice.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has set out a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts and live entertainment sectors back up and running as soon as possible.

The ministerially-chaired Events and Entertainment Working Group was established to support the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce. It focuses on developing covid-19 secure guidance to enable the safe reopening of the performing arts, music and entertainment sectors and is attended by a number of trade bodies including the Night Time Industries Association, the Music Venue Trust and the Live Comedy Association.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) the casino industry and (b) trade organisations on establishing safe working practices to enable casinos in Blackpool to reopen.

DCMS officials are in regular contact with Public Health England and the casino sector to discuss the protections that are needed to allow casinos to reopen safely. This includes arranging a visit for senior public health representatives to assess the measures which are in place. I have spoken with representatives of the sector about the impacts of closure, and the government is working to ensure casinos can open as soon as the medical and scientific advice is that it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what engagement he is having with the entertainment and music industry and their relevant trade bodies with respect to establishing safe working practices so that entertainment venues in Blackpool can safely reopen as soon as possible. what discussions he has had with representatives from the (a) entertainment and live music sector and (b) associsated trade bodies in relation to establishing safe working practices to ensure that those venues in (i) England and (ii) Blackpool can reopen safely as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are committed to reopening creative businesses, including live entertainment and music venues, in Blackpool and across the UK in line with the latest Government regulations and advice.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently set out a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts and live entertainment sectors back up and running as soon as possible.

The ministerially-chaired Events and Entertainment Working Group was established to support the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce. It focuses on developing covid-19 secure guidance to enable the safe reopening of the performing arts, music and entertainment sectors. Members of the Working Group include the Association of Circus Proprietors, the Music Venue Trust and the Theatres Trust.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with tourism businesses on developing guidance on (a) social distancing and (b) improved hygiene measures to help facilitate the re-opening of those business as quickly as possible following the covid-19 lockdown.

I have held multiple recent discussions with tourism businesses on this issue. These include meetings last week with the Tourism Industry Council and with senior leaders from across the business events industry. My Department is also collating evidence from tourism businesses across the country on the potential impact of any changes to the current measures.

We will take into account information and feedback from the sector as we review our approach and will continue to be guided by the latest medical advice. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will encourage people to book holidays and support the recovery of the tourism sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with English Football League football clubs on a level of reimbursement for (a) season ticket holders and (b) people who have already purchased tickets in the eventuality that the remainder of the games left in the current season cannot admit fans or do not take place at all.

We have been liaising closely with the sport sector, including the Premier League and English Football League, to discuss a wide range of matters during these difficult times.

This includes whether it would be possible for events to go ahead and in what capacity, whilst making it clear that the Government will not consent to events taking place unless we can be sure it is safe to do so. The Premier League and English Football League will be considering the player, staff, and of course ticket holders in their assessments.

The Government will continue to liaise closely with all the football authorities as the situation develops.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Premier League football clubs on devising a level of reimbursement for season ticket holders, and for people who have already purchased tickets, in the event that the remainder of the games left in the current season take place behind closed doors or do not take place at all.

We have been liaising closely with the sport sector, including the Premier League and English Football League, to discuss a wide range of matters during these difficult times.

This includes whether it would be possible for events to go ahead and in what capacity, whilst making it clear that the Government will not consent to events taking place unless we can be sure it is safe to do so. The Premier League and English Football League will be considering the player, staff, and of course ticket holders in their assessments.

The Government will continue to liaise closely with all the football authorities as the situation develops.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits for the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors of introducing additional bank holidays in late 2020, in the event that lockdown restrictions implemented in response to the covid-19 outbreak have been lifted.

The Government is committed to helping the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors through this crisis and beyond. We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the sector during the recovery period.

Our immediate national priority is containing the spread of the virus. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will be encouraging people to embrace the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors once again.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to expand the availability of gigabit-capable broadband throughout (a) Lancashire and (b) Blackpool.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible. Much progress has already been made, with full fibre coverage doubling in the past year to reach 10% of UK premises, according to the latest Ofcom figures.

This Government will continue to take action to remove barriers to network rollout and to ensure that those in the hardest to reach areas are not left behind. We have introduced legislation to make it easier for operators to deploy broadband in blocks of flats, will be legislating to mandate gigabit connectivity in new builds and will invest £5 billion of funding to support gigabit rollout in hard to reach areas.

Lancashire has 97.8% superfast coverage, up from 37% in January 2011. In Blackpool, superfast coverage is 99.5%, compared to the UK average of 96%. Blackpool City Council was successful in their Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Wave 2 bid for funding, and were allocated £3.1 million to upgrade its fibre presence across the city using 20km of the existing duct tramway. A separate company, ITS Technology Group, has extended its gigabit-capable broadband services to the Fylde Coast by harnessing the local, publicly owned Cooperative Network Infrastructure (CNI). This is currently live in Blackpool and is expanding across the Fylde coast.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of covid-19 on (a) the UK tourism industry and (b) coastal communities; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware that the COVID-19 outbreak is significantly impacting the tourism industry and connected communities, including those in coastal regions.

My Department regularly engages with stakeholders in the tourism and events sector and across Government on this developing issue. We will continue to monitor its impact on the sector and would urge businesses from all parts of the country to share information with VisitBritain via their Tourism Industry Emergency Response group.

The Chancellor has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, tax relief and cash grant measures, plus £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to support (a) bed and breakfasts, (b) guest houses and (c) hotels in coastal towns in the event of reduced tourism as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the coronavirus outbreak is impacting businesses across many industries.

I regularly engage with stakeholders in the tourism sector on this developing issue. My Department and VisitBritain have organised two meetings between the industry and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. I will continue to monitor its impact on tourism businesses across the country and would urge tourism businesses to share information with VisitBritain.

Measures announced in the recent Budget relating to rates relief will also assist SMEs in the hospitality and leisure space.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to work with the (a) English Football League, (b) Premier League and (c) Football Association to promote sustainable (i) financial planning and (ii) good governance in football league clubs.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected.

This government is committed to undertaking a fan led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test, and will work closely with the football authorities as we decide the scope and structure of the review.

My predecessor also recently met with the EFL to discuss the progress of their own review into club governance.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make representations with his international counterparts and tourist industries overseas to online hotel booking websites on revising their practices on (a) brand jacking, (b) fear of missing out statements, (c) undercutting partner prices and (d) the online reviewing system.

I will continue to meet regularly with stakeholders across the Tourism sector to discuss a range of issues.


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) previously investigated the practices of hotel booking websites, reporting its conclusions in September 2019. Following this, 25 major hotel booking sites signed up to the CMA’s sector-wide principles for providing online accommodation booking services. The CMA continues to monitor compliance with consumer protection law in the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he is providing to help England Beach Soccer establish a northern beach soccer league.

The Government is committed to supporting people to get involved in sport and physical activity in whatever way best suits them. To date, Government has not invested in, or been approached for investment in, beach soccer.

Subject to eligibility requirements, England Beach Soccer may be able to apply for funding from Sport England’s Small Grants Fund which provides amounts up to £10,000 for projects that help people to lead more active lives. It may also wish to explore making an application to the Football Foundation’s Grow the Game Fund.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the level of commission charged by online booking websites on (a) small hoteliers and (b) bookings for hotel accommodation; and whether his Department plans to review the regulatory framework in relation to the charging of that commission.

My Department has not assessed the effect of the level of commission charged by online booking websites on either small hoteliers or bookings for hotel accommodation.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK's independent competition authority, is responsible for investigating markets where competition or consumer problems are detected. The CMA previously investigated the practices of hotel booking websites, reporting its conclusions in September 2019, and continues to monitor their compliance with consumer protection law in the sector.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking with local authorities to promote schemes which tackle loneliness and social isolation at Christmas time.

Government’s strategy on tackling loneliness stresses the important contribution of all parts of society, including local authorities, throughout the year not just at Christmas.

Government’s work with local authorities includes: working with three local authorities to pilot ways of making information about local activities and services addressing loneliness more easily available; and working with the Local Government Association and National Association of Local Councils to publish a comprehensive guide outlining how councils can create the right structures and conditions locally to tackle loneliness.

In addition, the Let’s Talk Loneliness communications campaign promotes many schemes across the country that bring people together. The campaign website hosts a toolkit of resources and case studies; these have been shared with a network of over 300 organisations and have been widely used.

The government has also established the £11.5m Building Connections Fund; 126 grants were made to successful applicants in December 2018. Projects are now underway, bringing people together across the country. On 15 October 2019 the Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, announced a new £2 million fund to help organisations at the frontline of tackling loneliness across the country.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of (a) the Government's loneliness strategy in reducing loneliness and (b) cross-departmental working to implement that strategy.

Government is committed to understanding the impact of its activity on loneliness and will use this insight to inform future decision-making. The 60 commitments made in the loneliness strategy vary widely and so learning is captured in different ways. Many of these commitments are still in progress and evaluation will emerge over time. For example, an independent evaluation of the £11.5m Building Connections Fund is underway, and the findings will be published from mid-2020 onwards.

The first annual report on government’s work on tackling loneliness will be published shortly, and will set out progress to date.

Cross-departmental working has continued to be effective, with close working between the nine departments involved to ensure successful implementation of the strategy.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to improve access for children in (a) Blackpool South constituency and (b) other deprived communities to (i) music, (ii) film, (iii) dance and (iv) theatre.

Arts Council England funds a number of national music and cultural education programmes across the country which aim to reach those from deprived communities. Alongside this, in 2019, five new Youth Performance Partnerships were launched to provide new opportunities for young people from areas of low cultural engagement and high levels of deprivation to experience high quality performances and to develop practical skills both on and off stage (including dance, art, music, creative writing, lighting, sound, costume and set design). And, as announced in our election Manifesto, we will also offer an Arts Premium to secondary schools to fund enriching activities for all pupils.

In Blackpool, programmes such as Curious Minds have supported the development of an established Local Cultural Education Partnership now led by Blackpool Teaching Schools Alliance which plays an important role in developing strong provision for children in Blackpool. In addition, Into Film, a UK-wide body funded by the government through the BFI, encourages children to engage with film culture through after-school film clubs. There are 8000 across the UK, including 35 in the Blackpool South constituency. Last year, the BFI held two BFI Film Academy taster sessions in the Blackpool area to encourage young people to consider a career in the industry, and also ran a discounted ticket scheme for disadvantaged schools across the country.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the school travel sector on options for the safe resumption of school visits during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department continues to work with representatives of the tour industry, devolved administrations, trade unions as well as other Government Departments.

The guidance for full school opening enables schools to resume educational day visits but continues to advise against UK overnight educational residential visits. This advice will remain under review and will be updated in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of vocational training places available to young people who wish to acquire practical and trade qualifications.

We are introducing new T Levels from this September – high quality, practical courses designed by employers that will provide a credible alternative to A levels and prepare students for skilled work or further study.

We are currently reforming and simplifying the qualifications system so that learners can easily find high-quality qualifications that give them the skills they need. With our proposals, any qualification, including existing ones, can be approved if they provide learners with the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers need.

We have also been working across Government to build a package of support measures to boost skills among those who will be hardest hit by the labour market impacts of COVID-19. On 8 July the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced measures across a range of targeted work-based training offers to support people to build the skills they need to get into work. This amounts to investment of £1.6 billion in employment support schemes which will substantially expand existing provision. This includes:

  • £111 million to triple the number of traineeships;
  • £17 million to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements;
  • Paying businesses to take on new apprentices – an extra £2000 for each apprentice under 25 and £1,500 for apprentices over 25;
  • £32 million to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service;
  • £101 million for school/college leavers to study high value courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.
Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage people to take part in adult literacy programmes in (a) Blackpool and (b) England.

The adult education budget (AEB) fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 years and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. This includes fully funded courses in English and maths, for adults aged 19 years and above who need to improve their literacy and numeracy, and fully funded first full level 2 or level 3, or both, for learners aged 19 to 23 years.

From the 2019/20 academic year, approximately 50% of the AEB has been devolved to six mayoral combined authorities (MCAs) and the Mayor of London, acting where appropriate through the Greater London Authority (GLA). These authorities are now responsible for the provision of AEB-funded adult education for their residents and allocation of the AEB to providers. The Education and Skills Funding Agency will continue to be responsible for the remaining AEB in non-devolved areas, including Blackpool.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the ineligibility for student loans of students at private higher education institutions on the (a) financial viability of those institutions and (b) their ability to attract students.

Under the 2017 Higher Education and Research Act, a higher education provider in England that wishes to access public grant funding and/or student support funding, is required to register with the Office for Students. This applies to those previously known as a ‘private’ or ‘alternative’ provider, as well as to existing publicly funded institutions.

Registered providers are regulated by the Office for Students and must meet regulatory requirements, which include conditions surrounding quality and financial viability. Once registered, providers are able to submit to the Student Loans Company the courses they wish to attract student support.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to support private higher education providers in (a) attracting students to their courses and (b) improving (i) their viability and (ii) the diversity of courses on offer to the higher education sector; and if he will make a statement.

Under the 2017 Higher Education and Research Act, a higher education provider in England that wishes to access public grant funding and/or student support funding, is required to register with the Office for Students. This applies to those previously known as a ‘private’ or ‘alternative’ provider, as well as to existing publicly funded institutions.

Registered providers are regulated by the Office for Students and must meet regulatory requirements, which include conditions surrounding quality and financial viability. Once registered, providers are able to submit to the Student Loans Company the courses they wish to attract student support.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the number of university students studying in the UK from the British Overseas Territories of charging those students the same level of tuition fees as British students.

The government fully recognises the important contribution that international students make to the UK’s higher education sector, including those from the British Overseas Territories, both economically and culturally.

We have set out our ambition to increase the number of international higher education students hosted in the UK to 600,000 per year by 2030, within the International Education Strategy.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publishes statistics on students studying at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by domicile. The latest available data is from 2018/19, published in January 2020.

In 2018/19, HESA estimated there to be 2,130 British Overseas Territory domiciled students enrolled at UK HEIs at all levels of study. The table below shows the breakdown by domicile.

Table: Student enrolments by country of domicile, UK HEIs, 2018/19

Domicile[1][2][3]

2018/19

Anguilla

55

Bermuda

500

British Virgin Islands

180

Cayman Islands

315

Falkland Islands

50

Gibraltar

900

Montserrat

15

Pitcairn Islands

0

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

0

St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

25

Turks and Caicos Islands

95

British Overseas Territories Total

2,130

British and EU nationals residing in British Overseas Territories or in other Member States’ overseas territories are currently eligible for Home Fee Status if they are studying at either undergraduate or postgraduate level at English HEIs and have been living in the European Economic Area, Switzerland or the overseas territories for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course. They will remain eligible for home fee status for the duration of courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year or before. We will provide sufficient notice for prospective students on fee arrangements ahead of the 2021/22 academic year and subsequent years in future.

The Department for Education (DfE) funds Commonwealth scholarships for five or six PhD scholarships from non-ODA Commonwealth countries. DfE funding for the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships means there will be 150 new scholarships awarded by 2025, all of which are open to British citizens from overseas territories.

[1] Numbers are rounded to the nearest 5, so components may not sum to totals.

[2] Domicile refers to country of student’s permanent address prior to entry.

British Antarctic Territories and British Indian Ocean Territories are omitted from this analysis as HESA defines them as having ‘no settled inhabitants’. HESA defines 'no settled inhabitants' as no inhabitants apart from military and scientific personnel, staff of contractors and seasonal residents (https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c18051/a/domicile).

[3] Source: DfE analysis of the HESA student record https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-28.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits to the (a) UK and (b) British Overseas Territories (BOTs) of increasing the number of students from BOTs studying at UK universities.

The government fully recognises the important contribution that international students make to the UK’s higher education sector, including those from the British Overseas Territories, both economically and culturally.

We have set out our ambition to increase the number of international higher education students hosted in the UK to 600,000 per year by 2030, within the International Education Strategy.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publishes statistics on students studying at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by domicile. The latest available data is from 2018/19, published in January 2020.

In 2018/19, HESA estimated there to be 2,130 British Overseas Territory domiciled students enrolled at UK HEIs at all levels of study. The table below shows the breakdown by domicile.

Table: Student enrolments by country of domicile, UK HEIs, 2018/19

Domicile[1][2][3]

2018/19

Anguilla

55

Bermuda

500

British Virgin Islands

180

Cayman Islands

315

Falkland Islands

50

Gibraltar

900

Montserrat

15

Pitcairn Islands

0

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

0

St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

25

Turks and Caicos Islands

95

British Overseas Territories Total

2,130

British and EU nationals residing in British Overseas Territories or in other Member States’ overseas territories are currently eligible for Home Fee Status if they are studying at either undergraduate or postgraduate level at English HEIs and have been living in the European Economic Area, Switzerland or the overseas territories for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course. They will remain eligible for home fee status for the duration of courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year or before. We will provide sufficient notice for prospective students on fee arrangements ahead of the 2021/22 academic year and subsequent years in future.

The Department for Education (DfE) funds Commonwealth scholarships for five or six PhD scholarships from non-ODA Commonwealth countries. DfE funding for the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships means there will be 150 new scholarships awarded by 2025, all of which are open to British citizens from overseas territories.

[1] Numbers are rounded to the nearest 5, so components may not sum to totals.

[2] Domicile refers to country of student’s permanent address prior to entry.

British Antarctic Territories and British Indian Ocean Territories are omitted from this analysis as HESA defines them as having ‘no settled inhabitants’. HESA defines 'no settled inhabitants' as no inhabitants apart from military and scientific personnel, staff of contractors and seasonal residents (https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c18051/a/domicile).

[3] Source: DfE analysis of the HESA student record https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-28.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department records the number of young people who (a) visit Auschwitz on educational visits and (b) take part in other educational visits to remember the Holocaust and its victims.

The Department funds the Holocaust Educational Trust’s ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ which provides for two students, aged 16-18, and a teacher from every state funded school/sixth form college in England to visit Auschwitz-Bikenau. £2,126,437 is being provided in 2019-20 and £2,193,675 in 2020-21. We expect a minimum of 1,968 students to undertake visits through this programme in 2019-20.

Additionally, £1.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year is being provided for the Bergen-Belsen Commemoration Programme. The programme provides for pupils and teachers from state funded secondary schools in England to visit Bergen-Belsen to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp. We expect a minimum of 1,290 pupils to undertake visits through this programme in 2019-20.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he is having with zoos and aquariums in relation to providing information which would give those organisation sufficient preparation time to allow them to open up their attractions to the public later in 2021.

I am aware of the pressure that the current coronavirus restrictions are placing on zoos and recognise this has been an extremely tough time for the sector. The Government has not yet announced how and when the current coronavirus restrictions applying to zoos and aquaria will be eased. In preparation for an announcement, we have worked closely with BIAZA (British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquariums) on their reopening guidance to ensure that zoos and aquariums have the information on how to open safely. Defra officials have also met with the CEOs of the largest chartable zoos and BIAZA to understand the measures that zoos have put in place to manage social distancing. We are also aware that a number of zoos and aquariums have secured the Visit Britain 'We’re Good To Go’ COVID-19 industry standard and consumer mark. This mark provides reassurance that the business adheres to Government and public health guidance and that the necessary COVID-19 safety processes have been put in place.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to increase public awareness of the importance of keeping unneutered cats aged four months and over inside while access to neutering services is limited during the covid-19 outbreak.

We welcome animal welfare charity campaigns, including those by Cats Protection, encouraging people to both microchip and neuter their cats and we have included such messaging in the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Cats about responsible ownership of cats, a copy of which can be found on the GOV.UK website. Anyone considering acquiring a kitten should ensure, before they take possession of it and if they do not intend it to breed, that they can arrange for it to be neutered. Many veterinary practices are now carrying out certain non-essential work such as neutering, but it is up to individual vets to decide whether to do this. As always owners should refer to their vets for advice about neutering and breeding control.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the compulsory micro-chipping of cats.

The Government is committed to improving the welfare of cats and has a manifesto commitment to introduce compulsory microchipping of cats. In October 2019 Defra published a call for evidence on compulsory microchipping for cats, which attracted over 3,000 responses. We are in the process of assessing the responses with a view to publishing the summary of them in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to tackle rubbish and plastic waste on beaches; and what support her Department is giving to local authorities to enable them to tackle that waste.

The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, and the Litter Strategy for England (2017) set out our plans to reduce litter and plastic pollution and move towards a more circular economy.

Local councils are responsible for keeping their relevant land (including beaches above mean high water springs) clear of litter and refuse, so far as is practicable. The Litter Innovation Fund, launched in 2017, made nearly £500,000 available to councils and others to pilot and test small-scale innovative approaches to reducing litter.

The majority of ocean plastic pollution originates on land and our efforts have focussed on preventing plastic entering the ocean in the first place. We have already made good progress, removing 15.6 billion plastic bags from circulation with our 5p charge and introducing a world-leading ban on the sale of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products.

The Government consulted on a number of key policy measures set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy: reforming existing packaging waste regulations; exploring the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers; increasing consistency in the recycling system; and introducing a tax on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content. These measures will help to tackle plastic waste, including on beaches and will be brought forward in the forthcoming Environment Bill and future finance bills.

Government recognises the financial pressures on local authorities. They will therefore receive additional resource to meet new net costs arising from the policies set out in this Strategy once implemented.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate she has made of the amount of UK funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency that was disbursed on education using Palestinian Authority approved textbooks in the latest period for which figures are available.

In 2018/19 DFID provided £65.5 million to UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) including £47.5 million to UNRWA’s programme budget, which includes their education programme. On average UNRWA spends 58% of this budget on education enabling UNRWA to educate more than 533,000 children, half of whom are girls. Around 325,000 children attend schools in Gaza and the West Bank.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions he has had with the Palestinian Authority on the removal and replacement of textbooks from schools in the Palestinian Territories as a result of reports of anti-Semitic and extremist content in those books.

The UK government is deeply concerned about allegations of incitement in Palestinian Authority’s school textbooks. Ministers have regularly raised the issue of incitement in the education sector with the PA’s Minister for Education,?which the Secretary of State did most recently in February this year.?We are pleased that the PA are undertaking a review of their textbooks and updating them in time for the new academic year in September.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to support the development of (a) an airport and (b) port infrastructure in Montserrat to assist that country's economic growth.

DFID is investing in infrastructure on the island of Montserrat to promote economic growth and build resilience to natural disasters. This includes resurfacing the runway at the John Osborne airport. This action is necessary to prevent the airport from being closed by the regulator, thereby cutting off a key source of access to and from the island.

DFID is also providing support through the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UK CIF) managed by the Caribbean Development Bank for improved port facilities in Montserrat. Procurement is underway for the design and build of a new jetty and associated works.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans she has to replace European Development Funds with Official Development Assistance to support British Overseas Territories following the UK's exit from the EU.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement Article 152, paragraph 3 confirms that the Overseas Territories (OTs) shall benefit from EDF11 until its closure. Based on current patterns of expenditure, we reliably estimate they will continue to have access to EDF 11 until 2024 and possibly beyond.

After we leave the EU, we will want to take our own decisions about how to deliver the policy objectives previously targeted by EU funding. The UK Government will take account of the impact of EU Exit on the Overseas Territories, including the question of access to EDF funds, to ensure that we discharge our full responsibilities to the OTs.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment he has made of the proportion of his Department's budget that is allocated to (a) women's reproductive programmes and initiatives and (b) abortions.

Between 2013/14 – 2017/18 DFID’s average direct bilateral expenditure, under the sector codes Reproductive Health care, Maternal and Neonatal health, and Training of Personnel was nearly £218 million each year. This excludes direct bilateral expenditure on family planning, which is reported separately. To note, this £218 million does not cover DFID’s core contributions to multilateral organisations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) which also provide reproductive health care services in developing countries.

Data for all sector codes and spend are available on the Statistics for International Development website, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development-uk-gross-public-expenditure-gpex.

As DFID takes an integrated approach to our programming on sexual and reproductive health and rights, it is not possible to give a specific figure for our funding for safe abortion.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to recommence multilateral talks on the proposed Trade in Services Agreement.

Making multilateral progress on services trade liberalisation is a priority for the UK as an independent trading nation. As an active member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the UK is advancing market access negotiations through the Joint Initiatives on Services Domestic Regulation and E-Commerce, which draw on and have a much broader membership than the Trade in Services Agreement. Demonstrating further global services leadership, we are co-sponsoring exploratory market access discussions on environmental services and financial services at the WTO. We will continue to advocate strongly for services trade liberalisation in our multilateral and plurilateral engagement, including through the UK Presidency of the G7 trade track and through the G20.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve (a) trade links with Qatar and (b) investment in the UK from Qatari businesses.

In 2019, total trade between the United Kingdom and Qatar was £7.2 billion, an increase of 37% (£1.9 billion) from 2018 and there are significant existing investment links between our countries. HM Government is committed to supporting more bilateral trade and investment.

My Department will continue to work with our Qatari counterparts to identify ways to boost trade and investment and remove barriers to trade. To explore opportunities to support our bilateral trade, the United Kingdom-Qatar Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) has been established and, in June, our third Working Group took place with the Qatar Investment Authority to promote the United Kingdom as a top investment destination and discuss future investment opportunities.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve (a) trade links with Bahrain and (b) investment in the UK from Bahraini businesses.

In 2019, total trade between the United Kingdom and Bahrain was £1.3 billion, an increase of 10% (£117 million) from 2018 and there are significant existing investment links between our countries. HM Government is committed to supporting more bilateral trade and investment.

My Department will continue to work with our Bahraini counterparts to identify ways to boost trade and investment and remove barriers. Through recent engagement, Bahrain simplified certification requirements for goods, enabling British businesses to continue to export to Bahrain during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives from (a) the UK travel industry and (b) travel agents on bespoke packages of support for the sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with the travel industry regarding the challenges facing the sector as a result of COVID-19. The sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry are able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have 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 Department for Transport is in close contact with the travel sector ensuring that the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments with all firms and to understand where additional policy measures and address specific industry issues.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing financial assistance during autumn and winter 2020 for the travel sector and travel agents sector to support that sector through the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the travel sector as a result of COVID-19. The sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry will be able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time.

This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which facilitates access to finance for businesses affected by the outbreak. Firms are also able to access ‘Time to Pay’ scheme which eases restrictions with tax bills and VAT deferrals.

The Department for Transport and other departments are in close contact with the travel sector ensuring that the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments with all firms and to understand where additional policy measures should be considered to address specific industry issues.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the level of compliance with (a) vehicle tax and (b) insurance requirements of drivers employed in the gig economy delivering food for online retailers, takeaways and restaurants; and whether he plans to make an assessment of the effectiveness of regulation in that sector.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s register records the name and address of registered keepers and their vehicles. As it does not include any information about an individual’s employment status, no assessment is made of the level of compliance with vehicle tax of drivers employed in the gig economy.

Additionally, all motorists require motor insurance to cover minimum third-party risks. This must cover all purposes for which the driver is using the vehicle, such as for employment. As such the Department does not conduct assessments of compliance in individual sectors.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of introducing a compulsory registration scheme for all drivers employed in the gig economy delivering food for (a) online retailers and (b) takeaways and restaurants.

All drivers and riders must ensure that they comply with road traffic regulations. The Department has not made an assessment, and does not plan to carry out an assessment, of the potential merits of introducing a compulsory registration scheme for all drivers employed in the gig economy for delivering food for either online retailers or takeaways and restaurants.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to (a) announce further details on e-scooter trials, (b) provide information on how local authorities can participate in those trials and (c) bring forward legislative proposals on the use of e-scooters.

The Department is rapidly developing plans for e-scooter trials. We are hosting meeting with local authorities and rental e-scooter providers who may be interested in participating in trials, setting out our proposals. We have also launched a consultation on the rules that would apply during trials. Legislative proposals to enable trials will follow shortly after the consultation closes.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing a devolved budget for Transport for the North.

The Secretary of State keeps the performance and role of Transport for the North under regular review. The legislation which established Transport for the North as a statutory Sub-National Transport Body enables the organisation to bring forward proposals for additional functions to be devolved to them. To date, the Secretary of State has not received any such proposals.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives from Transport for the North on the (a) integration and (b) economic benefit of transport infrastructure programmes in the North.

Ministers meet regularly with Transport for the North to discuss delivery of the Government’s infrastructure programme. The Government is committed to increasing infrastructure investment that will support levelling up and drive growth and productivity across our Northern communities.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to increase funding for bus services in (a) Blackpool and (b) the North West.

The bus market outside London is deregulated and decisions regarding service provision are primarily a commercial matter for bus operators. However, the Bus Services Act 2017 provides the tools local authorities need to improve local bus services and increase passenger numbers.

The annual Bus Service Operators Grant the Government provided for Blackpool Borough Council during 2018/19 was £41,141.

We have announced an additional £30 million of additional funding to improve current services and restoring lost services. Blackpool Council has been allocated £41,640 which will be available from April 2020 if the funding requirements are met. This is from the £220 million Better Deal for Bus Users package to transform bus services. The Government’s ambition is to secure a long term, sustained improvement in bus services underpinned by a National Bus Strategy for England which will be accompanied by a long-term funding settlement.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-better-deal-for-bus-users/a-better-deal-for-bus-users

On 11 February 2020, the Prime Minister announced there will be £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London which may benefit bus services serving Blackpool and the wider North West.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from Blackpool Council on the economic benefits of increasing rail services into Blackpool South through the introduction of a passing loop on the South Fylde Rail line.

The Chief Executive of Blackpool Council made some representations to the Secretary of State for Transport for a passing loop and additional rail services over to the South Fylde line. I am also aware that my hon Friend, the Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys Paul Maynard has advocated further expansion of Blackpool’s light rail system over this line, supported by a study carried out for the Council.

I understand that as part of their Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) business case work Lancashire County Council commissioned a study to assess potential conventional rail improvements over the South Fylde line. However, this scheme was not included in the final TCF bid and no decision has been taken by the Council regarding next steps.

I encourage local authorities and stakeholders in Blackpool and Lancashire to work together to agree a preferred way forward.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential economic benefit to Blackpool of increased rail services into that resort through the creation of a passing loop on the South Fylde Rail line.

The Chief Executive of Blackpool Council made some representations to the Secretary of State for Transport for a passing loop and additional rail services over to the South Fylde line. I am also aware that my hon Friend, the Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys Paul Maynard has advocated further expansion of Blackpool’s light rail system over this line, supported by a study carried out for the Council.

I understand that as part of their Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) business case work Lancashire County Council commissioned a study to assess potential conventional rail improvements over the South Fylde line. However, this scheme was not included in the final TCF bid and no decision has been taken by the Council regarding next steps.

I encourage local authorities and stakeholders in Blackpool and Lancashire to work together to agree a preferred way forward.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential increase in rail passengers travelling from (a) Blackpool South, (b) Blackpool Pleasure Beach and (c) Squires Gate station in the event of the creation of a passing loop on the South Fylde Rail line.

The Chief Executive of Blackpool Council made some representations to the Secretary of State for Transport for a passing loop and additional rail services over to the South Fylde line. I am also aware that my hon Friend, the Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys Paul Maynard has advocated further expansion of Blackpool’s light rail system over this line, supported by a study carried out for the Council.

I understand that as part of their Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) business case work Lancashire County Council commissioned a study to assess potential conventional rail improvements over the South Fylde line. However, this scheme was not included in the final TCF bid and no decision has been taken by the Council regarding next steps.

I encourage local authorities and stakeholders in Blackpool and Lancashire to work together to agree a preferred way forward.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on amending the Special Rules for Terminal Illness fast-track process in relation to illnesses that qualify under those rules; and what the timeframe is for the publication of those changes.

On 11 July the Secretary of State announced an in depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions.

The Department understands how important it is to support those nearing the end of their life and is taking this work forward as a priority. We have made progress on all areas of this work, and will be engaging with clinicians and claimants over the coming months.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Access and Waiting Time Standard for Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that those standards are being met in each region in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional teams as well as community eating disorder services and commissioners to manage demand and support teams. The data shows that community eating disorder services continue to expand access to treatment to increasing number of children and young people and their families.

On 5 March 2021, we announced £79 million of funding for to expand mental health support for children and young people in 2021/22. This includes funding to treat an additional 2,000 children and young people with eating disorders. This is in addition to the new early intervention services to open in 18 sites across the country for 16 to 25 year olds, announced in November 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide private hospitals providing mental health treatment with access to publicly-funded asymptomatic covid-19 testing kits for patients, staff and visitors.

Private hospital settings providing National Health Service commissioned care can access testing through their local commissioning NHS trust or clinical commissioning group. Private hospitals who do not provide NHS-commissioned care may access publicly funded asymptomatic testing through national workplace testing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Health and Social Care to help prevent new HIV cases by 2030.

In 2019 the United Kingdom met the UNAIDS target for the third consecutive year, with 94% of people living with HIV being diagnosed, 98% of those diagnosed being on treatment and 97% of those on treatment having an undetectable viral load. As well as developing a new sexual and reproductive health strategy, this year we have also committed to publish a HIV Action Plan which will set out actions to reach zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. This work will be informed by the report and recommendations of the independent HIV Commission. The Department will work in collaboration with key partners including the Government Equalities Office on both the strategy and HIV Action Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure equitable access to the anti-HIV drug PrEP for all groups who could benefit from it.

In March 2020, we announced that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will be routinely available across England in 2020/21 as part of the Government’s aim to end HIV transmission by 2030. This year we provided £11 million to local authorities for routine commissioning of PrEP and this is already in place in the majority of areas. Routine commissioning of PrEP will benefit tens of thousands of people and, along with other measures, will take us closer to our ambition of zero HIV transmissions by 2030.

Public Health England, in collaboration with stakeholders, is currently developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the routine commissioning of PrEP. This will use established surveillance systems and include measures of PrEP need and use among key population groups to inform equitable delivery and access.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations his Department has received on the effect of the Government's decision to allow self-administered medical abortions at home without in-person consultation on the ability of (a) women to provide informed consent and (b) medical professionals to assess whether informed consent has been given in those circumstances.

A search of the Department’s Ministerial correspondence database has identified no items of correspondence received since March 2020. This figure represents correspondence received by the Department’s Ministerial correspondence unit only.

We have no central record of any other representations and to obtain it would incur disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to assist private hospitals and health care providers to acquire covid-19 testing kits for patients and staff.

Private hospitals settings providing National Health Service commissioned care can access testing through their commissioning body, normally their local commissioning NHS trust or clinical commissioning group. Private hospitals who do not provide NHS-commissioned care may access publicly funded asymptomatic testing through National Workplace Testing which is accessible to organisations who are registered in England, employ 50 people or more and whose employees cannot work from home. Tests are currently being provided free to both public and private sector employers until at least 31 March 2021. The Government’s support will be kept under review and will engage with employers before any changes to the support offer are made.

Organisations who do not meet the criteria for National Workplace Testing can contact their local authority to gain information on their local asymptomatic testing offer.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 November 2020 to Question 54271, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that advice given during consultation on abortion complications is accurate for the patient in circumstances where there is no in-person examination or ultrasound to determine gestational age.

Clinicians will discuss possible complications with the woman during the consultation and women will be provided with written advice and information about possible symptoms, including those which would necessitate urgent review. Women have access to a 24 hour telephone helpline should they have any concerns.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals on ‘Coronavirus infection and abortion care’. The guidance sets out the circumstances where women should be asked to attend a clinic for an ultra-sound scan. However it states that “most women can determine the gestational age of their pregnancy with reasonable accuracy by last menstrual period (LMP) alone”. The RCOG guidance includes a decision aid for clinicians to use to help determine if an ultra-sound scan is required. This includes detailed questions to identify gestational age.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) stakeholder groups on trends in the level of suicide among elderly people.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly engages with colleagues across Government on mental health and suicide prevention and meets regularly with suicide and self-harm prevention stakeholders, including meetings of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the current Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines Fetal Awareness Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice, published in 2010, are updated to reflect current research.

The Department does not set clinical practice. It is for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to consider whether to revise their guidelines, having looked at the available evidence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific basis for the decision to close bookmakers in Tier 3 local covid alert level areas.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions affecting businesses such as casinos and bookmakers in tier 3 is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific basis for the decision to close casinos in tier 3 local covid alert level areas.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions affecting businesses such as casinos and bookmakers in tier 3 is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what scientific evidence the Government has received on the effect of casinos on the transmission of covid-19.

We do know that the virus spreads readily in any indoor environment where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings, such as casinos, remains high. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies provided advice to the Department and considered the risks of transmission through different routes and environments in a paper which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/933225/S0824_SARS-CoV-2_Transmission_routes_and_environments.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific basis is for the Government's decision to close casinos under the very high local covid-19 alert level restrictions.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions affecting businesses such as casinos and bookmakers in tier 3 is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific basis is for the Government's decision to close betting shops under the very high local covid-19 alert level restrictions.

While we have no specific evidence relating to betting shops, we know that the virus spreads readily in any indoor environment where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings, such as bookmakers, remains high. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies provided advice to the Department and considered the risks of transmission through different routes and environments in a paper which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/933225/S0824_SARS-CoV-2_Transmission_routes_and_environments.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the increased replacement of in-person consultations with telemedicine appointments on patients with mental health conditions.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with colleagues across Health Education England, Public Health England, Care Quality Commission, NHSX and the Department to bring together local and national intelligence of the impact of digital and remote working during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will include consideration of patients with mental health conditions.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the increased use of digital health appointments on people who are homeless.

Local initiatives are in place to address digital barriers to access remote services, including access for the most excluded citizens. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local service providers to ensure the homeless have access to the right healthcare and support including registering with a general practitioner and access to mental health services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working with Groundswell to understand the experiences of people who are homeless, in order to drive improvements in the services they receive.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has received evidence that betting shops have contributed to a rise in the transmission of covid-19.

We have not received any specific evidence.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK National Screening Committee's recommendation that non-invasive prenatal testing should not be used for testing of foetal sex, what his policy is on prenatal screening for foetal sex.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has not looked at the evidence to offer prenatal screening for fetal sex as a population screening programme.

Every year the UK NSC hosts a call for new topics to be considered. The UK NSC’s call for new topics is open and will close on 6 December 2020. The UK NSC welcomes submissions.

More information about the 2020 annual call can be found at the following link:

https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2020/09/15/annualcall2020/

Information on how to submit a proposal can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nsc-evidence-review-process/uk-nsc-evidence-review-process

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions have taken place at 10 weeks' gestation and above from 1 January 2020 where either (a) both sets of abortion pills were taken at home or (b) the second abortion pill was taken at home.

Between January to June 2020, notifications on form HSA4 indicate that abortions took place at 10 weeks gestation or above where both sets of pills were taken at home (out of a total number of 23,061 abortions) and 40 abortions took place at 10 weeks gestation or above where only the second set of pills was taken at home (out of a total number of 30,977 abortions). This is out of a total number of 54,038 abortions where either both sets or one set of the abortion pills was taken at home.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect on levels of maternal death during early medical abortion of the temporary approval of home use for both stages of early medical abortion decision of 30 March 2020.

We continue to closely monitor the impact of the temporary approval for women’s homes to be classed as a place where both sets of medication for early medical abortion can be taken up to 10 weeks gestation.

Since the 1 April the Department has not been notified of any maternal deaths relating to abortion. The Department is aware of reports of two women who died after seeking abortion treatment earlier this year. Both sought care before the temporary approval came into force on 30 March and physically attended an abortion clinic. Both deaths have been appropriately investigated and in one case investigations are continuing. For the other case, the coroner concluded that there was no evidence to suggest the pregnancy or abortion contributed to the death either directly or indirectly.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the health risks of abortion pills taken at home.

The Department continues to closely monitor the impact of the temporary approval for women’s homes to be classed as a place where both sets of medication for early medical abortion can be taken up to 10 weeks gestation. Officials have regular meetings with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Care Quality Commission and abortion service providers.

The Government has committed to undertake a public consultation on making permanent the COVID-19 measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women. Further details on the consultation will be available in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to lines 1 and 2 on page 20 of the NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019-20 to 2023-24, published in July 2019, when NHS England plans to publish the specific baseline on access to NHS-funded mental health treatment for 18 to 25 year olds.

The work around validating and publishing baseline data on access to mental health services for 18 to 25-year olds is currently underway.

NHS England does not yet have a revised publication or dissemination date. Work on the development of metrics has been slowed due to the pandemic but is continuing in order to ensure delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to increase access and improve experience of care for this age group.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on abortion coercion for (a) surgical abortions and (b) out-of-clinic medical abortions.

No comparative assessment has been made on the rate of complications to date.

The Department does not hold data on coercive abortion. Safeguarding is an essential component of abortion services. Individual providers must ensure that all staff are trained in recognising the signs of potential abuse in adult women and know how to respond.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment was made of the rate of complications resulting from abortion performed at (a) hospital and (b) home prior to the introduction of the temporary provision which permits both sets of abortion pills to be used at home.

No comparative assessment has been made on the rate of complications to date.

The Department does not hold data on coercive abortion. Safeguarding is an essential component of abortion services. Individual providers must ensure that all staff are trained in recognising the signs of potential abuse in adult women and know how to respond.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the new guidelines for do not resuscitate orders will be published; and how that guidance will prevent such orders being applied without patient consent.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working on revised, patient-facing information on Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) and where to get support. This document will help clarify
that people are meant to be engaged in conversations before a DNACPR recommendation is made and how to ask for a review, if such recommendation is made.The guidance will be published shortly following consultation with key stakeholders and people with lived experience.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2020 to Question 58102 on Eating Disorders: Children and Young People, if he will provide further explanatory information on the statistical formulae used to determine the geographic distribution of that funding in (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20 to 2023-24.

The additional funding for children and young people’s eating disorder services was added to the overall clinical commissioning group (CCG) funding and distributed using the main CCG allocation formula.

The CCG allocation formula as a whole is based on a number of different components which, together, are intended to take account of the different aspects of healthcare need in a population, including mental health needs.


The technical guide to CCG allocations explains how these formulae are developed and used. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/technical-guide-to-allocation-formulae-and-pace-of-change-for-2019-20-to-2023-24-revenue-allocations/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 9 of Implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and page 21 of the NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019-20 to 2023-24, what funding formula was used to determine CCG baseline allocations for community eating disorder services for children and young people.

The indicative funding profile for children and young people’s eating disorder services in the Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20-2023/24 correlates to the national workforce and activity trajectories also set out in the Implementation Plan. These were modelled on the indicative workforce costs to achieve the children and young people’s eating disorder waiting time standard by the end of 2020/21 and being maintained thereafter.

Funding is then allocated as part of overall clinical commissioning group budgets, using a statistical formula to make geographic distribution fair and objective so that it more clearly reflects local healthcare needs and helps to reduce health inequalities.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Israel’s use of plasma samples obtained by Magen David Adom from patients who have recovered from covid-19 on patients with severe symptoms of that disease.

An assessment has not been made at this stage of the effectiveness of Israel’s use of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients (convalescent plasma) on patients with severe symptoms of COVID-19. However, all international evidence on the use of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients will be considered when the results of the trials are available, in addition to the findings from the clinical trials currently taking place in the United Kingdom.

Clinical trials in the UK include patients receiving convalescent plasma, to determine if it can help those with the virus. NHS Blood and Transplant is collecting convalescent plasma to supply the clinical trials and for wider treatment, if it is shown to be effective in reducing disease symptoms.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) financial and (b) healthcare support the Government is providing to people born with a cleft palate.

NHS England commissions all specialist cleft palate services provided by Cleft Lip and Palate Centres, including services delivered on an outreach basis as part of a clinical network of services.

The service provides surgery and specialist care for patients with cleft lip and/or palate and non-cleft velopharyngeal dysfunction in order to ensure that patients achieve an aesthetic and functional facial appearance, and to maximise oral feeding, hearing, speech and psycho-social wellbeing.

Delivery of the service is through a network of care managed and delivered from the specialist centre. The network will commonly include outreach services and relies on strong links to and coordination with local community services. These local community services are commissioned by clinical commissioning groups including local speech and language therapy; local ear, nose and throat services and audiology; and community and local paediatric care. These locally delivered services work collaboratively with the Centres.

Spend on related cleft lip and palate services in 2018/19 (the most recent year for which financial data is currently available) was £28.6 million.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) financial and (b) healthcare support the Government is providing to people with a cleft lip.

NHS England commissions all specialist cleft lip services provided by Cleft Lip and Palate Centres, including services delivered on an outreach basis as part of a clinical network of services.

The service provides surgery and specialist care for patients with cleft lip and/or palate and non-cleft velopharyngeal dysfunction in order to ensure that patients achieve an aesthetic and functional facial appearance, and to maximise oral feeding, hearing, speech and psycho-social wellbeing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of women receiving a follow-up call after taking both sets of abortion pills at home to ensure that there are not subsequent medical complications.

Abortion providers will discuss possible complications with the woman during the consultation and women will be provided with written advice and information about possible symptoms, including those which would necessitate urgent review. Women have access to a 24 hour telephone helpline should they have any concerns.

Any complication known to the practitioner terminating the pregnancy should be reported to the Chief Medical Officer on form HSA4. All serious incidents should be reported by the provider to their commissioner, the Care Quality Commission and other relevant organisations in line with the framework published by NHS England and NHS Improvement at the following link:

https://improvement.nhs.uk/resources/serious-incident-framework/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is the Government's policy that the temporary regulations to permit the use of both sets of abortion pills at home will not be extended beyond the covid-19 outbreak.

The measures were put in place to ensure that the vast majority of women and girls could continue to access abortion services whilst limiting COVID-19 transmission. This change was made on a temporary basis only and is time limited for two years, or until the pandemic is over. The Department is keeping under review when the temporary approval will be removed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the process is for a woman to report a medical complication after an at-home abortion; and whether those reports are recorded.

Abortion providers will discuss possible complications with the woman during the consultation and women will be provided with written advice and information about possible symptoms, including those which would necessitate urgent review. Women have access to a 24 hour telephone helpline should they have any concerns.

Any complication known to the practitioner terminating the pregnancy should be reported to the Chief Medical Officer on form HSA4. All serious incidents should be reported by the provider to their commissioner, the Care Quality Commission and other relevant organisations in line with the framework published by NHS England and NHS Improvement at the following link:

https://improvement.nhs.uk/resources/serious-incident-framework/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for the Care Quality Commission to publish data on medical complications after an at-home abortion.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) does not have a statutory responsibility to report routinely on complications arising from abortion procedures. It may, however, report on such issues if they have been identified during the course of an inspection, or if a number of reported issues results in the CQC deciding to inspect the provider, and any concerns would be highlighted in its resulting provider inspection report. The CQC engages regularly with the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement on these matters.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what treatment is available to people born with a cleft lip.

NHS England commissions all specialist cleft lip services provided by Cleft Lip and Palate Centres, including services delivered on an outreach basis as part of a clinical network of services.

The service provides surgery and specialist care for patients with cleft lip and non-cleft velopharyngeal dysfunction in order to ensure that patients achieve an aesthetic and functional facial appearance, and to maximise oral feeding, hearing, speech and psycho-social wellbeing.

Care covers pre-natal and post-natal diagnosis and advice including feeding advice, corrective surgery including specialist and outreach nursing, lip and palate repair, speech assessment, investigation and treatment/surgery, children’s dentistry, bone grafting, orthodontics, dento-alveolar surgery, restorative dentistry including implant treatment, rhinoplasty, orthognathic surgery, audiology/Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) (hearing and ENT problems), clinical psychology, genetics, and revision treatment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that doctors providing medical abortion consultations via (a) video link, (b) telephone conference and (c) other electronic means will be able to certify that a woman has not passed nine weeks and six days gestation; and how that information will be recorded.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals on ‘Coronavirus infection and abortion care’. The guidance sets out the circumstances where women should be asked to attend a clinic for an ultra-sound scan. However, it states that “most women can determine the gestational age of their pregnancy with reasonable accuracy by last menstrual period (LMP) alone”. The RCOG guidance has recently been updated and now includes a decision aid for clinicians to use to help determine if an ultra-sound scan is required. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends in its guidance ‘Abortion Care’ that services should consider providing abortion assessments by phone or video call, as evidence shows that community services and telemedicine appointments improve access to abortion services.

The Schedule to the Abortion Regulations 1991 set out the forms for the purpose of certifying the opinion of a registered medical practitioner under the Act. The regulations also set out the form for notification of abortions to the Chief Medical Officer.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government's timescale is for reviewing restrictions on day patient care for people with eating disorders during the covid-19 outbreak.

Mental health services, including eating disorder services have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic and are continuing to support people with eating disorder issues.

Services across the country are adapting their protocols, as needed, to ensure that medical monitoring continues in way that is safe for both patients and workforce. Examples of adaptation include using dedicated rooms with strict cleaning timetables for weighing patients, working with primary care or local neighbouring teams to undertake measurements and utilising digital means or telephone or video consultations to share information between clinicians and people with eating disorders.

Services are adapting delivery of evidenced based therapies, as clinically appropriate to do so, to provide ongoing support and treatment and keep people with eating disorders engaged during this time.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the March 2020 regulations permitting the use of both sets of abortion pills at home are in force temporarily.

The changes to abortion regulation made on 30 March 2020 is on a temporary basis only and is limited for two years, or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over. It is not permanent.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women and girls seeking abortion under the March 2020 regulations to enable at-home abortions receive adequate support and assistance (a) when they wish to continue the pregnancy but are concerned about covid-19 and (b) in other circumstances.

The Required Standard Operating Procedures set out in the Department’s Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy require that all women requesting an abortion should be offered the opportunity to discuss their options and choices with a trained counsellor and this offer should be regularly repeated. Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists sets out that healthcare staff caring for women requesting abortion should identify those who require more support in the decision-making process and pathways to additional support, including counselling and social services, should be available. All abortion providers should ensure that women have the time and space to discuss their reasons for seeking abortion. Impartial, accurate information is supplied to help the woman consider her options so she can reach an informed choice this should include information on the impact of a COVID-19 diagnosis on pregnancy if this is a particular concern.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what services his Department is providing to people with eating disorders whose (a) outpatient, (b) day patient and (c) intensive outpatient treatment has been paused during the COVID 19 outbreak.

Eating disorder services have not been paused during COVID-19 and are working around the clock to support people with eating disorder issues through the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. Where people with eating disorders need support, they should contact their general practitioner or local community eating disorder service or mental health crisis service.

Community eating disorder services are deploying innovative digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support, assessment and treatment. They are also adapting the delivery of evidence-based therapies, where it is clinically appropriate to do so, to provide ongoing support and treatment and keep people with eating disorders engaged during this time. Guidance has been published to help services manage their capacity and demand for community mental health services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that people with eating disorders are able to access the ingredients necessary to continue with their meal plans during the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service mental health services have remained open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and we have continued to support the NHS to provide services in other innovative ways, such as through greater use of digital channels. It is important that people with eating disorders are able to continue with their agreed meal plans during social isolation arrangements. People in contact with eating disorder services should discuss arrangements for their eating plans with the team in charge of their care.

We have published guidance online that explains what steps people can take if they are unable to access food. This guidance has been shared with local authorities, retailers and charities to help them respond to enquiries from those seeking help. The guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-accessing-food-and-essential-supplies

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that medical monitoring of at risk people with eating disorders continues in the absence of face to face appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

Eating disorder services across the country are adapting their protocols, as required, to ensure that medical monitoring continues in way that is safe for both patients and the workforce.

Examples of this adaptation include using dedicated rooms for weighing patients with strict cleaning timetables, working with primary care or local neighbouring teams to undertake measurements and utilising digital means or telephone or video consultations to share information between clinicians and people with eating disorders.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice his Department is providing to hotels and guest houses on admitting guests during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 23 March 2020, the Government ordered hotels and guest houses to close to reduce social contact, prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The exception to this is where hotels, guest houses, hostels and bed and breakfasts are providing rooms to support homeless and other vulnerable people through arrangements with local authorities or to provide accommodation for key workers.

Further information on closing certain businesses and venues is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876905/300320_Revised_Guidance.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the teaching of eating disorders in medical training.

Mental health should be an integral part of medical education and training so that all doctors have the necessary knowledge and experience of mental health to assess patients holistically, considering the individuals’ physical, social and psychological needs. All newly qualified doctors, as a condition of their registration with the General Medical Council (GMC), must explain and illustrate by professional experience the principles for the identification, safe management and referral of patients with mental health conditions.

The Government is committed to provide the best training experience for all doctors in training and works with the GMC and relevant stakeholders to ensure doctors in training receive the necessary mental health training to meet the current and future needs of patients. The GMC, at the request of the Department held a roundtable on 21 November 2019 to use their influence to improve educational knowledge and skill in the recognition and treatment of eating disorders.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
What steps she is taking to tackle (a) homophobic and (b) transphobic bullying in schools.

Since 2016, the government has funded a programme supporting primary and secondary schools in England to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. The programme has reached over 1,800 schools so far. I am clear that no child should be bullied for any reason at all.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what statutory responsibilities the General Medical Council has to ensure that doctors have sufficient (a) knowledge and (b) clinical skills to (i) identify and (ii) treat patients with eating disorders.

Undergraduate training is set by individual Medical Royal Colleges against standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC) and the curricula for postgraduate specialty training.

The GMC’s General Professional Capabilities Framework sets out the essential generic capabilities needed for safe, effective and high-quality medical care in the United Kingdom. The framework, which the GMC requires colleges to embed in all curricula, covers the knowledge, skills and behaviours that a doctor must develop in order to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients.

Diagnosing and treating eating disorders is an important area of medical practice. It is included within the curriculum for all doctors, including for general practitioners (where most eating disorders initially present) and in more depth within training for psychiatry, particularly child and adolescent psychiatry.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives from the General Medical Council on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s in its report entitled, Ignoring the alarms: How NHS eating disorder services are failing patients, published in December 2017.

In response to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report, a working group has been set up to address the recommendations and ensure they feed into planned improvements to eating disorder services. The group meets every quarter and includes representatives from the Department and the General Medical Council (GMC)


The GMC, at the request of the Department, held a roundtable on 21 November 2019 to discuss steps to improve education, knowledge and skills in the recognition and treatment of eating disorders. The GMC is also working with the Faculty of Eating Disorders, Beat and other key stakeholders, including medical schools and Health Education England, to explore how education and training in eating disorders can be strengthened through the development of a common understanding and shared resources.


Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS report entitled Stepping forward to 2021, the mental health workforce plan for England, published in July 2017, what assessment his Department has made of the progress made by (a) Health Education England and (b) the partners of that organisation on meeting the target of recruiting 30 consultant psychiatrists for community eating disorder services for children and young people by 2020-2021.

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health set out the improvements expected in mental health services by 2021. This is underpinned by the report Stepping Forward to 2021 – the mental health workforce plan for England.

As at November 2019, there are 661 consultants working in child and adolescent psychiatry1 this is 33 (or 5.3%) more than in 2010. Data are not collected on the number of consultant psychiatrists working within children and young people’s eating disorder services.

Through their program of work, Enhancing Junior Doctors Working Lives, Health Education England (HEE) is promoting the benefits of psychiatry training. HEE has also increased the number of Psychiatry placements available for junior doctors undertaking foundation training.

Note:

1Data taken from NHS Hospital and Community Health (HCHS) data set.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of full-time equivalent (a) general practitioners, (b) other doctors and (c) nurses employed by the NHS in Lancashire in (a) 2010 and (b) the most recent period for which figures are available.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in primary care or in general practitioner (GP) surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The following table shows the full time equivalent (FTE) number of doctors, and nurses and health visitors employed in the Lancashire area as at November 2019, the latest available data, compared to November 2010.

November 2010

November 2019

Change

% Change

Doctors

1,479

1,881

402

27

Nurses and health visitors

4,439

5,794

1,356

31

The Lancashire area is defined as those working at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS East Lancashire CCG or NHS West Lancashire CCG.

The following table shows the number of GPs and nurses employed in the area covered by NHS East Lancashire CCG as at September 2019 compared to September 2015, FTE.

-

-

All regular GPs (excludes locums)

All nurses

NHS East Lancashire CCG

September 2019

193

132

September 2015

198

117

The following table shows the number of GPs and nurses employed in the area covered NHS West Lancashire CCG as at September 2019 compared to September 2015, FTE.

-

-

All regular GPs (excludes locums)

All nurses

NHS West Lancashire CCG

September 2019

58

30

September 2015

57

26

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential annual savings of fully integrating health and social care provision.

Government continues to support the integrated provision of health and social care because of the improvements it brings to the quality of care people receive. Integrated provision has been found to improve health, quality of life and patient satisfaction.

Integration across health and social care commissioning also enables improved co-operation and joint decision-making between health and social care partners in delivering shared outcomes. A number of local areas have reported improved outcomes through the adoption of integrated approaches.

At the national level, evidence of savings due to integrated provision is limited, therefore, the department does not have an estimate of the annual savings of integration.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Care Act 2014 in integrating health and social care services.

The Care Act 2014 enshrined in law asset and strengths-based approaches to how we design and deliver care and support, with social workers and other professionals co-producing care and support to deliver better outcomes for individuals, communities and services.

An evaluation of the Care Act was completed in 2019 and findings will be published in early 2020, including a summary of lessons learned for implementation of major policy and legislative changes.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to issue guidance to hospital trusts on the treatment of pain experienced by adults with a damaged cortex.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline, ‘Neuropathic pain in adults: pharmacological management in non-specialist settings’, updated July 2019, sets out evidence-based guidance for healthcare professionals in pharmacological treatments for neuropathic pain. This guidance can be found at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg173

In addition, NICE is currently developing guidance on the assessment and management of chronic pain, with an expected publication date of 19 August 2020. Guidance scope for the NICE clinical guidance document in development can be found at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/gid-ng10069/documents/final-scope

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of missed GP appointments in Blackpool South constituency in each of the last three years.

The data requested is not collected or held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if his Department will review its relationship with the British Red Cross charity in response to that charity's recent criticisms of Government policy.

The UK Government's relationship with the British Red Cross is established under the BRC's Royal Charter. There are no current plans to review this relationship.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the February 2021 pre-trial ruling regarding the scope of the ICC’s territorial jurisdiction in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, what steps he is taking to prevent politically motivated cases at the International Criminal Court.

We closely follow the important work of the International Criminal Court and are looking at the implications of this decision.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the International Criminal Court’s assertion of legal authority to UN General Assembly resolutions, with reference to the February 2021 ICC pre-trial ruling on the situation of Palestine.

We closely follow the important work of the International Criminal Court and are looking at the implications of this decision.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of moving the UK Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the UK Government is conducting an investigation into reports that the UN Relief and Works Agency distributed educational material to Palestinian children allegedly inciting violence against Israel during the covid-19 pandemic to aid home learning; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government has zero tolerance towards incitement of violence and we have raised this issue with UNRWA.

UNRWA informed us that they had identified the material in question through their own regular monitoring and took swift action to correct the issue. The Agency also conducted a review to identify and address any education materials in breach of its policies. UNRWA has reported that these materials are no longer circulated and are not used in current lessons.

We continue to monitor the situation to ensure self-learning materials remain in line with UN values.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the International Atomic Energy Agency on the recent announcement by Iran that it is enriching uranium to 20 per cent fissile purity.

On 4 January, Iran commenced uranium enrichment up to 20 per cent at the Fordow plant in violation of its JCPoA commitments. The E3 issued a statement on 7 December 2020 making it clear that Iran should not implement any measures set out in its recently adopted nuclear law. We remain in regular touch with the IAEA, who have a mandate to monitor and verify Iranian nuclear activity, on this and other JCPoA compliance matters.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of Iranian compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal; and if he will make a statement ahead of the biannual UN Security Council meeting on 22 December 2020 on Iranian compliance.

We remain deeply concerned by Iran's continued and systematic non-compliance with its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). We note with great concern both Iran's recent announcement to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it intends to install an additional three cascades of advanced centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz, and the recent law passed by the Iranian Parliament, which - if implemented - would substantially expand Iran's nuclear programme and limit IAEA monitoring access. We have been clear, both at the 16 December Joint Commission and at the 21 December ministerial meeting of JCPoA participants, that Iran must not implement these measures and must return to full compliance with its commitments under the deal. We also made this point clearly at the UN Security Council meeting on 22 December on the Secretary General's ninth report on the implementation of UNSCR 2231.

The UK remains firmly committed to the JCPoA. Along with France and Germany, we have consistently worked to preserve the JCPoA framework over the last two years. We have made clear at every stage that we favour a diplomatic solution to resolve our concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme. And we have worked tirelessly to keep the diplomatic door open for renewed talks between Iran and the US. President-elect Biden has said that if Iran returns to compliance with the deal, the US would re-enter the agreement and seek to both strengthen it and extend it. We welcome this commitment. This is an important opportunity to restart engagement between Iran and the US, and to realise the objectives of the JCPoA.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the finding of the 2018 ICAI report that the Department for International Development's policies focused on family planning rather than strengthening health systems to provide good quality maternal care, what steps his Department has taken to prioritise quality maternal care since that report was published.

The UK has a strong track record of investment in maternal and newborn health through strengthening health systems, alongside other essential services, including family planning. Since the 2018 ICAI report, we have taken a series of steps to improve our approach, embedding a focus on quality, respectful maternity care. These were recognised and commended by ICAI in their 2020 follow-up review.

The UK Government has a manifesto commitment on ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and children by 2030. We have invested in staff knowledge and skills, and are supporting our partners, including the World Health Organisation, to promote, deliver, and measure quality maternal health care. We support the Global Financing Facility for women, children, and adolescent health in its efforts to strengthen quality and sustainability of services in 36 countries. This action is more important than ever given the negative indirect impacts of COVID-19, which is reducing access to maternity care, and other essential health services.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the requirement to invoke the snapback of sanctions against Iran under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

Our position regarding the US notification to snapback sanctions pursuant to UNSCR 2231 has been very clearly expressed to the UN Security Council Presidency and all UN Security Council members. E3 Foreign Ministers have made clear that the US ceased to be a participant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) following their withdrawal from the deal on 8 May 2018. We cannot therefore support the US' action, which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPoA. We remain committed to the JCPoA and have always said we regret the US' withdrawal from the deal.

However, Iran's continued non-compliance with its nuclear commitments under the JCPoA remains deeply concerning and seriously undermines the non-proliferation benefits of the agreement. We have called for a ministerial Joint Commission meeting to address Iran's non-compliance and find a way forward. We are clear that Iran must engage seriously with this process, and that its current actions put the JCPoA at risk.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what effect Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon has on the UK’s policies in that region.

Hizballah's destabilising influence threatens regional stability and endangers Lebanon and its people. The UK has long had a no contact policy with the whole organisation. Hizballah was proscribed in its entirety in March 2019 and an asset freeze put in place against the entire organisation in January 2020. The UK does not provide any assistance or funding directly to Hizballah, Hizballah-led ministries or Hizballah-led institutions. Following proscription, we went through a due diligence process with all our programme implementing partners to ensure that they were fully aware of the implications of the UK decision to proscribe Hizballah in its entirety. We regularly raise our concerns about Hizballah at the UN Security Council, and call on all parties to abide by the provisions of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is working with the US Administration to encourage Arab states to follow the United Arab Emirates' example and agree a peace deal with Israel.

The UK welcomed the historic Israel-United Arab Emirates normalisation deal. The Foreign Secretary discussed wider US efforts to normalise Israel and Arab state ties in a meeting with Jared Kushner on 3 September, following both of their recent visits to the Middle East. The UK welcomes all efforts towards peace and we continue to work closely with international partners strongly advocating a two-state solution and a regional approach to peace. We believe that negotiations on a two state solution will only succeed when they are conducted between Israelis and Palestinians, but international action has a role in facilitating progress. The changing regional context and converging Arab and Israeli interests presents an opening to develop Arab-Israeli relations and create the conditions for serious Israeli-Palestinian talks to resume. The Arab League and Arab states have a key role in the peace process and we are in close contact on this issue.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether (a) Hamas and (b) Izz-al-Din Al-Qassem will continue to be subject to UK Terrorism and Terrorist Financing sanctions after the end of the transition period.

Hamas, including Izz Al-Din Al-Qassem, is subject to financial sanctions in the UK through the EU counter-terrorism sanctions regime CP931. Her Majesty's Government is transferring existing EU sanctions regimes into UK law through regulations made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, and the Secretary of State and the Treasury have made regulations providing for counter terrorism sanctions after the end of the transition period. We will look to carry over existing EU designations at the end of the transition period.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is giving to the British Overseas Territories to help develop their trade links with surrounding economies.

The Government is committed to supporting the sustainable economic development of the British Overseas Territories (OTs). The Territories have some autonomy over their own trade relationships, and many already have established trading links with their neighbours. Working jointly with the Department for International Trade, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is exploring opportunities for the OTs to strengthen their global trade standing. This has included considering their interests in future Free Trade Agreements, posts connecting to our overseas network, and the GREAT campaign.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to increase trade links between the UK and British Overseas Territories.

The UK's Overseas Territories (OTs) have preferential access to the UK market, which means that they are able to export goods to the UK tariff and quota free. The British Government has ensured that this access will continue at the end of the transition period. The UK has established trade links with some OTs, and stands ready to support UK and OT businesses that want to strengthen their trade links.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing Machine Games Duty for high street arcades to mitigate the financial effects of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has no current plans to reduce Machine Games Duty. High street arcade operators will have been able to benefit from the package of measures introduced to mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19 worth over £280 billion, including the Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until April, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the bounce back loan and payment deferral schemes.

HM Treasury keeps all taxes, including Machine Games Duty, under active review.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the VAT reduction to 5 per cent to amusement arcades.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and will run until 31 March 2021. While we keep all taxes under review, this relief comes at a significant cost to the Exchequer, and there are currently no plans to extend the scope of the reduced rate.

The Government has announced a significant support package to help businesses through the winter months, which includes an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant, and an extension of the application window for the government-backed loan schemes.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the outcome of HMRC v The Rank Group PLC; Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd and Others, what steps HMRC has taken to make appropriate repayments to operators; and whether HMRC is prioritising the repayment of operators in a particular order.

Revenue and Customs Brief 5 (2020): VAT treatment on fixed odds betting terminals and gaming machines published on 26 May 2020 (updated on 26 June 2020) sets out the process for claimants in relation to the Rank Group PLC and Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd and Others litigation to be repaid the sums due to them. Repayments have now started and will continue. There has been no prioritisation of any particular claimant.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme through autumn and winter 2020 for (a) the travel industry and (b) other sectors in which trade has been adversely affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

After eight months of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the scheme will close in October.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme must be temporary and the Government must ensure people can get back to work when it is safe to do so and get the UK economy up and running again.

It would be challenging to target the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 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.

It would also be difficult to target the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at specific sectors without creating distortion, particularly as some firms work across multiple sectors.

There are other schemes, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, that can provide support to specific firms.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason ice cream parlours were not included in the list of businesses that are able to reduce the VAT levied on their products to 5 per cent.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has introduced a range of measures to help individuals and businesses through the crisis, including grants, loans and relief from business rates at a cost of more than £300 billion.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT will support the tourism and hospitality sectors and will help over 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs. Ice cream served for consumption on the premises in ice cream parlours or other food establishments will benefit from the reduced rate.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an economic diversification fund to assist constituencies where economies have historically been dependent on a single industry.

The Government is committed to supporting every local area invest in their local economic priorities and to level up opportunity across the country, including Blackpool. This is why at the previous Budget we announced £6bn for local transport in England, £10.9bn new capital investment into housing, and £5bn to support the rollout of gigabit broadband to the 20% hardest to reach areas. These build on the government’s previous investments, such as the Blackpool 21st Century Centre, the Blackpool Bridges and the Blackpool Tramway Extension funded through our Local Growth Fund. In addition to this Blackpool has been shortlisted as one of the 100 Towns for our £3.6bn Towns Fund.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he is having with representatives from the insurance industry to ensure that insurers pay claims from tourism and hospitality businesses for business interruption in the event of a pandemic.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector about its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation. The Government is also working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis.

For those businesses which have an appropriate policy that covers government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable diseases, the Government’s social distancing instructions are sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim, and appropriate information on its progress; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

Furthermore, on 15 April, FCA sent a letter to the insurance industry, setting out the FCA's expectation of firms regarding their handling of business interruption insurance claims, urging insurers to settle claims quickly in cases where there was a clear obligation to pay the claim in full or in part.

In addition, on 1 May, the FCA published a statement setting out their intention to seek legal clarity on the handling of business interruption insurance claims, in order to resolve any doubt for businesses facing uncertainty on their claims. In their statement the FCA also noted that insurers should look at how they can help consumers who are experiencing financial distress as a result of COVID-19.

However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.

The Government recognises that businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a business rates freeze for small retail, tourism and leisure commercial units which are currently unoccupied.

The Government maintains empty property relief to support property owners between the reoccupation of vacated premises. Under empty property relief, owners of properties do not normally have to pay business rates on newly vacated buildings for three months. Certain properties are also eligible for extended empty property relief.

Properties which have closed temporarily due to the Government’s advice on COVID-19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of the business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure properties.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, has also been made available.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to provide financial support to casual workers and freelancers in the creative, entertainment, event and performance industries during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for businesses and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. The Government has made significant changes to the operation of Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit, and Employment and Support Allowance, in order that people have quicker and more generous access to a support system.

For casual workers and freelancers, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will provide grants to those who are self-employed, or members of partnerships, worth 80% of their trading profits/partnership trading profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The value of the grant is based on a three-year average of trading/partnership trading profits, from the tax years 2016-17 to 2018-19. SEISS is available to those who generate majority of their income from self -employment and who earn less than £50,000. Some 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment could benefit from this scheme.

To support those on low incomes, the Government has announced a package of temporary welfare measures, including:

  • A £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element.
  • An increase in the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants.
  • A relaxation of the UC minimum income floor for all self-employed UC claimants affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • Advances for all new UC claimants are now available online or via telephone.

Details of the range of support for individuals affected by COVID-19 is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support football league clubs facing financial difficulties as a result of the outbreak of covid-19 through (a) improving their access to Government-supported loans and (b) encouraging the Football Association and Premier League clubs to provide short-term financial assistance.

The government has announced a significant package of financial support for businesses and employees, including the sport sector. This includes the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-employment Income Support Scheme amongst other measures to support businesses and employees during this period. Further details of this package are available at: www.businesssupport.gov.uk
Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government plans to provide financial support to third sector organisations in financial difficulties as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Charities, social enterprises and other third sector organisations will benefit from the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government has announced an unprecedented package of financial support that will also support charities and social enterprises, including small business grants. Many charities are already eligible for 80% charitable rate relief, they will benefit from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100%. Further detail of government support is available at: www.businesssupport.gov.uk

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government plans to provide financial assistance to third sector organisations that experience an increase in demand following the closure of community-based services as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Charities, social enterprises and other third sector organisations will benefit from the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government has announced an unprecedented package of financial support that will also support charities and social enterprises, including small business grants. Many charities are already eligible for 80% charitable rate relief, they will benefit from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100%. Further detail of government support is available at: www.businesssupport.gov.uk

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to ensure that internet-based businesses pay an adequate level of tax in the UK.

Ensuring that digital businesses pay their fair share of tax in the UK is a priority for the Government.

The Government is actively working on a multilateral solution to ensure that digital businesses pay an appropriate level of tax in the countries in which they operate.

Pending that solution, the Government is introducing the digital services tax from April 2020; a 2% tax on the UK revenues of social media platforms, online marketplaces and search engines.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
What steps her Department is taking to simplify asylum (a) claims and (b) appeals.

The Home Office is working to transform the broken asylum system and processes: the work will simplify, streamline and digitise processes, ensuring that genuine asylum claimants are treated quickly, fairly and are supported; and those who do not qualify are rapidly identified and prepared for return.

As part of this programme of work, the Home Office is working collaboratively with HMCTS on their ambitious programme of court reform.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing compulsory ID cards for British nationals; and when her Department last reviewed its policy on ID cards.

The Home Office has made no recent assessment on compulsory ID cards. The previous identity card scheme was abolished by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government in 2010.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of allegations that senior members of Hamas’ Political Bureau are personally (a) designated terrorists by the US government and (b) subject to UK Terrorism and Terrorist Financing sanctions.

The Government and the security and intelligence agencies keep the threat from terrorist groups, including Hamas, under review. In March 2001, the Government proscribed the military wing of Hamas (Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades), as a terrorist organisation. It is criminal offence in the UK to be a member of the military wing. The investigation and prosecution for all criminal offences, including whether an actual offence has been committed, is a matter for the police and Crown Prosecution Service

The Terrorist Asset Freezing Act (TAFA) 2010 permits HM Treasury to designate an individual or entity for sanctions if they meet the statutory test. Currently there are three individuals designated under TAFA 2010 who are associated with Hamas. Hamas, including its military wing, is also subject to financial sanctions in the UK through the EU counter-terrorism sanctions regime CP931.

The Government does not routinely comment on intelligence matters. While we work closely with our international partners in the global fight against terrorism, any executive action must be underpinned by intelligence that satisfies the UK’s criminal and statutory thresholds.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applicants for asylum have been (a) housed and (b) housed in temporary hotel or B&B accommodation in Blackpool South constituency in each year since 2010.

The Home Office publishes quarterly figures on the number of asylum seekers housed in dispersed accommodation, by local authority, in the Immigration Statistics release, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

We would not disclose figures for the people we accommodate temporarily. We can confirm that the use of hotels for contingency is permitted under the terms of the Asylum Accommodation & Support Contracts.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of removing visa charges for Commonwealth UK armed forces personnel and their immediate families applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after completing their service.

The Home Office is listening carefully to those with concerns about how members of HM Forces can have the support of their families whilst serving our country.

We are continuing to assess the impact of immigration fees on members of the HM Forces in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many failed asylum seekers have been deported in each of the last 10 years.

The Home Office publishes data on returns from the UK in the ‘. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

Data on the number of returns, by year, type of return and asylum and non-asylum related returns are published in table Ret_05.

Asylum-related returns relate to cases where there has been an asylum claim at some stage prior to the return. This will include asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been refused, and who have exhausted any rights of appeal, those returned under third country provisions, as well as those granted asylum/protection, but removed for other reasons (such as criminality). Therefore not all ‘asylum’ cases will relate to failed asylum seekers.

The term 'deportations' refers to a legally-defined subset of returns which are enforced either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. Information on those deported is not separately available and therefore the published statistics refer to all enforced returns.

The latest data relates to the year ending September 2019.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the. https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=release-date-oldest

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to locate failed asylum seekers who have absconded prior to deportation.

The Home Office takes a number of steps to re-establish contact with Failed Asylum Seekers (FAS) who have absconded. Our dedicated tracing team conducts a full range of checks which cannot be detailed for security reasons.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of failed asylum seekers who have absconded before deportation in each of the last five years.

The Home Office does not hold the information you have requested.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate her Department has made of the number of failed asylum seekers still living in the UK.

Information regarding the number of failed asylum seekers still living in the UK can be found on tables OLCU_01, OLCU_04 and ASY_03 of the most recently published Asylum, UK Visa & Immigration Transparency Data:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asylum-transparency-data-august-2019

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of the usage of stop and search powers by Lancashire Police; and if her Department will take steps to encourage that police force to increase its use of stop and search powers to help tackle crime in that area.

The police have the government's full support in the fair and targeted use of stop and search to crack down on criminality and violent crime. That is why, last year, we started a national pilot to test a relaxation of voluntary restrictions on "no suspicion" Section 60 powers, used when the police anticipate serious violence.

Stop and search in Lancashire increased 39% in 2018/19 compared with 2017/18, the first year-on-year increase since 2010/11. This is similar to the national trend.

The Home Office collects and publishes statistics on the number of stop and searches conducted by each police force in England and Wales on an annual basis. Results are published in the ‘Police Powers and Procedures, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, the latest of which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-year-ending-31-march-2019

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much her Department has spent from the public purse to promote freedom of speech in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, and (d) 2018.

Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental values on which our society is based and in this country we have a long history of defending the right to free speech. We have not directly spent any public money on promoting free speech since 2015 and do not hold this information as a department.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the socio-economic diversity among people training to become officers in all parts of the armed forces; and what steps he is taking to encourage more applicants from lower socio-economic groups to apply to join the armed forces as an officer.

The Ministry of Defence does not hold information on the socio-economic backgrounds of Armed Forces personnel which could inform such an assessment. However, the Armed Forces are working in line with the Government's priority to build a fairer society, aiming to attract talent from the widest possible base from across the UK, regardless of socio-economic background, educational status or ethnicity. The education and training provided allows individuals to gain the necessary skills and experience to enable them to progress as far as their aptitude will take them, regardless of their background.

6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) Israel and (b) Saudi Arabia to help ensure the adequacy of defences against the increased military threat to those countries from Iran.

Following the attacks on Saudi oil production facilities on 14 September 2019, we are working with other international partners and the Saudi Ministry of Defence to consider how best to improve the effectiveness of Saudi air defence systems.

With Israel, the UK undertakes routine Defence Engagement, including joint exercises, exchanges, visits, and training. In this current period of tension between Iran and the US, Israel has not approached the UK for any additional support.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to work his (a) Iraqi and (b) Turkish counterparts to tackle the insurgent threat posed by ISIS.

As part of the Coalition, the UK has provided support to the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi Security Forces, which has been crucial in the fight against Daesh. We have trained over 114,000 Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga personnel to help build their capacity to ensure Daesh's enduring defeat.

Due to current circumstances, we have paused training with Iraqi Security Forces but we continue to train Kurdish forces in the Kurdish Region of Iraq. And we hope to resume counter-Daesh operations and training with the Iraqi Security Forces as quickly as possible, but this will not be at the expense of the right force protection measures for UK troops.

We have been continuously engaged with Turkey as a NATO Ally from the outset in countering the threat from Daesh. Following the incursion into Northeast Syria, we welcome the ceasefire and we hope that this will allow us to continue to protect our mutual counter-terrorism interests.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has for further Town Deals in addition to the (a) Towns Fund and (b) Future High Street programmes.

I am delighted that Blackpool in my Honourable friend’s constituency is one of the initial places that yesterday had its Town Deal offer announced for a transformative funding package worth up to £39.5 million. This Town Deal will help give a new lease of life to much loved tourist attractions as well as supporting the local business community to grow and thrive.

My officials are continuing to review Blackpool’s Future High Street Fund bid and I hope to make an announcement later in the Autumn.

In due course we will bring forward a further competitive round of the Towns Fund, building on lessons learned from the first Town Deals and Future High Streets Fund. We want to make sure that more places can benefit from investment that will improve our towns and high streets and drive long-term economic growth.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will announce when businesses that are currently closed under covid-19 restrictions in (a) Blackpool and (b) the UK may open again.

To reduce social contact and the spread of infection, the Government previously ordered certain businesses and venues to close to members of the public across England. This list of closures was in line with advice from medical professionals. Though there has been tragic loss of life, thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the British people, the UK has slowed the spread of Coronavirus.

Following earlier easements in May and June, as part of Step Three of the government’s plan to return life to as near normal as we can, further businesses and venues were allowed to open from 4, 11 and 13 July.

Certain premises have been required to remain closed beyond 13 July, due to the higher risk of infection in those premises. The Prime Minister gave an oral statement on 17 July to set out the next chapter in the UK’s Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. From 25 July, subject to assessment of the evidence at the time regarding the rates of transmission, it is proposed that sports facilities and venues, such as indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor facilities at water parks will be permitted to open.

From 1 August, subject to assessment of the evidence at the time regarding the rates of transmission, it is proposed that most remaining leisure settings, including bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, and casinos will be permitted to reopen.

The venues where people are likely to be very close to each other and are particularly challenging to reopen in a safe way at the present time due to the high transmission risk, will be required to remain closed after 1 August. This includes nightclubs, soft play areas, and sexual entertainment venues. These will be kept under review.

The COVID-19 recovery strategy applies to England only. The Devolved Administrations are making their own assessments about the lifting of measures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many new (a) houses and (b) social houses have been constructed in Blackpool in each year since 2011.

The number of new homes built by local authority area since 2012-13 is published in Live Table 123, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-net-supply-of-housing.

The number of new affordable homes by local authority area, type (new build or acquisition) and tenure (e.g. social rent) since 1991-92 is published in Live Table 1011, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received from the (a) Chief Executive of Blackpool Council and (b) Leader of Blackpool Council on (i) the local government finance settlement and (ii) Government funding of local authorities.

There is no record of written representations or correspondence from either the Chief Executive of Blackpool Council or the Leader of Blackpool Council on the local government finance settlement or Government funding of local authorities. However, I can confirm that through this year’s Local Government Finance Settlement, Blackpool’s spending power will increase by £8.5 million, or 6.4 per cent since 2019-20.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the North West in each of the last 10 years.

Antisemitism has absolutely no place in our society, which is why we are taking a strong lead in tackling it in all its forms.

We recognise that there has been an increase in antisemitic incidents across the country. Home Office Official Statistics for hate crime, which report police recorded data, show that 18% of religiously motivated hatred was directed towards Jews, compared with 12 per cent in 2017/18. [‘Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2018 to 2019’ (Oct, 2019)].

We are also aware that Greater Manchester had the highest number of antisemitic incidents outside Greater London over last 10 years (2008-2018) according to the Community Security Trust, who are one of our key partners in tackling antisemitism and the main body reporting on the number of incidents each year.

That is why we became the first country in the world to adopt the working definition of antisemitism as set by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. We are making sure the police record hate crimes disaggregated by faith and our refreshed Hate Crime Action Plan reaffirms our commitment to combating antisemitism. We are working with partner organisations across England to make sure Jewish communities feel safe and are pressing for public sector institutions to adopt the IHRA definition.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussion he has had with Cabinet colleagues about creating additional legal protections for the right to protest.

Peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society. It is a long-standing tradition in this country that people are free to gather together and to demonstrate their views, however uncomfortable these may be to the majority of us, provided that they do so within the law.

There is, of course, a balance to be struck. Protestors’ rights need to be balanced with the rights of others to go about their business without fear of intimidation or serious disruption to the community. Rights to peaceful protest do not extend to violent or threatening behaviour and the police have powers to deal with any such acts.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department plans to review the effectiveness of the right to (a) freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and (b) receive information under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

The UK is committed to protecting and respecting human rights. We have a longstanding tradition of ensuring rights and liberties are protected domestically and of fulfilling our international human rights obligations.

The Government is committed to upholding the right to freedom of expression. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a right of access to recorded information held by UK public authorities. We have no plans for a review of these rights.

Alex Chalk
Assistant Whip
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what statistics his Department holds on hate crime.

The Ministry of Justice publishes information regarding prosecutions, convictions and sentencing for hate crime offences specifically defined in legislation, i.e. ‘racially or religiously aggravated’ offences. The court outcomes for these offences can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/802314/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2018.xlsx

(using the pivot table, filter by ‘Offence’ for offences starting with ‘racially or religiously aggravated…’ and select all that appear).

Other hate crime offences are prosecuted under the specific offence in legislation that they fall under and the ‘hate’ element is an aggravating factor in that crime rather than the offence itself but these cannot be separately identified in the data.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much has been spent on supporting pregnant women in Northern Ireland who have decided to keep their babies since 21 October 2019.

Maternity and prenatal health is a devolved matter for Northern Ireland.

The Government recognises the importance of consulting with experts, counselling and other support services to support women and girls through any difficult decisions. This will be a matter for the Department of Health to take forward as part of its commissioning of abortion as a new healthcare service, once the regulations are laid in the UK Parliament shortly.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support and (b) promote the Ulster-Scots cultural heritage in communities throughout Northern Ireland.

The devolved administration in Northern Ireland is primarily responsible for supporting and promoting languages, including Ulster-Scots. The New Decade, New Approach agreement contains important commitments for the Northern Ireland Executive to progress on supporting and promoting Ulster-Scots language and culture.

In reserved areas, such as broadcasting, the Government is committed to supporting Ulster- Scots as appropriate, and has ensured that the BBC Framework Agreement includes a specific clause which provides a clear commitment for the BBC to continue to deliver output in Ulster- Scots, and provides funding for the Ulster-Scots Broadcasting Fund (USBF).

The Government has also itself committed, under the New Decade, New Approach agreement, to supporting discussions with NI Screen to explore how the remit of the Ulster USBF can be broadened, and will increase funding to reflect any broadened remit. The Government will also, under the New Decade, New Approach agreement, work to recognise Ulster-Scots as a national minority under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Sep 2020
What progress his Department has made on City and Growth deals in Wales.

The City and Growth Deals are progressing well. Cardiff has several exciting projects in the pipeline and I was pleased to approve and visit Swansea Bay’s Pembroke Dock Marine and see the progress on Swansea’s Digital District for myself. North Wales’ Full Deal Agreement and Mid Wales’ Head of Terms are also expected by the end of the year.

David T C Davies
Assistant Whip
22nd Apr 2020
What steps his Department is taking to strengthen economic links between Wales and the North West of England.

I met with the leaders of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, Programme Director Alwen Williams and the Business Advisory Board on 12 March, before the covid-19 crisis, where I discussed the opportunities that will be created by the North Wales Growth Deal to build on the already significant cross-border economic activity that exists between Northeast Wales and the Northwest of England.

David T C Davies
Assistant Whip
15th Jan 2020
What steps he is taking to help strengthen the Union.

As the new Secretary of State for Wales I am wholeheartedly committed to strengthening the Union and to working hand in hand with Welsh Government colleagues.

I have already met with the First Minister and a number of Welsh Ministers to discuss how we can work together to maximise the opportunities of EU exit and support the Welsh economy.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales